Category Archives: Charitable Giving

We’re built for kids… and kindness!

This week we had the opportunity to pay it forward to two AWESOME kids that inspired all of us at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort. As soon as we heard about Jeffrey Holz, a second grader with a big heart, we knew we had to get involved.

Jeffrey had been saving up to buy a LEGO® set for a whole year, but once he found out that a senior at his school, Richard Gallop, was fighting a battle with cancer, he donated all his savings to help with Richard’s medical expenses.

Our parent company, Merlin Entertainments, operates according to a set of values we call the Merlin Way. One of the most important values is WE CARE. We care by giving back to our communities, taking care of the environment and being a good neighbor.

We put our heads together to plan an awesome surprise to honor Jeffrey and his kindness, complete with the LEGO set he’d been saving for and a trip to LEGOLAND Florida Resort. Before we knew it, several people jumped in to give back, including one of our awesome partners, Coca-Cola! Even Benny came along to help us!

Richard’s drive and determination to push through his battle with cancer inspired us as well. We made a few phone calls and with the help of some kind people, we were able to surprise Richard too, making it the ultimate brick-tastic day! Richard was awarded an acceptance letter and a scholarship to his dream school, Southeastern University, passes to the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, courtesy of Coca-Cola, and a stay at Gaylord Palms Resort to enjoy some much needed fun and relaxation with his amazing mom, who continues to stay positive during this difficult time.

We hope it was a day that both Jeffrey and Richard won’t forget. At LEGOLAND Florida Resort, kids take the lead and Jeffrey did just that! He taught us all that a little kindness can change everything!

We can’t wait to have Jeffrey and his family out to LEGOLAND Florida Resort to enjoy a day of FUN on us!!

LEGOLAND Florida Resort pays it forward to a second grader with a big heart.

You can watch the full story here:

Photos: K Davis Photography

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Celebrate #GivingTuesday with Merlin’s Magic Wand

Join the five-year-old #GivingTuesday movement today with the #unSELFIE toolkit. Download the toolkit and share why you’re giving back this year!

It’s simple:

Step 1: Hold up an #unSELFIE sign and snap a selfless selfie!

Step 2: Share it on social media and encourage others to give.

LEGOLAND® Florida Resort and other Merlin Entertainments attractions have made it their mission to deliver memorable experiences to children all over the world, including kids unable to travel due to circumstances or illness.

Merlin’s Magic Wand is a global children’s charity whose mission is putting magic back into the lives of seriously ill, disabled and disadvantaged children. To date, the organization has helped more than 260,000 kids and their families enjoy a magical day out at the more than 100 Merlin attractions worldwide. For those unable to visit a Merlin attraction, Merlin’s Magic Spaces projects bring the magic directly to kids.

Here’s a challenge for today and every day: Instead of clouding your social media with things about you, help make a difference in the life of a child!

Apply for a day out here: www.merlinsmagicwand.org/USA.

Happy #GivingTuesday!

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Kids go free at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort when you buy a new toy at select Walmart locations to benefit Toys for Tots!

Now through Dec. 31, kids go free at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort when guests purchase a new, unwrapped toy valued at $5 or more at participating Walmart locations in Central Florida, then donate the toy outside the theme park ticket windows and purchase an adult ticket at the same time.

It’s all part of a great promotion that unites LEGOLAND, Walmart Stores, Inc., Coca-Cola Beverages Florida and Toys for Tots in a unique effort to brighten the holidays of deserving children. The donated toys will benefit kids in Florida’s Polk County, home of LEGOLAND Florida Resort, through the Toys for Tots program.

walmartpromoIn order to receive the Kids Go Free discount, the donated toy must be purchased at participating Walmart stores from Tampa to Daytona Beach, and dropped off in Toys for Tots collection bins at the theme park entrance. Walmart proof of purchase must be presented along with the donated toy to receive the Kids Go Free discount.

In addition, the purchase of an adult ticket is required at the time of the toy donation to receive the free child’s ticket. This offer cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions, and adult tickets purchased prior to the toy donation are not eligible to receive the Kids Go Free discount.

