Merlin buys cypress gardens?

Friday, January 15, 2010 1:26 AM

According to screamscape and this website....

(search for “land south adventures” on 1/12/2010)

Are there even any rides left at this park?

Friday, January 15, 2010 5:21 AM

Yeah, this has been an ongoing rumor for quite awhile and a Polk county trustee said an announcement should be made by the end of the month so we shall see.

I was told their are about 12 rides left on the site including Starliner and Triple Hurricane.

If Merlin does infact purchase CG, they might be considering a Legoland for this site.

Friday, January 15, 2010 7:58 AM

I've heard the same thing from local government friends that I know in that area. I wonder what that would do to the relationship with Disney at the Marketplace.

Friday, January 15, 2010 8:20 AM

Sweet. Maybe Legoland will make this a popular destination for the Orlando visitors. Hopefully they can keep all of the lush beauty of the existing park as well.

Friday, January 15, 2010 8:59 AM

I have considered a cross country tip to take my son to Legoland California but I would be thrilled (actually, my accountant may not be) if I could just make the drive from South Florida.

Actually, I think the park would do better down here as there would be no competition to speak of but I think South Florida will forever lose out on a major park.

Friday, January 15, 2010 9:22 AM

Acoustic Viscosity said:
Sweet. Maybe Legoland will make this a popular destination for the Orlando visitors. Hopefully they can keep all of the lush beauty of the existing park as well.

That's if anyone bothered to protect the lush beauty during this cold snap that we had. If they didn't, the gardens are now a deadzone and they will have to start over.

Friday, January 15, 2010 9:24 AM

wahoo skipper said:
Actually, I think the park would do better down here as there would be no competition to speak of but I think South Florida will forever lose out on a major park.

Does Boomers have the land and means to turn into somewhat of a decent sized park? After installing Dania Beach Hurricane, it seems like they would capatalize on that. They could become the next Mt. Olympus.

Friday, January 15, 2010 11:05 AM

^I talked with the GM down at Boomers a couple months ago (Thanksgiving weekend), and they do have a surprising amount of land. He was thinking more along the lines of a steel coaster, which seemed to be a little bit of "reaching" from my perspective. I suggested something to draw the eye of those travelling along 95...something like an Afterburner or Power Surge, flashy. The weird news was that Boomers and DBH are no longer co-managed...I have a hard time believing DBH can be self-sustaining with the ummm, "crowds" I have seen on the ride. If the Santa-themed park in the Miami area can do the business it does just over the Holidays (anyone ever been?), then Boomers/DBH certainly can expand their operations. Gradually is always better (ask SFO).

Cypress? I still think it's a mistake. Lie putting up an exclusive restaurant in the warehouse's just too far from the clientele the park needs to survive. Of course, as always, a waterpark can generate enough revenue to offset the losses to the ride park....but as the old owners of Cypress decided, a "failing" rides park is still losing money. Location, location - and Cypress isn't a good one. IMO, YMMV, yadda yadda.

Last edited by rollergator, Friday, January 15, 2010 11:06 AM
Friday, January 15, 2010 12:31 PM

All true, gator, but I have to think that if anybody can make that property work, I have to believe it would be Merlin. A new Legoland park might have just enough panache and brand recognition to make it on that site.

Friday, January 15, 2010 1:05 PM

Yeah, I think a Legoland park will draw people from Kissimmee/St Cloud and the rest of the park. Considering their park out in California is building a hotel I can see that working in Winter Haven.

Boomer's draws a crowd I wouldn't be comfortable taking my kids too anytime other than early on a Saturday or Sunday. If they were to expand then I would hope they changed their pricing (maybe go to a higher POP) in order to clean the place up a bit.

Friday, January 15, 2010 1:25 PM

I remember when everyone thought it would be crazy to open a Legoland in Carlsbad. To far from L.A, so people would never drive there, plus with Disneyland in the area, it would be crazy to open another family oriented park

Ten years later they are not doing to bad, so who knows, maybe it could work with CG aswell

Friday, January 15, 2010 2:12 PM

I myself often wonder how DBH can still stand there and not be rotting because of the lack of riders. Shame really, none of the lights on the first drop and turnaround work anymore.

The mini golf course was also in a rut last time i was there. Grand Prix used to keep that place immaculate.

Last edited by TheMillenniumRider, Friday, January 15, 2010 2:12 PM
Friday, January 15, 2010 6:55 PM

Alexatucla said:
I remember when everyone thought it would be crazy to open a Legoland in Carlsbad.

That's not a fair comparison. Carlsbad is an affluent residential area. Winter Haven is rural agricultural.

