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Photo TR: LEGOLAND Florida - All Photos Now Posted


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Yesterday Kevin and I attended a special AAA member preview of Florida's newest theme park, LEGOLAND Florida. The weather was unusually cooler in the mid-70s, which was nice, but by noon the day became very rainy. Before the park opened, there was a short ribbon-cutting ceremony presentation by the AAA president and park GM with the help of some LEGO friends.

 

This was both Kevin and my first time ever visiting a LEGOLAND park and was quite excited to see what it was like. Because we didn't have kids with us, we did a quick lap around the park to try and hit as many attractions as possible before the lines formed. By doing this we were able to hit the shooting dark ride, safari jeep ride, jr. wooden coaster, wild mouse, wave racer and boating school in the first hour of opening. We then headed back to the front and then took in each land slowly to appreciate all the LEGO details. LEGO did a fantastic job transforming the park from Cypress Gardens to a colorful LEGO playground for kids of all ages. If you had never been to Cypress Gardens, you would think this was a brand new park. Unlike the previous owners who just painted the old buildings and placed dozens of carnival rides randomly. LEGOLAND Florida has brand new winding paths that make sense, are consistent and look great. Many of the rides are LEGOLAND unique rides that really fit well within the landscape. The few rides left over from Cypress Gardens have been given a new life and fit in well with their new owners.

 

I was glad to see the botanical gardens are still intact, with a small section in the back that is fenced off while they continue to work on that area. I think I must have taken the gardens for granted in the past, because I forgot how beautiful they really are. Because of the weather, it felt like we were in a rainforest, which was awesome. If you visit, even if you don't care about the gardens, please make a point to go and check out the GIANT banyan tree, it is worth visiting. It felt like we were on the planet Pandora from the movie Avatar. The only suggestion is to add more benches through-out the gardens.

 

The LEGOLAND rides were all fun. Because Kevin is not a big thrill seeker, he approved all the rides. The only new credit for me was the wild mouse "Test Track" coaster, which was very smooth compared to other wild mice. Our biggest surprise of the day was The Boating School ride. It was great that it was not on a track and you have to power/steer the boat yourself. Considering it was quite windy, it was fun watching people loosing control of the boats and hitting the walls. I liked the theming they added to the jr. woodie, Coastersaurus, very cute. Another ride Kevin loved was the Safari Trek jeep ride. The different large LEGO animals featured were awesome. Another favorite for me was the AQUAZONE Wave Racers, a fun and wet interesting ride. The only rides that were down for the day were The Dragon coaster, which I had been on when it was Cypress Gardens minus the dark ride section. Also The Flying Island was down due to high winds, which is a nice ride that I'm glad the park kept from Cypress Gardens.

 

We caught the Pirates Cove Live Water Ski Show, which was entertaining, a little slow at times and cheesy, but the kids seemed to love it and that’s what counts. The 4D movie was a fun 3D movie with effects that don't attack you, but entertain you like snow falling in the theater.

 

The main highlight for us and I think for anyone who will visit the park is MINILAND. The centerpiece of the park features replicas of famous city land marks from around the USA. NYC, Vegas, Hollywood, San Francisco, D.C. and even a pirate themed village are all represented. But what was the big hit for us and I'm sure fellow Floridians are the replicas of Florida cities, including Tampa, Miami, Key West, Tallahassee, Panama City Beach, St. Augustine, the Kennedy Space Center and the Daytona Speedway. If it hadn't really started to rain, We could have stayed in MINILAND for hours taking in all the amazing details. I have heard at night all the buildings light up, I can imagine how gorgeous this would look. Might have to visit during a busier time when the park hours are later to experience this.

 

Overall I think that as long as people understand that LEGOLAND is geared for families, and is not trying to be something for everyone they will be a big hit. I saw a giant line for the annual pass upgrade line when we were leaving. We will definitely visit again in the future if we have friends that have kids that want to go. It was a lot of fun and I think if any company was to have the best chance of making a go at the old Cypress Gardens site is LEGOLAND, I wish them lots of luck.

 

After our time at LEGOLAND Florida, we had a early dinner at Carrabba’s Italian Grill’s Winter Haven location. Only about a 5 minute drive from the park. We wanted to check-out the Winter Haven’s location because it is the brand new prototype remodel store and we thought it looked amazing! I highly recommend checking it out! Onto the photos, enjoy!

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The street entrance LEOGlAND FLORIDA sign welcomes guests.

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I'm glad LEGOLAND kept most of the large shade trees from Cypress Gardens.

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The temp dropped down to 71 degrees, you would think Kevin thought it was snowing! Boy has his blood thinned out from moving from NJ 15 years ago!

