Review: #41130 Amusement Park Roller Coaster
LEGO has fallen in love with roller coasters in recent years… Let’s find out if the LEGO Friends Roller Coaster is a worthwhile addition to your LEGO collection!
About the set
This set was released in 2016, and with 1,124 pieces, it is still the largest set in the LEGO Friends amusement park sub-theme. It retails for $99.99 (99.99€, £99.99), which is a pretty typical $0.09 per piece.
I am impressed by the wide range of sets in the LEGO Friends amusement park sub-theme. These provide many ancillary activities to go with the featured larger amusement park rides. As children often cannot enjoy many of the larger rides in an amusement park due to body size safety restrictions, it popularizes these other elements of the amusement park experience. After purchasing the Roller Coaster, you could buy a few more of these sets to create a complete amusement park.
The LEGO Friends Amusement Park sub-theme includes these other sets:
- #41133 Bumper Cars — Two bumper cars, plus a shaker swing ride.
- #41128 Space Ride — A spinning ride with three rocket ship seats.
- #41127 Arcade — Three classic funfair arcade games including whackable frog, hoop shoot, and water pistol target shoot.
- #41129 Hot Dog Van — A hot dog van with rooftop dining and a carnival photo board. (plus a cute minidoll hot dog costume.)
- #30399 Bowling Alley — A small polybag set.
The build process has been carefully designed to interweave small builds, while making progress on the two main elements: the roller coaster and the Ferris wheel.
The build contains the following sections which you will build in this order:
- Popcorn cart
- Entrance booth with rotating turnstile
- Information stand with map
- Roller coaster carriages (four carriages, including a light brick on the front one which is turned on when a minidoll is placed in the carriage)
- Roller coaster entry area with opening safety barrier
- Roller coaster control panel
- Roller coaster track including several obstacles, one with opening translucent doors and two which spin as the coaster passes
- Drop tower with two seat carriage
- Ferris wheel with 6 gondolas
- Dining area with two tables and four seats
These smaller parts of the set do include Technic pieces such as the popcorn cart and the turnstile for the entrance booth. I thought this was a useful way to introduce these potentially unfamiliar pieces to a new audience, rather than wait to introduce all of the Technic elements in the more complex structures to follow. The popcorn cart looks great and is not specific to LEGO Friends so could be used in a regular city scene.
These are really useful for play elements. The entrance booth has a moving turnstile, a stand to collect photos taken on the rides and printed pieces for money and tickets. On the popcorn stand the wheels turn and the popcorn compartment door can be opened to access the popcorn inside. The information stand features a shelf with removable map.
The track is a simple oval shape. Four curved tracks (Part 85976) form a semi-circle at each end. One of these is elevated on top of 1x2x5 supports. Connecting the two semi-circle sections together is two sets of two connected straight ramped tracks (Part 25086). The track is in Medium Azure making it a vibrant track, suited to the target audience.
The supports for the elevated section of track are of a pleasing design. The support columns alternate between two designs – the base is either a 2×6 black plate or brick and the support column is a set of two 1x2x5 bricks in either Trans-Neon Green or Trans-Light Blue. There is a nice symmetry to this design.
The track needs an area just smaller than 2×3 standard 32×32 baseplates. However, it does not need to be supported on baseplates. It has structural integrity and can be carefully lifted and moved as is. This is useful for the parents of the target age group!
Most of the twelve track joins include a small build for either a feature or obstacle. The overall design theme of these is Space. These includes little rockets, space rocks and UFO-like spacecraft. These little builds as you put the track together help the target-age builder work through large tasks by breaking it down into achievable steps.
The tracks themselves I will discuss below, along with the compatibility of track and wheel. The coaster uses small train wheel (Part 50254).
The coaster itself has four carriages connected by tow ball connectors. The front carriage has a light brick (Part 98785) which is illuminated when a minidoll is put in the carriage. This is a nice design feature. The front carriage has a protruding trans-light blue cheese brick on the side which triggers the spinning obstacle as the coaster passes that section of track.
