We covered a lot of ground on our trip to Florida this summer, and, finally, The Girl got the chance to visit LEGOLAND® Florida, the world’s largest LEGOLAND theme park.
Two years ago, we were invited to visit for the grand opening, but I only brought her older brother, who was the real LEGO fan…at the time. Since then, she’s almost caught up to his level of fervor for the colorful plastic bricks. She especially loves the “Friends” line just for girls.
So, our visit was successful in alleviating my motherly guilt about not bringing her the first time, but also in seeing what’s been introduced since it opened.
Editor’s Note: Check back on Friday, when The Boy will offer his own LEGOLAND review!
New LEGOLAND highlights include:
LEGO World of Chima
There’s an entirely new area of the park called the LEGO World of Chima, which complements the animated show on Cartoon Network. There are several rides and activities, the highlight being “The Quest for CHI” wet ride. You board watercraft in small groups, and battle other boats with water cannons. There’s a definite masculine vibe here, especially at the Speedorz Arena where you race rip cord LEGO vehicles.
The VIP Experience
Another new offering at LEGOLAND Florida is the VIP Experience, which we were able to experience as part of our hosted media tour. With this package, you’re escorted by a private guide, you get “Hero Access” to skip the ride lines, and you get a snack and lunch.
One of the highlights of our “VIP” day was visiting the LEGO Model Shop for a private tour and a special “build” directed by Justin, the park’s Master Model Builder. While we created a figurine with his step-by-step instruction, my kids got the chance to ask him about his background and job, and how all the LEGO creations throughout the park are built. The VIP Experience isn’t cheap – prices start from $445 per child and $495 per adult – but this exclusive behind-the-scenes tour alone nearly justifies the cost.
LEGO Friends Shop and Character Meet-and-Greets
LEGO has hit it out the park with their “Friends” product collection geared for girls, and I love that it promotes right-brain thinking in a society where girls aren’t encouraged to study STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, math). My six-year old daughter has several of the sets, and can build them almost completely independently.
We discovered the Friends shop, and timed our visit with a scheduled meet-and-greet with one of the Friends characters, Emma. We also found some products we haven’t seen in other stores, and made some impulse purchases which didn’t fit in our luggage. UPS to the rescue.
LEGOLAND Water Park
It wasn’t my intention to visit the water park at LEGOLAND Florida, until we were several hours into our visit and I felt my face melting off. It was a scorcher of a day, and boy, did that wave pool feel good. You’ll see a lot of elements common to all water parks, like tube slides, body slides and an interactive water-play structure. But in addition, there are several attractions which are distinctively LEGO, like the DUPLO® Safari and the Build-A-Raft lazy river, where you can customize your inner tube with oversized LEGO bricks.
STAR WARS™ Miniland
An entire Star Wars section has been added to Miniland USA, a section of the park where literally millions of LEGO bricks are used to recreate miniature versions of city skylines and popular attractions. Along the path we saw several scenes from the Star Wars movies, as well as the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars™. The moving parts, like the Millennium Falcon which raised and lowered with lights and music, were a big hit with the kids.
Hey you! Go BIG!:
One LEGOLAND Way, Winter Haven, FL 33884
Disclaimer: Our visit was hosted by LEGOLAND.