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April 12, 2017
LEGOLAND Florida hosted us for an overnight stay at the new LEGOLAND Florida Beach Retreat. The views expressed in this article are true and entirely my own.
We were invited to stay the night at the new LEGOLAND Florida Beach Retreat before it officially opened to the public on April 7th. I decided if I was going to write an honest review, I needed to bring a kid, so I brought my Lego loving 4-year-old who has been begging me to let him stay the night at a LEGOLAND hotel. (It’s a total tease for him to walk by the LEGOLAND hotel each time we go to the park, so needless to say…he was stoked about this overnight trip.)
The resort is truly a perfect way to turn your day trip into a staycation. We often make the drive to Orlando and sometimes, you just want to relax at the end of the day instead of worrying about having enough energy to make the drive home to Tampa which is why the Beach Retreat is a great option.
The resort started as an idea to bring the beach to LEGOLAND Florida 2.5 years ago. When the concept arrived at the table of Merlin Magic Maker Keith Carr and his teammates at Merlin Entertainment, they quickly got to work, literally breaking open boxes of Lego sets to find inspiration.
The lighthouse that greets you as you drive into the resort is inspired by a lighthouse from an actual Lego set and the brightly colored bungalows throughout seem as if they were built with kids in mind.
“We wanted to encourage outdoor play,” explained Carr. “The rooms will always be infused with Lego DNA, that’s what we like to do with Merlin, but the idea was, let’s get the kids outside.”
To get the kids outside, the Magic Makers came up with the idea to build the horseshoe shaped coves of bungalows along the shoreline of Lake Dexter, which is less than a mile away from LEGOLAND Florida. In the middle of each cove is a small playground nestled in the center of a grassy area where kids can run and play within sight of their parents, whether they are sitting on the front porch or inside their bungalow and looking through the oversized window. The weather was perfectly cool the day we stayed, so it was lovely to sit on the front porch of our bungalow and watch my son play.
My 4-year-old loved the playgrounds, but he really enjoyed swimming in the zero entry pool which had a plentiful supply of floating Lego bricks for him to play and build. When he was tired of swimming, he spent some time on the sandy beach, building towers with even more over-sized Lego bricks. The kid was seriously on cloud 9, especially when the big kids let him join in on a game of tag on the big playground near the pool.
I covered the construction of Legoland while working as a news reporter in the Tampa market, so it has been exciting for me to see the theme park grow. Apparently, the growth doesn’t end at the LEGOLAND Beach Retreat. They have yet to release the 2018 plans after a whirlwind 2017 with the opening of the new NINJAGO World at Legoland and now the Beach Retreat.
“There’s more to come. Everything is awesome at LEGOLAND Florida,” was all they would tell us despite our constant prying for more details!
We cannot wait to go back to this fun resort and will definitely be bringing some friends along! While we were on our preview trip, we ran into one of the Tampa Bay Parenting social moms, Lisa Leihy who was visiting with her daughter, husband and parents.
“It really does look at the whole family,” said Lisa who loves the multigenerational aspect of the resort which allows grandparents to slow down and relax and the kids a chance to play!
“It’s beachy and fun and it has a pool with the floating Lego bricks which I think is really cool,” said Sarina, Lisa’s 11-year-old daughter.
Room rates start at $135 each night (plus tax and resort fee). The price will vary depending on season and availability. When you stay at the Legoland Beach Retreat, you also get early access to Legoland and free parking at the theme park if you do not feel like taking the free shuttle. Learn more by visiting: www.LEGOLAND.com/florida or call (877) 350-5346 during the hours of 9am-5pm.
The Check-In Process:
The check-in process must have been developed by a parent because they really made it easy. All you have to do is drive up to the front gate and provide your name and identification to begin the check-in process. You are then handed your room keys and a map of the property. You park your car in a shared parking lot and then walk along the sidewalk to your designated bungalow.
Each bungalow has two separate rooms, but you still have enough privacy thanks to a fence wall built between each side of front porch. We also had no issues hearing the family who stayed next to us which is always a good thing when you are trying to convince a 4-year-old that it’s a good idea to go to bed!
When you walk in, you are greeted with a Lego inspired mural that my son thought was “awesome”. There is a king sized bed in each room, along with a small room in the back divided by a privacy curtain which has a bunk bed that can sleep up to three people when you use the trundle.
We loved walking back and forth from our bungalow to the pool area. My son wanted to stop and play on each of the cove playgrounds we passed as we made our way to the pool. The Sandy’s Castle Restaurant by the pool had great food, but the highlight for my son was definitely the towering LEGO sandcastle that was surrounded by LEGO building stations where he tried to build like the big kids.
The Brick’s Beach Bar offers some great adult cocktails and made-to-order food if you prefer to eat and drink at your bungalow. Most hotels have a gift shop, but the Palm Tree Traders probably ranks as the coolest resort retail shop we’ve ever seen due to the plentiful selection of LEGO sets along with clothing, snacks, toys and more.
Check out our 60 second SNEAK PEEK:
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