Guests will earn one Kids Go Free discount for each qualifying toy purchased and donated, along with the corresponding purchase of an adult ticket at the same time. For example, if you purchase and donate three toys each worth $5 or more at participating Walmart locations, you’ll earn three Kids Go Free discounts with the purchase of three adult tickets. This Kids Go Free offer, which is valid through Dec. 31, 2016, entitles you to one free child’s admission with the purchase of one full-price adult admission to LEGOLAND Florida Resort for every eligible toy donated.

Meanwhile, on 12 dates through Dec. 21, LEGOLAND Model Citizens will greet fans at 20 different Central Florida Walmart locations, with lots of fun for kids planned at each stop:

Read more

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LEGOLAND® Florida Resort celebrates ‘VIP kids’ during annual Merlin’s Magic Wand Fun Festival

On Saturday, Sept. 17, more than 1,500 children and families affiliated with Nathaniel’s Hope enjoyed a brick-tastic day out during the Fun Festival at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, an annual event organized by Merlin’s Magic Wand.

The charitable arm of our parent company, Merlin Entertainments, holds the Fun Festival each September at Merlin attractions around the world. For this year’s event, Merlin’s Magic Wand selected Orlando, Fla.-based Nathaniel’s Hope for the wonderful work it’s doing to support kids with special needs (VIP kids). The nonprofit organization works to educate and equip the community with training and programs to assist VIP families, and all programs are offered free of charge.

nathaniels-hope

Nathaniel’s Hope takes over MINILAND USA during the Fun Festival, an annual event organized by Merlin’s Magic Wand.

On Saturday, families spent the day exploring the theme park #BuiltForKids, pausing to capture a cherished memory of the day with a group photo in the heart of every LEGOLAND park, MINILAND USA.

Merlin’s Magic Wand exists to put the magic back into the childhoods of seriously ill, disabled and disadvantaged children. The charity has helped more than 217,000 children and their families enjoy magical days out at Merlin attractions worldwide, and sponsors projects known as Merlin’s Magic Spaces that bring a bit of the Merlin magic into the community for children who are unable to visit one of the company’s attractions. For more information about Merlin’s Magic Wand activities in the United States, visit www.merlinsmagicwand.org/usa.

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Hit the links to support Merlin’s Magic Wand on Oct. 10 in Winter Haven, Fla.

MMW_golfFor decades, attractions operated by Merlin Entertainments have delighted millions of children all over the world. But what about kids unable to enjoy the same experiences due to illness or circumstances?

Enter Merlin’s Magic Wand, the global children’s charity whose mission is putting magic back into the lives of seriously ill, disabled and disadvantaged children. To date, the organization has helped more than 260,000 kids and their families enjoy a magical day out at the more than 100 Merlin attractions worldwide. For those unable to visit a Merlin attraction, Merlin’s Magic Spaces projects bring the magic directly to kids.

Merlin's Magic WandOn Monday, Oct. 10, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort is proud to sponsor the first annual Merlin’s Magic Wand Children’s Charity Golf Outing in association with The Country Club of Winter Haven. The professional-yet-fun tournament aims to raise at least $30,000, with up to 30 teams of four players competing to take home a giant traveling trophy made of LEGO® bricks, as well as smaller trophies to keep.

Rounding out the day will be games, raffles and a silent auction filled with money-can’t-buy items and experiences. Here’s the schedule:

  • 11 a.m. — Player registration and silent auction opens
  • 11:30 a.m. — Putting competition
  • Noon — Lunch
  • 12:30 p.m. — Shotgun start
  • 5:30 p.m. — Silent auction closes
  • 5:45 p.m. — Awards
  • 6 p.m. — Raffle

Players can register individually to be placed on a team or four players can register together as a team. The cost is $200 per person or $800 per foursome. The registration deadline is Saturday, Oct. 1.

