Biggest Legoland in the world
Legoland Florida will build a new hotel by 2015 to add to its stable.
WHILE shovelling a ceremonial scoop of Lego bricks, Legoland Florida executives recently announced that the theme park will build a 152-room hotel on its property by 2015.
The news is significant for both the theme park and the area.
Since opening in 2011, the park has drawn many guests from families who are staying in Orlando and visiting the area’s large theme parks like Disney or Universal.
A brightly-coloured Legothemed hotel is expected to draw more visitors for longer stays to Winter Haven, a small city in Polk County about 80km (50 miles) from Walt Disney World.
“This shifts us from a single-day visit to a multi-day destination,” said Adrian Jones, Legoland Florida general manager.
Local Florida officials said they travelled to the California location and saw how the Legoland park and hotel has expanded the entire area’s tourism offerings.
“This was our hope from the beginning,” said Winter Haven Mayor JP Powell, adding that he’s hoping other large hotel, restaurant and tourism companies will add outposts in the area – which once comprised orange groves decades ago.
Legoland Florida is located on what was once Cypress Gardens, an old-timey Florida theme park that offered water ski shows and Southern belles dressed in hoop skirts.
Some of Cypress Gardens’ amenities, such as the historic botanical area, were preserved and are still on the Legoland grounds.
The new hotel will overlook Lake Eloise, where water ski shows are still held.
According to artist renderings distributed at the news conference, the four-storey Florida hotel will look a lot like the one in Carlsbad, California, but Jones said the new hotel would be more innovative and have several different features for Lego fans.
Legoland Florida is based on the building-block toys and has rides and attractions geared towards ages two to 12.
The Winter Haven location is one of five Lego-based theme parks in the world – the others are in California, England, Denmark and Malaysia – and the company’s largest.
The Florida location has expanded several times in two years, adding a Star Warsthemed area, a water park and a new ride and interactive play area based on the company’s popular Legends of Chima product line.
The company opened its family-friendly park and resort in April at the California park.
Visitors to the hotel there are greeted by a fire-breathing dragon made of 400,000 Lego bricks.
Guest rooms are decorated in pirate, adventure or kingdom themes, and most items in the rooms appear as if they are built of Legos.
“From a child’s eyes, what an ultimate experience it would be to wake up in the world’s largest Legoland,” said Jones. – AP
(above) Legoland Florida general manager adrian Jones recently announced that a new hotel will be built at Legoland Florida. (Left) Local dignitaries and officials of Legoland Florida scooping shovelfuls of Lego bricks as they break ground for the said hotel. — aP photos