Photo: LOCK + LAND, Chip Litherland for LEGOLAND Florida Resort

As the home of Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World, the city of Orlando, Florida welcomes approximately 68 million visitors each year—yet only 1.5 million visitors take the hour-long drive down to LEGOLAND Floria Resort in Winter Haven. I’ve read several reviews indicating that LEGOLAND Florida simply isn’t worth the time or money to visit. However, I would argue that LEGOLAND is a great break from the bustle of Orlando.

If you drive down to LEGOLAND expecting a mini Disney World or Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you will be disappointed. While I wouldn’t recommend LEGOLAND for teenagers (they’d be bored silly) I would advise parents with children ages 3 to 8 to take a look at what LEGOLAND has to offer. This is especially true if you have children who enjoy the LEGO brand.

If your kiddo has watched The LEGO Movie on repeat, can quote the NINJAGO or LEGO Friends shows by heart and have been known to shout in agony as a LEGO piece impales their foot; you should absolutely make the time to visit LEGOLAND Florida. Here’s what you need to know before you go.

LEGOLAND totally caters to kids.

The LEGOLAND Hotel is a castle and has rooms that absolutely rival Disney World with themed décor. With only about 50 rides and attractions you truly don’t need more than a day to see the park. However, if you have kids that want to ride things more than once (something that rarely happens at the larger parks) and want to explore the hotel then go ahead and stay the night.

Dance to the disco music in the elevator, get your photo taken with Lego characters at breakfast and try not to cringe as kids throw LEGO pieces around in the lobby. This vacation is for your kids.

Kids will love it.

The rides aren’t as dramatic as you will find at Disney or Universal, but kids don’t care. They love riding on the jousting horse ride and the safari ride with LEGO built animals. The NINJAGO ride doesn’t have the smooth intros of some of the larger parks, but it’s a great ride and very fun.

Just walking around is a lot of fun, too.

There are spaces in LEGOLAND to simply roam: take in the sunshine and warm weather while walking through gardens and LEGO displays. Children are amazed by the full size LEGO creations spread throughout the park. There is absolutely something for everyone from Daytona International Speedway, Las Vegas, Pirates, LEGO Friends and more. Especially entertaining are the scenes with Star Wars and famous landmarks that have interactive elements, watch out for the ones that shoot water at you!

You can build and play with LEGO bricks.

LEGOLAND offers everyone a chance to build with Master Builder classes in the hotel and at Imagination Zone in the park where they can explore different building elements and games. There are building blocks in multiple locations within the hotel lobby including a room off the lobby restaurant with a TV and several tables with LEGO bricks. Parents can enjoy a drink and meal while the kids build.

The hotel pool even has floating bricks that kids can use to build rafts. You’ll find the same bricks in the wave pool at the water park within LEGOLAND.

Oh yeah, LEGOLAND has a water park, too!

The main component is the Joker Soaker where kids can climb up and down the three level structure and enjoy multiple water slides. The main concern here for parents—keeping track of the smaller kids in your party. However, I found that life guards were plentiful all around the water park and they do provide vests for your convenience. Definitely have a meeting place in case you get separated and put your phone in a water proof case!

In summary, LEGOLAND offers a place for kids to enjoy being kids. A land where there are plenty of opportunities for children to explore their own imaginations instead of simply being led through someone else’s.

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