My husband is huge Lego fan, and my 3-year old, Harrison, seems to be following in his footsteps. When we visited San Diego in 2014, Legoland was our first stop and both my husband and son had a great time – actually, I did too! I was surprised at how much there was to do for the whole family, and so when it was announced that a Legoland was being built in Florida, I knew we would have to visit.
Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven, just under an hours drive from Orlando and the main theme parks. If you have a free day in your trip and you’re looking for something different to do, I would totally recommend taking a drive out there – there’s even a shuttle bus that leaves from International Drive to take you to the park so you don’t have to drive yourself. The shuttle bus is $5 per person and is reservation only so if you want to use this option, plan to in advance. For more information on the shuttle bus and driving directions, click here.
We hit the park last week and one of the things that I was most impressed with was how baby friendly the parks were – honestly, in some areas I thought they did a better job than Disney, and that is saying something! There was also a ton of stuff for Harrison to do, and we spent a whole day there enjoying everything the park has to offer. Here is my list of 10 reasons why I think young families would love this park!
1. A guide just for toddlers
When you enter Legoland and pick up a map, look out for an additional guide titled ‘What To Do When You’re 2.’ This guide is such a fantastic resource! Not only does it have information on strollers, character meet and greets, and where to go if your child gets lost, but it lists all the toddler-friendly rides and shows, along with their height or age requirements. Everything listed is appropriate for young kids, with most rides having no height or age requirement at all. We picked this guide up and referred to it each time we were looking what to do next, knowing that if we picked something off the list, it would be fine for my little one to ride. If you are traveling with a toddler, preschooler, or even an older child who isn’t a fan of thrill rides, this guide is an absolute must!
2. Baby Care Centers
I am a huge fan of baby care centers. I think it is so great for a theme park to provide somewhere to feed and change a baby, and I have always really liked the ones at the Walt Disney World parks. I have to admit, the baby care centers at Legoland were just as nice, if not nicer, than the ones at Walt Disney World! They can be found in DUPLO Valley, in the DUPLO Farm barn. The baby care centers provide changing stations, as well as a large space with high chairs, bottle warmers, and anything else you might need to take care of a baby. Best of all, they have four private nursing cubicles, each one with a big rocking chair for mom, and a little rocking chair in case you have another child with you. This was awesome! I was able to feed my baby in peace, while Harrison sat in the smaller rocking chair with a book! I chatted to a few other parents in there, and everyone I spoke to was impressed with how clean and well-equipped the baby care centers were.
3. DUPLO Village
Chances are that, if you have a toddler or preschooler with you, you’ll be spending a good chunk of your day here! DUPLO Valley caters to little kids, with rides and play areas that are perfect for them. The DUPLO Valley farm is a large ‘barn’ that houses an indoor play space with play structures, slides, and plenty of room for little ones to run around in the air conditioning. There is also a splash pad, and a ‘Tot Spot’, a play space specifically for kids 18-24 months. There are also two rides in DUPLO Valley: the DUPLO Train, which has no height restriction, and the DUPLO Tractor, which has a low height restriction. The theming in this part of the park is really great, with lots of bright colors and large-scale versions of the DUPLO figurines, and we spent nearly three hours just in this area! If you are traveling with little ones, I would say definitely hit this part of the park first – just bear in mind you might end up spending the whole day here!
4. Height indicator charts and wristbands
Have you ever had your child told they were tall enough to ride a particular attraction, only to see them later turned away from another attraction with the exact same height limit? I have! At another Orlando theme park my son was measured at 36 inches and allowed to ride on a rollercoaster – and then turned away from another ride with a 36 inch height requirement less than an hour later! Although of course his safety is my priority, the lack of consistency was certainly frustrating. Legoland has a pretty great way to avoid that issue. While they have height indicators at each attraction with a height restriction, you can visit guest relations to have your child measured, and then a wristband will be assigned to them depending on what height they measure. This means that the Model Citizen (the Legoland employee) at each ride won’t have to measure the child themselves, they can just take a look at the wristband. This eliminates the consistency problem for both the person working at the attraction and for the family, and you can avoid the disappointment of having a child be told they’re too small while they’re stood in front of the attraction. Additionally, you will know at the beginning of the day how tall your child is measuring, making it much easier to plan where to go and what to do. It’s such a good idea, I kind of wish every theme park did this!
