Legoland Florida Debuts Pirate River Quest, Plans for a Successful 2023
The opening of the one-of-its-kind Pirate River Quest at LEGOLAND Florida Resort is more than just an adventure ride – it also marks the first time the canal boats are back in the water since the former Cypress Gardens, long considered the first tourist attraction in Florida, closed.
“The grand opening of Pirate River Quest marks the return of the canal boats, a beloved feature and central part of the historic Cypress Gardens for decades,” said Sarah Senn, Senior Public Relations Communications Manager at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort. “The new ride brings a LEGO® twist that will introduce new generations to this Florida treasure. The voyage also offers a new and unique view of the Gardens from the open waters of Lake Eloise, as well as a glimpse of Florida wildlife while onboard. This is a uniquely Florida experience and we’re thrilled about this newest chapter in the growing story of the Gardens.”
The 20-minute ride features 10 free-floating boats are driven by trained boat captains who have experience navigating the narrow canals of Lake Eloise. Along with enjoying the boat ride, guests will try to find Captain Redbeard and the stolen treasure, while encountering 22 birds, 12 toucans, 21 monkeys, five skeletons and numerous alligators and spiders.
LEGOLAND Florida Resort is proud of its heritage. Boats began taking guests on tours through the canals of Cypress Gardens in 1938, becoming an iconic part of the park for 65 years. Now, the canal boats are back with a LEGO® twist.
“Pirate River Quest utilizes much of the same canal route as the original attraction, with the finale taking guests out onto Lake Eloise for a view of the gardens that are not often seen,” according to LEGOLAND. “A few of the boats at Pirate River Quest have been named in honor of various parts of Cypress Gardens and LEGO history. Be sure to keep an eye out for Pope’s Plunder (named after the original founders of Cypress Gardens, Dick and Julie Pope), Kristiansen’s Ketch (named after the founder of The LEGO Group, Ole Kirk Kristiansen), The Cypress Belle and The Treasure of Eloise.”
Along the ride, guests will pass the historic Florida Pool, initially built as a film set for the 1953 MGM film “Easy to Love,” starring Esther Williams.
T. Michael Stavres, city manager of Winter Haven, said he appreciates what LEGOLAND Florida Resort brings to the city.
“The LEGOLAND Florida Resort remains an outstanding entertainment destination and a truly engaged community partner here in Winter Haven,” Stavres said. Their capital investments in the original park, followed by the development of the two on-site hotels and the LEGOLAND Beach Retreat are great examples of their commitment to ensuring a top-notch experience for their guests.
Pirate River Quest “provides another new experience while at the same time introducing today’s guests to the historic botanical gardens, canal systems and a first-hand cruise within Winter Haven’s incredible Chain of Lakes,” he said.
A Pirate’s Theme
Pirate River Quest is the newest addition to Pirates’ Cove, Senn said. “LEGOLAND® Florida Resort offers a variety of swashbuckling pirate fun for the whole family. The Resort is also home to Brickbeard’s Watersports Stunt Show, featuring Calico Jade, a female LEGO® pirate character created specifically for LEGOLAND Florida, original music and gravity-defying water stunts that include wakeboarding, barefoot-skiing, jump acts and an iconic ski pyramid. The flyboard act takes this show to heroic heights above the legendary Lake Eloise.”
Calico Jade and Captain Redbeard, along with others from the pirate crew, also make appearances in Pirate River Quest “as they search for the captain’s lost treasure, stolen by a troop of mischievous monkeys.”
The resort also offers Pirate Island Hotel, which has pirate themed rooms and kid-friendly entertainment every night.
The January 2023 opening of Pirate River Quest comes on the heels of a successful 2022, Senn said.
“It’s an exciting time at LEGOLAND Florida Resort and we continue to see families from across the U.S. and world visiting our Resort,” she said. “2022 was a big year. We became the first theme park resort to become a Certified Autism Center and we opened the World’s First Peppa Pig Theme Park just steps away from LEGOLAND Florida.”
With the February 2022 opening of Peppa Pig Theme Park, LEGOLAND Florida Resort cemented itself as a multi-day destination and the place to visit with children ages 2 to 12.
And this year?
“2023 is going to be a ‘bricktastic’ year at LEGOLAND Florida Resort,” Senn said, referring to LEGOs, which are often called bricks. “We’re excited for more families to experience the maiden voyage of our all-new Pirate River Quest ride, especially with spring break just around the corner. We’re also looking forward to awesome seasonal events, including Red, White & Boom, Brick-or-Treat presents Monster Party and Holidays at LEGOLAND.”