31 May 2023

LEGO® Monkie Kid™ review: 80049 Dragon of the East Palace

Posted by Kev Levell

Coming on 1 June, 80049 Dragon of the East Palace is the largest LEGO® Monkie Kid™ set of 2023, although exceeded in element quantity by The Heavenly Realms – see Caz's review here. Based once again upon the book Journey to the West, this set depicts what occurred when the Monkey King got his magical staff from the Dragon King of the East.

Products in this article were provided by LEGO®; the author's opinions are their own.
LEGO® Monkie Kid™ 80049 Dragon of the East Palace
US$189.99/ £169.99/ 189.99€/ AU$289.99
2364 parts
1 June 2022
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In Chinese mythology, the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea controls its storms and tides and lives in a large "Dragon Palace" on the sea bed, so let's travel to the bottom of the ocean and see what pearls we turn up!

New elements in set 80049

For a set of this size, it is notable that its only new moulds are for minifigure heads. Admittedly there are new-for-2023 elements, but these have been seen in previously reviewed sets.
There are whole schools of exclusive recolours and a handful of elements that haven't been seen for a while in the colour that they appear here. I have also listed the rare parts that have previously appeared in five sets or fewer, and organised them by colour, then by levels of exclusivity. 



  • 10x Cylinder 1 x 5 1/2 with Handle (Friction Cylinder) in White (6446911 | 87617)
  • 2x Brick Arch 1 x 4 x 3 in White (6417970 | 80543)

In one other set

  • 2x Bracket 1 x 1 - 1 x 2 in White (6442358 | 79389)

In four other sets

  • 12x Brick Round, Half 1 x 2 in White (6382983 | 68013)

In five other sets

  • 6x Plate 3 x 3 Corner in White (6428165 | 77844)

Notable or in larger quantities

  • 25x Plate 1 x 1 x 2/3 with Open Stud in White (6383985 | 86996)

Bright Bluish Green/Dark Turquoise


  • 1x Cloth Cape in Dark Turquoise - looks like 1884 (6444307 | ????)
  • 2x Tile 2 x 6 in Dark Turquoise (6450970 | 69729)

In two other sets

  • 2x Brick 1 x 6 in Dark Turquoise (6396079 | 3009)

In four other sets

  • 4x Bracket 1 x 2 - 2 x 2 in Dark Turquoise (6429966 | 44728)

In five other sets

  • 10x Tile Special 1 x 2 with Sloped Walls AKA Money / Gold Bar [Ingot] in Dark Turquoise (6391344 | 99563) 

Bright Green, Dark Green/Green, and Sand Green

In one other set

  • 1x Brick Special 1 x 4 with 4 Studs on One Side in Sand Green (6423405 | 30414)
  • 3x Wedge 2 x 2 Facet in Sand Green (6430614 | 87620)

In two other sets

  • 1x Equipment Mop Head in Bright Green (6342672 | 76750 or 24085)
  • 5x Plant, Fern 2 x 3 x 2 in Dark Green/ Green (6411022 | 2682)

In three other sets

  • 1x Wedge Plate 3 x 3 Cut Corner in Sand Green (6258326 | 2450)

In four other sets

  • 9x Plate Special 1 x 3 with 2 Studs with Groove and Inside Stud Holder (Jumper) in Sand Green (6335230 | 34103)

Bright Red/Red


  • 2x Lobster Head in Red (6433665) is a new mould; Design ID unknown as yet
  • 6x Cylinder Half 2 x 4 x 5 with 1 x 2 cutout in Red (6442904 | 85941)

In two other sets

  • 2x Plate Round 4 x 4 with 2 x 2 Round Opening in Red (6314067 | 28620 or 11833)

Bright Orange/Orange, and Flame Yellowish Orange/Bright Light Orange


  • 2x Crab Head in Orange 6433553) is a new mould; Design ID unknown as yet
  • 1x Animal, Sea Life Set [Complete Set] in Bright Light Orange (6447017 | 49595)

