So it’s been 31 months since we last visited LEGOLand Florida. That day was the Grand Opening of the much-anticipated park, which some park-goers loved and others not-so-much. Some of the disappointed remarks I read that day were that the lines were too long and that the rides were designed for a younger audience.
Well… yah. The park IS designed to be very family friendly, meaning that most rides are meant to be ridden on by the 6 – 12 age group. If you are thrill-hungry and looking for fast roller coasters, this is probably not the park for you. And even the seats of the rides are a little tight for my husband and son to ride together – the park is designed for young kids who take things at an easier pace.
As for the crowds … well back then it was crowded because the park just opened. And it was one of my worries as we were headed back there on a Sunday over Memorial Day Weekend … were we CRAZY? But I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, with most rides having a 5 minute wait. I think we had two 10 minute waits. There was one person ahead of us when we stopped for the Apple Fries and about two people ahead of us when we stopped for lunch. No real crowd!
As Florida residents, we took advantage of the $99 annual pass, which includes the water park and parking. We didn’t attend the water park when we went, we are saving that excitement for next month. But my boys (44″ tall) were able to go on ALL THE RIDES this time around. Nothing was too crowded, under maintenance or any other problems that arose 2 years ago. So here is the scoop on LEGOLand Florida 2013!
BRICK TIP ONE: Read the ride entrance signs! There are many requirements for all of the rides. Minimum heights and ages and maximum heights and ages may apply. The rides are tight fits for bigger adults, my husband was usually crushed with a body-builder physique. If restrictions apply, they will check heights and age.
LEGO Kingdoms had The Dragon coaster, where the minimum height requirement is 40″. You have to be 48″ to ride without an adult. Under 48? and you have to ride with an adult 48″ or taller. It’s a “slower” coaster and a fun first coaster for young riders. It doesn’t just speed off, but begins with a tour of the castle, where you can see Dragons, Wizards, Knights and more. Some of them are animatronic and move as you go by. This was my 5-year old’s favorite ride.
While at LEGO Kingdoms, we also rode Merlin’s Challenge. This was a tipsy, circular train ride. Minimum height to ride is 36″. Riders under 48″ must be accompanied by a rider 48″ or taller. It was fun for the kids, but anything that loops in a tight circle is enough to make me a little woozy. So any one who is susceptible of motion sickness might need to be wary of this challenge!
And you have to get your young children on The Joust. It is just too cute to see your little ones riding LEGO horses around a track. Only three horses move at a time – and they move slowly on the track in a bouncing motion. Children have to be between 4 – 12 to ride. They do seatbelt your child on and only an employee can undo the seatbelt at the exit. Since the ride is slow moving, the wait is deceptive. What appears to be a short line can be 45-minutes, so double check the entrance sign as you go on the line.
There is also a Forestman Hide-Out climbing attraction. We did pass this attraction since we wanted to head on to Land of Adventure.
BRICK TIP 2: This park is said to be designed for ages 2 – 12. I would probably say it’s best-suited for children ages 4 – 12. Otherwise height restrictions (mostly 36″) will keep little ones off the rides and older children will prefer more wild rides. So if you are planning a trip, remember it’s built for children – not adults, toddlers, babies, tweens or teens.
From LEGO Kingdoms, we headed straight to Land of Adventures. I was keeping my group moving since I wasn’t sure how lines would start growing as more people entered the park throughout the day. We were immediately talked into going on Lost Kingdom Adventure by my boys, another favorite ride that they remembered from the Grand Opening. You sit down in one of the people movers, 4 people to a car. Each person has a gun and an electronic point meter in front of them. As you go through the ride, you see all sorts of ancient artifacts and there is a little light that is usually under or above the artifact. Aim for these lights to cause things to pop up, go down, move, blow air and more. The more you shoot, the more the ride does. My kids LOVE this ride. Minimum height requirement is 3o”. If you are 42″ or under, you have to ride with someone 42″ or taller.
Next up was Beetle Bounce. They have to balance the weight on this ride, so usually only one adult is allowed on at a time, and minimum height requirement is 36″. The largest child/adult has to sit in the center. It bounces them 15 feet in the air and would waver up and down.