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We loved the colorful LEGOLAND Florida entrance plaza.

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2 kids at heart are ready to experience our first LEGOLAND park!

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Hopefully this entrance will greet lots of guests for years to come.

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A LEGO friend came out to entertain the crowd waiting for the park to open.

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More LEGOLAND friends to welcome the opening crowd.

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LEGOLAND Florida's general manager, Adrian Jones welcomes the AAA members to the special preview.

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After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the park opened.

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Giant colorful LEGO creations greet guests as they enter the park.

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You enter the park in "The Beginning" themed section.

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Since Kevin loves Dinos, he loved being greeted by these guys.

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The Big Shop is the park's main store that features every kind of LEGO product that a kid would want.

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Inside The Big Shop.

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"The Beginning" section of the park's main eatery is the Market Restaurant.

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Even inside the restaurant, there are LEGO discovery activities for guests to play with.

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Inside the Market Restaurant.

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One of the menus inside the Market Restaurant.

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The Kids Menu at the Market Restaurant.

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The Market Restaurant features counter service bakery items, entrées, sandwiches, soups and salads.

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And a Coffee Shop.

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Thought this plumber guy was placed in an approporitae area by the restrooms.

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Leaving "The Beginning" area and entering....

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Entering "Fun Town".

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I'm glad LEGOLAND kept the double decker carousel from Cypress Gardens and moved it to the front of the park. Makes for a great centerpiece of "Fun Town".

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The Factory Tour where you learn how LEGO's are made. This was a VERY short exhibit. But the more I thought about it, it is perfect for young kids that may have short attention spans.

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The Factory Tour.

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The Factory Tour.

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More of the Factory Tour.

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Putting the final touches on a LEGO guy on the Factory Tour.

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The LEGO Studios store complete with a small movie theater.

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The Garden Shop. This is attached to the Butterfly Conservatory that will be opening in the future.

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Watching how Granny's Apple Fries are made.

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Granny's Apple Fries were actually quite good.

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DUPLO Village, a toddler themed area complete with a undercover play area, mother's indoor nursing center, 3 rides and a water play area.

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Inside the covered barn play area in DUPLO Village.

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Inside the covered barn play area in DUPLO Village.

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Inside the covered barn play area in DUPLO Village.

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Inside the covered barn play area in DUPLO Village, also houses an air-condioned Mother's nursing center.

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Granny's Jalopies car ride in DUPLO Village.

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Granny's Jalopies car ride in DUPLO Village.

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LEGO fireman to save the day in DUPLO Village.

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Junior Fire Academy was one of only a couple of rides that weren't ready for the AAA preview.

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The 3rd toddler ride in DUPLO Village, Big Rig Rally.

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Help!

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Leaving DUPLO Village and heading into the "LEGO Kingdoms" area of the park.

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The LEGO Kingdoms area of the park was small, but had lots of details. Unfortunately, The Dragon coaster was down most of the day.

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Merlin's Challenge, because it was under cover, during the rain it was a very popular attraction.

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The Royal Joust, a popular ride in the LEGO Kingdoms area of the park.

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The Forestmen's Hideout playground in LEGO Kingdom.

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Leaving LEGO Kingdom and entering...

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Now entering the "Land of Adventure".

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Land of Adventure is were kids can explore like Indiana Jones.

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Loved the LEGO Egyptian models in the Land of Adventure.

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Lost Kingdom Adventure is the park's fun indoor shooting dark ride.

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Pharaoh's Revenge is a covered multi-level shooting foam ball play area.

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Beetle Bounce, a dueling frog hopper.

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LEGO really nicely transformed this area of the park.

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Coastersaurus, the park's jr. wooden coaster.

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Coastersaurus, the park's jr. wooden coaster.

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Outside of Coastersaurus entrance.

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Coastersaurus, the former Triple Hurricane coaster is still a fun little coaster.

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Exploring deep in the jungle.

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Time to check out the Safari Trek.

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This jeep ride encounters many exotic LEGO animals.

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Safari Trek.

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Watch-out for the water shooting elephants!

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We enjoyed our Safari.

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Next we checked out LEGO City, home to a surprise favorite attraction of the day for us, Boating School.

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Boating School.

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Boating School.

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Earlier I was eaten by a Lion, now Kevin is eaten by a shark! LEGOLAND is a dangerous park!

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Downtown LEGO City.

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A family staple at a LEGOLAND park, Rescue Academy.

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Rescue Academy, a human-powered attraction that is a race to help save the day.

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A pretty good attraction that gets the whole family involved.

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Drive-In diner in LEGO City.

