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Legoland Florida Discussion Thread

P. 31: Peppa Pig mini theme park coming in 2022!

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We went to Cypress in 2007 and had no trouble whatsoever finding it.

 

Its all about marketing and branding and LEGO is a very powerful brand... even more powerful than Universal.

 

If you're worried about people not having the transportation to get there, nearly half of Orlando Tourists have rental cars and the 40 minutes it takes to get to CG is not much more than your average local theme park or to some... an every-day commute to work.

 

The parks infrastructure is already set up to achieve 6 Million annually and *If* Cypress becomes a Legoland, I have faith it will succeed.

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Get ready to pay ridiculous prices to get in and then fork out some more for food!

 

Well clearly a Legoland park is the type of park that 90% of TPR's active posters (younger and without children) would not be interested in for multiple visits.

 

In my two visits to Legoland parks I was amazed at the crowds and did not realize that the Lego brand was so strong.

 

My visit to Legoland Billund was in miserable weather yet there were still crowds at the park.

 

My stop at Legoland California was on a school day in October and was surprised at the crowds that day.

 

I'm not saying Legoland would be a success on the former Cypress Gardens site, just that the Lego brand might be strong enough to make it succeed. If the site even becomes a Legoland park.

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I think the challenge they have will be two fold.

 

1) Convince all the visitors who have no rental car and who are enjoying their resort area (either I-Drive, WDW or Universal) to either get a car for a day or arrange bus transportation for the hour drive to this property.

 

2) Convince people to take a day out of their already crowded plans to visit. It is very tough to do everything in the Orlando area for the average visitor. Add another park in to the mix? Something is going to get cut.

 

The examples of other regional parks that survive when they are in the middle of no-where are a bit flawed. The reason they survive is they are the best option in the area. In Orlando when you have the competition of some of the busiest and most popular parks in the world? I'm not sure they can do it regardless of what they put in there.

 

The cherry on top of all of this is the infrastructure in the area. I'm not sure all those small county roads can survive the much greater traffic that they would need to for this park to be a success. Living in Orlando I could get to BGT faster than I could to Cypress... that should tell you something.

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Article from the Winter Haven newspaper

 

LEGOLAND is coming to Polk County.

 

The word leaked out Wednesday in an e-mail from a county tourism official to county commissioners in advance of Thursday's scheduled press conference at Cypress Gardens.

 

Merlin Entertainments Group purchased the Winter Haven theme park earlier this month. Merlin, the world's second-largest owner of tourist atttractions, currently operates four Legoland parks, three in Europle and one in California.

 

The company will transform Cypress Gardens into LEGOLAND Florida, Polk County's director of tourism and sports marketing disclosed in his memo Tuesday to county commissioners invited to Thursday's announcement by the company. All e-mails to county commissioners are available under Florida's public-records laws.

 

Mark Jackson's e-mail, marked “confidential until Thursday,” contained suggested talking points for local officials. Jackson's memo emphasized Merlin's stature in the tourism market and the commercial success of LEGOLAND California.

 

A spokeswoman from Merlin Entertainments Group last Friday confirmed the acquisition of Cypress Gardens but offered no details on the company's plans, saying more would be revealed at Thursday's news conference. The Ledger had learned of the purchase through documents filed with the Polk County Clerk of the Courts.

 

Those records indicated a sale price of $22.3 million.

 

Merlin's announcement Friday followed months of speculation that the company was negotiating with the owners, Brian Philpot and Rob Harper of Mulberry's Land South Holdings.

 

A Merlin spokeswoman said Florida Gov. Charlie Crist would join Merlin CEO Nick Varney at Thursday's press conference, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Jackson's memo said many other politicians are scheduled to attend, including Florida's Senate President Mike Haridopolos; state Speaker of the House Dean Cannon; and Congressman Adam Putnam, R-Bartow.

 

In his memo, Jackson urged officials at the press conference to be positive in talking to media members. “Please avoid any comments about past ownership and/or problems at the park,” Jackson wrote.

 

Cypress Gardens, one of Florida's oldest existing tourist attractions, evolved from water-skiing shows staged by Dick and Julie Pope in the 1930s. Once among the state's dominant tourism draws, it was eclipsed in recent decades by Walt Disney World and other Orlando-area theme parks and has been in financial distress for years.

 

Cypress Gardens has gone through several changes of owners since the 1980s. Philpot and Harper acquired the park at a bankruptcy auction in 2007.

 

A Merlin spokeswoman said Florida Gov. Charlie Crist would join Merlin CEO Nick Varney at Thursday's press conference, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Jackson's memo said many other politicians are scheduled to attend, including Florida's Senate President Mike Haridopolos; state Speaker of the House Dean Cannon; and Congressman Adam Putnam, R-Bartow.

 

In his memo, Jackson urged officials at the press conference to be positive in talking to media members. “Please avoid any comments about past ownership and/or problems at the park,” Jackson wrote.

 

Cypress Gardens, one of Florida's oldest existing tourist attractions, evolved from water-skiing shows staged by Dick and Julie Pope in the 1930s. Once among the state's dominant tourism draws, it was eclipsed in recent decades by Walt Disney World and other Orlando-area theme parks and has been in financial distress for years.

 

Cypress Gardens has gone through several changes of owners since the 1980s. Philpot and Harper acquired the park at a bankruptcy auction in 2007.

 

There will be an official press conference on Thursday morning.

 

However, the mayor of Winter Haven may have spilled the beans in proclaiming that Merlin will be making a $150 Million investment over 2 years to turn the property into a Legoland.

