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Legoland to reopen June 1, as 1st Central Florida theme park to get coronavirus plan approved

Orlando Sentinel logoOrlando Sentinel 5/22/2020 By Marco Santana, Orlando Sentinel
a group of people walking in the snow: Legoland in Winter Haven became the first theme park in Central Florida to have its reopening plan approved. The park will open June 1. © Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Orlando Sentinel/TNS Legoland in Winter Haven became the first theme park in Central Florida to have its reopening plan approved. The park will open June 1.

Legoland in Winter Haven became the first large theme park to win state approval to reopen June 1 with some safety precautions in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Among them are a 50% capacity limit along with temperature checks that would turn away any visitors who read 100.4 degrees or higher.

“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.

a couple of people that are standing in the living room: Legoland in Winter Haven became the first theme park in Central Florida to have its reopening plan approved. The park will open June 1. © Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Orlando Sentinel/TNS Legoland in Winter Haven became the first theme park in Central Florida to have its reopening plan approved. The park will open June 1.

Universal Studios has submitted reopening plans to Gov. Ron DeSantis, and SeaWorld is expected to file one soon with the goal of opening in June. Disney World has not yet said what it might petition the government to resume business.

The news came as the coronavirus death toll in Florida reached 2,190 on Friday, according to the Florida Department of Health.

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 pushed back indefinitely.

The theme park’s reputation took a hit earlier this month when its social media pages were bombarded with customer complaints that Legoland did not refund money for trips canceled after the park closed because of coronavirus in March. Legoland apologized for the slow response and said it was working to pay people.

The pandemic has stalled what had been years of expansion, during which the park became one of Polk County’s top businesses.

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 County.

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, the director of Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing, in the 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.”

Got a news tip? msantana@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5256; Twitter, @marcosantana

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©2020 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

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