My cab dropped me off at the outlet mall where I was to board my shuttle to Legoland. The bus driver ticked me off his list, and then looked at me with suspicion: “Just you? Why are you alone?”
“Business,” I said, because it just sounds so legit.
Aeroplan had given me a pass to explore Florida’s newest park. (You can redeem miles for this experiential reward: if you have 8000 Aeroplan miles, you can buy a kid’s pass or an adult pass with 9500 miles.)
Honestly, I didn’t care much for Lego when I was a kid, but being central Florida’s newest theme park, I was pretty pumped to check it out.
My tactic for exploring theme parks the whole time in Orlando was this: get a ticket, wander around, get lost, cry about it. That’s it. I wandered aimlessly like a lost child.
The whole park is divided into different sections:
Land of Adventure: Where you’ll find Coastersaurus, Safari Trek, Beetle Bounce, and games
Lego City: Driving school, rescue academy, live shows, boating school
Imagination Zone: Hero Factory, MINDSTORMS, Build & Test
Lego Technic: AQUAZONE wave racers, games, food, shopping
Pirate’s Cove: Burgers and live pirates
Miniland: Miniature lego replicas of major US cities, like New York, Las Vegas, and Washington
Lego Kingdom: Royal Joust, games, Merlin’s Challenge, shows
Duplo Village: Farm, playgrounds, Granny’s Jalopies
Fun Town: The Grand Carousel (two levels!), 4D Theatre, food, shops
It’s a LOT to take in, so if you go, plan more wisely than I did.
Cypress Gardens was an AMAZING retreat from the madness of the park, and the trails are incredible. I ignored the fact that the only other people in the gardens were seniors walking at a snail’s pace, and I convinced myself I was just as hip as they are.
I did pass some kids praying in front of the Virgin Mary statue though.
Also, this banyan tree is totally badass.
Grub here is surprisingly cheaper in comparison to other parks, and there’s a pizza/pasta buffet for $10. Not the best food, but it works.
But definitely try Granny’s Apple Fries: they’re literally battered apples in the shape of fries, and you dip them in vanilla whipped cream. DELISH.
Legoland isn’t exactly the place solo 20-something, and I’m pretty sure families thought I was a paparazzi snapping photos of their children. By day two of being around children non-stop, I was ready to slap some babies.
Would LOVE to come back with a family someday. Maybe my own. Probably not, though.
My favourite part? I happened to stumble across Pirate’s Cove randomly when I spotted a pirate’s ship floating dockside. I was intrigued by the idea of a freshwater pirate’s ship: how could they possibly get away?! I noticed a stream of people all flocking to the shaded seating area, and since I was sweating like a maniac, I followed suit.
Turns out they have this super cool waterskiing stunt show put off by some talented athletes. The whole idea is that the fearless and beautiful Miranda must overcome Captain Brickbeard with the help of her lego soldiers, and she does so with grace! I had never seen a stunt show before, so I was pretty impressed.
I was also impressed by the biceps of the stuntmen acting as pirates. So impressed, in fact, I had to come back for a second look.
Legoland is about a 45 minute drive from Orlando: “Take I-4 west to exit 55 (US Highway 27 South). Turn right off US Highway 27 at State Road 540/Cypress Gardens Boulevard, and park is 4 miles on the left.”
Or take the shuttle from Premium Outlets, $10 return trip. The bus has WiFi! One of the most exciting parts of my day.