By Sue Rodman
About 45 minutes from the gates of the Magic Kingdom in Florida is Orlando’s newest theme park LEGOLAND Florida. LEGOLAND brand has three different ways to experience LEGOS. The LEGOLAND Store, Discovery Center and Theme Park. There is one LEGOLAND theme park in California and the latest, LEGOLAND Florida. We have a LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Atlanta and as complete LEGO fans, were anxious to experience the theme park at LEGOLAND Florida. My youngest was so excited he grabbed a brochure from our hotel the night before to begin mapping out the day – boy after my own heart. Here are 10 plus tips to avoid the lines at LEGOLAND Florida and have a great day.
Tips to Avoid the Lines at LEGOLAND Florida
Get there early. As with most theme parks, to avoid lines, you want to get there early, even a half hour before the park opens. This gives you time to park, go to the bathroom, put on sunscreen and whatever last minute preparations you need, so you are completely ready to enter the park when it opens. Then, head to the back and work your way forward. Most people go to the right when they enter a theme park.
Register for Mindstorm robotic challenge. If your children are over eight years old, head to Imagination Station and register for the Mindstorm robotic challenge as soon as you enter the park. There are three different challenges to choose from and they fill up quickly. The last time we went, there was also a challenge for kids six and over, so ask at the gate what ages can sign up for the Mindstorm challenge.
For Younger Kids: Head to the Ford Driving School (which is right next door to Mindstorm registration). If this is something your kids want to do, head here immediately after registering for Mindstorm (or first if you don’t want to or can’t do Mindstorm). Loading for this ride is painfully slow, which means the line is continuous and gets longer as the day progresses. Most of the reviews I read of LEGOLAND said their kids LOVED the Ford Driving school. However, if your kids have the Power Wheels cars at home, don’t spend too much time waiting in this line. I quizzed a little guy of about five on whether this was more fun than his Power Wheels Gator. He said, “My Gator can go a lot faster.” My own kids said they’d do it once if the line wasn’t overly long, but once was enough.
For Older Kids: If your children aren’t excited about the Ford Driving School, head to the roller coasters first. Our favorite is Project X in the Technic section, but lines are consistent for the Coasterasaurus even in the slower winter months.
Don’t miss Flight School – Right behind the Ford Driving School is Flight School, a roller coaster where your feet dangle. This ride entrance is easy to miss. Perhaps it’s because we went on a slower day, or because we got there in the morning, but we rode this coaster twice without a wait.
If there are long lines at the coasters, come back closer to park closing. My friend Jennifer Hutchinson @mami2mommy recommended via Field Trips w/Sue facebook that if there was a long line at the Coasterasaurus, to wait until closer to park close and try again. We did this and the line went from 60 minutes to about five. Perfect!
Hit Build and Test in the Imagination Zone between 10 and 12 or after 3 pm. Most families are looking for a break after lunch and Build and Test is the perfect place, which means a line forms. To get the run of the place, come before noon. If that’s not possible, head here after 3 pm when most folks are leaving. Sunday is a less crowded day in the park overall, so if you must come on a weekend, choose Sunday.
More Tips for a Great Day at LEGOLAND Florida
Keep your friends close on the Aqua Wave Racers and Quest for CHI. Water cannons next to the Aqua Racers ride can soak the participant. They are controlled by stands along the water’s edge. Guests can fire at will and of course family and friends will be firing at you. In the Quest for CHI, onlookers can use water canons to spray those on the ride, but those on the ride can also spray the onlookers, so watch out on both sides.
Bring a poncho for Quest for CHI. You WILL get wet on the Quest for CHI ride. If the waterfall or sprayers miss you, the water canons manned by onlookers will get you. This is a fun ride that anyone can do, no matter how tall or short, so the line can get very long. Most folks will wait until the end of the day to get wet. Head here early for the shortest line. Also in this section is Craggy’s Swamp, which is a splash pad. Bring a towel and maybe a change of clothes or bathing suit. A must is a change of socks and/or shoes. Even if you don’t go in the water, you’ll likely end up splashing through some puddles and there is nothing worse than walking around in wet sneakers. In the summer, if the weather forecast calls for thunderstorms (mostly in the afternoon), the Quest of Chi might close; another reason to do this very fun ride sooner rather than later.
