Category Archives: Merlin Entertainments

LEGOLAND® Florida Resort donating 20,000 tickets to benefit Florida kids impacted by Hurricane Irma

To lift the spirits of Florida children in the wake of Hurricane Irma, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort is donating 18,000 theme park tickets to the UNICEF Kid Power Schools program and 2,000 tickets to Citrus Center Boys & Girls Clubs.

Made in conjunction with Merlin’s Magic Wand, the global charity of our parent company, Merlin Entertainments, the total donation is valued at more than $1.8 million. It represents the largest ticket giveaway in our nearly six-year history and is intended to brighten the lives of the storm-battered state’s youngest residents.

“As a resort built for kids, we felt compelled to do something special for Florida’s children after Hurricane Irma, which left so many households facing months of recovery,” said Rex Jackson, general manager of LEGOLAND Florida Resort. “While we can’t turn the power back on for those families, we can put smiles on their faces.”

The resort will donate 18,000 tickets to the UNICEF Kid Power Schools Program, a teacher-led experience that incorporates lessons and activities with the world’s first Wearable-for-Good®. In the spring of 2017, more than 200 educators participated in Kid Power’s lifesaving journey. More than 80 percent of students reached with the UNICEF Kid Power program in Florida are eligible for free or reduced lunch.

Participating teachers will distribute two tickets per student, which is intended to allow each child to visit the Winter Haven, Fla., theme park with a parent or guardian.

“From UNICEF’s 70 years of work in emergencies and in schools around the world, we know the importance of ‘play’ and free time in helping kids heal from stressful situations, such as a natural disaster,” said Jeanette Duffy, UNICEF Kid Power program director. “This is a fantastic chance for these Florida students to just be kids!”

In Polk County, which LEGOLAND Florida Resort has called home since opening in October 2011, Citrus Center Boys & Girls Clubs will receive 2,000 tickets for distribution to the children it serves through sites in Winter Haven, Haines City and Lake Wales.

Since 1954, the organization has worked to better the lives of children throughout the county’s eastern communities, with programs focused on character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, sports and fitness, and technology skills.

“This will be such a tremendous treat for our kids,” said Kerry Wilson, the organization’s president and board chair. “Kids who seldom have the opportunity to go to a wonderful place like LEGOLAND.”

Curtis Reddick, chief professional officer for Citrus Center Boys & Girls Clubs, said the donation “gives our kids and their parents time to spend a fun-filled day together.”

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COMING IN SPRING 2018: The Great LEGO® Race to transform Project X roller coaster into supercharged virtual reality adventure

The Great LEGO RacePrepare to take a ride on the wildest LEGO® race ever imagined when cutting-edge virtual reality technology combines with roller coaster thrills in an exhilarating new attraction opening in Spring 2018 at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort!

Developed under the supervision of Merlin Magic Making, our parent company’s global creative and delivery division, The Great LEGO Race will transform our existing Project X roller coaster into an exciting, high-octane experience that puts kids in the driver’s seat and asks, “Are you brave enough to face, race and beat the best of the best in all of LEGO world?”

The Great LEGO RaceFeaturing a colorful lineup of racers drawn from the ranks of the popular LEGO minifigure mystery assortments, The Great LEGO Race pits riders in a rollicking race against wild, brick-built contraptions driven by Trendsetter, Pharaoh, Surfer Girl, Wizard and Pirate Captain, including a rocket-powered surfboard and a stylish scooter fueled by espresso.

Wearing VR headsets, guests will experience the action from every direction — up, down, forward, backward and all points in between — in a dazzling environment where everything is made of LEGO bricks.

The adventure begins as guests approach the ride’s bold new entry portal as the sounds of roaring engines fill the air. Nearby, the coaster’s queue will resemble a pre-race space where pit crews for each of the five LEGO racers are preparing for the competition, plus interactive, hands-on elements to entertain waiting riders.

“The Great LEGO Race was inspired by the way kids play with LEGO toys at home,” said Candy Holland, senior creative director for Merlin Magic Making, which designs and develops attractions for Merlin sites around the world. “It’s a unique LEGO adventure that lets kids enter an epic imaginary world made entirely from LEGO bricks, featuring a host of different themes and fun LEGO characters, all mixed up together.”

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Looking ahead to more ways we’ll make LEGOLAND® Florida Resort an even more inclusive destination for all guests

For the past few weeks we’ve been spotlighting the many ways we’re making LEGOLAND® Florida Resort more inclusive for guests with autism spectrum disorders. As Autism Awareness Month continues, let’s turn our attention to the future for a moment.

We believe we’ll always be in a state of continuous improvement, building on existing efforts and learning new and better ways to deliver outstanding service.

Hero Pass

Guest Experience Manager Autum Bassham said the resort will remain open to new insights and feedback from guests about ways to improve the services we have in place today.

“Our resort should be constantly changing,” she said. “With any cognitive disability, there are always new findings. Understanding these will help us develop better training for our Model Citizens and upgrade our offerings for guests.”

For Katy Formella, a senior manager in Autism Speaks’ southeastern regional office, the opportunity to work with LEGOLAND Florida Resort was a welcome one.

