WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Legoland Florida Resort is doubling down on accommodations.
The Winter Haven attraction plans to build a second onsite hotel, essentially doubling the number of rooms available for guests who want to stay overnight at the attraction.
Legoland announced Saturday it will build Pirate Island Hotel, a 150-room lodging scheduled to open in spring 2020. The five-story structure will be constructed so that it connects to the existing Legoland Hotel, which opened in 2015.
The new hotel will give guests a third option for park-owned accommodations. Legoland Beach Retreat, a collection of bungalows across Cypress Gardens Boulevard from the theme park, opened in 2017. It contains 83 duplex-style structures.
Though it will share a lobby with the original hotel, Pirate Island Hotel will otherwise be autonomous. The new lodging will contain a pirate-themed restaurant, an entertainment area for nightly programs, a lobby bar serving alcoholic beverages for parents and its own heated pool.
A replica pirate ship in front of the hotel is expected to be a popular photo spot.
As with the Legoland Hotel, the new lodging will offer kids their own space in each room, including TV screens, Lego treasure chests, décor and treasure map headboards. The suites will have boat-shaped bunkbeds.
“I think this gives us a breadth of opportunities for that stay-and-play for an overnight destination,” spokesman Shawn Mikus said. “Our demand is increasing, and so that was kind of the start for this idea. We’ve really become that multi-day destination, so now Lego fans can come and stay at the park, stay at the hotel, stay at Pirate Island.”
Legoland officials followed the wishes of guests in choosing the theme for the new hotel, Mikus said. The park did its own research and conducted polls on social media, offering a few choices of themes, and in all cases sentiment favored the pirate motif.
A pirate theme already exists in some rooms of Legoland Hotel, along with four other themes. And maritime bandits are featured in the live water-ski show, the Battle for Brickbeard’s Bounty, held in Pirate’s Cove on Lake Eloise.
Mikus said the pirate rooms will be rotated out of the original hotel over the next few years.
The hotel announcement comes amid other planned enhancements at Legoland, which opened in 2011. A major new attraction, The Lego Movie Ride, will open in the spring, and a miniature golf course near Legoland Hotel will tee off in the summer.
Katie Worthington, president and CEO of the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce, said the announcement shows that Merlin Entertainments, Legoland’s corporate owner, is determined to make the attraction more than just a day trip for tourists vacationing in Orlando.
“It further cements overnight stays, which has been a goal, obviously, with adding accommodations,” she said. “The fact that they are investing in their third accommodation says that Merlin continues to invest in upgrades in transformational parts of the park. I think this shows, No. 1, they’ve got staying power, that the park has been very successful and that they’ll continue to grow and invest into Florida as a destination.”
Worthington cited a 2015 study that described a dearth of quality accommodations in the Winter Haven area. She said Merlin addressed that need by building its original hotel, and outside developers are catching up. She pointed to the recently opened Courtyard Marriott just across the street from Legoland and said other hotels are in various stages of planning.
Worthington also welcomed the creation of new jobs for staff at Pirate Island Hotel. Legoland Florida has about 2,000 employees in peak season, Mikus said, and the second hotel will generate 60 new positions.