Home News Photos
2015 2014 2013 2012
Links to more information
These are not paid advertisements 

Winter Haven FL news, sports, weather, classifieds  News Chief
Winter Haven News Chief

There is more to read at the News Chief...


Lakeland FL news, sports, weather and classifieds  Lakeland FL
The Ledger, Lakeland FL
There is more to read at The Ledger...

    The Ledger Legoland Florida articles

Bay News 9 - Tampa News, Weather, Traffic, Entertainment, Politics Baynews9 Legoland Florida
Baynews9 News Polk County
Baynews9 Weather - Klystron 9 radar map
Baynews9 Weather Winter Haven

News Chief
  Solar panels at Legoland will generate power, provide shade
Thursday, April 21, 2016
By Gary White, The Ledger
The next addition at Legoland Florida Resort will not be a ride.
Instead, the project will generate electricity for Tampa Electric
and provide shade for guests in the attraction’s parking lot.
Tampa Electric plans to build a canopy of solar panels over
Legoland’s “preferred” parking area,
establishing a 1.8-megawatt energy source and creating sun cover
for an area that holds more than 600 vehicles.
Construction will begin soon and should be finished before the end of 2016,
Legoland spokesman David Brady said Thursday.
The preferred parking area — available to guests who pay an extra fee —
is located near the main entrance and Legoland Hotel
Tampa Electric will own the solar photovoltaic structure,
which will generate enough electricity to power more than 200 homes,
the company said in a news release.
The electricity won’t be directed to Legoland
but will go to the electric grid for Tampa Electric’s 725,000 customers.
The company has 72,000 customers in Polk County, spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs said.
News Chief
  Legoland announces new ride for Winter Haven park
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
By Gary White, The Ledger
Park officials announced that Legoland Beach Retreat,
a surf-themed lodging complex, will open in mid-2017 on nearby Lake Dexter.
It will be the largest expansion since Legoland Florida opened in October 2011
and the first outside the attraction's original boundaries.
News Chief
  Hundreds of Cypress Gardens' water skiers to reunite this weekend
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
By Madison Fantozzi
Alys Honey, 85, is not only excited to share memories this weekend
of her time as a water skier at Cypress Gardens, but also "just to see who else is still alive."
She'll travel from Austin, Texas,
to a reunion the Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team
is hosting
Friday and Saturday, March 4-5, in Winter Haven
Honey's favorite was when she served as a double for Esther Williams in the 1953 film "Easy to Love."
Lynn Novakofski, worked at the gardens from 1969 to 1991
and is considered the historian for all things Cypress Gardens water skiing
Saturday's picnic and water ski show on Lake Silver is free and open to the public.
While only about 200 skiers are confirmed to attend, Novakofski hopes to draw up to 500.

WHAT: Cypress Gardens Reunion Weekend
WHEN: Picnic from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 5, with a ski show at 2 p.m.
WHERE: Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 100 S. Lake Silver Drive NW
Google map

IMDb Easy to Love (1953)
Esther Williams ... Julie Hallerton
Van Johnson ... Ray Lloyd

The Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team
was started by former waterskiers from
Cypress Gardens Theme Park
who want to pass on their show
skiing legacy to the next generation
S. Lake Silver Dr. at Third St. NW
Winter Haven, FL 33881
News Chief
  Legoland Florida receives approval for plans to build new resort
Announcement set for March 15
Friday, February 26, 2016
by Gary White, The Ledger
Legoland Florida Resort has received a construction permit to build a lodging complex
on the opposite side of Cypress Gardens Boulevard from the theme park.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD)
gave notice it has approved the application for an Environmental Resource Permit
in a letter dated Tuesday and sent to
Keith Carr, Senior Project Manager for Merlin Entertainments Group, Legoland’s corporate owner.
Merlin plans to construct a resort featuring 166 single-story units and a 12,145-square-foot clubhouse
on vacant land on the west shore of Lake Dexter.
The expansion, called Project Oasis in the permit application,
would be Legoland’s first venture outside the traditional boundaries of Cypress Gardens,
a decades-old attraction bought by Merlin in 2010.
News Chief
Legoland plans resort separate from theme park
Design calls for 166 lodging units on Lake Dexter
Friday, February 5, 2016
by Gary White, The Ledger
Legoland Florida Resort is poised to leap across Cypress Gardens Boulevard.
Less than a year after opening an onsite hotel, Legoland has filed plans for a lakeside resort
with 166 single-story duplex units, a pool, two ponds and a 12,000-square-foot clubhouse.
The project would be built on 57.7 acres of vacant land adjacent to Lake Dexter
behind the Winter Haven Square shopping center,
which is across Cypress Gardens Boulevard from the Legoland parking lot.
Merlin Entertainments purchased the property Monday from John G. Wood and Associates,
paying $4.6 million, according to a deed filed with the Polk County Clerk of Courts.
The company is owned by state Rep. John Wood, R-Winter Haven.
Wood’s family has owned the property since 1969,
according to Polk County Property Appraiser records.

News Chief
  Winter Haven plans to annex Legoland Florida property
Friday, November 6, 2015
By Gary White, The Ledger
Legoland Florida Resort plans to annex its 150-acre property into the city of Winter Haven,
officials from the attraction and city announced Friday.
The property was first opened as Cypress Gardens,
one of Florida’s largest tourist attractions, in 1936.
Legoland, which opened in October 2011,
is currently in unincorporated Polk County though it is often described as being in Winter Haven.
The Winter Haven City Commission must formally annex the property,
but all of the commissioners support what
Commissioner J.P. Powell describes as a “no-brainer move.”
Legoland General Manager Adrian Jones
said the complex wanted to become part of the city from the beginning
News Chief
  Exchange Outlets to Offer Legoland Dollars
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Legoland Florida Resort has forged a partnership with Travelex,
a worldwide foreign exchange business
Legoland Dollars have a fixed exchange rate of 1-to-1 with U.S. dollars,
and the currency may be purchased only with American money
Legoland Dollars can be spent at any of the park's restaurants,
concessions and retail stores and at Legoland Hotel.
Travelex lists 15 sites at which it will exchange real money for Legoland Dollars,
among them airports in New York, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and Philadelphia.
Tampa International Airport is one of six Florida sites
- - -
Wikipedia Travelex
News Chief
  Man Sues, Saying He Was Injured At Legoland
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
A man has filed a lawsuit against Merlin Entertainments Group,
corporate owner of Legoland Florida Resort,
claiming he was injured when he slipped on a wet floor at the attraction's water-ski show
... requested damages of more than $15,000.

