Friday, August 10, 2012

Legoland Florida Water Park: Bricks And Water

Below is a news article from The Mirror which is about Lego's brand new Legoland Florida Water Park, which also talks about Nickelodeon Suites Resort (also known as Nick Hotel) in Orlando, Florida, USA:
Legoland Florida Water Park: Bricks and water

Patrick Purcell dives in to the new Legoland Florida Water Park

All the wave: The new water park at Legoland Florida

It's not every day that a grand opening is also a record-breaking event. But in true Orlando style, Legoland’s latest attraction opened with a giant splash as 1,355 beach balls were launched into the air simultaneously.

After the world record for, er, simultaneously launching beach balls into the air was achieved (previous record 401) to the delight of an army of kids, the new park was open... and more splashing commenced.

Legoland Florida Water Park – a 45-minute drive from Orlando – consists of three water slide areas, a wave pool, the Build-a-Raft river and the Duplo Safari for under-fives.

I should have tried a gentle slide first but being bit gung ho I headed to one of the toughest ones in the Splash Out area. Climbing the steps 60ft to the top quickly diminished my bravado… especially as I looked over to the lake next to the park and saw alligators swimming around.

After plummeting down the slide, clearing the water out of my nose and shaking off the feeling that I had been in some kind of gigantic washing machine, I decided to see if the park had something more relaxing to offer.

The Build-a-Raft river lets you add super-sized Lego blocks on to a craft to customise it. You could spend more time building it than floating around, but the experience is worth it.

Lego was one of my childhood favourites, and the big kid in me was having no end of fun as I made vessels that even Nelson would have approved of.

Dream park: Legoland

Next up was the Joker Soaker area for more frolics, featuring a giant playground with plenty of slides of various heights and experiences. Be careful though, as you might be in for a shock when a 300-gallon bucket empties its contents on you from above. I thought the water park was well themed and in keeping with its Lego heritage.

There were plenty of changing rooms and places to eat, and, considering my visit was at the grand opening, I was impressed that the sheer volume of people didn’t make
the place seem overcrowded.

Legoland Florida itself opened its gates just over two years ago with more than 50 rides, shows and attractions – not to mention the 50 million Lego bricks that helped to construct them – and it’s brimming with imagination and fun especially tailored for under-12s.

Perhaps my favourite feature was Miniland USA, with the New York area and its replica skyscrapers (it has a few witty observations to give us adults a gentle chuckle), Washington DC, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Kennedy Space Centre.

I was staying at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando and, just like Legoland, the vibe is ultra child friendly – I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a crazy paint job… bright garish orange and lime everywhere.

COWABUNGA: Patrick meets Ninja Turtles at the Nickleodeon Suites

The bedrooms are all themed, based on popular characters from the Nickelodeon TV shows.

Mine was Rugrats, which took me back a few years.

The hotel has plenty for kids, including a swimming pool area with water slides and the opportunity to get “gunged” every hour. I settled for a relaxing dip in the jacuzzi. At night there is plenty to keep young and old occupied with an interactive stage show (enter at your own risk) and amusement arcades.

After having a slightly surreal breakfast with SpongeBob SquarePants it was time to check out some more of what Orlando has to offer. The Bobby Creek Airboat Ride is a short drive away from Orlando and offers a chance to get up close and personal with wild alligators.

With my hands firmly tucked inside the boat we spent an hour gliding around a swamp inspecting the wide array of fascinating wildlife. After the ride we had a chance to hold a baby alligator. Even with the creature’s jaws taped shut it was a bit disconcerting. Continuing the alligator theme, I spent the afternoon in Gatorland, home to the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line.

With five terrifying lines spanning across 1,200ft the experience proved to be a true challenge, especially if you have vertigo issues.

That night I ate at The Big Fin Seafood restaurant. Widely acclaimed as one of the best in Florida, I was interested to test their claim of serving the best fish and chips in the world.

I have to say it probably beat anything I’ve ever tasted but the true Brit in me missed the mushy peas.

Before you head home you can grab some bargains on a quick trip to either of the Premium Outlets shopping centres. The shopping savvy will make the most of some “dollars for pounds” savings in clothing and shoes.

And you could always buy some Lego.

Get there

Legoland Florida family tickets cost £168 (2 adults/2 children/under 3s free). Family combo tickets for theme park and water park and 2 day pass £224. Call: 0800 975 0002.

Virgin Atlantic flies daily to Orlando from Gatwick and Manchester with fares from £624.30. Call: 0844 209 2770.

Family rooms in August at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort “Bed and Brick” partner hotel start at £97pn.

Visit: for more.