Just in case it is in any way unclear: No affiliation with The Lego
Group is implied or intended.
Visible from almost anywhere waterside of the lagoon, Nessie seems to beckon you to the Lego(r) Imagination Center. Notice the white bird in the background. That's the anhinga described in the lead paragraph of the AP article (thanks to Pause Magazine for the info. Note that this link is broken. I will refresh it when we know where Pause data ends up.)
Note that TLG and WDW are running a contest to name Nessie. Personally I will continue to think of her as Nessie.
This panoramic view shows some of the dinosaur tourists on the lagoon side of the Lego(r) Imagination Center.
After arriving and spending some time in the play area, as well as drooling over sets, we headed for the stage, where the castle build was under way. We marvelled at the scale model (built to 1/4 scale of the final model, it is allowed to use non brick elements to define shapes). The final model is 98%+ 2x4 bricks with a smattering of smaller (1x2 or 2x2) or larger (2xN beams) bricks. 3 colors... gray, blue, yellow.
Then we went up onto the platform with the General Public. After observing what the GP was doing, and what the designers were doing, I knew where I wanted to be. So I engaged the designers in conversation until they knew that I knew "the brick" (see the AP article) and then asked if I could help build something harder.
They gave me something to copy. I cranked through it. I was happy!!! Then they gave me the towers to start working on. By the time I was done, at the end of the day, my hands were very numb from pressing studs, but I was even happier!!!
This shot shows the scale of the undertaking. Note all the gray 2x4 bricks underfoot. No wonder they are scarce. The front area, with all the kids, is the public area. My children Nik and Taya are center stage, but in the back you can see several Lego Designers. I don't remember everyone's name but the following designers were mentioned in the AP news story
This shot features my children, Nikolai and Taya, looking over the tower section they have built. The General Public built constant cross section pieces after Lego(r) designers started the correct cross section for them. Don't tell the GP, but not everything they built made it into the final model...
Nik is wondering what to build next... Not to worry, we'll put him to work!! He gets to help build crenellations later. Note the large scale minifigs on the roof of the center, wondering what all the fuss is about.
This is early in the build of one of the towers, in the non GP area. I have just started a grey section. Nik is building crenelations. They look like a technic axle in cross section, and are made of a 2x4 with 2 1x2s per layer. Nik made about 10 feet of these over the course of the afternoon, the designers used them in 4 or 6 or 8 block sections for the tops of various portions of the structure.
Note the hammer with plastic ends. One is hard plastic, one is softer. It is used to firm up sections by pounding on the cross section carefully to cause settling. It works best with constant cross section things, so I did not use it much.
The backpack in front belongs to a designer, note all the country patches. Nik and I are in the non GP area. He's building crenellations, I am marvelling at all the blocks. Each red bin has just one kind of block in it. I am midway through the top roof section of a tower
Later on in construction of a tower. The kid leaning back doesn't know
it (or maybe he does) but he is going to star in the topping out ceremony.
I think he did know since his father acted like a talent agent... also
note the colors he is wearing.
The big yellow construction at the left will be the top spire of the castle. The smaller yellow longish constructions are destined to end up on top of the towers I (and designers) built. You can see one just to my left on the tower I am copying
A (staged) topping out ceremony for publicity photos. We were all issued hard hats to wear for photos. Actual building finished later that night. Our friend from the last picture has just placed the big yellow spire on the very top. It promptly fell off and shattered (after the cameras stopped rolling)...
A Lego Designer highlights a tower. I built two of these from where his lower hand points, to the top, as well as smaller portions of 3 other towers.
James J. Trobaugh has posted shots of his trip, taken after the castle was completed. The shots are pretty cool.