Legoland is a joy. With manageable crowds and lines, and no bells and whistles, this lakeside theme park maintains an old-school vibe – you don't have to plan like a general to enjoy a day here, and it's strikingly stress-free and relaxed. This is about fun (and yes, education) in a colorful and interactive environment. Rides and attractions, including the attached water park, are geared towards children aged two to 12. Opening hours vary seasonally, and new things are regularly being added.
Attractions at Legoland Florida
Highlights include Flight School, a coaster that zips you around with your feet dangling free, Miniland, a Lego re-creation of iconic American landmarks and cities, and Ninjago, the park's new martial arts–themed section. There are a few remnants from the park's history as the site of Cypress Gardens (circa 1936), including lovely botanical gardens with the giant Banyan Tree and water-ski shows and the classic wooden roller coaster, these days called Coastersaurus. The water-ski show centers on a bizarre and rather silly pirate theme.
There’s plenty for little ones to love, including a foam ball play area, splash fountains and kiddie rides. At Ford Driving School, tiny tots can drive cars through a pretend town and earn an official license, and the lakeside water-ski show is pure silly pirate fun. The park’s roller coaster thrills are The Great Lego Race, The Dragon, Coastersaurus (the park's classic wooden coaster), plus Flying School, a coaster that zips you around with your feet dangling free. The water park offers high-speed slides and a lazy river. Kids love Mia's Riding Adventure, a horse-themed 'disc' coaster.
Anyone who has ever tried to build with Lego bricks will be wowed by the intricate designs and painstaking detail of these Lego models of iconic American cities and scenes from Star Wars films. Though amazingly accurate, there’s a sense of humor here, such as the interactive water and sound features. Oh, and keep an eye out for whimsical scenarios such as the crazy cat lady.
As well as meeting characters like Kai, Legoland's martial-art-themed area includes an interactive ride where you can score points using up to five different ninja hand maneuvers to zap fireballs, lightning and the like (as seen through your 4D glasses, of course). It's remarkable technology and, oh, such fun.
Don't miss the Imagination Zone, a wonderful interactive learning center that's heavily staffed with skilled Lego makers happy to help children of all ages create delights with their blocks.
Tickets and other practicalities
Single-day tickets start at $85 if purchased in advance online; two-day tickets run $105. Packages that include admission to the water park are single-/two-day $110/$130. Save money by buying entry tickets at least two days ahead.
The Legoland Shuttle ($5) runs daily from I-Drive 360 (near the ICANOrlando). Note: you must book this 24 hours before departure. You can park on the bottom floor of the I-Drive 360 parking lot (free). Look for the Legoland-themed bus stop near the back entrance of the Eye on the Universal Boulevard side.
You can rent strollers/wheelchairs/ECVs ($10/12/37) and lockers ($5 to $12). Parking costs $19.
Most visitors sleep in Orlando or near the theme parks and make a day trip here. Winter Haven has few options. But for a really novel experience, stay at Legoland Hotel, at the entrance to Legoland. It's one of the most creative and colorful experiences you could ever have, which makes sense given the product.
The historic heart of Winter Haven has a few decent restaurants; Legoland has eateries, albeit your standard fare. For breakfast, make a stop at Donut Man.