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Legoland Florida Review: A First Timer’s Perspective

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legoland florida review

Legoland Florida has been around since 2011, and we finally got to check it out this week.  Here is my Legoland Florida Review, from my first visit to the park!

“Busier than Normal”

My kid had a rough night, meaning Mommy had a rough night too.  I wanted to leave Orlando by 8:30 a.m. to make it to Winter Haven before the park opened at 10 a.m., but it did not end up happening.

We made it to Legoland around 11 o’clock, immediately into a sea of cars, bumper to bumper, waiting to get into the parking lot.  Normally, there are two lanes to enter, and two to exit.  That day, they had made it three entrance lanes to help traffic flow more easily.

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The worker directing traffic informed me it was “busier than normal.”  To me, this means that this is the worst capacity-wise Legoland Florida gets, which is good to know when planning trips here in the future.

Regular parking is $17, with preferred parking being $27 (not worth it, in my opinion).  If you pre-pay for parking online, it will save you a couple of dollars.  Even with the sea of cars, there was plenty of parking left.

Small Issue with Our Annual Passes

We had purchased our “Awesomer Pass” annual passes online, so were given vouchers to be redeemed on the first day of visit.

The Awesomer Pass is a four-attraction pass, giving you access to Legoland Florida, The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussaud’s, and SeaLife Aquarium for a year.

The fine print on our vouchers stated just to present our vouchers to one of these attractions in order to be issued our annual passes.

When we tried to redeem our vouchers, we were told that Legoland Florida could not issue us our passes because we had purchased them from The Orlando Eye, who would be the one to issue them.

I explained these were purchased online and there was nothing that stated we had to first visit The Orlando Eye in order to get our annual passes.

The staff was very friendly, however, and gave us complimentary passes to use that day to get into the park.  After lining up at the Annual Pass building, they also gave us our commemorative bricks.

We were able to get into the park with our complimentary passes, but I was slightly peeved about this small setback.

Duplo Valley for Younger Children

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Legoland states it is designed for children ages 2 through 12, but they make an attempt to cater to the super young ones too with an area called “Duplo Valley” designed specifically for toddlers.

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They even have a special brochure for those with young kids, which I referred to before visiting the park.

In my experience, Duplo Valley is “just alright” for toddlers and definitely not-infant friendly.  I had my 1-year-old son and 10-month-old niece with me.

In fact, I would say the entire Legoland Florida theme park is not very infant-friendly.  Many rides with “no height requirements” do not allow hand-held infants, such as the Quest for Chi.

legoland florida review

The double-decker Grand Carousel is a good one you can go on, and you can bring your infant on this ride.

As a parent with a curious toddler, Duplo Valley was disappointing.  There was not enough stimulation for my kid, and really not any Duplos to play with.

legoland florida review

Nonetheless, my son had fun playing inside the Duplo Farm and especially had a blast riding the Duplo Tractor!  He loved it so much we got back in line so he could ride it again!

Older Kids Will Have a Blast

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Though my son is not old enough for most of the activities at Legoland Florida, I am pretty sure older children will enjoy it here.

There are plenty of learning activities for the older kids, such as a driving school, boating school, and flying school.  Beyond that, there are numerous roller coasters as well as water rides.

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The driving school really looks like so much fun!  I know if I was between 6 and 12 years old, I would really love driving my car around the little town and getting my “driver’s license” afterwards!

Wait Times

Being busier than usual, the wait times ranged from 30 minutes for the toddler rides in Duplo Valley to over 60 minutes for the more awesome rides in other parts of the park, such as Coastersaurus and The Dragon.

If you have been to the Magic Kingdom at Disney World, you will think the lines at Legoland are nothing to complain about!

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Plenty of Food Choices

Legoland Florida allows you to bring a small, soft-sided cooler bag, so we packed our lunch.  On days we plan to be at a theme park from open to close, we usually pack a lunch for the beginning part of the day, and then purchase something in the park later on.

