Posted by: lylescott89 | November 14, 2011

Legoland Florida

Hey kids,

Plans need to be made and they need to be made now.  I have received notice from three different people that have volunteered to be my football watching guy.  Now it is time to step up.  The game I desperately want to see is San Francisco vs. Baltimore on November 24th.  I understand that this is not an ideal night being that it is Thanksgiving, but we can make this work.  So if any of you three want to work something out please let me know.  If not, well then hopefully someone else will.

In other news I recently made a visit to the brand new Legoland Florida.  It officially opened on October 15th at the site of what was once Cypress Gardens.  They have done a remarkable job turning an old, dilapidated park into a showcase.  Although the old Cypress Gardens are physically still there and can be walked through, the southern belles are unfortunately nowhere to be seen.

Legoland is specifically designed for children under the age of 12 and I will tell you that Adam absolutely loved it.  The park is the largest of all the Legoland parks and involves a lot of walking, but that’s a good thing.  Well, it’s a good thing until Adam starts complaining about all the walking.  Anyway you enter the park to an area called The Beginning.  There are several shops & restaurants here as well as many Lego figures.  This leads right into Fun Town where there is a double decker carousel.  The carousel has regular horses on it now, but we were told by the lady there that they are building Lego horses that will eventually replace the standard carousel horses.

There are four roller coasters, all of which are kid friendly.  The Dragon was my personal favorite as it combined a dark ride with a roller coaster.  I think that was Adam’s favorite as well.  The big wooden coaster, known as the Coasterasaurus is a holdover from Cypress Gardens, but has been toned down a little to make it more enjoyable for small ones.  An inverted roller coaster, known as Flight School, is also a big thrill to the kids.  The last coaster is oddly known as Test Track, though there are no signs outside of it supporting this title.  It was by far the most frightening.  It is a wild mouse style coaster in which you ride in little Lego cars.  Really cute, but those hairpin turns are scary!

The Dragon is located in the castle of the Lego Kingdoms area.  Also in that area is Merlin’s Challenge, which was reminiscent of the old Himalaya ride that they had at the Sarasota County Fair when I was a kid.  Adam thought it was cool.  The Royal Joust was also nearby, but I was not allowed to ride being that I am over 13.  Adam was able to ride a Lego horse through a medieval area and “joust” with other riders.  It was way too cute.

The Land of Adventure had some fun rides too including the aforementioned Coasterasaurus.  My favorite was the Lost Kingdom Adventure.  It was similar in theme to the Buzz Lightyear attraction at Walt Disney World in which you shoot a laser at targets and are awarded points.  Adam clearly had the edge and whipped me just as he always does at WDW.  Also in this area was the Pharaoh’s Revenge.  It was a children’s play area in which the kids could shoot each other with Nerf like balls and run wild.  I grabbed myself some bench and chilled while Adam ran wild.  The Safaris Trek is a safari ride through an area filled with Lego animals.  Adam asked if he could ride alone and since he was tall enough he did.  I rode behind him.
NEWS BREAK: Congratulations to Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson who has been voted the American League Rookie of the Year.  Way to go Hellboy!
In the back area of the park is an area known as Lego City.  This is where Flight School, Boating School and Driving School are all located.  By far, Adam’s favorite was Driving School.  The kids got into these small Lego cars and were able to drive in an area that looked like real streets with traffic signs, lights and other drivers.  Unlike the Grand Prix at WDW, Driving School has no track so the kids can drive wherever they’d like.  But before they can drive they must sit through a safety video.  After the video ends parents head out one door to the viewing area while the kids head to the track.  I have to tell you that it was, quite possibly, the cutest thing I had ever seen.  And surprisingly the kids all did very well and obeyed most of the rules of the road.  Oh sure, there were some red lights run and some illegal passing, but all the kids received an official Legoland drivers license when it was over.
Pirate’s Cove was a real disappointment and I hope they do more with this area in the future.  All that was there were some Lego pirates and a dumb water ski show.  I will be the first to admit that I despise water ski shows and avoid them at all costs.  They are always corny, poorly performed and the performers are all so “look at me, look at me”.  Thankfully I have raised a child that has zero interest in watching a water ski show so that was quickly skipped.
There is also an area known as the Imagination Zone in which you can experiment with building all sorts of Lego creations, but Adam was not all that interested saying that he could do that at home.  The Test Track was in the neighboring Lego Technic area as well as a water ride which we passed on because it was chilly and had no interest in getting wet.
The main attraction for adults is Miniland USA.  Miniland USA is the area where there are replicas of American cities built from Lego bricks.  Adam seemed most fascinated by the Las Vegas strip, and I will admit it was quite a sight to see, but then again so was everything else.  The people in charge of building these works of art are truly masters of the Lego brick.

Most theme parks have a particular food item or two that are unique.  Legoland has Granny’s Apple Fries.  Quite simply, they are granny smith apples cut and fried, dusted with cinnamon & sugar and then served with a vanilla dipping sauce.  They are served hot and are delicious.

One thing I wondered about was the Splash Island Water Park that had been connected to Cypress Gardens back in the day.  It is still there, but closed off from the rest of the park.  I asked and was told that it will eventually reopen, but a decision on when has not been made.  The person I spoke to said they were considering enlarging the water park and charging separate admission for it.  I think that is a mistake.  The water park was small and was a nice place to take a break on a hot day.  All you needed to do was bring a swimsuit and a towel and you could rent a locker for a couple of hours, cool off and then go back to the rest of the park.  I think when the summer heats arrive it will be a nice thing to have.  I suggested that they keep it that way when they reopen that area.  As it is the price is a little high considering there are so many attractions that an adult cannot utilize.  Allowing the water park to be included with admission lessens the hurt.

Overall I liked Legoland very much.  It was fun watching Adam have fun and I had a most enjoyable time on the attractions I could go on.  Since we purchased annual passes at a deeply discounted rate we will definitely be going back.  We are looking forward to seeing the holiday decorations they will be putting up in late November.  If you have children under the age of 12 they will have fun, but then again I saw a number of adults there that appeared to have no children with them and they were having a good time as well.  So what other conclusion can I come to other than you will probably have a good time at any age.



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