Legoland Florida had just opened for the day, and we were hot on the trail of the park’s retail manager. We had reason to believe he had the much-desired mobster minifig, and if we could find him, that minifig would be ours.
Trading minifigs is a big part of the fun of visiting Legoland, although many park-goers don’t know about the tradition. Guests who bring a minifig from home (or buy one in the park) can trade it for any of the minifigs park staffers wear on their nametags. Fellow guests may trade with you if they choose to, but staffers are more or less compelled to surrender their minifig when asked.
We didn’t know about minifig trading before arriving at the park, so our first stop was the Minifigure Market, where you can buy minifig assortments, customize your own figure, or choose from the mystery packs, which contain an undisclosed minifig (more on that later). We bought a mystery pack, which turned out to contain a boxer with a helmet and gloves. Browsing the gallery of possible minifigs in the mystery packs, my son spotted a mobster and decided that was his trading target for the day. We eyeballed the staff’s minifigs, but none of them sported the mobster. Then the cashier told us that the retail manager, who just left the store, was wearing the mobster on his nametag. “He should be pretty easy to find: He’s wearing a purple shirt!” she said. We headed off in hot pursuit.
Any outing is more fun when you’re on a mission, and finding the perfect minifig is no exception. As we explored the park, searching for the minifig made even ordinary moments more exciting. Waiting in lines for rides became an opportunity to scour the crowd for cool minifigs. We struck up countless conversations with Lego-minded strangers – kids and adults – while contemplating whether to trade for their minifigs. When afternoon came and we still hadn’t found the mobster-wearing manager, we headed back to Minifigure Market to see if they’d had a sighting. They hadn’t, but the manager tipped us off to a different strategy: By feeling through the wrappers of the mystery packs, we could figure out which one contained a mobster.
We began squeezing each of the packets in the mountain of minifigs, feeling a bit like Wonka fans looking for a golden ticket. During lulls in business, the manager would come by and help us palpate the packages. Other customers stopped by to see what on earth we were doing, and some joined the hunt, picking up tips from the staff on how certain telltale shapes can reveal what’s inside, like the furry hat of the British Royal Guard soldier. After patting what felt like hundreds of minifigs, I felt something that seemed like the mobster’s gun-toting instrument case. We checked with the manager for confirmation, and she concurred, so we bought it, and, ta-da…she was right! It wasn’t the way we expected to get him, but we had a great time nonetheless.
Another insider tip: There’s no limit to how many minifigs you can trade, so bring a bag! Any time you see a staffer with a cool minifig, you can swap it for one of yours. Accessories are fair game, too.
Thanks to Legoland Florida for hosting us at the park’s media preview.