Sponsorship opportunities are available from $50 to display your organization, name or team on a tournament golf cart, to $5,000 to be named the tournament’s title sponsor, with a generous variety of associated amenities and rewards.

The event will take place rain or shine at The Country Club of Winter Haven, 4200 Country Club Road South, Winter Haven, Fla.

For more information, visit www.birdeasepro.com/MMWGolfOuting. Questions? Email LLF.VIPExperiences@LEGOLAND.com or call (855) 753-7777.

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Help us ‘fill the bus’ Aug. 19-21 with school supplies for Polk County students

It’s back-to-school time for local students, but not every child begins the year with the items they need to succeed. This month, we’re asking brick fans to help us support our community by donating school supplies.

IMG_8049Items will be distributed to elementary and middle-school students in the Polk County School Board’s homeless education program.  The HEARTH Project and Polk County Public Schools work to ensure that homeless children throughout the county have equal opportunities for educational success.

On Aug. 19-21 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., LEGOLAND® Model Citizens will accept donations at one of our colorfully decorated shuttle buses near the archway as you enter the park. Help us “fill the bus” with items for needy students!

 

All supplies are welcome, but these are the items needed most:

IMG_8087

  • Full-size spiral notebooks
  • Composition notebooks
  • Calculators
  • Pocket folders (with brads)
  • Pencils (minimum 12-pack)
  • Pens (blue, black and red packs)
  • Markers (minimum 12-pack)
  • Crayons (minimum 12-pack)
  • Colored pencils (minimum 12-pack)
  • Highlighters (assorted packs)
  • Rulers
  • Blunt-tip school scissors
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Large pink erasers
  • Glue sticks (minimum 2-pack)

Everyone who donates 10 items or more from the most-needed list will receive a LEGO® NINJAGO® Sky Pirate building toy with exclusive Minifigure (subject to change while supplies last). NINJAGOGiveaway

The drive is part of a global campaign called Being a Force for Good by Merlin Entertainments, the parent company of LEGOLAND Florida Resort, and represents the latest in a long line of LEGOLAND efforts to support the community and its children. Our goal is to collect at least 7,000 school supplies during the donation period.

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Don’t wait! Register for the 2016 LEGOLAND® Brick Dash 5K on Saturday, April 16

In less than two weeks, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort will once again host the Brick Dash 5K, a great event for families that benefits the Winter Haven Hospital Foundation Fund for Women and Children.

Brick Dash 5K

The 2016 LEGOLAND Brick Dash 5K will take place Saturday, April 16.

The Polk County tradition formerly known as the Citrus Classic kicks off Saturday, April 16, at 7 a.m. with a 5K run/walk through the springtime splendor of LEGOLAND Florida Resort, a site whose roots literally stretch back many decades to the heyday of Cypress Gardens.

This year, kids 5 and under can participate in a 100-year dash, a new addition to the long-running event. Afterward, the Half-Mile Fun Run invites kids 6-12 to take a sprint through the theme park as the sun rises.

brick-dash-logo-2016-revision6 (2)Don’t delay – register today!

Registration is available at active.com or by calling the Winter Haven Hospital Foundation at (863) 292-4138. The 5K fee for participants 13 and older is $35; the children’s events are priced separately. A family of up to five participants is $99. Special corporate rates are offered; call the Foundation for more information. Complete pricing, registration and event details are available at the link above.

The day’s schedule is as follows:

  • On-site registration begins: 5:30 a.m.
  • 5K: 7-9 a.m.
  • Kids 100-yard dash: 7:55-8 a.m.
  • Kids half-mile: 8:05-8:30 a.m.
  • Awards ceremony: 8:20 a.m.

Admission to the theme park is offered to every Brick Dash participant on April 16 at a special, one-day-only rate of $30 plus tax. Admission to LEGOLAND Water Park also is available for an additional $15 per person. Brick Dash participants must present their race day bibs at the theme park ticket windows to receive the special rate.

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Built for all kids, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort partners with Autism Speaks

We’re excited to announce that we’re expanding efforts to accommodate guests with special needs by partnering with Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, to make our kid-centric theme park a more welcoming place for guests with autism.