“We are so excited to see all the great things LEGOLAND is doing to help spread awareness, acceptance and understanding,” she said. “It’s so incredible when organizations like yours take on the big task and commitment to be autism friendly. You are leading the way for others and it’s a wonderful example to the world of inclusion. Thanks for making a difference for our families.”

Quiet roomAccording to LEGOLAND Health Services supervisor Ken Flanders, we’re just getting started. He said he envisions an expanded slate of services in the future, including more Model Citizens trained to recognize and respond to the needs of guests on the autism spectrum, and greater awareness about how we can make the resort more enjoyable for an even greater number of guests.

Got an idea about how we can make our resort even more awesome? Leave a reply and tell us!

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Meet the team working to improve LEGOLAND® Florida Resort for guests on the autism spectrum

Making LEGOLAND® Florida Resort more welcoming to guests with autism spectrum disorders has required the teamwork of multiple departments over the past year, which is why our “Hero Action Team” is comprised of Model Citizens from many different areas.

Over the past year, a team made up of representatives from many different LEGOLAND Florida Resort departments has been working together to make the resort more enjoyable for guests on the autism spectrum.

During Autism Awareness Month in April, we’ll offer a glimpse at the personal commitments made by many of our leaders to create a more inclusive environment for everyone.

“No child or person should feel as if they cannot do something due to any disability they may have,” said Nick Parham, a member of the resort’s Education team. “I’m extremely passionate about creating an environment that reaches out to all people, no matter the circumstances.”

Amanda Becerra, a manager within Food & Beverage Operations, agrees.

“I really love the opportunity for families to be able to enjoy their vacation knowing that their child is going to feel safe, and most importantly, have fun,” she said.

Creating an environment that’s both safe and fun starts with the orientation program every new Model Citizen attends, explained Adriana Eraso, who leads the resort’s Admissions team.

“We have department-specific training that provides information about how to interact with guests on the autism spectrum,” she said, adding that the resort’s HR department also devotes a portion of training for all new hires that helps them better recognize and understand the unique needs of those guests and their families.

Within the Public Safety department, Security supervisor Benjamin Peacock has implemented bi-weekly meetings and monthly updates so that his team will better understand guests on the autism spectrum and the challenges theme parks often present for their enjoyment.

Addressing those challenges led to the creation of “social stories,” illustrated, step-by-guides to attractions and shows that prepare LEGOLAND guests for what to expect, whether it be periods of darkness, loud noises or other elements that can be frightening or overwhelming.

“As a department, my team has worked very hard to meticulously create every social story for the park,” said Haley Travis, a coordinator within Training and Development, “as well as a quick reference guide that explains what each ride and show has to offer.” The goal, she explained, was to help families more efficiently plan their day.

“We continuously teach our team to, above all, be patient with each guest and treat everyone with the respect they deserve,” she said.

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LEGOLAND® Beach Retreat NOW OPEN at LEGOLAND Florida Resort!

Under a beautiful blue sky on a morning filled with the state’s abundant sunshine, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort officially opened LEGOLAND Beach Retreat today, giving guests great new reasons to play — and stay — at the place #BuiltForKids. Here’s the beachy grand opening ceremony as it streamed live on Facebook, direct from #BrickBeach:

Filled with creative LEGO® theming inside and out, the village-style vacation resort features brightly colored bungalows grouped into 13 horseshoe-shaped “coves” named after popular LEGO Minifigures. The fun begins almost immediately, thanks to a drive-through check-in process that takes you from your car to your cove in minutes.

Designed to look like larger-than-life LEGO sets, 83 bungalows offer 166 separate rooms that sleep up to five, including a cozy area just for kids with a bunk bed, trundle bed and privacy curtain.

LEGOLAND Beach Retreat

They’re an ideal solution for families and groups traveling together, or for those seeking a fun new way to vacation at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. Each cove has its own outdoor play area within view of the bungalows’ shaded patios, where mom and dad can relax while kids romp and run.

Along with picturesque lake views and a giant LEGO lighthouse that really lights up, highlights include:

  • A giant swimming pool next to The Lighthouse, with an adjacent sandy area perfect for building sandcastles and the resort’s biggest outdoor play structure for kids.

  • Sandy’s Castle Restaurant, featuring a bountiful menu of entrees, sides and desserts designed to please the palates of kids and grownups alike. A delicious breakfast buffet is included with each night’s stay.

  • Bricks Beach Bar, offering an eclectic menu of made-to-order food, drinks and creative cocktails served both poolside and indoors.
  • Palm Tree Traders, a large retail shop stocked with LEGO building sets and Minifigures, apparel, toys, swimwear, snacks and sundries.

  • A hands-on LEGO building station where kids can contribute their original creations to a giant sandcastle made out of thousands of LEGO bricks.

  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the site.
  • Complimentary transportation to the theme park entrance, as well as complimentary parking in LEGOLAND Florida Resort’s main parking lot for guests who choose to drive.
  • Early access to the LEGOLAND Florida theme park, with exclusive use of some of the most popular attractions, including the all-new LEGO NINJAGO® World and LEGO NINJAGO The Ride.

