Earlier Friday, Legoland had announced its plan and re- opening date. Which has received the blessings of local governments. But under DeSantis’ reopening rules, the state also must sign off before it can go into effect. And LegoLand apparently did not have that approval.
Helen Ferre, spokeswoman for Gov. Ron DeSantis, told the Orlando Sentinel that the only major theme park to receive approval to reopen on Friday was Universal Studios in Orlando.
A Legoland spokeswoman said company officials had been under the impression that the plan was approved until a reporter called to inform them otherwise. Rex Jackson general manager for Legoland spent Friday evening trying to track down state officials for clarification, the spokeswoman said.
“As part of Merlin Entertainments, our leaders across the globe have been sharing best practices daily, and we’ve been able to apply what we’ve learned from other successful Merlin attraction reopenings to be confident with our resort’s reopening plan,” said general manager Rex Jackson in the release, adding that the theme park also received guidance from AdventHealth officials.
The pandemic has affected Legoland as severely as any theme park in the region, with the expected April debut of a third on-site hotel postponed.
In addition, park took a hit earlier this month when its social media pages were bombarded with customer complaints. These clients claimed Legoland did not refund money for trips canceled after the park closed. Legoland apologized for the slow response and said it was working to pay people.
County leaders said its reopening will help the region rebound as tourists and workers return to the community. Tourism employs 21,000 people in Polk.
Legoland is “the largest and most powerful economic engine we have to get our citizens back to work and the wheels of commerce moving again,” said Mark Jackson, director of Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing, in a news release. “It’s one thing to bring more money into our community, it’s another to spend, or recirculate, those new dollars. Legoland and the rest of the tourism industry do both.”