LEGOLAND Florida is Fun for Little Kids, How About Older Ones

Admit it, you’ve heard it before… Come to Zippety-doo-dah Land, there’s something for everyone!  Cosmic Adventure Park, for children of all ages.  Whether you’re 9 or 99, Wonder World welcomes the young and young at heart.  It’s the same hackneyed cliché suggesting such and such theme park will appeal to everyone in your family.  Well not LEGOLAND Florida, nope, no sir, they state right up front their theme park is “dedicated to families with children between the ages of 2 and 12.”  So why would I take a group of 13 college students to LEGOLAND Florida?  And, more importantly, would they have a good time?  You’ll have to continue reading to see just how entertaining LEGOLAND Florida was for us older kids.

LEGOLAND Florida

First, a little about LEGOLAND Florida, it is the newest amusement park (opened in October 2011) in the crowded Central Florida megapark landscape that includes Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, and Busch Gardens Tampa.  When LEGOLAND Florida says it’s designed for families with kids between the ages of 2-12, they’re carving out their niche in a highly competitive marketplace.  With more than 50 rides, shows, attractions and a water park, LEGOLAND Florida is the largest of all LEGOLAND Parks in the world.

LEGOLAND Florida

So you’re right to question, if the park is designed for kids ages 2-12, why take 13 college students?  Good question.  You see LEGOLAND Florida invited me to a press event announcing their latest expansion, The World of Chima (opening July 3, 2013).  I was in town, but had the group with me on our alternative break trip to Give Kids The World Village.  We’d have to leave by 8am to get to the press event, the park was designed for younger kids, so I figured, how many students would really want to come?  College students aren’t known for getting up early, and they’d just be bored by a “kiddie park,” right?

LEGOLAND Florida

“You had me at water park!” was the reply I heard.  I was shocked.  Everybody wanted to come, and LEGOLAND Florida graciously allowed me to bring them all, with this caveat.   “Remember, your students are not the target audience for our park,” they warned.  I told them I would keep it in mind, and tried to set my student’s expectations accordingly.

We had a fabulous time.  “Everyone played with LEGOs growing up!  LEGOs are universal, they don’t have age restrictions.” The students told me again and again.  LEGOLAND Florida has more than 50 rides, shows, and attractions, but I was most interested in the aspects of the park that made it most unique, most LEGO if you will.  I could have spent hours in Miniland USA exploring the models.  The level of detail was amazing.  I had no idea how much movement and animation was featured, and it was simply a photographer’s paradise.

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Following Miniland USA was LEGO Star Wars Miniland with scenes from each of the Star Wars films as well as The Clone Wars animated series.  I could have spent even more time exploring these models, but wanted to get to Pirates Cove to see the water ski show.

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When LEGOLAND Florida took over the old Cypress Gardens amusement park, they took great care to preserve some of the unique elements.  Cypress Gardens was known for its water ski shows, and LEGOLAND stayed true to the “Water Ski Capital of the World” – with a LEGO Pirate twist.  The Battle for Brickbeard’s Bounty was an entertaining 20 minute ski show, with the best part being water skiing, jumping LEGO figures – absolutely hysterical.

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Following the show, the students were itching to cool off and hit the LEGOLAND Water Park.  [Click here for our previous review of LEGOLAND Florida’s Water Park.]  However, I had something else entirely in mind.

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I checked out the remaining Cypress Gardens botanical gardens.  These gardens date back to the 1930’s, and even their signature Southern Belles had been recreated in LEGO form.  Walking through the garden transports you to a bit of “Old Florida,” and you begin to understand what the landscape was like before commercial development took over.  The highlight of the garden was the mammoth Banyan tree that has grown on the property for over 70 years now.

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As I write this review it occurred to me, LEGOLAND Florida has rides and shows for amusement park lovers, intricately detailed models and sculptures for LEGO fans, a botanical garden for nature lovers, and a water park for the swimmers.  Wait a minute, I think this park does have something for everyone.

LEGOLAND Florida

The only thing missing are the high-intensity thrill rides, but, that’s OK, LEGOLAND Florida knows what it is, and its target market.  They do what they do well, and don’t need to provide something for absolutely everyone.  But you know what?  They come awfully close.  Just ask my group of 13 college students.  Similar to the 2-12 year olds who make up LEGOLAND Florida’s core demographic – the college students didn’t want to leave by the end of our visit, and slept all the way back to Orlando.  For more photos of our day at LEGOLAND Florida, click here or on any of the images in the gallery below (Flash Player required).

DISCLOSURE:  LEGOLAND Florida provided complimentary admission for our entire group to experience the park.  However, all opinions expressed are those of the author.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.