Legoland Florida is planning its biggest expansion yet — here's what it might be

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While Disney continues to cancel multiple upcoming projects, other local theme parks remain in a spending flurry, but none seem as optimistic about post-COVID-19 demand as Legoland Florida. Permits filed with the Southwest Florida Water Management District confirm the Winter Haven resort is planning one of the largest expansions in its history.

Referred to as ‘Project Venus’ in the documents, the project shows a roughly 5-acre site within the existing surface parking lot being transformed. The surprisingly highly detailed plans show queues for half a dozen rides and multiple playgrounds. A stage and a building are also seen in the plans.
The red line outlines where the new attraction will be located. The entrance of Legoland is seen in the middle of the picture with the red-roofed Legoland Hotel nearby. - IMAGE VIA SOUTHWEST FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT | KIMBERLY HORN | MERLIN
  • Image via Southwest Florida Water Management District | Kimberly Horn | Merlin
  • The red line outlines where the new attraction will be located. The entrance of Legoland is seen in the middle of the picture with the red-roofed Legoland Hotel nearby.
The expansion is located in the parking lot, with a bus lane and multiple backstage warehouses separating it from the rest of the Legoland theme park. According to the documents filed with the water management district, the bus lane will remain. This odd location seems to indicate that the project won’t be an addition to the existing Legoland theme park.



Instead, it will likely be a separate ticketed experience. The resort does already have the Legoland Water Park, but this is better viewed as an upcharge to the Legoland theme park as admission to the theme park is required to access the waterpark. The new parking lot attraction would likely be a standalone attraction. This could explain the Project Venus code name, as this would be the second separately ticketed standalone attraction for the resort.

Legoland released a short statement regarding the upcoming project.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to build new attractions and experiences for families at LEGOLAND Florida Resort as the ultimate vacation destination for kids. We’re excited for our next “big build” at the LEGOLAND Florida Resort, but you’ll have to wait until next year for more expansion news.” 
The statement offers no tangible details regarding the project. Still, it's noteworthy, because it acknowledges Project Venus as a new addition to the resort and leaves out any specific mention of the Legoland theme park itself.



Since opening nine years ago, Legoland’s owner, Merlin, has recognized that they plan to expand the resort into a multiday destination. Other Legoland parks frequently have a separate attraction found near their entrance. At Legoland California, this is a Sea Life Aquarium. But Merlin already operates an aquarium and wax museum at Icon Park in Orlando, so these additions wouldn’t make sense for the nearby Polk County resort.

Neither would Merlin’s more adult-focused attractions, such as the Dungeons walk-through haunted experiences or the Bear Grylls Adventure, nor would a LEGO-branded attraction. That leaves few options for the U.K.-headquartered, location-based entertainment company.
An overview of the proposed five-acre attraction heading to Legoland Florida - IMAGE VIA SOUTHWEST FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT | KIMLEY-HORN | MERLIN
  • Image via Southwest Florida Water Management District | Kimley-Horn | Merlin
  • An overview of the proposed five-acre attraction heading to Legoland Florida
An ideal choice for the site would be Peppa Pig. Since acquiring the exclusive multi-territory licensing agreement with Peppa Pig owner Entertainment One (eOne), Merlin has undertaken an aggressive expansion plan that so far has included two Peppa Pig-themed lands within Merlin-owned parks, Gardaland in Italy and Heide Park in Germany, along with opening multiple indoor themed attractions based on locations seen in the children’s cartoon, including two within the U.S., in Texas and Michigan. A third U.S. location, in Chicago, is slated to open next year. A separately owned and operated Peppa Pig land can also be found in a U.K. amusement park, though that one predates the agreement Merlin has with eOne.

Back in Winter Haven, the expansion plans call for an 11,850-square-foot main building. This is slightly smaller than the 14,000-square-foot Peppa Pig World of Play found in the Grapevine Mills mall in Dallas, Texas. The permits show what looks like shade structures coming off this main building, covering nearby play areas.
The topmost ride is assumed to be Grandpa Pig's Train, a kiddie train ride that runs along a concrete pathway. Moving clockwise is what looks to be the Rabbit's house. A small circular kiddie ride, possibly a boat ride, is near it. In the bottom right corner is a small splash pad, possibly themed to the Muddy Puddles episode. - IMAGE VIA SOUTHWEST FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT | KIMLEY-HORN | MERLIN
  • Image via Southwest Florida Water Management District | Kimley-Horn | Merlin
  • The topmost ride is assumed to be Grandpa Pig's Train, a kiddie train ride that runs along a concrete pathway. Moving clockwise is what looks to be the Rabbit's house. A small circular kiddie ride, possibly a boat ride, is near it. In the bottom right corner is a small splash pad, possibly themed to the Muddy Puddles episode.
Across a pathway sits multiple rides. One is assumed to be Grandpa Pig’s Train, a popular ride at two existing Merlin-owned Peppa Pig themed lands. What looks like a small circular boat ride, also found in the existing lands, can be seen near a splash pad playground area, likely themed to the Muddy Puddles episode.
Permits showing a queue circling a small attraction that has a striking resemblance to the Peppa's Balloon Ride attraction at Heide Park in Germany - IMAGE VIA SOUTHWEST FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT | KIMLEY-HORN | MERLIN
  • Image via Southwest Florida Water Management District | Kimley-Horn | Merlin
  • Permits showing a queue circling a small attraction that has a striking resemblance to the Peppa's Balloon Ride attraction at Heide Park in Germany
IMAGE VIA HEIDE PARK RESORT | FACEBOOK
  • Image via Heide Park Resort | Facebook
Next to the splash pad is something that gives us the best evidence yet of a Peppa Pig theme. It looks similar to Peppa’s Balloon Ride in Gardaland and Heide Park, and seems to have a pig statue on top. The Balloon Ride attraction was added to the Heide Park Peppa Pig land in January. Two other rides, one possibly a small kiddie coaster, can also be seen.

The new attraction is located near the Legoland Resort entrance, allowing for passing traffic to see the new area. Most of the park is surrounded by an 8-foot-tall precast wall, except for a small section overlooking the resort’s main entrance. This section has a shorter chain link fence. Near the main entrance of the attraction is a themed entry wall. Guests will enter the attraction by the bus drop-off loop at the opposite end of the pedestrian path from Legoland’s entrance.

IMAGE VIA HEIDE PARK | FACEBOOK
  • Image via Heide Park | Facebook
Legoland already has three on-site hotels. If Peppa Pig does come to the resort, some of the rooms at these existing hotels may be rethemed to the cartoon pig. Both Heide Park and Gardaland have Peppa Pig themed rooms.

2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the Florida resort. It’s unlikely the new attraction will open by then, but more details on it should be shared sometime next year. Legoland Florida has already announced multiple new additions for the anniversary celebration next year, including an updated water ski show, a new 4D movie, and numerous special events throughout the year.

As shared in Legoland’s statement, more official details on Project Venus will be shared in 2021, with a likely opening the following year.
In the middle of this photo, the permit acknowledges the site is a theme park, though it's unclear if this refers to the attraction or the overall resort. - IMAGE VIA SOUTHWEST FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT | KIMLEY-HORN | MERLIN
  • Image via Southwest Florida Water Management District | Kimley-Horn | Merlin
  • In the middle of this photo, the permit acknowledges the site is a theme park, though it's unclear if this refers to the attraction or the overall resort.



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