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Saying Ahoy to a New Pirate Quest at Legoland Florida
Talley Amusements
Rides 4U - New & Used Rides
Legoland Florida has just opened its new Pirate River Quest boat ride attraction in January. Delayed from opening late last year due to highly inclement weather – Hurricane Ian's landfall – guests can now finally ride on boats driven by captains through the passages of Cypress Gardens and Lake Eloise.

The journey takes riders along on an attempt to find the “lost treasure of Captain Redbeard.” Along the way, guests will find Lego pirates, adorably misbehaving monkeys, and a Kraken for good measure.

Along with the ride's opening, beginning on January 21st, Legoland has begun hosting Pirate Fest Weekends. These run for five weeks, through the weekend of February 18th.  The special weekends will offer pirate character meet and greet opportunities, pirate-themed entertainment options, and special food and beverage choices as well as pirate-themed Lego builds. They also make a splashy start to saying “ahoy” to the new ride. The ride and the themed weekends are both an outgrowth of Legoland parks' pirate themes, which began back in 1989.

Some of the special events scheduled for pirate weekends include a pirate dance event called Swashbuckler Shindig, and a returning musical called Treasure Behold. Another entertainment option is the Academy of Arrgh! where kids can enjoy learning all about pirate ways – and ways of speaking. The meet and greet visits include characters such as Captain Redbeard, Pirate Captain, Pirate Princess and Zombie Pirate. And when it comes to food, guests can enjoy special treats such as the Walk the Plank Pork Sandwich. There's a mini-land pirate parade, too.

And kids can collect a series of pirate stamps throughout these special weekends, receiving a prize upon collection of all the stamps.

The 150-acre Legoland Florida houses over 50 rides in all, plus a water park, as well as hotels and the young-child-focused Peppa Pig Theme Park.

The new pirate ride entails sailing with a “rowdy crew of LEGO pirates on Captain's orders to explore the murky waters and retrieve the lost treasure, stolen by a troop of mischievous monkeys,” according to the park's website.

Guests travel through Cypress Gardens on an extensive 20-minute family-friendly journey as well as joining in on what the website calls a “brick by brick family-friendly treasure hunt.”



Passing through the historic Cypress Garden canals is an adventure itself, according to Legoland Florida's managing director Rex Jackson. He describes the experience as “multi-generational.” The gardens were originally a botanic garden which opened in the 1930s. Visitors could traverse the canals on electric boats.

The garden was considered one of the state's earliest tourist attractions. While the Pirate River Quest traverses most of the original Cypress Gardens canal route along the lake, the attraction is no simple float through the tropical landscape. It features a lively pirate story that kids and adults should both enjoy, Jackson attests, and one that will draw thousands of guests to the garden area that has long been a less utilized area of Legoland, Fla.

Included with park admission, the ride was created for all ages – as is the wont with most of Legoland's attractions. The ride isn't scary and will not soak guests, however kids under six must wear a life vest, which will be offered at the entrance to the ride. Kids must also sit in the middle of the boat, not on the outside of each row. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an responsible adult responsible. Each boat carries up to 12 passengers, but has a weight limit for added safety. And all passengers must remain seated as they help to count jewels and assist in a search for gold bricks that are coveted by the pirate crew.

Restoring the canals has been a priority for Legoland, Jackson says, noting that the park has maintained the gardens' walking paths since 2011.
The new attraction, along with being a fun new addition for guests, is also a way to continue and expand the preservation of the botanical gardens for the community of Winter Haven, where the park is located. Guests can still simply walk through the beautiful gardens themselves, which are listed on the Historical Registry. As to the ride, enjoying a trip through a natural environment is a somewhat unheard-of experience for theme park visitors, and Legoland is happy to be providing it for park visitors.



The trackless ride is not designed as a thrill ride, but rather as a fun adventure. It's operated by an experienced captain, skilled at maneuvering through the canals.

Jackson notes that the ride offers a look at Florida wildlife, both flora and fauna. “We have a lot of tourists who come from outside of Florida and as part of Pirate River Quest, you are getting to see the cypress trees, the osprey, the egrets.”

Guests enter the ride next to the Cypress Gardens walking path entrance and the Brickbeard Watersport Stunt Show.

The boats themselves are named to pay homage to Cypress Gardens' history and that of Lego itself, with names such as Pope's Plunder, which refers to Dick and Julie Pope who founded the gardens, and Kristiansen's Ketch, a tribute to the Lego group founder, Ole Kirk Kristiansen.

In short, it's time to give a hearty ahoy to the pirate ride, the history of Cypress Gardens, and the view of the natural landscape that the new ride includes.
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