Thousands of eager residents came out to the Winter Haven Orange Dome one night last week to see what Legoland Florida will bring to Central Florida upon opening in fall 2011.
Legoland Model Citizens, the company’s affectionate term for its employees, revealed renderings of what the new theme park will look like, and how the current landscape of the former Cypress Gardens park will adapt to meet the Legoland target visitor.
City – featuring a Driving School where children earn their first “driver’s license” and families compete on Fun Town Fire Academy, a competitive ride that challenges families to get a fire truck from one side to another and put out a faux fire.
Dino Island – where guests take a trip to prehistoric times and experience their first “thrill” ride.
Retail and dining areas were also introduced including The Big Shop, which will be one of the largest Lego retail stores in the country and the Garden Restaurant where homemade soups and sandwiches will be served.
During the three-hour open house, Legoland executives including Managing Director of Legoland Parks John Jakobsen, General Manager of Legoland Development John Ussher, Sales & Marketing Director Kim Isemann and Human Resources Director Kim Clark answered questions from guests including how to apply for positions and what makes Legoland Florida different from other theme parks in the area.
“We are very excited to be bringing only the second Legoland Park in North America here to Polk County,” said Jakobsen. “Our main goal tonight is to answer questions and build excitement for the most unique theme park ever to come to this area.”
Legoland Florida will offer more than 50 rides, shows and attractions, including thousands of Lego models. The Florida development will be Merlin Entertainments’ second Legoland Park in North America. Providing a full-day, year-round theme park experience geared towards families with children between the ages of 2 and 12, Legoland Florida will mirror the concept of the four existing Legoland Parks in Denmark, Germany, U.K. and California. However, as with the other four, it will also have its own unique “twist” reflecting its location and adding a Florida flavor.
At the open house, children and their families interacted with Lego models of Darth Vader, Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, a raptor dinosaur, several Lego friends, Rodin’s “The Thinker” and a lady fire fighter. Also on display was a miniature version of the White House made of more than 120,000 Lego bricks which will be the family theme park’s first permanent model.
Attendees also were able to help build a giant Lego mural depicting an artist’s rendering of the front entrance of Legoland Florida. When completed, the mural will be nine feet wide and five feet tall and created out of 35,000 Lego bricks.
Video interview from the open house:
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Photos by Robert Ashburn of Florida Thrills Network and submitted by Legoland.
Video by Jimmy Strater