I visited Winter Haven, Florida on a press trip with Visit Florida and Visit Central Florida. I hadn’t heard of the town before, and didn’t know Legoland was a real place. I had vaguely heard of the movie, but being in India the last few years I do miss some things that go on back here. I loved legos as a kid though and thought it would be interesting to visit while in Florida. There are a smaller selection of hotels near Legoland Florida but we did stay at a nice budget option and visit a fun but little more expensive option.
Other than Legoland, we also checked out the Sports Hall of Fame, a local famous seafood restaurant on the water, and Safari Wildnerness which although I was skeptical about at first, ended up thinking was very good. I’ll tell you all about it, but first I’ll share the few hotels near Legoland Florida.
Hotels Near Legoland Florida
If you visit Legoland only, you may not need a hotel and can just drive out from Orlando as it’s not too far but if you want two days or want to do the Safari Wilderness as well, then you’ll need a hotel. But if you’re staying, here’s some tips on hotels near Legoland Florida. I keep saying Florida, as there are more Legolands in the world! There are less than 15 hotels in the area and some are not so nice. You can see a full list here but notice about 7 of these aren’t even technically in Winter Haven. It’s pretty easy to narrow down what are good hotels here.
For a great budget option, I stayed at the Holiday Inn and it was wonderful. It the best Holiday Inn I can remember staying at actually. Breakfast was actually really nice with bacon, sausage, waffles, eggs, cereal, fruit to take away, and lots more. I was jet lagged so woke up around 630 am both mornings I was there and came down early to get coffee and take it back up to my room to work. I thought it was really cozy and enjoyed staying there. They had a huge Lego man in their lobby and friendly staff. Most people staying there were there for Legoland. Rooms at the time I’m writing this are at $102 – click to book.
If you have the budget for a little fun, check out the actual Legoland hotel which has themed floors (like pirates!) and it a lot of fun for kids. If you bring your kids to Legoland and come all this way, I think it’s pretty much a given you should book in at the Legoland hotel. They then are “living in Legoland” the whole time they are there and it doesn’t end when they leave the park. Rooms start at $239 per night – click to book.
There is a play place, pool, and Lego man walking around to keep kids entertained. The rooms are all about Legos, and they even have the girls Legos. The breakfast buffet has a buffet set up for kids which is shorter and has fun child snacks. It’s also at the entrance to the actual park so you don’t have to drive anywhere. It is after all, a “5 gazillion star hotel” according them them.
In my opinion if you’ve got the budget for it and are with kids, stay at Legoland Hotel and if not, then stay at the Holiday Inn. If you are really trying to cut costs, check the full list I linked above where you’ll see a couple more options like Rodeway Inn Suites, Winter Haven Suites, and a couple more that look a little sketchy.
Winter Haven Travel Tip: If you do stay out in Winter Haven I can highly recommend the Harborside Restaurant. Get the fried pickles! In fact get fried pickles every time you see them on a menu in Florida lol.
What I thought of Legoland Florida
Prices: I did mention in my article on International Drive Orlando, that if you buy the group pass for I-Drive 360 you get discount passes on Legoland, Sea Life, Orlando Eye, and Madame Trussauds. They will shuttle you for free out to Legoland and back. A one day ticket starts at $71. See the link there for pass options, as you can add the water park in.
Just for kids?: Legoland was cool but I think more for kids… or Ben would have loved it lol. The PR girl I was with, Summer, was 23 and she loved it so maybe I’m just out of touch. We didn’t see only families but saw some couples and teenagers roaming around. I was very impressed with the things they built. There were rollercoasters that were fun for adults too.
the world – I found India!
Star Wars – it was the special exhibition
holy moly, that’s all legos
They were debuting the Daytona 500 – how cool is that
Space coast, Kennedy space center – rocket launch
Time needed: The park size was not huge. You can take a ride up to see a view from above, which I recommend doing at the beginning so you can get an idea of the size. You could see the park in a few hours or take all day. It’s really up to you. I think after two hours I was pretty okay with leaving.
The Legoland waterpark: I LOVED the waterpark. It also wasn’t huge but there were 5 big waterslides, a huge play area, lazy river, and wave pool (basically the normal things a water park has). Tickets are more to access the waterpark, or you can do only the waterpark. You’ll see Legos all over here too, like the Lego lifeguard! SO cute.
Safari Wilderness Ranch, Winter Haven
I can also recommend the Safari Wildnerness in Winter Haven, where I fed lemurs! It’s ranked in Fodor’s top 10 safari’s in the US. Florida’s humid weather and wetlands make for great homes to animals from all over the world.
Before going, I wasn’t sure what to think. After being in India so long with monkeys hanging out in my backyard and going on many real safaris, my opinions on zoos and places where animals are taken from the wild has changed drastically.
The animals here were taken from other zoos or bred and were not taken from the wild which did make me feel more at ease. They do have serious regulations in the US that all places like this have to follow or they wouldn’t be in operation. I thought it was great how much space all the animals had and think kids would LOVE going around feeding the llamas and water buffalo (although I don’t think I’ll go back to India and try to feed the ones in our field any time soon).
You aren’t going to find lions, tigers, and beers here. The animals were all friendly, curious, and most intermixed. You definitely feel like you are “in the wild” with them. Funnily enough, most safaris in the world are in National Parks that have fences of sorts so this is kind of just as wild except the animals aren’t native. Because the Florida has wetlands and marshes, the environment is very similar to where these animals come from which is why you’ll find a lot of safari options in Florida.
“Our dramatic landscape is surrounded by an 870 square mile pristine watershed (The Green Swamp) that is the source of four of Florida’s finest rivers. Our visitors are strictly limited in number, reflecting the sensitivity of our area. Now you can join us on an exclusive, fun and educational journey where you will learn about Florida’s natural and human history, our conservation programs, and encounter amazing animals that are endangered or extinct in the wild. Safari Wilderness Ranch is a Florida agritourism project and is accredited by the Zoological Association of America (ZAA) and licensed by the USDA.”
The guide was very knowledgable and it was definitely a safe place. You can also choose a different tour than jeep and see the animals by camelback, horse, or kayak. I love that it’s interactive like that. Feeding the lemurs was an extra cost at the end. Tickets start at $65 per person.
I hope this article gave you some insight about Winter Haven and helped you pick out a hotel near Legoland Florida. There are a few more kid friendly things to do in the area if you had the time to stay, but Legoland and Safari Wilderness are the top two.
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