By now, I’m pretty sure most of you either have visited or have heard about the LEGOLAND Florida, brand new theme park in Winter Haven near Orlando.
The grand opening in October of 2011 was a huge success with many coverage from media and family travel bloggers. I have read and know that we will visit soon. Even though we have already been to LEGOLAND California but with the driving distance from Atlanta, it is a must-do for us especially with Mr. Z being so obsessed with all things LEGO. So here is our detail review post on our visit to LEGOLAND Florida. Be warned that this is a long post. I tried to provide as much information as I can to other parents who look into visiting in the future.
Where to Stay when Visiting LEGOLAND Florida
Winter Haven is actually about 45 minutes drive from Orlando area. Most families opt to stay in Orlando area so they can take advantage of other attractions in the area. Plus the options for accommodation will increased ten fold staying in Orlando or Kissimmee area. We stayed at the Residence Inn Orlando International Drive which proved to be a great choice for family.
Other family friendly hotels and resorts that we have stayed and will be a great choice are the Omni Orlando Resort which is closer than typical hotels in Orlando or the Holiday Inn Club Vacation Orange Lake which provides plenty of amenity and space for the whole family.
There are several options for staying in Winter Haven but it means you will be far from everything else. Plus with the operating hour of 10 AM – 5 PM (double check website for special hours and date), it’s very doable to just wake up early and drive from Orlando area.
LEGOLAND Florida Tickets Price & Discount
With the listed price online for $75 per adult and $65 per child, it seems very pricey comparing to other theme parks that have longer operating hours and more rides or attractions. However, there are also more discount and coupon code available from LEGO to help offset the cost.
When we went, we use the Pepsi promotion (which already expired) to snag Buy one adult ticket, get a FREE child ticket, a saving of almost 45% off. Check out MouseSavers.com for the most current deals or discount on LEGOLAND Florida tickets. There are still deals to have.
Inside LEGOLAND Florida: First Stop Ford Driving School
Plan your LEGOLAND Florida visit by arriving early before the park open at 10AM. We arrived around 9AM and they already let you walk into the park even though many areas are roped off waiting for the official opening hour. We were able to take pictures and get that out of the way before start trekking to LEGO City for Ford Driving School.
Our friends gave us a tip to head directly to the Ford Driving School because the line will get longer as more families arrive. And we did just that and we were the first group to get on the driving track. It’s another dream fulfilled for Mr. Z since last time we visited LEGOLAND California he was too small to partake in the Volvo Driving School. For parents of younger kids, no fret, Ford Jr. Driving School is available for 3-5 years old to enjoy their driving skill.
More School Time with Flying School & Boating School
We didn’t waste any time in checking off each ride on our map. Kids hopped to the next school for some flying time. Being one of the first in the back of the park has its perk. We got on the ride with no line. This kid-friendly roller coaster is just what I need. If you are the dare devil who loves the fastest or the scariest ride then don’t waste your time in LEGOLAND. Most rides have enough fun and excitement but it’s not gonna turn your stomach upside down.
Kids have no sign of slowing down. After the flying school, they zoomed to the next school but this time on the water at Boating School. It’s a good way to take a little break. We started to see more people and the line started to form. Luckily it’s a covered area so it wasn’t so bad. But during the hot months in Florid (which will be pretty much almost all year long), come prepare with fan or battery-operated fan to tame those heat down.
Another fun interactive stop for the whole family is the Rescue Academy where family will have to work together to compete with other teams. Then we headed out of LEGO City and stepped into LEGO Technic zone.
LEGO Technic Zone: Heart Stopping Fun at Test Track
In LEGO Technic Zone there are several fun rides that kids will enjoy. With the heat beating down on us, we made a beeline to the Test Track. It doesn’t seem to be scary at first but that little car on top of the track moving at the fast speed with no guard gave me a heart stopping thrill. I’m sure it was safe but when I was on the track I wasn’t so sure about that. Or maybe it was the momentum and physic at work at our vehicle that Mr. Rojo and I rode had more speed than the kids’ vehicle.
We took a lunch break at the Lakeside Sandwich Co before the lunch crowd started to come in. The space wasn’t big so it can be hard to find table to sit if you plan to eat during lunch. Plan ahead and take a break sooner than normal to avoid this problem. Another plus is the Lakeside Sandwich is indoor with A/C, a must for Florida fun day.
More Lands to Cover in LEGOLAND Florida
The Land of Adventure is another favorite for kids with Coastersaurus, the wooden roller coaster setting in Dinosaur theme, and the Lost Kingdom Adventure, where kid fires laser blaster at target to unearth treasure in the Egypt Kingdom. For parent of younger kids, Safari Trek and Beetle Bounce provide excitement and fun that tame enough for the little ones.
At this time, we already knew that we won’t be able to test every ride to go to every single attraction. We took a break at the DUPLO Village for some ice cream and playground fun at DUPLO Farm. It was a great way to break up your go..go..go day in LEGOLAND. Next to DUPLO Village is a stand for Granny’s Apple Fries which many of my travel blogger friends raved about on their blogs.
After the quick break, we made a few stops in Fun Town, checking out the gifts and toys in LEGO Studio Store, before taking in the bird’s eye view of LEGOLAND Florida on the Island in the Sky.
Great Place to Refuel: The Market Restaurant
For a quick refuel to recharge the crew battery so we can tackle the rest of the park, we headed to the Market Restaurant. It’s a food court style that offers various options from Asian Market to Kids’ Choices. Too bad many food selection had dwindling down to only a few choices from each station.
Another great reason to consider Market Restaurant for family dining option was the LEGO station where kids can enjoy limitless time to build their own masterpieces. We were there during the non-busy hours so it was fun for kids. But I don’t know how hard will it be during lunch time.
Last but Not Least Stop: Miniland USA
My favorite part of LEGOLAND Florida but not so much for the kids. Yes, they did enjoy looking at each part of the town in Miniland USA but they just ran around so fast competing to be the first one to push the button! It was also dark when we got to this part of the park. Luckily, it seems the park did extend the hour for another hour instead of their regular closing hour at 5 PM.
Even though I have heard many people say this park can be done in one day. To fully experience and enjoy all the rides, it will take more than a day. We had already skipped many kiddie rides that were too small for our school-age kids. But we still missed many parts of the park like the Cypress Garden or the Pirate Cove area where you can catch the Live Water Ski show.
Based on many resources, it seems you can easily upgrade your one day pass to include the next day admission for a fraction of the price. I couldn’t confirm this information on LEGOLAND Florida website so you might want to call ahead or ask the customer service.
I know this is a long post so thank you to stay with me till the end. I will try to work on another post with family tips for LEGOLAND Florida soon. In the mean time, check out my friend, Jen from Pensacola With Kids on her detailed review of LEGOLAND Florida that has a lot of great information and tips.
Have you been to Legoland Florida? Any tips or experience you would love to share?