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Will LegoLand Build Orlando Tourism?

The city has a new theme park, here’s how area hotels are utilizing the tourist draw to their hotel.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Steve Pike
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The new Legoland Florida that opened Oct. 15 is off the beaten path a bit – in Winter Haven, Fla. – but it has the potential to be a major business partner for resorts and hotels in the attractions area of Orlando, approximately 45 minutes away.

The 150-acre Legoland park is on the site of what was Cypress Gardens, which opened in 1936 along what is known as Central Florida’s Chain O’ Lakes region. Cypress Gardens closed in late 2009 and in January 2010 Merlin Entertainments announced it had purchased the property to become its fifth Legoland park.

Among Legoland Florida’s Bed and Brick Partners is the Marriott World Center in Orlando, the Omni Resort at ChampionsGate and the Reunion Resort and Club, each in Kissimmee, Fla. The Omni and Reunion resort each are located approximately halfway between Legoland and the Orlando attractions area. Each Legoland Bed and Brick Legoland partner features Legoland package information on its web site and is featured on the Legoland web site.

“We have agreed to sell tickets at a discounted price and are working with Legoland to have an on-site event/promotion to help promote their grand opening,” said Jaclyn Rhoads, marketing manager for Reunion Resort. “We will have a Lego building event on property for our resort guests and giveaways for children in October and November.”

Rhoads said Reunion has not raised its room rates because of Legoland.

“In fact we are offering several specials including the opportunity to purchase discounted tickets,” Rhoads said. “And we’ve updated our website to include Legoland on our homepage rotator as well as a separate webpage.”

Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center also in Kissimmee, isn’t a Bed and Brick partner with Legoland, but Jeff Abbaticchio, the resort’s public relations director, said Gaylord Palms’ guest services desk with direct interested persons to Legoland. The resort also is working with ReserveDirect, a travel reservation technology company that offers attraction and show tickets as well as lodging and hotel reservations, in gaining tickets and packages for guests.

“Any time something new comes to the area it’s good for business,” Abbaticchio said. “The more the merrier.”

Nancy Ryan, director of sales at Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando, said her hotel is supporting the Legoland opening by including information in its newsletters and other communications materials.

“While they are really located a distance from Orlando, they are presenting a reason for a guest to decide to stay an additional day in our area and any of our seven Rosen hotels so that they might experience the new, nearby attraction. What we hope for is that it will help us extend our average length of stay,” Ryan said. Jim Moss, director of sales and marketing at the new Wyndham Grand Resort at Bonnet Creek, agrees. The 400-room luxury resort opened this past Oct. 1.

“I think here is a passion for them because of the popularity of the Lego store at Downtown Disney,” Moss said. “And I think for us it’s just another partnership we can build into packages. It gives us more exposure and is another place for guests to extend their vacations. There’s more than just Disney in Orlando. There are places like Sea World and Gatorland. These are one day trips. People spend the day there and go back (to a hotel) much like you do in the park. I think there is room for another park and that’s where Legoland will play.”
Steve Pike
Hotel Interactive® Editorial Division

Bio: Steve Pike is an award-winning golf writer and author who helped define golf business reporting in the early 1990s as the first Golf Business Editor for Golfweek magazine and later at Golf World and Golf Shop Operations magazines for Golf Digest. Pike further pioneered this genre at the PGA of America and Time Warner as the golf business writer and editor for PGA.com. He started in newspapers more than ...
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