Legoland California Resort has built a special Lego feature. The structure says a special thank you to those working in the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The feature boasts a white Lego background that starkly contrasts to text made from black bricks that reads ‘Thank You’. Accompanying the text is a yellow ribbon. The feature was made from 640 Lego bricks and is over three feet in length and two feet in height. The special Lego structure was made by model builder Tim Sams.

A number of Merlin Entertainments resorts, including Legoland Discovery Centres and Legoland Resorts, are sharing similar messages to show appreciation and thanks to those risking their lives by working on the frontline during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.



Merlin Entertainments is continuing to connect and stay in touch with families despite parks remaining closed and families having to stay at home during lockdown.

The ‘Making Magic with Merlin’ initiative involves bringing ‘Merlin Magic’ to homes everywhere.

By partnering with the online educational publishing house Twinkl, Merlin Entertainments is able to share content from Sea Life centres to families. Twinkl created a free Home Learning Hub that gives daily lessons to three to 16-year-olds in Britain.

The teaching experiences include behind-the-scenes looks at Sea Life attractions presented by Sea Life centre’s aquarium experts.

The Twinkl and Sea Life remote sessions will begin on May 1 and will involve informing children about what penguins eat. Sea Life’s penguin keepers will present the first session.

Attendees can also brighten up their day with a vibrant video background designed by the Aquarist team at Sea Life London. The video backgrounds can be downloaded for free. Among the most popular backgrounds are those that feature sea life and make it look like attendees are swimming with jellyfish or a sand tiger shark during their calls.



In response to the COVID0-19 pandemic, Merlin Entertainments is closing its theme parks and attractions in the UK for a temporary period.

The sites suspending operations include Legoland Windsor, Thorpe Park, Alton Towers and Chessington World of Adventures.

Legoland Windsor was closed on March 20 but the Legoland Windsor Resort Hotel will remain open for now.

The opening of Alton Towers, due on March 20, has been postponed until further notice.

In a statement, Merlin Entertainments said: While we have been looking forward to welcoming visitors this weekend, we believe that this decision is the right thing to protect the health and wellbeing of our employees and guests. Alton Towers Resort will remain closed until further notice.”

Chessington World of Adventure Resort closed on March 21. The resort announced: “We believe that this is the right decision to protect the health and wellbeing of our guests and staff.”

This season’s opening of Thorpe Park has also been postponed from March 21.



Merlin Entertainments has partnered with Entertainment One (eOne) to host a new PJ Masks marine-themed trail across 12 Sea Life venues in Britain.

Lining the trail will be artwork of underwater canals from PJ Masks shows. Costumed characters will also make an appearance, alongside a branded photo wall.

The PJ Masks themed trail will launch in Sea Life venues from February 2020, travelling between the centres throughout the year. PJ Masks products will also be available to purchase in gift shops at Sea Life centres.

Rebecca Harvey, EVP global brand and marketing, family and brands, commented on the new partnership: “Our latest partnership with Merlin Entertainments underlines our ongoing focus on live events and their ability to create unique touch-points for our brands.

“This exciting, interactive adventure will give fans around the world an unforgettable experience that will deepen their connection with PJ Masks and its heroic characters,” Harvey added.

Matthew Williams, senior brand director of Midway, Merlin Entertainments, said: “This is an amazing fit: fun and discovery are at the core of what we do at Merlin Entertainments and that is why PJ Masks is a perfect partner for us.

“The new trail will bring PJ Masks to life in a way that has never been done before. We are looking forward to bringing that magic to Sea Life,” Williams added.



Lego Factory Adventure, the first ride experience in the world to feature technology which turns visitors into Lego minifigures, is to be implemented into Legoland New York Resort, Holovis and ETF Ride Systems.

Using the world’s first on-ride tracking technology, Lego Factory Adventure will identify the characteristics of riders,  while mapping their position in the virtual space. It will then transform riders into Lego Minifigures.

Utilising motion tracking, the Lego Minifigures will be able to move as the guests move.

Legoland New York will be implementing this innovative technology. The new Legoland is opening on July 4, 2020 in Hudson Valley. With over 50 rides, attractions and shows stretching across 150 acres and seven themed lands, Legoland New York will be the largest Legoland ever built.

The news was revealed by Holovis and Merlin Entertainment at IAAPA Expo 2019 in Orlando.

