My youngest was so excited about our visit to LEGOLAND Orlando, he grabbed a brochure out of the rack at our hotel as soon as we arrived to examine the LEGOLAND map and begin planning our day – boy after my own heart.
All those years of visiting Florida theme parks, he knows you have to go in with a plan, or you’ll just spend your day (and your money) wandering. After a few trips to LEGOLAND Orlando, we have some awesome tips to ensure your vacation is the best it can be (and even tips on how to score LEGOLAND Florida discount tickets). Read on for our…
Secrets to an Awesome LEGOLAND Orlando Vacation
Where is LEGOLAND Florida
| Why stay at the LEGOLAND Hotel or LEGOLAND Resort
| How to Save BIG at LEGOLAND Orlando
| 15+ Tips to Beat the Lines at LEGOLAND Orlando
| What Age is the Right Age for LEGOLAND Orlando
| LEGOLAND Reviews from an 8-year-old
| LEGOLAND Reviews from a 13-year-old
| LEGO LAND Discovery Centers and LEGO Stores
A lot of people wonder where is LEGOLAND in Florida because it’s not really in Orlando proper. The LEGOLAND Orlando address is One LEGOLAND Way in Winter Haven FL, just 45 minutes from the gates of the Magic Kingdom or Tampa beaches.
It’s the location of the old Cypress Gardens, which was famous for their southern belles and water ski shows. (LEGOLAND Orlando does a fantastic water ski show, carrying on the Cypress Gardens tradition.)
For me, staying on property at one of the Florida theme parks is always preferred. When we first visited, we had to stay at one of the hotels near LEGOLAND Florida because the LEGOLAND Hotel had not been built yet. We found an awesome Comfort Inn and Suites, but it still wasn’t the same.
If you want to stay on property, check out our post on the LEGOLAND Hotel, Florida (there is another LEGO hotel in California). The LEGOLAND Florida hotel is a great way to totally immerse your family in the LEGO experience. In 2017, LEGOLAND Hotel Orlando welcomes the LEGOLAND Beach Retreat, a LEGOLAND Resort on Lake Dexter.
There are so many advantages to staying on property, but my favorite reason is the extended LEGOLAND Florida hours at the theme park. If you stay at either of the LEOGLAND Florida resort hotels, you get early admission to the Florida parks. LEGOLAND hotel discount codes are available online at legoland.com for the new Beach Resort which opens in 2017.
There are lots of theme parks in Florida, but a trip to LEGOLAND Orlando is a must for any LEGO lover, especially those with children who are tweens and younger. But theme park visits can be expensive, and LEGOLAND tickets are no exception. A family of four could easily spend more than $350 just to enjoy a day here. That’s why everyone is looking for LEGOLAND discounts.
Below are six LEGOLAND Orlando money saving tips (including where to get LEGOLAND discount tickets) that will stretch your wallet, plus some additional resources to plan your day at LEGOLAND Orlando and ensure you get the most value out of the money you spend.
Money Saving Tips for LEGOLAND Orlando
Buy LEGOLAND Florida Tickets Ahead of Time: You can save money on LEGOLAND tickets by purchasing your tickets online at the LEGO website, www.LEGOLAND.com before arriving at the theme park.
LEGOLAND Florida Discount Tickets: Before you purchase LEGO land tickets, check online for discounts. Visit Orlando’s Magic Card gives you a discount on admission to LEGOLAND Florida and other Orlando dining and attractions. Also check MouseSavers for discounts on LEGOLAND prices.
Where else can you look for discounts on LEGOLAND tickets? Costco has them. You can even order Costco LEGOLAND tickets on your vacation. They are e-tickets and generally come within the hour of purchase – but I’d go ahead and order them at least the night before, just in case.
There are also LEGOLAND military discounts available from the LEGOLAND website. We found LEGOLAND Florida coupons in magazines in our hotel, but I think the deals above are probably better.
Purchase Parking online: Save $2 by purchasing your parking online at the LEGO LAND Florida site before you arrive.
Pack Your Lunch and Snacks: LEGOLAND Orlando has some great dining options and works hard to offer choices for those with allergies or needing gluten free options, but to save money, you may want to pack your own lunch. There are lockers at the front of the park to store your picnic until lunchtime.
If you don’t want to do that, consider leaving the park for less pricey dining options. You may re-enter the parking with a valid parking stub during the same day of your visit.
Come Prepared: You will get wet on the Quest for CHI ride at the LEGOLAND park. Come prepared with ponchos, rain gear or a change of clothes. Bring a change of socks too, there is nothing worse than walking around with wet socks and shoes. LEGOLAND Orlando does have ponchos available for purchase near the Quest for CHI ride, but you’ll pay a lot for them.