We opted to try out Castle Burger, located at Lego Kingdoms.  The food was not incredibly pricey.  We paid $6.99 for a kid’s meal (cheeseburger, apple juice, fries, and cup of fruit) and $10 for an adult meal (cheeseburger with the works, fries, no drink).  The fries were hot and delicious!

One more annoyance I encountered was that the “model citizen” (Legoland staff member) working the cash register failed to give me my 10% annual pass member discount at checkout.

With a line behind me, I decided to not make a fuss about the discount, but I just wanted to get it out there to annual passholders to make sure to remind the cashier plenty of times in order to receive your 10% off at Legoland eateries.

Miniland USA

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One of the coolest things to see is Miniland USA, which are miniature cities all built with Lego bricks!  As a kid, I was a huge Lego enthusiast.  I used to make entire “Lego towns” on the floor of my room, which is probably why I enjoyed the Miniland USA display so much.

Being from San Francisco, I found the mini-San Francisco display to be pretty neat and also pretty accurate to the real deal.  They even have miniature figures of my beloved sea lions of Pier 39 on display!

History Preserved

Legoland Florida is actually built on what is now the extinct Cypress Gardens amusement park.

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When I was very young, my parents had taken me to visit Cypress Gardens while on a family vacation.  I do not remember this vacation, but my mother told me about the butterfly sanctuary and the Southern belles that used to roam the park.

I am glad to know that Legoland has taken great care to preserve some of Cypress Gardens.  Toward the back of the park, past Pirates Cove, is the entrance to the botanical gardens.

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My son fell asleep in his stroller, so we spent some quiet afternoon time strolling around this area.

For those who enjoy nature, history, and what I refer to as “old stuff,” make sure to visit the Cypress Gardens area of Legoland.  The historic white gazebo is preserved in good condition, with a Lego Southern belle sitting delicately there to greet you.

We also saw an alligator in Lake Eloise, which jumped back into the water when it saw humans!

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For me, the prize for “Best Thing to See” at Legoland Florida goes to the Banyan Tree.  The story goes is that it was planted in a small bucket in 1939 by Dick Pope, Sr., the founder of Cypress Gardens.  Look at it now, with roots towering into the sky!

The Banyan Tree is a marvelous work of Mother Nature.  It is beautiful, peaceful, and I was absolutely in awe.

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Special Events

Throughout the year, Legoland Florida holds special events.  Because we went the week after Christmas, it was perfect timing (and unplanned) because there were not one, but two, special events happening that day – Christmas Bricktacular and the Kids’ New Year’s Party!

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With Christmas Bricktacular, there are many Christmas-themed figures throughout the park made of Legos.  At night, we watched a short Christmas tree light show set to holiday music.  It snows too!

There are also appearances by toy soldiers on stilts and picture opportunities with a Lego Santa and even inside an enormous snow globe.

We ended the night with the Kids’ New Year’s Party, watching fireworks over Lake Eloise as the park closed at 7 p.m.  I do not think many people were aware of this fireworks show because most people were heading out of the park as we made our way to Pirates Cove for the fireworks show.

legoland florida review

This fireworks show is not like a regular fireworks show because you get to wear those 3D paper sunglasses and see Legos in the sky bursting with all the fireworks!

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Final Thoughts

With our annual pass issue and the non-stimulating Duplo Valley, I think our day started off on the wrong foot, but there are plenty of fun things to see and do at Legoland Florida.  I really enjoyed looking at the miniature cities in Miniland USA and loved walking through Cypress Gardens.

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My first visit to Legoland Florida was an overall good experience, but it does not measure up to Disney World.  If you can only go to one theme park in Central Florida, I will still recommend Magic Kingdom.

After that, I would probably head over to Epcot and/or Universal Studios.  Then, if you still have extra time and money to spare, then go ahead and make your way over to Legoland Florida.

I would probably pass on going here if you have young kids and infants, but for those with older children, a visit to Legoland Florida should be a great time!  I hope you found my first-timer’s Legoland Florida review helpful in planning your family trip!

Have you visited Legoland Florida?  What did you think?  Tell us about your trip in the comments!

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