From there, you can give your kids time to play in a little play area called Pharoah’s Revenge, where there were two stories with lots of climbing and shooting opportunities. But we headed onto more rides.
Safari Trek is a small car ride, where two riders at a time board a zebra-striped safari vehicle to explore the LEGO Serengeti. You get to see LEGO zebras, meercats, elephants, antelopes and lions. I was just amazed at the life-size LEGO models of these animals. Minimum rider height is 34″. Riders less than 48″ must be accompanied by someone 48″ in height or taller.
And then we headed to Coastersaurus, which was the ride my 5 year old was WAITING for anxiously from the moment we entered the park. It looked to be a wooden coaster, but it offered a smooth ride. There are no upside turns, but it is a lot faster than The Dragon in LEGO Kingdoms. There is barely a chance to look around as you zoom on the track. But if you do keep your eyes open, you’ll spot some Dino Lego designs next to the track. Children had to be seatbelted and use the lap bar. No loose articles are allowed on the coaster, you put it in a supplied cubby. Since there is only one coaster on the track, you are the only riders who get off so your articles are safe with the associates. Riders have to be at least 36″ tall. If you are under 48″, you have to ride with someone 48″ or taller.
BRICK TIP 3: Get to the park EARLY. Parking opens around 9:00. The park opens at 9:30, the water section at 10. Getting there early will let you be at the front of the line, so you can get first dibs on some of the most popular LEGO sections.
At this point we ended up going to LEGO City, where there is Driving School, Boating School and Flying School. Two years ago the Boating School was having technical difficulties and when it opened the crowd waiting was a little too intense for us. This year it was smooth sailing! There isn’t a lot of room on these boats, I saw two adults try to sit with a small child and there simply wasn’t room. Also, there is a minimum of two riders per boat, although I saw an adult scooting around by themselves in one. So just keep that in mind – it’s a kid ride. You push down on the pedal and steer the boat around a winding river. My 7 year old was able to control his boat perfectly. With my 5 year old we ended up facing the wrong direction at times. There is a minimum height requirement of 34″, and riders under 48″ have to ride with someone 48″ or taller. No one has ever fallen in the water in the past two years, in case you are wondering. My husband asked.
We did the heart-pumping and fun Rescue Academy, where 4 families/groups race in rescue vehicles, pump water to put out a fire or stop a criminal and then race their vehicle back to the starting point. It’s easier for adults to pump and aim, but everyone has fun in this race. My husband and I enjoyed it the competitiveness, be aware of the “work” involved in this “ride”.
Next up was the Driving School. There are two driving schools, one for drivers 3 – 5 and the other for drivers 6 to 13. Last time both boys went to the younger driving school, with the smaller track. This time we sent them to the older school, where they got their photo taken, attended a video driving course and then got to try their skills on a practice neighborhood with stop signs, stop lights and crossing traffic. At the end they received a paper license, sans picture.
Then my youngest was hungry. Last time we went to the Lakeside Sandwich Shop, which had ham, tuna and smoked turkey sandwiches, drinks, muffins, grapes, apples, pretzels, chips and cookies. This time we went to the Fried Chicken Co., where my husband and I had wraps and the kids got chicken finger kids meals.
After dinner we went to the Flying School, which has a minimum height of 44″ – the boys JUST made the height requirement. It is a hanging coaster, so your feet dangle. No bags allowed on, you stick them in a cubby. My youngest and I rode in the back, after kicking off our flip flops and crocs. My husband and oldest rode in the front with the next group – that was just how we ended up which was fine by us. It was a hoot and a holler, my 5 year old LOVED it. To ride without an adult you have to be 52″ or taller.
This year we rode on the Technic rides, which were fun! Not at all as bothersome as I thought last time, when it was insanely crowded. This time we made it to Technicycle first, which has a minimum height requirement of 36″. You have to pedal the bikes to stay in the air, which was hard for my 44″ sons. So my husband and I were doing most of the pedaling and we stayed high the whole ride, which the boys loved.
