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LEGOland Florida - Opened October 2011

 

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Legoland Florida:
New Park Review

by Keith Trotter

 

    After a visit to Legoland Florida, you will leave with the realization that anything is possible with imagination.    The park creators did a great job of transforming a large portion of the existing park along with lots of newness to create an experience that is truly unique and lots of fun.  The entry plaza is bright, welcoming, and sits adjacent to a behemoth new parking lot with plenty of space for huge crowds. 
    The Island in the Sky is a rotating observation wheel that is raised 150 feet into the air on a hydraulic arm.  The view of the park and surrounding area is breathtaking.
    The Wells Fargo Fun Town 4D Theater was amazing.  Three different shows alternate throughout the day.  The 3D was amazing and the wind and snow effects were powerful and really added to the entertainment.  Do not skip this attraction.  It is absolute

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ly more entertaining and fun than you would possibly imagine.  The creators of these three 20 minute movies are incredible story tellers.  Top notch.
    The Factory Tour gives you a look at how legos are made from tiny balls of plastic that are melted down and then molded into the famous bricks.  It is presented in a manner that small children would understand.
    Miniland USA is the most detailed and interesting section of the park in my opinion.  The attention to detail and the accuracy of the recreations are absolutely amazing.  You could easily spend hours gazing at the exhibits and still not notice all the details.  The amount of time that had to be spent on planning and building just blows my mind.  In Miniland USA, you will see Florida (Daytona Speedway, Kennedy Space Center), Las Vegas, Washington D.C., New York City, and a Pirate themed section.  There are special effects all over the place including moving cars, boats, sounds, and even a real lego marching band that actually marches!
    DUPLO Village is a section for the wee little ones that has several kiddie style rides: Big Rig Rally, Junior Fire Academy, Granny’s Jalopies, and DUPLO farm play area.
    Lego Kingdoms is a medieval themed area anchored by big toy-style castle that houses a ride, shops, and a restaurant!  The dragon coaster was a great surprise.  From the outside you see the coaster (similar to Goofy's Barnstormer at Magic Kingdom).  What you don't see is that once you enter the elaborately themed queue and indoor air conditioned loading station, the coaster is the last part of the ride.  This is a dark ride that has amazing show scenes themed around a medieval king, jester, dragon, theme.  Very enjoyable. 
    Royal Joust is a kiddie ride with maximum height and age restrictions that simulates jousting.
    Merlin's Challenge is a smaller version of a Himalaya ride, but you do pick up speed throughout the ride and the person on the outside does get squished!!
    The Forestman's Hideout is a fabulous play area for bigger kids that sits in the middle of a real forest with gigantic trees that create a great area for kids to play in.  Why didn't we have stuff like this when I was a kid?
    Lego Technic Test Track is the biggest coaster in the park that starts off with a 45 foot drop immediately after the lift hill. Most mouse coasters start with some switchbacks first, not this one. 
    AquaZone Wave Racers is a water ride that was the biggest thrill to me.  You are on a ride vehicle that is attached to an arm that spins around the circular loading platform.  Each vehicle has a steering wheel that controls the fin on the  bottom of the boat vehicle.  As I was waiting in line to get on, I kept thinking that everyone was getting off laughing and smiling.  I couldn't imagine what the big deal was.  Once I got on, I realized what a fun ride this was.  When you turn the wheel left, your vehicle hugs the loading platform.  When you release the wheel to turn it right, the vehicle flings out so fast you feel like your going to fly out!!!  How fun is that??  And of course you wheel back to the left again as fast as you can so you can fling yourself out again.  There are two platforms in a dueling style formation, and in between them are a series of air canons that blast water in the air and ultimately you!  Fun, fun, fun.
    Technicyle is a flat ride that goes around in a circle similar to Dumbo except instead of elephants your gondola is a Technicycle!
    Hero Factory is an immersive interactive play area based on LEGO’s popular Hero Factory line.
    Build & Test is an indoor area where you can build a LEGO car and test it against the competition on the digitally timed track.
    Kid Power Towers is a ride that at first looks like mini drop towers.  Actually parents and kids hoist their ride bench to the top of the towers with a rope and when you reach the top, you let go of the rope and your bench drops back to the ground quickly, but under control for the little ones.
    Pirate's Cove Live Water Ski Show is an homage to the original water ski shows that Cypress Gardens is so famous for.  The centerpiece of this show is the huge pirate ship that is made to exact scale of a famous Lego Pirate Ship Toy!  Spectular ski stunts make this show a must-see.
    Coastersaurus is a  junior wooden coaster that curves and dips in and around a prehistoric jungle of animated and life-sized LEGO brick dinosaurs.  Formerly the Triple Hurricane.
    Lost Kingdom Adventure is LEGOLAND Florida’s spectacular dark ride invites guests to fire laser blasters at targets and brave the rugged Egyptian landscape in all-terrain roadsters, while attempting to unearth the vast treasures of a forgotten empire.  What makes this ride great that your guns fire a beam that lights up about two-inches wide red circle (instead of the pinpoint red laser light that other shoot 'em up rides give you) that provides you great aim, and perfect for little ones who need help with their aim.
    Pharaoh’s Revenge is an outdoor attraction lets children and parents fire soft foam balls at enemies and explore the complex maze of the Pharaoh’s kingdom.
    Beetle Bounce is a 15 foot drop tower.
    Safari Trek is a slow moving outdoor car ride that explores the wilds of Africa and features gorgeous, life-like LEGO animals.
    FORD Driving School is a total hoot.  Children 6 through 13 can drive their cars through a “real-life” driving course.  Kids must obey the traffic signs and other real-life road rules.  No passing allowed.  The group of kids I watched didn't have patience for those in front of them.  One little boy couldn't take it, and passed up the little girl in front of him.  Once the drive time is up, kids receive their official LEGOLAND driver’s license.  At the entry point to the attraction is the famous Ford Explorer that is made completely out of Legos.
    FORD Jr. Driving School is a pint-size version driving school course for children ages 3 through 5.
    Boating School calls for all aboard this fun-filled ride that allows kids to captain their own mini-vessels.  The boats are free floating and as I earlier suspected, little kids can't steer boats, but don't worry there are plenty of operations employees to help get them back in the right direction.
    Flying School is the suspended steel coaster that lets kids experience the thrill of flight.  I rode this once and it was my last time unfortunately.  The OTS restraints that they use come in really far towards your head and you get banged around pretty bad.  I predict you will see changes to this ride sooner rather than later.
    The Big Test Show was a really cute show that teaches kids what to do in the event of a fire.  Get out of the house, dial 911, stop drop and roll type stuff.  This show seemed a little silly to me at first, but it grew on me and by the end I wanted to see it again.  There are lots of stunts, acrobatics, music and effects in the show.  Note to remember- don't sit in the front if you don't want to get wet!
    The original Cypress Gardens are still intact and relatively unchanged.  As you can see in the pictures, the gardens are serene, beautiful and an escape. 
    Everyone keeps asking me if they should go to Legoland or if it is just for kids.  The park was designed for families with children 2-12.  What I can say is that there are things to enjoy for every member of the family of any age.  I would tell everyone to go at least once to check it out, you won't be disappointed.  Families with children will now have another place to add to their Central Florida attractions list to visit on a regular basis.  Kids will absolutely love it and will never be able to get enough of this place!!!!!
 

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