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Worried about unemployment, Haiti, Afghanistan? Put your worries aside – LegoLand is coming to Florida

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Governor Charlie Crist today joined Merlin Entertainments chief executive Nick Varney for the company’s announcement that they will open a LEGOLAND® family theme park at the 145-acre Cypress Gardens site in Winter Haven. Merlin recently purchased Cypress Gardens and expects LEGOLAND® Florida to open by late 2011.

“Today’s announcement is exciting news for Florida and the millions of people who visit our state each year,” said Governor Crist. “LEGOLAND® Florida will be an ideal combination of family fun and economic opportunity, beginning a new tradition on the historic Cypress Gardens site for generations of Floridians.”

Merlin plans to invest millions in its LEGOLAND® Florida site over the next five years. This plan is in line with the group’s “resort” strategy for its theme parks and is likely to include both accommodation and the addition of further branded attractions from the Merlin portfolio. In addition to the multi-million dollar investment, the Park is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs by its opening, as well as boosting the Florida economy through the use of local contractors for development. Read the rest of presser after the jump.“LEGOLAND® Florida will be one of the most exciting and important projects Merlin has ever developed,” said Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin Entertainments. “It is a unique opportunity for us. Florida is the biggest family tourist centre in the world. We have been looking for the right site for some time, and in Winter Haven we plan to create one of the best, and certainly most beautiful, theme parks in the world. LEGOLAND® California has already proven how much U.S. families love the unique LEGOLAND® concept. Now we are bringing that fun and experience to a much wider audience, the millions of U.S. and international visitors who come to Florida every year.”

LEGOLAND® Florida will be the biggest LEGOLAND® park ever opened and will offer a mix of more than 50 rides, shows and attractions, including LEGO models and other interactive elements. LEGOLAND® Florida will be the fifth LEGOLAND® opened worldwide. The only other LEGOLAND® in North America, LEGOLAND® California, was recently voted the country’s best children’s theme park by Amusement Today for the sixth consecutive year. Geared towards families with children between age two and 12, LEGOLAND® California is recognized as the fasted growing theme park in the United States.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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