Hold the souvenirs: The LEGO sets are so tempting, but resist the urge to give in to your child’s pleas. You’ll find the merchandise at cheaper prices outside the park.
Bring some mini-figures: Staff members swap the mini-figures on their nametags with guests at LEGOLAND Orlando. It’s a fun activity for the kids as they walk around the park.
Be sure to bring some LEGO figures from home so you don’t have to buy them at the theme park. But don’t bring your character ones, most figures staff have are generic, and you wouldn’t want to trade your prized Star Wars LEGO figure for them.
A great trip to the LEGOLAND Orlando Florida Theme Park isn’t just about saving money. If you have a great experience at LEGO land, the money is worth it. If you do nothing but wait in lines, your experience will be compromised. Below are 10+ tips to help you navigate the lines at LEGOLAND Orlando.
Get there early. As with most Florida theme parks, to avoid lines, you want to get there early, even a half hour before the park opens. This gives you time to park, go to the bathroom, put on sunscreen and whatever last minute preparations you need, so you are completely ready to enter the park when it opens.
Go to the Back and Work Your Way Forward: Assuming you get to the theme park early as we suggested above, then, head to the back and work your way forward. Most people go to the right when they enter a theme park. This will allow you to do the popular LEGOLAND rides at the back of the park before the crowds hit.
Stay at the LEGOLAND Hotel: We said it before, but it’s worth mentioning again, guests at either the LEGO Hotel Florida or the LEGOLAND Resort on Lake Dexter receive early admission to the LEGOLAND Theme Park. This is a perfect time to get in some of those rides that form long lines during the day (especially the coasters).
Register for Mindstorm robotic challenge. If your children are over eight years old, head to Imagination Station and register for the Mindstorm robotic challenge as soon as you enter the park. There are three different challenges to choose from and they fill up quickly. The last time we went, there was also a challenge for kids six and over, so ask at the gate what ages can sign up for the Mindstorm challenge. This was a favorite activity for both of my sons (including the 13-year-old).
For Younger Kids: Head to the Ford Driving School(which is right next door to Mindstorm registration). If this is something your kids want to do, head here immediately after registering for Mindstorm (or first if you don’t want to or can’t do Mindstorm). Loading for this ride is painfully slow, which means the line is continuous and gets longer as the day progresses.
Most of the reviews I read of LEGOLAND said their kids LOVED the Ford Driving school. However, if your kids have the Power Wheels cars at home, don’t spend too much time waiting in this line. I quizzed a little guy of about five on whether this was more fun than his Power Wheels Gator. He said, “My Gator can go a lot faster.” My own kids said they’d do it once if the line wasn’t overly long, but once was enough.
For Older Kids: If your children aren’t excited about the Ford Driving School, head to the roller coasters first. Our favorite is Project X in the Technic section, but lines are consistent for the Coasterasaurus even in the slower winter months, so if you want go here, do it early or late when lines are slightly shorter.
Don’t miss Flight School – Right behind the Ford Driving School is Flight School, a roller coaster where your feet dangle. This ride entrance is easy to miss. Perhaps it’s because we went on a slower day, or because we got there in the morning, but we rode this coaster twice without a wait, and loved it.
If there are long lines at the coasters, come back closer to park closing. My friend Jennifer Hutchinson @mami2mommy recommended if there was a long line at the Coasterasaurus, to wait until closer to park close and try again. We did this and the line went from 60 minutes to about five. Perfect!
Hit Build and Test in the Imagination Zone between 10 and 12 or after 3 pm. Most families are looking for a break after lunch and Build and Test is the perfect place (hello air conditioning), which means a line forms. To get the run of the place, come before noon. If that’s not possible, head here after 3 pm when most folks are leaving. Sunday is a less crowded day in the park overall, so if you must come on a weekend, choose Sunday.
More Tips for a Great Day at LEGOLAND Florida
Keep your friends close on the Aqua Wave Racers and Quest for CHI. Water cannons next to the Aqua Racers ride can soak the participant. They are controlled by stands along the water’s edge. Guests can fire at will and of course family and friends will be firing at you. In the Quest for CHI, onlookers can use water canons to spray those on the ride, but those on the ride can also spray the onlookers, so watch out on both sides.
Bring a poncho for Quest for CHI. You WILL get wet on the Quest for CHI ride. If the waterfall or sprayers miss you, the water canons manned by onlookers will get you. This is a fun ride that anyone can do, no matter how tall or short, so the line can get very long. Most folks will wait until the end of the day to get wet. Head here early for the shortest line.
Also in this section is Craggy’s Swamp, which is a splash pad. Bring a towel and maybe a change of clothes or bathing suit. A must is a change of socks and/or shoes. Even if you don’t go in the water, you’ll likely end up splashing through some puddles and there is nothing worse than walking around in wet sneakers.
