Oct 17 2011

Legoland Florida in Winter Haven, Florida

LEGOLAND Florida Entrance

LEGOLAND Florida is now open in Winter Haven, Florida, and at less than an hour’s drive from Orlando, it offers another option for families who enjoy central Florida’s theme parks.

The word “Lego” comes from the Danish “play well,” and families with young children can certainly play well at Legoland Florida.  The park’s target audience is families with children ages 2-12, and younger children will indeed enjoy the rides, shows, and attractions in the park.  I spent two days at Legoland Florida and still didn’t get a chance to do everything, so there’s plenty to do in the park, and Legoland Florida does well at reaching its target market.

I rode on nearly every ride I was allowed to, so I’ll give a rundown of several areas of the park.  I’ll share plenty of photos, but if you want to see more, jump over to my Flickr page.

Legoland Florida is broken up into several different areas, each with its own look and feel.  We’ll start at The Beginning (it’s a very good place to start), where The Big Shop, the Market Restaurant, and Guest Services are located.

The Big Shop

The Big Shop is the park’s main store, and contains a good representation of the lines sold in the park, though not everything.  If you’re shopping at the end of your day, it’s easy enough to move between the shops located near the entrance (Garden Shop, Studio Store, Big Shop) in looking for that perfect souvenir or gift, but there’s also a store at Driving School on the other end of the park that contains some extra Lego City items.  If you can allow an hour for transport, purchases from elsewhere in the park can be taken to Guest Services for you to pick up at the end of your day.  There’s no cost for this service.

Lego Factory at LEGOLAND Florida

The Lego Factory is found as you enter Fun Town, and it’s worth a few minutes to stop in and watch the short but cute video about how Lego bricks are made, and then to walk through a small factory demonstration area.  At the end of the “tour,” kids might get a souvenir brick to take home.  The shop at the Lego Factory is where you can buy Legos by the pound, choosing the shapes and colors you need to build your next masterpiece.

Fun Town is also where you’ll find the Studio Store, which focuses on Lego products that are movie and TV-related, such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Cars.

R2D2 at LEGOLAND Florida

Near the entrance to Fun Town, don’t miss the short walkway to Island in the Sky, a ride from back in the Cypress Gardens days that slowly goes up in the air and rotates to give a birds’-eye view of the park and surrounding area.  It’s not fast or scary, and you’ll sit back far enough from the railing and mesh that it shouldn’t scare even those who aren’t fond of heights.

View from Island in the Sky at LEGOLAND Florida

The double-decker carousel is another historic part of the park, and if you like carousels, it’s worth a ride, albeit it short (five or six times around) and without carousel music.

Historic Carousel at LEGOLAND Florida

Several more shops find their home in Fun Town, including the Minifigure Market, where you can make tiny Lego creations and keep them, or trade them with park employees (called “model citizens”) throughout your day at Legoland.  There’s also a candy shop and a girl-themed gift shop, where you can find some Lego Belville sets.  My girls liked getting some Lego sets that include pink bricks.

LEGOLAND Florida Minifigure Market

The Fun Town Theater shows 4-D movies in a large, air-conditioned theater with comfortable theater seats.  There are currently three different films being shown throughout the day, and at 20-30 minutes long, offer a nice break that will keep even young kids entertained.

LEGOLAND Florida Funtown Theater

Next to the theater, the Pizza & Pasta buffet is an all-you-can eat food option that features pizza, pasta, and a salad bar.

Perhaps the most famous Legoland food item is found right next to the carousel.  Granny’s Apple Fries are flour-coated, deep-fried apples sticks that are then coated with cinnamon and sugar and served with whipped cream.  A $4.99 order is large enough to share, and they taste almost like apple pie, amusement-park style.  Those who are less adventurous can simply purchase a Granny Smith apple if they prefer.

Granny's Apple Fries at LEGOLAND Florida

Bearing right from Fun Town, Duplo Village is next.  Like Duplo blocks, Duplo Village is designed for the youngest of park visitors, with tot-sized rides and play areas.

LEGOLAND Florida Duplo Village

Then it’s on to Lego Kingdoms, where I found my favorite ride, The Dragon.  This smooth and not-too-scary roller coaster starts out with a pleasant indoor ride through rooms filled with Lego creations before heading outside for the coaster part.  I’m not much of a roller coaster fan, but I really liked this one.  It’s one of the few rides I went on twice.

