When I recap on a visit to a theme park, I always try to write about what I wish I’d known before I visited, from how to navigate the park, what rides to skip and what rides not to miss, and how to not waste time waiting in line. So, here’s everything I wish I’d known about Legoland Florida.
My partner and I took our three kiddos, 12, 10 and 9 to Legoland Florida last week, and spent the entire Saturday, from 10 am until 8 pm in the park. If you’ve not yet visited, here are some guidelines that may help you plan ahead:
Although my 12-year old enjoyed herself thoroughly, she’s at the upper age limit for many of the rides. Our two younger kids were far more impressed by the park than she was. It’s an especially great place for the tiny tots, though your tweens can still enjoy it—as mine did—particularly if they are in the company of younger siblings. Just be aware that some rides have a minimum height requirement—so research on the park’s website and measure your kids before leaving home, in order to avoid tears of disappointment at the park.
I was pleasantly surprised that even on a weekend, there were not the throngs of people and crowds that we so often have to contend with at theme parks. It was busy, but the lines were well managed and the waits were not unbearable. Legoland is not impossibly large, so you can pretty much cover it all in one long day, even if you decide, as we did, to visit the water slides and the wave pool as well.
WHERE TO STAY
Legoland is in Winter Haven, which is a 45-minute drive from Tampa or Orlando, where you can often get the best hotel deals. There are a few hotels in the town, and they are rather costly given the type of facility. If you need to book a hotel, make sure you find out exactly how far it is from the park, and factor in the driving time.
WHAT TO WEAR
If you’re going in the summer, stop at the dollar store and buy rain ponchos for the whole family. Summer showers and thunderstorms are an almost daily occurrence. We were lucky that the storm happened at around 2 pm. That gave us a 2-hour break while we had lunch and played with Legos under cover. At 4 pm, the rain stopped and we resumed the fun. Wear your swimsuit underneath shorts and a wicking T-shirt. Hats and sunscreen are a must! A change of clothes for the whole family may be in order too, especially if you are going to visit the water park too.
WHERE TO EAT
In most theme parks, your bags will be checked and any food or drink other than water bottles confiscated or you’ll be given the choice to either throw it out or not enter the park. I didn’t see any park staff looking through backpacks. On the contrary, I saw some guests lugging around coolers on wheels, and there were even picnic tables. There are several diners and fast-food stands too.
Read Related: Visiting St. Augustine, Florida, With the Kids
The theme park and the more recently-opened water park are all on the same grounds, so you will only need to pay parking admission once. The water park is inside the main grounds and you can rent (small) towels and lockers of different sizes to store your belongings. The lockers have a security code, so you don’t have to worry about losing the key, although you better remember that PIN number! There are no showers in the dressing rooms, so plan on showering up when you get home.
KIDS’ FAVORITE RIDES
When I asked the kids what they favorite rides where, they mentioned the driving school, which is divided into two different age groups, and the Lego lab, which is where we took cover during the inevitable Florida summer downpour. Never mind that they have Legos at home that they hardly ever touch; they loved playing with them at Legoland! At the driving school, they were given some basic instruction on traffic rules, which they got to practice on the driving course. It was a lot of fun watching them actually stop at a red light, wait patiently for the green and hit the gas!
WHAT PARENTS SHOULDN’T MISS
Take some time to visit Miniland USA, which includes seven cities made entirely out of Legos. Manhattan, Miami Beach and Las Vegas looked amazing! Lego lovers will delight in the detail of these models. The park is also peppered with life size models of animals, like wolves, giraffes and sharks, and the kids are allowed to climb all over them, to their immense delight.
IF YOU LIVE IN FLORIDA
If you live in the Sunshine State and your kids are under 10, you may want to buy the annual resident pass to Legoland. There is a lot for them to enjoy and there are new additions all the time, such as the recently opened World of Chima. You may also want to plan more frequent visits in the winter, when the weather is so much kinder to us!
Have you visited Legoland? What are your tips for other parents wanting to go?
Lorraine C. Ladish is Editor-in-Chief of Mamiverse. You may follow her @lorrainecladish and @mamiverse.
Disclaimer: Legoland provided the writer with day passes for her family. She was not asked to nor compensated for writing this post. Opinions are her own.