News Chief
  Legoland: 13th Straight Quarter Without Accidents
Monday, July 20, 2015
Legoland Florida has had no reported incidents since the first quarter of 2012.
Walt Disney World reported 10 health incidents involving guests, none of them fatal
News Chief
  Merlin Entertainment to Open 2 Local Operation Centers
Legoland Owner to Have Offices in Winter Haven, Lake Wales
Monday, July 20, 2015
The downtown Winter Haven office will serve as a customer care center,
The Lake Wales office will house Merlin's sixth team of model builders and designers,
who create elaborate figures from Lego bricks
to be displayed at Merlin properties around the world.
The centers are scheduled to open in the fall.
Each will provide at least 50 full-time jobs with the potential for future expansion,
Legoland Florida spokeswoman Brittany Williams said.
"The decision to expand in Winter Haven further emphasizes
our commitment to this city and to our guests,"
Legoland Florida Resort General Manager Adrian Jones said by email.
"We are delighted to bring more jobs to Winter Haven
and more localized support to our attractions in Central Florida."
News Chief
  Legoland Closed After Water Main Break
Monday, July 6, 2015
Legoland Florida Resort was closed about 3 p.m. today after a water main break.
Legoland representative Dipika Joshi, said management decided to close the park
when they realized water availability in the park wouldn’t be restored before it closed.
Joshi said necessary repairs are being made,
and the resort is scheduled to open Tuesday at 10 a.m.
Guests who had tickets today were given complimentary passes to visit again in the future
News Chief
  Legoland's Latest Expansion Offers Activities for Girls
By Gary White NEWS CHIEF
Monday, June 8, 2015
Legoland Florida has set an official opening date for its Heartlake City attraction: June 26.
The expansion is aimed at increasing Legoland's appeal to girls.
Heartlake City is themed after Lego Friends,
a product line featuring figures of five young women
and building kits such as a hair salon and a beach house.
Heartlake City will occupy a space overlooking Lake Eloise near the Magnolia Mansion.
The attraction will include a horse-themed disc coaster ride,
Mia's Riding Adventure, and a small theater with an interactive live show, "Friends to the Rescue."
Another element, Stephanie's News Room, offers children photo opportunities
at a news desk inside the mansion....
said Legoland Florida spokeswoman Brittany Williams.
Bay News 9
  Legoland 152-room hotel enjoys a splashy grand opening
By Virginia Johnson, Entertainment reporter/host
Friday, May 15, 2015
Music, balloons, confetti, and lots of cheering kids
the new Legoland Florida Hotel has officially opened.
It was 18 months in the making, and has 152 rooms.
Legoland Florida invited Bay News 9 for a sneak peek sleepover,
and General Manager Adrian Jones shared exclusive information about the theme park's next project.
The new hotel turns the Legoland theme park into a resort.
That means a one-day stay may stretch out to even two or three days.
Guests can choose between four themed rooms: Pirate, Adventure, Kingdom or Friends
Guests can choose between either Themed and Premium Themed rooms
Premium Themed rooms have additional LEGO models and themed wall décor
There are at least eight LEGO models in every room
All children’s sleeping areas include a bunk bed with a trundle bed
Every room includes a treasure chest that younger guests can unlock
once they complete a special treasure hunt activity!
Special kid-focused features include peep holes at a lower level
and LEGO bricks in each room for children to create their own masterpieces
Some rooms have spectacular views of Lake Eloise and LEGOLAND theme park
Room service is available
All rooms include free Wi-Fi
News Chief
  Legoland Celebrates Grand Opening of New Hotel
By John Ceballos NEWS CHIEF
Published: Friday, May 15, 2015
The final multi-colored brick has been laid, and the Legoland Hotel is officially ready to receive guests.
Legoland Florida Resort hosted a grand opening event Friday that culminated with a literal bang.
Thousands of Lego figurines were shot out of cannons atop the five-story hotel
and parachuted onto the lawn below,
where a group of about 20 children scrambled to find a gold figurine.
"This hotel was created to bring children's imaginations to life,"
said Kevin Carr, the hotel's general manager, during a brief ceremony preceding the grand opening.
The 152-room hotel includes more than 2,000 models created out of about 2 million Lego bricks.
Children can also work alongside Master Model Builders in a workshop setting
News Chief
  Legoland Florida Plans a Sneak Peek At New Hotel
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Legoland Florida is offering a sneak peek at its new 152-room resort hotel
from 5 to 8 p.m. on May 10, just days before the scheduled opening.
The $50 ticket includes parking, a guided tour, a reception with hors d'oeuvres, beer and wine
and a welcome from the resort's General Manager Adrian Jones and his team.
A $10 share will be donated to Merlin's Magic Wand,
a not-for-profit organization serving seriously ill, disabled and disadvantaged children in the United States.
Tickets and more information are available at
the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce
401 Avenue B, NW, Winter Haven, FL, 33881
Phone: (863) 293-2138 | Fax: (863) 297-5818