Kingdoms also has a castle-themed shop and Castle Burgers, the Royal Joust, a just-for-kids track ride, Merlin’s Challenge, a round-and-round ride, and The Forestman’s Adventure, a climb-and-play playground.

Next up: Land of Adventure, which transports visitors through the Lost Kingdom Adventure, a target-shooting, points-gathering ride (hint: look for the cobra), and the Safari Trek, where Lego zebras and elephants blend in with the slow-moving safari vehicles.

LEGOLAND Florida Safari Trek

Beetle Bounce has adult-sized seats so parents can ride with kids as they bounce up and down on the tower, and Coastersaurus is the only wooden roller coaster in the Legoland park system.

Kids will like Pharaoh’s Revenge, where they can shoot foam balls at each other.

As you enter LEGO City, the paths turn to black-topped streets at the entrance to The Big Test, a live-action show that’s enacted several times a day. From here, you can continue on to Boating School, where you steer a boat through a river; Driving School or Junior Driving School, where kids can drive their own cars and get a license at the end, and Flying School, a metal roller coaster.

Driving School at LEGOLAND Florida

Families can team up to put out “fires” at Rescue Academy, and it’s something to see the Ford Explorer made from Legos.

LEGOLAND Florida Lego Ford Explorer

Then it’s off to Imagination Zone, where little builders and build and test their own Lego cars, or hoist themselves up the Kid Power Towers.

Along the shores of Lake Eloise, Pirates’ Cove is the amphitheater for the waterski show “Battle for Brickbeard’s Bounty.”  This 20-minute pirate-themed show includes audience interaction and some mild waterski stunts.  For a bite to eat, try Cap’n Brickbeard’s Burgers.

Brickbeard the Pirate at LEGOLAND Florida

The green bridge near Pirate’s Cove leads to the historic Cypress Gardens Botanical Gardens, where paths lead through the tranquil gardens to the famed Banyan tree and picturesque gazebo amid a wide variety of plants.  Birds and butterflies also live in the gardens, making it a haven for nature-lovers.  Bring some mosquito repellent if you’re going to do more than a quick walk-through, and your garden visit will be more enjoyable.

Southern Belle at Cypress Gardens, Legoland Florida

Getting back to the hustle and bustle, the Lego Technic area includes the one ride where you may get wet, the Aquazone Wave Riders.  (I didn’t go on these, as they looked like they’d make me dizzy and I wanted to enjoy the rest of my day.  I heard reports that they’re a lot of fun, though.)

I was really impressed with the interactivity of the Technicycle, a simple rotating ride that requires you to pedal your flyer if you want to keep it up high as opposed to simply pushing a button.  I was winded by the end of the ride.

LEGOLAND Florida Technicycle

The Test Track coaster is a mad-mouse type coaster that’s a bit unnerving as you sit atop the track and make some sharp yet smooth turns.

The Lakeside Sandwich company offers breakfast refreshments in the morning and sandwiches later in the day.

So, there you have it, Legoland Florida with all of its rides and attractions.

Except . . .

I saved the best for last:  Miniland.

Miniland at LEGOLAND Florida

Found in the center of the park, Miniland is composed of 30 million bricks that recreated famous American landmarks in a scaled-down Lego format.  Each is extremely detailed, and the sheer number of buildings and scenes is impressive.  My favorite part of the day was walking through Miniland and listening to kids as they recognized landmarks and exclaimed, “The made THAT from Legos!”  There are 5258 “minilanders,” or little Lego people, who “live” in Miniland.  This is the area of the park that will inspire creativity and imagination in kids, to show some of the endless projects that can be made from Lego bricks.  I walked through Miniland a half-dozen times over two days, and each time I noticed something new.  While the rest of Legoland Florida is fun and entertaining and just right for families with young children, Miniland is what makes it LEGOland.  (These are just a few Miniland photos.  Check my Flickr page for many, many more.)

US Capitol at Legoland Florida's Miniland

Kennedy Space Center at Legoland Florida's Miniland

Painted Ladies at Miniland, LEGOLAND Florida

I hope you’ve enjoyed this run-through of Legoland Florida.  I’ll be writing a few more articles about more specific things in the park, but my overall impression is that it’s a fun and family-friendly park.

