LEGOLAND Florida is located on the site of the former Cypress Gardens Adventure Park in Winter Haven, roughly half way between Orlando and Tampa.
It opened on October 15, 2011 and has around 50 rides, shows and attractions set in over 150 acres making it a full day experience. LEGOLAND Florida is very much a family fun park packed with LEGO brick inspired models and rides including three roller coasters. Many of the rides, shows and attractions are based upon other LEGOLAND parks.
LEGOLAND as a brand is aimed at the younger family with rides, shows and attractions that appeal to both kids between the ages of 2 and 12 and families with young kids. It is heavy on education with a host of attractions providing an educational element. You will not find any white knuckle rides like you might see at say Universal Studios or Busch Gardens but there are still some rides to get the adrenalin pumping.
Even before LEGOLAND opened, they started selling tickets and up until the end of April 2011 (date was then extended) LEGOLAND Florida were offering promotional ticket deals.
LEGOLAND Florida Overview
The park is split into a number of interconnected themed “lands” incorporating rides, shows and attractions themed on the LEGO and DUPLO brands plus other licenced products.
LEGOLAND has built on the existing infrastructure of Cypress Gardens and has saved some of the original buildings and rides (including some of the roller coasters) and given them the LEGO branding.
They have also retained a part of the original historical botanical gardens that made Cypress Gardens so famous in previous times as well as the ski show. LEGOLAND Florida hosts a number of events throughout the year, geared towards the 2 to 12 year old age group.
The existing water park at Cypress Gardens, Splash Island Water Park, has been re-themed as a second LEGOLAND water park and it opened in the summer of 2012.
Shuttle Bus Service
Driving time from Orlando (Walt Disney World/International Drive area) is approximately 45 minutes but for those without a car or not fancying the drive, LEGOLAND offers a shuttle bus service.
The shuttle bus departs daily from I-Drive 360 on International Drive and a round-trip is $5 per person plus tax. Reservations are required.
LEGOLAND has already opened a 152 room resort hotel in 2015 featuring brightly coloured Lego inspired rooms.
In March 2016 they announced plans to build a second resort. The new village-style lake front resort called the LEGOLAND Beach Retreat will open in mid 2017. It features 83 single-story duplexes offering 166 separate accommodation units, each sleeping up to 5 guests. Theming is bright and colourful with a LEGO lighthouse, a themed pool, play area and a buffet style restaurant. The units will be located on the edge of nearby Lake Dexter, with complimentary transport to the theme park.
For 2016, LEGOLAND is also introducing a summer Ninjago fireworks show called LEGOLAND Night Lights. It will run every Saturday and Sunday between Jun 18 and July 31 when the park stays open late.
Other LEGOLAND Parks
LEGOLAND Florida is the second LEGOLAND theme park in North America, the first opened in Carlsbad in California in 1999. LEGOLAND Florida is LEGOLAND’s largest theme park to date.
There are also three LEGOLAND parks in Europe, the first in Billund in Denmark (the home of Lego), the second in Windsor in England and the third in Günzburg in Germany.
A fifth park opened at Nusajaya in Malaysia in 2012. Plans to open a LEGOLAND park as part of Dubailand in Dubai in 2011 were delayed following the serious economic downturn in Dubai but it finally opened in late 2016 as part of Dubai Parks and Resorts. The mega-theme park complex consists of Motiongate Dubai, Legoland Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai and Riverland Dubai.
LEGOLAND is now part of the Merlin Entertainment Group, which is the second largest entertainment group in the world after Disney with twelve other theme parks in the United States as well as a number of other attractions in Europe including LEGOLAND Discovery Centers, Madame Tussauds, Sea Life, The London Eye, Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Warwick Castle.
The Merlin group has also developed I-Drive 360 on International Drive which includes a SeaLife Aquarium, a Madame Tussauds wax works attraction as well as the Orlando Eye, a large observation wheel like The London Eye.