Julie Estrada, head of PR North America for Merlin Entertainments said: “Merlin Entertainments continues to grow in North America with more than 30 attractions and is already pushing boundaries with the Lego Factory Adventure before Legoland New York even opens.

“Imagine traveling through a Lego Factory and suddenly seeing yourself as a Lego Minifigure! With vision in hand, we looked to two of the world’s leading developers, Holovis and ETF Ride Systems, to create this first of its kind dark ride experience.

“I can’t wait to see the looks on our guests’ faces when they experience it,” Estrada continued.

Peter Cliff, creative director at Holovis, a leading experience designer, shared his enthusiasm for the new technology: “At Holovis, we pride ourselves on the ability to own the entire technical experience, so the delivery of the Lego Factory Adventure is the perfect project for our turnkey, in-house capability,” said Cliff.

“Working alongside Merlin Entertainments, we have created the ultimate in on-ride guest personalisation and the ETF trackless motion vehicle integrates perfectly with the non-linear ride experience.

“The Lego Minifigure transformation is the textbook use for our HoloTrac technology, and since it’s completely invisible to the guest, the experience feels like real magic when the moment occurs,” Cliff added.

Lego Factory Adventure vehicles have been created by ride manufacturer, ETF Ride Systems. As guests spin in their vehicles, they will face a screen, where they will watch their vehicle turn into Lego as they transform into a Lego Minifigure.

Ruud Koppens, CEO of ETF Ride Systems, said: “The vehicle we created for the Lego Factory Adventure is meant to make guests feel as if they are a part of the automatic robot machinery that you would see in a Lego factory.

“We’ve never done this kind of ride before that is based on reality versus fantasy and we are very excited to work with Holovis and Merlin Entertainments to make this happen!”



Details have been announced about what the gateway welcoming visitors into Legoland Water Park at Gardaland will look like and where it can be found.

The gateway will be located in the area that is currently home to the Pala Magic Theatre, opposite the Raptor rollercoaster.

The entrance gateway will be 6.5m high and 13m wide and will loom above the waterpark. The imposing entrance will comprise of 400 “giant” Lego bricks, placed together to form an arch. Being made from blue and white Lego bricks, the archway will resemble a huge wave.

The entrance gateway, alongside other areas and attractions in the waterpark, will be decorated with one-of-a-kind Lego model constructions built with Lego bricks that symbolise different themes.

Luca Marigo, sales and marketing director of Gardaland. said:

“Good progress has been made on building the Lego Models, that will make the Legoland Water Park in Gardaland truly one of a kind- 240 models have been built with 3 million Lego bricks.

“One of these will be a large and friendly purple octopus made of 258,126 Lego bricks placed right at the entrance to the Water Park, ready to amaze all visitors as they arrive,” continued Marigo.

Karen Hornby, model delivery manager of Merlin Entertainments, elaborated on the detail of the Lego models. “There will be a grand total of 488 LEGO Models, specially designed for Gardaland and built in different parts of the world including the United States, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and Malaysia.

“The Gardaland LEGO Models, just like all models created for Legoland resorts worldwide, are very colourful, cheery and fun,” Hornby added.

Legoland Water Park in Gardaland is due to open in June 2020.



The opening date of the highly awaited Legoland New York Resort has been announced. Guests will be able to pour into what will be the world’s largest Legoland theme park on July 4, 2020.

Merlin Entertainments have revealed there will be a grand opening event on July 4, when the eight-land, 50-ride resort will open to the public.

The different themed lands at Legoland New York including Lego Ninjago World, Factory, Heartlake City, Bricktopia, Lego City, Knights’ Kingdom, Miniland and Pirate Shores.

Legoland New York is being constructed on a 500-acre site in the town of Goshen, around 60 miles from New York City.

As well as shows and attractions, the theme park will be home to a Legoland Hotel with 250 rooms.

Matt Besterman, PR manager of Legoland New York, spoke about some of the attractions that will be on offer at the new site. “Kids can celebrate their own independence by riding their first rollercoaster, the Dragon, or driving their first car at Legoland Driving School.

“We’re thrilled to invite families across the northeast, the country and the world to make our theme park a tradition for summer fun,” said Besterman.

Construction of the site is well underway, ready for the grand opening on July 4,2020. As John Ussher, senior divisional director of Legoland New York, noted: “This is a truly global effort, with thousands of people working together to build the ultimate Lego theme park destination here in the Hudson Valley.”



Merlin Entertainments has announced it has joined forces with Global Zhongjun Cultural Tourism Development, to build and operate a Legoland Resort in China’s Sichuan province.

