Stepping barefoot on a piece of LEGO is hell. Stepping inside a world of LEGO is a kidtopia.
When we received an invite to be a part of the red carpet world premiere of “The LEGO® Movie™ 4D A New Adventure”, our family gave a unanimous “yes”.
LEGO and Travel With Bender go way back. One of our first media events in 2012 was the opening of LEGOLAND Malaysia. We also spent a day at LEGOLAND Windsor (UK) in 2014. So, we didn’t need to think twice about visiting LEGOLAND Florida, especially with the brand new hotel (opened in 2015) being right next door.
Save up to $22 per entry ticket for LEGOLAND Florida by purchasing them from this website.
Aye Aye Matey, She Be Right
Our 30-minute drive down the highway from Orlando to LEGOLAND was easy and uneventful. But from the moment we drove into the resort, we were drawn into the world of LEGO - from LEGO-themed decorations lining the road to LEGO-styled booths at the parking entrance.
The kids squealed with delight as we drove up the long driveway, with windows down, blaring “Everything is Awesome”. A menacing green LEGO dragon stared down from atop the hotel entrance. We weren’t even inside the hotel and we already knew this was going to be special.
Our car was left in the capable hands of the valet and we stepped into the lobby.
Our room was not ready yet, but we had 2 days at the park so we were happy to drop off the bags and walk the 200 “kids steps” to the entrance of the LEGOLAND park. Yes, 200 steps. It is literally next door. A huge bonus for tired kids (and parents) at the end of a big day.
But more about the park later. Let’s go back to the hotel.
When we arrived back at the hotel around 3pm, ready for a siesta after a full day of fun at LEGOLAND, our room was ready.
I pried my kids out of the LEGO pit in the lobby and away from the castle-themed indoor play area. Then I managed to drag the husband away from 5,000 LEGO men lining the back wall of the reception desk and we hopped in the elevator.
The elevator was a whole other problem altogether… I didn’t want to get out! Flashing lights, a mirror ball and light-up floor transformed a regular elevator into a standalone attraction. It was so much fun for the kids, and I appreciated the intricate attention to detail in every element, transforming the ordinary into extraordinary.
When the elevator doors opened, jaws dropped with audible “ahhhs” – we were on the Pirate floor. Walls were completely covered in LEGO pirates; suite doors looked like brigs and even the carpet resembled a wooden pirate ship. And then we got to our suite.
I’ve never stayed in a themed hotel like this. Every little detail had been considered from the bed covers, to the treasure chest safe, to the shower curtain, to complimentary LEGO toys for the kids.
Check out our video for a tour of the room:
A nifty scavenger hunt for the kids kept their hands busy, endeavouring to unlock the treasure chest. Their reward for completing the challenge was toys, magazines and snacks.
Safe to say it was a complete and utter victory. LEGOLAND Hotel is a “must do” in my book for any LEGO-loving child (or adult).
A LEGO Breakfast
With a LEGOLAND Hotel stay you commit to a specific breakfast time at check-in since the hotel is busy and the Bricks family restaurant is relatively small. When we arrived there was still a short wait, but the queue moved pretty fast.
Breakfast was delicious. It comprised of a large hot and cold buffet selection (including yogurt, apples, pastries, and chocolate milk) with the kid-centric buffet area taking centre stage – our kids loved that they could see their own food and select it.
Eggs were made to order by the very fast and very funny, Manny.
Tip: Try Manny’s fresh homemade salsa on top of your omelette – delish!
Even More LEGO-ness
In addition to the fully themed lobby, there’s also an indoor play area near the bar/café and an outdoor pool. While we didn’t get around to using the pool, it looked tempting. We arrived back one evening from the theme park to watch a pirate-themed kids show. LEGO characters greeted guests at breakfast and even occasionally played with kids in the LEGO pit. Our kids were in LEGO heaven.
Tip: Guests staying at LEGOLAND Hotel can go into the park 30 minutes before regular opening hours. There are absolutely no queues during this time!
How Many Days Do You Need To Visit LEGOLAND Florida?
You could hurriedly finish LEGOLAND Florida in 1 day, without the waterpark (which was closed for the season during our visit). At a more relaxed pace, with siestas and young kids, a 2-day pass is perfect.
The park is 145 acres, which makes it the second largest LEGOLAND after Windsor, UK. It houses 45 rides, several shows and restaurants, a botanical garden, the famous Miniland and a waterpark.