Bay News 9
  LEGOs being used at teaching tools in Spring Hill
Sunday, March 22, 2015
By Ferdinand Zogbaum, Reporter
Youngsters in Hernando County are learning some important skills in an all-new way.
James Burrows fell in love with LEGOs about two years ago.
A few weeks ago, Burrows and his wife opened up The Brick University in Spring Hill.
Students learn about engineering, design, math, robotics and other skills by playing with the LEGOs.
Brick University is all about having some fun and learning.
For more information, go to the school's website
News Chief
  Legoland Water Park Opens Saturday
Thursday, March 19, 2015
By Lance Ferguson, NEWS CHIEF
With the temperature rising in typical Florida fashion, Polk County residents and visitors
will soon look for ways to cool off.
In anticipation of this, Legoland Florida Resort will reopen its water park Saturday.
Although park officials do not have an estimate on how much water will course through Legoland,
the Lego Wave Pool holds 458,000 gallons of water.
Brittany Williams, spokeswoman for Legoland Florida, said
the 1,000-foot Build-a-Raft River is a favorite ride among visitors.
No new rides were added to the attraction for this season
but more covered areas are available and there is additional seating at Beach-n-Brick Grill.
The park is designed for children ages 2 to 12, with the larger slides aimed for older kids.
Legoland Water Park costs an additional $30 to regular park admission.
Toddlers ages 1 to 2 get into the main park for free and water park tickets are $6.
News Chief
  Legoland Speeds Up 7-Day Format
The park will be open every day of the week until after Labor Day
Thursday, March 5, 2015
By Gary White, NEWS CHIEF
For the next six months, Legoland Florida is open every day ending in "y."
The attraction, closed on Tuesday and Wednesday during the winter,
is shifting to its seven-day schedule earlier this year.
For the past three years, Legoland was open each day for the spring break period
and reverted to the Tuesday and Wednesday closures
before launching the seven-day schedule for the summer.
In addition, Legoland Water Park will welcome guests earlier this year.
The enclosed attraction opens March 21, compared with April 12 last year.
"Legoland Florida Resort offers a family theme park,
Legoland Water Park and Legoland Hotel, which will open on May 15,
making it a multi-day destination," Marketing and Sales Director Rex Jackson
News Chief
  Legoland to Feature ‘4-D' Animated Film Based on ‘Lego Movie'
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
A new "4-D" animated film based on characters from "The Lego Movie"
will be showing at Legoland Florida and other Legoland parks later this year.
Merlin Entertainments, corporate owner of Legoland,
announced the project Wednesday,
a partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and The LEGO Group.
The film will feature the two main characters from "The Lego Movie," Emmet and Wyldstyle.
The three-dimensional film shown in the Wells Fargo 4-D Theater at Legoland Florida
will be augmented by such elements as wind, water, smoke and special lighting effects,
Legoland said in a news release.

- - -
Internet Movie Database IMDb
The Lego Movie (2014)
Elizabeth Banks ... Wyldstyle / Lucy (voice)
Chris Pratt ... Emmet Brickowoski (voice)
Search "The Lego Movie" - Displaying 24 results
News Chief
  May The Force Be With You at Legoland This Weekend
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Legoland Florida will emphasize Star Wars with its Lego Club Weekend activities Saturday and Sunday.
The events, focused on the Lego Star Wars display in the park's Miniland section,
includes appearances by a Darth Vader Minifigure costume character and a Star Wars model designer,
a building competition, costume contests, a mural build, a Droid search and a Yoda scavenger hunt.
Guests are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite Star Wars characters.
The park is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days.
Activity times can be found at
( )
- - -

Wikipedia Star Wars
Star Wars is an American epic space opera franchise centered on a film series created by George Lucas
In 2012,
The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion

