Some places are kid friendly, but LEGOLAND Florida Resort isn’t just kid friendly – it is kid-focused. Everything about the resort invites kids to be kids. You’ll know this the minute you enter the hotel lobby. In the center, columns stand partially clad in brightly colored LEGOS and between them a planter filled with LEGO bricks beckons every kid who walks in to help build the wall. And that is just the beginning.
The 150-acre LEGOLAND interactive theme park offers more than 50 rides, shows and attractions, a lovely botanical garden, shopping, restaurants and the LEGOLAND Water Park – all geared to families with children ages 2 to 12.
The LEGOLAND Park is divided into sections including Fun Town, Duplo Valley and Heartlake City. For an overlook of the park, take a ride on the Island in the Sky – a 150-foot rotating platform that gives you a 360° view of LEGOLAND Florida. One of the most impressive sections is MINILAND USA where over 32 million LEGO bricks are used to construct cities and landmarks from coast to coast and around the world. The Las Vegas display showcases the city’s famous resorts and casinos while Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood comes to life complete with salsa dancers. New York City landmarks include Grand Central Station, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Central Park. At the Kennedy Space Center a rocket counts down to blast off. And the Daytona 500 Speedway gives the kids a chance to race LEGO cars.
When I visited LEGOLAND recently with my three grandkids, one of their favorite things was character trading. We stopped at the gift shop near the entrance of the park where I gave the kids the option to choose a small LEGO character. We then sat out on a bench and assembled the characters. Throughout the park, Model Citizens (employees) wear LEGO characters on their name tags. If you like one of their characters better than yours you can trade.
One of the hardest things about taking kids to any theme park is keeping them entertained while waiting in line for rides or while parents and grandparents finish eating. LEGOLAND has taken care of that problem by placing tables throughout the park and in restaurants with buckets of LEGO bricks so the kids can create while they wait.
After a full day at the park, the fun continues at LEGOLAND Resort where guests of the hotel are invited to sign up for a class with a LEGO Master Builder. In the class, the Master Builder works with the kids to build a special LEGO character that cannot be found anywhere else.
There are plenty of other things to keep everyone entertained – like the huge castle and pirate ship in the hotel lobby where kids run wild, build with LEGO bricks and generally just rule the world. At bedtime the lobby becomes a giant pajama party with live LEGO characters leading dances, playing games and telling stories. Even the elevators turn into dance parties when the doors close with disco effects and rocking music.
Dinner time is fun here just like everything else. Bricks Family Restaurant is a buffet-style restaurant built for kids. Kid-approved foods like chicken fingers, salads, and pizza are served at kid level. And you can bribe the little ones to eat all of their protein and vegetables with the promise of an ice cream sundae they can build themselves for dessert.
Alternatively, the Skyline Lounge features a creative, custom menu that includes a variety of organic Florida produce and vegetables. Adults can imbibe in cocktails, wine and an array of Florida craft beers while the little ones enjoy a "mocktail" with their dinner.
The five-story, 152 room LEGOLAND resort hotel has more than two million LEGO bricks that make up over 2,000 LEGO models throughout the property. Choose a room from one of four themes: Pirate, Adventure, Kingdom and LEGO Friends. Each theme is unique and all are once again kid-focused. In the Kingdom themed rooms, the kids section has bunk beds, a flat-screen TV and signs telling "Ye Olde Adults" to keep out. A treasure chest with a combination lock awaits in the corner. Clues for each of the three combination numbers are given on the kids TV and once solved the treasure chest opens to reveal more LEGO characters, a LEGOLAND newspaper, coloring books and crayons.
If you have little LEGO fans in your life, I highly recommend a night or two at LEGOLAND Resort Florida. But be warned, at LEGOLAND the kids are in control.
Have you been to LEGOLAND Resort Florida? What impressed you the most?
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
Terri Marshall is a New York City based freelance writer whose work includes travel, spirits, and all things chocolate. Terri's work appears in several publications. She has been a featured guest on Peter Greenberg's Worldwide Travel radio program and Denver's KZKO Radio Morning Express show. Terri will not hesitate to go to the source for great chocolate - even if that means hiking through the jungle and picking cacao pods herself.
Happiest when she's globetrotting, Terri has covered destinations all over the United States, Europe, and into Central and South America. Favorite adventures include reindeer driving in Norway and fishing for piranhas in the Amazon jungle of Peru. You can keep up with Terri's adventures on her website www.TrippingwithTerri.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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