And the biggest difference is that Legoland California is right off I-5, with plenty of cars going from San Diego to L.A. passing by. Winter Haven is nowhere near I-4 (and U.S. 27 isn't the tourist hotbed it was back in the day).

The press conference is next Thursday, so we'll know more by then. It MAY not be a Legoland at all. Alton Towers Lite? If it IS going to open as Legoland Florida (and not just the scaled back water park opening in June inside Legoland California -- or a Sea Life attraction) the only way that it would probably work is if they go all in.

They have to buy the Best Western and convert it into a Lego hotel. They need to have families waking up there, because Cypress Gardens quickly became a "locals only" kind of park and that isn't enough.

Friday, January 15, 2010 7:14 PM

Paris clearly has the same take on Winter Haven that I do... ;)

Alton Lite is probably too much to hope for, but it's nice to see Merlin getting their feet wet on the wooden coaster front... :)

Friday, January 15, 2010 9:49 PM

Well, it's confirmed. Merlin has purchased CG.

Legoland Florida?

Kind of looking forward to this. Odd twist is that Blackstone has a majority statke in Merlin which just purchased the Busch parks. So once again , Cypress Gardens and the AB parks are under the same ownership.

Friday, January 15, 2010 11:17 PM

The current operator of Cypress Gardens had no interest in making the park a success. I believe it was a hasty decision and they failed to do their due diligence. I also think they thought they'd be able to have a real estate play here, but the market crashed and they probably failed to recognize that this property is protected.

I'm also surprised that so many of you have forgotten about the initial success Kent Buescher had with Cypress Gardens. His failure was the result of mother nature and an insurance company who refused to pay up, not his business plan.

When he took on Cypress Gardens he obviously knew that in order to succeed it should not be an extension of Orlando. The operator has to go after the local population by offering something that is more affordable and less crowded than the mess of parks in Orlando.

Believe it or not there is a large population in and around this area that cannot afford the $80 admission to SeaWorld, Disney and Universal and they cannot afford the $300 annual passes. The same is true for the Tampa area.

There were two parts of Buescher attempt that stood out- the waterpark and children's area. The media reported that grandparents were bringing young children to the park. In fact, the one day I visited, the majority in attendance were young children. Also, the waterpark, while small, was considered a success. Even the current owner tried to capitalize on that fact while they made some hasty decisions to close the ride portion and eliminate the animals.

I think Merlin and Legoland will pull this off. Legoland has a great reputation and their new waterpark idea would be perfect for this small waterpark. I'm sure they can revive the appeal for young children and they'll likely be in a position to offer this park at a price point that Orlando can't match.

The gardens are under protection from the state so because of this restriction the asking price for this property has to be dirt cheap. I also think the lavish gardens would be appealing to any operator and especially Legoland.

Last edited by egieszl, Friday, January 15, 2010 11:19 PM
Saturday, January 16, 2010 2:44 AM

This news makes me feel more optimistic about the future of this park than I have ever been. Go Merlin!

Saturday, January 16, 2010 11:54 AM

Didn't Winter Haven just lose there Spring training Team? I would say Cypress Gardens Was a great Break from the Bigger Parks in Orlando and was a Beautiful Park. I wonder if the Area residents will oppose a bigger type Park coming in?

Saturday, January 16, 2010 1:58 PM

With Blackstone owning Busch Entertainment and Merlin and part of Universal I can see them offering package deals that would include Universal, SeaWorld, Aquatica, BGT and Cypress/Legoland. Busch was already running private coaches from Orlando to BGT for a day trip--I can see them doing the same out to Cypress as well.

Sunday, January 17, 2010 1:50 PM

Alexatucla said: Ten years later they are not doing to bad, so who knows, maybe it could work with CG aswell

"Not doing too bad"? Are you kidding? The park is a friggin cash cow! In just a few short years they've added entire themed areas, a marine park, and this year they're introducing the first Lego-themed waterpark (where you can actually assemble rafts with soft lego-like pieces!).

Let's face it: kids LOVE Lego. Heck, so do many adults. And the parks are top-notch, which shocked even me. I went to Legoland thinking I'd cre-ho the coasters, take a quick trip around the loop and be done with it. I spend the entire day and had a blast!

Mini-Land is amazing and you can spend hours just walking around, looking at each scene, discovering hidden little jokes and gems you missed the first time. The attention to detail is astounding. And there there are the quirky little touches one might see like a Lego duck floating in a pond among real ducks, that just make you smile.

If Cypress does indeed become Legoland Florida I'd be shocked if they didn't experience a similiar reception among locals and tourists.

Last edited by Mamoosh, Sunday, January 17, 2010 1:51 PM

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