Located three-quarters of a mile from the theme park entrance on the tranquil shores of Lake Dexter, LEGOLAND Beach Retreat represents the latest milestone in the largest period of growth and expansion in the five-year history of LEGOLAND Florida Resort, with theming and architecture unique among the eight LEGOLAND resorts worldwide. The Florida site is the first LEGOLAND resort in North America to offer a second accommodation type for overnight and multi-day stays, and more than doubles accommodations at the resort.

Nightly room rates start at $135 (plus tax and resort fee) and vary by season, date and availability. Packages including theme park tickets also are available, and Awesomer and Awesomest Annual Pass Members receive a 10 percent discount year-round. To book a stay, visit www.LEGOLAND.com/florida or call (877) 350-5346 daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern.

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All aboard to LEGOLAND® Japan!

LEGOLAND® Japan will be the eighth theme park to celebrate the creativity of LEGO® building sets when it opens in Nagoya on April 1. Everything’s right on track for our sister park’s grand opening, with lots of fun activities taking place to spread the word.

Earlier today, a commuter train decorated inside and out with bold graphics inspired by four LEGOLAND Japan attractions began daily service on the Nagoya Rinkai Rapid Transit’s Aonami Line, which travels from central Nagoya to the new theme park. The attractions are Lost Kingdom Adventure, The Dragon Coaster, Rescue Academy and Submarine Adventure.

On March 26, local officials joined Buddy, LEGOLAND Japan’s mascot, and Aotetsu-kun, mascot for the Aonami Line, for a special “departure” ceremony commemorating the launch of the “LEGOLAND Train.”

“Today, I am extremely honored to be able to introduce the LEGOLAND Train, the only one of its kind in the world in Nagoya, after plans for it were put into motion nearly three years ago,” said Torben Jensen, divisional director of LEGOLAND Japan, who added that the special train was made possible by the support of the city of Nagoya and the Aonami Line.

LEGOLAND Japan will offer more than 40 rides, shows and attractions. For more information, visit www.LEGOLAND.jp.

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We’re hiring! LEGOLAND® Water Park is seeking lifeguards for Spring 2017

Winter is almost here but the sun is never far when you visit LEGOLAND® Florida Resort! LEGOLAND Water Park is just a few short months away from opening and we’re looking for new Model Citizens to become LEGOLAND lifeguards.

2011.10.14_LEGOLANDWATERPARK_001.jpgOur lifeguards at LEGOLAND work at all the pools that our guests enjoy, from attractions in the water park to the LEGOLAND Hotel pool, and even the cool new pool opening soon at LEGOLAND Beach Retreat.

3-build-a-raft_920What’s awesome about this opportunity is that you don’t need an existing certification to apply. Can you swim? Are you good with kids? Do you enjoy being part of a team? Then you might have what it takes to work here! Plus, if you’re not already a certified lifeguard, our instructors will give you the training and certifications you need to become a professional rescuer at the place #BuiltForKids.

After completing a skilled swim test, all lifeguards at LEGOLAND Florida Resort are certified in CPR, first aid, lifeguard skills and water park skills through the American Red Cross training program. In addition, LEGOLAND lifeguards receive hours of specialized training to operate all of our water park attractions.

2011.10.14_LEGOLANDWATERPARK_001.jpgBeing a lifeguard at LEGOLAND Water Park means having fun in the sun and enjoying the many benefits and perks all LEGOLAND Model Citizens receive — this includes complimentary admission tickets to many popular Central Florida attractions, including The Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando, SEA LIFE Aquarium and many more.

Interested? Apply online. Join our team and play a vital part in keeping our guests safe!

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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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Happy birthday… to us!

Five years ago today, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort welcomed guests to explore a 150-acre playground #BuiltForKids, a colorful wonderland of rides, shows and attractions inspired by the unlimited creative potential of LEGO® bricks.

Since then, millions of guests from around the world have enjoyed its many charms, from iconic attractions like The Dragon and Ford Driving School to dazzling shows like “Battle for Brickbeard’s Bounty” and “Friends to the Rescue” to popular events like Christmas Bricktacular and Brick or Treat Presented by Shutterfly, which continues this weekend.

It’s been a whirlwind five years, a busy period of growth and expansion that has included the debut of LEGOLAND Water Park (May 2012), LEGO Star Wars™ Miniland Model Display (November 2012), LEGO World of Chima™ (July 2013), DUPLO® Valley (May 2014), LEGOLAND Hotel (May 2015), Heartlake City (June 2015), and phased restorations of the historic Cypress Gardens, which celebrated its 80th anniversary earlier this year.

And even more fun is on the way!

Last March, we kicked off the largest period of expansion in the history of LEGOLAND Florida Resort, which includes LEGO NINJAGO® World, a whole new theme park land and an awesome attraction opening Jan. 12, 2017, and LEGOLAND Beach Retreat, which will more than double our on-site accommodations when its whimsically themed bungalows open in mid-2017.

Thanks to you, our fans, we’ve enjoyed five years of awesomeness — and we’re just getting started!

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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:

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  • 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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