WINTER HAVEN (FOX 13) - Now you can say "surf's up!" in a place you might not expect: Winter Haven. That's because Legoland's Beach Retreat just opened on Cypress Gardens Blvd. across from the park.
"We want to give [vacationers] a sense that it is summer all year long," explained Brittany Williams, a Legoland spokeswoman.
The Beach Retreat sits on Lake Dexter and has 83 cottages, a pool and other amenities. The rooms start at $135 off-season.
Not surprisingly, everything is Lego-themed. Beach Retreat designers like Keith Carr actually played with Lego blocks to come up with ideas.
"The saw-tooth detail on top of your bungalow, the lighthouse behind us, are actually out of the Lego sets and we scale it up 25 times to make it feel like kids are actually in their favorite toy box set," Carr told FOX 13.
Last year, Legoland generated $1-billion for the local economy.
“That will just continue to grow as you have more families that stay overnight,” offered Katie Worthington of the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce.
Not long ago, Legoland opened its hotel with similar fanfare. And rather than taking away business from nearby hotels, experts say it actually helped them. On average, area hotels are now charging $30 or $40 more a night.
“We drove the average daily rate up because we have a premium hotel,” said Legoland Florida GM
Legoland says it plans to open a new attraction every year, and for other area businesses, just the thought of that is better than a day at the beach.