Legoland Looks To Make Bid For SeaWorld

Merlin Entertainments Plc has approached SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. about a potential deal, according to people familiar with the matter, as the U.K. theme-park operator seeks to expand in Central Florida.

Merlin, which runs the Thorpe Park Resort in southern England and Legoland parks across the world, has made a bid for part of the company, which could be a hurdle as SeaWorld prefers an outright sale, the people said. SeaWorld, which has been working with advisers to explore options including a sale, also received interest from other possible suitors, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details aren’t public.

The offer comes as SeaWorld Chief Executive Officer Joel Manby struggles to stem declines in sales and the stock price of the Orlando-based park owner once famous for its killer whales. For Merlin, a deal by the operator of the London Eye and Madame Tussauds waxworks would mark a continuation of its strategy to expand internationally to cope with a drop in day-trippers to the British capital following terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.

SeaWorld could raise as much as $1 billion from selling regional parks like Busch Gardens, getting funding to invest in its core aquatic-themed locations, Suntrust analyst Michael Swartz said in August. Busch Gardens has locations in Tampa, Florida, and Williamsburg, Virginia.

More than two years into an attempted turnaround of the company, the shares of the theme park operator have fallen 25 percent this year, amid shrinking attendance and missed earnings forecasts.

The park owner came under fire in the 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” which accused the company of mistreating its killer whales. Under Manby, SeaWorld stopped breeding orcas, created a new show in its San Diego park with animals performing more natural behaviors, and invested in non-animal attractions, such as roller coasters and ocean-themed rides.

Blackstone, the world’s largest buyout firm, took SeaWorld public in 2013 after acquiring it four years earlier for $2.3 billion. Blackstone sold its final block of shares this year, cementing a return of about 2.7 times its original investment. Blackstone also owned Merlin in the past. The private equity firm acquired the entertainment company in 2005, bolstered it with acquisitions, sold a stake to CVC Capital Partners in 2010 and exited its final position in 2015.

LEGOLAND Celebrates Halloween with Brick or Treat

If you’re looking to celebrate Halloween at a theme park with the family, LEGOLAND Florida Resort has you covered.

During seven dates in October, LEGOLAND Florida will host Brick or Treat, a Halloween party specifically designed for children, featuring a themed firework spectacular, trick-or-treating in the park, character meet-and-greets, LEGO building activities and more.

The park will be adorned with Halloween decorations and will include fun activities around every corner. New for 2017, LEGOLAND Florida will award guests for elite costumes, feature a new show at the Wells Fargo Fun Town Theater, provide photo opportunities inside a giant LEGO Halloween globe and more.

Visitors will be able to meet LEGO Halloween characters, including Lord Vampyre, the Mummy, the Mad Scientist, the Witch and Frankenstein. Guests will also be treated to candy and other Halloween treats, scavenger hunts and themed areas of the park.

The dates for the 2017 Brick or Treat events are October 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29 and 31. Hours for the festivities are between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. local time, except on October 31, which will be 10 a.m.-7 p.m. local time.

In addition to the Halloween festivities, LEGOLAND Florida will debut its Be-A-Minifigure Costume Shop on September 15 in the Fun Town section of the park. Visitors will be able to dress up like their favorite LEGO characters.

LEGOLAND Florida is also offering guests the chance to save $30 on a one-day ticket or a one-day theme park and water park ticket. Customers must make the purchase on or before September 15 and the visit between October 1 through November 19.

Lego Ninjago World Officially Opens at Legoland Florida Resort

Kids can “become the ninja” when they enter the martial arts kingdom of Lego Ninjago World, now open at Legoland Florida Resort.

Lego Ninjago World adds an immersive land filled with several hands-on, outdoor activities where kids can sharpen their ninja skills before the ultimate showdown on Lego Ninjago The Ride, a new attraction that blends 3D computer animation, “4D” special effects such as heat, fog and strobe lighting, and groundbreaking interactive technology never seen outside a Legoland theme park.

