Legoland Announces Beach Retreat, New Ninjago World

Some might call this awesome news: Legoland Florida is expanding.

The Winter Haven theme park announced Tuesday it is adding a beach retreat and a new world based on Ninjago, a martial arts-themed Lego set. Both are scheduled to open by 2017.

LegoLand officials also announced a new 4D movie, a summer nighttime fireworks show and a build-a-boat workshop at the park’s water park. This is the largest expansion to the theme park since it opened in 2011.

Here are the details:

 – LegoLand Beach Retreat (opening 2017) – Built across the street from LegoLand on Lake Dexter, the beach retreat will feature 83 single-story duplex units and 166 separate accommodations. There will also be a Lego-theme lighthouse, a pool and a sandy beach area.

 – Lego Ninjago World (opening 2017) – The fully immersive 4-D Ninjago World, located near the back of the theme park, is based on the popular building sets and the long-running TV show “LEGO NINJAGO: Masters of Spinjitzu.” The ride will seat up to four guests per vehicle and allow guests to “blast animated fireballs, lightning, shockwaves and ice using nothing more than their hands as they travel through dojos.”

– “Lego Nexo Knights 4D: The Book of Creativity” (Opening May 26) – Set in the  Kingdom of Knighton, the new film tells the story of five young knights battling against the evil Jestro and his sidekick, the Book of Monsters. Based on the new TV show, the 12-minute movie combines 3D computer animation with “4D,” real-world effects.

–  LegoLand Night Lights (Summer 2016) – A celebration of the summer, Night Lights features extended park hours, meet-and-greet opportunities with Lego characters and a Ninjago fireworks display above Lake Eloise. The fireworks are included with park admission every every Saturday and Sunday from June 18 to July 31.

– Build-a-Boat (Open now) – An addition to the LegoLand Water Park, Build-a-Boat is an attraction where kids can create and race Lego watercraft through water features inspired by the popular LEGO City Coast Guard sets.

Legoland Expanding Water Park with New Attraction

Legoland Florida will be expanding their water park for the first time since it opened back in 2012 with a new attraction called “Creative Cove.”

In this new hands-on attraction, guests will be able to build boats out of LEGO bricks and race them in an area inspired by the LEGO City Coast Guard building sets.

The new area is currently under construction between the LEGO Wave Pool and the Build-A-Raft River.

LEGOLAND Florida also announced that they are adding additional dining options, increased seating capacity and adding free WiFi throughout the entire water park.

Is Legoland Florida Planning Expansion?

Legoland Florida wants visitors to stick around for a little while longer.

The Lakeland Ledger reported the Winter Haven-based theme park is planning to build an extended stay resort nearby.

Owner Merlin Entertainments’ plans for “Project Oasis” have been revealed just months after Legoland Florida celebrated the grand opening of a brand new on-site hotel.

While there’s currently no timetable for construction on the extended stay project, a spokesman for the resort said details are coming.

“We are not prepared to make an official announcement today,” public relations manager David Brady told the Ledger. “But in the very near future we will be making multiple announcements about the future of Legoland Florida Resort. So stay tuned.”

What to Expect

Although details surrounding the extended stay resort remain somewhat scarce, the Ledger reported it’s expected to feature 83 single-story duplexes comprising 166 units. And planned amenities include a pool, a 12,000-square-foot clubhouse and at least two ponds.

If approved, the new resort will be built on Lake Dexter. It would span more than 57 acres and signal the resort’s first expansion beyond the boundaries of Cypress Gardens.

Who Benefits?

Legoland Florida’s expansion would not only be good news for travelers, but for the local economy.

The new resort will create additional jobs of course, but will also continue driving foot traffic in Winter Haven, leading to increased spending.

“More jobs creates more disposable income, which creates a better quality of life for the individuals who live here,” Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce CEO Katie Worthington told Fox 13.

If the project ultimately comes to fruition, visitors to Legoland Florida will have another option for nearby accommodations as the extended stay resort would join the recently-opened five-story, 152-room Legoland Hotel.

Register Now for the Brick Dash 5K Run and Fun Walk at LEGOLAND Florida Resort

Combining family, fitness and fun, the annual Brick Dash 5K Run and Fun Walk presented by Sun Newspapers returns to LEGOLAND Florida Resort on Saturday, April 16, benefiting the Winter Haven Hospital Foundation’s Fund for Women and Children.

This year, kids and kids at heart will run, jog or walk past icons like The Orlando Eye, the newest LEGO model in Miniland, and participants are sure to find encouragement from Emmet and Wyldstyle, stars of “The LEGO Movie 4D A New Adventure.”

New this year, participants 5 and under can compete in the 100 yard dash, while the Kids Half Mile is specially designed for participants 12 and under. Custom-made LEGO trophies will be given to first-, second- and third-place runners in each age category, plus first-place finishers in the overall male and female divisions, and for the masters male and female divisions. Every participant will receive a T-shirt and specially designed LEGO medal.