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Another popular LEGOLAND attraction, Driving School.

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A life-sized Ford made out of LEGOs was pretty cool.

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Driving School where kids get to drive their own electric powered cars.

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Driving School where kids get to drive their own electric powered cars.

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Flying School, is the park's family inverted coaster. I really loved the transformation from Cypress Garden's old Swamp Thing themed to the flying school theme.

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Flying School family inverted coaster.

Edited by live2tell75
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Next section of the park we explored was The Imagination Zone.

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The Imagination Zone.

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There are many stations in the Imagination Zone for kids to play and build.

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A popular area was where kids could build race cars, then race them on a couple different tracks.

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Kid Power Towers gives a great view of the lake.

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Imagination Zone was a good area to escape the rain and heat in the summer.

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Now entering LEGO Technic, home to a couple of fun rides.

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AQUAZONE Wave Racers was a lot of fun and wet!

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Technicycle wasn't quite ready for our preview.

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The fastest and most thrilling ride at LEGOLAND Florida is Test Track, a wild mouse.

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Test Track features very cool cars.

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Test Track was a lot smoother than most Wild Mouse coasters I have been on.

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Had to give AQUAZONE another spin before moving on.

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We caught the Pirate's Cove Battle for Brickbeard's Bounty ski show.

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The Cypress Gardens water skiers look a lot different.

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Pirate's Cove Battle for Brickbeard's Bounty ski show.

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Pirate's Cove Battle for Brickbeard's Bounty ski show.

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Pirate's Cove Battle for Brickbeard's Bounty ski show - oh no it's Brickbeard!

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Pirate's Cove Battle for Brickbeard's Bounty ski show.

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Pirate's Cove Battle for Brickbeard's Bounty ski show was cute, but a little slow in pacing, but the kids loved it. More to Come!

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We were curious to see how the old botanical gardens held up during the park's transition.

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I'm glad to report that the gardens look great!

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The park is honoring it's past by keeping the name Cypress Gardens for the botanical gardens section of the park.

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WIth the rainy weather, the gardens felt like we were deep in a rainforest.

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Botanical Gardens.

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Botanical Gardens, loved how peaceful and quite the gardens were.

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Botanical Gardens.

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Botanical Gardens.

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Botanical Gardens.

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Botanical Gardens.

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The amazing MASSIVE Banyan Tree.

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We felt like we were on the planet Pandora from the movie Avatar.

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This is a must-see for anyone who plans on visiting LEGOLAND Florida.

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Botanical Gardens.

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Botanical Gardens.

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Botanical Gardens.

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Botanical Gardens.

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Botanical Gardens.

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Botanical Gardens.

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Botanical Gardens.

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Botanical Gardens.

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Botanical Gardens.

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Botanical Gardens.

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Botanical Gardens.

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Cypress Gardens Historic Botanical Gardens, I believe this is wear in the future the LEGO southern belles will be placed.

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Time to check-out the centerpiece of the park...Miniland!

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We will start off with New York City.

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New York City in Miniland.

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New York City in Miniland.

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New York City in Miniland.

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New York City in Miniland.

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New York City in Miniland.

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New York City in Miniland.

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New York City in Miniland.

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LEGOWOOD, CA in MIniland.

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A LEGOWOOD movie premiere in Miniland.

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The LEGOWOOD Bowl theater in Miniland.

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San Francisco in Miniland.

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San Francisco in Miniland.

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San Francisco in Miniland.

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The Las Vegas Strip in Miniland.

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The Las Vegas Strip in Miniland.

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The Las Vegas Strip in Miniland.

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The Las Vegas Strip in Miniland.

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The Las Vegas Strip in Miniland.

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The Las Vegas Strip in Miniland.

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The Las Vegas Strip in Miniland.

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Pirate Village in Miniland.

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Pirate Village in Miniland.

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Pirate Village in Miniland.

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Pirate Village in Miniland.

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Washington, DC in Miniland.

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D.C. area in Miniland.

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Washington, DC in Miniland.

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Washington, DC in Miniland.

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Washington, DC in Miniland.

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Washington, DC in Miniland.

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Washington, DC in Miniland. The White House complete with the first family.

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Time for the Sunshine State, starting in the Florida panhandle, Panama City Beach.

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The state capital, Tallahassee.

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St. Augustine.

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St. Augustine.

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Looking for a sunken treasure off of Florida's east coast?

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Daytona Speedway in Miniland.

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An interactive part of the Daytona Speedway in Miniland.

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Kennedy Space Center complete with a space shuttle that "lifts off" every so often.

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Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Center.

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South Beach Miami in Miniland.

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Key West in Miniland.

