We visited Legoland for one of their preview days before the park opened, so I have to say that there may have been certain elements which will not factor into the actual experience once it is officially open for business. However, I feel that I got enough of an idea of the positives and negatives of Legoland Florida.
ARRIVAL: When we arrived to the parking lot, the lines to go through the parking attendant booths were horrendously long and moved extremely slow, EXCEPT for the line on the far right, which split into four lines before the booths. The lines in the middle and left side each remained single lines all the way through the booths. It took us 30 minutes just to pay for parking. And the parking lot is set "longways" to the entrance so it is quite a walk from the back end of the parking lot to the park entrance. And there is no tram to carry visitors.
APPEARANCE: The park is very pleasantly arranged with lots of large Lego sculptures arranged throughout many of the existing structures from the old Cypress Gardens. As a Lego junkie, I enjoyed seeing the creativity of what was built. My 3-year-old daughter enjoyed the grandeur of such large spectacles.
RIDE RESTRICTIONS: This is the troubling part, and not something that was a fucntion of "preview" days. The rides in Legoland are mainly designed for kids at least 4 years old - although the park touts itself as being aimed at ages 2-12. I say this because the height restrictions for kids are absolute, in that even for slow, small rides a child under the height restriction cannot ride even with a parent present. So on a little car ride which couldn't have been moving more than 5 MPH, a little boy was turned away with his father because he was about 2 inches shorter than th height restriction. I understand the purpose of keeping children safe, but most other theme parks allow children of any height/age to ride with parents. For example, I took my nine-month-old son in the car with me to ride Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios. I held him in my lap and we had a great, safe time. So for this trip to Legoland, my 3YO got to do half the rides and my 2YO got to do nothing.
RIDE QUALITY: These are not Universal or Disney rides. Sure, they bear some resemblance to Buzz Lightyear at Magic Kingdom or Bug's Life movie at Animal Kingdom, but they are subpar in comparison. And that would be fine EXCEPT that Legoland charges admission and parking at prices VERY similar to other major theme parks. I only paid $35 for admission to preview day, and that was approximately the value I perceived I got - but Legoland's normal prices are around $65 per day, and the normal park hours are only from 10AM to 5 PM (compare to some Disney days at 8 AM to 9 PM).
DINING: I did not have much chance to explore dining options fully, but it seemed that most options were outside, like Grab-N-Go. There were only two choices I could see for inside, sit down dining. The Marketplace restaurant had some nice choices and the prices were not terrible.
SHOPPING: Obviously, there are tons of choices of Legos to purchase, including building your own mini figures (3 for $10, with somewhat limited customization options).
OVERALL IMPRESSION: I was the biggest Lego fan growing up and still have all my blocks waiting for my kids to get old enough to enjoy them as well. I was very excited to hear about this park opening up. But having spent the day there, I left feeling underwhelmed, especially as an experience for my kids at their age. Myself, I enjoyed Miniland (sprawling displays of NY, Vegas, San Fran, DC, FL in Lego) quite a bit. But although I debated on upgrading my ticket to an annual pass for the very reasonable special price of $65, I felt that there was not really anything that impressed me enough to merit coming back that often. I will probably wait another few years until my youngest kid is at least 5 years old and then watch for some FL resident discounts to drop the price of admission. For the overall quality level and the ride restrictions, not to mention the relatively short daily park hours, I do not feel that Legoland provides the value to match its ticket and parking prices.
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