Legoland (trademark in uppercase as LEGOLAND) is a chain of family theme parks. They are not fully owned by Lego Group itself; rather they are owned and operated by the British theme park company Merlin Entertainments.
The Legoland Billund Resort opened in Billund, Denmark in 1968, followed by the Legoland Windsor Resort in Windsor, England in 1996. Further parks opened in California, Germany, Florida, Malaysia, Dubai and Japan. Parks in South Korea and Shanghai are currently under construction, with a future Legoland planned in Orange County, New York. Legoland in Windsor, England is now among the most visited attractions in the UK, according to The Guardian.john
The parks are marketed to families with younger children (11 and under), and although the attractions include a number of roller coasters, the roller coasters are not as numerous or as extreme as those in other parks, and there is a greater emphasis on rides suitable for younger children. Legoland parks are split into various areas, which are consistent among the chain's parks. For example, all six of the parks include a Lego miniland, a model village which includes models of landmarks and scenes from around the world, made from millions of genuine Lego bricks.
An important aspect of Legoland is education and learning.
The parks' rides are all Lego themed; many are made to appear as if they are built out of Lego bricks. They tend to be based on one particular line of Lego: for example, a popular ride at all six parks is the Dragon Coaster, which is loosely based on the Knights' Kingdom Lego sets. Another popular ride is the Driving school, in which children can drive small electric cars made to look like Lego cars around a small road network, after which they gain a mock driving license.
Despite the commonality of the above-mentioned attractions, the exact set of rides varies between parks, although as with the Disney parks there is some overlap.
Legoland in Billund, Denmark, is the oldest Legoland and was built near the original Lego factory. It is divided into ten different worlds: Duplo Land, Imagination Zone, LEGOREDO Town, Adventure Land, Miniland, Pirate Land, Lego City, Knights Kingdom, Viking Land, and Polar Land. The park opened in 1968 and has 1.6 million visitors annually, making it the largest tourist attraction in Denmark outside Copenhagen.
Legoland Deutschland is located in Günzburg, Germany, and opened in 2002. As of 2009, there are seven areas in the park, including: Imagination Center, Miniland, LEGO X-treme, LEGO City, Knights Kingdom, Adventure Land, and Land of the Pirates.
Legoland Windsor was built on the site of the previous Windsor Safari Park in Windsor, Berkshire, and opened in 1996. As of 2015, there are twelve areas in the park, including: The Beginning, Imagination Centre, Miniland, Duplo Land, Heartlake City, LEGO City, Land of the Vikings, Kingdom of the Pharaohs, Pirates Shores, Knights Kingdom, Star Wars and Adventure Land. It is the largest Legoland park in the world in terms of area - its area is approximately five times greater than that of Legoland Billund.
Legoland Dubai opened in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on October 31, 2016. It was originally scheduled to open in 2011 in Dubailand as "Legoland Dubailand", but was then delayed until October 2016 and is now located at Dubai Parks and Resorts and Water Park as "Legoland Dubai". It has 6 areas: Factory, Lego City, Imagination, Kingdoms, Adventure, and the first indoor Miniland.
Legoland California is in Carlsbad, California, in northern San Diego County. The park opened on March 20, 1999, and is split into nine sections, which are: The Beginning, Explorer Island, Heartlake City, Fun Town, Castle Hill, Miniland USA, Imagination Zone, Pirate Shores, and Land of Adventure. A Sea Life aquarium is adjacent to Legoland California. In 2010, a water park opened on its grounds, as one of the only three of Legoland parks (Followed by Legoland Florida [Formerly known as Splash Island], Malaysia, and Dubai being the newest) to feature a water park. On May 24, 2014, an add-on was built for the water park, themed after Legends of Chima.
Legoland Florida opened on October 15, 2011 as the second Legoland park in the United States, and the world's second largest Legoland park after Legoland Windsor which is 5 times bigger than the one in Billund. The park was built on the former site of Cypress Gardens, a historically famous Florida theme park. This park is divided into 13 areas: The Beginning, Fun Town, Duplo Land, Miniland USA, Kingdoms, Pirates Cove, Imagination Zone, Technic, Land of Adventure, Lego City, Chima, LEGO Friends, Ninjago, and a restored replica of Cypress Gardens. Legoland Florida opened a water park replacing the former Cypress Gardens "Splash Island" water park on May 26, 2012.
On 30 June 2014, Merlin and Nagoya city officially announced that they had signed a contract to construct Legoland Japan, to open in Nagoya harbour, Japan, in February 2017. Construction officially began on April 15, 2015. The park is expected to cost around US$15 million to construct for the first stage. It opened to public on April 1, 2017. According to the contract, the second stage of the Legoland will be completed in 2021.
Legoland Malaysia was opened in Iskandar Puteri, Johor, Malaysia on 15 September 2012, and it is the first Legoland in Asia. Initially, there are seven themed areas of attractions for all ages which are; Miniland, The Beginning, Land of Adventure, Imagination, LEGO Kingdom, LEGO Technic, and LEGO City. The centerpiece of the park is Miniland, where almost all Asian landmarks were built using LEGO bricks. LEGOLAND® Water Park was built up by 11 March 2016.
In May 2016 Merlin Entertainment PLC reported that it had purchased 300 acres (120 ha) in Goshen, New York, "just south of the former Arden Hill Hospital" to develop a Legoland theme park, If approved, the project would break ground in spring 2017 and is expected to be completed two years later.
In June 2005, a 70 percent stake in the Legoland theme parks was sold to Blackstone Group of New York, an investment and advisory firm, under its Merlin Entertainments brand. Lego Group retains a 30 percent stake.
Legoland Korea is currently under construction in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province slated for opening in Spring 2019 and will be the world's largest Legoland at nearly 1.3 million square meters including a Lego hotel, condos, water park, spa and outlets. It will be the world's first Legoland located on an island. Construction of the bridge connecting the Legoland island to Chuncheon Station officially began on 28 November 2014 and construction of the theme park will be finished by January 2019. Located next to Seoul Metropolitan Subway's Chuncheon Station, the site is a 1-hour trip from Seoul via the 180 km/h, double-deck ITX train.
On 21 October 2015, Merlin and China Media Capital announced a $300 million joint venture investment to build a Legoland amusement park in Shanghai, China. Merlin Chief Executive Nick Varney said that Legoland Shanghai would be a similarly sized investment to the $300 million parks it is building in Japan, Korea and Dubai. It is expected to open in the Dianshan Lake area in Qingpu District by 2022.
There was an earlier Legoland Park in Germany, from 1973 to 1976. It was located in the city of Sierksdorf in northern Germany. In 1976 the park was sold; the former Legoland Sierksdorf is now Hansa Park.