Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2011 11:55 AM | Contributed by Jeff
Legoland Florida recently received the first shipment of 32 Lego models for the kiddie theme park, which is scheduled to open in October at the former Cypress Gardens theme park in Winter Haven, about 40 miles from Disney World.
Read more from The LA Times.
The model builders sure have been busy lately!
This one will be fun to watch.... the park is truly in the middle of nowhere... will it work? I just don't know.
Cypress Gardens worked for decades...
^It's LegoLand. Have you been to one recently? They tend to work.
On the other hand, going back a fair number of years now Cypress Gardens has had quite the spotty record of success. Times change, and so do the circumstances in which parks try to survive.
But one thing is a given. If LegoLand can't make this site work in the 21st century, no company that doesn't wear mouse ears will be able to do so.
I'm not convinced that the folks from Georgia wouldn't have been successful if Winter Haven didn't get whacked by the hurricanes. That said, I think Legoland is a sure thing. The Lego brand is solid and people are willing to spend an awful lot of money on their products. I think they will do very well.
Yeah, those three hurricanes were quite a collective kick in the cajones.
Yeah, I don't think that Cypress was a wash because of poor management, location, etc. It was a solid park that tried to open at the worst possible time. Heck, Disney was out in the middle of no where, but the brand was strong enough.
Well, it wasn't exactly a crap shoot for Walt. He did his research. I-4 was on the horizon and he knew the crossroads of the Turnpike and I-4 was going to change the landscape. He also knew that there were plans to grow the Orlando airport.
Cypress, on the other hand, relied heavily on what was then a good product. Winter Haven is really out of the way. US 27, while always a significant artery, still wasn't (and isn't) exactly an interstate.
I think the success of Legoland won't rely ONLY on the brand. I know Winterhaven is making a concerted effort to improve hotels, restaurants and roads. Package deals will be a major selling point, for sure. I wouldn't be surprised if they don't work with someone like Mears in order to provide discounted transportation from the Kissimmee/Orlando hotels to Legoland in order to bring the crowds over.
Oh, I'm sure that the area will change. Legoland Florida could really become kind of a mini-Disney like experience as long as the area around it ups the ante. I do think They should get the transportation sorted out. I think the brand itself is big enough though that the rest of any issues they have can be worked out accordingly.
Speaking of hurricanes - and forgive me if this has been discussed - but how do they plan to keep that stuff protected? Plastic is pretty light weight and blows around easily...
I would have to believe that the Legos are glued together, and that keeps them from being torn apart by weather conditions? They would also have to replace the models sometimes due to fading, I suspect.
I don't know if its LEGO or Disney that keeps up the outdoor models at the DTD store, but you can see that it looks like when they need repainted, they just paint over the model in at least a few spots on some of them. The "seams" were definitely painted over in spots. The smaller models might be different, though.
What do you suppose the attendance target is for the park? My gut tells me that they could easily get by on 3 million visits, maybe even less. That sounds "easy" to me, given the brand. I think it's strong enough to get people to leave Orlando proper for a day or two. I'll absolutely go once it's open.
I think they discussed their anticipated attendance once but I don't recall the figures. I have a friend that works for Winter Haven and sat in on some of the meetings so I'll try and ask him.
I do know they have already surpassed their projected season pass sales. They are offering a heck of a deal at $99 for the what will be left of 2011 (once it opens) and all of 2012. And, really, the $2500 lifetime pass isn't a bad bargain at all if you happen to live in the area. I think that would work out to about 30-35 visits and I lived even an hour closer I bet I'd visit that park 30-35 times in the next 4-5 years.
I made the trip to the "new" Cypress and had an awesome time. ( Sadly, I was also one of about 25 customers that day, too ) I didn't think it was all that bad or too far off the path to get to.
I also thought it was one of the most beautiful places I'd ever seen, in spite of wear and tear. If they are able to maintain that element and combine it with the success of Lego I smell a winner.
It's nice that they are re-developing hotel properties in the area, but my guess is that it, at least at first, will be more of a side/day trip experience for families already parked in Orlando/Kissimee area or Tampa.
You must be logged in to post