In terms of the instructions for this part of the build, these are generally really clear. There is one exception at Step 6 in the roller coaster entrance area (pg 36). The 1×1 white brick with side stud appears to be inserted into the 1×1 grey brick with hole. However in fact the side stud of the white brick should face the away from the grey brick. This is not clear until you get to step 8.
Overall, I like the color scheme of the coaster and the space theme for the track. It is a great looking roller coaster. There is nothing ‘girly’ about the color scheme or space theme and would work for any young builder. It is also easy to adapt the coaster for mini-figures (see image). The easiest way to adapt the coaster carriage for a minifigure is to replace the seat by swapping the 2×2 tile with a 2×2 plate. Alternatively use a 1×4 plate/tile to secure the minifig in (see image right) – further modification will be needed for the lead carriage as the minidoll’s legs operate the light.
As this is aimed at the younger builder, it is also important to consider play potential.
I like the entrance area with opening barrier arm – this is better suited to how a real coaster operates as the gates to all stalls open at once. Opposite this is the control station for the ride operator, with a lever to push.
There is a technique to be mastered to operate the ride without the coaster falling off the track. Generally pulling it round, rather than pushing, works best. This pairing of wheel and track has not been used much by LEGO and is a weak point of the set, particularly given the target age range and the need for it to work well in play.
Overall the coaster course has several moving components which adds to the ride experience when playing. It also looks great dimly lit due to the illuminated front carriage and the overall color scheme.
We have used this track in many play scenarios since first building it. By removing the four straight tracks, the eight circular pieces can be connected to form a circular track all on the same grade. This can be placed either at ground level or on tall bricks to form an overhead rail loop or monorail. The four straight sloped pieces of track can be connected together to form a fun ride.
For younger children, disconnecting the track pieces can be difficult and best done by an adult to avoid wear and tear on the joins.
The drop tower is an enjoyable build as it contains unusual parts with an interesting design. The ground support is formed by two 2x2x13 supports (Part 91176) stacked on top of each other. The anchor at the base is a 2×2 technic brick with pin and axel hole (Part 6232) supported by the bricks around the base.
The carriage is made from a 2×6 plate with pole holder pin. A seat is positioned at either end of this plate so that two mini dolls can ride together. The safety belts are formed by clips, plates with handles and a bar. This is a nice design and makes it easy to place the figures but holds them securely for the ride.
The ‘pole’ for the drop tower (Part 23421) spins in its mountings so that it is easy to lift the carriage back up to the top. The design of the top and bottom mountings facilitate this in different ways. The upper mounting in particular is a nice design incorporating an angled axle and pin connector (Part 32013) holding the ¾ pin (Part 32002) with a small rubber belt (Part 70902) anchored on a tow ball pin (Part 6628).
The drop tower also has great play potential. The design of the pole, which allows the pole to spin in place, ensures that it is easy to return the carriage to the top for the next ride. The drop tower is the fastest ride in the set.
The Ferris wheel is also an enjoyable build, and is the last major component of the set.
It has six gondolas and is shaped like a wheel with six spokes on each side. Each gondola clips between the spokes on either side. The wheel is supported by a water wheel technic plate with 6 blades (Part 64566).
The ground supports are, like the drop tower, formed by 2x2x13 with 5 pin hole parts (Part 91176). For the Ferris wheel, these supports stand either side of the Ferris wheel to support either side of the hub. There is of course a front face for both the ground supports and the Ferris wheel, so aligning these is important. When I first assembled it, I did not have both fronts facing the same way and had to correct this.
There are two color schemes for the gondolas meaning that they are built as two sets of three. This avoids any monotony of having to produce six identical items. The build instructions for the gondolas are clear, although it really makes sense to not put on the roof of each gondola until it is fixed to the supporting wheel spokes – otherwise it just falls off when you get to this stage. I do understand why the instructions order the steps like this – otherwise it is difficult to complete one element and move to the next, which is an important part of leading the target age range for this set through the steps. Attaching the gondolas to the spokes is one of the trickier steps for younger builders, given it needs a well-developed sense of proprioception, so an adult will likely be assisting with this step.
