We take our children to stay at Legoland Florida Resort in the US
As part of an action-packed holiday in Florida, we squeezed in two days and nights at Legoland Resort, enjoying the main park and waterpark and staying at one of its three hotels.
The entrance to the park was just a few quiet steps from our room at Pirate Island Hotel – bliss after racing throngs of people at Disney World and Universal.
When we arrived in our hotel room, the children were thrilled at the bunk beds, the theming, the LEGO to play with and the treasure hunt for LEGO gifts.
And we adults were quite content to sleep opposite a giant image of a bearded Lego pirate next to wallpaper and curtains depicting Lego pirates.
If first impressions are anything to go by then Legoland Pirate Island Hotel was a hit. And we still hadn’t entered the park!
Read all about our mini-break to find all about what we thought of the park and hotel and don’t miss our top tips to make the most of your visit.
LEGOLAND Florida Resort.
Where is it?
Legoland Florida is in the Winter Haven area. It is about an hour’s drive from Orlando in central Florida, America.
The resort is in its own grounds next to Lake Eloise in a self-contained safe site.
What is it?
LEGOLAND Florida Resort is a holiday destination made up of Legoland theme park (the second biggest in the world after Windsor), Legoland Waterpark, a new Peppa Pig theme park and three on-site hotels – the Legoland Hotel, Pirate Island Hotel and the Legoland Beach Resort.
Is it family friendly?
Do you really need to ask? The resort is all about families and their target age is two to 12.
The hotels have themed rooms, bunk beds, Lego to play with around the hotel, evening entertainment and specialised family dining at breakfast and in the evening.
Then there’s the theme parks…
At Legoland Pirate Island, the rooms are, you may have guessed, pirate-themed. Images cover every wall, curtains and even the carpet.
The rooms themselves have a children’s area with bunk beds, and a rollaway third child’s bed if needed, a tray of Lego and a child’s TV which can play all the Lego movies on demand.
Bunk beds and Lego to play with
Adults get a king-sized bed (which was surprisingly high off the ground), plus side tables with lights and their own larger HD TV.
The bathroom is compact with toiletries provided in Lego-branded tubes.
The room also has a small desk, safe and good storage for cases.
With lots of pirate ship-style brown wood it is quite dark in the room and the corridors of the hotel.
For a fresher, brighter feel – but fewer pirates – consider the Legoland Hotel which is next door.
Food and drink
The Shipwreck Restaurant serves breakfast and dinner.
Breakfast (included free with all rooms) is unusual as it is table-service and you get a family skillet (basically a big round tray) with hot food on it to share.
Ours had waffles, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, American breakfast biscuits (a type of savoury scone) and a gravy/creamy sauce to go with them.
Breakfast at Pirate Island Hotel
Friendly waiters and waitresses take your drinks orders and you can request other items like cereal.
A big shout out to our lovely waitress Bailey who went the extra mile to get us some fruit and pancakes on request.
We enjoyed experiencing something different, but the skillet won’t suit every family at breakfast time.
There is a similar skillet offering in the evening for all courses of a three-course menu (adults $36 and children $15).
We were given a salad starter with bread then a choice of two skillets as a main course with a range of meats or fish and sides like mashed potato, rice and beans.
Pirate Island Hotel
The restaurant will also do specific dishes for children like chicken and chips on request.
Dessert was either an ice cream and cookie dish or fresh fruit and marshmallows with chocolate sauce to dip in.
The quantities are absolutely huge, if you have a big appetite you will get value for money here. For those who prefer smaller portions, it might be a bit daunting!
More Lego stuff – the adjoining hotel next door has a large reception area and Lego to play with. There is also a nice bar area, more pleasant than the Smuggler’s Bar in Pirate Island.
Lego fun in the hotels
But of course, the main nearby attraction is the theme park itself – only 130 steps and 30 seconds away.
We could see the entrance opposite our room!
Legoland theme park
Legoland Florida has most of the rides you might expect if you have been to Windsor.
Lego Ninjago was our favourite as all four of us could compete together, shooting the villains with 3D glasses on as we spin through the ride.
Fortunately, the park was lovely and quiet when we visited during the week in October half-term so we could ride it four times!
Lots of photo opportunities
The site is spacious and with the lake on one side and plenty of greenery, it is quite a relaxing place to visit.
Most of the rides are suited to younger children, but there are some speedier ones.
We also enjoyed the aqua coasters and the fire engine ride where you have to pump your own engine to reach the blaze and put it out.
Some of the rides might feel a bit dated and quaint if you have just been to Disney World or Universal Studios but our children really enjoyed driving their own motorboats or steering a car in the driving school. Plus it was a relief to escape the crowds and the queues from the bigger parks.
