Legoland Contest Winner

March 26, 2009 10:09:09 AM PDT
Most children love to play with Legos, but only nine lucky Chicago-area youngsters earned prizes for inventing products with the popular building blocks.Ethan Garbe of Barrington, who made movie starring his Lego creations, took the grand prize in a contest sponsored by the Legoland Discovery Center in Schaumburg. He was one of the talented Lego builders to become finalists in the contest inspired by "Bob the Builder." The children were invited to the premiere of Bob the Builder In 4-D: Bob the Builder and the Roller Coaster. The short film debuted last weekend; the opening was complete with a walk on the red carpet and photos by 'paparazzi' from a local high school.

Ethan, who is ten years old and a student at Harvest Christian Academy, used Legos to create a cleaning machine and a road paver, and then made a movie of his creations. Ethan won a Legoland trophy created just for the contest. Other winning inventions included an ice cream cone, dinosaur and rocket-powered car. All winning entries were displayed in a slideshow on the theater screen before the first showing of the movie. Bob the Builder himself was on hand to celebrate the movie opening.

The other finalists were: Lucas Mizera (5) of Chicago ; Nathan Lagunas (5) of Chicago; Madeline Olszewski (7) of Plainfield; Kaylee and David Kim (6) of Schaumburg; Van Staunton (10) of Lake Forest; Ryan Jackson (6) of Arlington Heights, and Nathan Dery (2) of Holt, MI.

Bob the Builder and the Rollercoaster is only the second film at Legoland's 4-D Cinema since it opened last summer. The cinema ? one of the center's most popular attractions ? features short films viewed with 3-D glasses, utilizing 4-D special effects like wind and rain, and starring animated creatures and characters made of Legos.

In the latest movie, Bob the Builder and his friends demonstrate teamwork and follow-through as they learn the importance of starting each building project with a plan. Bob, along with his Can-Do Crew, are busy building a roller coaster. They build a model out of Lego bricks before starting work on the real roller coaster. When Spud the scarecrow embarks on his own building project, making a birdhouse without a plan, his creation falls apart. Spud learns firsthand that every job - big or small - starts with a plan. At the end of the day, everyone enjoys the new roller coaster and goes for a fantastic ride.

The 30,000-square-foot Legoland Discovery Center in Schaumburg's Streets of Woodfield shopping center northwest of Chicago features two floors of life-sized Lego adventures as well as hands-on Lego play designed to provide several hours of family entertainment centered around the iconic interlocking colored bricks.

In addition to the 4-D Cinema experience, guests can take a dragon ride through a medieval castle filled with Lego characters, explore a jungle trail populated with Lego animals, take a Lego Factory Tour that shows how Lego bricks are made, and visit a 'Hall of Fame' with superheroes built from tens of thousands of Lego bricks. Other highlights include a miniature Lego version of Chicago's skyline, a vast 'Build & Test' area where young Lego enthusiasts can build to their heart's content and test their creations on earthquake tables and racing ramps, a Duplo play area for younger children, and brick-by-brick Lego building sessions with a master model builder.

For more information, visit

About Legoland's Master Builder

Name: Daniel Morey
Date of Birth: March 3rd 1984
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Job: Master Model Builder at the LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Chicago
Favorite LEGO Color: Sky Blue
Favorite LEGO Element: 1x1 brick with 5 studs
Favorite Food: Sandwiches
Non-LEGO Hobbies: Wakeboarding and barefoot waterskiing

How did you get a job as the LEGO Master Model Builder?I got my job as a Master Model Builder by winning a build-off competition where I had only one hour to build anything I wanted out of LEGO. I built a McDonalds Happy Meal.

What is the best thing about your job? The best thing about my job is passing on my knowledge and love of LEGO to the next generation of builders.

What is the best LEGO model you have ever built? My best LEGO model is still in progress. I'm building Harry Caray, famous announcer and icon of the Chicago Cubs.

What is the longest time you have spent building a LEGO model? When I am given a large project, I sometimes spend 8-10 hours a day building in my office. The longest I've spent so far was about 60 hours designing and building two tombstones for Halloween.

Did you build all of the models at the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Chicago? I did not build all of the models here, but my Mom tells everyone I did! Everything in Miniland was built at LEGOLAND California and shipped over. Everything else was built in the Czech Republic. Although I have made some small additions, most of the credit goes to the teams in California and Europe.

Being a Master Model Builder must be the best job in the World! But if you could have any other job, what would you do and why? Being a Master Model Builder is an amazing job, but if I wasn't this lucky to have it, I'd want to be a carpenter. I spent many years working as a carpenter before I got my dream job, and if I couldn't build with LEGO, I'd still want to keep building and designing in another medium.

Do you have a college degree? No, I was lucky to have a great job right out of High School, but if I hadn't, I would have tried for a degree in Architecture.

Do you have a question for the Master Model Builder?

If you have any questions for the Master Model Builder, or if you would like to ask him for helpful hints on building your LEGO models, send him an email at