Cypress Gardens to Become Legoland Florida
Word leaked out Wednesday in an e-mail from a county tourism official to county commissioners ahead of today's scheduled news conference at Cypress Gardens.
Merlin Entertainments Group purchased the Winter Haven theme park from Land South Holdings earlier this month. Merlin, the world's second-largest owner of tourist attractions, currently operates four Legoland parks, three in Europe and one in California.
Mark Jackson, Polk County's director of tourism and sports marketing, disclosed in a memo to county commissioners that the company will transform Cypress Gardens into Legoland Florida. The commissioners are invited to today's Legoland announcement. All e-mails to county commissioners are available under Florida's public-records laws.
Jackson's e-mail, marked "confidential until Thursday," contained suggested talking points for local officials. His memo emphasized Merlin's stature in the tourism market and the commercial success of Legoland California.
Jackson declined to further comment when reached Wednesday afternoon. Julie Estrada, a spokeswoman for Merlin Entertainments Group, also declined to comment.