Florida Family Travel Update

Legoland’s Duplo Valley, geared to toddlers, opened just a year ago.
Legoland’s Duplo Valley, geared to toddlers, opened just a year ago.

Back in February, “The Lego Movie” thrust the 80-year-old brick construction toy into the ranks of animated character stardom. The enormously popular film helped raise the profile of Legoland Florida Resort, coming on the heels as it did of the announcement of the new Legoland Hotel that is being built there.

The hotel, opening in summer 2015, has announced it is now accepting bookings for stays through January 2016 at www.legolandhotel.com, or by phone at 877-350-5346. Selling Point: All Legoland Hotel guests will get early access to select rides and attractions before the park opens.

Clients can choose between a Themed and Premium Themed Room. All rooms include: king bed in the adult sleeping area; kids’ own sleeping area (sleeps up to three) with bunk bed, pull out trundle bed and entertainment unit; two high-definition flat-screen TVs with free on-demand content; and Lego bricks to build with during the stay.

Premium Themed Rooms feature all of those amenities, plus additional Lego decor and models throughout the room, allowing guests to become fully immersed in the theme. Standard and Fully Themed Rooms sleep up to five (two adults and three children). Suites sleep up to seven (maximum of four adults). Accessible rooms are available.

Legoland management believes the new hotel will transition the attraction from a single-day visit theme park to a multi-day resort destination. Legoland is in Winter Haven, less than an hour’s drive from Orlando.

Speaking of Orlando, Walt Disney World-bound families have another new accommodations option. The new B Resort & Spa in the Downtown Disney area had its grand opening in October.

The resort is a lifestyle experience with a full-service Aveda spa, barbecue, emphasis on guest technology, location within easy walking distance of the Downtown Disney shops and a brief ride from Disney World’s theme parks.

Key amenities include the resort’s zero-entry pool with interactive water features; four tennis courts; a Kid’s Zone; complimentary Wi-Fi available in all guest rooms, meeting spaces and public areas; and Concierge, a digital touch-screen concierge and destination guide (also available via mobile app) offering recommendations for local attractions, dining outlets and shopping.

Meanwhile, Universal Orlando Resort, which opened the Diagon Alley attraction at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in July, is gearing up for its second annual A Celebration of Harry Potter, January 30 to February 1, 2015. Scheduled to appear at the event are the film’s talent, Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), Michael Gambon (Dumbledore), James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley) and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood).

Additionally, behind-the-scenes creative talent on hand will include “wand combat” choreographer Paul Harries and Kazu Kibuishi, illustrator of Scholastic’s Harry Potter book covers, as well as Eduardo Lima and Miraphora Mina of MinaLima, the creators of the visual graphics of the films.

Events include Q&A and autograph sessions with the film talent as well as discussions and demonstrations from the creative folks. There is also a Harry Potter Expo with such things as the Sorting Hat experience, recreation of the Great Hall set, Studio Tour London, an interactive Pottermore exhibit, and more.