As well as our successful days at DIsney and our disappointing foray to Universal, Mike and I treated the children to a day out at Legoland Florida. We are big fans of the Legoland Windsor resort and had a marvellous visit there last summer with our friends from the wonderful charity, FABED, so were excited to make a visit to the bigger and better (well it’s American so it had to be, right?) Floridian version. This theme park is situated on the site of the old Cypress Gardens and has kept a relatively small portion of the original park at the centre of the new one. It’s around a 45-minute drive from Disney and was easy enough to find once we were headed in the right direction. The park was surprisingly empty upon our arrival and we headed straight to Guest Relations to see if we could get a disability access pass (or their equivalent) for M. The pass was issued without question and Mike then asked about what allergy information they had available and how we could manage this during our visit. The very helpful guest relations staff member knew there was a hard copy somewhere of this information, but sadly couldn’t put her hands on whilst we were in the office. No matter, she reassured us, it was all available online. Great, I thought, I could hop onto their website using my tablet and work out where we could safely eat. Ah no, Legoland Florida has no wi-fi available in the park, so it was actually impossible to see any of the information we had been advised to access.
Being seasoned travellers with M and G, of course, we had our trusty rucksack full of safe foods and reasoned that we could and would think on our feet when it came to lunchtime. My notes from our day trip record that it was “good, but not the well-oiled machine that WDW is”. The queues were painfully slow and the service not massively efficient. Their staff members appeared, for the most part, to not be terribly enthusiastic in their roles and I felt it would benefit from finding more customer service orientated staff. Mike had to wait for nearly 30 minutes just to get to the front of the queue to ask whether they could accommodate food allergies at that particular food concession unit. There was a copy of an allergy menu there, but we were disappointed to discover after ordering that the allergy-friendly “plain” burger was served with cheese!
We each picked our ride of choice from the map and started heading our way around the extensive grounds to make sure we made the most of our one day there. Many of the rides were similar to those found in Windsor and the children had a great time revisiting some of their old favourites as well as trying out a few of the “new” ones. We enjoyed the US version of Miniland although I was disappointed at how shabby many of the models appeared, especially as you could easily identify where elements were missing due to the telltale marks and empty spaces on the surfaces. Nevertheless, it was fun to see the likes of Las Vegas, Hollywood, the White House, San Francisco and New York depicted in lego.
Unfortunately the weather was somewhat inclement and so many of the rides closed for around an hour or so during the afternoon. We took advantage of the opportunity and explored the original grounds of Cypress Gardens and stood in awe of the amazing Banyan tree that can be found there. We were hoping to see the Pirates water show as M and G love the “Pirates of Skeleton Bay” in Windsor, but the threat of thunderstorms and lightening meant that the final performance was cancelled. Despite all of this, we enjoyed our time there and had plenty to keep us all busy for the day. I would say that Legoland Florida is worth a visit if you, or your children, are lego fans, but in my opinion, Legoland Windsor beats it hands down.
Marks out of 10: 6 – a good attempt, but the queuing system, park maintenance and food available let it down.