Registration is available at www.active.com or by calling the Winter Haven Hospital Foundation at (863) 292-4138. The fee for participants 13 and older is $35; the fee for children 12 and under is $25. A family of up to five participants is $99. Special corporate rates are offered; call the Foundation for more information. All Central Florida elementary schools will have the opportunity to participate in “Max’s School Challenge” by including a school name when registering. The elementary school with the most participants will receive a special visit from a LEGOLAND Florida Resort character, a special LEGO trophy and more.

Discounted, one-day admission to LEGOLAND Florida Resort is offered to every Brick Dash participant for $30 plus tax. Admission to LEGOLAND Water Park also is available for an additional $15 per person. The special Brick Dash ticket prices are available only on Saturday, April 16.

For more information, including sponsorship opportunities, contact the Winter Haven Hospital Foundation at (863) 292-4138 or whhfoundation@baycare.org.

LEGOLAND In Lake Wales Is Hiring People to Build Things All Day

Good news for anyone who was obsessed with Legos growing up: The creative division of Merlin Entertainment, which runs LEGOLAND theme parks worldwide, is looking to hire 20 “Master Model Builders” at their factory, known as the “Merlin’s Magic Making Hub,” in Lake Wales, Fla., a spokesperson tells TIME.

The company says it is accepting applications from people of all backgrounds, so Lego fans don’t necessarily need to be architects or graphic designers to throw their hat in the ring. In the past, the interview process has involved build-offs, requiring applicants to construct a Lego model based on a photo.

The Florida site is said to have hired about 50 model builders so far, and there are about 100 of these builders working at facilities in California, Malaysia and throughout Europe.

LEGOLAND Unveils Giant, Hollywood-style ‘Emmet Awards’ Ahead of Attraction’s Jan. 29 Grand Opening

In preparation for the world premiere of “The LEGO Movie 4D A New Adventure” at LEGOLAND Florida Resort, the attraction’s star, Emmet Brickowski, has been immortalized outside the Wells Fargo Fun Town Theater with a pair of giant, golden statues.

The iconic “Emmet Award” figures tower more than 8 feet above the entrance plaza outside the theater, which is undergoing a dramatic transformation as it prepares to reveal what happened after the events of “The LEGO Movie.”

Photographs of the statues released offer a first peek at the red carpet-style makeover that will greet guests when “The LEGO Movie 4D A New Adventure” opens Friday, Jan. 29. The 12 ½-minute 3D film will play several times a day at the theme park, with “4D” effects such as wind, water, fog and more bringing the action bursting off the screen and into the audience.

emmet-2

In preparation for the world premiere of “The LEGO Movie 4D A New Adventure” at LEGOLAND Florida Resort, the attraction’s star, Emmet Brickowski, has been immortalized outside the Wells Fargo Fun Town Theater with a pair of giant, golden statues.

The iconic “Emmet Award” figures tower more than 8 feet above the entrance plaza outside the theater, which is undergoing a dramatic transformation as it prepares to reveal what happened after the events of “The LEGO Movie.”

Photographs of the statues released offer a first peek at the red carpet-style makeover that will greet guests when “The LEGO Movie 4D A New Adventure” opens Friday, Jan. 29. The 12 ½-minute 3D film will play several times a day at the theme park, with “4D” effects such as wind, water, fog and more bringing the action bursting off the screen and into the audience.

Everything Is Awesome in Legoland’s new Lego Movie 4D

Defying conventional wisdom, The Lego Movie has proven to be enormously popular and wildly funny — not just among the toy brand’s target audience of children, but for adults as well. Released in 2014, the quirky movie generated north of $450 million at the box office, earned glowing reviews, and bestowed a hip cachet to the line of plastic figures and snap-together bricks.

On January 29, Legoland Florida will debut a sequel of sorts when it opens The Lego Movie 4D A New Adventure. Developed exclusively for the toymaker’s theme parks (it’s set to open February 6 at Legoland California and at all Legoland Discovery Centers soon after that), it’s really more of a mini reunion. The 12 ½-minute film brings some of the movie’s key characters and voice talent back together for a story set at Brick World, a shameless knockoff of Legoland.

Rendered in glorious CGI animation, the unlikely gang of returning do-gooders includes leading lady Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), the pirate with the oversized, weapons-packed body, MetalBeard (Nick Offerman), spaceman Benny (Charlie Day), and unicorn/anime kitten mashup with serious anger management issues, Unikitty (Alison Brie). Instead of Chris Pratt, voice actor A.J. LoCascio takes over the role of everymini hero, Emmet. Also MIA is Will Ferrell. The Lego Movie 4D introduces Risky, the brother of Ferrell’s character, President Business. (Yup, that makes him Risky Business).