In the summer, if the weather forecast calls for thunderstorms (mostly in the afternoon), the Quest of Chi might close; another reason to do this very fun ride sooner rather than later.
Don’t miss the Battle for Brickbeard’s Bounty Water Ski Show. The Battle for Brickbeard’s Bounty is a throwback to the days when this theme park was Cypress Gardens – which was known for their southern belles and water ski shows.
To get the best view of the show, sit on the left side of the pirate ship. You want a good view of the ski ramps. If the theater fills up before you get there, sit on the lawn between the two stadiums. You won’t have as good a view of the pirate show, but you’ll have a great view of the water skiers.
If you go on a slow day, sit on the front row next to the VIP section. If the VIP people don’t come, kids may be allowed to spray the pirates with the water cannon(which is normally reserved for VIPs). The show pavilion is also a great place for lunch. Not only will you get to sit in the shade, but you’ll have something to do while you wait for the show to begin.
Get the Apple Fries. Everyone I know raves about the apple fries. These are baked apple slices with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top and a side of whipped cream, what’s not to like? Granny’s Apples is located at the front of the park, so pick them up on the way in or out. If you miss these (or just love them so much) reader Jean-Francois Roman sent this recipe for Apple Fries. If you make them, let me know what you think.
Eat Healthy (ier). I will say, LEGOLAND Orlando gets an A+ for theme park food. We ate at the I-Zone Panini in the Imagination Zone. It was the first meal my son had all weekend that didn’t include french fries or chicken fingers. It did include a ham sandwich he proclaimed, excellent! Plus apples and baked Lays potato chips. When I asked to substitute lemonade for milk or water, I was told they can’t do that – which totally got me off the hook.
If you’d rather save some money, LEGOLAND allows guest to bring in food and drinks. There are lockers at the front of the park, so you don’t have to carry your picnic all day.
Bring Lego mini-figures to trade. But don’t bring character ones. Staff members swap the mini-figures on their nametags. We were excited to trade, but in the end only traded one person. We were expecting really cool figures, but most were generic mini’s, nothing special.
In the end, the mini figures we brought to trade were better than the ones most staffers had. I was told there is one staff member who walks around the park with basically a board of mini-figures. He’d be the guy to find for some real trading. It would be fun if LEGOLAND Orlando were to set up Mini-figure trading booths like other places have for pin trading.
If you don’t have mini-figures to bring, purchase them at any store in the park.
Package Pick Up: If you purchase something at any of the gift shops, LEGOLAND Orlando has package pick up, which means you can send your purchases to the front of the park and pick them up on the way out instead of hauling it around the park with you.
Take a Shuttle from Orlando. If you are staying in Orlando and don’t have a car, or would prefer not to drive, there is a shuttle that provides roundtrip transportation from the Orlando Premium Outlets – Vineland Avenue to LEGOLAND. The day we checked out the LEGOLAND shuttle, roundtrip was only $5 per person.
LEGOLAND Florida is geared toward the 12 and under set, but a love of LEGO doesn’t stop at 12, so what is the best age to visit LEGOLAND Florida? That’s the question I was asked most about this Florida theme park – what is the recommended age for visiting?
LEGOLAND Florida recommends the park for kids 12 and under. My suggestion is it completely depends on your child, and your available time and resources. I visited with my 8.5 year old and newly minted teen and they both had a blast. Here’s why…
LEGOLAND Orlando for Elementary School Children
This is the prime age for LEGOLAND Orlando. Our favorite ride was the Project X roller coaster and both the 8-year-old and the 13-year-old really enjoyed the Mindstorm Robotics programming class. I’m going to look up classes at the Atlanta LEGOLAND Discovery Center to see if we can participate in something similar closer to home.
Mini-land was also a favorite. My boys are huge Star Wars fans and seeing all the episodes in miniature was very entertaining. It was also fun to see places we’ve visited in miniature, like Times Square and the Castillo de San Marco. There are also mini-figures in macro here. My 8-year-old loved posing with LEGO Batman, LEGO Darth Maul and more.
LEGOLAND Orlando for Toddlers
LEGOLAND Florida also cater’s to the toddler set and they have a special Duplo area just for the little kids. Even in the Build and Test area (another favorite of my boys), there were bins with large soft blocks for the youngest LEGO fans.
LEGOLAND Orlando for Tweens and Teens
There were times when my 13-year-old felt too big, but only because other kids were so much younger. He likes LEGO castles, so he was excited to step into the Kingdom’s world. He also loved Mini-land and Mindstormers. The roller coasters are fun, but if your teen is only satisfied with BIG thrills – these are tame coasters.
