Disney World may be the major reason for drawing in tourists for holidays to Florida, but Mickey Mouse and friends could be in for some stiff competition from thousands of miniature building blocks as LEGOLAND comes to the west coast of America.
Merlin Entertainments announced earlier this week that they had secured the 145 acre site at Winter Haven which currently hosts the Cypress Gardens attraction.
The company said that it was going to invest tens of millions of dollars to develop the site into the largest LEGOLAND ever built, just 30 minutes away from Disney World.
LEGOLAND has already established a presence in the States with LEGOLAND California celebrating its tenth anniversary last year. The park was voted as America’s best children’s theme park for the sixth year in a row by Amusement Today but more importantly is the fastest growing theme park in the US with more visitors flocking to the attraction every year.
LEGOLAND California has held its own against Disneyland, but going up against Orlando’s Disney World is a bold challenge against Disney’s founding citadel.
“LEGOLAND California has already proven how much US families love the unique LEGOLAND concept. Now we are bringing that fun and experience to a much wider audience – the millions of US and international visitors who come to Florida every year,” said Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin Entertainments in a company press statement.
Merlin have their work cut out for them competing against Disney, particularly with the arrival this year of the new Harry Potter theme park at Universal Studios. LEGOLAND Florida is expected to open its doors in early 2011.