What is the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the name Merlin? For many of you, medieval mythology, you might think of a powerful wizard who helped out King Arthur in his administration of Camelot. However, recent openings in the Orlando area may soon have you thinking of the other connotation of Merlin: Merlin Entertainments.
“Merlin has more than 100 attractions, 11 hotels and three holiday villages in 23 countries across four continents, but today all eyes are on Orlando!” said James Paulding, Southeast Regional Manager, Midway Attractions, Merlin Entertainments. “From exploring the oceans of the world, to taking selfies with your favorite celebrities, or seeing 360-degree panoramic views of Orlando, we’re excited about the impact each of these new additions will have on the region from an entertainment, tourism and economic standpoint.”
With all that, you might be inclined to use the colloquial phrase “Merlin’s Beard!” But, as their imagination and cash flow continue to increase, so too do the amount of attractions and new ways to encourage fun-loving families allover the world to choose them as their primary entertainment destination.
LEGOLAND Florida has been a minor player in the vast world of Orlando area theme parks for a few years, but with the recent addition of the LEGOLAND Hotel, and the opening of I-Drive 360, they can now be seen as a multi-day destination resort.
On May 15, the first LEGOLAND® Hotel on the East Coast will officially open. The Hotel is built for kids and invites them to take the lead from the moment they arrive. A special “kid check-in” takes place in front of the minifigure wall, which is made of 5,000 minifigures. The lobby is also home to a Castle Play area complete with a pirate ship surrounded by a moat filled with LEGO® bricks.
LEGOLAND Hotel offers many unique experiences, exclusive to its guests. Kids can build with Master Model Builders in a workshop setting, go on a scavenger hunt to crack the code on a LEGO treasure chest and uncover special prizes. There’s even a Disco Elevator, where riders can dance under the light of a disco ball as the floor appears to flow under their feet. Each night, Hotel guests can enjoy nightly entertainment including LEGO building contests, or take a stroll on the boardwalk overlooking Lake Eloise.
There are more than 2,000 LEGO models to explore throughout the Hotel created out of more than two million LEGO bricks! Kids can choose to stay in one of four themed rooms: Pirate, Kingdom, Adventure or Friends. Each room will have at least eight LEGO models, and a bucket of LEGO bricks for kids to build their imagination.
Located just 130 kid steps from the main entrance of LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Hotel guests will have early morning access to the theme park designed for families with children ages 2-12.
To make a reservation visit: LEGOLANDHotel.com.
Located a short bus ride away, three new visitor attractions recently opened in Central Florida as Merlin Entertainments PLC (Merlin), the second largest attraction operator in the world, celebrated the official grand opening of The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds and SEA LIFE Aquarium. These attractions are the highlight of the new I-Drive 360, a dining and entertainment destination on International Drive.
Standing at 400-feet high, or nearly 100-feet taller than the Statue of Liberty, The Orlando Eye is the tallest observation wheel on the U.S. East Coast. Similar to London’s world-famous landmark, the Eye provides guests with the opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of Central Florida in within fully enclosed, air-conditioned glass capsules.
The serene journey allows visitors to take in a unique perspective of the area including nearby theme parks and attractions, the downtown Orlando skyline, lakes and lush landscape, and, if the day is clear, Cape Canaveral on Florida’s East Coast. The Orlando Eye also allows visitors to choose their own unique experiences such as champagne flights and private capsules. The attraction also offers a 4D cinematic experience showcasing a 3D aerial journey of Central Florida with added effects including fireworks, wind, scents and lighting.
Orlando has rolled out the red carpet for the world’s most famous celebrity wax attraction Madame Tussauds Orlando. Madame Tussauds showcases incredibly detailed and lifelike wax figures that pay tribute to the most influential celebrity and historical figures of our time, including funnyman Jimmy Fallon, actor Jim Parsons, pop princesses Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez, international icon Ricky Martin and many, many more!
SEA LIFE Orlando offers a new wave of underwater adventures with beautiful displays of colorful fish, sharks, jellies, sea horses, rays, sea turtles and more. Winding tunnels, floor-to-ceiling and bubble aquariums and cold water rock pools provide a unique experience for all guests as they are introduced to more than 5,000 sea animals in habitats representing the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Specific to the Orlando aquarium, visitors can also explore Florida’s freshwater lakes and ponds, extending to the Everglades. Additionally, the aquarium, known for its strong conservation efforts, will have interactive and educational components for young marine life enthusiasts.
Special priced tickets are available for all three attractions, starting at $18 for adults and $13 for children under 12, as well as combination tickets that include LEGOLAND Florida, where the more guests see, the more they save.
Visit www.merlinentertainments.biz for more information.
With the new attractions opening on International Drive, the recent announcement by Universal Orlando of a new attraction each year, as well as the planned opening of Avatar and Star Wars themed areas in Walt Disney World, now is the time to plan your ultimate Central Florida adventure!