Merlin will operate the new resort and Global Zhongjun will run the construction and infrastructure of the project.

Two themed hotels will feature at the resort, with approximately 500 rooms.

Nick Varney, Merlin Entertainments’ CEO, commented: “There’s no doubt that China represents a great opportunity for strong global brands.

“Having been active in China for over a decade, Merlin has gained critical insights into Chinese consumers and built a broad portfolio of Midway attractions within key cities.

“Leveraging this position, we’re delighted to be able to announce the development of a Legoland Park in Sichuan Province together with a strong partner in Global Zhongjun.

“It is an exciting prospect and a significant milestone in the expansion of the Legoland estate in China,” Varney added.

Merlin Entertainments’ chief development officer said: “Sichuan Province has a strong tradition of welcoming people from all over, which aligns closely to our values as a business.

“Within it, Chengdu, Meishan and the Tianfu New Area is developing at a rapid pace driven by investment, enterprise and, increasingly, its popularity as a tourist destination.

“Our partner is a leading developer of tourism in the region with a great track record in delivering scale projects, and we look forward to working with them and the local community to bring the Legoland Resort experience to guests in Western China.”

Legoland Sichuan is due to open in 2023. It will be Merlin Entertainment’s eleventh Lego-themed park and will be the biggest Legoland resort in the world.



Merlin Entertainments has announced two senior marketing appointments. Ash Tailor has been appointed as global brand director at Legoland and Matthew Williams has been appointed as global brand director at Midway Attractions.

Tailor will be responsible for nurturing global marketing and brand development at Legoland parks and Legoland Discovery Centres, overseeing brand strategy, product development and customer engagement.

Legoland’s new global brand director will also be the primary Merlin relationship partner with Lego Group.

Having worked with several high-profile brands, including Vodafone, Coca-Cola and Unilever, Tailor brings a wealth of experience in retail marketing and FMCG to Legoland.

Before joining Merlin, Tailor held the position of global category director at Britvic, leading the development and performance of the Kids Category.

At Midway Attractions, Matthew Williams will have the responsibility of setting and implementing brand strategies across the Sea Life Dungeons and Eye brands, placing the consumer at the core of brand development.

Williams will also be focused on delivering world-pioneering product and commercial activations and will also manage Midway’s global partnerships.

Like Tailor, Williams has a strong track record in retail and FMCG.  Before joining Merlin, Williams played a central role in developing growth at Costa Coffee, as both commercial and marketing director for the UK&I and as global brand and Insight director.

Both Tailor and Williams will begin their new roles in mid-September.

Mark Fisher, chief development officer of Merlin, spoke of the new appointments:

“The strength of our brands and how we develop our business to meet our ever increasing customer expectations are crucial to ensure our continued business success.

“Both Matthew and Ash bring with them enormous brand-building knowledge and marketing know-how from FMCG and retail sectors, which, with their great energy and customer obsession, will help us consistently deliver amazing experiences for our guests. I look forward to working with them.”



Merlin Entertainments has announced its performance results for 26 weeks ending June 29, 2019. Merlin’s CEO said that performance has been “broadly in line with our expectations.”

During the period, organic revenue grew by 6.5%, driven by like-for-like growth, a diversified portfolio and new openings.

The interim results report shows that Midway and Resort Theme Parks (RTP) are “returning to better levels of like-for-like growth, with improved cash generation.”

The opening of eight new Midway attractions, including Peppa Pig World of Play, has contributed positively to the growth in revenue.

Merlin Entertainments’ new accommodation also influenced the growth in organic revenue.

“With eight new Midway attractions opened in the period, 372 new accommodation rooms, and the ongoing development of new Legoland parks, we continue to build on our position as a unique, multi-format international operator of strongly branded and IP-led location based entertainment,” said Nick Varney, Merlin CEO.

On a less positive note, Merlin referred to sales at Legoland theme parks as “disappointing,” with like-for-like sales for the first half of 2019 falling by 0.7%.

The disappointing trading at Legoland resorts has been pinned on the result of the film, Lego Movie 2, which has made $191.3 million at the box office, significantly less than the first Lego movie, which $469.1 million.

As Varney commented:

“Although we enjoyed a strong Easter and Spring Break performance, trading since then has been affected by poor weather in May and June, difficult market conditions in a number of countries and limited momentum from ‘The Lego Movie 2’.”