Dark Stone Grey/Dark Bluish Gray, and Black


  • 5x Rock / Ice / Flames, 1 x 4 with 2 Studs on the Edges in Dark Bluish Gray (6445897 | 70880)

In one other set

  • 1x Wave / Flame Small with Pin in Black (6426595 | 37775)

In two other sets

  • 1x Tile Round 3 x 3 in Dark Stone Grey / Dark Bluish Gray (6433729 | 67095)

In three other sets

  • 1x Window 2 x 4 x 3 Frame with Hollow Studs in Black (6231575 | 60598)

In three other sets

  • 1 x Brick Special 1 x 2 with Pin - Bottom Stud Holder in Dark Stone Grey / Dark Bluish Gray (6321769 | 44865)

In four other sets

  • 1x Plate Special 1 x 1 with Handle on 2 Ends in Black (6398391 | 78257)

In five other sets

  • 2x Plate Special 1 x 3 Rounded with 3 Open Studs in Black (6428168 | 77850)
  • 1x Technic Brick Special 2 x 2 with Ball Receptacle Wide and Axle Hole, No Arm Holes in Dark Stone Grey / Dark Bluish Gray (6338291 | 67696)

Medium Stone Grey/Light Bluish Gray

  • 2x Technic Axle Towball in Light Bluish Gray (6443149 | 3985)
As reported recently on our Instagram account, there is a new, smooth tow-ball in town. The difference is so minimal that neither BrickLink nor Rebrickable are cataloguing them separately. Perhaps the tow-ball is being introduced across the whole product range, replacing the previous iteration in existing inventories.

Trans-Light Blue, Satin/Opal Trans-Light Blue, Dark Azure, and Medium Azure


  • 33x Plate Special 8-Sided Crystal/Gem 1 x 1 x ⅔ in Satin Trans-Light Blue (6446914 | 65092)

In three other sets

  • 5x Helmet Round Sphere with Small Hole in Satin Trans-Light Blue (6324167 | 51283)
  • 1x Technic Brick 1 x 10 [9 Holes] in Dark Azure (6197913 | 2730)

In five other sets

  • 2x Plate Round 2 x 2 with Rounded Bottom [Boat Stud] in Satin Trans-Light Blue (6350385 | 28558 or 2654)
  • 2x Tile 2 x 3 in Medium Azure (6233166 | 26603)

Notable or in larger quantities

  • 86x Plate 1 x 2 in Trans-Light Blue (6051918 | 6225 aka 3023)
  • 30x Brick 1 x 2 without Bottom Tube in Trans-Light Blue (6107790 | 3065)

Sand Yellow/Dark Tan, and Brick Yellow/Tan


  • 1x Glass for Window 1 x 4 x 5 in Tan (6449602 | 2494)

New print

  • 1x Dish 2 x 2 Inverted [Radar] with new Turtle shell print in Dark Tan (6433550 | 4740pr?)

In two other sets

  • 2x Plant, Pumpkin in Dark Tan (6357809 | 51270)
  • 3x Wedge Plate 6 x 12 Left in Dark Tan (6258138 | 30355)

In four other sets

  • 5x Window 1 x 2 x 3 Flat Front in Dark Tan (6151557 | 60593)

In five other sets

  • 1x Tile Special 2 x 3 Pentagonal in Tan (6245271 | 35341 or 22385)

Here's a closer look at that neat new Turtle print, and a slightly unusual bonus is that you get a spare!

Earth Blue/Dark Blue


  • 3x Rock / Ice / Flames, 1 x 4 with 2 Studs on the Edges in Dark Blue (6450968 | 70880)
  • 3x Wedge Curved 6 x 2 Right in Dark Blue (6106176 | 41747) - New EID for an element not seen since 2005!
  • 3x Wedge Curved 6 x 2 Left in Dark Blue (6106167 | 41748) - New EID for an element not seen since 2005!