Light It Up Blue

LEGOLAND® Florida Resort lit its whimsical entrance arch with blue spotlights in honor of World Autism Awareness Day, part of the Autism Speaks “Light It Up Blue” campaign.

Working closely with Autism Speaks, we recently installed large panels of hands-on, sensory-stimulating activities in a quiet space inside the theme park, the first of several planned projects designed to make LEGOLAND® Florida Resort a more autism-friendly destination for children and families.

In consultation with Autism Speaks, LEGOLAND Florida Resort recently installed large panels of hands-on, sensory-stimulating activities in a quiet space inside the theme park, the first of several planned projects designed to make the multi-day vacation resort a more autism-friendly destination for children and families.

In consultation with Autism Speaks, LEGOLAND Florida Resort recently installed several hands-on, sensory-stimulating activities in a quiet space inside the theme park.

IMG_0675Under the partnership, Autism Speaks staff members and volunteers will consult on the development and installation of “quiet rooms” and other resort facilities designed to meet the needs of guests with autism. The organization also will help LEGOLAND Florida Resort create online “social stories” that will provide illustrated walkthroughs of our attractions, shows and other guest amenities, and will consult on other autism-friendly initiatives such as a park map designed for guests with special needs and possible revisions to our existing Guests with Disabilities Guide.

In honor of World Autism Awareness Day, observed on April 2, we’re participating in the Autism Speaks “Light It Up Blue” campaign by shining blue spotlights on our whimsical LEGOLAND Florida entrance arch. Each year, iconic landmarks, skyscrapers, schools, businesses and homes across the globe unite by shining bright blue lights in honor of the millions of individuals and families affected by autism.

On Saturday, April 23, LEGOLAND Florida Resort will sponsor the Kids Zone area during the Autism Speaks Walk at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Fla., and on Saturday, Nov. 12, during the Autism Speaks Walk at Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla.

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The race is on to register for the Brick Dash 5K Run and Fun Walk

The Brick Dash is back at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort on Saturday, April 16.

brick-dash-logo-2016-revision6 (2)The event benefiting the Winter Haven Hospital Foundation Fund for Women and Children has been a Polk County tradition for more than two decades.  The early morning event formerly known as the Citrus Classic invites runners and walkers of all ages and abilities to enjoy the splendor of LEGOLAND Florida Resort beginning at 7 a.m.

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.

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,” the resort’s dazzling new theatrical attraction in Fun Town.

BrickDash01Registration is available at 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.

BrickDash02

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Sharing the magic when it matters most

For many people, this is the time of year when giving is top of mind.  At LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, we believe generosity knows no season.

MMM1Merlin’s Magic Wand is the charitable arm of our parent company, Merlin Entertainments, which exists to put magic back into the lives of seriously ill, disabled and disadvantaged children.  It lets them enjoy a memorable day at a Merlin attraction, and in some cases we bring the fun to them.

Here’s a look back at some of the ways we created magical experiences for those in need in 2015:

  • MMM3Emmet and Wyldstyle visited more than 100 children and their families at Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee, Fla. They even joined the fun at “Mayor Clayton’s Surprise Birthday Party” with giveaways, LEGO®-themed games and even a dance party.
  • Emmet and Wyldstyle hit the road again to visit Orlando’s Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, making bedside visits to 50 kids while handing out goodie bags and high-fives along the way.
  • Approximately 300 supporters of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida visited us in September during Merlin’s Fun Festival, an event for guests to spend a day enjoying family and escaping the challenges of health issues.
  • MMM4The Down Syndrome Association of Polk County also made it out for a special event which included a local family who had recently lost their home in a fire. Our VIP team treated them to a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
  • Model Citizens from multiple departments volunteered their time to help fuel the future by bringing healthy food to hungry kids through a partnership with Agape Food Bank.

Our charitable efforts will continue in 2016.  We’ll keep sharing the good news here, as well as ways you can get in on the giving too.

 

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