Meeting a life-sized Lego figure
There are several places to cool down from the Florida heat – such as indoor spaces where you can create with Lego and a 4D theatre.
For a bigger cool off there is Legoland Water Park on site.
Legoland Water Park
You can only enter the water park with a ticket to the main park itself, but you need to pay extra.
Frustratingly it is at the far end of the park – a 15/20 minute walk from the entrance which means if you return to the park after a break/lunch like we did, you have to carry your swimming gear past all the rides – there is no separate entrance.
Once you make it inside, there is a nice, long lazy river with giant Lego bricks floating along to play with and a pool with a wave machine which runs every 10minutes. The water is lovely and warm and it feels very safe.
There is seating at the front of the wave pool and some umbrellas for shade.
Opposite the wave pool is a section with small slides and a splash park for younger children.
Slides and splashes for younger children
It has a large bucket which tips water over everyone every few minutes, five or six gentler slides and spray guns to fire water at parents.
For older children, there are the Twin Chaser and Splash Out rides. These were much bigger, faster water slides but unfortunately were closed when we visited.
There is only one changing room at the entrance to the water park and it is fairly basic.
We enjoyed our visit to cool off but parts of it do need updating and painting.
It includes interactive rides, themed playgrounds, a cinema and character shows and an indoor cinema for quieter moments.
There’s a splash pad for practising jumping in muddy puddles, fair games and a little roller coaster.
*Location – it is amazing to be staying so close to Legoland park. You can leave your hotel room just before the 10am opening and be straight on a ride minutes later.
No accommodation at Disney, Universal or most UK theme parks gets you so close to the entrance.
*Rooms – the theme is fun, the treasure hunt on arrival is entertaining and it is a magical experience for small children. It is brilliant to see their faces when they enter the room for the first time and discover their bunk beds, TV and Lego tray.
*Pool options – you can choose the theme park waterpark or there are smaller, shallow pools at both Pirate Island Hotel and the Legoland Hotel. The pool at the Legoland Hotel had its own small slide.
Legoland Hotel swimming pool
*The setting by Lake Eloise – it feels very calm and tranquil compared with other theme parks. You can do a short boardwalk along the lakeside, although the signs warning of possible alligators and snakes could be alarming (we think we spotted an alligator eyeing up its prey in the lake near to the shore).
*Go to the park at opening and you get the place to yourself for a bit. It is so close to the hotel that it makes sense to get in first. We visited on a quiet midweek in October and didn’t have to wait more than five minutes for any ride all day. At the same time of year at Disney and Universal, some ride waits were 90 minutes!
*Breakfast got very busy after 8.30am so try and go beforehand if you don’t want to queue for a table. Also, the restaurant is more relaxing when it is quieter – the rest of the time it sounded like a full-on children’s party!
*Grab some towels from your hotel pool area to take to the waterpark if you haven’t brought your own with you. You use your room card to access the towels from inside a cabinet and check them back in when you return after your swim.
*There are strollers and lockers to rent just inside the entrance to the park.
*Download the Legoland app for help navigating the park and seeing theatre times etc.
Legoland Florida Resort information
Food: There are various food outlets around the parks serving a range of fast food, ice creams and drinks.
For bigger meals there’s a pizza and pasta all-you-can eat buffet.
America’s Orlando is opening a host of new rides and areas for visitors to enjoy this summer.
Orlando in Florida is already one of the world’s most visited family destinations.
It is home to seven theme parks and 450 hotels and welcomed 75 million visitors last year.
And a host of new rides and areas are opening for children to enjoy this year, it has been revealed.
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is a ride which takes visitors into the Forbidden Forest made famous in JK Rowling’s books.
Harry Potter fans can board flying motorbikes and with Hagrid as guide, travel through the forest seeing fantastic beasts.
It opens on June 13 (2019) at Universal Orlando Resort, at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Disney World Resort has a new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area with two new rides and character meet-and-greets.
It is set on the planet Batuu and also has shops and a restaurant. It will be up and running on August 29 (2019).
A new live show based around the Cars film series is opening at Hollywood Studios, Disney World, called Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy. It features characters including Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater.
Legoland Florida Resort has launched Lego Movie World.
The new addition features three new attractions based on worlds within the film.
Animal lovers can enjoy a new 75-acre safari park at Wild Florida with more than 100 Floridian animals to spot.
The new safari park makes the park six times bigger. Guests can drive their own vehicles or ride on a guided buggy tour. There will also be a zip-line/zip wire so visitors can fly over the park.
Other new additions to the city include a Sesame Street section at Sea World celebrating the TV programme’s 50th anniversary and popular characters taking part in the daily parade.
