I started building on a snow day, and I'm finishing up this review in the following cold snap, but inside I'm enjoying a perfect spring day at the park with Olivia and Emma.
I am personally biased in favor of this set. That swan boat brings back fond memories of a trip to Japan, but I will try to set aside my bias for this review. I think it will be a fun set to build and play with, so let's go through it together.
The front image of the box wraps around on the flanged/curvy edges. The Friends heart is in the top right corner, and the bottom right corner shows us which figures come in the box: Olivia, Emma, Ethan, and the new micro-doll Henry.
The back of the box shows our set against a bright purple background, with a human hand turning mechanism for the dance floor in the gazebo. Multiple call out images highlight other play features and details. Emma, Ethan, and Olivia are shown in the bottom left corner.
When I opened the box and dumped out the 5 bags of parts, I was surprised that I didn't see a sticker sheet. Turns out it had slipped inside the instruction book. I don't know if that was intentional or if it just ended up that way, but the result was a nice flat sticker sheet.
It's a small sticker sheet and nothing that should be challenging to place. There are really just three places that get stickers. The HLC Park stickers will go on the gazebo and are important signage. Four of the stickers go on the box that will create the piñata. While these could be skipped, the piñata would be rather boring without them. The other four stickers are graffiti/carvings on the two trees. These could easily be left off if you hate stickers or don't like the idea of people carving into the city trees. The carving on sticker 5 says "Elvendale". Could Emily Jones be a resident of Heartlake City? I like the idea of a future crossover, but let's not get sidetracked.
Opening up the first bag of parts, we have some fun new pieces. The 3 x 2 x 1 1/3 bracket is new in dark pink, and so far exclusive to this set. The 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 2/3 round brick with dome top (mini hat) is new in red. It also appears in set 60306 Shopping Street (2021), and according to BrickSet will be coming in set 41666: Andrea's Bunny Cube (2021).
The 2 x 2 cake frosting in light aqua was new last year in sets 41393 Baking Competition (2020) and 41401 Stephanie's Play Cube (2020). It's still fairly rare, so I'm happy to see it showing up again.
The 8 x8 rounded end plate in medium azure was also new last year, and only appears in three other sets: 70427: Welcome to the Hidden Side (2020), 41449: Andrea's Family House (2021), and 43191: Ariel's Celebration Boat (2021)
The pearl gold 1 x 2 modified plate with angled bar handles first appeared in 2019 but is still relatively rare as it is only in three other sets.
Also in bag one, we get Emma and Henry.
Emma appears in a coral wrap skirt and light aqua skirt. This is the same outfit she was wearing in set 41427: Emma's Fashion Shop (2020). I love that cherry blossom print on the shirt echos the trees in the park. It's a fun, spring look.
Henry is a brand new micro-doll figure. I'm not sure who this child is within the Friends story, so please leave a comment if you know. He has big brown eyes and freckles. His dark brown hair piece is a recolor of Emmet's hair from the LEGO Movies. Henry is wearing a teal shirt with white polka dots and a pocket and sand blue pants.
The micro dolls were added to the Disney Princess Adventure books last year, and I really like their use to represent younger children in this year's Friends sets. It's nice to finally have dolls of different heights.
Hearlake City Park is built from left to right, and each bag adds the next section of the park. We start on the left with a birthday party for young Henry. We have everything for a fun celebration. Balloons - check. Cake - check. Gift - check.
We even have a piñata hanging from the tree, so games - check. While it would be nice to get a shaped piñata, the box works as a play feature. You can "knock" the box off and have the 1 x 1 round peppermint tile spill out. This doesn't seem like much candy for a piñata. Since we get an extra in the spare parts, you might want to add it to the box. There's plenty of room for two pieces of candy.
In bag two, we get two more dark pink 3 x 2 x 1 1/3 brackets. The wedges used to build the kite are also worth a mention:
The 1 x 2 modified rounded plates with 2 open studs in lime green are not new, but I'm excited to get them in this set. I personally didn't have any in lime yet, and it's always nice to see these useful parts in an expanded color selection.
Bag two includes Olivia. Here she is wearing the cool yellow vest over the dark azure top and skirt that she wore in sets 41395: Friendship Bus (2020) and 41429: Heartlake City Airplane (2020).
Bag two finishes off the tree from bag one and adds a bridge over the lake. Flowers, cattails, and a lily pad with frog add details to the edge of the lake.
