Earlier this week, BrickNerd contributor Sid attended a special, family-friendly preview event in Midtown Manhattan where he caught a preview of a new themed room at the LEGOLAND Hotel at LEGOLAND Florida Resorts. Here's his report.
Entering the Ballroom at the Grand Hyatt, I realized it was a little strange to be at a hotel preview event in another hotel. But I snapped out of it upon seeing the bright yellow LEGOLAND Resorts banner at the check-in table with the brick-sculpted Scarlett, the dog from the Heartlake Vet set. I, along with about 40 other bloggers, journalists, parents, caregivers and their kids, waited for the doors to swing open.
Entering the preview area, we were met with glasses of sparkling cider, on tables littered with 1x1 bricks in pink, dark pink, sky blue, yellow and white. A few more steps and we found food. The usual appetizers -- cocktail shrimp, pigs-in-blankets, mini-flatbread pizzas, surrounding giant LEGO sculptures.
But what really caught our eyes was the dessert table full of LEGO-inspired treats: brick-shaped sponge cakes, marshmallow minifigures, and more: the macaroons were cleverly served on 48x48 baseplates lined with 1x4x2 fence elements. (Your author is on a diet and thus did not indulge in this portion of the program.)
Towards the back of the room, the evening's first major star: LEGO Master Model Builder (and former LUG member) Gary McIntyre, who was setting up a build table. No sooner did he begin digging into his crate of LEGO elements did the table become surrounded by kids, helping themselves to exclusive LEGO Friends polybags and a few small boxed sets. (I say "exclusive" because I've never seen these particular models at retail locations, so they were likely exclusive to this event, or to the LEGOLAND parks.)
One big draw was the bench full of LEGO Friends characters. It was there I met nine-year-old Cole and his mom. Cole was wearing his Emmet sweater from The LEGO Movie, and told me he'd seen the film twice. When I mentioned that I'd seen it seven times, Cole's eyes absolutely lit up: when I told him I was an AFOL that had been collecting LEGO toys for more than three decades, he nearly lost it. It was a great moment.
Then came time for the big reveal: the LEGO Friends-themed rooms at the new LEGOLAND Hotel, opening May 15 at LEGOLAND Resorts Florida features a bunk bed with trundle bed, easily accommodating up to three kids in a separate suite off the main room. As you can see below, kids love bunk beds!
Each room also features a flatscreen TV, LEGO Friends wallpaper and more brick-built elements, including a scaled-up pair of minifig binoculars and a LEGO Friends pet.
Here's LEGOLAND Resorts spokeswoman Julie Estrada with more:
And of course this would not be a LEGO event without... kids and adults building with LEGO bricks! Master Model Builder Gary McIntyre showed some tips and tricks and was nothing but a gracious host.
In all this was a fun, family-friendly event. Gary and his fellow LEGO staffers did a great job keeping both kids and parents busy, busting out small LEGO sets to build with and brick sculptures to inspire. Though all we saw was one room -- we do wish we'd gotten to see the other themed rooms at the hotel, including Pirates, Kingdom and Adventure motifs -- it was easy to imagine what families might experience at a LEGOLAND Resort.
A special thank you to Roland Alonzi from the Dalton Agency for the invitation, Julie Estrada from the LEGOLAND Resorts PR team; and to Master Model Builders Veronica from the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Westchester and Gary from LEGOLAND Resorts California (seen above, holding the brick-built NYCLUG logo!) for making this a memorable event!
For more information visit the official LEGOLAND Resorts Florida website -- and tell them Sid from BrickNerd.com sent you! ;-)