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Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Greg2014-02-17 13:23:46

Greg
Winter Haven, Florida

Master Botanist
1449 Posts
I have it on very good authority that the Florida pool and the remainder of the gardens will reopen after a press event on March 5, 2014. I understand they will also have genuine Southern Belles there (no Lego!) dressed up!

So just a few more weeks to go. Looks like Legoland is living up to their end after all. You guys just needed some patience.
 
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I am Legoland Florida's most zealous advocate!
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Scott Eddy2014-02-19 00:51:01

Scott Eddy
Sarasota , Fl

Greenhorn
4 Posts
That is great news. Now Ed and a few others can relax.
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Greg2014-03-01 18:09:28

Greg
Winter Haven, Florida

Master Botanist
1449 Posts
Story on the Ledger (I've copied it here in case you can't read it.)

Ledger Story

Quote:

By Gary White
THE LEDGER
Published: Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:41 p.m.

WINTER HAVEN | Two of the most cherished features of the former Cypress Gardens attraction have been closed to the public since Legoland Florida opened at the site in 2011.

That is about to change. Legoland Florida is almost ready to unveil the newly restored Florida Pool and Oriental Gardens.

Legoland announced Friday that those previously closed sections will be open to visitors starting Thursday. The attraction plans to hold a media event Wednesday morning to present a first look at the two areas.

The Florida Pool, a peninsula-shaped reservoir bordering Lake Eloise, was built as a set for the 1953 Esther Williams movie "Easy To Love." The pool had suffered from years of deterioration before Legoland Florida acquired the property in 2010, and the approach to it had been fenced off.

A canal separates the Oriental Gardens from the Florida Pool.

"We are very excited to reopen two of the most beloved sections of Cypress Gardens, the Florida Pool and the Oriental Gardens, this upcoming week," Legoland Florida spokesman Chris Jones said. "Legoland Florida has paid careful attention to the two since the park's opening in 2011, restoring and preserving these iconic areas of the gardens nestled at the center of the park."

The original Cypress Gardens was one of Florida's earliest tourist attractions. Dick Pope Sr. began staging water-ski shows on Lake Eloise in the 1930s and created a botanical area intersected by canals and filled with flowering plants surrounding a banyan tree. Cypress Gardens gained national prominence, and many TV shows and movies were filmed at the attraction in the 1940s through the 1960s.

The name Cypress Gardens originally covered the entire 150-acre attraction. Legoland retained the name for the 30-acre botanical area in the heart of the property.

The botanical area is under consideration for a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The review board of the State Historic Preservation Office voted unanimously last week to forward the application to the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places in Washington, D.C. That office is part of the National Park Service.

Bob Gernert, recently retired executive director of the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce, assisted a state agency in preparing the application.

"I think this really makes the botanical gardens whole in terms of what the public can experience," Gernert said Friday. "Both of these are iconic parts of the botanical gardens, and I think the general public, especially the people in this area, are going to be very happy they can get in there and see both."

Gernert said the Florida Pool won't look quite like it did when constructed for the 1953 movie. It originally had a cracked tile deck in shades of turquoise and blue, but the deck crumbled over the years as the dirt around it settled.

Gernert said it would probably require a historic preservation grant to recreate the pool deck.

Legoland is currently closed on Wednesdays, making Thursday the first day the public will be able to see the restored areas.

The botanical gardens are protected under a 2004 transaction arranged by the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit conservation group. Polk County bought the gardens and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection bought a conservation easement that ensures the parcel will not be developed.

Polk County Attorney Michael Craig has said Legoland is obligated under the terms of the 2004 agreement to restore all areas of the botanical gardens and open them to visitors. Two additional areas, the French Garden and the Big Lagoon overlook, remain closed. Legoland Florida officials have not set a date for opening them.
 
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I am Legoland Florida's most zealous advocate!
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Coasterjunkie2014-03-02 08:32:33

Coasterjunkie
Orlando, FL

Ace Arcader
243 Posts
I'm glad to see that this is finally happening. 😊
 
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Life's a roller coaster, so enjoy it while you can with your hands high in the air.
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Greg2014-03-02 19:45:35

Greg
Winter Haven, Florida

Master Botanist
1449 Posts
The article states that the French Garden and the Big Lagoon overlook are still closed.

Is the French Garden the same as The Victorian Garden party?



What is the Big Lagoon overlook referring to? This?



???
 
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I am Legoland Florida's most zealous advocate!
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Sean2014-03-03 17:17:05

Sean

--Guest--
The French Garden was constructed in the 1980s and is a style of gardening that stresses symmetry and the principle of imposing order over nature. Here's a photo of what the French Garden looked like back in 1994:

When Kent purchased the park, he changed the design a bit and called it a Victorian Garden Party. Here's a photo that shows what it looked like in 2005:

The Big Lagoon Overlook is a short pathway that ends at a circular viewing area overlooking the Big Lagoon. Here's a photo that shows what it looked like in 2001:

There's no reason why these areas should remain fenced-off since it would only take a day to make them presentable to the public.
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Greg2014-03-03 20:56:32

Greg
Winter Haven, Florida

Master Botanist
1449 Posts
Ok, so the Lagoon overlook is what I thought it was. It's not fenced off - Legoman filmed some video there.

