Legoland Florida Resort Manager Rex Jackson was asked to give Winter Haven city leaders an update during the annual city retreat April 1 and April 2.
Jackson said something during his presentation which had not been previously announced.
Legoland Florida Resort staff will be teaming up with Winter Haven historian Bob Gernert, Jr., to transform a building near the entrance to Legoland Florida into a center featuring the history of the park.
Jackson also told those gathered that the park has managed to remain financially sound during the pandemic and that they are aggressively hiring staff again.
“The question I get asked most often is ‘how is business?’” Jackson said. “People are very interested in knowing how the recovery is going for Legoland Florida. Fortunately, things are going very well.”
The park was closed for 70 days during the pandemic and has been reopened since June 1. Jackson said every week since June, revenue has been greater than the equivalent date in 2019 and that revenue is up 18 percent since 2019.
There are now three hotels on-site at Legoland Florida, with a total of 468 rooms.
Staff are celebrating the park’s 10-year anniversary in 2021.
Mayor Brad Dantzler said he would be interested in seeing a Lego-inspired project in the downtown area some day.
“I have long wanted just something that puts our name on Legoland downtown,” Dantzler said.
Jackson said that would be an easy conversation to have with the model shop manager.
Commissioner Brian Yates asked for an update on the botanical gardens. Jackson said Legoland Florida Resort staff are committed to bringing the botanical gardens back to life someday. For the past few years, staff have been repairing the sea walls along that portion of the park.
Jackson said one day visitors will be able to tour the gardens again.
Commissioner JP Powell asked how many people were purchasing annual passes. Jackson said the annual pass sales for the first quarter of 2021 were the highest annual pass sales to date at Florida Legoland Resort.
“We are actually very encouraged by the annual pass sales and the Florida resident market,” Jackson said. “We have gone through the pandemic and we have already seen Floridians being some of the first out of the gate in terms of wanting to go back out and return to normal or take part in activities. We are seeing that manifest itself in our visitation numbers. The Florida resident recovery is outpacing the domestic US recovery.”
Assistant City Manager T. Michael Stavres asked what city staff could do to help Legoland Florida Resort staff.
Jackson said making Cypress Gardens Boulevard safer for pedestrians to cross and placing more signs directing traffic to the park on U.S. 27 would be the biggest thing city staff could do to help the park remain profitable.