A reader asked how much of the park could be enjoyed by the entire family, and as a mom who often has to sit on the sidelines with the timid kids, or watch the little ones go on the tot rides, I understood that question completely.  The parts of the park that our whole family (kids 5-10, some of whom don’t like coasters) could enjoy together are:  all of the shows; the carousel; Lego Factory; Build & Test; Lost Kingdom Adventure; Beetle Bounce; Boating School; Technicycle, Rescue Academy; Safari Trek; Island in the Sky; the botanical gardens; and of course Miniland.  If we saw all the shows, it would be hard for us to do all of that in a single day, so I’ll say that it’s good for whole-family fun if your kids are pre-teens.

Restrooms are plentiful and easy to find, food prices are reasonable for amusement parks, and the Lego sets in the shops are a nice alternative to the usual amusement park souvenirs.  Directional signs are helpful throughout the park.  Staff throughout the park are friendly and helpful, and the park is clean and bright.

Ticket prices at Legoland Florida are currently $75 for adults and $65 for children ages 3-12 and seniors 60+, but for those who can visit for more than one day (which I’d recommend), you can upgrade to a 2-day pass at Guest Services for $15/person, or buy an annual pass is $129 for adults and $99 for kids that offers unlimited visits. Legoland Florida has also partnered with some “Bed & Brick” hotels in the Orlando and Tampa areas that offer special hotel/admission packages.

The park’s regular hours are from 10-5, although extended hours may be available at certain times of year.  For single-day visitors, these short hours will be a drawback, as there’s more here to see and do than can be accomplished in one day.

After showing my kids the photos I took at Legoland Florida, they’re begging to go, and if we make it to the Orlando area, it will be on our family’s list of things to do.

 

If you have specific questions about Legoland Florida, please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Legoland Florida paid for my expenses to visit Florida for the grand opening of Legoland Florida.  I chose what to write and how to share the experience with my readers.

 

Read more: 

Finding Bargains at Legoland Florida

Eating at Legoland Florida (with or without food allergies)

Beyond Miniland: Lego Creations at Legoland Florida

7 Reasons to Visit Legoland Florida

11 Things at Legoland Florida

World’s Largest Legoland

Legoland Florida–The Belle of Theme Parks

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17 comments so far

17 Comments to “Legoland Florida in Winter Haven, Florida”

  1. [...] To read more about Legoland Florida, please read my overview post. [...]

  2. [...] Legoland Florida in Winter Haven, Florida [...]

  3. [...] Legoland Florida in Winter Haven, Florida [...]

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  5. Shana D on 18 Oct 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Wow I thought that Ford Explorer was real. My kids would love to go to LegoLand. I wasn’t even aware there was one located in Florida.
    Shana D´s last [type] ..Sunset Sunday-It’s back!

  6. minnemom on 18 Oct 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Actually, the Explorer is somewhat real. It has a real car body and was made at the Ford plant, I believe.

  7. BookMama on 25 Dec 2011 at 8:31 pm

    We’re headed to Legoland Florida tomorrow and can’t wait! I’ve taken notes on all your great tips. :)

  8. [...] I’m by no means a last-minute packer.  When I went to Legoland Florida by myself, I started four days ahead of time.  When packing for a plane ride for six of us, I [...]

  9. Jax's Mom on 06 Jan 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Hi all, just came back from Legoland (a few days after Christmas) and wanted to tell the moms some things.

    For one thing, the Miniland was very cool, and also COVERED IN MOSQUITOES. It was totally gross. Especially the white buildings, such as the Washington Monument, were covered in little black mosquitoes. I got bit up pretty well, DH escaped completely, but DS broke out in an awful rash afterwards from bites. I lived in Florida (in all parts of the state) and have never seen anything like it!

    We were also there on the busiest day they ever had (they closed the park just after we got in, because they were over capacity). I know this means we weren’t seeing them in their best light– all their systems were strained– but here’s a few things that might happen to you if you hit a busy day too.

    The road that leads to Legoland, Cypress Gardens Blvd– and for those not familiar, that’s a regular Winter Haven street, not like Disney’s “streets” inside their own land– was backed up for miles. It took us 45 minutes to crawl up to the park, only to find there wasn’t any parking left. I heard that the folks who got an earlier start than we did were on that road for an hour and a half. I was feeling for the poor locals, too! We ended up parking across the street in a shopping center and walking over. I don’t know if you could call ahead and find out if they’ve run out of parking or not. It wouldn’t really matter since you’d want to park within walking distance, so you’ll have to brave Cypress Gardens Blvd regardless, and see what the (very annoyed-looking) sheriffs tell you to do when you get up there.