In one other set

  • 1x Brick Arch 1 x 3 x 2 in Earth Blue/ Dark Blue (6430326 | 88292)
  • 1x Rock Panel 2 x 4 x 6 in Earth Blue/ Dark Blue (6430006 | 33458)
  • 4x Wedge Plate 6 x 2 Left in Earth Blue/ Dark Blue (6385253 | 78443)
  • 1x Wedge Plate 6 x 2 Right in Earth Blue/ Dark Blue (6385259 | 78444)

In two other sets

  • 1x Hinge Plate 1 x 4 Swivel Top / Base - Hollow Clip [Complete Assembly] in Earth Blue/ Dark Blue (6416530 | 1927)

In three other sets

  • 1x Plate Special 1 x 1 with Clip Light [Thick Ring] in Earth Blue/ Dark Blue (6328107 | 41632 aka 4081b)

In four other sets

  • 10x Bracket 1 x 2 - 1 x 2 Inverted in Earth Blue/ Dark Blue (6371455 | 99780)
  • 1x Slope Inverted 75° 2 x 1 x 3 in Earth Blue/ Dark Blue (6267156 | 2449)

Medium Nougat, and Reddish Brown

In one other set

  • 6x Plate 3 x 3 Corner in Medium Nougat (6431822 | 77844)

In two other sets

  • 1x Tile Special 2 x 2 Inverted in Reddish Brown (6374056 | 11203)
  • 1x Tile 1 x 2 with Groove and Pigsy Menu, Mandarin 'Supreme Delicious', Wood Grain print in Medium Nougat (6417774 | 101335)

In five other sets

  • 1x Plate Special 1 x 8 with Door Rail in Reddish Brown (6313736 | 4510)

Notable or in larger quantities

  • 6 x Plate 2 x 3 with 1 x 1 Cutout in Medium Nougat (6336665 | 73831) – a reasonable quantity of a seldom seen part, appearing in only 19 sets since its introduction in 2021.

Bright Blue/Blue


  • 14x Brick Curved, Internal Double, 3 x 3 with 1/3 Inverted Cutout, Corner in Blue (6446908 | 73682)
  • 36x (Brick Curved, 3 x 1 with 1/3 Inverted Cutout in Blue (6439891 | 70681)

In one other set

  • 3x Brick Arch 1 x 12 x 3 Raised Arch with 5 Cross Supports in Blue (6425991 | 30938 or 18838)

Notable or in larger quantities

  • 36x Slope 33° 3 x 1 in Blue (428623 | 4286) 

Bright Reddish Violet/Magenta, Medium Lavender, and Lavender


  • 1x Plant, Fern 2 x 3 x 2 in Trans-Dark Pink Opal (6442196 | 2682)

In one other set

  • 1x Hair and Crown, Long Curly with Beard, Golden Crown print in Bright Reddish Violet/ Magenta (6396625 | 1893)
  • 3x Animal / Plant, Coral / Sea Weed in Bright Reddish Violet/ Magenta (6390725 | 49577)
  • 3x Brick 2 x 4 in Lavender (6426723 | 3001)
  • 1x Weapon Sword, Blade with Bar, Double Edge in Transparent Medium Reddish Violet/ Trans-Dark Pink (6389863 | 23860)

In two other sets

  • 2x Plate 3 x 3 Cross in Medium Lavender (6102516 | 15397)
  • 1x Brick Special 1 x 1 with Stud on 1 Side in Bright Reddish Violet/ Magenta (6267189 | 87087) 

Warm Gold/Pearl Gold, and Gold Lacquered/ Metallic Gold


  • 4x Animal Body Part, Cat Tail (Unikitty) in Pearl Gold (6443900 | 15429)
  • 2x Bar 1L with Clip [Cut Edges and One Side Hole] [Full Clip] in Pearl Gold (6450596 | 3484) - this has a new Design number, but I could not see any difference from the most recent 48729b variant, nevertheless it is still an exclusive recolor for this set.

