Big­gest Le­goland in the world

Le­goland Florida will build a new ho­tel by 2015 to add to its sta­ble.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TRAVEL - By TA­MARA LUSH

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

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