Recently I visited LEGOLAND Florida for the first time with my mom. Ever since we learned of it being announced in the central Florida area we both wanted to go. Having grown up playing with Legos, this was a great treat to be able to finally attend this relatively new theme park. We were both excited to be able to explore the park as adults (read as kids at heart) without any kids this trip.
As a kid I would spend hours on end creating with Legos and dreaming up new landscapes, vehicles, and architectural designs. I couldn’t wait to see the minilands in particular at the park, but also the great rides, shows and the ability to visit Cypress Gardens. LEGOLAND Florida did not disappoint at all! I had done little research ahead of time as to what attractions there were, but had heard great things from friends by word of mouth ensuring me that I’d enjoy my visit.
One of the first things we did upon entering the parks was to pick up maps, even though I already downloaded the great LEGOLAND Florida app for my iphone. My mom is more inclined to use a paper map than the newer technology and I am a fan of ephemera from parks in particular, so it was nice to have a backup to the user friendly app I prefer to use on my phone. We devised a plan to catch several of the shows that were at set times so we would make sure not to miss them.
The park is divided into different areas: The Beginning, Fun Town, Miniland USA, Duplo Village, Lego Kingdoms, Land of Adventure, Lego City, Imagination Zone, Lego Technic, Pirates’ Cove and Cypress Gardens. The first attraction we experienced was in The Beginning, Island in the Sky, an enclosed platform with seats around the perimeter facing outwards. The platform rises up to 150 feet in the air and slowly rotates 360 degrees giving an amazing panoramic view of the park as well as miles in every direction, including as far as the Bok Tower. This was an absolutely gorgeous way to start the day and to get our bearings and see an overview of the park.
From here we went to catch one of the 4-D shows, A Clutch Powers 4-D Adventure, in the nearby theatre in the Fun Town section of LEGOLAND. This was an entertaining show that featured great graphics and a fun story. We didn’t get a chance to catch any of the other 4-D movies, but look forward to coming back again to see the others we missed. Since it was mid morning we stopped for a quick snack, one of my favorites of the day, Granny’s Apple Fries. These fried apple slices were served warm with cinnamon sugar and a tasty vanilla dipping sauce. This was the perfect way to get energized before tackling some rides.
As I mentioned, we are just big kids at heart, so even though we were enjoying the park sans kids, it didn’t mean we were going to explore rides intended for younger children. After our snack break, we rode the double-decker Grand Carousel before heading into Duplo Village. We briefly looked around the playground area of Duplo Farm before riding Granny’s Jalopies, participating in the Junior Fire Academy, and then I rode Big Rig Rally. Yes, these rides are intended for smaller folks, but we still had a great time in this section of the park.
Next up, I wanted to ride some bigger rides, but my mom just wanted to explore, so we headed into the Lego Kingdoms where I rode the Dragon. This is a great coaster that is a combination of indoor dark ride and outdoor roller coaster with some thrills! I especially enjoyed the scenes inside the castle of what is going on before you arrive at the dragon. The other attraction we experienced in this area was Merlin’s Challenge, which I was glad we did before lunch. This ride is a train of sorts that runs seemingly by Merlin’s magic. It is on an undulating track that makes this unassuming appearing ride even more fun once it gets going.
Since I am currently not eating meat, I did look at the official LEGOLAND Florida app ahead of time to see that there were vegetarian options for meals and was happy to see that there were several options to choose from. Based on show schedules and where we wanted to be when, we decided to take our lunch break at I-Zone Panini in the Imagination Zone where I opted for a great vegetarian panzanella.
This was a nice resting point before taking in the Live Water Ski show, The Battle for Brickbeard’s Bounty at Pirates’ Cove. We thoroughly enjoyed this stunt show that featured water skiing, adventure and more on the shores of Lake Eloise. Being a fan of pirates in general, this was definitely one of the highlights of my day with an entertaining story intertwined with great action stunts.
Another one of our favorite parts of the day was definitely Cypress Gardens. This beautiful botanical garden was one of the aspects of the park my mom was most looking forward to since she had never been to the park in its previous incarnation. My grandparents had taken me as a child, so it was nice to revisit it as an adult. I absolutely loved the time (almost an hour!) we spent leisurely exploring the meandering paths in this gorgeously preserved area of the park. There is even a fun game to get the kids involved searching for five hidden Travelocity gnomes (I only stumbled upon four – guess this means I’ll have to go back soon to find the fifth one).
My mom wanted to take a break to find a gift for my brother, who is also a huge fan of Legos, so I decided to do a few more of the rollercoasters she said she was going to skip. I think my favorite was the Lego Technic Coaster, which had an awesome drop almost right out of the gate. I also enjoyed the classic wooden coaster, Coastersaurus. We met back up and both rode the fun Safari Trek also in the Land of Adventure.
The area of the park we both knew we were looking forward to the most, and somewhere we ended up spending over an hour in, was Miniland USA. We have varied interests, so we split up part of the time, and reconvened several times crossing paths between the different locations. This section of LEGOLAND is broken up into Daytona International Speedway, Kennedy Space Center, Las Vegas, Florida (with several major cities like Miami, Key West and Tampa represented), Washington D.C., Pirate’s Shores, San Francisco, Hollywood, New York City, and the new Lego Star Wars! I was just telling a friend today I could have easily spent all day in the Miniland USA displays pushing buttons to make the interactive parts work. It is so cool seeing some of these places I’ve visited, and some I’ve seen only in films, come to life right in front of your eyes.
Finishing up the day, we rode one last right in the Land of Adventure, Lost Kingdom Adventure, which is a ride where you shoot lasers at targets to accumulate points. My mom was very proud she beat me in this fun attraction.On our way out, we meandered through stores and the factory tour. We even found ourselves riding the Island in the Sky again since there was next to no wait. Our last stop before heading out of the park for the day was The Big Shop, the park’s largest gift shop. I found an awesome lightweight hooded sweatshirt in my size and favorite color that I couldn’t resist bringing home with me. It was a steal at half off!
We had an amazing time at LEGOLAND Florida as adults, acting like big kids, for the most part. There were a couple of attractions that were challenges for me personally as a larger person, but other than that, we had just as much fun as everyone else enjoying the park. I can’t wait to go back and explore, especially as we get closer to the opening of the LEGOLAND Florida Water Park in a few weeks on March 9th. Overall, LEGOLAND is a great place for kids and adults of all ages. If you want to feel like a kid again, but still enjoy some of the more thrilling rides as an adult, LEGOLAND Florida is a fantastic choice!