The one question that I have been asked the most about Florida’s newest theme park, LEGOLAND Florida, has been, “Is it worth it?” There’s no doubt about it, a day at LEGOLAND Florida is a splurge. If for no other reason than the incomparable interactive family experience, LEGOLAND Florida is worth the expense. But there are some tips for a LEGOLAND Florida day trip that make it more affordable, as well as tips for getting around and making the most of your day trip to America’s prettiest theme park.
Tips to Save Money at LEGOLAND Florida
- Consider upgrading to an annual pass. While admission for adults is $75/day and $65/day for kids and seniors, it can be worth getting the annual pass ($99 for kids/seniors and $129/adults) because there is so much to do that it’s practically impossible to do it all in one day.
- Look for coupons and deals. The Lego club magazine has been known to issue coupons good for a free child’s admission to LEGOLAND California while AAA often offers discounted passes; it’s likely that similar offers will be available for the Florida attraction.
- Meals at LEGOLAND Florida are reasonably priced for a theme park, and the quality of the locally sourced food is extraordinary, but we found that kids’ portions were more than ours could handle. The 2 oz. kids’ cheeseburger meal, which comes with fries, fruit, and a drink, could easily have been split between younger children, and one was plenty for many adults.
- One of the neat things about the park is that every employee carries a Lego minifigure on their name tag that they will trade with anyone who asks. These small plastic characters are available at the Minifigure Market where you can purchase individually wrapped minifigures for $2.99, or kids can assemble sets of three for $9.99. Save on this expense by raiding your toy box, or avoid the activity altogether.
Tips for Getting Around LEGOLAND Florida
The map of the theme park is confusing at first glance (and on a second look too.) Perhaps it’s all the trees and meandering garden paths, but I found it difficult to get my bearings. And yet, if you could imagine LEGOLAND Florida without trees (although who would want to!) – the park is laid out in one big circle through the following themed zones: The Beginning, Fun Town, LEGO Kingdom, Miniland USA, Land of Adventure, LEGO Tecnic, LEGO City, Imagination Zone, DUPLO Village, and Pirate’s Cove.
You could, if you chose to do so, go counterclockwise from The Beginning, through Fun Town, to Duplo Village, on to LEGO Kingdoms, and so on until reaching The Beginning once more. And while that’s a perfectly fine way to see the theme park, you might miss some its best attractions.
A little strategic planning at the beginning of the day allowed us to go on every roller coaster, and to sample a number of other rides and activities. You can plan ahead by checking the park map online, but here is how we did it:
- Minifigure Market – Our first stop was at the Minifigure Market where we treated each child to a set of minifigures.
- The Grand Carousel – Riding the double-decker carousel located near the entrance is fun for the entire family and a great way to start the day – especially since we then had to bypass several rides on our way to the next stop.
- Imagination Station – Signup sheets for the Mindstorm robotic challenge (for ages 8 and up) fill up fast, so we headed there next as our time slot would determine the rest of the day’s schedule.
- Consider your dining options. I was eager to try the locally sourced beef hamburgers, available at a couple of fast food restaurants in the park, but there are many excellent places to eat.
- Check the show schedule. Sitting down to watch a show can be good way to cool off and to rest and recharge. And with four shows – the water ski show at Pirate’s Cove; Big Test Live Show in Lego City; Castle Stage in Lego Kingdoms; and the 4D show at the Wells Fargo Fun Town Theater – it’s easy to find at least one that fits into your day.
- Plan your day. Armed with the information outlined above, we chose the best route through the theme park for our family – and so can you.
Tips for Choosing Rides for Kids at LEGOLAND Florida
It’s hard to go wrong choosing rides for kids at LEGOLAND Florida. None of the rides are very scary; and for each big kid ride, there’s a small kid ride nearby. But sometimes it’s hard to tell how a child will react to a ride.
My daredevil six-year-old niece, who isn’t afraid of any of the roller coasters, bailed out of the Ford Driving School because she didn’t want to drive a car alone. Meanwhile, her older sister was fine at the Ford Driving School but refused to go on several roller coasters, including Flying School and Test Track, until something about Coastersaurus, the wooden roller coaster with teeny tiny cars (that can only hold two adults if they are super skinny) reassured her enough to try.
After that, there was no holding her back from rollercoasters, and by the end of the day, all of our girls claimed that Dragon was their favorite ride, while the boys argued that Coastersaurus was better because it was a longer-lasting rollercoaster.
Never mind that some of our favorite things to do at LEGOLAND Florida weren’t the rides at all. The entire family loved the water ski show; and my eleven-year-old nephew’s favorite activity was the LEGO® MINDSTORMS: Dr. Heartbeat robotic challenge.
Perhaps the most passionate defense of a theme park attraction came from one set of twins I met at the end of the day. In one day, these girls rode Beetle Bounce seventeen times.
So is LEGOLAND Florida worth it?
The twins would probably say that yes, it was worth it just to ride Beetle Bounce. My family would concur that it was worth it to spend a great day together that may have inspired a young engineer, and that most definitely helped one young lady get over her fear of rollercoasters.
And it was worth it for Bryn Richardson, who brought his family from Knoxville, Tennessee on Opening Day and planned to return when LEGOLAND Florida opens a water park in May, “You have to visit while you can, when the kids are the right age to love Legos.”
A big thank you to LEGOLAND Florida for providing park admission during the Grand Opening celebration!
Sandra Foyt writes about fun and educational family travel on AlbanyKid.com.