Celebrate Five Years of Legoland Florida
Photo courtesy of Legoland
Located about 45 minutes away from Walt Disney World, you’ll find the town of Winter Haven Florida. Once the premiere tourist destination in Florida, thanks to Cypress Gardens, this sleepy little town fell by the wayside after the advent of more highways, and of course more tourist attractions. Cypress Gardens also fell by the wayside, as the once bustling destination turned into many different things throughout the years.
By 2009, just about all hope for Cypress Gardens being great again was gone. That was until Merlin Entertainment made a huge announcement. Cypress Gardens would become Legoland Florida.
The announcement was made in front of the historic plantation house, and celebrated with oranges made of Lego bricks. The park would become the largest Legoland Park in the world, and would build on the grounds of the former Cypress Gardens, all while preserving the historic landmark gardens.
Legoland Florida finally opened on Oct. 1, 2011. The park was built with more than two million Lego Bricks, and became a destination for families with children ages 2-12. Five years later, Legoland Florida is celebrating its birthday in a big way. On Saturday, Oct. 1, the park will have a huge celebration for guests in the park. The park will unveil an all new Lego Ford Mustang, built from thousands of Lego Bricks (see its construction in the video below), at an event that will serve as the start of the annual Brick or Treat Halloween event.
So far, the park has almost doubled in attractions since its 2011 opening. Less than a year after the grand opening, the park opened the Legoland Florida Waterpark. The waterpark was the first step in making the little Winter Haven park a full-fledged resort. The park has fully restored the historic Cypress Gardens, with all portions of the gardens open to the public. Of course, there are little Lego touches here and there, but the Southern Belles, the Mansion, and the Florida-shaped pool are all there and as good as new.
As part of its expansion, the park recently opened the huge new Legends of Chima water ride in which guests could blast each other with water, which is very important during Florida summers. The park also opened a girl-centric area with Lego Friends. The new area featured a dance show featuring the Lego line aimed at girls, as well as a thrill ride themed to riding horses.
The park also opened several smaller attractions that highlighted Florida, such as the Florida Fresh Farmhouse. Guests could see the many different items that were grown locally, and those items that were also used at Legoland Florida.
In 2014, the park took a huge step in becoming a full-fledged resort with the opening of the Legoland Florida Hotel mere steps from the park. Guests staying at the resort have the choice of one of four themed rooms, including the first-ever Lego Friends rooms. Little guests could play all day in the hotel lobby, which included massive amounts of Lego bricks, and a huge pirate ship/castle to play in.
Now, as the park looks beyond five years, it is gearing up for an entire section based on Lego Ninjago. The new area will feature the all-new interactive ride in which guests battle against bad guys, using just their hands. The resort will also add their second hotel, this time themed to a Beach Resort. The new hotel opens in 2017, and will feature family suites.
With a focus on families, Legoland Florida is becoming one of the premiere vacation destinations in Central Florida, away from the hustle and bustle of princesses and wizards. With the first five years now in the rear view, we are very excited to see what the next few years have in store.
More by Erik Yates
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