As with the theatrical movie, the new film simultaneously succeeds on two levels. Your children will love the fizzy action and silly antics. You will love the sly, laugh-out-loud, meta dialogue and absurd plot developments that will sail right over kids’ heads. How sly and absurd? Upon meeting Risky, not-Chris-Pratt Emmet remarks that Business’ “voice sounds so much less expensive” than his brother’s. Played by comedian and actor Patton Oswalt, the megalomaniac replies, “Indeed. And with the millions I saved on voice talent, I made something truly spectacular – a magical, fun-tagical place with rides based off of your adventures in The Lego Movie!” The nonstop stream of self-aware lines like those is hilarious – and sometimes bordering on mildly subversive. And this is at a Legoland theme park, no less.

In order for Brick World to work, Lord Business needs to subdue the protagonists and incorporate them against their will into the park’s shows and attractions. Will evil and corporate profits triumph over the earnest, if hopelessly overmatched Emmet and pals? Did we not learn that everything is awesome in the original movie?

To help thwart the baddies, the Master Builders enlist the help of the audience, thereby making them part of the action. The “4D” effects also immerse guests in the attraction. Shot in 3D, the fourth “D” includes sensory enhancements such as water spritzes and wind blasts.

The New Adventure has the same delightfully off-kilter sensibility as its predecessor. There are even some subtle – and funny – digs at the Disney parks (the President Business to Legoland’s more ragtag Emmet). But underneath all of the shenanigans, there are some heartfelt human feelings that resonate (well, as human as CGI renderings of plastic figures can be, I suppose). Given its much shorter run time and its theme park setting, the Legoland film doesn’t have the ability to go as deeply as the original movie. But the qualities that first endeared us to the characters are bubbling just beneath the surface.

Helming the new film is Rob Schrab, who also co-wrote the script. Known for his work on smart, celebrated TV shows such as Community and The Sarah Silverman Program, he brings a deft touch to the proceedings and maintains the tone of the first film. “We only spotlight [the characters] for a fraction of the amount of time,” Schrab said, “so it’s important to get to the fun as soon as possible.”

But he’ll have plenty of time to go deeper when he takes over the director’s chair forThe Lego Movie sequel, which is in production and is scheduled for a May 2018 release. “The events of the first movie will push the second chapter forward and upward,” said Schrab. “[We have] written a lot of funny stuff for Emmet and Wyldstyle, but there’s a deep, emotional message at the core of the story.”

Until then, you and your kids can check out the awesome and fun-tagical Legoland 4D movie.

The Lego Movie 4D A New Adventure is included with admission to the Legoland theme parks and Leogland Discovery Centers.

Build Your Dreams: Legoland Seeks Model Makers with ‘Experience’

If you spent your childhood making masterpieces out of Lego bricks then an opening for your dream job has come on the market.

Merlin Entertainment, owners of Legoland theme parks, are seeking 20 Lego builders in their off-site Model Shop – MMM Studios.

They have recently hired 50 employees for this task and are looking for more candidates with Lego building experience.

Ryan Wood, the model shop supervisor, says most of the model builders played with Lego as children.

“This is definitely very much a dream job, when you’re a kid you play with Lego, you know? To actually make a living, actually working with Lego, it’s just really incredible”, Legoland model builder, Max Petrosky told Fox 13 News.

The job description requires that hopefuls “be able to design and build sturdy, accurate, complicated, safe and instalable Lego models for a wide variety of Legoland attractions including miniature scale models and/or life sized organic models from prototypes, diagrams or computer generated instructions.”

The highest educational achievement required is a high school diploma but a “pre-placement physical” is also required.

The openings are for a new facility, Merlin Magic Making Hub, close to their theme park in Winter Haven, Florida.

“It’s a brand new production facility to make Lego models for Merlin attractions all around the world,” Wood explained. “The kind of models we make here are typically for mini-land attractions within the Legoland and Legoland Discovery Center parks.”

Florida Teachers Get Free Annual Pass to Legoland

Florida teachers can get a free annual pass to Legoland, which provides unlimited access for one year to the theme park, The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds and Sea Life Aquarium.

The pass is available to all active Florida teachers for grades K-12.

According to the Legoland website, teachers can receive their free pass by bringing their most recent paystub, Florida photo ID and valid professional or temporary FDOE teaching certificate to the ticketing windows at the entrance to Legoland Florida, The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds or Sea Life Aquarium.

“You must be present to receive your Annual Pass ID, as your photo is included on the ID card,” the website says.

Ford Gets a Featured Spot at Legoland

At the Legoland Florida Resort, it’s hard to miss the theme park’s partnership with area Ford Motor Co. dealers.

A Mustang and Escape greet visitors at the front gate in Winter Haven, there’s a Ford billboard in the park’s Lego-scale model of New York City, and the Blue Oval is splashed all over one of the most popular attractions, the Ford Driving School — even on the ceiling fans and emergency lighting.

The Driving School lets youngsters get behind the wheel of cars with Ford logos on the front. It features a life-size Ford Explorer made out of more than 380,000 Lego bricks, and everyone waiting in line watches a video showing how it was made back when the park opened in 2011.

As impressive as the 2,654-pound, red ABS brick replica is, it may be time to summon the builders for an update, given that the real Explorer was freshened last year.