Next up was Aquazone, with a minimum height restriction of 40″. I was a little confused by what you had to do. I let my son take control of the wheel and I just stood behind him on the ride. We didn’t get wet at all and I was able to keep my purse on me during the ride. It was kind of reminiscent of jet skiing. The minimum height to ride without an adult is 52″.
Then we rode Test Tracks minimum height was 42″. This was the one I was most concerned about, because there were cubbies to put your bags – but multiple people were getting off coasters the whole time. So I took my valuables out of my purse and stuck them in my husband’s pockets. The ride itself was quick, speedy and with lots of twists and turns. The boys LOVED it.
We caught some shows around this time.
The first show was Pirate’s Cove Live Water Ski Show. This is a live-action, water-stunt show. It’s a mix of “real people” and costumed minifigure people dressed as soldiers and Captain Brickbead. Minifigures and live-actors alike do stunts on water skis, boats and jet skis. There’s humor and the first three rows get wet. They also choose three audience members to help defend the cove.
We also saw a 4D show. There are 3 different shows going on – Spellbreaker, Clutch Powers and a Chima show. We saw Spellbreaker, which my boys enjoyed the 3D movie and 4D effects – but there was no talking. All the LEGO characters sounded like Beaker from the Muppets. I felt like I was going crazy listening to the “mumble mumble” of the characters and was glad it was only 12 minutes long. Next time we are going to try to catch a different flick.
The boy also went on the Merry Go Round and for another round-and-round treat we rode Island in the Sky which is 150- foot rotating platform that gives guests a 360° view of LEGOLAND Florida. You could also see where they were renovating for the new World of Chima which will be coming this year.
BRICK TIP 4: FOOD! As I walked around the park at this point, I started getting a better bearing on where the food was. And I could hear parents asking about chicken fingers and hot dogs. So here you go. If you want Hot Dogs – they are in LEGO City at the City Stage Snack Bar. If you want Pizza, its in Funtown at the Pizza Pasta Buffet. For Hamburgers and French Fries, look for Pirate’s Cove at Cap’n Brickbeards. Chicken Fingers are at Fried Chicken Co. right by the Driving School. And you have to try the Apple Fries (dessert) served with Whip Cream in Funtown. A yum and different treat!
By now, we were slowing down so we headed to towards MiniLand USA to check out the models of Vegas, Florida, New York and the Star Wars section. It’s amazing, how when I look back at my photos I think I am looking at real buildings and real characters. It was a great time to slow down. And the boys really were taking in the scenes, probably imagining how they can build something similar at home. Pure inspiration.
BRICKTIP 5: Expect to spend all day at the park. The park is open from 10am – 5pm.
Finally, there are a few LEGO Stores for souvenirs. We saved money for this since we were there for my son’s birthday. We chose to do our set shopping at LEGO Studios, where you will find favorite LEGO® sets from TV and movies including Star WarsTM, Harry PotterTM, Spongebob SquarepantsTM and Super Heroes, Monsters and more. The sets were very well priced. I heard someone once say that the sets were more expensive at the park, and they were right on to me. We also stopped at LEGO Factory, where I bought a cool glow in the dark ghost keychain for me! And then The Big Shop which was BIG and too crowded, so avoid that one if you can.
Overall, we loved LEGOLand Florida two years after the original opening. It was an even better experience and was very well-suited for my boys ages and heights. My boys are 5 and 7 and are 44″ tall. Remember to check all height and age restrictions at LEGOLAND.COM before going. It will also help you plan your day regarding what attractions to try first. And consider purchasing LEGOLand tickets online, as well.
BRICKTIP 6: Florida Residents, take advantage of the Florida Annual Pass which is $99 for a limited time. It includes free parking, discounts to restaurants and stores and access to both the original park and the water park.
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ANY QUESTIONS? JUST ASK BELOW AND I’LL LOVE TO HELP YOU OUT!
This is solely the opinion of the mom behind the buzz, Erin T. Other people may have different experiences with the product. The Mom Buzz paid for her annual tickets.