My youngest was so excited about our visit to LEGOLAND Florida, he grabbed a brochure out of the rack at our hotel as soon as we arrived to examine the LEGOLAND map and begin planning our day – boy after my own heart.
All those years of visiting Florida theme parks, he knows you have to go in with a plan, or you’ll just spend your day (and your money) wandering. After a few trips to LEGOLAND Orlando, we have some awesome tips to ensure your vacation is the best it can be –even tips on how to score LEGOLAND Florida discount tickets.
Where the Heck is LEGOLAND Florida?
A lot of people wonder where is LEGOLAND in Florida because it’s not really in Orlando proper; it’s in Winter Haven (still Central Florida) just 45 minutes from that “other” theme park you know.
You might also know it as the location of the old Cypress Gardens botanical garden, which was famous for their southern belles and water ski shows. And yes, LEGOLAND Orlando does a fantastic water ski show, carrying on the Cypress Gardens tradition.
It’s an easy drive from Atlanta to LEGOLAND Orlando. We always drive, but if you are interested in flying, our friends at Go To Travel Gal can tell you how to fly free with the Southwest Companion Pass.
Why Should You Stay at the LEGOLAND Florida Resort?
For me, staying on property at one of the Florida theme parks is the only way to go. If you feel the same, check out our post on the LEGOLAND Florida Resort. The LEGOLAND Florida hotel or the LEGOLAND Beach Retreat are ideal ways to immerse your family in the LEGO theme experience.
There are many advantages to staying on property, and being only 130 steps from the park entrance is the best!
What are the 7 Most-Important Things to Do in the Park?
Soar on the New LEGO® Movie™ Masters of Flight Ride
THE LEGO MOVIE WORLD is now open, and the crowning gem is the new Masters of Flight ride. The first of its kind, and the first-ever in the world to embed a 180-degree turn in the ride experience, you’ll fly on a suspended journey aboard Emmet’s Triple Decker Couch. As you soar along, you’ll see what it’s like to soar through a world made entirely of LEGO bricks via full-dome virtual screen.
Experience three new rides in this Bricksburg expansion, including the Masters of Flight flying theater, Unikitty’s Disco Drop family-friendly drop tower, and Battle of Bricksburg water ride. Then, grab a bite to eat at Taco Everyday or meet Emmet, Wyldstyle and Unikitty!
Travel the Country in MINILAND USA
See all the iconic cities and landmarks in the USA built out of thousands of LEGO bricks in MINILAND. Our favorites include Las Vegas, with the coolest replicas of the Paris Las Vegas hotel and Eiffel Tower…and Kennedy Space Center, with a shuttle and launch pad.
Don’t Start at the Beginning
This is more of a tip than a ride or attraction, but nonetheless important. Want to avoid crowds? Start at the back of the park and work your way forward to the park entrance. You’re side-stepping the masses, and closer to your hotel at the end of the day!
Build Your Own Raft
Don’t skip the LEGOLAND® Water park; you’re going to love taking a ride around the lazy river! If the kids are looking for something a little more active, have them splash, play, and build their own LEGO raft to use as a float along the 1000-foot river adventure.
Bring your Minifigures
LEGOLAND calls their employees Model Citizens, and they are all equipped with Minifigures! Your kids will love trading figurines. It’s the perfect souvenir.
Conquer the dragon on The Dragon Coaster
We love this coaster because it is a great first roller coaster (40 inches to ride), but still incredible for older kids and adults. It starts inside the castle, then heads outdoors for 2000 ft of rail and a 30-ft drop! Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for the steam-breathing LEGO dragon!
Find Your License to Ride
Kids 6-13 can get their very own LEGO driver’s license at Ford Driving School! They’ll learn the rules of the road and have fun doing it.
How Can I Save Big??
There are lots of theme parks in Florida, but a trip to LEGOLAND is a must for any LEGO lover, especially those with children who are tweens and younger. But theme park visits can be expensive, and LEGOLAND tickets are no exception (though they are substantially better than most.)
Below are six money saving tips — including where to get LEGOLAND discount tickets– that will stretch your wallet, plus some additional resources to plan your day at LEGOLAND and ensure you get the most value bang for your buck.
Buy Tickets Online & Early
You’ll always save when you buy tickets early. Even if you literally drive up to LEGOLAND as a last-minute decision, don’t buy tickets at the counter…pull out your iPhone and buy them on the LEGOLAND site to save.
Try Discount Tickets
You’ll find military discounts available on the LEGOLAND website or coupons in the magazines at Florida hotels, but the deal sites typically offer better offers. See below for our list.
A 365 Atlanta Traveler reader suggested looking on the back of packages of LEGOS for tickets. She found them on the mini-figure packs at Target. If you homeschool, Kat recommends going on homeschool days. They saved BIG on their tickets that way.
But our favorite way? Deal sites.
Our favorite deal site? Undercover Tourist.
Purchase Parking Online
Save $2 by purchasing your parking online at the LEGOLAND Florida site before you arrive.
Brown Bag It
LEGOLAND has some great dining options and works hard to offer choices for those with allergies or gluten free needs, but to save money, you may want to pack your own lunch. There are lockers at the park entrance to store your picnic until lunchtime.
If you don’t want to do that, consider leaving the park for less pricey dining options. You may re-enter the parking with a valid parking stub during the same day of your visit.
Hold on the Souvenirs
The LEGO sets are so tempting, but resist the urge to give in to your child’s pleas. You’ll find the merchandise at cheaper prices outside the park. Remember the Minifigure trades? That’s our favorite souvenirs.