The park comprises of 11 “lands”. We started with the Island In The Sky, a rotating platform that rises 150 feet into the air, providing 360° views of the park. It was the perfect place to start and get our bearings.
Next, here’s an overview of the 11 lands:
Fun Town – The 4D cinema has 700 seats and we saw two shows there. This was also where the movie premiere was held.
Imagination Zone – Our kids’ favourite part of the park was a room filled with LEGO computer games and tablets. We visited each of the 2 days for a little downtime, more so for the adults than the kids.
Heartlake City – My daughter loved Mia’s Riding Adventure and rode it 5 times. I don’t know how she did it. We also had fun at the Friends to the Rescue Live Stage Show.
Pirates’ Cove – A surprisingly impressive pirate show complete with jet skis, stunts, explosions, and live LEGO characters. Lots of fun!
LEGO Technic – Ride the wave racers, or better yet, dare your spouse to try Project X, a wild rollercoaster.
Land of Adventure – Best rides included a rickety wooden roller coaster, an interactive laser shooting ride and Pharaoh’s Revenge.
LEGO City – Our kids loved the driving school and boat school, but the flying school crazy roller coaster was a hands-down favourite. In fact my kids went on 3 times.
The World of Chima – There is one ride in this section and you will get soaked – beware! It included a little splash pad for the kids as well. Tip: bring your own poncho.
Miniland USA – In your downtime or at the end of the day take in the views of intricate LEGO cities from New York to Washington to Las Vegas.
LEGO Kingdoms – with a cute Dragon Coaster and a few rides for smaller kids that we missed.
DUPLO Village – We missed the majority of this section as my 5 & 7-year-old kids felt they were too old.
Finally, we never made it to the Cypress Gardens or the water park (which was closed for the season).
We visited the park on a weekday during school term and found the queues were very short and managed to do everything we wanted to easily do within the 2 days. If you are planning to go during school holidays or on a weekend, make sure you are at the park early and get onto the more popular rides first (such as the rollercoasters). I’d also recommend starting at the back of the park (near Flying School or Coastersaurus) and move towards the entrance, rather than the other way around.
We ate lunch on our first day at the Market Place since the Fun Town Pizza & Pasta Buffet restaurant was full. The food was just okay, but the service was notably terrible. This is a shame because it was in stark contrast to exceptional service we experienced at the hotel and elsewhere around the park.
Trying to order was painful with 2 staff members unsure what the kids’ menu included and then having to find a third.
After collecting the expensive, stale food we stood at the checkout for at least a full 5 minutes with no one there. I had to go back to the food counter to ask for someone to take my money so I could eat my cold food. Even then it took them quite a while to find the unhurried girl to take the money. I was so tempted to just go sit down and forget paying.
Thankfully the restaurant had a LEGO station so the kids weren’t complaining, they were playing.
On our second day we decided to eat outside the park to avoid the disappointing food and terrible service.
The LEGO® Movie™ 4D A New Adventure Red Carpet Premiere
After our afternoon siesta on our first day we dressed up and returned to the park. The weather had turned sour and rain ensued, but that didn’t dampen our excitement. With media passes in hand, we were escorted to the Wells Fargo 4D Cinema.
Walking up the red carpet felt a little glamorous, and we joined the party inside. Stars were giving interviews and posing for pictures. Drinks were being handed out and the food was delicious and plentiful.
As the lights dimmed a hush fell over the crowd and the MC took the stage. Lego Movie characters burst onto the stage, confetti was released, and the whole experience was electric.
Popcorn was handed out and we all watched the brand new 12.5-minute 4D LEGO movie with Risky Business and friends. A superb show.
Afterwards we stood outside along the red carpet and interviewed 8-year-old Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, the young girl from popular TV series Modern Family. Mia was so excited to meet her since she regularly watches the show with me.
After the jam-packed entertaining day at the park and crazy evening, my youngest ran out of steam and we headed home… all 200 steps back to the hotel.
It’s a Wrap
No doubt about it. LEGO know how to put on a show. They also know how to make a theme park. And better yet, a hotel. LEGOLAND Hotel in Florida was out of this world and a real treat.
Do I still curse LEGO pieces when my kids leave them on their bedroom floor, like little plastic landmines waiting for my naked foot? Yes! But as I tucked my tots in bed, kissing their heads and whispering my love, I also remember that the LEGOLAND Hotel we stayed in was one of those real life dreams come true, and I thank God for LEGO.
Save up to $22 per entry ticket for Legoland Florida by purchasing them from this website.