I finally shot a little video of the Lego Carousel. I gotta tell you, as much as it felt like a frivolous purchase, it was a joy to build.
Growing up, I had several medium sized Lego sets. The two I remember the most were a police station and a series of space sets (rocket launcher, command center, Galaxy Explorer and another one I can't find a link for). I could never build those enough, and I was always meticulous about keeping track of the parts and getting them back to the right places in their boxes. Even when I'd build something by combining the sets, like my own home-roller Transformer, I'd still manage to be very careful about how I took care of it. I'd never let my brother touch the stuff either. Yeah, I was that kid. :)
Over the years, I've bought little sets, mostly as stocking stuffers. The little sets during the Star Wars prequels were fun. I'm not sure what exactly happened to them. I know those I had at work, circa 2000, were in a box in the garage, but I don't know how much of that junk got here and how much got tossed.
In early 2008, when me and Walt headed out to Disney World on a photo expedition, I hit the Lego store in Downtown Disney and was blown away at the stuff they had. And to this day, I'm particularly impressed with the giant Millennium Falcon set. It would be hard to justify buying that, but the Grand Carousel was actually in a sweet spot with a ton of pieces.
It was a pretty easy build, with a lot of repetition. There's something very satisfying about building stuff with your hands, especially when you spend most of your time building software with code. It's neat that something as square as Lego makes something round like a carousel. The way the drive motor engages is pretty smart, as are the crank shafts that move the horses. There is a ton of decorative detail in it too.
Having a Lego store locally is gonna be dangerous. :)