“Every LEGOLAND park is designed for families with kids between two and 12,” says Adrian Jones, General Manager of LEGOLAND, FL. “We don’t try to be all things to all people and we don’t have gangs of teenagers running around. Instead, we make every effort to provide the absolute best experience for families with young children.” Recently, they opened an outdoor play area for toddlers.
That keen focus has led LEGOLAND Parks, owned by Merlin Entertainment USA, to seek better and better ways to serve parents’ needs while also entertaining their children. Most of the rides are interactive, such as Rescue Academy, in which the entire family rides a fire engine down a course, pumps water, puts out a fire and races to the next fire, competing with other families.
The rides are also perfect for younger “thrill-seekers.”
“We have ‘pink-knuckle rollercoasters,’” Jones says. “No white-knuckle rollercoasters. Children feel proud of themselves but they don’t go upside down.”
About two years ago, the company was seeking more ways to improve the family experience and they hosted a parent focus group. Jones describes the “lightbulb moment” that led to the creation of Tot Spots.
“One mom told us, ‘The biggest problem we have is that the older kids don’t want to go to Duplo Valley [the area for younger kids] and we have to split the family up to please everyone. Wouldn’t it be great if you had somewhere for younger siblings to play right next to the entrances of the bigger rides. Then a parent could play with the young sibling while the other family members ride without having to split the family up.’”
LEGOLAND executives knew they had just heard something important and immediately started planning. The result – two Tot Spot play areas next to two popular rides in LEGOLAND, FL – opened in March 2015. They feature PLAYTIME flooring, carpeting and soft play elements.
“We knew the PLAYTIME brand from shopping centers and we have been a fan of their play areas,” says Jones. “We asked PLAYTIME to design Duplo-branded play areas that could be themed to match the nearby rides.”
For example, one Tot Spot is next to the ride called “Flying School” and the play area features an aircraft and Lego-themed luggage.
“Working with PLAYTIME was fantastic,” says Jones. “The service you get before you build is very strong. The product itself is fantastic. They created an experience for toddlers that is quite magical but extremely safe.”
Jones says that LEGOLAND has received an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the play areas and plans to create more.
“Parents really do appreciate the thought that’s gone into them. The genius of Tot Spots is the placement and quality of products linked to the behavior of family units in theme parks.”
He adds, “We’re onto something!”