The French Gardens is viewable (in it's bad condition) but there is a fence to keep people from going in.

Those aren't biggies to me like the Florida Pool (and Oriental Gardens) are.
 
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I am Legoland Florida's most zealous advocate!
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Sean2014-03-04 16:52:29

Sean

--Guest--
No, the picture you showed isn't the Big Lagoon Overlook. The overlook is located on the other side of the canal and is still fenced-off. Legoland has a legal requirement to maintain all of the gardens...not just the prominent areas.
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Greg2014-03-05 08:54:11

Greg
Winter Haven, Florida

Master Botanist
1449 Posts
I understand the ceremony starts at 9:30 today... Check Bay News 9!
 
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I am Legoland Florida's most zealous advocate!
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Greg2014-03-05 13:24:01

Greg
Winter Haven, Florida

Master Botanist
1449 Posts
 
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I am Legoland Florida's most zealous advocate!
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Coasterjunkie2014-03-05 19:36:34

Coasterjunkie
Orlando, FL

Ace Arcader
243 Posts
Is it me or did they remove the water and fill in the pool?
 
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Life's a roller coaster, so enjoy it while you can with your hands high in the air.
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Greg2014-03-05 21:25:28

Greg
Winter Haven, Florida

Master Botanist
1449 Posts
Nope, just some water park bricks floating in it.

This video might be of interest:

At 1:44 Adrian is asked when the Canal boats will return. His response is "I think there's a lot of work we've gotta do on the canals in the future. We're very aware of our responsibility there. But I think that that is the next big project."

And later at 3:20: "The canals are the next area that we need to start doing in phases. That's a multimillion dollar project. The canals is the next job for us to look at."



So there's still hope for the boats returning!!!
 
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I am Legoland Florida's most zealous advocate!
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Sean2014-03-06 19:27:41

Sean

--Guest--
Greg, here's a vintage postcard that you might find interesting. The cicular area to the left of the bridge is where the lagoon overlook is located. To the right of the bridge is where the Legoman video was filmed (Legoland calls this a rest area now). The bridge linking these areas was removed by Anhueser-Busch in the early 1990s.
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Sean2014-03-08 19:56:23

Sean

--Guest--
After almost 4½ years, I finally got to visit the Florida Pool and Oriental Gardens! It’s great that the fences have been removed and guests can enjoy these iconic areas again. Here are some of my observations:

Florida Pool—the plantings along the pathway leading to the pool were neatly pruned and were pleasant to look at. Legoland recently added a nice wooden fence along the canal in this area to prevent kids from accidentally falling into the canal.

The pool itself looked surprisingly good…it was clean and outwardly appeared to be in great condition. They removed all the Lego blocks from the pool, as well as the Lego Southern Belles in front of the pool (those were just opening day publicity props).

One thing this area is lacking is signage explaining the significance of the pool…I’m sure some will be added later so guests aren’t left scratching their heads wondering why a funny-shaped pool was built on a lake.

If you walk to the far-right side of the pool (near the end of the panhandle), you can see a small section of the original tiling that had previously been obscured by weeds. If they ever try to restore the pool to its original condition, they could use this remnant tile to copy the original pattern.

Oriental Gardens—Like the Florida Pool pathway, a wooden fence had been built along the canal in this area for safety reasons (the fence was actually constructed last May). Not only does the new fence follow the canal, but it also continues along the water basin in front of the Buddha statue. The fence looks really good and its style fits in perfectly with the oriental theme of this area.

The Buddha statue was freshly painted and a small fountain was added to the water basin…it creates a perfect atmosphere for guests to sit back and relax. The plantings were also neatly pruned and the area looked to be in immaculate condition. I was very impressed with how nicely this area turned out!

The other fenced-off areas of the gardens (the French Garden and the Big Lagoon Overlook) remain closed. I hope the park will tend to these areas soon since there’s no valid reason to leave these areas neglected…especially after having 2½ years to tend to them. Other than that, the park has done a good job of restoring the historical gardens for guests to enjoy…check them out next time you visit the park.
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Greg2014-03-08 20:01:10

Greg
Winter Haven, Florida

Master Botanist
1449 Posts
Thanks for the review Sean. I haven't been in awhile... Waiting for an event like this to get me to renew my passes!

In the interview, Adrian said something about restoring the tile. I was surprised they have even entertained that thought. I still don't expect it to ever look as good as it originally did, but it's nice that they are aware that it's not as beautiful as it could be.

Also, Adrian said in the interview that they would eventually have some signage about the history of the pool. That's something we as fans need to keep watch on every so often to see if it's been added!

As for the Oriental Gardens... There is/was a small hut there that was particularly dangerous to stand on. Wondering if that had been fixed up?
 
