LEGOLAND VACATION-- Winterhaven, FL April 14, 2017-April 17, 2017
My son Darryl has been begging me to take him to Legoland Florida for a few years now, and my mother and I thought that would make a great destination for Easter break 2017. We had a great time, and for a weekend getaway it did not disappoint.
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We flew Southwest airlines from New Orleans to Tampa because it was less money then flying into Orlando.
Winterhaven is in the middle of the two airports so it really didn't matter which one we used.
We rented a mid size SUV since it was my mother, myself, my two kids, and my young cousin. The ride to the resort was reasonable, but you may want to check the route on google maps because it made us take some strange roads to get there. Also, be prepared to pay a few tolls on the way to the resort. The hardest part of the drive was figuring out how to get out of the airport parking lot after renting the car.
RESORT AND HOTELS
LEGOLAND BEACH RETREAT
For the first 2 nights we stayed at the new Legoland Beach Retreat. It is priced a little less than the Legoland hotel, and you get park benefits and the fun lego themes.
CROWNE PLAZA TAMPA
We didn't want a long drive to the airport on the day we were leaving, so we spent our last night at the Crowne Plaza Tampa. We were upgraded to the king suite room, and it was wonderful. We had a separate sleeping area with a door that closed from the living room. The 3 boys stretched out on the l shaped sofa and had their own tv. They loved all the extra space and so did my mother and I. The hotel's full breakfast which was included with our stay was one of the best meals we had the entire trip. Thank you Crowne Plaza.
We also made sure to visit the Legoland Hotel just for a little extra fun. The disco elevator ride was awesome. I have never had so much fun riding in an elevator. I know that this is immature, but I made sure to hit every floor button on the elevator to extend the experience. The kids also enjoyed posing with a few lego people at the hotel and had a great time romping around in the lego pit in the lobby. There is also a pirate play area for the kids to run around inside the lobby while my mother and I sat in the bar area, kicked back for some good r&r and planned out our theme park day. Check out the photo slide show below to see some images of the Legoland Hotel from our trip.
Click here for the Legoland Fact Sheet.
BEACH RETREAT- OUR BUNGALOW
Beach retreat has an interesting concept in room design. We were assigned a bungalow next to the lake. For parents like me who are afraid of Florida lakes after the recent alligator incident at Disney, you will be happy to know there is a fence around the lake area to keep the kids out of the water. Not to mention the alligator warning signs all over the fence.
Each bungalow has 2 guest rooms and it looks like a small house. What is really nice is that the resort is divided into coves with about 8 bungalows assigned to it and in the middle of the cove is a playground.
I loved sitting on the porch in front of our bungalow in the evening. I sat back in my chair with my feet up and watched the boys play on the playset. This is the view of the kids playing from the porch of my bungalow.
Another fun fact about the room is that it was fun and creative. It featured a separate small room for the little people in our group. They had bunk beds with a trundle, fun murals on the wall, and even a box of duplo legos on the floor that they could play with in the room. My mother and I shared the king size bed in the room. There was a great mural on the wall behind the beds and in our room was a counter top with a refrigerator, drawers for clothes, and a closet on each side for luggage and clothing.
Keep in mind, there is a note in the room with a list of charges if you decide to take the legos home or any of their fun lego items in your suitcase. My only improvement I would suggest to the hotel is to provide more garbage cans in the room and to figure out a ways to soften the headboard. My baby hit his head pretty hard on the headboard which was a hard piece of formica. The bed does offer plenty of pillows and is very comfortable, but please be aware of this if you have little ones that like to jump on the bed.
POOL AREA AND LIGHTHOUSE
The pool area was great. It had plenty of lifeguards on duty, provided towels at the pool site, had fun giant legos the kids could use to build things in the water. If you go, you will find a beautiful white sand area which is already supplied with sand buckets and tools for the kids, and a playground right next to the pool. The pool is located to the Lighthouse which is the lobby of the hotel. The lighthouse has a buffet restaurant, a bar area, a gift shop, and a fun play area for the kids to gather and build with legos. This is also where customer service is located if you need them.
CHECK IN AND CHECK OUT
Check in at this hotel is really different and to be honest I found it a little confusing and vague in the hotel confirmation. To check in, you pull up to the security gates at the resort entrance and get your room key and any passes with your package at the gate along with directions to your bungalow. It was kind of a slow process, but I am going to keep in mind that the resort was only open for a week and was still working out the processes. Checkout was faster, which was great because we were ready to hit the road back to Tampa.
I am from New Orleans, so I don't usually expect food to be better than what we have back home. And since it is a theme park my expectations weren't very high for food quality. Unfortunately I was very right in this area. The buffet at the hotel left much to be desired. The food was always cold by the time you got back to the table with it. The staff told us they were having issues with the equipment. I also found for a buffet that large it was pretty bare and not that tasty. My favorite meal on this trip was at the Ruby Tuesday around the corner from the hotel. The apple fries in the theme park were also a special treat that is a must try when you go.
And if you have a sweet tooth for jelly beans, make sure to visit the candy store in the theme park. They have almost every variety of jelly beans to choose from. Pick your favorite flavor and fill a bag. One of the kids picked buttered popcorn flavor and I don't know how they did it-but it tasted like popcorn.