The news that was spreading across the internet 10 days ago about LEGOland’s serious look at building in Central Florida has started to pick up steam with coverage by print and TV media.
I’m hearing two rumors about the potential new theme park and some news that I think could bad news.
The bit of potential bad news is that LEGOland actually looked at the old Splendid China site, but that the current owners wouldn’t give them a good enough deal for LEGOland to commit. If that’s true for other Central Florida theme park zoned real estate owners, then that is probably what’s driving LEGOland to look southward to Winter Haven and Cypress Gardens. A foolish move by those land owners who should be doing what they can to get creative with a deal that will work for all parties, instead of turning away a brilliant partnership.
One rumor I’m looking to confirm is that Blackstone, which owns LEGOland, has an agreement with Universal Studios that bars it from opening another theme park in Florida without approval from Universal. Somehow I don’t think that Universal is going to want its partner owning a competitor in its own backyard. Now, if Blackstone added some incentive for Universal…
The biggest rumor, and the most interesting, is that Walt Disney World’s rumored 5th gate will be LEGOland. Chatter about a possible fifth gate has been picking up recently and there is definitely a need to have more tot-friendly attractions inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. But I just don’t see Disney opening a plot of land to a competitor like that.
Perhaps LEGOland should be looking at a plot near Disney’s back door (the Western Way entrance that was to be developed as Flamingo Crossing). If the Blackstone rumor is true, I hope they’re able to work out that conflict.