Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Scott And Carol Present A Look At Legoland Florida - Part 1

Having visited the Cypress Gardens Adventure Park on the last day of operation back in 2009, we were very interested in seeing the new look of this classic Florida attraction. The bright new look begins before you come close to the gate.

My oldest memory was standing around being bored looking at the southern belles in the heat and wishing I had an umbrella to block the sun. This is just one of the sculptures that pays homage to the past.

Everybody loves dinosaurs, and these Lego brick ones proved to be no exception. Seeking out the shade beneath the trees, these colorful beasts amused young and young at heart. A permanent cheery wave greets the guests.

Here is a rare NPN photo of Carol, who thankfully did not have camera envy of this character. That is a whimsical part of Legoland, the sense of humor the artists express in the various sculptures. Notice the girl with the Lego sets, this is just outside a store featuring many of the more popular combinations.

Another popular sculpture, almost half the children passing by had to be restrained by their adults from trying this pose. Listening to the litany of imaginative excuses for why the children "couldn't try this right now" made more than one adult passerby struggle to keep a straight face.

Heading into Lego Kingdoms, impressive dragons, knights, damsels, and other characters abound. Easily the most immersively themed section, it offers shade and a castle that is fit for a Dragon.

Roaring down the track with all his might, the reworked Okeechobee Rampage is a fine Dragon to haunt this castle. With another train and a short "dark ride" section of track added, the characters are only visible when riding the coaster. Luckily for grandparents everywhere, it is a mild family coaster enjoyable for all ages, as long they are 40" tall.

Lost Kingdom Adventure, a Sally interactive dark ride, takes guests for spin through the Egyptian countryside, where they blast away with laser blasters in search of ancient treasures from extinct empires. A highly repeatable ride, it was a cool change on a very warm November afternoon.

Intrepid Lego explorers help in the treasure hunt, complete with animation and humorous stunts. A highly repeatable experience, don't let the line tempt you to skip this ride, because it moves very quickly.

The Coastersaurus, formerly the Triple Hurricane, is themed with dinosaurs, and some of them are animated. A peppy junior wooden roller coaster, the various sculptures enhance the experience and the overriding concern coming back into the station appeared to be young voices asking "Can we ride it again?" Many of the Lego dinosaurs are life-sized and incredibly detailed. The only artistic license granted was in the colors of this thunder lizard.

This full-scale Ford Explorer is made of over 380,000 Lego brick and took over 2,500 hours to create. It sits out front of the Ford Driving School where kids 6 through 13 learn rules of the road and can actually receive their official Legoland driver's license. Hopefully, this incredibly popular attraction will reinforce the message of don't text and drive.

This view of the Coastersaurus is courtesy of the Island in the Sky, which gently raises guests 150 feet skyward and allows marvelous photo opportunities. Especially popular during the ski show, it allows for a panoramic of both Legoland park and Lake Eloise.

The Safari Trek takes you an a ride through the wilds of Africa, complete with some animated creatures that have a surprise for you. Luckily adults without children can enjoy this ride, and marvel at the skill of the Lego artists. Their patience to build all of these models is amazing.

If traveling by boat is more closely aligned with your party's interest, the Boating School allows little captains at least 34" tall a chance to try the helm of electrically powered boats. Here is where we saw the best example of the culture of Legoland. As might be expected, some riders struggled mightily to get back to the dock. The ride attendants quickly got them pointed in the right direction and cheerfully encouraged the drivers, even when the staff had to put on waders and push. An exemplary example of great customer service.

So that is Part 1 of our Legoland visit. A fun filled park with lots of opportunity to burn off energy of the age 2 (36" most rides) to 12 set, and some hidden humor for the adults to also enjoy. Stay tuned for Part 2, coming to News Plus Notes on your computer.