For play potential the Ferris wheel features a small set of steps for the minidoll to access the gondola. There is also a control station for the ride operator. Sitting the minidoll in the gondola is a little trickier for younger builders but the mini dolls do sit in nicely. The Ferris wheel is made for a gentle pace ride, and it achieves this well.
About the parts
The price-per-part for this set is $0.089 per piece. This set does feature a lot of 1×1 round plates (116 pieces) to decorate the various rides. However, it also features the roller coaster track parts and the 1x2x13 supports for the drop tower and Ferris wheel, along with the spokes for the Ferris wheel. So it provides a real variety in piece size.
There are 14 stickers for this set, including two larger ones forming signs. They are all reflective metallic which adds to the space-themed design of the set.
There are four minidolls included in this set. Two are the core Friends characters Andrea and Emma, plus two additional characters Matthew and Naya.
Instructions and Packaging
The instructions are within one large manual of about 180 pages. I personally prefer this to multiple books for one set. The set has eight bags plus larger elements and the roller coaster tracks are secured together with disposable clips.
The set includes many new colors for existing parts. As the set has been out for a few years, we also can tell that the set is one of the last sets to contain the old style of narrow-gauge train track.
Existing parts in new colors:
- Track (Part 85976) in 322Medium AzurMedium Azure – 8x track bow 4m 45 degrees (Element 6125658) – this set marks the end of production of this track 2009-2016 – this part also used in #6857 DC Dynamic Duo Funhouse Escape, #7065 Alien Mothership, and #7199 Indiana Jones Temple of Doom.
- Track (Part 25086) in 322Medium AzurMedium Azure – 4x Rail Fall No2 (Element 6147028).
- 2x2x16 w 4.85 support (Part 91176) which has been used in 14 sets 2011-2018. The 322Bright PurpleDark Pink version in this set (Element 6150314) was new, but has since been used in DC Superhero Set #41239 Eclipso Dark Palace. The set also features the 1White version of Part 91176 (element 6146985) used in only two other sets.
- Ferris wheel spokes are made with Plate 1×2 shaft 12M (Part 99784/Element 6147035) in Transparent Medium Reddish Violet.
- Drop tower carriage built on Plate 2×6 for pole w 3.2 shaft (Part 25195/Element 6147018) in 24Bright YellowYellow. It is not a common piece, but later appeared in 194Medium Stone GreyLight Bluish Gray in #21137 Minecraft Mountain Cave.
- Drop tower pole 32M with 3.2 shaft (Part 23421 / Element 6139483) in 24Bright YellowYellow – also only appeared in one other set – #60110 Fire Station.
- Plate 16×16 in 119Bright Yellowish GreenLime (Part 91405 / Element 6146983) used in this set and the companion #41133 amusement park set.
- Gondola roofs – 6×6 Parabola (Part 44375 / Element 6117755) in 268Medium LilacDark Purple.
- 2x2x2 65 degree roof tile (Part 3678 / Element 6109828) in 322Medium AzurMedium Azure.
Audiences for whom this set is Highly Recommended:
- Young LEGO Friends enthusiasts – This really is a great set with a lot of play features for the target audience of LEGO Friends fans aged 8 – 12 years.
- Part Collectors – This set provides some useful parts. It has a combination color scheme of black and azure with a range of translucent colors. This gives it a broader audience since it avoids the pinks and purples that overpower most LEGO Friends sets.
- Boys liking Space/Rocket theme – This set is aimed at girls, but parents with elementary-aged boys may also enjoy this roller coaster – the theme of the roller coaster is based on space and a rocket design so it does provide parts which a younger male audience may still find useful. It is relatively easy to replace the ride seating for use by a minifigure instead of a minidoll.
- Amusement Park Fans – For the amusement park fan seeking to recreate the perfect amusement park out of LEGO, this set can be a great complement to rides from other LEGO themes. Many of the smaller elements in both this set and the other sets in the LEGO Friends sub-theme feature amusement park elements which have not been provided in other LEGO amusement park sets. The roller coaster would work really well as the secondary coaster, if you already have one of the other LEGO roller coasters in your amusement park scene.
Now that the set is two years old, it may be possible to find it on sale, which could make the decision a little easier too!
Photos in this article by Christine Coste unless otherwise noted.