The NBA Experience opens at Disney Springs on August 12, with 13 hands-on games and activities for basketball fans
The theme park expansions mean that 2019 could be one of the busiest summers for Orlando tourist bosses.
Visit Orlando President George Aguel said: ”Orlando is always innovating, with immersive new experiences and unbeatable hospitality that keeps visitors returning year after year.”
“It’s this memorable combination that keeps Orlando the most-visited destination in the country, with a record 75 million visitors in 2018.”
Have you been to Orlando? What did your children like best? Tell us below.
We take our children to LEGOLAND theme park in Windsor and share our highlights and advice
What is it?
LEGOLAND Windsor is a theme park for children based around LEGO toy building bricks. It has more than 55 rides and attractions and opened in 1996 – the second LEGOLAND – the first was LEGOLAND Billund in Denmark – read our review of that here.
Where is it?
It is in Windsor, Berkshire in England.
* Lego Ninjago The Ride
This is an interactive 4D ride. You sit four to a vehicle, put on 3D glasses and travel around a series of screens to battle enemies. You fire at them by using ninja hand movements which are detected by sensors while also feeling blasts of air and heat. Your scores are in front of you so you can see who does the best.
It was a little scary for our four-year-old daughter but great fun for our older son.
The queues are long for this popular ride, which opened as part of Ninjago World! in 2017. You can cut down waiting time with the Reserve & Ride reservation system on this ride.
*Atlantis Submarine Voyage
This submarine ride to find the lost city of Atlantis was a highlight for our children and as it had one of the shortest queues, we did it twice in a row.
*The LEGO 4D Movie Theatre
We saw Lego Ninjago – Master of the 4th Dimension at this 4D cinema.
This is amazing for Ninjago fans, who can watch their favourite characters in stunning 3D while also getting the fourth dimension experience of being sprayed with water and fake snow and feeling the heat of fire (there are dry seats at the side for anyone who doesn’t want to get wet).
*LEGO Star Wars Miniland Model Display
This indoor display was a welcome bonus on a wet day. But it is also a great walk through the most famous scenes from Star Wars films, made from 1.5 million LEGO bricks.
Explore the world in LEGO form at Miniland with famous sites and monuments from different countries built of the small bricks.
Just the very fact that this is all about LEGO is such a thrill for children – they are at LEGOLAND, LEGO is everywhere you look and the shops are full of LEGO sets.
What did we think?
This theme park obviously has the wow factor for LEGO fans, who will be excited as soon as they know they are going to LEGOLAND.
On the downside, it is showing its age in places and the queues are long for some of the rides.
An outdoor Ninjago show
But it is otherwise perfectly pitched for young children. There are a good variety of attractions, shows and play areas and it is set in nice parkland.
Our top tips
*The rides open at 10am but the front of the park opens at 9.30am so to get a good parking space and be first at one of the more popular rides, get there early. You can kill time in the shop and look around Miniland but at 10am there is a stampede to the rides.
*Parking costs £6 and you can pay in advance. For an extra £6 you can secure priority parking nearer the entrance. We were there fairly early both days and managed to get good spots without the extra charge.
*The Reserve & Ride (formerly called Q-BOTS) ride reservation service save a lot of queuing time but is expensive. There are three options, we had the Express version and hardly had to wait at all on the rides where we used them. In the cold and rain when we went, this was a huge relief and a big bonus and the staff treat you like royalty (although there is definitely some guilt to be felt at skipping on ahead of others patiently waiting their turn). You use the system on your mobile phone and can only use it on one ride at a time. Read our full guide to it here: How to beat the queues at LEGOLAND Windsor Resort with the Reserve & Ride (formerly Q-Bot) Ride Reservation System
*Buggies can be left outside rides at the owner’s own risk.
*Be aware that there is not much to do indoors if the weather is bad so be well prepared with umbrellas and waterproofs. When it is raining particularly hard or you need to dry off for a bit, aim for attractions like the LEGO 4D cinema, Star Wars display, X-BOX Gaming Zone and Atlantis Submarine Voyage. Some of the queues for the bigger, indoor rides are also undercover – like the Ninjago Ride and Laser Raiders. Umbrellas and rain ponchos can be bought. (There is also free sun cream available around the site which I thought was a great idea).
*Check out height restrictions so you don’t have disappointed children. Staff are very strict and always check – for lots of rides children have to be over 0.9 metres (with a parent) and 1.3 metres to go on alone.
*There are obviously lots of temping LEGO sets and other LEGO products you can buy from shops. You can pay for your purchases and collect later as the shops can get busy at the end of the day.
