Lego Minifigure Swap @ Legoland Malaysia : Reality or Myth ?

Have you heard that you can swap your Minifigure with staff of LEGOLAND Malaysia?It was a practise officially launched a year ago on March 2013. When we talk to Big C about it , he was excited and bought along some of his Minifigures for a trade. Will he succeed in his challenge?

The Minifigure Swap involves the trading of small LEGO® figurines, usually referred as Minifigs. It is designed to encourage interaction between Model Citizens (LEGOLAND Staff)and Park visitors. The concept is that guests can swap their Minifigure with the Model Citizens who wear the figurines on their name badges and have no choice but to agree to the exchange

Sadly our experience differed from what was stated. Instead of having a wonderful encounter, it almost turn out to be a forgetful outing for the boys.

Before I start my rant, I would like to say it take courage for a seven year old child to approach a stranger with a request. Given than LEGO is Big C favourite toy of choice, he is willing to give it a go if he sees the minifigure he fancies. Moreover this is a chance for him to practise his interpersonal and social skills. I had encouraged him to take up the task at hand. So I do take responsibility in the unexpected turn of event.
Customised minifigure ?
Unfortunately it was an experience I had regretted asking him to try. Out of the 5 attempts he had tried, he was rejected 4 times ( he would have tried more if he had found staff with a complete minifigure) During this period of rejection, the common excuse used was that it was glued to the nametag. While on other occasions, the staff either gave a blank stare together with a nervous smile, not knowing (or pretending not to know) that the tradition exist. When I pointed out to the staff that they are not supposed to refuse, they feign ignorance. So much for 'model citizens'.

There was only one occasion he had got his wish.The trade was actually for a Chima Lego minifigure that was 'mutated' from its original form. The head was from Chima, but the body, legs and headgear are from another. If this is the 'rare' minifigure Legoland claimed you could swap for, They got it right.It's rare, it's one of a kind, its custom made... but it is not from the minifigure series. As for Big C, it does not really matter. He initiated the trade on his own and he got his swap. He is happy he had done it and for that we are proud of him, succeeding in a system that is poorly implemented.
Where is the hair or hat?
The rules of a trade is simple. From Florida Legoland, where this tradition began, it states that a complete minifigure (hair or hat, head, body, legs) is to be swap. However we noticed half the staff has the hair / head piece missing to deter a trade (as seen from the picture). The majority of other half would use the 'glue' excuse.

By the end of the day we had almost given up on our mission. Big C decided to proceed to the hotel to try his luck. Again, the same excuses were made when he approached 5 different staff at the reception counter!

At this point, even I was losing my faith, I could not believe our beloved Legoland had dash a little boy's hopes. We decided to randomly approach a staff for help to see if he can find anyone who is willing to trade with Big C regardless of the minifigure. After all it was a universal LEGO lore that should be embraced.
Our white knight - Specially
By chance the person we approached is the manager of Legoland Hotel, Specially. Upon hearing our 'plight', he replied with a generous smile, ' No problem. I will get you a swap. It's a LEGO tradition'. True enough , the glue became 'unstuck' and Big C began his trade.

We would like to use this opportunity to thank Specially. It warmed our hearts to know that someone who is well versed with what LEGO meant to children is in charge. We hope this message will flow down to the rest of the Model Citizens, especially those in the park. They have to learn to play their roles in creating the LEGO magic that is was meant to be for the little ones. Otherwise instead of embracing a tradition, they would be destroying one.
Let's Swap!
In the end, Big C walked away with 3 new Minifigures and he loved his trade. It may not be exactly the Minifigures he had in mind, but at the very least, he had learn an important lesson in the midst of these incidents... Perseverance pays.
Minifigures swap @ Legoland Malaysia
Given our experiences, other than the positive outcome at the end of the day, those seeking to swap their Minifigures at the park may find it as challenging as we did. Set your expectation low and you might find it worthwhile to indulge in the tradition (if they still practise it) . If you are looking for the rare minifigure or even a normal one from the minifigure series, it may be an (almost) impossible task. Otherwise , do what we did, buy customised lego minifigures from the Lego Store at LEGOLAND. It cost RM 25 for 3 minifigures (RM40 for 6 minifigures) At least the children can make their own minifigures they like instead of trying to trade for one they most probably could not have. At the end of the day, we did just that and got 12 minifigures to take home from the trip!
Joining the gang
We like to use this blog post to issue a challenge to LEGOLAND Malaysia.

Raise your game. Be true to tradition. 

Consider this an open 'challenge' letter. They say the customers who made the loudest 'noise' are usually the largest fans. We are true blue fans of Legoland and we sincerely hope they will succeed and excel in this region. Given the potential they have shown in the early days, it will be a sad day if the charm diminish.

Our very own LEGO name tag with minifigure
Otherwise we might just up the ante and keep this tradition alive on our own.Now who wants to swap with us?


  1. Thanks for posting this! It was a wonderful lesson that you tried to teach Big C, from the social interaction part to the perseverance..I'm glad his hard work eventually paid off to a certain extent..I would love to teach my boy (Jah) the same skills/ values..now I can only wish the word gets to the right people and the tradition get 'implemented' the right way for us to try..:)

    Btw saw ur boys at the Hairy Maclary show the other day and they are little cuties :)

    1. Agreed that tradition should be done right, especially if it is publicized . Do say hi when you see us the next time :)

    2. We were just there and had good success! It's the first time my kids have gone up to complete strangers and had interactions like this... hopefully legoland keeps the trainings going- not everybody is adept at this but they can learn to be.

    3. It's great to hear about positive experience. I had communicated with Legoland on this and they promise they will step up. Am glad they did. We will be there soon for another trip. Let's see if the experience matches yours :)