We got a sneak peek at the all-new Legoland New York Resort — and it's awesome
Everything is going to be "awesome" this summer at New York's newest theme park.
The long-delayed Legoland New York Resort is finally slated to open this summer, and it's only an hour-long drive from New York City.
When the park opens (the owners won't say exactly when that is, except that it will be in phases this summer) the 150-acre attraction will have everything Lego lovers could imagine. That includes a not-so-scary roller coaster for kids, a land dedicated to ninjas, a castle and a driving school.
And while the park, in Goshen, New York, is near the city and its suburbs, Legoland hopes visitors will spend the night at its themed 250-room on-site hotel. Why make it a day trip when you can a night or two here?
One-day tickets are being sold online for $72 and annual passes will set you back $230.
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This park will be the third Legoland, owned by Merlin Entertainments, in the United States. It joins parks in California, Florida and six others around the globe. The New York park is about the same size as the Florida location and about 20 acres larger than the California attraction.
It's also surrounded by another 350 acres of undeveloped land at the foot of the Catskill Mountains.
TPG was part of a small group of media outlets invited for a hard hat tour of the attraction this week. It's still under construction, and workers were busy planting trees, testing rides and pouring concrete.
The theme park is geared toward kids ages 2 to 12, but any Lego fan will find everything is awesome! (OK, sorry, that's the last "Lego Movie" pun.)
Details about this summer's opening remain scant, but the Legoland team says season passholders who made their purchases way back in 2019 will be the first through the gates.
The hotel is expected to open at the same time as the park, but the Lego City and Lego Pirates-themed lands (more on those later) will be the last two sections to open at a later date.
Like everything else in the age of COVID-19, guests should expect limited capacity, an online advance reservation system, digital park tickets, cashless payments for everything and an app to order food and drinks.
The adjacent hotel has four types of themed rooms (Pirate, Kingdom, Lego Friends and Lego Ninjago), each with its own separate sleeping area.
While we didn't get a view inside, you can look at the new Pirate Island Hotel at Legoland in Florida for an idea of what's to come.
In New York, there's a heated pool, nightly entertainment for kids and in-room scavenger hunt with Lego prizes. The rooms will also feature Google Nest voice assistants that can be used to order more towels, arrange room service or tell your kids an immersive bedtime story. Check-in will be contactless via kiosks or an app -- in other words: no front desk staff.
The still-unfinished hotel can be seen in the photo above, a short walk away from the main entrance. Rates are not yet available.
But now, back to the park.
The New York resort will be the first to feature the brand-new Lego Factory Adventure Ride. This is the latest "experiment" from Professor Brick and takes riders on a journey through a fantastical Lego factory. Using facial recognition technology, the ride can capture a visitor's hair, shirt color and likeness to create a digital "Minifigure" of them. (And yes, there is something similar at the gift shop to create your own personalized Lego.)
Scattered throughout the park are 15,000 Lego models, containing 30 million Lego bricks. The dinosaur at the entrance has 182,000 bricks alone. There's also a musical fountain -- made of Legos, of course -- that plays different tunes when motion sensors capture people standing in front of various sections of it.
The park is designed as a giant loop, connecting its seven themed lands. They are:
- Brick Street: Here, at the entrance, guests pass under an iconic arch and into a world that appears to be built of Lego bricks.
- Bricktopia: “The land with no rules, where guests can build anything they can imagine.” This land also includes the Lego Factory Adventure Ride.
- Lego Ninjago World: In this land, aspiring ninjas can master the ancient art of Spinjitzu. Guests start in training camp, and progress to Lego Ninjago: The Ride, where they can help defeat the Great Devourer using only their hands as weapons.
- Lego Castle: This land features the Dragon, Legoland’s signature roller coaster, which is sized for a child’s first coaster experience. For younger riders, there’s Dragon’s Apprentice.
- Lego City: A bustling metropolis of “Minifigures" and home to Driving School, where kids can receive their official Legoland driver's license.
- Lego Pirates: This land is where "young buccaneers [can] find adventure.” With Splash Battle, Anchors Away! and Rogue Riders, guests can expect a bit of watery fun.
- Miniland: The heart of every Legoland theme park, Miniland contains a massive panorama of animated, interactive Lego-built cities from across the country. New York’s Miniland will spotlight New York City, with landmarks including the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Yankee Stadium and Citi Field.
As noted earlier, Lego City and Lego Pirates will be the last to come online. Below are some photos of those lands, taken from higher up in the park's Bricktopia land.
Finally, there's the gift shop -- known here as The Big Shop. Conveniently located next to the exit, this oversized store has all the Lego gear you can imagine. Because it's easy to stop there on your way out, you can avoid having to carry toys, stuffed animals and bricks of Legos throughout the park.
Legoland New York isn't the biggest or wildest amusement park. But it knows its theme and owns it well across all the attractions. And for travelers in the Northeast looking to drive, instead of fly, to a theme park destination, it's a great addition to the region.
We'll be sure to return when the park opens and report back on whether this really is the best Legoland yet.