A few years ago I took it upon myself to digital a whole bunch of old home videos my parents had made of my sister and I growing up. There were a few family vacations which were fun to go back and experience, especially the ones where we visited Florida in the early 80’s. During one of these videos we had visited a place called Cypress Gardens that I had no recollection of but figured it had to be pretty close to the Orlando area as we never wondered too far from there when on vacation. To my surprise it was still around but had changed quite a bit in the 30 plus years since my last visit.
What did it turn into? Legoland of all things. I decided to take my youngest daughter with me to check it out as I’ve never been to one of these parks.
This place was amazing. I have always loved Lego but my building skills are pretty rudimentary. Simple square buildings with walls not structurally sound and fall over whenever I tried to move my creation from one place to another. But the sculptures they have here are really unbelievable.
Two familiar friends we found were Emmet and Wyldstyle from the Lego Movie. Nearby was a store called the minifigure market and is where I found the first penny press machine.
The penny machines found through this park were pretty unique. The machines were almost silent when used, but did take a little more effort than usually to press the coins.
The pennies did roll a little short, but most of the design was visible. This first set of pennies included images of Cypress Gardens, a Carousel Horse, Lego Duplo and some Lego people faces.
This park is huge and there is quite a bit of walking to do but the theming changes with each area. There are sections like Duplo Valley pictures above.
The World of Chima is where an interesting water attraction can be found. You ride in a boat with a water cannon in front of each seat that allows you to shoot streams of water at targets throughout the ride.
It was a little chilly when we visited and this ride looked like you got pretty soaked so we decided to skip this visit. But will be checking this out again the next time.
The next area we headed into was the Lego Kingdoms which is themed around Kings and Queens, Castles, Knights and of course Dragons.
There is a ride called the Dragon, and the exit to the attraction takes you right by the King’s Market. This is where I found the second penny machine.
These pennies pressed much better than the first. The designs included images of a Knight’s Horse, a Lego Jester, the lost Kingdom Adventure, and The Dragon.
A short walk away was the next area called the Land of Adventure. This area was kind of all over the place. It started out like we were in Egypt with a Pharaoh and hieroglyphics, then to a jungle safari with Lego animals all over the place.
The area then ends with a dinosaur themed coaster called Coastersarus and is where the third penny press was found.
This was an interesting location for a penny press. I’ve used machines inside restaurants, near bathrooms, and up at the top of the Empire State Building but this was a first. The coaster actually had part of the track running right overtop of this machine. So as I used it I could near people screaming as they coasted just a few feet over my head.
The pennies from this machine had images of the Legoland water park, the Statue of Liberty, an Elephant and the Coastersaurus.
Did I mention this place was big? Next we found ourselves in the Lego City section.
The fun thing about this area is that it’s just like a mini town. There is a Lego firehouse, police station and ice cream parlor.
There is even a Lego version of the DMV. Well technically not, but it’s actually the Ford driving school.
Just outside the driving school shop is a Lego Ford Mustang that is pretty awesome with some realizing engine noises. Right behind the mustang was the last penny machine we found.
The designs available at this last machine included Jet Ski, a Lego person driving a Lego car, Skipper School, and a Ride Vehicle. Nearby was the water park but due to the cold weather it wasn’t open this day. I’m not sure if there are any additional penny machines there but I’ll definitely be back to confirm.
Instead we headed over to the area that started this whole thing Cypress Gardens.
I was hoping to see some of the same locations I saw in the old home videos but nothing really looked the same. It was still nice to walk along the trails through the gardens and hoped that maybe I had walked this same trail as a child.
We did spend a good amount of time walking around the gardens, but eventually made out way to the center piece of Legoland call miniland USA. This was really cool to walk through. They recreated US cities all made entirely out of Lego.
There was the Las Vegas strip with all the different casinos.
Even part of International Drive in Orlando with the Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds and the Sea Life Aquarium.
I even came across the Daytona 500 with racing cars flying around the track.
We had spent a long day at the park and done a lot of walking so we decided it was about time to head out. On our way back to the front of the park we checked out The Big Shop. Basically this was one big Lego store with Lego sets, t-shirts, candy, and even some Disney stuff.
Near one of the check out registers I found a pressed penny booklet for Legoland which I had to pickup for my collection.
This theme park was a lot more fun than I had anticipated. I’m not really sure what I thought it would be like but my daughter loved it. There were a lot of rides for her age which was nice and made the experience a lot more fun for her. So many times at the other parks she ends up not being tall enough and has to watch from the sidelines. The Lego creations and details they have all around the park are really incredible and you could spend and entire day just looking at those. They even have Lego birds in some of the trees. If you haven’t tried Legoland and are looking for something different be sure to check this place out, and remember to bring some pennies!