Families wanting to visit LEGOLAND Florida Resort while also kicking back and enjoying the beautiful weather can now enjoy the brand new LEGOLAND Beach Retreat, which officially opened on Friday, April 7, 2017 to plenty of fanfare!
Theme Parks and Beyond was invited to be among the first to enjoy the cozy accommodations and fun activities that the Beach Retreat offers year round for everyone. The drive-through check-in service was incredibly convenient and speedy; all we had to do is provide our identification right from the car and we were immediately given our room keys and a map to where our “cove” was located. Normally I associate checking into a hotel at a busy tourist spot with the usual craziness of families, kids and tourists running around the hotel lobby among general commotion but this was a welcome change of pace since we were simply ready to get to our room as soon as we parked and got our bags out from the trunk. Not only was it convenient but we were able to quickly find our cove, unpack and head to the pool so we could get right to the fun!
The rooms themselves are cozy and feature lots of fun LEGO-theming throughout, with one of the largest (and comfortable!) beds we’ve seen in a room of this price range in Central Florida. Though there isn’t a work desk or any chairs like in the LEGOLAND Hotel adjacent to the theme park, my wife and I along with the kids were quite comfortable chilling out on the bed watching some TV. The kids absolutely loved their bunk bed, which also features a trundle bed underneath to accommodate five people total in the room, and we all appreciated the little details that were included for families of little ones — such as the box of Duplo bricks in the kids room for them to play with and the two-in-one toilet seat for the little ones to able to use comfortably.
Although there aren’t any chairs or tables inside the rooms, there is a cute outdoor patio area outside each room with a table and chairs to kick back and relax while the kids play. Each of the 13 coves spread out over the property is horseshoe-shaped featuring 83 bungalows and 166 separate rooms in total with a playground located in the center of each cove. This gave us peace of mind when the kids wanted to go outside and horse around that they would always be in plain sight whether we were inside or hanging out in the patio area.
The centerpiece of Beach Retreat, literally and figuratively, is the mammoth kids pool and the beautifully rendered lighthouse complete with a working, rotating light that was turned on by Ruby the Pirate with the the help of two volunteers at a special ceremony the night before the grand opening in front of media and other special guests.
Live music, including an impressive steel drum kids band, played as the guests tried out the pool for the first time, which was loaded with large rubber LEGO bricks to play with. The pool never gets deeper than three and a half feet and is carefully watched over by a lifeguards posted at key spots, which again serves as peace of mind for the adults so they can unwind a bit, courtesy of the nearby Bricks Beach Bar featuring an “eclectic menu of made-to-order food, drinks and creative cocktails served both poolside and indoors” and it didn’t disappoint. There’s a solid choice of draft beers as well as specialty drinks highlighted by the “Fish in a Bag”, a tasty concoction of flavored rum and vodka mixed in a plastic bag with Sprite, ice, mint leaves and the fish itself (actually a thin slice of orange, to the relief of my seven-year-old son).
The pool area also features a playground set and a large sand area where rotating activities such as beach volleyball, cornhole and sand castle building contests will be held, according to Keith Carr, North American Project Director-Resorts at Merlin Entertainments. “We encourage a lot of free play,” he said, “so swimming, playing on the play structures, building onto our 13-foot-tall sand castle within the lighthouse structure, those are the types of experiences that we want the guests to have.”
Speaking of the lighthouse, inside is not only this wondrous LEGO sand castle but also where guests can enjoy meals here at the Sandy’s Castle Restaurant buffet which featured something for everyone of all ages to enjoy. Even better, the breakfast buffet is included with each night’s stay!
All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Beach Retreat and it’s just a couple of blocks away from the LEGOLAND Florida theme park, so you can either take the convenient shuttle or park there with your car. Because you’re a resort guest, you can also enjoy extra Brick Hours and enjoy more time at the park with early access.
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.
(Some photos courtesy of LEGOLAND Florida Resort.)