Legoland is not shy about what it is, a theme-park aimed at tykes and preteens with affordable rates aimed at mom and dad. What it does not want to be is the more expensive parks like Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando that are aimed at bigger kids and bigger wallets.
Legoland Florida in Winter Haven made three new additions for summer: a ride, a hotel and discount ticket deals. They are right in line with Legoland's philosophy.
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"We like to say we're built for kids -- we're not built for teenagers," says spokesman David Brady.
That's a startling honesty in a state competitive for your entertainment dollar.
The new Ninjago 3D ride is the most advanced technology Legoland ever unveiled. It smartly taps into a young child's boundless energy. You karate chop over a sensor and send whirly glowing orbs at bad guys on a big screen, tallying points that add up on a display in your spinning car.
Ninjago is a dark ride, with a big menacing snake at the end, but the frenetic energy outweighs any real scares. Being an indoor air-conditioned joy, it is also a sublime way to get out of the summer heat or thunderstorms. There are also no long lines, no gut-churning drops, and no tears.
Legoland details its attractions just enough. If it looks simple to grownups, well, that's the point as it looks AWESOME to little kids. The park is an approachable kingdom for them to lord over.
With rooms starting at $135, the brand-new Beach Retreat is a value resort with a cozy retro feel. There is just enough brick-by-brick wonder to remind you where you are (especially the bunk beds in the kids' rooms).
The Beach Retreat is across the street from the park. A free shuttle gets you back and forth. There's also a Lego'd-out pool, a bar and a restaurant with a giant brick sand castle and a winky joke involving a seagull perched on top.
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Further separating itself from Orlando's big boys, Legoland is offering new ticket deals with considerable discounts. If you buy your tickets online a couple days in advance, you can knock at least $40 off each, to around $70.
The park is also offering $50 off an annual pass, to around $100 through May 29. You can find more details about sale here.