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Meet the Q-Bot:

The <nobr>Q-Bot</nobr>

A small, hand held device that looks somewhat like a tamagotchi, but this ain't no virtual pet, this is a virtual place in a queue. Oh yes, at the start of 2008 LEGOLAND Windsor propelled itself in to the future! So, what exactly is Q-Bot, how does it work, and how much does it cost?

What is Q-Bot?

Q-Bot is a system, developed by Lo-Q, whereby visitors to LEGOLAND Windsor can reserve a timeslot for a ride without actually queuing. A central computer keeps tabs on how long the queue for certain attractions is - you can see this information on two matrix boards located at the Beginning and in LEGO City:

Queue time board

When a guest without Q-Bot (a 'Q-Bot-Not') decides that they want to ride a particular ride, they get into the queue. When a guest with Q-Bot decides that they want to ride the same ride, they also get into the queue, but virtually. They take a look at their Q-Bot, which gives them the time that they would reach the front of the queue if they queued normally. They then 'reserve' that ride, and from the predicted time onwards are allowed to enter the ride through either a special Q-Bot lane or the ride exit. The net effect is that both the Q-Bot guest and the Q-Bot-Not have had to wait for the same amount of time for the ride, but whereas the latter has had to spend that time standing in a queue line, the former could wander 'round the park, eat, or even ride other rides.

Be clear on one thing: the regular Q-Bot is not a queue jumping system, as both the Q-Bot guest and the Q-Bot-Not have 'queued' for the same time, it's just that one of them has been able to do other stuff at the same time.

How does it work?

The Q-Bot system has been specifically designed to be as easy to use as possible. Here's how you do it:

  1. Go to a Q-Bot Nerve Centre (there are two: one by the Big Shop at the Beginning, and one between City Walk and Burger Ranch in LEGO City), and hire a Q-Bot. Each Q-Bot can accommodate up to six people, but one group can be split across multiple Q-Bots (if, for example, your group wishes to split up during the day).

    As well as coughing up the hire fee, you'll need to sign an agreement saying that should you fail to return the Q-Bot by the end of the day in good condition, you agree to be charged £50 for the replacement. An imprint will be taken of your debit/credit card for this purpose, though you can take this away with you when you return the Q-Bot, or ask to have it shredded.

    The park has 600 Q-Bots for hire, so it seems unlikelythat they'll run out on all but the busiest of days. However, it is possible to reserve a Q-Bot in advance of your visit - see the official website.

  2. When no ride is reserved (this is the state in which you will receive your Q-Bot), your Q-Bot shows you a list of available rides, and the time that you are next able to reserve for each of them. For a regular Q-Bot, on a quiet day, this will by default be 10 minutes from the current time, but for rides like Viking River Splash and Boating School this will generally increase during the day.

    Select your ride by using the up and down buttons, and then hit 'Reserve' by pressing the circle 'action' button. At this point, all the other rides will disappear, leaving your reserved ride and time of reservation. You may only reserve one ride at a time, though you can reserve multiple shows at the same time.

  3. Take a walk around the park, have a snack, or ride something else if the queue isn't too long - you're free to do anything!

  4. When your allotted time comes, your Q-Bot will beep and vibrate to let you know this. At that time, or indeed at any point from that time onwards, head to your ride.

  5. Look for the 'Q-Bot Entrance'. In many cases, such as the Orient Expedition, this is the exit of the ride, but on a few (including Laser Raiders, Vikings' River Splash and the Dragon), there is a separate queuing lane. Head to the loading station, and show the attendant your Q-Bot. They will validate your reservation with their blue Q-Bot.

  6. Success! Ride your ride, and enjoy the fact that you didn't have to physically queue!

  7. Once your Q-Bot has been validated by a blue Q-Bot, you are free to make another reservation. Alternatively, if you have a pending reservation but change your mind, you are free to cancel it and choose again. Beware: if you cancel and then re-reserve the same ride, you will be placed at the back of the queue!

  8. Boating School, Atlantis Submarine Voyage and the 4D films in the Imagination Theatre work slightly differently: these work on a specific bookable timeslot system. Next to the main Q-Bot Nerve Centre at the Beginning, and inside the Q-Bot nerve centre in LEGO City, you will find a computer terminal known as the 'show terminal'. Placing your Q-Bot where indicated will allow you to view the available times for the films/rides, and following the instructions will allow you to reserve a particular slot.

