WINTER HAVEN — Not one plastic block is in position at Legoland Florida, but the theme park has started selling tickets for admission once it opens late next year.
An annual pass that will sell for $99 through Dec. 31 will allow entry from the day the park officially opens in October 2011 through all of 2012, park executives announced Thursday. Single-day tickets sold through Dec. 31 are $65 for general admission and $55 for ages 3-12 and ages 60 and older.
Once Legoland opens, the public will have access to 50 rides and attractions geared to children as well as minature scenes created out of Lego's famed plastic building blocks.
Among the Florida scenes to be portrayed: Kennedy Space Center, Daytona International Speedway, Key West's Mallory Square, antebellum mansions of the Panhandle, and Polk County's own Bok Tower. The region's other theme parks will not be represented.
General Manager Adrian Jones described different areas of the Winter Haven park, including a medieval-themed segment called Castle Hill. "There's a perception in Central Florida that you have to build a castle in order to have a successful theme park," Jones said. "So we built one."
The centerpiece of Castle Hill will be a new indoor-outdoor roller coaster called The Dragon.
The demographic focus of Legoland theme parks, owned and operated by Merlin Entertainments Group, are 2- to 12-year-olds.
"We don't do white-knuckle roller coasters, but we do pink-knuckle roller coasters," Jones said before introducing the XTreme area, which features the Lego Technic Test Track coaster and a water-carousel ride.
Legoland Florida will be constructed where Cypress Gardens operated from 1936 to 2009. Some of the site's old rides will be repurposed for the new park: the Swamp Thing suspended coaster, for example, will become Flight School in the Lego City area, and the Triple Hurricane wooden roller coaster will be reborn as Coastersaurus in the Land of Adventure.
Cypress Gardens' famed ski show will be revived as a water-stunt show, and the Island in the Sky attraction will be rethemed as the Flying Island, on which guests will be elevated for views of Lake Eloise and the entire park.
"It will be a focal point of our attraction," Jones said.
The park is primarily in a demolition phase right now. About 100 designers are working on miniature Lego scenes in six or seven countries, said John Jakobsen, managing director of Legoland Parks Operating Group.
Merlin is investing at least $100 million on the site's transformation, he said. Having Cypress Gardens' infrastructure in place is expected to keep the company's costs down.
About 1,000 people are expected to work at Legoland once it's open; most of them will be hired in the six months leading up to opening day.
A lifetime pass is sold for $2,500.