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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lego Builders Busy Creating Legoland Characters

Lego Builders Busy Creating Legoland Characters

WINTER HAVEN | At a "secret location" inside Legoland Florida, master model builders are snapping together what will eventually be 15,000 figures and objects made entirely of Lego bricks.

A WORKER puts pieces for a beard on one of the Lego characters created for Legoland Florida, scheduled to open in Winter Haven in October. A team of six builders is working in Winter Haven on many of the characters.
Legoland released video of the builders constructing a replica of the White House made entirely of Lego bricks. The scene includes miniature figures of President Barack Obama and his family on the White House porch.
The video clip also shows a row of children wearing goggles and rubber duck floaters around their middles and a tired old man in a Hawaiian shirt slumped on a bench.
Until recently, all the models for the Florida park were being made elsewhere. Pat Demaria, Lego model project manager, said a team of six is now toiling in Legoland Florida's model shop, working to prepare for the October opening of the attraction on the grounds of the former Cypress Gardens.
Models continue to be built at Legoland parks in California, England, Germany, Denmark and Malaysia.
Demaria said more than 50 million Lego bricks will be used at the park, and individual models weigh as much as 1 ton.
About two-thirds of those bricks are destined for Miniland, the centerpiece of all Legoland parks. Miniland will feature replicas of famous sites from Florida and throughout the United States.
Demaria said it took two employees in California about five weeks to create the replica White House containing nearly 50,000 bricks glued together.
"Imagine 50,000 bricks just in a pile in your living room," Demaria said.
Workers have already made about 150 oversized oranges from Lego bricks, Demaria said.
Demaria said model builders undergo 10 weeks of intensive training to learn about the 3,000 styles and colors of Lego bricks. All of the models are made entirely of the same bricks sold in stores, Demaria said, though some are reinforced with steel and some contain lighting or sound devices.
"One of our mottoes is, ‘If you had enough time and enough patience and enough Lego sets, you could build what we build,'" Demaria said.
Saturday is the final day to purchase tickets and passes at discounted prices. Tickets and passes may only be purchased online at www.legoland.com.
[ Gary White can be reached at gary.white@theledger.com or 863-802-7518. ]

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