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Downtown Tampa in Miniland.

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Downtown Tampa in Miniland.

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A little bit of Ybor City in the Tampa section of Miniland.

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Favorite part of Miniland was checking out our hometown, Tampa.

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Hope you enjoyed this preview of LEGOLAND Florida, be sure to visit when it opens on Oct. 15th. Thanks for reading!

Edited by live2tell75
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Almost forgot, when visiting LEGOLAND check out Carrabba's WInter Haven's brand new remodel design, it's gorgeous!

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Carrabba's Italian Grill's new outside re-design in WInter Haven.

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Outside living room waiting area.

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Inside lobby waiting area.

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Bar/lounge area.

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Dining Room.

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A section of the pizza bar now includes a few 2 top tables.

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A new Cappuccino server station in the dining room.

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Another view of the dining room. Thanks again for reading!

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Great TR! Christine and I went to the Legoland in California and were surprised at how much we liked it. I can totally see how it is mostly a kids park but can easily be appreciated by adults without kids.

 

This park looks even better with those beautiful gardens! I hope it does well.

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Excellent trip report. I am glad you had a great time and posted so many photos. I actually work for the regional AAA that sponsored the two AAA Preview days and was working the event so I did not get to see as much as I would have liked to so the photos are great to see.

 

Carmen

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LEGOLAND messed up!

 

As a San Francisco Bay Area resident and skyscraper know-it-all (along with theme parks, of course), I found two buildings that were "swapped" in different skylines:

 

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This is the Wachovia Financial Center in San Francisco, it is supposed to be in Miami

 

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This is the Bank of America Building in Miami/Tampa, it is supposed to be in San Francisco

 

Also, this is a VERY nice Photo Trip Report, and gave me a clear image of LegoLand Florida.

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Excellent trip report. I am glad you had a great time and posted so many photos. I actually work for the regional AAA that sponsored the two AAA Preview days and was working the event so I did not get to see as much as I would have liked to so the photos are great to see.

 

Carmen

 

Big thanks to AAA for organizing this, we really appreciated the preview! Hopefully you will get to visit again in the future and see a little bit more.

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I went last Thursday for Hospitality Preview and really enjoyed the park. I thought it would be a few hours and then back to Orlando. I ended up spending all day there, and after I left, I thought about getting a season pass!

 

Really well laid out and they totally cleaned up every building and path from the old park. And the water racers ride is a total blast! I will be back!

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Something I thought was also interesting, unless you were familiar with Cypress Gardens or walked to the back of the gardens you would never know the old water park is still standing. LEGOLAND did a good job masking the old entrance to the water park by the Flying School coaster. So if they do expand in the future like the rumors are by re-opening the water park, it will be a surprise for a lot of guests. The water park is not that visible from the road.

 

Another thing I forgot to mention is that all the park employees were super friendly and all seemed to be very excited and happy which is a good thing.

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I'm very happy with how the park turned out. The LEGO-theme will actually make it money for a change, and their decision to keep the gardens and the ski show preserved the spirit of Cypress Gardens. I dare anyone to complain about the change, especially anyone who went to the previous incarnation, which was very nice, but really a quaint fun fair added on to the famous bits.

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Something I thought was also interesting, unless you were familiar with Cypress Gardens or walked to the back of the gardens you would never know the old water park is still standing. LEGOLAND did a good job masking the old entrance to the water park by the Flying School coaster. So if they do expand in the future like the rumors are by re-opening the water park, it will be a surprise for a lot of guests. The water park is not that visible from the road.

 

I would imagine them doing something similar to Legoland California and place the entrance to the waterpark inside the theme park and offer it only as part of a combo ticket.

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Something I thought was also interesting, unless you were familiar with Cypress Gardens or walked to the back of the gardens you would never know the old water park is still standing. LEGOLAND did a good job masking the old entrance to the water park by the Flying School coaster. So if they do expand in the future like the rumors are by re-opening the water park, it will be a surprise for a lot of guests. The water park is not that visible from the road.

 

I would imagine them doing something similar to Legoland California and place the entrance to the waterpark inside the theme park and offer it only as part of a combo ticket.

 

Hopefully they will build a family type raft slide like at California's. If I remember right Cypress Gardens had 2 tower slide complexes. One complex featured a free-fall slide, a tall bumpy slide and a enclosed curved speed slide. I can imagine that they would remove these 3 as they appeal to more aggressive thrill seekers. The second tower featured 2 single and double raft flume slides which I can picture them keeping. They will most likely keep the lazy river, wave pool and splash bucket slide complex. It will be cool to see a LEGO re-theme to the whole water park area.

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