Located in the theme park capital of the world about 45 minutes away from the likes of Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld Orlando, Legoland Florida has plenty of competition. But, by featuring its iconic toy brand and catering to families with kids 13 and under, it has carved out a niche that helps distinguish it from its competitors. There are some great things to do at the park. If you're thinking of visiting, you'll want to make sure to check out Legoland's ten very best things.
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The sophisticated 4D ride, which opened in 2017, takes on E-Ticket attractions at Disney and Universal. In a theme park first, the interactive ride interprets passengers' karate chops and other hand gestures and converts them into 3D orbs to battle evil forces and rack up points. Based on Lego's Ninjago line of toys, kids and their parents have a blast (figuratively and literally) experiencing the martial arts world. The attraction is part of the park's Lego Ninjago World, which also includes a climbing wall and games to explore.
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The heart of Legoland is Miniland USA, which includes dioramas of famous American destinations all fashioned out of Lego blocks. The artistry as well as the scale of the exhibits are quite impressive. Represented places include Daytona International Speedway (pictured), Las Vegas, New York City, and Washington D.C.
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Based on the popular and incredibly funny The Lego Movie and its spinoffs, the Legoland show channels the same kind of offbeat, but charming sensibility. Like the films, the attraction appeals on two different levels to young children and their parents. Kids love the zippy and silly action. Adults love the pop culture references and the absurd situations. The Lego Movie 4D is one of the funniest shows at any theme park.
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Before it was Legoland, the park was Cypress Gardens, a beloved Florida tourist spot that predated Disney World by many years. Remnants of the original park remain, including the lovely botanical gardens that Legoland has preserved and renamed "Cypress Gardens." Paths meander along Lake Eloise and through formal gardens filled with flowers, plants, and trees, including namesake cypress trees and an enormous banyan tree. It is a delightful and tranquil place to escape from the rest of the park's hubbub.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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It's not enormous, but Legoland's water park provides enough slides and other wet fun to provide relief from Florida's heat and humidity. The Lego theme is cleverly incorporated with attractions such as Build-a-Raft River. It allows passengers to design their own tubes using oversized Lego blocks and then float down the lazy river in them. Note that admission to the water park requires an extra fee, and that visitors cannot purchase water park-only tickets.
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There aren't any major thrill rides at the park (it is designed for pre-teens after all), but The Dragon is among the more wild rides. The outdoor steel roller coaster includes some indoor dark ride sequences. Riders need to be 40 inches tall. Other coasters include the wooden Coastersaurus, the inverted Flying School, and the Wild Mouse-style Project X. The hairpin turns on the latter ride may give more squeamish visitors pause.
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Legoland offers two "driving schools," one for ages 6 to 13, and a junior version for 3- to 5-year-olds. In both cases, kids get to get behind the wheels of their own cars, learn the rules of the road, and earn "licenses."
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Another holdover from Cypress Gardens' heyday, Legoland puts its own spin on the classic water ski show. Instead of glamorous gals and buff boys, swashbuckling pirates in Lego gear hang on to tow ropes and ply the waters of Lake Eloise.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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As with Universal and Disney, you can stay where you play at Legoland Florida. There are two options: The Legoland Hotel, which is adjacent to the park, and Legoland Beach Retreat, which is a few blocks away (and connected via frequent shuttle buses). Both hotels feature the kid-centric and whimsical look, feel, and focus of the park. Both offer bountiful breakfasts as part of the room rates as well as plenty of complimentary activities. They also offer their guests exclusive early access to the park.
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The food at Legoland is a step above a typical amusement park. In addition to pizza, burgers, chicken fingers, and the usual suspects, some more interesting (and slightly healthier, perhaps) options include paninis, a pasta buffet, and a grilled chicken salad. One of the park's signature treats can be found at Granny's Apple Fries. It serves -- you guessed it -- fried apple pieces. They are served with cinnamon, sugar, and whipped cream. A version with ice cream is also available.
There are plenty of other things to do at the park that didn't make the list, but are still wonderful. For example, if you have toddlers, you'll want to head over to Duplo Valley where the rides are designed for Legoland's youngest visitors. The Island in the Sky is an interesting take on an observation tower. The Imagination Zone, which is located indoors, has lots of hands-on activities with Legos. Speaking of hands-on, the park has some great interactive, passenger-operated attractions, including the Kid Power Towers, the Technicycle, and the Rescue Academy.