IMDb Star Wars
News Chief
  Renovations Close 4 Attractions at Legoland Florida
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Four attractions at Legoland Florida are closed for renovation and construction.
The Battle for Brickbeards Bounty, the live ski show on Lake Eloise,
is closed for annual refurbishment.
The show at Pirates Cove is scheduled to resume Thursday, a Legoland spokeswoman said.
Flying School, a suspended steel coaster in the Lego City section of the park,
is scheduled to reopen by the end of next week.
The Lego Factory in Fun Town also is closed for renovations.
A spokeswoman said it's not certain when the attraction will reopen.
The Pick-a-Brick store in the same building remains open.
Also closed is the Fresh From Florida Greenhouse,
which Legoland officials have said will be relocated
as construction on the Lego Friends Heartlake City attraction commences.
News Chief
  Legoland Reports Incident-Free Quarter; Disney Notes 2 Deaths
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Legoland Florida reported no incidents involving guests in the fourth quarter of 2014,
according to a report from the Florida Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection.
The bureau issues quarterly reports on self-reported accidents at theme parks.
Under a memorandum of understanding with the Florida Department of Agriculture,
theme parks with at least 1,000 employees and full-time,
in-house safety inspectors are exempt from state inspections.
Those attractions do voluntary accident reporting.
Walt Disney World reported 11 guest incidents, two of them fatal.
A 54-year-old woman died Oct. 4 after becoming dizzy on the "Toy Story" ride,
and a 22-year-old woman with a pre-existing health condition died
after exiting the "It's A Small World" boat ride on Christmas Day.
News Chief
  Legoland's Hotel Scheduled to Open May 15
Thursday, January 15, 2015
By Gary White, THE LEDGER
Legoland Hotel will open May 15, one month earlier than originally projected,
said Kevin Carr, the hotel's general manager, on Thursday morning at a media event.
That revelation prompted the playing of
"Everything Is Awesome," the theme song from "The Lego Movie."
"Let me say: This is now Legoland Florida … Resort,"
Legoland Florida General Manager Adrian Jones said, emphasizing the final word.
"The hotel behind me marks a significant shift from a day-visit attraction
to a multi-day resort destination
and also a big, hopefully a huge, change for the immediate economy here
and the local economy in Central Florida in general
— just adding another reason to visit Central Florida."
Jones also revealed plans to create a new section of the attraction, Heartlake City,
based on the Lego Friends product line marketed toward girls.
Five young women in the bubbly personas of the Lego Friends characters
— Andrea, Emma, Mia, Olivia and Stephanie —
arrived in a yellow Mustang convertible to herald the news.
News Chief
  Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Legoland, Streamsong Boost: Tourism Enjoys Record Year in Polk; '15 Starts Well
By Kyle Kennedy THE LEDGER
Polk County's tourism industry had a record fiscal year in 2013-2014,
and the new year is off to a promising start, officials said Tuesday.
Legoland Florida and the new Streamsong golf resort
were credited with helping to bring visitors to the area.
Local tourism tax collections were up 12 percent during the 2013-14 fiscal year
to more than $7.7 million, Jackson said.
That beat the previous record of $7.3 million in 2008.
Polk doesn't track the number of tourists who visit every year,
but the 5 percent "bed tax" paid by hotel guests
— and used to fund the county's tourism marketing operations —
is considered an indicator of the health of local tourism.
Polk officials also monitor hotel occupancy and room rates.
The Legoland Florida theme park in Winter Haven
continues to be a major attraction for the area,
and the opening of the 152-room Legoland Hotel this summer
will be a key step in its evolution into a multi-day destination, Jackson said.
Tourists spent an estimated $55.6 billion in Florida through August of last year
News Chief
  Legoland Florida to Announce Additions, Show New Hotel Site to Media
Published: Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 9:58 p.m.
Legoland Florida has scheduled a media event for Jan. 15 at 9:30 a.m.
to announce additions to the theme park and details
about the Legoland Hotel now under construction.
The event will include the first media tour of the construction site.
The hotel is scheduled to open in June near the entrance to the theme park.
Legoland will unveil renderings of the development.