Legoland California will be the first Legoland theme park to launch a Star Wars Miniland area. The Star Wars Miniland, which will have models of favorite Star Wars scenes constructed entirely of Legos, is set to open March 31.
Eight famous Star Wars scenes will be built in a 1:20 scale. The project will take more than 1.5 million Legos and, we’re guessing, a dash of The Force.
The scenes will encompass the stories told in all six Star Wars movies and the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated TV series and be arranged chronologically. The models will be up to 6 feet tall, and some of them will be built to move or perform other actions when theme park visitors press buttons at the exhibit.
Legoland California also promises life-size models of Chewbacca, R2D2 and Darth Vader for family photo ops.
Two more Legoland parks – Legoland Deutschland in Gunzburg, Germany, and Legoland Billund in Billund, Denmark – will introduce Star Wars Minilands later this year.
Guests came face to face with pure evil at LEGOLAND California. Flanked by his 501st Legion of Storm Troopers, Darth Vader descended upon the park for LEGO STAR WARS Days. The two-day event, which ends today, consists of a number of geek-friendly activities (appealing to a guy like me) including a Droid Hunt, video game battles, building, trivia competitions and a costume contest.
According to LEGOLAND California:
One of the most popular LEGO STAR WARS™ Days events is the Droid Hunt. Guests of all ages receive collectible “droid badges” if they are among the first in line at The Beginning of the Park. When guests wearing the collectible droid badges are “caught” within the Park by members of the 501st Legion, they must respond to the question “How long have you had these droids?” to receive a raffle ticket for the chance to win fantastic LEGO STAR WARS™ and LEGOLAND California merchandise.
Showing up in costume comes with the potential to win, with prizes valued at more than $500. Packages include LEGO STAR WARS toys, collectibles and tickets to LEGOLAND California Resort.
I wish these existed when I was a kid, and I have to admit, I’m even kicking around going as an adult. The Atlantis is offering three five-day LEGO workshops this July. Kids will get the chance to work with a LEGO Master Builder in hands-on challenges. And, parents can play at the same time. The program is designed to help families spend time together and express their creativity.
The program at the Atlantis includes all activities and LEGO materials, a chance to swim with the resort‘s dolphins, lunch every day for the kids and a variety of other activities, but rooms are separate and require a four-night stay. The three sessions are: July 12 – 16, 2010, July 19 – 23, 2010 and July 26 – 30, 2010. Pricing is $425 per session.
I’d normally be skeptical about another theme park opening in Florida. Does the state really need another one? But, when I saw the announcement from Merlin Entertainments, I changed my mind very quickly. After all, every city should have a LEGOLAND®. By the end of 2011, Winter Haven, Florida will open in this new attraction, which will sit on 145 acres that is currently home to Cypress Gardens. The development will involve a “significant multi-million dollar investment over a number of years” and eventually will include accommodations and other branded attractions along with the theme park. When the project is finished, this will be the world’s largest LEGOLAND.
The park is intended to mirror the LEGOLAND Parks already up and running in Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom and California. But, like the others, it won’t be a mere copy. The Winter Haven park will have its own “twist” that reflects its Florida home. The theme park will be only 30 minutes from Orlando, making it easy to integrate into a vacation that includes the usual theme parks, and it’s also close to Tampa. Preliminary research showed that vacationers were extremely likely to visit the park. And, the track record of the California park, which has been voted the best children’s theme park by Amusement Today for six years in a row, making this a smart move for Merlin.
%Gallery-83789%Nick Varney, CEO of Merlin Entertainments, calls LEGOLAND Florida “one of the most exciting and important projects Merlin ahs ever developed.” He explains, “It is a unique opportunity for us; Florida is the biggest family tourist centre in the world. We have been looking for the right site there for some time and in Winter Haven we plan to create one of the best and certainly most beautiful, theme parks in the world. LEGOLAND California has already proven how much US families love the unique LEGOLAND concept.”
The new LEGOLAND park will have more than 50 rides, shows and attractions, including LEGO models and interactive experiences. It’ll also bring more than 1,000 new jobs to the area by the time it opens. This is music to the ears of the state’s governor, Charlie Crist, who says, “We are delighted at this news. We are extremely happy that the future of Cypress Gardens is secure. LEGOLAND is one of the most exciting names in family attractions and a welcome new addition to Florida.”
The first looks at the world’s first LEGO® water park were revealed recently at LEGOLAND California Resort. So far, it’s only an artist’s rendering of the new water park, but that’s the first step toward getting drenched.
This new initiative follows the park’s successes with the new Bob the Builder™ 4-D movie and the presidential inauguration scene in Miniland U.S.A. These new developments come on the heels of a sixth consecutive year of growth for the California resort, with 2009 turning in a 6 percent increase … and guest satisfaction ratings in the high 90s.
“2009 was a record year here at LEGOLAND California Resort,” said the resort’s general manager, Peter Ronchetti, during the press conference. This comes, he continues, as “Many theme parks across the country have reported difficult trading and necessary cost control actions as a result of the challenging economic climate over recent months. So we feel very fortunate with all of the expansion here at LEGOLAND California Resort, to be able to report that our attendance continues to grow.”
The trajectory is expected to run through 2010, with more than $15 million invested in the park. The LEGOLAND Water Park is set to open in June (behind Fun Town) and will be ideal for families with children aged 2 to 12. “LEGOLAND Water Park will be lots of fun, constructive play including slides, LEGO friends and, the feature I am personally the most excited about – the Build-a-Raft concept where kids customize their own raft made of soft LEGO bricks before floating down a lazy river,” said Ronchetti.%Gallery-73517%