Stars of the Netflix Original Series “Fuller House,” including Jodie Sweetin, Michael Campion, Soni Nicole Bringas, Ashley Liao and Elias Harger, and Mckenna Grace, helped officially open the new land and ride during a special grand opening ceremony.

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Inspired by the popular Lego building sets and the “Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu” TV show, Lego Ninjago World puts guests at the center of the action in several ways:

  • Lego Ninjago The Ride – A state-of-the-art “dark ride” where guests score points using ninja hand moves to blast animated fireballs, lightning and more at waves of 3D villains. Children under 48 inches tall must ride with a responsible person 48 inches or taller who can ensure their safety.
  • Zane’s Temple Build – A Lego building experience where kids can contribute to a giant model of the mountaintop Ninjago monastery with bins of loose Lego bricks.
  • Kai’s Spinners – Master the ancient art of Spinjitzu at these twirling, whirling, single-
    child platforms; recommended for ages 5-12.
  • Cole’s Rock Climb – A horizontal, right-to-left climbing wall to test kids’ strength and
    endurance; recommended for ages 2-12.
  • Jay’s Lightning Drill – Practice precision and reflexes by pressing as many light-up
    targets as possible in 30-second sessions; recommended for ages 2-12.

The lushly landscaped area also features large Lego models of Lego Ninjago heroes Kai, Jay, Cole, Zane, Lloyd, Nya [NEE-AH] and Master Wu, daily meet-and-greet opportunities with sibling ninjas Kai and Nya, and Wu’s Warehouse, a themed retail shop filled with Lego Ninjago building sets, children’s apparel, costumes, books, souvenirs and more.

Those looking to score high on Lego Ninjago The Ride can practice these five signature ninja hand moves to use while riding:

  • The Cobra: Hold your fingers like a snake’s head, then strike your arm forward.
    Chops of Fury: Hold both hands in front of you, palms facing, and do quick karate
    chops.
  • The Fireball Flinger: Clench your hand into a fist, then thrust your arm forward while
    opening your fingers.
  • The Lightning Strike: Hold your arm at a slant and chop.
  • The Shuriken [SHUR-IH-KEN] Shuffle: Hold both hands in front of you, palms down,
    with your arms bent so they touch your chest. Chop outwards repeatedly.

The adventure continues Sept. 22, when Warner Bros. Pictures releases “The Lego Ninjago Movie,” a full-length motion picture from the same producers behind 2014’s hit “The Lego Movie” and featuring the voices of Jackie Chan, Michael Peña, Dave Franco, Abbi Jacobson and Olivia Munn.

Announced in March 2016, Lego Ninjago World continues the largest period of growth and expansion in the five-year history of Legoland Florida Resort. For more information about visiting Legoland Florida Resort, visit Legoland.com/florida.

LEGO Batman Event Added To 2017 Events At LEGOLAND Resort

LEGOLAND Florida announced today that a new event themed around the upcoming Batman LEGO Movie will be coming to their park in 2017.

The LEGO Batman Movie Days will take place on March 4-5 & 11-12 at the park and will feature ” photo ops with the scene-stealing star, a themed scavenger hunt and LEGO Batman-inspired LEGO build activities.”

The park also announced a new event called KIDZ BOP Weekend.  This event will run from April 28-30 and will feature The KIDZ Bop Kids live in concert at The KIDZ Bop Theater as part of their 2017 tour.  Some of the songs being perfomred include  their version of the LEGO NINJAGO theme song, “The Weekend Whip.”

LEGOLAND Florida also announced that all of their popular events will return in 2017 as well, including LEGO Star Wars Days, Brick or Treat and of course Christmas Bricktacular.

LEGOLAND Releases Black Friday Deals

Beginning on Black Friday (November 25), LEGOLAND Florida Resort is offering an assortment of ways to save for bargain hunters. Lasting all the way through Cyber Monday (November 28), the savings will cover multiple-use tickets, annual passes, stays at LEGOLAND Hotel and the upcoming LEGOLAND Beach Retreat and more.