A kite flies lazily overhead. No one seems to be controlling it. Has it snapped it's string? Will it get caught in the tree?
I really like the design of this bridge. It's a straight forward build, but has good shaping. The steps are compact, and the railing has nice details. It seems like a good place to stand and enjoy the lake.
In bag three, we get four of the new 3 x 3 x 2 round corner windows in white. These are also used in set 41449 Andrea's Family House (2021). The 1 x 2 x 2 window panes with diamond lattice pattern that are used with the windows were new in pearl gold last year (2020) but are not rare.
Before we start building bag 3, I want to point out the 2 x 2 round plate with axle hole in dark pink. This is not a new piece but a return of an older piece. It first appeared in 1999 and 2002 in two Bellville sets. It was exclusive to those two sets until last year when it returned in set 71368 Toad's Treasure Hunt - Expansion Set (2020). It also appears in 71741 NINJAGO City Gardens (2021). I was surprised that this wasn't a more common color for this common piece.
Bag three gives us the final mini-doll of this set - Ethan. Ethan is wearing a dark turquoise and medium lavender hoodie over a white v-necked t-shirt. This is a new torso print. It is paired with his signature black pants and sand blue shoes. I really like the printing on the front of this torso, but it could really use printing on the back to finish the hoodie.
Bag three starts building the gazebo by setting up the dance floor and the dock. The splat gears all have arrows which are clearly shown in the instructions for proper placement. This makes setting up the dance floor gearing super easy.
The curved windows are used to shape the walls of gazebo, and pink plates cover the splat gears to create the dance areas. The mechanism will be completed in bag four with the rest of the gazebo.
We're over half-way done with the park, so let's finish up the gazebo.
No more mini-dolls in bag 4, but a few more pieces worth mentioning. The 2 x 2 round corner (macaroni) tiles are new in bright light orange for 2021. They also appear in all four of the Hogwarts Moment sets.
The 1 x 2 x 2/3 curved slope with wing end was new in white for 2020. So far it only appears in two other sets: 80012 Monkey King Warrior Mech (2020) and 10278 Police Station (2021)
Not new, but surprisingly uncommon is the 4 x 4 x 2 cone with axle hole in dark blue. It's been around since 2016, but has only appeared in two other sets: 71040 Disney Castle (2016) and 40335 Space Rocket Ride (2019)
From the back of the park, you can really see the shape of the finished gazebo. When the dark blue cone at the top of the gazebo is turned the individual pink plates spin in place (they do not rotate around the gazebo) providing plenty of dance space. It's a great structure for a mini-doll dance party.
Once the gazebo is finished, we take a break from the main park build to make a swan boat. It's a cute little build. I love the shaping and the wings can function as doors (though I'm not sure why you would have doors on this type of boat). Two figures fit comfortably in the swan as long as they don't mind holding hands.
The only way to store the life jackets when not in use is to toss them on the floor of the boat. Since we get an extra 1 x 1 round tile with bar and pin holder (nipple piece) in the set, I put it beside the swan neck and it works perfectly as a holder for a life jacket. Adding two of these small pieces to the set would be an easy improvement and provide a better way of storing the life jackets.
Here's our finished gazebo from the front with the swan boat paddling away from the dock.
There aren't many new pieces in bag 5, but we do get a second red mini-hat (1 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 2/3 round brick with dome top). These make cute mushrooms.
We also get a dark orange squirrel, which has appeared in four other sets starting in 2019. You didn't think we would have a set without an animal friend, did you?
We finish up our park with a second tree. This one has a squirrel living in it. The tree has a little "window" build into it for the squirrel to store a simple brick-built nut.
More flowers and mushrooms finish up the details of Heartlake City Park
I've already mentioned a few of the spare parts in this set, and how you might want to use them. The full complement of spares are what you would expect to get. Extra flowers are always nice, and we have five different colors in this set.
This is a charming set. So many sets involve building from bottom to top, and I enjoyed the linear left to right structure of this build. It's not a challenging set, but it has some nice techniques for the trees and bridge.
It has a lot of interesting pieces for MOCers, and play features for kids of all ages. If I was building a Heartlake City layout, I would definitely want to add this park to my city.
It was a fun project to build on a cold snowy day, and reminded me that spring will come.
This set was provided by The LEGO Group for the purpose of sharing set details with fans.
Opinions provided here solely reflect those of our reviewer.
Photographs are property of Friends Bricks and are not directed by TLG in any fashion.