Local government officials in Stafford, Virginia are in early talks with Merlin about a possible Legoland Theme Park. If built, it would be only the third Legoland park in the United States. The other parks are: Legoland California (Carlsbad, CA) and Legoland Florida (Winter Haven, FL). It is all very early . More here: Legoland Considers Building Theme Park in Stafford County
The proposed location is Centreport Parkway (exit 136) off of Interstate 95. The interchange was built to serve the small regional Stafford Airport. The proposed site is about 50 miles south of Washington D.C. and 60 miles north of Richmond, Virginia. This southern part of Stafford County is often lumped into the neighboring city of Fredericksburg as some addresses that are technically in Stafford County have Fredericksburg addresses. So don’t be surprised if you see it referenced as project for a Fredericksburg theme park.
I’m going to try to view this as objectively as possible, but I’m going to go ahead and include a disclaimer. Stafford is my hometown and the proposed location of the park is probably 15 minutes or so from where I grew up. I’m going to put on my journalist hat, even though I’m admittedly very excited that this is even being talked about.
Neighboring Parks & Competition: Kings Dominion, Six Flags America, & Busch Gardens
Those not familiar with Legoland, might wonder why they’d choose to build a park not too far from Kings Dominion (42 miles), Six Flags America (63 miles) and Busch Gardens Williamsburg (91 miles). I visited Legoland Florida last year with my wife and two young daughters and I can see how it’s a different kind of park. Legoland is aimed at children from 2 to 12.
With this specific demographic I think that the park would do just fine. You’re not going to find high-flying, sky-scraping thrill rides like Kings Dominion’s Intimidator 305 or end of the World, zombie-themed stand-up roller coasters like Six Flags America’s Apocalypse. Instead, the largest rides are junior roller coasters meant for the children and parents to ride together. The Florida park also had a collection of fun rides for kids I had never seen. Here’s a video showcasing some of Legoland Florida’s rides:
Traffic Might Be a Speed Bump for Legoland
Unlike Legoland Florida which certainly seemed far from a metropolitan area, this proposed site is in the southern end of the suburban sprawl surrounding the Washington DC metro area. Traffic is a very real concern for locals as this area has some of the worst traffic in the country. I haven’t lived in Virginia since 2007, but my family lives in Stafford. During rush hour, congestion runs south from Washington DC some 40-plus miles outside of the city. The proposed site would be inside of that traffic zone.
The Google map above shows evening traffic on a Monday at 5:30 PM. That yellow line is a head ache to thousands of commuters known as I-95 South. I would hope that local officials and Legoland can work together on some creative ways to lessen the impact on traffic that the park would have. The article mentioned that the park would be open from dusk until dawn, which makes sense given that it’s aimed at children. This might not be feasible, but what if the park’s hours were off-set from rush hour, say 10:30 AM to 7:30 PM.
Talks are still very early and Virginia has seen other proposed parks come and go over the years. Remember the proposed Disney’s America theme park or even the Military Theme Park? I’ll be posting updates as this story develops. For now though, leave your take below.
What’s Your Take?
What do you think of the proposed Virginia Legoland theme park? Do you think it would be a good area for a Legoland park? Have you been to a Legoland? Leave a comment below.