5. Entertainment in the lines
Standing on line is inevitable at any theme park, and this can be a daunting task with a young child. I love the themed queue lines at both the Walt Disney World and Universal parks, giving everyone something to look at or interact with while they wait. While Legoland doesn’t offer this as an option for the adults, they do offer it for the kids! In each of the queue lines, there is a separate area with a table and a big bin of Legos for the kids to play with while the parents wait in line. This area has a fence around it so that the kids can’t go wandering off, and is centrally located so that you can keep an eye on your little one playing while you wait in line without them. Such a simple idea, and yet it prevented a few meltdowns when we visited!
No matter how many awesome rides and shows there are, most toddlers are going to have just as much fun (if not more!) running around on a playground. Luckily, Legoland has a few of them. As well as the aforementioned DUPLO Farm indoor play area, there are two other playgrounds, as well as two splash areas. Harrison really liked The Forestmens Hideout, a big shaded wooden play structure with slides and ropes and nets and all kinds of fun things to do. He also loved Cragger’s Swamp, where he got to splash around and get thoroughly soaked. These areas were probably two of the biggest hits of the day!
7. Imagination Zone
The Imagination Zone was one of my favorite parts of the park because it is all indoors, and therefore all air-conditioned! It’s actually a huge indoor space, with a Building Zone, a Create Zone, a Water Zone, and more. Harrison had a great time designing a Lego race car and then racing it alongside other kids (and adults!) He also loved the Water Zone, where he designed his own Lego fish on a touch screen, and then watched it swim on a big screen with all the other kids creations. Around the perimeter of the building, there are huge pits full of Lego bricks that you can stick to the walls to create your own art work. There are bathrooms in the building, as well as plenty of places to sit. This was another area where we spent a ton of time!
8. Great food options
For the most part, I think that theme park food is overpriced and generally not that great – however I thought Legoland did a pretty good job with their food options. We ate at the Market restaurant at the front of the park, and I was pleasantly surprised with the variety and the quality. The kids meals all came with an entrée, chips, applesauce, and a drink, which I thought was pretty good value for money. We also couldn’t get enough of Granny’s Apple Fries! These are tart Granny Smith apples sliced and fried, then dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with a sweet vanilla dipping cream or vanilla soft-serve ice cream. While we were there, they also offered pumpkin spice apple fries (because in October, we must have pumpkin spice everything!) These were so good that by the end of the day, I think I’d spent more money on Granny’s Apple Fries than on actual food – and I don’t regret it one bit!
9. Lego bricks everywhere!
Legoland wouldn’t be Legoland with Lego bricks all over the place! As well as all of the places to build and create with regular sized Lego bricks, many of the play spaces have over-sized bricks to play with. Harrison had a great time stacking these together to make towers and buildings, and made a lot of new friends doing this with the other kids. My favorite thing about Lego is that you are encouraged to use your imagination to create anything you like with endless possibilities. The kids all seemed to have a great time playing and creating things together, and some of the things they built together were pretty cool! Another really simple idea that was a huge hit!
10. Legoland Water Park
As if the park itself wasn’t enough, at the back of Legoland there is a water park! The water park has a wave pool, a lazy river (where you can build your own raft out of large Lego bricks!), a huge interactive water play structure, and an area designed specifically for toddlers and preschoolers. We didn’t bring bathing suits when we visited Legoland, but we walked back to take a look at the water park and it looked so much fun! It’s definitely on our list of things to do next time, and a great reason to go back. After all, in Central Florida, it’s almost always water park weather!
Legoland was a really fun place to spend the day, and somewhere my 3-year old is already begging to go back to. I’ve really only scratched the surface of things to do; there really is something there for everyone, and it’s so family friendly. I would absolutely recommend checking it out on your next trip to Central Florida!
Have you been to Legoland? What was your favorite thing to do? Let me know in the comments below!