Legoland Florida hasn’t even been open for three months yet, but today the theme park in Winter Haven, on the site of the old Cypress Gardens, hit capacity for the very first time and had to stop admitting guests. While the crowd is good news for the new theme park, it was bad news for hapless families who had to be turned away. The park gives updates on its status via Facebook and @legolandflorida on Twitter.
How can you avoid a similar disappointment? Here are five tips:
-Get to Legoland Florida before opening time. The park is now opening at 9:30 a.m. because of the holiday crowds. That means you should be at the gates at least half an hour beforehand if you want to be sure to get in and enjoy a bit of uncrowded time. The park has a limited number of booths to pay for parking, so you’ll avoid long lines and traffic back-ups by being one of the first to arrive.
-Head to the back of the park as soon as you arrive. Other guests tend to be drawn in by the attractions at the front of the park. That means you can hurry to the roller coasters, which are farther back in the park, and get a few rides in before the line builds. Once the crowds arrive, wait times skyrocket because most of the coasters only run one train, which means slow loading.
-Enjoy Miniland once the rides get long lines. I can easily spend an hour just wandering around Miniland and admiring the detail. It’s even more fun now that there’s hidden Santas throughout the Lego models. Make it a game with your kids to see who can spot the most Santas.
-Bring cash. Some of the food stands do not take credit cards, so cash comes in very handy.
-Expect crowds at the restaurants and counter service food sellers. I visited Legoland Florida last week, when the crowds weren’t too bad yet, but the line to get into the pizza buffet was downright crazy. Rather than eating at the park, you might want to grab a snack (I recommend Granny’s apple fries), then leave when the crowd gets intolerable and eat on the way home. There’s a Perkins right across the street from the park.
Of course, you might want to stay till closing to see the fireworks, but young kids might not make it that long. Play it by ear, based on how your family’s energy level as well as your tolerance for the crowds.
Click here to read more of my theme park articles. Have you read my Kindle books? If not, check them out! Four Steps to Repairing Your Own Credit For Free and How to See Disney World Like a Local. Order a special package with park maps from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, discount coupons, and an abbreviated version of the Disney guide by clicking here.