    Out of all the parks on our trip, this is the only one for which I did not bring snacks, and we really regretted it. I don’t know what the actual policy is for outside snacks, but no one checks your bag. There looked to be several foodstands and restaurants, but not nearly enough for the crowds. Everything had an enormous line. We finally waited at a food stand towards the back of the park (near the driving school) for nearly 40 minutes only to get to the front and find they had run out of everything, and only had bags of chips and sodas left. (A simple courtesy of coming out to the line and telling us so would have been nice.)

    Oh, and they only have Baked Lay’s in the park, which good for them, I guess, but, yuck. And when that was the only option to get some kind of food into my grumpy kid, and he hates them… well. I’m just really wishing I’d stuck some of our juice boxes and snacks into our bag as I’d done for Disney, even tho we didn’t use them there.

    There’s a paninni place in Technic that seemed to be everyone’s secret– I heard from several people it was the fastest place to get food, but I couldn’t find it! (The maps are incomplete and maddening, and since they won’t put them online, you can’t familiarize yourself ahead of time.) We finally found it over by the build and test track, I think on the map it was listed as some other kind of food place.

    Other than the mosquitoes and our inability to find food, it was a really fun place, even with the crowds. One thing that sets some parks apart is their ability to accommodate large crowds but still feel open and uncrowded– Legoland does that well. Large open walkways and grassy areas keep you from feeling crammed. Provided you have some snacks and drinks, and some OFF! bug spray for Miniland (and provided you aren’t grossed out by teeming mosquitoes covering every surface of Miniland), you will have a great time!

  10. minnemom on 06 Jan 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Thank you for your detailed recap of your Legoland experience, both good and bad. I had seen comments on their Facebook pages about the long food lines during the holidays, and I’m disappointed that they weren’t better prepared. When I was there on opening day, I thought the wait was long, but that it was just first-week jitters. Hopefully they’ll improve upon the lines, parking, and communications in the future.

    Yikes on the mosquitoes! When I was there the only place we got bitten was inside the Cypress Gardens. Thanks for warning people about bringing bug spray.

    I too liked the green spaces and walkways inside the park, and I’m glad you had fun despite the negatives.

    Linda

  11. Kim on 24 Jan 2012 at 10:19 pm

    HI,
    We are visiting Legoland for 2 days next week and I wasn’t sure if 2 days was too much. After reading your post, I feel better about staying there for 2 days. I wanted to know if you knew any accommodations near there inexpensive place for a family with children. Thank you for your help.

  12. minnemom on 24 Jan 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Hi, Kim–Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, I can’t help with your accommodations. I was hosted at the lovely but not inexpensive Marriott World Center while I was in Florida. There are some hotels in Winter Haven, but you might also consider Tampa or Orlando as places to stay if you don’t mind a 45-60 minute drive. Have fun at Legoland!

  13. [...] enjoyed our visit.  Merlin Entertainment, the owner of the Sea Life as well as Legoland (in both Florida and California) and Madame Tussauds, generally adds a new attraction each year, so repeat visitors [...]

  14. [...] Źródło: Wystarczy wpisać w Google to hasło Legoland Floryda, lub przekleeić link http://minnemom.com/2011/10/17/legoland-florida-near-orlando/ [...]

  15. Laurel on 03 Jan 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Florida resident and born and raised on amusement parks. We visited Legoland for the first time recently. Kids had a nice time, but I was SO happy we had free tickets! What they charge is way too high in my opinion. We would never go back and pay full price. Also, it is much more geared to younger kids, so those with older kids may want to keep that in mind. It’s a small park that is a nice break from the larger ones. The apple fries are to die for! Totally agree with you on mini land- really cool!

  16. Lynnette on 06 Apr 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Hi Everyone! I’m a Winter Haven resident and live 2.5 miles from Legoland. I just want to remind everyone that as summer approaches, the water park opens! That’s right! This Legoland has a waterpark! I hope everyone enjoys their visit.

  17. Jennifer Keaton on 30 Jul 2013 at 5:13 am

    I agree with the details about the attraction, but beware the caricature artists! The procedure for the artists is to do demonstrations – no obligation to buy – of their work using people walking by. Beware! They will pull your child in whether you are present or not as I learned waiting for my 12 year old son to return from the bathroom! Having thought he took too long, I left our group and found him perched in a chair getting his caricature done! I did complain to Legoland who told me that the artist was doing her job in compliance with their procedures. Needless to say, I am angrier than a hornet about this situation and want to let other mothers know to beware of a problem like mine.

    Jennifer Keaton

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