Legoland: Men in ponchos
First things first. In case you don’t live in Florida or were in the midst of a 72 hour nap, it rained a lot over the weekend, borderline biblical. Thanks to this deluge, my long awaited return to the bike has been limited to indoor sessions on the trainer, so to say that I am looking forward to getting out and logging some real miles outside this weekend is an understatement.
Despite the buckets of rain, my son Byron and I had a chance to go to the preview for Legoland Florida this weekend and we took it. Yes, we did get very wet, but overall it was worth the quick trip down I-4. The park is at the old Cypress Gardens location in Winter Haven and is bigger than I expected. It is also appears to be geared for families with younger children so there are lots of smaller rides and activities for them, so kids around 10 or younger will love it. On the flip side, I can see teens being pretty bored here, so keep caveat emptor if you are planning a trip with a 14 year old.
We did get a couple of hours of relative dryness in between the rain storms, so I took the opportunity to take as many pictures as possible with my ancient iphone, especially of the Miniland USA section, which features some incredibly detailed recreations of American cities and landmarks. Both Byron and I found this pretty cool, so here’s a photo review:
That is all of the photos I could squeeze in before the heavens opened. We stayed around for another hour or so and took in a motor boat ride that B enjoyed, as well as a “build and test” station which was packed due to the rain. We didn’t have a chance to do many of the rides, but there did seem to be a nice variety which would keep the lines for each fairly short. Perhaps it was because it was a preview weekend, but the staff was all very helpful and cheerful (but not that quasi-creepy Disney level of cheerful) despite the rain. It also seems reasonably priced, with one day tickets in the $50 range for adults. And of course there are ample opportunities for you to purchase Lego merchandise, just in case you were worried that you wouldn’t have that opportunity.
There were only two drawbacks that I saw. One was the entrance – We arrived right at the park opening time (10:00 AM) and since there’s only one way in it took us between 20-30 minutes in line (despite multiple lanes being open) before we were able to make it through the front gate and into the parking lot. Consider showing up an hour or so after opening to avoid this crush.
The only other disappointment we had was with the Pirates Cove area, featuring a pirate themed (duh) water show but no pirate rides or activities, which seems like a missed opportunity. Despite this and the miserable weather we definitely had a good time and I’d recommend families with young children (especially Lego crazed boys) consider making a day of it if you are in the Central Florida area.
Before I wrap up, I’d like to take a moment to welcome Brian to the world of blog and congratulate him on his impending entry into the ranks of fatherhood (oh, and apologize for the unmerciful beating that I put on him in fantasy football this weekend). Check out his site and wish him luck on his new adventure.