Legoland employees decided to take a break on Monday morning by playing a prank on the amusement park's general manager. But this was no ordinary practical joke — park employees replaced general manager Peter Ronchetti’s blue Volvo with a 200,000 brick Lego version.
Ronchetti walked out of his office to go to lunch and discovered the swap, said park spokeswoman Beth Chee, who watched and photographed the prank. He was texting while walking toward the vehicle and didn’t notice the switch until he was right next to the car.
"Then, he finally looks and sees his car and he stops dead ... there's almost no expression, then there's almost relief as he sees his (own) car parked further down the lot," Chee said.
Ronchetti then started laughing and playing with the car, pretending to unlock the doors.
He said he was surprised to see the life-size Lego Volvo in his parking spot.
"We have a very fun, creative team here at Legoland California and it really was the perfect prank," Ronchetti said. "I can tell you that I won't leave my keys laying around ever again."
Legoland staff members enjoyed contriving the practical joke.
“We had a lot of fun with it,” Chee said. "I think this is the biggest Lego prank we've done since I've been here.”
Tim Petsche, Legoland model shop supervisor, contrived the plan with help from his colleagues, Chee said.
Ronchetti’s vehicle looked similar to a Lego car that was being refurbished. The mock 2004 Volvo XC90, which contains 201,076 Lego bricks and weighs 2,935 pounds, is often displayed at the park’s front entrance gate.
On Monday morning while Ronchetti wasn’t looking, an employee borrowed his car keys to make the switch. The Lego Volvo was carried by forklift into Ronchetti’s parking spot.
This isn’t the first prank for Legoland employees, according to Chee. One year, employees turned the entertainment manager's office into an igloo.
"He actually had to crawl underneath to get into his cubicle," Chee said.