In two other sets

  • 2x Wheel 43.2 x 26 Technic Racing Small with 6 Pinholes in Pearl Gold (6326764 | 51488)

In three other sets

  • 2x Brick Round 2 x 2 Special with Spikes in Pearl Gold (6327879 | 27266)
  • 4x Claw Mechanical with Clip in Pearl Gold (6426622 | 3171)
  • 1x Dish 4 x 4 Inverted [Radar] in Pearl Gold (4569318 | 3960)

In four other sets

  • 2x Cloud/Dust with Bar in Pearl Gold (6392457 | 68547)
  • 2x Tile 1 x 6 with Groove in Metallic Gold (6332144 | 75702)

Notable or in larger quantities

  • 23x Fence 1 x 4 x 1 in Pearl Gold (4536675 | 3633)
  • 17x Fence Ornamented 1 x 4 x 2 with 4 Studs in Pearl Gold (6097234 | 19121) 

Minifigures in Dragon of the East Palace

Shrimp Soldiers & Crab Generals

  • 2x Shrimp Head in Red (6433665)
  • 2x Crab Head in Orange (6433553 | 3575)
  • 4x new printed torso in Pearl Gold (6449281 | 973c00pr?)
The shell-fish henchmen are fantastic new characters, and leave me wanting the Squid Drummer mould from the short-lived LEGO® VIDIYO™ theme to get re-used here too. It just seems like a perfect companion to these two wonderful new moulds.

Dragon of the East

  • 1x New printed legs (6440057 | 970c00pr)

Monkie Kid in scuba gear

  • 1x new printed torso in Bright Light Orange (6439706 | 973c00pr?)

Turtle Minister

  • 1x new printed head in Yellowish Green with two vent holes (6433551 | 3626cpr)
  • 1x new printed torso in Blue New Print (6449255 | 973c00pr?)

Monkey King

  • 1x New printed torso in Yellow Red Right Arm (6449288 | 973c00pr?)


Pictured here is the modest sheet contained in the set. We didn't apply the stickers to the model. In some specific places, like the large picture window frames, the model would really benefit from the extra decoration as intended by the designers. In other places, the palace is sufficiently ornate.

The build

Once again, I was joined on this review by my son who did the majority of the building.

The box was huge, and rightly so: otherwise, how could it hope to contain a palace of any worth? Indeed, the palace is enormous, grand, opulent, impressive and quite beautiful too… palatial, you might say? But I'm getting ahead of myself.

A pretty basic start with bags one and two laying out a floor plan. There's some side-on building used here to create those pierced panels in gold.

It was so tempting to apply Sticker 25, which does wonders for this meeting room.

Similarly Sticker 24 would look marvellous on the opposing side where the coral reef is viewable through the bedroom window. The bed can be removed to reveal a hidden secret scroll.

Slotting the side-on built panel in behind the throne and trapping it in place using the 2x3 'C' shaped plates 73831 was a clever new method that we had not encountered before.

The armoury is well stocked and this is central to the story being told in the set.

I don't think we have ever considered using a small rock panel on its side and whilst it ends up mostly hidden, it is a nice way to introduce texture to that coral 'cave' scene.

The left-hand side base (and right-hand side base) of the palace is designed to slide open. Two neat little assemblies create fairly robust flanges that ride over brick built runners.

The model will need to be placed on a flat smooth surface for the doors to open effectively though.

The right-hand side is made in a similar way to the left and hides away the door to a jail cell or secret dungeon. The remains of some poor soul resides within!

Side-on building again produces part of a flight of white marble stairs.

An ornate gateway uses the first of five big blue pearls. See, we did find pearls!

Another pearl is featured in a pretty little temple at the top of the stairs and two more are featured in the beautifully decorated top floor of the palace. Both of these top sections use the friction cylinders to create columns, and while not a new usage, in white it seems particularly effective, as do the clamshell and clouds in gold that adorn the roof.

Having mentioned the roof, we also felt that the alternating of 70681 curved and 4286 regular slopes creates a very convincing tiled look.

The Dragon is pretty familiar territory in terms of build and is custodian of the fifth and final pearl. Not that Pearls are a feature of this story, that's my conceit, based on how lovely I think the part is. Originally it was just Mysterio's Helmet, but now they have become something more in my eyes.

