8.29.2014

ethan does legoland

Last Thursday morning, we went to Legoland! When I brought it up to Ethan initially that we were going to visit Legoland, my sweet child thought we meant Barnes & Noble, where we often go to play Legos. (Be still, my heart!) He couldn't believe his eyes when we pulled up and he saw what Legoland really was! Don't get me wrong, even for us adults, Legoland seemed like a pretty magical place -- but watching the magic unfold through Ethan's eyes, well, that was priceless. Legoland is located in the city of Winter Haven (45 minutes from Orlando) which is a little more quaint and out of the way than the other big theme parks. This added a little bit of extra charm as we got to take the back roads (it also added less crowds, too) and the park was surrounded by greenery. None of us had been to Legoland before so we weren't entirely sure what to expect and so with that, we were all super eager to get inside the park and check it out!

From the first moment you enter the park, it's almost as if you've been shrunken down to Lego size and are entering a, well, Lego land. Legoland advertises their park was being ideal for ages 2-12 and I agree fully. Although it may seem that is a wide age gap, there is something for every child of every age to enjoy. As we walked through the park, I picked out several rides or attractions that would interest my father and my almost 18 year old sister. There was definitely something for everyone and the magic of visiting Legoland made it even more exciting. All throughout the park, there were plenty of restaurants to choose from for meals as well as coffee houses (words of magic to any parent!) and snack booths. Legoland also offered some healthy snack alternatives, like fresh apple fries, which was pretty great to see! The Legoland shops were filled with everything from souvenirs to actual Lego and Duplo sets and collectors items and it was fun to walk through and see everything they had to offer.

Legoland boasts over 50 rides, which is a lot, but so many of them happened to be appropriate for younger children that Ethan didn't feel excluded from anything. He was able to ride on everything that he wanted to ride while older kids were able to have their fun on some crazy rollercoasters and more intense thrill rides. A must-stop for any age is the amazing two-level Legoland carousel!

None of the lines on the rides Ethan wanted to go on had longer than a five minute wait time, but waiting was still a cinch thanks to this genius idea by Legoland! What kid would frown upon having to wait in line when it meant they could build their own Lego creations in the mean time? Ethan was happy to build with his Legos while his daddy held his place in the line.

Legoland Florida is made up of 11 different areas (or zones), including their latest zone, The World Of Chima. The World Of Chima includes a 4D movie experience and an interactive water ride. From the moment we entered the park, kids zoomed by us eager to experience the new World Of Chima zone. The Pirates' Cove zone is where you can catch an actual water ski and stunt show performed live. The first zone in which Ethan was quick to fall in love with was none other than Duplo Valley! There, he was able to build with big foam Lego blocks, ride (and "steer") a Lego tractor ride, ride a Lego train and play at a fun little play structure. Duplo Valley is a big hit for toddlers and small children!


Hugging his friend "Lego Boy" who he plays with all of the time at home! He was excited to see him so big and "real!"

Ethan was excited to move on to the Lego Castle zone! In the Lego Kingdoms zone, Ethan and my husband spotted a super fast Merlin ride that I was sure Ethan wouldn't be big enough to go on, but he was! He had a blast and was so proud of himself that he went on the ride! We then took some time to cool down, have some water and let Ethan explore the great wooden playground located in this zone. The Lego statues were also very much worth admiring through the park. It is absolutely incredible the kind of time and dedication that goes into creating them!

Guests of every age will definitely fall in love with Miniland, which was one of my favorite Legoland zones. Miniland is an entire zone dedicated to Lego recreations of famous landmarks, cities and characters (Darth Vader was there, too!). Ethan was captivated by the Lego ships and boats that actually move across the water as well as the space ships that actually fly and make noise! There were various fun facts throughout Miniland that gave you an idea as to how long each structure took to complete and how many blocks it took to do so. It was incredible to see!

Another cool zone, especially for youngsters like Ethan, was Lego City. In the driving school -- separated into two groups based on age -- kids could learn to drive Lego cars around a track. Ethan personally loved the boating school! Ethan loved driving his own boat, with daddy as his lucky passenger (no, that's not sarcasm or anything). There was also a Police & Fire Training Center where I got to watch my husband and Ethan navigate a police car to the fire and help the firefighters put it out!

The Lego safari was also amazing! Ethan got to drive a safari car and check out so many incredible animals all of which were made from Legos! The detail that went into each of these exhibits is absolutely mindblowing. Each of the animals on the safari looked real and were amazing to see, especially once you realized the detail that went into making each one of them.

I also really liked the eco-friendly focus that Legoland put into the park. The benches throughout the park were made from recycled water jugs and one of the Fun Town attractions, the Fresh From Florida Greenhouse, taught children through Lego play about farm to table food. When a friend asked me for the details on Legoland, I tried to explain to her as best as I could that it was completely captivating and amazing and also helped the children learn and use their imaginations in the process. What child doesn't imagine a world where their toys come to life? Legoland was just that: an opportunity to visit a magical world where everything was, well, a Lego land! A trip to Legoland was both an exciting, magical day at a theme park and a beautiful day spent with family without being overwhelming in the slightest.

After spending the entire first half of the day in the Legoland park, we then made our way over to the Legoland water park! Legoland has an actual water park on the premises which is the perfect way to finish off a day at the park and cool down from this heat! I knew that there was a water park, but I wasn't expecting it to be, well, an actual waterpark. No little splash pads here. Legoland's water park offers full day locker rentals that range in price from $5-$12 (depending on size) which makes it easy to stow all of your valuables while you explore the waterpark. Admission to Legoland's water park is separate from the regular theme park but well worth it. The first thing we did was the Duplo Splash Safari. The big Lego safari animals were also interactive so Ethan had fun turning the wheels to control the water flow. There were also a couple smaller scale water slides for toddlers and young children so they could have their share of water adventure, too.

The Build-A-Raft lazy river was also a lot of fun. The lazy river is 1,000 feet long and on your journey, you get to float past more larger than life Lego creations. Perhaps the coolest part is that the inner-tubes are complete with Lego boards so you can stack foam Lego blocks as you go to create a Lego creation on your float, too!

The Joker Soaker water structure is for older kids, but Ethan still had fun exploring the bottom levels with my husband. There are many different levels of slides for guests of all ages to enjoy this zone (and get soaked by the 300 gallon bucket!). Older kids and adults will also love the water park's gigantic water slides, one of which is 375 feet high!

Ethan's favorite, hands down, was the Lego wave pool. The wave pool also had some Lego "beaches" kids could swim up to and do some Lego building. Ethan probably spent a good hour in the wave pool and getting him out was a little bit of struggle. Luckily, the fact that the attached Beach & Brick Grill sold ice cream worked in our favor.

We had an amazing time at Legoland and immediately came home to recommend it to all of our friends wondering if the trip was necessary. In fact, we're already making plans to return back in November. Word on the street is Legoland is in the process of opening a hotel in 2015 and I can only imagine how absolutely magical it will be!

Our family received park tickets to Legoland Florida and Legoland Water Park to facilitate a review. No compensation was provided and all photographs and opinions expressed are completely my own.

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