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Legoland (trademark in uppercase as LEGOLAND) is a chain of Lego-themed theme parks. They are not fully owned by Lego Group itself; rather they are owned and operated by the British theme park company Merlin Entertainments.
The chain currently consists of:
The parks are marketed to families with younger children (11 and under), and although they have a number of roller coasters, they are not as numerous or as extreme as those in other parks, and there is a greater emphasis on rides suitable for younger children.
The parks are split into various areas, which are common between the parks. For example, all six of the parks include a Lego miniland, a model village which includes models of landmarks and scenes from around the world made from millions of genuine Lego bricks.
An important aspect of Legoland is education, epistemology, and learning.
The parks' rides are all Lego themed; many are made to appear as if they are built out of Lego bricks. They tend to be based on one particular line of Lego: for example, a popular ride at all six parks is the Dragon Coaster, which is loosely based on the Knights' Kingdom Lego sets. Another popular ride is the Driving school, in which children can drive small electric cars made to look like Lego cars around a small road network, after which they gain a mock driving license. The exact set of rides varies between parks, although as with the Disney parks there is some overlap.
Legoland Malaysia was opened in Nusajaya, Johor, Malaysia on 15 September 2012, and it is the first Legoland in Asia. Initially, there are seven themed areas of attractions for all ages which are; Miniland, The Beginning, Land of Adventure, Imagination, LEGO Kingdom, LEGO Technic, and LEGO City. The centerpiece of the park is Miniland, where almost all Asian landmarks were built using LEGO bricks.
Legoland in Billund, Denmark, is the oldest Legoland build near the original Lego factory. It is divided into ten different worlds: Duplo Land, Imagination Zone, LEGOREDO Town, Adventure Land, Miniland, Pirate Land, Lego City, Knights Kingdom, Viking Land, and Polar Land. The park opened in 1968 and has 1.6 million visitors annually, making it the largest tourist attraction in Denmark outside Copenhagen.
Legoland Deutschland is located in Günzburg, Germany, and opened in 2002. As of 2009, there are seven areas in the park, including: Imagination Center, Miniland, LEGO X-treme, LEGO City, Knights Kingdom, Adventure Land, and Land of the Pirates.
Legoland Windsor was built on the site of the previous Windsor Safari Park in Windsor, Berkshire, and opened in 1996. As of 2010, there are twelve areas in the park, including: The Beginning, Imagination Centre, Miniland, Duplo Land, Traffic, LEGO City, Land of the Vikings, Kingdom of the Pharaohs, Pirates Shores, Knights Kingdom, and Adventure Land. It is the largest Legoland park in the world in terms of area (its area is approximately 5 times greater than that of Legoland Billund).
There was an earlier Legoland Park in Germany, from 1973 to 1976. It was located in the city of Sierksdorf in northern Germany. In 1976 the park was sold; the former Legoland Sierksdorf is now Hansa-Park.
Legoland California is in Carlsbad, California, in northern San Diego County. The park opened on March 20, 1999, and is split into nine sections, which are: The Beginning, Dino Island, Explore Village, Fun Town, Castle Hill, Miniland USA, Imagination Zone, Pirate Shores, and Land of Adventures. A Sea Life aquarium is adjacent to Legoland California. In 2010, a water park opened on its grounds, as one of the only two Legoland parks (the other one is Legoland Florida) to feature a water park.
Legoland Florida opened on October 15, 2011 as the second Legoland park in the United States, and the world's second largest Legoland park after Legoland Windsor which is 5 times bigger than the one in Billund. The park was built on the former site of Cypress Gardens, a historically famous Florida theme park. This park is divided into 10 areas: The Beginning, Fun Town, Duplo Land, Miniland U.S.A, Kingdoms, Pirates Cove, Imagination Zone, Technic, Land of Adventure, Lego City, and a restored replica of Cypress Gardens. Legoland Florida opened a water park replacing the former Cypress Gardens "Splash Island" water park on May 26, 2012.
Currently three further Legoland parks are being developed. Legoland Dubailand is open in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It was originally scheduled to open in 2011, but has since been delayed until mid 2016.
Legoland Korea will be the world's first Legoland located on an island. It was originally planned to open in Chuncheon, South Korea in March 2016. Various contradictory announcements in 2013 and early 2014 were made by Merlin and local media, leaving the status of the possible park unclear. However, construction has begun. Then, during construction work at the site, a largely intact ancient village was discovered. This has resulted in an as-yet unresolved conflict between building the park as planned and the need to preserve the cultural heritage represented by the archaeological site. The original plans called for an expenditure of $US470 million, about 20% from Merlin. Located next to Chuncheon Station, the site is a 1-hour trip from Seoul via the Gyeongchun Line.
The Californian, Danish, and German parks all receive approximately 1.4 million visitors per year. The British park received approximately 2 million visitors in 2012, making it the 10th most visited park in Europe.
In June 2005, a 70 percent stake in the Legoland theme parks was sold to Blackstone Group of New York, an investment and advisory firm, under its Merlin Entertainments brand. Lego Group retains a 30 percent stake.
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