Finally we build "the pillar of the ocean" (Monkey Kings's Staff) which brings some height to the impressive breadth of the building.

The completed palace is breathtaking. 

In summary, there are some interesting techniques used. Some side-on building that we have seen before and a couple of techniques that were new to us. If pushed for balance away from superlatives, perhaps the size and dimensions makes the set a little unwieldy, particularly for the intended age group.


The final build is a little awkward to move. It is relatively heavy and quite tricky to pick up. I think that LEGO realised it is a bit big, because there is a photo showing how to pick up the set featured in the instructions. If this is indeed intended for children as a playset then I suspect that moving it will sometimes result in dropping or breaking. 

The detail throughout the build is incredible and up close it is genuinely beautiful, particularly with the pearlescent elements encrusting it.

However, at a distance, I found myself feeling that it was perhaps a little visually confusing with altogether too much going on. Maybe this is intentionally trying to mimic coral reefs?

The enlarged Monkie Kid staff has the look of an industrial revolution era brick chimney stack… and that seems visually incongruous with the rest of the Palace, which is unsettling to me at least. Inside the large staff is a smaller Monkie King minifigure sized version. In the legend, the staff shrinks and grows in a magical way, and this is a neat way of depicting that.

80037 Dragon of the East (as reviewed by Caz earlier in the year) should be a perfect companion set, but I see very little visual carry-through from the earlier set.

After it was built, my son and daughter had a bit of fun playing. As a doll's-house kind of playset, there was a limit to the arrangements they felt like making. Perhaps if some small proportion of the parts were given over to a Monkie Kid vehicle then there would be added play value. There is still plenty here to occupy two kids for at least an afternoon.

Where value is concerned, the sheer number of parts is good in my opinion, there's not an excessive number of small parts boosting the part count and many parts are in quantities here that kind of makes me think about suggesting this would be a good parts pack. 

It’s just that price, US$189.99/ £169.99/ 189.99€/ AU$289.99! I have no doubt that when I was a kid, this set would have been beyond my parents’ means to get for me. Perhaps I am out of touch with the level of the average person's finances, but if my son was wanting this for Christmas this year, I would be preparing myself to let him down gently. Especially as there are Brachiosauruses and Orcas and Ninjago Dragons and Nightmare Shark Ships looming heavy on the horizon.


One final nit-pick we had was that the Dragon is only half a dragon. My son wasn't happy to leave it at that, so he decided to build the rest. He let me help on the back legs too!

He wanted something serpentine, long flowing and sinuous to reflect the way that water moves. He also wanted to continue the established colour scheme and basic design. Had cost not been a factor, we would have ordered the trans-light blue variant of the 79898 wings too. However, at £2 each on Bricklink we opted for the Trans-Yellow ones already in his collection!

Building together was, as always, a real joy and creating something new from the set (especially a dragon) was satisfying.

READ MORE: Kev goes Old Elementary with 1985's 6931 FX Star Patroller

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1 comment:

  1. Great review!

    One of my wishes for Lego Elves that never got realized during its run was a mermaid-focused season with things like sea serpents and underwater palaces. I still want to try to MOC something like that someday, but in the meantime, the ones we've gotten in Ninjago and Monkie Kid (the main two themes I collect) are definitely helping to scratch that itch!

    This palace first appeared in last year's season of Monkie Kid so when the only set related to it last year was the dragon turtle mech, I assumed we wouldn't get it. I'm super pleased that they instead returned to it as the latest set inspired by the original Monkie Kid legend, including the original enormous pillar that became Monkey King's staff! The architecture and landscaping here is extremely impressive, and I love the new sea creature characters it includes (two new minifig molds for a one-off set is pretty out of the ordinary).

    The recolor of the "sea creature pack" from Lego Friends is great, as are the grey and dark blue flame pieces that are used to give a unique look to the seabed. The blue curved roof pieces are also great, and as a Unikitty aficionado I love the gold tail recolors!