I was sleeping in a bed with my 3-year-old daughter, and she woke up at 4:30 a.m. singing, laughing and crawling all over me. I think she fell back asleep somewhere along the way, but my son woke everyone up at 7 a.m. anyway. We showered, ate our free breakfast and left for Legoland a little after 9 a.m. The park didn't open until 10 a.m. and Google Maps said it would take us an hour to drive there.
With traffic and a potty break, we didn't make it to Legoland until around 10:30 a.m. This place is far out there! It is located in the old Cypress Gardens location. I remember going to Cypress Gardens as a kid when we vacationed in Florida (see this article for an interesting synopsis of the history of Cypress Gardens).
Background: We traveled to San Diego, California exactly 3 years ago. Our main purpose of that trip was to visit the Legoland in California. We got a great deal on a condo rental and booked it before I knew I was pregnant with Alyssa. So we ended up traveling there with a 3-month-old baby. The boys LOVED Legoland, and aside from a Disney Cruise, it is the one place they wish they could visit again. (We have a smaller Lego Discovery Center in Dallas, but it really doesn't compare to the Legoland theme parks). Originally, we had planned on taking another Disney Cruise out of Galveston so that we didn't have to spend money on airfare, but after getting all of the Southwest miles and hearing about all the changes on the Disney Magic, we switched our vacation to Florida. And we knew we had to squeeze in a trip to Legoland.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I used coupons to get 2 of our kids in for free, and bought 1 ticket and parking online for a discount. I also had an extra free child coupon that I brought with me and gave to another family waiting in line.
Our first ride was the Grand Carousel at the front of the park. My daughter loves carousels. This ride was a part of the original Cypress Gardens, but Legoland changed out the traditional horses for blockier Lego horses. The carousel has two decks.
Next, we decided to head to the World of Chima, since it is a new part of the park and wasn't something we saw at the Legoland in California.
The main ride there was a Chima boat ride with NO LINE. And soon I figured out why there was no line--because riders got soaked on the ride! Now it was sunny and in the '60s, but not yet hot enough to get soaked.
|Wet kids in The World of Chima|
We ate fried chicken for lunch near the driving school. It was surprisingly good for theme park food.
|Enjoying the life-size Lego figures|
After lunch, we hit another ride or two before heading over to the Forestmen's Hideout at 2:00. We met up with two other families who were going to be on our same cruise the next day. Forestmen's Hideout was a big playground, so it was a good spot to let the kids run around and allow the adults to chat. (We came into contact with these families through the DIS boards and later through a private Facebook page for people going on our same cruise). Glad we got to meet these families that day, as we saw them several more times on our cruise and we had brunch together with the adults.
More rides and Lego figures:
Nathan was the only kid who was tall enough and had the desire to go on a roller coaster. So he and Brian went on one while I took the younger kids to Miniland. Miniland has replicas of popular U.S. cities built at a 1:20 scale. Here, the kids are standing in front of Cape Canaveral awaiting the space shuttle lift-off.
|The big boys on a roller coaster|
There is also an entire area devoted to Star Wars. My dear husband took dozens of photos of this section.
Posing in front of a few Star Wars Lego figures:
At this point, it was getting close to the park's closing time, and we had to return our rental car. So unfortunately, we did not get to go on several rides or walk through the preserved Cypress Gardens part of the park. We could have easily used another 1/2 day at Legoland.
Legoland's website says it's geared for kids ages 2-12. I think it's perfect for kids ages 3-10 and Lego enthusiasts who would enjoy the Miniland section. My 9-year-old prefers rides that are a little more thrilling than most of the rides in this park, but he still had a wonderful time here. Most of the rides were perfect for my younger two kids, and the park is full of small rides!
I think Legoland is a great value. Just as a point of comparison, one-day admission and parking for Legoland for our family of 5 with our coupons cost almost $250, and one-day admission and parking for Disney's Magic Kingdom would have cost about $500. The two parks are totally different, but I feel that my kids will outgrow Legoland, whereas the Disney Parks are made for all ages. I'm glad we got to visit Legoland on this trip, because I'm not sure we will make it back here. The kids will have great memories of this place.
We drove back to Orlando, dropped off the rental car and ordered take-out pizza for dinner at our hotel. The kids were in bed by 9:00 p.m.
Next: Embarking the re-imagined Disney Magic!