    Unlike all other rides, where you can only reserve one place at a time, you may reserve one timeslot for each film, or ride on Boating School / Atlantis Submarine Voyage, at the same time as holding a single queue reservation for any other attraction. (Be aware that bookings for Boating School and Atlantis Submarine Voyage have an additional charge, or alternatively are included for free in the ULTIMATE Q-Bot package.)

  9. If, for whatever reason (usually technical faults), a ride becomes available, your Q-Bot will let you know, and if necessary cancel your reservation. At this point you are free to reserve something else.

It's really not difficult, and after your first reservation you'll fly through it, and reap the rewards!

What can it be used on?

Q-Bot can now be used on the majority of LEGOLAND's main rides and attractions, namely:

* - The Imagination Theatre 4D Films work slightly differently to the other attractions. See point 8 above.

** - Boating School and Atlantis Submarine Voyage are 'add-on' attractions. See point 8 above for how to reserve them, and 'How much does it cost?' below for pricing.

Packages available

There are three Q-Bot packages are available:

Regular <nobr>Q-Bot</nobr>

A regular Q-Bot, costing £15pp peak-season and £10pp off-peak, is exactly what is described above. Guests queue virtually for the same length of time that they would queue physically.

<nobr>Q-Bot</nobr> Express

Q-Bot Express works in the same way as a regular Q-Bot, but instead of making guests queue virtually for the same length of time as those queing physically, it reduces waiting times by up to 75%, allowing guests to get much more done in one day. It costs £40pp peak-season, £30pp off-peak, and includes the 'Instant Access' add-on detailed below.

ULTIMATE <nobr>Q-Bot</nobr>

ULTIMATE Q-Bot is the similar to Q-Bot express, but queue times are reduced by up to 95%. In fact, when we trialled the system, we could not find an attraction which would not let us ride instantly upon booking - check out our review of the system. ULTIMATE Q-Bot costs £70pp throughout the season, and includes the Boating School and Atlantis Submarine Voyage add-ons detailed below.


Four add-ons are available for the various Q-Bot packages. The first three are available all season, with the fourth being specifically for the end of season fireworks:

  • Instant Access
    • Instant access to your first ride, before 11am, and excluding Boating School and Atlantis Submarine Voyage. This add-on costs £1pp, is already included in the price of a Q-Bot Express, and is not needed for ULTIMATE Q-Bot users.

  • Boating School
    • Using Q-Bot for Boating School works differently (see point 8 above), and incurs an extra charge of £3pp. It is included in the price of an ULTIMATE Q-Bot.

  • Atlantis Submarine Voyage
    • Using Q-Bot for Atlantis Submarine Voyage works differently (see point 8 above), and incurs an extra charge of £3pp. It is included in the price of an ULTIMATE Q-Bot.

  • Premiere Q-Bot Access
    • Premiere Q-Bot access is available to Q-Bot Express and ULTIMATE Q-Bot customers, for £20pp and £10pp respectively, during the park’s end of season firework events only. It grants guests access to the VIP firework viewing area located behind the Build and Test Workshops in the Imagination Centre, and includes guarenteed seating and a free muffin and hot chocolate. Check out our review of Premiere Q-Bot access.

Peak and off-peak timings

The cost of Q-Bot depends on what date you visit; the calendar below shows the Q-Bot trading prices for 2011:

<nobr>Q-Bot</nobr> trading calendar 2011

The verdict: Is it worth it?

Answer: definitely, especially on crowded days. For a reasonable sum, you have a system which allows you to organise your time, avoid spending it all in queues, and be able to do what you want, where you want.

Unlike a regular Q-Bot, Q-Bot Express is not cheap, and so on top of entrance tickets can seem extravagent. Nevertheless, with it, you can more or less forget the queues. This makes it very easy to ride all the park's offerings multiple times over.

ULTIMATE Q-Bot comes with a large price tag, but when off-set against what it offers (a day free from the stress of queuing), it is certainly worth considering if you can afford it and want to get the absolute most out of one day.

Q-Bot really is a great system which can help visitors get the most out of their day. On quiet days, it may be worth the money; on busy days, however, it most certainly is!

The <nobr>Q-Bot</nobr> nerve centre in the Beginning