Legoland a paradise for kids 2–12 years old
Legoland has one entire area, Miniland, filled with intricate models, made from the little plastic blocks. Here, reportedly more than 30 million bricks have been used to create themed areas including Washington, D.C., New York City, Las Vegas, a pirate display, Florida, and an homage to the Star Wars franchise.
Artisans termed master model builders create these spectacles, generally on a 1:20 scale. Some of the specific models include animated aspects or soundtracks. For instance, yellow cabs roll through New York’s Times Square, and boats glide past Florida beaches and on Washington’s Potomac River. At the Daytona International Speedway area, visitors will be able to race tiny cars around a slotted track in front of the grandstand. Row upon row of model trucks and cars fill the infield at the track.
Also in the Florida section are Miami Beach and its gaudy South Beach Deco hotels, as well as the iconic Kennedy Space Center, complete with the massive Vehicle Assembly Building, a space shuttle on the launchpad, and the Rocket Garden. Here, too, are St. Augustine and its centuries-old Spanish fort, Mallory Square in Key West, the Everglades, and buildings and streetcars from downtown Tampa, about an hour’s drive to the west of Legoland. (Nothing representing Orlando, which is closer, but why publicize the competition?)
The Las Vegas model includes iconic hotels such as Luxor Las Vegas, Excalibur, and Treasure Island, plus the Stratosphere tower and Paris Las Vegas’s Eiffel Tower. There’s even a soundtrack of noise recorded on the famed Strip.
The Washington area has miniature re-creations of the White House (it measures about 5-by-4-feet), the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, and the Smithsonian’s Castle. An animated marching band parades in front of the Capitol.
Using about 2 million blocks, New York City includes Rockefeller Plaza with tiny water fountains, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building (more than 10 feet tall), the Guggenheim Museum, and the Bronx Zoo.
The California models include San Francisco’s landmark Golden Gate Bridge, serpentine Lombard Street, and its familiar painted row houses. Los Angeles displays include Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood Bowl, and, of course, the Hollywood sign.
The pirate section features a battle between two ships floating on a sizable body of water that fronts a village where another ship is under construction. These detailed ship models are impressive.
Legoland Florida opened its impressive Star Wars section about a year after the rest of the park debuted. The Star Wars site holds about 2,000 models, composed of more than 1.5 million of the little plastic bricks, that reflect machines or creatures from all six of the films plus the TV series Clone Wars. Park visitors can push buttons to cause motion and sound with some of the figures. And if you have a favorite character, take the time to bend down and look for him, her, or it here.
While Legoland has one entire area filled by these intricate models, it also has roller coasters among its more than 50 attractions. Legoland is designed for the chief users of the plastic blocks, kids 2–12 years old, with only a nod to the adults who bring them here. The park also opens a spacious water park for the warmer months, closing usually in September and reopening in the late spring. In addition to the brick models and kiddie-sized rides, Legoland Florida boasts naturally shaded areas, benches on which to relax, and lots of tables holding the plastic bricks, all thoughtfully placed by the waiting lines for rides to occupy the younger guests.
To read a complete description of all the attractions and the water park at Legoland pick up a copy of Beyond Disney – The Unoffocial Guide to SeaWorld, Universal Orlando & the Best of Central Florida by Bob Sehlinger and Seth Kubersky.