On March 15, Legoland Florida kicked off their fifth birthday celebration by announcing five new additions and expansions to the Winter Haven resort. And since this is Legoland, they did it not with a simple press release, but with a staged media event in the early hours before the park opened to guests.
Journalists who dragged themselves down U.S. Highway 27 at dawn were rewarded with the following presentation, which was so absurdly earnest that it could be mistaken for an SNL parody:
Cheesiness aside, the meat of the announcement is that Legoland Florida is getting five birthday presents over the next year, ranging from a modest boat-building activity and updated shows to a major new ride and a brand-new onsite hotel. I’m most excited for Ninjago, a gesture-based interactive shooting dark ride that I previewed at IAAPA, and while the Legoland Beach Resort doesn’t look like it will outdo Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, who wouldn’t want to sleep inside a LEGO bungalow?
Here’s the complete breakdown, direct from Legoland:
LEGOLAND Beach Retreat – opening mid-2017
This whimsically themed vacation resort combines the fun of surf, sand and sun with the creativity of LEGO® bricks on a picturesque site next to Lake Dexter, adjacent to the theme park. Distinguished by a colorful LEGO lighthouse, the village-style, lakefront resort will feature 83 single-story duplex units, offering 166 separate accommodations that sleep up to five.
Designed with the same combination of imagination and kid-centric detail that made the 10-month-old LEGOLAND Hotel an immediate hit, the all-new LEGOLAND Beach Retreat offers a great way for larger families and friends to vacation together. Amenities will include a themed pool, a sandy play area, a buffet-style restaurant and complimentary transportation to and from the theme park.
LEGO NINJAGO World – opening early 2017
Inspired by the popular series of LEGO building sets and the long-running TV show "LEGO NINJAGO: Masters of Spinjitzu," this all-new, fully immersive theme park land invites guests to step into a magical, martial arts kingdom where they'll experience a first-of-its-kind attraction that blends eye-popping, 3D computer animation, "4D" atmospheric effects and groundbreaking technology by Montreal-based Triotech.
LEGO NINJAGO The Ride, up to four guests per vehicle blast animated fireballs, lightning, shockwaves and ice using nothing more than their hands as they travel through dojos mastering their skills before teaming up to defeat a powerful villain. Riders collect points and scores are displayed when each quest is complete. The thrilling attraction is the epicenter of a new area featuring multiple hands-on, interactive experiences that will hone kids' physical skills like NINJAGO heroes Kai, Jay, Cole, Zane and Nya, before their ultimate test on LEGO NINJAGO The Ride.
Creative Cove featuring Build-A-Boat – now open
A fun expansion area at LEGOLAND Water Park adds a brand-new attraction, Build-A-Boat, where kids can create and race LEGO watercraft through fast-flowing rivers alongside cheering crowds in a setting inspired by the popular LEGO City Coast Guard sets. Nearby, the existing Imagination Station lets little ones build and play with colorful DUPLO® bricks in a water-filled activity center. Additional dining offerings, increased seating capacity and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the entire water park round out the all-new offerings for 2016.
"LEGO NEXO KNIGHTS 4D: The Book of Creativity" – opening May 26, 2016
Set in the futuristic Kingdom of Knighton, this all-new theatrical attraction pits five young knights against the evil Jestro and his sidekick, the Book of Monsters, in a battle for control of a rare book of magic that gives its owner tremendous power. Based on the new LEGO series of building sets and the just-launched TV show, the 12½-minute, immersive experience combines 3D computer animation with "4D," real-world effects that bring the high-tech action bursting off the screen and into the audience.
Elsewhere in the theme park, kids will discover six exclusive shields that unlock unique NEXO Powers within the LEGO NEXO KNIGHTS: Merlok 2.0 mobile app for iOS and Android devices.
LEGOLAND Night Lights – Summer 2016
The resort will debut its latest all-new event in June, a celebration of summertime fun featuring extended park hours, meet-and-greet opportunities with favorite LEGO characters, exclusive opportunities to build alongside LEGO Master Model Builders and a spectacular, brick-tacular w fireworks display that will light the night above Lake Eloise with brilliant colors and triumphant music. Held exclusively at LEGOLAND Florida Resort, the party is included with park admission and will take place every Saturday and Sunday from June 18 to July 31.