Just don’t bring your character figures; most figures that the staff have are generic, and you wouldn’t want to trade your prized Star Wars LEGO figure for them.
How Can I Skip The Lines?
We mention above working the park from back to front, but here are a few additional tips to avoid the lines and maximize the time you have at the park.
Get There Early
As with most Florida theme parks, to avoid lines you want to get there early –even a half hour before the park opens. This gives you time to park, go to the bathroom, put on sunscreen and whatever last minute preparations you need, so you are completely ready to enter the park when it opens.
Go to the Back and Work Your Way Forward
It’s worth repeating. Assuming you get to the theme park early as we suggested above, head to the back and work your way forward. Most people go to the right when they enter a theme park, not back. This shift will allow you to do the popular LEGOLAND rides at the back of the park before the crowds hit.
Stay at the LEGOLAND Hotel
We said it before, but it’s worth mentioning again, guests leveraging accommodations receive early admission to the park. This is a perfect time to get in some of those rides that form long lines during the day (especially the coasters).
Kids 8+ Register for Mindstorm Robotic Challenge
If your children are over eight years old, head to Imagination Station and register for the Mindstorm robotic challenge as soon as you enter the park. There are three different challenges to choose from and they fill up quickly. The last time we went, there was also a challenge for kids six and over, so ask at the gate what ages can sign up for the Mindstorm challenge. This was a favorite activity for both of my sons (including the 13-year-old).
Younger Kids? Head to the Ford Driving School
If this is something your kids want to do, head here immediately after registering for Mindstorm (or first if you don’t want to or can’t do Mindstorm). Loading for this ride is painfully slow, which means the line is continuous and gets longer as the day progresses. And don’t miss Duplo Valley – the perfect space for youngsters, with play areas they will love and plenty of shade!
Older Kids? Head to the The Great LEGO Race
Our older kids loved the coaster The Great LEGO Race. It’s the perfect mix of roller coaster thrills and virtual reality. You’re thrown into the center of an action-packed road rally where they are the star of a rollicking race against several LEGO Minifigure competitors – all while taking an exciting roller coaster ride.
Don’t Miss Flight School
Right behind the Ford Driving School is Flight School, a roller coaster where your feet dangle. This ride entrance is easy to miss. Perhaps it’s because we went on a slower day, or because we got there in the morning, but we rode this coaster twice without a wait, and loved it.
Coasters Have Long Lines? Come Back Near Closing
My friend Jennifer Hutchinson @mami2mommy recommended that if there was a long line at the Coasterasaurus, to wait until closer to park close and try again. We did this and the line went from 60 minutes to about five. Perfect!
Hit Build and Test Between 10 and 12 or after 3 pm
Most families are looking for a break after lunch and Build and Test is the perfect place (hello air conditioning), which means a line forms. To get the run of the place, come before noon. If that’s not possible, head here after 3 pm when most folks are leaving. Sunday is a less crowded day in the park overall, so if you must come on a weekend, choose Sunday.
Any Other Tips?
Keep your friends close on the Aqua Wave Racers
Water cannons next to the Aqua Racers ride can soak the participant. They are controlled by stands along the water’s edge. Guests can fire at will and of course family and friends will be firing at you.
Don’t Miss the Battle for Brickbeard’s Bounty Water Ski Show
The Battle for Brickbeard’s Bounty is a throwback to the days when this theme park was Cypress Gardens – which was known for their southern belles and water ski shows.
To get the best view of the show, sit on the left side of the pirate ship. You want a good view of the ski ramps. If the theater fills up before you get there, sit on the lawn between the two stadiums. You won’t have as good a view of the pirate show, but you’ll have a great view of the water skiers.
If you go on a slow day, sit on the front row next to the VIP section. If the VIP people don’t come, kids may be allowed to spray the pirates with the water cannon(which is normally reserved for VIPs). The show pavilion is also a great place for lunch. Not only will you get to sit in the shade, but you’ll have something to do while you wait for the show to begin.
Get the Apple Fries
Everyone I know raves about the apple fries. These are baked apple slices with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top and a side of whipped cream, what’s not to like?
Granny’s Apples is located at the front of the park, so pick them up on the way in or out. If you miss these (or just love them so much) reader Jean-Francois Roman sent this recipe for Apple Fries. If you make them, let me know what you think.
I will say, LEGOLAND Orlando gets an A+ for theme park food. We ate at the I-Zone Panini in the Imagination Zone. It was the first meal my son had all weekend that didn’t include french fries or chicken fingers. It did include a ham sandwich he proclaimed, excellent! Plus apples and baked Lays potato chips. When I asked to substitute lemonade for milk or water, I was told they can’t do that – which totally got me off the hook.
If you’d rather save some money, LEGOLAND allows guest to bring in food and drinks. There are lockers at the front of the park, so you don’t have to carry your picnic all day.
Leverage Package Pick Up
If you purchase something at any of the gift shops, LEGOLAND has package pick up, which means you can send your purchases to the front of the park and pick them up on the way out instead of hauling it around the park with you.
Take a Shuttle from Orlando
If you are staying in Orlando and don’t have a car, or would prefer not to drive, there is a shuttle that provides roundtrip transportation from the Orlando Premium Outlets – Vineland Avenue to LEGOLAND. The day we checked out the LEGOLAND shuttle, roundtrip was only $5 per person.
Disclosure: 365 Atlanta Traveler is a Visit Florida Digital Marketing Program Partner. Opinions here are all our own. Thanks to LEGOLAND for sponsoring this post. It may contain affiliate links.