Don’t miss the Battle for Brickbeard’s Bounty Water Ski Show. The Battle for Brickbeard’s Bounty is a throwback to the days when this theme park was Cypress Gardens – which was known for their southern belles and water ski shows. To get the best view of the show, sit on the left side of the pirate ship. You want a good view of the ski ramps. If the theater fills up before you get there, sit on the lawn between the two stadiums. You won’t have as good a view of the pirate show, but you’ll have a great view of the water skiers. If you go on a slow day, sit on the front row next to the VIP section. If the VIP people don’t come, kids may be allowed to spray the pirates with the water cannon(which is normally reserved for VIPs). The show pavilion is also a great place for lunch. Not only will you get to sit in the shade, but you’ll have something to do while you wait for the show to begin.
Get the Apple Fries. Everyone I know raves about the apple fries. Granny’s Apples is located at the front of the park, so pick them up on the way in or out. If you miss these (or just love them so much) Field Trips with Sue reader Jean-Francois Roman sent this recipe for Apple Fries. If you make them, let me know what you think.
Eat Healthy (ier). I will say, LEGOLAND gets an A+ for theme park food. We ate at the I-Zone Panini in the Imagination Zone. It was the first meal my son had all weekend that didn’t include french fries or chicken fingers. It did include a ham sandwich he proclaimed, excellent! Plus apples and baked Lays potato chips. When I asked to substitute lemonade for milk or water, I was told they can’t do that – which totally got me off the hook. If you’d rather save some money, LEGOLAND allows guest to bring in food and drinks. There are lockers at the front of the park, so you don’t have to carry your picnic all day.
Bring Lego mini-figures to trade. But don’t bring character ones. Staff members swap the mini-figures on their nametags. We were excited to trade, but in the end only traded one person. We were expecting really cool figures, but most were generic mini’s, nothing special. In the end, the mini figures we brought to trade were better than the ones most staffers had. I was told there is one staff member who walks around the park with basically a board of mini-figures. He’d be the guy to find for some real trading. It would be fun if LEGOLAND were to set up Mini-figure trading booths like other places have for pin trading. If you don’t have mini-figures to bring, purchase them at any store for $2.99. If you purchase something larger, LEGOLAND has package pick up, which means you can send your purchases to the front of the park and pick them up on the way out instead of hauling it around the park with you.
Take a Shuttle from Orlando. If you are staying in Orlando and don’t have a car, or would prefer not to drive, there is a shuttle that provides roundtrip transportation from the Orlando Premium Outlets – Vineland Avenue to LEGOLAND. The day we checked out the LEGOLAND shuttle, roundtrip was only $5 per person.
What’s the Right Age to Visit LEGOLAND Florida?
LEGOLAND Florida is geared toward the 12 and under set, but a love of LEGO doesn’t stop at 12, so what is the best age to visit LEGOLAND Florida? That’s the question I was asked most about Florida’s newest theme park – what is the recommended age for visiting? LEGOLAND Florida recommends the park for kids 12 and under. My suggestion is it completely depends on your child, your available time and resources. I visited with my 8.5 year old and newly minted teen and they both had a blast. Here’s why…
LEGOLAND Florida for Elementary School Children
This is the prime age for LEGOLAND Florida. Our visit was highly anticipated, even for my newly minted teen and it didn’t disappoint. Our favorite ride was the Project X roller coaster and both boys really enjoyed the Mindstorm Robotics programming class. I’m going to look up classes at the Atlanta LEGOLAND Discovery Center to see if we can participate in something similar closer to home. Mini-land was also a favorite. My boys are huge Star Wars fans and seeing all the episodes in miniature was very entertaining. It was also fun to see places we’ve visited in miniature, like Times Square and the Castillo de San Marco.
The Mindstormers Robotics Challenge is great for older kids and tweens/young teens.
