Photo credit: Finding Florida Podcast
This past weekend, I got to fulfill a lifelong dream (well, since about 2011, at least). As a girl who grew up on Legos and amassed a collection in the THOUSANDS (all still neatly organized, I might say), getting to Legoland was a MAJOR dream come true–and something I could not WAIT to have my 5&1/2 year-old son experience with me as well. So, we packed ourselves in the car and made the trip. Here’s how it went!!
For my son, Jordon, visiting Legoland was a complete surprise. He had NO idea where we were going until we got there, as you can see from the tweet video on the left. And, as a single mom, I was ecstatic to find a promo code with a quick search online that got me his ticket for free with the full-price purchase of mine. SWEET!!
And, I was excited to be making it there during one of their biggest events of the year: their Christmas Bricktacular! It was a convergence of two of my favorite sources of magic–Legos and Christmas, and with a giant Christmas tree, a Santa with his sleigh and reindeer, a human-size snow globe, and more, their Bricktacular exceeded my expectations. There were even whimsical Lego elves to be discovered throughout the park.
Perhaps what shocked me the most during this first visit of ours to Legoland was just how much less crowded it was than other theme parks and attractions I’ve visited. It was, well, pleasant to get around the park. It was a Saturday with GORGEOUSLY perfect weather, and yet, it never felt overcrowded.
The lines were short and the waits were manageable. I don’t think we waited more than 20-25 minutes for ANYTHING, and some rides we only had about a 10 minute wait.
Another bonus? It felt like we were able to get to a lot more stuff in the park than I’ve experienced in other places. Legoland is a pretty compact theme park; so, you don’t have to walk very far for another cool ride or attraction. And, there are plenty of places to sit in the park, too. In other amusement parks, I’ve found myself having to squat down and lean my back against a wall or something just to give my legs and feet a bit of a break. But, there are benches galore in Legoland!
So, less walking, less standing in line, AND plenty of places to sit?? Yes, please!!
And, as Jordon attests to in the tweet video to the right, the rides are darn fun, too!!!
Jaime’s random #Florida find Saturday: @LEGOLANDFlorida’s buildout of @DISupdates!! 🏎🚥🏁 Check out Episodes 3a & 3b on our #DaytonaBeach adventure AND Jaime’s #Legoland review—all out this week!! #FindingFL #LoveFL @DaytonaBeachFun pic.twitter.com/0JBuqtOAaj
— Finding FL Podcast🍊 (@FindFLPodcast) December 18, 2017
Turn the corner from their rides and enter a whole new world: Miniland!! These are massive sets constructed by Lego’s master builders to replicate famous cities across the USA–from San Francisco to the Keys–and around the world. It’s really, REALLY cool–especially for a big kid brick enthusiast like me.
There are buttons along the way to push that activate animatronics in the displays–initiating music and movement among the minis. Look closely enough, and find humorous, fun treasures that mark the season–such as tiny little Lego elves trying to help Santa with his sleigh (he had apparently crashed it into one of the skyscrapers) and some Lego “Elf on the Shelf”s causing mischief.
One of my favorite discoveries of the whole park was finding the Florida section of Miniland and seeing their buildout of somewhere Glenn and I had just visited for Episode 3b: Wheels of Daytona Beach: the Daytona International Speedway!! (See the tweeted video to the left.)
And, Glenn and I have our sites set on a future adventure with NASA; but, for now, I loved seeing this Lego shuttle in action, shown below!
Legoland has made so much about their park experience simple and easy. Not only can you bring in a bunch of your own food (limited to using a cooler that’s not grotesquely big, at least), but their food options to buy are relatively cheap and surprisingly tasty. My chicken sandwich was pretty yummy, as were Jordon’s chicken tenders (not that I stole one or anything… walks off whistling…).
And staying hydrated is surprisingly cheap to do at Legoland as well. we bought a commemorative Legoland cup and made use of it for free ice water all day at their Coca-Cola refreshment kiosks throughout the park. Talk about convenience!
There’s something else unexpected you’ll find throughout the park as well: the same faces over and over again! Because the park is smaller and less crowded compared to some, Jordon and I kept running into the same people, which created a fun bonding experience. Hey, we saw you by the carousel! Hey, fancy meeting you here again. Oh, look, mom… It’s that same boy again!! By the end of the day, we had made friends with a family vacationing from Florida’s west coast and ended up heading back to ride the Dragon rollercoaster twice with them before we left the park that evening. It was so fun!
We left Legoland without seeing everything that it has to offer–but that’s mostly our fault. We got there about an hour later than we had planned (oops…) and had to cut out a bit early for dinner plans with friends (including Glenn!) about an hour away. (Plus, not to mention, SOMEONE wanted to ride their Dragon rollercoaster three times instead of checking out some new stuff, lol.) We missed exploring a couple of areas, such as Pirates’ Cove and Heartlake City. But, a more determined park visitor can certainly see and do it all in one day.
We had an absolute blast, and the staff (their model citizens) were SUPER friendly–with the exception of one lady who was working at Guest Services with more of an attitude than a smile. Otherwise, Jordon and I give Legoland two very enthusiastic thumbs up!!
Keep an eye out for their special annual events, like their Star Wars Days, Brick or Treat, and (of course) their Christmas Bricktacular. Find out what’s coming in 2018 and consider getting an annual pass. They are surprisingly cheap, especially for Florida residents.
And, for the full Lego experience (something on my radar for next time), look into staying at their Hotel, which is just steps away from the park. From the outside, it looks like a Lego fan’s utopia. And, from looking online, the rooms seem reasonably priced with cool Lego-based themes.
And with an Honorable Mention: The Florida Aquarium!
Jordon and I rounded out the weekend by meeting up with Glenn and Jenn for even more fun, exploring The Florida Aquarium! We saw all kinds of fun critters–big alligators, cuddly lemurs, mysterious fish, and so much more. And, someone must have put something extra special in their breakfast that morning, because, boy–were they active!! There were plenty of sights to see and ways to learn more about our fascinating marine and other life. The visit at the Aquarium was the perfect way to spend a few hours of our Sunday, and I HIGHLY recommend it as well!! Here are just a few videos from our visit: