Fans get early look at Legoland Florida opening Saturday

Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:50pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Barbara Liston

WINTER HAVEN, Fla (Reuters) - A symbolic 50 millionth Lego brick was snapped in place on Friday on a giant red octopus at Legoland Florida, a new theme park opening to the public this weekend southwest of Orlando.

The park is located on the site of one of Florida's original tourist attractions, the 75-year-old Cypress Gardens, and is about an hour's drive from Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, the theme park with the world's highest attendance.

The new park, the fifth and largest Legoland in the world, targets families with children ages 2 to 12, and it seemed to be a hit among the Lego fans and Florida schoolchildren invited to check out the attraction ahead of Saturday's opening.

A big draw was Miniland USA, where national landmarks and Florida cities have been recreated out of 30 million Lego bricks, according to master builder Jason Miller.

A Lego version of the Empire State Building stands at more than 20 feet high in Miniland USA, and the Golden Gate Bridge spans 22 feet.

"That is crazy," said 12-year-old Anthony Martinez, a dedicated Lego builder from Miami, as he admired the New York cityscape. "It takes some serious talent to build those kind of things. I would love to know how they do this."

Kurstin Greene, a 9-year-old from Winter Haven who likes to build houses out of her personal stash of Legos, said she couldn't attempt something of the scale of the miniature Lego U.S. Capitol.

"We don't have enough Legos for that," Greene said.   Continued...

<p>Visitors walk past the Statue of Liberty and part of the New York skyline, constructed out of lego bricks, at Miniland at Legoland Florida during its grand opening celebration in Winter Haven, Florida October 14, 2011. REUTERS/Pierre DuCharme</p>