Legoland Florida Themepark
What is it exactly? Is it worth it? What ages is it for? There are many questions when you think about visiting a Florida theme park where the name isn’t Walt Disney World or Universal Studios…. which as a Florida resident I can say is totally understandable.
About Legoland Florida
Legoland Florida is located in Winter Haven, Florida (about 45 minutes from Disney). It sits on about 150 acres with a stunning view of Lake Eloise. There are over 58 million LEGO bricks inside! It’s designed for families with children ages 2-12. Legoland Florida Themepark opened in 2011 and then rebranded in 2015 with the opening of their hotel to Legoland Florida ResortLegoland Florida Resort. It was built on the site of the former theme park Cypress Gardens.
It’s important to go into this remembering this park is geared specifically to kids 2-12. If you can keep that in mind, it shouldn’t be a total let down. We are a Disney family… we love the magic and fun that Disney offers and how it takes you out of your reality. That being said, Legoland is very very different from Disney. If you are a Disney person or are expecting a Disney-like experience but with Legos, you will be disappointed.
We decided to try out Legoland Florida because it would be a little different from our Disney norm and the kids love Legos. It was my son’s birthday weekend and last year we did Disney expecting it to be slow after the Christmas crowd and they were still packed so we spent most of the time hanging out at the hotel. On to Legoland, we went!
The Good Part of Visiting Legoland Florida
Unlike Disney, there weren’t really any lines. At all. There wasn’t much of a crowd, the waits that did happen were because their system went down or there was an internal problem they were having. It could be that January is a slower time for them, I’m sure during summer it picks up some.
The theming at the park is remarkable. There was a lot of thought put into the theme and correlating it throughout the park. The “safari ride” is through a jungle of Lego animals, the bathrooms are all Lego-themed, decorations throughout the park all make you feel as though you’ve entered the world of Legos.
Throughout the park, you’ll see enormous LEGO sculptures of things such as dinosaurs, farm animals, mythical creatures and more keep you gawking at their feats of engineering. Sidenote, the LEGOs in the sculptures are held together with glue and then sprayed with a UV-coating to protect their color from the Florida sun. There are even some surprises as some of the sculptures have interactive features like the LEGO pigs, that oink when kids sit on them. They also bring in all your favorite Lego characters…from the Lego Friends in Heartlake City “land”, to Lego Kingdoms, Chima, and The Lego Ninjago World
Mini Land at Legoland is a fun spot where there are lego replications of some of the most famous places suck as models of iconic cities such as San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, and Washington D.C. There are even models of each episode of Star Wars. There are also some larger, life-size Star Wars characters located here as well that are made out of legos. Walking through kids look like giants in these miniature cities and the details of each one are absolutely amazing!
Star Wars at Legoland Florida is pretty cool. There’s lifesize LEGO version of Star Wars characters as well as the Mini-Land scenes.
Rides in the park include Lost Kingdom Adventure with interactive target shooting with laser guns, the Aqua Zone Wave Racers, Royal Joust, Beetle Bounce, and the Coastersaurus, Dragon, and LEGO Technic coasters. There’s also a Ford Driving School where kids drive their own cars freely through simulated streets.
Another really cool part of the park is Cypress Gardens, which relates back to the old Cypress Gardens theme park that was originally located here. This area provides calm respite from energetic attractions and crowds. Here, you’ll experience the enveloping canopies of its signature banyan tree, planted 80 years ago. It is amazing and relaxing. Beware though, as signs will warn you; this is Florida meaning there’s always a possibility of alligators or other wildlife.
Lego Movie World is very colorful and reminiscent of the movie. It’s not as in-depth as the movie itself but kids who love the movie won’t really realize that. There’s enough there that will definitely make them happy.
Check out the full list of rides at Legoland Florida.
The Not So Good Part
The huge fail happened with their “Model Citizens” also known as the staff. Honestly, with the exception of one, they were all miserable and seemed as though they did not want to be there at all. I cannot tell you how many times at different rides I heard one of them make the comment “Welcome to Legoland where our system always goes down!” We had gone over to “Ford Driving School” and waited in line for twenty or so minutes (the line wasn’t that long, apparently it was problems they were having), we finally get up to go into the section where the kids watch a video before taking their “driving test” and the Model Citizen goes out to confirm the cars are ready and then comes in and says “We’re sorry but we’re having trouble and we don’t know when it’ll be fixed.” She sort of sounded like she was kidding so the kids stood there and the parents over to the side wondering if she was serious. Another staff member opened the door from outside and said something and the one that made the announcement says “I don’t know, they’re all just standing here looking at me” as if no one in the room could hear her. It was just really weird. It came down to microphone issues, and we wind up waiting another 15 minutes because now the line was really starting to build and we didn’t want to get out only for it to be fixed and have to wait in the line. After the Model Citizen said everyone was just looking at her, a parent asked: “so it’s really down?” She replied “yes,” and they asked, “do you know for how long?” Annoyed, she says “no, you can’t wait if you want but we aren’t sure.” Someone asked if we could get a “Hero Pass” (Fast Pass) since we’d waited already and she said no, they didn’t do that. We could wait or take our chances later.
This again was one example of many where the people that worked there were grouchy or seemed as though they just didn’t want to be there and had no loyalty to the park.
The other SUPER annoying thing (for me) was these stands all over the place where you can play a game (for $3-$10) to win a stuffed animal. The kids asked and asked and then asked some more to please play one of these games. We finally gave in but it was annoying because you pay $85 dollars for a one day ticket and then to do these things you have to pay additional money.
Before You Go
Look for deals and discounts! You can sometimes get a second park day free with a resort hotel stay so it’s worth searching a little for discounts. Also, there’s a discount if you buy online vs at the gate.
The park is opened daily with the exception of being closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays during specific times of the year.
- Standard Parking: $23
- Preferred Parking: $33
- Campers/RVs: $24
- Motorcycles: $10
Park Hours vary, in general, they are open 10-6 most days the earliest they close is 5 during part of the year. You can check their park hours for specifics.
If it rains… you have some options:
- Lost Kingdom Adventure
- Merlin’s Challenge
- DUPLO® Farm
- Imagination Zone
- LEGO® NINJAGO® The Ride
- Tot Spots
- Wells Fargo 4D Theater
Overall Thoughts on Legoland
While there are some things I wasn’t crazy about, it was cute and the kids are still talking about it. Again, it is NOT Disney and you have to keep that in mind. I think that there is a lot of potential here and I do hope that they continue to improve. Good customer service can go a very long way!
If you’re thinking about going to Legoland, don’t forget to check out my review of the Legoland Florida ResortLegoland Florida Resort!