We visited the LEGOLAND Hotel before it opened to the general public, and then we scoped out the new Legoland Beach Villa‘s during their Grand Opening week. We experienced all the awesomeness that is LEGOLAND, but on each property we found a distinctly different vibe. Read about the pros and cons of each, and make the best decision for your family!
Regardless of which Legoland hotel accommodation you choose, you’re going to have a GREAT time! There’s no doubt about it.
Here is a run-down of what you can expect, whether you are staying at the Hotel next to the park or at a bungalow within the Beach Retreat
The pace is slower at the Beach Retreat
The most general advice I could give to parents is that in my opinion the Beach Retreat is for younger kids; the Hotel is for older kids.
The pace at the retreat is much slower. The crowds are thinner. The vibe is quieter.
Having been to Legoland Hotel before, my kids were a smidge disappointed at the Resort. I hesitate to even say that, because it is still awesome. BUT… They love building with other kids in the lobby, seeing the characters roam around, playing the games and feeling the high level of ENERGY that comes from the Hotel.
That being said, a younger kiddo (or a child with sensory issues) could easily become overwhelmed at the Hotel, and would greatly appreciate the relaxed atmosphere of the Resort.
Both locations include bunk beds for the kids
At the Hotel and the Resort, our boys adored the bunk beds (including a trundle, which makes it great for three!)
Our room in the Hotel was arranged in such a way that there was a wall between the bunks and the main bed, and the boys enjoyed a TV just for them.
At the Resort, the bunks were tucked into a nook, separated from the main bed area by a decorated curtain. It did not include a TV or outlets for their iPads.
I should also point out here that the Hotel rooms include a fun scavenger hunt and access to a free Master Builder class, but the Resort rooms do not. Again, reiterating my opinion that the Resort is better suited for pre-school kids and younger.
Plenty of space in both accommodations
Both the Hotel and Resort offer plenty of space within the rooms, but you have to remember that the Hotel is in fact, a hotel. When it’s time for the kids to go to bed, you are stuck there with them in the room for the remainder of the night.
That’s not a big deal for us; we let the kids stay up late when we vacation…and then we all go to bed together. But that’s not the case for everyone, especially if your little one is on a schedule.
We talked to another set of parents at the Resort that LOVED the bungalows just for this reason. Their kids were 2 and 5. They put the 2 yo to bed early with the baby monitor, and sat out on the patio with a glass of wine while the 5 yo played on the playground only a few feet away.
“We never could have enjoyed our night like this from the hotel. And since the 2 yo is getting a good night’s sleep, we know she won’t be cranky at the park tomorrow.” Genius, LEGOLAND!
Breakfast is FREE at both accommodations
LEGOLAND is unique because it is the only Orlando resort that offers free breakfast, and that extends to the Hotel and Resort.
There is a buffet at both locations, but in my opinion, the one at the Hotel is head and shoulders better than the Resort. There were considerably MORE options…and it tasted a little better, too.
To be fair, we visited during the first week the Resort opened….but the difference was epic.
When we talked to the staff about eating at the Hotel rather than the Resort, they were accommodating but indicated that they did not know how long they would extend that opportunity so ask when you make your reservation.
Dinner is also available at both locations (not for free,) but I offer the same advice: head to the Hotel for dinner (or eat off-site.)
Both accommodations offer early park entrance
One of the fun perks of staying at a LEGOLAND Hotel is that you get in to the park early (which is how we experienced the new NINJAGO ride with zero wait!!)
At the Hotel, you simply walk the 130 steps to the theme park entrance. From the Resort, you’ll need to take the free shuttle or drive and park yourself. (Which is what we did. It is not horrible; just different.)
Both accommodations offer a zero-entry pool with lifeguards
But, once again, it’s different.
The pool at the Hotel includes a splash ground. There is also more activity and lots more [older] kids. Plus, that view of the lake at sunset…to die for! (Yes, there is a lake view at the Resort, but when we were there it was obfuscated by a chain link fence.)
At the Resort you’ll find sand for building sandcastles, and a really cool playground…fewer crowds and less “chaos.”