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Well, despite my opinions, I wish them well and I really hope they can turn the park around. I am looking forward to visiting and taking my kids there, and maybe there will be enough to keep my family going back and other families visiting for years to come...

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^ I most definitely want. In a purely selfish way, considering that I'm going to be moving (back) to the Orlando area very soon, I think this is wonderful.

 

Now, stepping back a bit, I'm not totally convinced that it'll work. (Then again, I'm not totally convinced that it won't, either.)

 

But, yeah, I'm excited about it.

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Robb and I were discussing the "$150 million" investment figure.

 

Does that sound like enough money to transform Cypress Gardens into a REAL Legoland? I mean a Mack Mouse (Technic Coaster) alone will be $7 - 8 Million, all of the other rides, buildings, theming, etc. Obviously the park has some infrastructure already so they may save some money there, but I doubt it's up to Legoland standards or enough.

 

It would just be such a bummer if Legoland Florida ended up being the redheaded stepchild of the Legoland family of parks.

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^I've been thinking about that same figure... The easy expenses that I can foresee include the conversion of Splash Island into one of those newer Legoland water parks (like the one California is soon to open), the addition of the Lego models of the world landmarks throughout the gardens, plus the addition of some well themed flats, and maybe a Technic coaster. I can't imagine based on that quote that the park will include any of the more major additions that Legoland has received over the past five years.

 

In my mind, a Legoland is better than none at all, but that being said, I hope that the reworking can rid the park of the "concrete fair" feel and bring in that excitement and fun that I see bleeding from every crevice in all of the other parks.

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That figure seemed low to me, too, but I just figured I don't know much about theme park economics.

 

If they want to compete in this market, they can't make it substandard.

 

Having just visited Legoland, CA, after wishing for one in FL for years, I have great hopes for this project. I just wish they had done it sooner, as my Lego-fanatic son will be 10, this summer, and will be starting to outgrow the park, by the time it's up and running.

 

Legoland has HUGE appeal for most families with boys aged 4-10. I would think it would be very popular with locals.

 

I also hope they make it more toddler-friendly!

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Robb and I were discussing the "$150 million" investment figure.

 

Does that sound like enough money to transform Cypress Gardens into a REAL Legoland? I mean a Mack Mouse (Technic Coaster) alone will be $7 - 8 Million, all of the other rides, buildings, theming, etc. Obviously the park has some infrastructure already so they may save some money there, but I doubt it's up to Legoland standards or enough.

 

It would just be such a bummer if Legoland Florida ended up being the redheaded stepchild of the Legoland family of parks.

 

I hear what you're saying, but I'm cautiously optimistic on this one. I still like the idea of approaching this place with hopes of transforming it into a Legoland "Lite" type of park at first, and the $150 million figure might actually suggest this (with expansion to follow, as you said).

 

I mean, in other words, infuse some of the main Legoland elements into it, market it as "Central Florida's Hidden Family Treasure," or whatever, and build from there. To me, it makes more sense than dropping a ton into a place that may or may not be able to survive, and then having to bail if the latter scenario plays out.

 

On a side note, I'm also curious to see how would this affect the LEGO Imagination Center in Downtown Disney? Or is that place still open?

 

Either way, I'm anxious for the announcement!

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I really would like to see this work out as I love the Legoland parks and I love Florida...BUT... I would really like to see some sort of highway or bypass built to make the drive getting there from I-4 much easier.

 

If they had said they were building this on Boardwalk & Baseball's old property...I'd be all for it...but I just can't stand that drive down to Winter Haven, and I'm sure this would turn away a lot of other tourists too.

 

--Robb

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I really would like to see this work out as I love the Legoland parks and I love Florida...BUT... I would really like to see some sort of highway or bypass built to make the drive getting there from I-4 much easier.

 

If they had said they were building this on Boardwalk & Baseball's old property...I'd be all for it...but I just can't stand that drive down to Winter Haven, and I'm sure this would turn away a lot of other tourists too.

 

--Robb

 

I dunno Robb with the kind of reputation Lego has I can see people going out of the way for the park. I mean I know of several other parks away from highways which have done very well (Knoebels, Indiana Beach) but of course we won't know for sure until they actually swing open the gates for the first guests. Anyway I really hope this project works out for Merlin because way to many parks are closing and it is a relief to see one saved.

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I dunno Robb with the kind of reputation Lego has I can see people going out of the way for the park. I mean I know of several other parks away from highways which have done very well (Knoebels, Indiana Beach) but of course we won't know for sure until they actually swing open the gates for the first guests. Anyway I really hope this project works out for Merlin because way to many parks are closing and it is a relief to see one saved.

If Indiana Beach or Knoebel's had the Walt Disney World and the Universal and the Sea World resorts 40 miles away, it would be closed today. I'd put money on it.

 

I don't think many of you really understand just how difficult it is to get to Winter Haven.

 

If it wasn't difficult for people to get there, Cypress Gardens would not have been in the financial trouble it's been in for the past two decades.

 

I will say that turning it into a Legoland is still the best chance it's ever going to get, but without a bypass or a highway I guarantee you they will continue to have some of the same challenges the park has had for twenty years.

 

--Robb

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head south a bit

 

21 miles from I-4 to the park.

 

That's more than 'a bit' on a road with lights, stores, restaurants, etc.

 

I just google mapped it. From I-Drive near Universal to the park is 43 miles and they say it takes 1 hour. Like someone else posted, in that same time frame I could drive all the way to Busch Gardens!

 

21 miles on a local road SUCKS.

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