LEGOLAND Florida for Toddlers
LEGOLAND Florida also cater’s to the toddler set and they have a special Duplo area just for the little kids. Even in the Build and Test area (another favorite), there were bins with large soft blocks for the youngest LEGO fans.
LEGOLAND Florida for Tweens and Teens
There were times when my 13-year-old felt too big, but only because other kids were so much younger. He likes LEGO castles, so he was excited to step into the Kingdom’s world. He also loved Mini-land and Mindstormers. The roller coasters are fun, but if your teen is only satisfied with BIG thrills – these are tame coasters. Bottom line – there is lots of fun to be had for young teens and tweens, but go into it with the right frame of mind. Don’t expect Six Flags with LEGOs. If you have limited time and resources older teens might prefer something with thrill rides.
Older kids, tween and teens will enjoy Mini-land
LEGOLAND Florida: A Review from a 13-year-old
After our trip to LEGOLAND Florida, I had a lot of people ask me if it was something that tweens and teens would enjoy. The park itself is geared toward those 12 and under, but tweens and young teens can have a good time, especially if they go with a younger sibling or friend. My 13 year-old was almost as excited as my 8 year-old to visit LEGOLAND, and although they enjoyed many of the same things, they also experienced the park a bit differently. Given more time to plan his own schedule, my teen would have spent more time in mini-land, Instagramming photos of mini cities. Here’s his thoughts on what to do at LEGOLAND Florida for tweens and teens.
What did you like best about LEGOLAND Florida and why?
I liked a lot of things about LEGOLAND Florida. I thought all of the buildings in mini-land were cool because I understand how hard it is to build all of them. The rides at LEGOLAND Florida were fun but definitely for younger kids and nowhere near as cool as some of the rides at Disney or Universal. The Mindstorm Robotics Challenge is very cool and fun but can get a little tricky. If you like shows go to the Pirates Cove show, cool water ski tricks. Sit in back if you don’t want to get soaking wet.
What did you like least about LEGOLAND Florida and why?
Even though I had a great time at LEGOLAND Florida, it was definaitly for younger people. Don’t expect to be thrilled with the rides. Come thinking that you will enjoy it and that some things will be for younger kids.
Tips for visiting LEGOLAND Florida
If I were to give one tip, I would say that you should build your day around the shows and expect to spend a lot of time in mini-land because it has a lot of details that make it much more fun.
LEGOLAND Florida: A Review from an 8-year-old
On a long weekend in January, we visited LEGOLAND Florida. It was a highly anticipated visit for my 8-year-old. Before we left, he carefully chose mini-figures to trade with the staff members at the park. The evening before our visit, he picked up a brochure to begin mapping out our day. The morning of, he counted down the minutes until we left the hotel. A week after our visit, he still talks about how much fun he had. When I asked him to review LEGOLAND Florida, here’s what he said.
What Did You Liked Best at LEGOLAND Florida and Why?
I liked the Technic Test Track roller coaster because it went down really fast.
What Did You Liked Least at LEGOLAND Florida and Why?
Tips for Visiting LEGOLAND Florida
1. Go see the Pirate Show. (The Battle for Brickbeard’s Bounty at the Ski Stadium)
2. Sign up for the Master Builder (This is the Mindstorm Robotics Challenge)
3. Get to the Dinosaur ride (Coastersaurus roller coaster) early or at the end of the day.
How to Save Big at LEGOLAND Florida
Everyone is looking for a deal. Theme park visits can be expensive. For ideas on how to visit LEGOLAND Florida on the cheap, see our post on How to Save Big at LEGOLAND Florida.
What: LEGOLAND Florida
Where: One LEGOLAND Way, WinterHaven, FL
When: LEGOLAND Florida is open 7 days a week, but may be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during specific periods.
LEGOLAND Water Park is open seasonally. Check the site for specific dates.
Ways to Save: Visit Orlando’s Magic Card gives you a discount on admission to LEGOLAND and other Orlando dining and attractions. Also check MouseSavers for discounts.
Our family received media passes for LEGOLAND Florida. All opinions are our own.