Also, in my opinion, there is a better bar for adults at the Hotel, with more drink options. For example, the Resort couldn’t make us a Long Island Ice Tea, but the Hotel had no issues. (#Don’tJudge) Again, that may or may not have been about it being the first week of opening.
It took 2 million bricks to build the creations in the hotel; the dragon alone was ½ million bricks! With 4 million bricks used in the park, the combined total is now 6 million!! Each creation is real Lego, just like you use at home, but they are glued together with Kragel. Outdoor creations are covered with a coating to reduce wear and tear.
Florida’s Legoland Hotel is the only one in the world to include a Lego Friends Suite! Suites include a king bed, two sets of bunk beds with a trundle and a living room with a pull-out couch. They also include a screened-in porch with a gorgeous view of the lake. There are four suites at Legoland Florida, one for each theme: Lego Friends, Adventure, Pirates and Kingdom.
Riding up and down the elevator is an adventure! When the elevator doors close, the music starts and the disco ball spins!! You cannot help but shake your rear and boogie like Travolta! When you get to the lobby, don’t miss a jump on the giant whoopee cushion!
It is 130 kid-steps to park from the hotel. This means that you can easily come and go between the park, your room, the restaurant, Master Builder classes, the pool and more. No worries about hauling the entire contents of your room into the park with you each day. No concerns about heading back to the room to change into swimsuits or take a nap.
The VIP experience includes a character breakfast. Chow on pancakes with a pirate or dine with a beautiful princess. Other characters are available, also. We had an opportunity to meet them when we visited, and they were spectacular with our kiddos. I have never experienced something so magical!
You’ll find five beers on tap at Legoland Florida’s Hotel, and they are each from local Florida breweries. You’ll also find a plethora of additional libations at Skyline Lounge, which is conveniently located near the giant play castle, in an open-air lobby that allows you to relax while you keep an eye on the kids.
Speaking of drinks, Legoland never forgets the kiddos. At Skyline Lounge the kids can order Kid Cocktails, too. These alcohol-free treats will make them feel super special. My boys indulged on Shirley Temples with handfuls of sweet cherries.
Legoland Florida Hotel’s Chef James Boheim hails from the south, even having worked at Hyatt hotels in Atlanta. He brings healthy southern cuisine to the hotel, including smoked brisket, chicken and pork – the smoker sits out back! The food at Bricks (the hotel’s restaurant) is scrumptious! Chef told me that the only fried offering they serve is the chicken nuggets – because who would dare cater to kids without nuggets!
There is a zero-entry pool out back, when you want to avoid the park’s crowds. Only hotel guests are allowed to swim here. It comes with multiple lifeguards to keep your little ones safe, floating Lego bricks and Skyline Lounge bar service. There is also a splashground for those who don’t want to play in the pool.
Each kiddo staying at the hotel can take a FREE Master Builder class. It is only for the kids at the hotel, so it isn’t crowded; it’s very personable. My boys loved making an alien and alien dog, and they were able to take it home with them.
There are 5,000 Lego characters adorning the wall behind the check-in desk. Each one is different and was hand-placed with TLC. A large Lego character on a bicycle moves back and forth across the wall. Be sure to look through the wheels of his bike…they are magnifying glasses that allow you to get a better view of the mini characters.
Legoland Florida Hotel is the only Orlando resort that includes breakfast. You’ll dine on pancakes, French toast, custom ordered omelets, lox and bagels, and oh-so-much-more at a breakfast feast fit for a king (or queen!) It’s right inside the Bricks restaurant, where lunch and dinner are also options throughout the day.
Need more info??
We were very thankful to be a part of the Grand Opening! Some of our other blogging friends were there, and we are posting links to their reviews as they come live, so check them out:
Mamalicious Maria: http://www.examiner.com/article/legoland-hotel-at-legoland-florida-now-open
Stress Free Baby: http://stressfreebaby.com/2015/05/five-things-love-legoland-hotel/
Disclosure: 365 Atlanta Traveler is a Visit Florida Digital Marketing Program Partner. Opinions here are all our own.
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After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.