When we were in FL visiting my folks in February we got to go to Legoland FL. I was cautiously optimistic about the park because all of the reviews I had read online were not really favorable. Our boys were super excited to go though.
Now let me just say, if you are comparing Legoland to Disney, then yes I can see being disappointed. Disney is the be all end all of theme parks. It will amaze all ages. Legoland claims to be aimed at kids ages 2-12 and that seems pretty accurate. Overall we had a wonderful experience at Legoland. If you have kids (or are an adult) that are into Lego then this park is definitely worth a visit.
Cost: The $75 per ticket is a bit steep. That is only $10-20 less than a ticket to Disney. However my parents were able to get buy one get one free tickets at a local event. You can also find “buy one adult ticket get one free kids ticket” coupons in the free Lego Club magazine. So that can bring the cost down to $37.50 per ticket. You also have to pay to park, which is $14 per car. If we had had to pay full price I think I would have been more disappointed with the experience. Meaning a day there was worth just under $40 per person but I’m not sure it is worth $75 per person.
Location: Legoland is in Winter Haven FL where the Cypress Gardens park used to be. It is about 45 minutes South of Orlando. I may be the only person who is familiar with Cypress Gardens because we used to always go there when I was a kid. There is still a small piece of the gardens in the park but they are nowhere near their former glory. My parents were disappointed with that aspect but I don’t think the kids would have cared. They didn’t even get over to that section because we ran out of time. Although I would have liked to have seen the big, old Banyan tree again.
Hours: The park was only open from 10am to 5pm. I supposed February is their slow season. We really would have liked a few more hours in the park though. We didn’t have time to get to all of the areas, shows and rides we wanted to in our time there. Their website says it is a two-day park. If you spend half a day at the water park and a day and a half in the main park I could see spending two days. However, if you just do the main park I would say one day is definitely enough assuming the ride lines aren’t too long and the parks hours are longer than 10am to 5pm when you go.
Rides: For the most part the rides were fun. They were your average theme park rides with a Lego twist. The lines averaged about a 20 minute wait. A few were extremely long though. My poor hubby waited in line for an hour with our youngest for one ride and 45 minutes for another. Avoid the rides where only one or two people can ride. Especially if only half the available sections of the ride are going. The Duplo Village section was under construction and was closed as was the Factory Tour (most dissapointing) and Island in the Sky (an old Cypress Garden ride that would have been nice to revisit). We were able to do about half of the other rides and attractions the park offers though. The Lego models and displays throughout the areas where you wait in line and in the rides themselves are very cool. Given the abbreviated park hours when we went it would have been nice to have had shorter wait times on the rides, which could have been accomplished with more sections or cars having been open. The Lego City section was a favorite area. Our boys really enjoyed the Driving School’s rides and the Rescue Academy. The Lost Kingdom Adventure in the Land of Adventure section was a lot of fun too.
Shows: We only attempted to see one show. I say attempted because we sat in the wrong spot and weren’t able to really see or hear the show. A sign would have been helpful. Let me explain. There are two seating sections near the water where the Pirates Cove ski show happens. We sat in the first one we came across not realizing that the show actually took place in the other section. Once it started we realized all of the acting took place in the other spot. We could see the water ski parts but couldn’t hear or see the rest of the show so we decided to go on some more rides instead. Though to Legoland’s credit, had we payed close attention to the printed map we could have figured this out.
Lego’s: The Lego displays throughout the park are amazing. This is, of course, the best part of Legoland. Miniland is an entire area with giant, intricate Lego displays. There are nine specific sections each dedicated to a different theme. For example there is a Lego New York City and a Lego Kennedy Space Center. There is also a large Lego Star Wars section with areas within dedicated to nine different parts of Star Wars. This section is fun for everyone. The only improvement I would like to see would be information and/or trivia at the displays/builds about the amount of bricks in them, the time they took to build, see if you can spot this detail, etc. That would make them even more fun and interactive I think. (This would be an improvement on the displays and rides park-wide in my opinion.)
Minifigure Trading: The minifigure trading was definetly one of our older sons favorite things. You can walk up to any employee in the park and ask to trade a Lego minifigure that you have with them. They all have at least one minifigure attached to their name tag and they will trade it with you. My boys brought their jankiest minifigure to trade. In hind sight I don’t know why we didn’t bring a bunch. Our youngest only traded once and scored with a minifigure that was cool and had a hat and a hammer. Our oldest kept trading until he got a minifigure he liked. All of the employees were kind and very happy to take a minute to trade with the kids regardless of what they were doing.
Food: As with all theme parks, the food was overpriced park food. We went to the Fun Town Pizza and Pasta Buffet. It cost about $80 for six of us to eat. Pricey but we were happy for an opportunity to sit and relax while we ate. The food wasn’t gourmet but was descent enough.
Water Park: We didn’t get to go to the water park because it was closed. I looked at the map on their website though and the water park seems pretty small so I am assuming could be done in half a day.
Other: Noticeably absent from the entire park is Lego Ninjago. As one of my boys’ favorite Lego brands, this is very disappointing. Especially since there is a section devoted to Chima (which, as a brand, I am certain Lego thought would be more popular than it has turned out to be). It just seems odd because there were little areas in the park where most Lego themed characters appeared. Such as the small Hero Factory area where the kids were able to build Hero’s. One would think the there would be at least a little representation of Lego Ninjago somewhere in the park but there isn’t.
Overview: We were happy with our day at Legoland FL. We would have liked to have been able to spend more time in the park and were disappointed that some of the rides and attractions were closed and some lines were very long. The park had an “under construction” and short staffed feel to it. It doesn’t have the polished feel that other theme parks seem to have. We were very happy with the amazing lego displays. The Miniland area is super cool with it’s amazing Lego builds. Most of the sections that were open were very cool and the rides were fun. Our boys (ages 10 and 5) loved the Legoland experience.