The #BuiltForKids park isn’t being shy about its deals set to launch on “Brick Friday.” Here is what you can expect:

VISIT TWICE AND THE SECOND DAY IS FREE

Any theme park ticket purchased for the price of $71 (plus tax) under this deal not only allows guests to enjoy LEGOLAND’s Christmas Bricktacular but also to return when LEGO NINJAGO World opens on January 12. The first visit must occur between December 17-18 or December 24-31. That return visit must happen between January 1 and April 6, 2017.

This ticket can only be purchased online and can’t be combined with other offers. It also can’t be transferred to existing reservations. Admission to LEGOLAND Water Park is not included either, and a maximum of six tickets can be grabbed per purchase.

GET THE “AWESOMER PASS” AT THE “AWESOME PASS” PRICE

The Awesomer Annual Pass is valued at $149 (plus tax), but this deal let’s you get it for the price of the Awesome Annual Pass, which is $99 (plus tax). The benefits include a year of unlimited admission to LEGOLAND Florida Theme Park, LEGOLAND Water Park, The Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando, SEA LIFE Aquarium Orlando and Atlanta’s LEGOLAND Discovery Center. Free parking, a collector’s edition welcome kit, early access to LEGOLAND Florida Theme Park, a 10% discount on theme park dining, retail purchases, stays LEGOLAND Hotel and LEGOLAND Beach Retreat, VIP Experiences, Premium Upgrades and Premium Play Bands, plus $15 off theme park tickets for up to six guests are also all a part of the perks that come with this deal.

This deal is only available online and is only valid for new annual pass purchases. It also can’t be combined with other offers. There is a maximum of six Awesomer Annual Passes given per purchase, and the passes must be activated in person at the theme park within 60 days of purchase.

ANNUAL PASSHOLDERS SAVE AT LEGOLAND HOTELS

Current annual passholders can save 30% off on stays at LEGOLAND Hotel. There are no restrictions in terms of room types or themes. The bungalows at LEGOLAND Beach Resort, which is set to open in mid-2017, are also included in this offer. This bargain is applicable to stays at LEGOLAND Hotel between January 1 and April 6, 2017 and to stays at LEGOLAND Beach Retreat between June 1 and September 3, 2017.

This deal can’t be combined with other offers or transferred to existing reservations, and an active annual pass has to be presented at check-in to get the discount.

STAY AWHILE AND SAVE

Through the end of 2016, non-passholders can take 20% off exclusive room-and-ticket packages for stays at LEGOGLAND Hotel and LEGOLAND Beach Retreat. Each package requires a minimum two-night stay and includes a two-day ticket to LEGOLAND Florida Theme Park for each person in the party. Daily breakfast buffets and early access to the theme park are included as well.

This discount is available for packages booked for LEGOLAND Hotel during January 2 through May 26, 2017, and for LEGOLAND Beach Retreat during June 1 through September 3, 2017. However, make sure to check the resort’s operating calendar (found online) to ensure that you are booking on days that the theme park is open. LEGOLAND Florida Theme Park is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays during select seasons, and you don’t want to get there to find a “Walley World” type of situation.

THE FINE PRINT

To get first crack at these deals, you’ll want to sign up here. Everyone signed up as of Thursday, November 24 will receive an email with links to the eligible offers that start Friday, November 25. Offers are subject to limited availability and may sell out. Additionally, the same credit card cannot be used more than once within a 24-period to prevent fraudulent purchases, so make your decisions ahead of time. There are no second chances to pick up something you forgot.

Christmas Bricktacular Returns to LEGOLAND with Old and New Festivities

Beginning Saturday, Dec. 17 this year, Christmas Bricktacular provides lots of hands-on experiences where kids can enjoy the holiday festivities in playful ways.

