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Legoland Florida Resort to add beach retreat, Ninjago land

Lego Ninjago World and a beach retreat part of Legoland Florida Resort expansion plans

WINTER HAVEN — Legoland Florida Resort is going to expand with the development of 24 acres as the new Legoland Beach Retreat, which is expected to open in mid-2017.

"This kind of expansion is something special … where we've kind of moved over the road to expand the resort into different areas," said Adrian Jones, the resort's general manager.

The beach retreat's 83 duplex-style buildings, totaling 166 separate accommodations, were announced Tuesday along with four other expansions and additions planned for the park, including a new Ninjago land.

The beach retreat, to be located across Cypress Gardens Boulevard next to Lake Dexter, marks Legoland's first growth beyond the park's original Cypress Gardens property. The retreat will include a clubhouse with dining options and Lego experiences inside.

"It's a different accommodation offering compared to what the hotel is," said Jones.

The theme park, specifically designed for younger children, opened a 152-room hotel on property in May.

"We have seen such a huge demand for the hotel," said Brittany Williams, a park spokeswoman. "So, yes, we are more than doubling our accommodations and we will continue to expand those accommodations as we see that they are needed."

Jones said the hotel experiences high occupancy rates during the season, even selling out.

Other announcements Tuesday included the new "Lego Nexo Knights 4D: The Book of Creativity" movie, Legoland Night Lights fireworks display and plans for a new theme-park land, Lego Ninjago World. The projects add up to Legoland's "largest growth period since we opened 41/2 years ago," Williams said.

The 4-D movie is inspired by Lego's new toy franchise and television show. The movie, which is nearly 13 minutes, follows the story of five young knights as they battle the evil Jestro and his sidekick, the Book of Monsters.

The knights are fighting for control of a rare book of magic, one which gives its owner exceptional power. The movie opens May 26 at Legoland Florida.

The park's Night Lights is a new summer offering on Saturdays and Sundays from June 18 to July 31. The fireworks display will be themed around the Ninjago line.

The park will have extended hours until 8 p.m. on weekends with fireworks, a spokeswoman said.

The updated fireworks display is also the park's way to get families excited for the Ninjago World, which will be built on the north end of the park between Lego City and Coastersaurus.

The world is expected to open early next year.

"One of the awesome things about that is you train to be a ninja," said Jones. "So the idea is you go through a number of different themed areas as you go through the ride."

The immersive world, to be built on about 3 acres of land, will include Ninjago The Ride, manufactured by Triotech, a Canada-based company that makes media-based, interactive attractions. It will feature Maestro hand gesture technology, which enables guests to control the game with hand gestures without using a hand-held device.

With high-tech sensors, riders will use hand movements in a striking motion to act like ninja warriors Kai, Jay, Cole and Zane, the main characters of the Ninjago line. Riders will be scored and collect points during the four-minute ride.

"The ride itself is unique," said Jones. "It's a world-first ride."

cdineen@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5414

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