Thursday, January 21, 2010

Legoland Florida, Indeed

Beginning in late 2011, the former Cypress Gardens theme park will reopen as Legoland Florida, the latest in the growing chain of Lego themed family parks across the globe.

The development is slated to turn the former Cypress Gardens into the largest Lego park in the world. The famous botanical gardens will stay in place, as some 40 million Lego blocks are brought in during the massive transformation. Exact details on rides and attractions were not released, but the investment going into the park is said to be quite significant.

The CEO of the new owners did mention that the water park will remain, but will be a separate gate. He also stated that one of the park's wooden roller coasters will probably remain - I have to think that might be the smaller Triple Hurricane ride, unfortunately not the famous Starliner. (see our recent Aerial Antics featuring the park for views)

Choosing an existing park has helped owner Merlin Entertainments shave years off of development plans for a brand new park in the Orlando area. While Legoland Florida will be located nearly an hour outside Orlando, they hope the drawing power of the brand will help bring both locals and tourists into the park's gates.

If the park is a hit plans are already in place to bring a hotel and additional Merlin branded attractions to the site, creating a full scale resort. This plan has worked well at Legoland California, where there's already an aquarium in place, a water park being built, and a hotel planned.

I think the location of the park may play out as a bigger obstacle than first expected, but there really is a lot of drawing power behind the concept so who knows. I certainly wish them the best of luck!