Guests can experience the following festivities:

  • From a sparkling fireworks show over Lake Eloise to meet-and-greet opportunities with LEGO Santa and LEGO Toy Soldier!
  • From a holiday-themed scavenger hunt through the streets of MINILAND USA to dazzling photo backdrops including a giant Christmas tree and a life-size Santa Claus, both made out of thousands of ordinary LEGO and DUPLO® bricks!

What’s new to the LEGOLAND Florida Christmas Bricktacular this year?

  • A live, holiday-themed stage show starring the LEGO Friends
  • Storytime with Mrs. Claus
  • Live performances of classic Christmas music by the LEGO Brickettes

Other returning activities include LEGO builds with Master Model Builders and a station where — through Saturday, Dec. 24 — kids can write and send a letter to Santa at the North Pole.

Christmas Bricktacular takes place throughout the day and is included with all forms of park admission, including one-day tickets and annual passes, on the following 2016 dates:

  • Dec. 17-18 (Saturday & Sunday)
  • Dec. 24-30 (Saturday-Friday)

LEGOLAND Florida will also be offering a variety of upgrades during this years Christmas Bricktacular:

  • LEGO Santa’s Breakfast includes exclusive time with LEGO Santa and LEGO Toy Soldier (including a family photo), a LEGO gift for each party and a delicious, all-you-care-to-enjoy breakfast featuring waffles, French toast, biscuits and gravy, bacon, scrambled eggs, sausages, frittatas, a seasonal bread pudding and orange juice, milk, chocolate milk or coffee. The cost is $35 per person plus tax.
    LEGO Santa’s Breakfast is a one-hour experience at the historic Magnolia Mansion that starts at 9 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday from Nov. 26 through Dec. 18 and daily from Dec. 24-31.
  • At LEGO Santa’s Christmas Workshop, guests will visit with LEGO Santa and LEGO Toy Soldier before creating an exclusive LEGO Christmas model under the guidance of a Master Model Builder. Guests also will receive a family photo with the characters. The cost is $35 per person plus tax.
    LEGO Santa’s Christmas Workshop is a 90-minute experience at Magnolia Mansion starting at 1 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday from Nov. 26 through Dec. 24, and daily from Dec. 26-31.

Please note that premium upgrades do not include theme park admission. Both experiences can be booked online at https://www.legoland.com/florida/buy-tickets/parking-extras/ or by phone at (855) 753-7777. Current annual passholders can receive a 10 percent discount per person (before tax) by calling (855) 753-7777 or booking in person at Guest Services within the theme park. The annual pass discount is not available online.

Ninjago World To Open at Legoland in January

Ninjago World, the latest addition at Legoland Florida Resort in Winter Haven, will open Jan. 12, the park announced Friday morning.

The world, being built on 3 acres of land, will include Ninjago The Ride, manufactured by Triotech, a Canada-based company that makes media-based, interactive attractions.

The ride will feature Maestro hand gesture technology, which enables guests to control the game with hand gestures without using a hand-held device.

With high-tech sensors, riders will use hand movements in a striking motion to act like ninja warriors Kai, Jay, Cole and Zane, the main characters of the Ninjago line. Riders will be scored and collect points during the four-minute ride.

Legoland officials announced the park would get the world in March. That announcement included other expansions at the Polk County destination including the Legoland Beach Retreat, a new set of accommodations being built across the street from the main park.

It was announced in November that Legoland California Resort was getting the ride Ninjago ride and local leaders wouldn’t confirm if the ride would eventually come to Central Florida.

Ninjago World is currently under construction on the north end of the park between Lego City and Coastersaurus.

LEGOLAND Announces Brick or Treat Details & Dates

It’s time for the annual Brick or Treat event at Legoland Florida!  The theme park resort announced today that the event will return with 11 dates in October, featuring a LEGO lineup of spooky, kooky, brick-tacular activities and extended park hours.

