New Theme Park is “Game Changer” for Central Florida
LEGOLAND, Fla. (October 15, 2011) – Families packed Central Florida’s newest theme park today to ensure they were among the first to experience LEGOLAND® Florida. The first major theme park to open in the United States in more than a decade, LEGOLAND Florida got off to a busy start with thousands of visitors queuing up near the park’s entrance before dawn for the 10 a.m. opening ceremony.
Families began arriving at 5:30 a.m. and the crowd grew as the countdown continued. At 9:58 a.m., General Manager Adrian Jones flipped the ceremonial switch to “power up” the park. As the crowds burst through the stanchions and raced to the turnstiles, the Brunner family from Lake Mary, Fla. became the first official guests and received LEGOLAND Florida annual passes.
Just 45 minutes from both Orlando and Tampa, the park celebrates the world’s love-affair with all things LEGO® by delivering a dream park built with more than 50 million bricks. Its 50 rides, shows and “pink knuckle” attractions put kids in the center of the action by giving them the opportunity to drive, fly, build and climb their way through 150 acres of fun. LEGOLAND Florida is the fifth in Merlin Entertainments Group’s LEGOLAND portfolio.
Company leaders have been pleased with the reception the new park has already received from Florida residents and are inspired by the role they’ll play in attracting first-time visitors to the area because of the park’s appeal to young families.
“In essence, we’re establishing an entirely new visitation category in this market because every ride, show and attraction within LEGOLAND Florida has been designed exclusively with kids ages 2 to 12 in mind,” said Nick Varney, CEO for Merlin Entertainments Group.
“It’s a real game-changer for Central Florida because young families can finally plan that first theme park vacation assured that even their youngest child will enjoy a memorable experience, and that they’ll be able to optimize their vacation budget,” Varney said.
Like other LEGOLAND Parks, the Florida destination is divided into 10 fun-filled, interactive zones. Four junior coasters stand ready to offer many young theme park-goers their first thrill experience, including Coastersaurus, a wooden roller coaster that anchors Land of Adventure, and LEGO Technic® Test Track Coaster which joins the splash-tastic AQUAZONE® Wave Racers in the LEGO Technic Zone.
Other zones include LEGO Kingdoms, which features knights, princesses and dragons – as well as the newest “castle” in Central Florida – and the interactive LEGO City where kids drive cars and boats by themselves. Miniland USA is the heart of LEGOLAND and features landmarks from Washington D.C., New York City, Las Vegas, and major points of interest across Florida including Cape Kennedy and the Daytona Motor Speedway, all built at 1:20 scale.
Located on the site of the former Cypress Gardens, Florida’s first theme park which opened in 1936, LEGOLAND Florida has reclaimed the exquisite botanical gardens that made its predecessor famous. Park designers maximized the setting along the shores of Lake Eloise to offer breath-taking site lines and positioned each zone to take full advantage of the ample shade offered by hundreds of moss-draped oak trees.
“LEGOLAND Florida is the brilliant blend of two of the world’s most powerful family brands – LEGO and the Florida vacation,” said Chris Thompson, CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, the sunshine state’s tourism corporation. “Together they create the next generation of family entertainment and cement this region’s status as the Vacation Capital of the World.”
The new theme park is also helping energize Polk County and the surrounding region by drawing visitors to an area that’s lacked a major attraction since 2008, and through the creation of more than 1,000 jobs by LEGOLAND and hundreds more by other area employers preparing to welcome more guests.
“LEGOLAND is a great addition to an area,” said Dr. Abe Pizam, dean of Tourism Management at the Rosen College at the University of Central Florida. “Thousands will benefit directly and indirectly as more jobs are created and more revenue is generated across the region.”
LEGOLAND tickets cost $75 for adults and $65 for children 3-12, $10 less than other major Central Florida attractions. Annual passes may be purchased for $129 for adults and $99 for children and seniors over 60. For more information visit www.LEGOLAND.com.