Legoland, Winter Haven
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Legoland offers lots of rides, with short lines, in a beautiful setting. The colorful buildings in each land are pretty, and the park is located on a deep blue lake with moss-draped trees. Legoland is located 45 minutes from Magic Kingdom, in a plain orange farming and retirement town.
Best in all of Legoland is the Pirate's Cove water ski show. Make sure you don't miss it! It starts around noon and shows several times in the day. You see the most impressive water skiing tricks, combined with an exciting plot line! All backed by the glistening Lake Eloise.
Next to Pirate's Cove, take a stroll through Cypress Gardens. The Pirate's Cove ski show and Cypress Gardens are both remnants of a historic attraction that existed here from 1936-2009. The gardens have the most incredible banyan tree- it feels sacred beneath it. And there are sculptures of various saints, plus tropical plants of all kinds. Because the exit bridge of the loop is closed due to flooding, you have to turn around and go back where you came in order to exit.
As long as you don't come during Christmastime, you can ride rides to your heart's content without waiting in any lines!! It is quite a joy after being at the more popular theme parks in Orlando. Legoland is manageable, and in that way you actually have a happier day there than at the big, grand theme parks.
Here is a list of some of the rides that will appeal to school-aged kids: Mia's Riding Adventure, which is like a pirate ship ride that also spins (scary!); Coastersaurus, a wooden rollercoaster, which is the best ride in the park; The Dragon, another excellent rollercoaster set in a castle with beautiful imagination elements; The Flying School, a rollercoaster that is not as fun because it bobs your head side to side; Project X, another rollercoaster with jerky motion that is not very fun; Quest for Chi, a ride the completely soaks you so you don't want it unless it's an incredibly hot day; and Lost Kingdom, my favorite, an imagination ride with an Egyptian theme. It is smooth and slow so anyone can ride it.
Other more mild rides for school-aged kids are: Royal Joust (ages 4-12) where kids ride horses that take them past other riders for a joust (a lot of fun); Safari Trek, where you ride in a jeep (two passengers per jeep and one adult per child thus it won't work for a family of five with small kids) past large lego animals and bamboo; Boating School, where kids can drive a boat around a waterway of clear water; a two-level carousel where you don't always get a spot at the top so beware for disappointment; Island in the Sky Platform, which takes you up high and rotates you slowly for a great view of the lake and park (don't miss this!); Beetle Bounce, where you bob up and down; Aquazone Racers, a dumbo-style ride where water sprays up; and Merlin's Challenge, an awfully uncomfortable ride where the bar whacks your back over and over (skip this one).
Other very tame rides are: Ford Driving School which is too short but lets kids drive around a little town (ages 6-13 though a 13 year old would never be seen here!); Ford Jr Driving School, the same thing for aged 3-5; Duplo Tractor, a train ride on a tractor for little kids; Duplo Train, a cute train ride for little ones; Rescue Academy, a ride in a fire engine you must control that doesn't move forward very easily; and Kid Power Towers, which doesn't look very fun as you must pull yourself up to the top with a rope.
There are some playground areas such as Forestmen, an attractive and shady wooden playground, and Pharoah's Revenge, a rope play area. Shaded play areas for little tots with animals to climb are scattered throughout the park. There is also an indoor area called Imagination Zone where you can do lego mindstorms or build a lego car and test it. On summer days you can cool down in the water park, or kids can play at the two splash pads in the regular park (Duplo Land and Chima area).
The two other shows to check out are the Lego Friends show, near the Mia's Adventure ride, and the 4D lego show. Both of these are indoor shows, so they are nice if you want to get out of the sun and cool off.
If your child brings a mini-figure, they can trade it with employees in the park. They can also make their own mini-figure at the mini-figure store for $3.99, or buy a mini-figure mystery pack for the same price.
In the middle of the park are the lego mini-cities. These show their age but are still nice to see: New York, Las Vegas, Florida, Chicago, all made of legos. There are little boats going around waterways, and little people out and about in the parks. It's very cute. The Star Wars area is here too, and a favorite with Star Wars fans.
The food at Legoland is mediocre. Skip on Lakeside Sandwich Company which has such lovely seating by the lake but food that isn't fresh at all. The burger place is an acceptable choice with nice outdoor seating on a hill. There are several ice cream shops around the park, and a granny smith apple fries shop in Heartlake City land.
Unlike Universal's abrasive music that makes you go crazy, the music at Legoland is calm, quiet, and very enjoyable. I loved the medieval music in Lego Kingdoms land.
Some of the lands are beautiful: the medieval castle in Lego Kingdoms land, the tropical jungle and Egyptian columns and decorations in Land of Adventure, and the pastel-colored buildings in Heartlake City.
Legoland definitely has enough to do to keep you busy for the entire day, from 10am to 7pm (some days it closes earlier).
If you stay overnight, check out Bok Tower Gardens the next day!
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Legoland is located at 1 Legoland Way, Winter Haven FL 33884. Parking costs $17.
You can get discount tickets online at Costco.com if you're a member. This is a great deal at $59! Florida residents can buy discounted annual passes at the Legoland website.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.