The event runs every Saturday and Sunday in October, plus Monday, Oct. 31 and features meet-and-greet opportunities with a ghoulish gallery of LEGO monsters and a stunning, brick-built model perfect for scary selfies and snapshots. Joining the lineup of special activities this year is a kid-centric parade free to all guests who come dressed up in costumes.

Parked in Market Plaza will be the 13-foot-long Vampyre Hearse, a giant LEGO model inspired by a set from the now-retired LEGO Monster Fighters series. For this year’s Brick or Treat, the hot-rod hearse made out of more than 280,000 LEGO and DUPLO bricks has been enhanced with sound effects and lights.

Here are some other fun things you can experience at Brick or Treat:

  • Photo opportunities with the world’s largest LEGO pumpkin
  • Exclusive meet-and-greets with LEGO Halloween characters Vladimir the Vampyre, the Mummy, the Mad Scientist, the Witch and Frankenstein
  • Fistfuls of candy while trick-or-treating along the Brick or Treat Trail, for kids 12 and under
  • A scavenger hunt in MINILAND USA with a collectible, limited-edition LEGO brick free to every guest while supplies last — with a special Brick or Treat design chosen this year by our Facebook fans!
  • A vampire-themed takeover of the LEGO Kingdoms area
  • The popular — and delicious — Granny’s Apple Fries will once again offer a pumpkin spice variety for a limited time

With the exception of Monday, Oct. 31 (it’s a school night!), each Brick or Treat date will conclude with a creepy-crawly, spider-themed fireworks show at 8 p.m. in the skies above Lake Eloise.

LegoLand Offers Free Admission To First Responders in September

LegoLand Florida is thanking first responders with free admission to the Winter Haven theme park and discounts to its on-site resort.

Active and retired law enforcement, fire and rescue and emergency medical technician personnel working in the United States can receive a free, single-day admission ticket to the park in September.

Families and friends of first responders can get a ticket (up to four) for 50 percent off. Tickets to LegoLand Water Park can be purchased for a $20 upgrade.

Eligible first responders (see below) can get complimentary and discounted tickets at the LegoLand Florida ticket window on the day of their visit. The offer is not valid online, by telephone or through ticket re-sellers.

LegoLand Hotel is offering a 10 percent discount for first responders. To receive the discount, first responders must make the reservation online at www.legoland.com/hero2016.

LegoLand Florida is closed on select days in September, so check www.legoland.com/florida for days and hours of operation.

Eligible U.S. personnel include:

• Fire and rescue first responders
• Emergency medical services employees (EMT/EMS)
• Municipal and county police and sheriff’s officers
• Highway patrol officers
• Corrections officers
• State and federal law enforcement officers
• Fish and wildlife field officers
• U.S. Forest Service rangers
• National Park Service personnel
• Homeland Security agents
• Environmental Protection law enforcement officers

Legoland Announces Lego Star Wars Days

Lego fans can channel their inner Jedi at Legoland Florida Resort next month during the attraction’s Lego Star Wars Days.

The event, included in park admission, take place Sept. 10 and 11.

A Lego Star Wars Miniland Model Display will be in the park, featuring seven scenes from the movie series and a scene from the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The display is made out of 1.5 million Lego bricks.

The weekend also includes an session with Lego Star Wars set designer Jens Kronvold Frederiksen and Master Model Builders.

The littlest Star Wars fans are encouraged to dress as their favorite character and take part in a parade, a new feature to the weekend. Fans in costume have a chance to win a Lego Star Wars prize pack, Legoland officials said.

Legoland, located in Winter Haven, is a theme park designed for children, built for children ages 2-12. The park has updated every year since opening in 2011, including the water park was added in 2012, World of Chima opened in 2013 and Duplo Village, targeting young visitors, opened in 2014.

It transitioned to an overnight destination last year when a 152-room hotel opened. Future additions include a new Beach Resort and plans for a new theme-park land, Lego Ninjago World.