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I am Legoland Florida's most zealous advocate!
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Jont2014-03-12 18:01:41

Jont

--Guest--
I'm glad that the florida shaped pool and the oriental gardens are now open to the public again. but I would like to see more pictures of these areas like the florida shaped pool and the oriental gardens.
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Ed2014-03-20 17:29:35

Ed
Merritt Island

Ski Star V
953 Posts
I will give them credit for finally acomplishing something after 2 1/2 years. To me it is not much to show for 2 1/2 years but at least they finally did re-open something. Give them another 5 or 10 years and they will accomplish what Kent did in less than 1 year after the gardens were overgrown for months and blasted by 3 hurricanes. I guess I need a great deal of patience and need to understand that "totally committed " to the historical gardens really means when they get around to it.

It is sad that interest in the historical gardens has diminished so much over the last 5 years. If it took Kent this long to reopen all the historical gardens there would have been a lot more noise about it. Guess more that use to actively support due to with memories related to the historical gardens die each year, the concept that sections will remain closed after 2 1/2 years becomes accepted, the historic gardens have not and will never be maintained to the standards of the past, and probably most of all the gardens are now attached to a children's park.

The reality is the future is in the children's park. With little active public interest in the historical gardens and with the related cost to maintain and open more sections - really can understand why Legoland drags their feet and the County goes along with it. Guess have to accept what is and realize there would be no historical gardens without Legoland. We all know that without Legoland the County would have done nothing to maintain the historical gardens. Guess part of what was and a far less spectacular of what was is better then nothing.
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Greg2014-03-21 13:29:58

Greg
Winter Haven, Florida

Master Botanist
1449 Posts
Ed, you keep repeating the same things over and over. What would you LIKE to see happen? Would you prefer the gardens be razed for more Legoland rides? Just lay it on the table.
 
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I am Legoland Florida's most zealous advocate!
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Ed2014-03-21 17:52:37

Ed
Merritt Island

Ski Star V
953 Posts
It has been 2 1/2 years and I would like to see Legoland finally live up to its historical garden hype and finally open all the historical gardens and maintain them to at least a bit higher standard. I'm tired of the game they play taking years to do a little something, call the press to show something is done (the only time LL ever mentions the historical gardens in public) then take years to do a little something more. Patience is one thing but enough is enough. Also would like the County to stop making excuses for LL. So I am all for the historical gardens and would like them completely opened and refurbished to a decent standard very soon. I am talking about the historical gardens, not the canal walls repaired and the boats brought back. I am realistic and don't expect that to happen in my lifetime if ever.

As to anything outside the historical canal area gardens - I would let LL use that land to expand their park AFTER they purchased it from the State and at least some of that money was used to help LL refurb and maintain the historical gardens with County oversight of those funds. No need for the State to preserve land that is not part of the historical gardens - especially since the public only has access via paid admission to LL. Plenty of already preserved public land and much more available for government purchase in Florida that would actually be accessible by the general public. Yes I know of the easements and conservation stuff - but the government can change what the government created (they did that for a couple of acres already). Plus with more land LL would generate even more tax dollars for the County and State. To me a win for both.

That is what I would like to see happen. If the above can't happen and the historical gardens turn into a LL "vision" that is neglected and never completed with the County looking the other way - then yes I would also be for selling that land to LL or just fencing the area off. Why? - because the concept of maintaining history to honor/save the past is meaningless if it is done poorly and becomes more of an insult to the past then a celebration of the past. Basically do it right, do it timely or don't do it at all.

That is putting it all on the table. I don't expect anyone to agree or disagee and I don't want to debate it - it is just my opinion as to what I would like. This time you can't blame me - you asked what I would LIKE to happen! I would also like anyone else to put it all on the table as to what they would LIKE related to the historical gardens or if they are simply content to patiently wait for whatever LL gets around to doing or not doing.

 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by jont2014-03-26 10:39:39

jont

--Guest--
i would really enjoy and like to see more pictures of the ester williams Florida shaped swimming pool and the oriental gardens areas on this website please.
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by Greg2014-03-26 21:29:09

Greg
Winter Haven, Florida

Master Botanist
1449 Posts
I was at the park today (it was crazy) and got photos of the pool and Oriental Gardens. I'll add those soon...

Edit: Ok, here are the Pool photos.

Florida Pool photos
 
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I am Legoland Florida's most zealous advocate!
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by jont2014-03-27 16:06:37

jont

--Guest--
i am really happy they open up the areas again. but one i thing i would really like to see Legoland fl to do is put a tile floor like on the original Florida shaped ester Williams swimming pool. i see that there are some bites of it left on the side but it would be nice if cypress gardens area got historical status on national register of historical places.and maybe they can a apply for state grants and then will put a tile floor around the florida shaped pool just like in the old postcard from the 1950's and 60's and in the old movies like easy to love. what do you thick that should happen to tiles on the Florida shaped pool
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by jont2015-03-05 10:06:38

jont

--Guest--
did you that today would mark one year ago today since they re-opened up the Florida shaped ester Williams swimming pool and the oriental gardens. but I wonder how much work they are going to do to the gardens in future like putting a piece of information talking about the gardens history or cleaning out the canals or putting a tile the Florida shaped pool.
 
re: Gardens & Florida Pool Reopening by jont2015-03-05 10:10:25

jont

--Guest--
did you that today would mark one year since they reopened the Florida shaped pool and oriental gardens. I wonder what future projects they have with the gardens in the future.
 



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