Bottom line – 5 – 12 years old is probably the sweet, sweet spot for LEGOLAND Orlando. There is lots of fun to be had for young teens and tweens, but go into it with the right frame of mind. Don’t expect Six Flags with LEGOs. If you have limited time and resources older teens might prefer something with thrill rides like Universal Studios.
A LEGOLAND Review from a 13-year-old
After our trip to LEGOLAND Orlando, I had a lot of people ask me if it was something that tweens and teens would enjoy. As I’ve said before, the park itself is geared toward those 12 and under, but tweens and young teens can have a good time, especially if they go with a younger sibling or friend.
My 13 year-old was almost as excited as my 8 year-old to visit LEGOLAND, and although they enjoyed many of the same things, they also experienced the park a bit differently.
Given more time to plan his own schedule, my teen would have spent more time in mini-land, Instagramming and Snapchatting photos of mini cities. Here’s his thoughts on what to do at LEGOLAND Florida for tweens and teens.
What did you like best about LEGOLAND Orlando and why?
I liked a lot of things about LEGOLAND Orlando. I thought all of the buildings in mini-land were cool because I understand how hard it is to build all of them.
The rides at LEGOLAND Florida were fun but definitely for younger kids and nowhere near as cool as some of the rides at Disney or Universal.
The Mindstorm Robotics Challenge is very cool and fun but can get a little tricky.
If you like shows go to the Pirates Cove show, cool water ski tricks. Sit in back if you don’t want to get soaking wet.
What did you like least about LEGOLAND Florida and why?
Even though I had a great time at LEGOLAND Florida, it was definaitly for younger people. Don’t expect to be thrilled with the rides. Come thinking that you will enjoy it and that some things will be for younger kids.
Tips for visiting LEGOLAND Florida
If I were to give one tip, I would say that you should build your day around the shows and expect to spend a lot of time in mini-land because it has a lot of details that make it much more fun.
Before we left the hotel, my 8-year-old carefully chose mini-figures to trade with the staff members at the park.
The evening before our visit, he picked up a brochure to begin mapping out our day. The morning of, he counted down the minutes until we left the hotel.
A week after our visit, he still talks about how much fun he had. When I asked him to review LEGOLAND Florida, here’s what he said.
What Did You Liked Best at LEGOLAND Orlando and Why?
I liked the Technic Test Track roller coaster because it went down really fast.
What Did You Liked Least at LEGOLAND Orlando and Why?
Tips for Visiting LEGOLAND Florida
1. Go see the Pirate Show. (The Battle for Brickbeard’s Bounty at the Ski Stadium)
2. Sign up for the Master Builder (This is the Mindstorm Robotics Challenge)
3. Get to the Dinosaur ride (Coastersaurus roller coaster) early or at the end of the day.
If you can ‘t make it to one of the LEGOLAND Theme Parks, (there are three around the world, LEGOLAND California, LEGOLAND Dubai and LEGOLAND Orlando), you can still engage your inner LEGO geek (or just say its for the kids).
The LEGOLAND brand has two additional ways to experience LEGOS beyond the theme parks, the LEGOLAND Store, and LEGOLAND Discovery Center.
The LEGO Store offers monthly mini-builds. LEGOLAND Discover Center is a mini-theme park with rides, an indoor playground and 4-D theatre. For the true fan, LEGOLAND Theme Park in Florida, California or Dubai allows total LEGO immersion. Here’s your guide to the multiple ways to experience LEGOS.
LEGO LAND: A Guide to Three Ways to Experience LEGOS
LEGO Store – The LEGO store offers free monthly LEGO mini-builds in addition to a wide array of merchandise. The Sugarloaf Mills location north of Atlanta was renovated in 2012 and offers the popular “Pick-a-Brick” wall. There is also a LEGO Store at North Point Mall in Alpharetta. You must register for the mini-builds prior to the event. That’s a great idea. We went years ago when you just showed up and the line snacked around the mall and you had to get there about two hours early. If you aren’t in Atlanta, here is a list of LEGO Stores around the country.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center – The LEGO Discovery Center at Phipps Plaza in Atlanta opened in 2012. It’s a mini-theme park that includes a factory tour, rides, a playground, 4-D theatre and my son’s favorite, an area to build and race cars. They also have party rooms and a master’s classroom. There is a LEGO store here, but they don’t have the same depth of merchandise as a true LEGO Store. If you’re in Texas, visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Dallas, this link takes you to a review by Jessica Bowers of Suitcases and Sippy Cups.
LEGOLAND Orlando Theme Park – The LEGOLAND Orlando theme park in Oct. of 2011. The LEGOLAND Water Park opened for the Summer 2012 season. Shortly after that, the LEGOLAND Hotel opened. In 2017, the LEGOLAND Beach Resort is scheduled to open.
Our family received media passes for LEGOLAND Orlando and LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Atlanta. All opinions are our own.