“Set sail with a rowdy crew of LEGO pirates on Captain’s orders to explore the murky waters and retrieve the lost treasure, stolen by a troop of mischievous monkeys. Journey through the uncharted waters of the legendary Cypress Gardens and discover the secrets protecting its canals, as this all-new story unfolds brick by brick into a family-friendly treasure hunt. Adventure awaits you at LEGOLAND on Pirate River Quest.”
Only one theme park can say they opened the first attraction of 2023 and that distinction goes to LEGOLAND Florida, and what a fun attraction it is! Before I dive into the new attraction, as one of Laughing Place’s resident theme park historians it is my job to look at where this began with Florida’s 1st Tourist Attraction – Cypress Gardens. In 1936, Dick and Jule Pope opened a large botanical garden in Winter Garden, Florida, connected to Lake Eloise via small canals. In 1938, the first electrical boats started making their ways through the canals giving guests a chance to view lush flowers and plants from all over the world in a unique way. In 2009, Merlin Entertainment purchased Cypress Gardens that over the years had grown from the small 16-acre garden to a theme park including roller coasters and even an adjacent water park. LEGOLAND Florida as we know it today opened in October 2011. Yet no matter how many new LEGO based attractions have opened in the past nearly 12 years, one part of the park has kept true to its roots (pun intended), the garden that started it all.
In this day and age of the biggest, fastest, most immersive attractions in the world being built just down the road, it is great to see a fun family ride that actually steps back to 1938. Pirate River Quest offers guests a chance to not only see these gardens in a way that hasn’t happened in well over a decade, but to add a interactive story that will keep the young ones entertained while the older members can sit back, relax and enjoy a trip back to a more peaceful time… if you don’t mind a helping break a Monkey Tribes curse!
Guests of all ages (life vest available and required for smaller sailors 6 and under) board a boat, captained by some of the best to sail the canals of Lake Eloise, and set off to help Captain Redbeard find and count his stolen treasure and break the curse that has banished him to the Sea of Lost Bricks. Captain Redbeard and Popsey the Parrot provide narration and direction as we cruise through the beautiful gardens and come across scenes of pirates, monkeys, birds, and even a LEGO eating plant or two.
This attraction is just pure bliss. No other theme park in the world has a 20 minute boat ride through beautiful canals with almost 100 year old plants and trees that will entertain you as much as the Pirate River Quest. As I said, this attraction is perfect for the entire family, and fully accessible too – guests in standard size wheelchairs can roll right on to the boat. The boat is free floating boats so no two rides will be the same, but no need to worry, the only way guests will get wet on this attraction is if mother nature wants to share some liquid sunshine.
Pirate River Quest is now open to all guests visiting LEGOLAND Florida and will be massively popular, so my best suggestion is to do as you would with any E Ticket ride and either head there first thing in the morning, or wait till later in the afternoon when everyone is wrapping up their day. If you haven’t made plans to visit the park, this is a great time with beautiful weather and the kick off of this year's Pirate Fest Weekends Event.