Sun, sand and LEGO bricks: there’s no denying that a perfect family getaway can and should include all of those things. If, after a day of exploring the LEGOLAND Florida Resort, you’d like to lounge with a poolside cocktail while the kiddos splash around with floating LEGO bricks, you should book now at the LEGOLAND Beach Retreat. We did, and we’re here to tell you, it is so cool it just might make your (LEGO) head pop off. Read on for the scoop.
Where It’s At
The LEGOLAND Beach Retreat, which opened in early April of 2017, is located near the LEGOLAND Florida Resort in Winter Haven, Florida. Unlike the LEGOLAND Hotel, the Retreat is not adjacent to the LEGOLAND Resort, but is essentially across the street. While it is walkable, do yourself a favor and save the steps for exploring the park. You can either drive over to the lot and park for the day (parking fee is included with your stay) or hop on the free shuttle service. Guests of the Beach Retreat get early admission to the park, so you can beat the crowds regardless of which transport you choose.
The Lay of the Land
At the Beach Retreat’s center is the lighthouse. It lights up at night and it’s easy to see: follow it to find the pool area (which includes a big play structure and plenty of lounge chairs), Sandy’s Castle Restaurant, Bricks Beach Bar and the gift shop, Palm Tree Traders. The bungalows are grouped around the lighthouse in horseshoe-shaped coves all with names after LEGO Minifigures, and many with water views. It’s like a little Florida village that is designed to look like it is built out of giant LEGO bricks (or to make you feel like a minifig family. You decide).
You know what is easier than getting out of your vehicle with all the kids and luggage to check into your hotel? Cruising in through the drive-through check in. Just roll on in, give your name and you’ll get your key and a map right then and there.
Tip: If you have littles and a lot of luggage, park your car and walk to find your room first. At check in you’ll be instructed which lot to park in, but with a lot of bags and kids, it can be easier to locate the room first then relay back for bags, as the parking lots are not right next to most of the rooms (which makes it more resort-like and quieter!).
Each bungalow room can sleep up to 5 people: there’s one king-sized bed for parents (and let’s be real, whoever else climbs in at 3 a.m.) and a smaller nook that has bunk beds for the kids. The bottom bunk also has a trundle, so you can get three kiddos in there. You’ll have a small sitting area outside your room, but the highlight is that each cove of the Beach Retreat has bungalows all facing a central grassy area and play-structure. That means you can relax with your morning cup of coffee (or evening glass of wine) and the kids can keep the party going with their fellow Bungalow buddies.
Bonus: You’ll find lots of little amenities in the room built with kids in mind. Parents will appreciate the toilets with seats that convert to a smaller size; low hanging hooks for towels and the little signs letting kids know the room has been cleared of sea monsters.
Ask any kid what they want in a hotel and the chances are they will say “a pool!” and LEGOLAND Beach Retreat does not disappoint. The pool area includes floating bricks for building (a LEGOLAND exclusive), a beach volleyball court (on sand!) a large play structure and plenty of chairs for lounging.
Eat, Drink & Build
Eat breakfast and dinner buffet-style at Sandy’s Castle Restaurant. There’s also a full menu with plenty of choices for kids and grownups alike. Breakfast is included with your stay. For lunch or poolside snacks, including pizza and chicken wings, hit up Bricks Beach Bar. (Grownups 21 and up: we highly recommend the “Fish in a Bag” cocktail.) The kids will love the giant LEGO sandcastle just inside. With bins of bricks surrounding the epic castle, they can build before, during or after dinner.
photo: Amber Guetebier
Don’t Forget! LEGOLAND Florida Resort
With all the reasons to chill and play at the LEGOLAND Beach Retreat, you might not want to leave. The beauty of LEGOLAND is that it is a relatively small amusement park, and you can cover it with the kids in just a couple of days. Plus the park closes relatively early, which means there’s plenty of time for dinner, pool, play and recharging for the next day’s adventure.
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