*Take swimming costumes if you plan to try out Splash Safari where toddlers can splash and enjoy water features and DUPLO-themed animals.
Food: Picnics are allowed but there aren’t many picnic spots and even less under cover, as we discovered on our first day, standing up to eat our sandwiches, huddled under a shelter.
There are various restaurants and food stalls around the park, but it is quite pricey. We had a nice pasta pot at one stall on our second day, which helped to warm us up.
Opening hours: Varies depending on the day and time of year.
Cost: Tickets bought in advance online are from £29 and from £53 if bought at the park. Children under 90cm go free.
Look out for two-for-one offers and other discounts, plus you can use Tesco Clubcard vouchers or a Merlin Annual Pass.
Annual passes are also available as well as prices for short breaks, staying at one of the two LEGOLAND hotels.
Best for: Children aged three/four (0.9 metres in height) to 10.
Time needed: A full day or more.
Access and restrictions: LEGOLAND has a lot in place for guests with additional needs. It is a hilly site but there is a hill train, which has a carriage for wheelchairs and buggies. There is a Ride Access Pass for those who struggle to queue, a Wheelchair Access Pass, so people in wheelchairs can access the rides, disabled toilets and a Changing Places facility. There is also a sensory space.
We took our two LEGO fans to Billund in Denmark where it all began – read our review here.
How to do LEGOLAND in style.
Step 1. Don’t settle for LEGOLAND in Manchester. Or even Windsor. Go one better and head for the original LEGOLAND park itself in Denmark.
Step 2. Arrive in style in your own personal jet.
Step 3. LEGOLAND not enough entertainment for you? Stay at a neighbouring water park, to really keep little thrill seekers happy.
Check. Check. And check!
Billund in Denmark is a small town with a lot going for it.
It is THE home of Lego.
It was here where the company made its very first toy brick in 1932 and then built the first LEGOLAND park in 1968.
The entrance to LEGOLAND when it opened in 1968.
Flying in style
We flew direct from Manchester with Sun-Air (which works in partnership with British Airways) on a tiny plane.
Its motto “Not bigger – but better” was true of our flight – the 32-seater was carrying only eight other passengers so felt like a private plane.
The 90-minute journey was short enough for our excited children to pass as quiet and well-behaved.
Fares are on the higher side but you can use Avios air miles to make tickets more affordable and this is really travelling in style.
There was no waiting around in our seats at either end and ours were the only bags on the carousel at the sleek and modern Billund Airport.
A five-minute taxi journey later and we’re ready to get wet in northern Europe’s biggest water park.
Lalandia tropical holiday resort – just across the road from LEGOLAND – is our home for three nights. It is bursting with entertainment, all under one roof (for our full review of Lalandia click here).
But the Aquadome is the number one reason to stay here. A huge indoor water park which really puts Center Parcs in the shade.
There are slides for all ages and bravery levels, warm toddler pools, a wave machine, gentle rapid ride and a giant splash zone where a 1,000 litre bucket of water loudly deposits its contents every few minutes.
The other main sound we heard was our children shouting “again, again, again” as they raced from the bottom of one slide to the top of the next.
You could easily spend all day in the Aquadome. But that would mean missing out on the impressive soft play area, small winter wonderland ice skating rink, tenpin bowling and mini golf.
And there’s a “town square” of shops and restaurants, all underneath a beautiful indoor sky, reminiscent of Las Vegas hotels.
The town square at Lalandia
We stayed in a fantastic two-bedroomed lodge in the grounds, kitted out like an IKEA showroom and with everything we needed.
Our holiday home at Lalandia
Lalandia is a holiday in itself but we still had LEGOLAND Billund to enjoy, a theme park created using 65 million of those toy bricks, which still rate among the world’s most popular toys.
It is divided into themed areas with Miniland at its heart. Recreations of old Amsterdam and Danish ferry terminals may have passed our son by – but the Star Wars section, depicting scenes from all the films, did not.
His highlight was a ride where you race your own fire engine, pump out water and then hose down a (pretend) blazing building. We did that four times.
They both also loved the NINJAGO World where visitors can test out their Ninja skills.
The park isn’t huge so if the queues are short – as they were for us – you can pack it all into two days with ease.
Rides are mainly aimed at pre-teens and families so suited us perfectly. There wasn’t much we couldn’t go on.
In fact, that’s the beauty of Billund. From airport, to accommodation, to attractions, everything is geared for families to enjoy.
The town has built its success on the back of those little bricks. And it has built a near-perfect short break.
Accommodation: We stayed as guests at Lalandia tropical holiday resort for the purposes of this review. All views are our own.
Travel: Flew from Manchester to Billund with Sun-Air.