LEGOLAND castle smHow many bricks does it take to build the largest LEGOLAND park in the world? The answer will boggle the brain and stress out your calculator. Fifty six million LEGO bricks go into the rides and attractions, even trims and accents at this central Florida theme and water park – and millions more are about to be added.

Cartoon Network brings World of Chima to LEGOLAND

LEGOLAND Florida has 50 rides, shows and attractions, including Miniland with its hyper-detailed vignettes of Washington D.C., Las Vegas, the Daytona International Speedway, Kennedy Space Center and “Star Wars” episodes. Also in the park are the Historic Cypress Gardens – the ones planted originally back in 1936 at what became Florida’s first commercial tourist theme park. Pirates’ Cove, an updated holdover also from the park’s previous incarnation, carries on the tradition of the water ski show.

This summer, the boundaries of the park will expand by 2 million bricks: LEGO Legends of Chima debuts July 3, accompanied by a product line, interactive video games and apps, and a new animated television series presented by Cartoon Network. The only place on Earth where you can step into The World of Chima, it revolves around eight tribes of animal warriors entwined in a struggle between good and evil.

Legoland Jackson building guyThe attraction is sure to lure kids and their parents on a journey through the immersive, highly-interactive water ride called Quest for CHI in search of a mystical energy source. All will enter The World of Chima through a stone- and moss-covered entrance, which leads to the Lion Temple at the base of the 45-foot-tall floating Mount Cavora.

Join the Lion Tribe in a battle to recover the stolen CHI orbs. Board a watercraft and blast water cannons to help Laval the Lion Prince defeat Cragger the Crocodile King as he attempts to steal the precious supply of CHI. See Rhino Quarry, Raven’s Roost, Eagle’s Nest, Wolves Encampment, Gorilla Forest and Crocodile Swamp along the way.

Also part of The World of Chima are an action-packed Speedorz Arena where players build their own LEGO Speedorz and compete in challenges and obstacles; the new “LEGO Chima 4D Movie Xperience” that will zip viewers into the Land of Chima; and meet and greet sessions with Laval the Lion Prince and Cragger the Crocodile King.

Angry Birds take flight at Kennedy Space Center

KennSpaceCenter Red Planet smLEGOLAND Florida is not the only Orlando-area attraction with a new interactive, kid-pleasing world. The Angry Birds Space Encounter landed in Cape Canaveral at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in March. Slip through the wormhole to reach six interactive exhibits. Create your own Angry Bird, choosing from an array of body styles and accessories, and then print it out as a keepsake. Zap Space Pigs with an Eggsteroids Slingshot, launching mini Angry Birds at them while competing with other players. Solve the sliding Cold Cuts Tile Puzzle. Enter the Danger Zone with its mirrored labyrinth challenge.

Golden eggs anyone? Take the Red Planet Lazer Challenge and journey to the surface of the Red Planet in search of these mythical eggs. In the Angry Birds Game Zone, glean hints to zapping the pigs while playing the Angry Birds Space game in tournament.

In addition to the Angry Birds Space Encounter, the Visitor Complex plans in July to unveil a 90,000-square-foot home for the Space Shuttle Atlantis, which retired in 2011. Interactive features will reflect major accomplishments of the Space Shuttle Program, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station.

Take a vacation on your vacation

You could stay at a hotel near LEGOLAND Florida, but if you plan to avail yourself of other attractions in the area – and hope to engage in actual downtime – nirvana awaits at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate.

OMNI 15Located an easy 30 minutes from the park – and about the same from Orlando’s shops, restaurants and attractions – this lushly landscaped enclave offers beautiful rooms, a formal pool and cabanas with WiFi and flat screen TVs, 36 holes of championship golf and Leadbetter Golf Academy, a lazy river undulating beneath shading palm trees, zero entry pool with fountain and waterslide, Camp Omni kids’ program, and teen space and activities including spa treatments. Also onsite are six uniquely themed restaurants, a variety of boutiques, a fitness center and Mokara Spa –a swish respite away from the traffic and chaos associated with the theme parks.

Families can spread out in adjoining rooms featuring a king-bedded room connecting to one with two double queens. All beds have comfy pillow-top mattresses. If you book the Family Escape Package (see below), these room categories are combined at a discount. Other amenities are leather chairs and ottomans, flat screen TVs and mini refrigerators.

This resort also offers two- and three-bedroom villas with living space and private patio, kitchen amenities for in-room cooking, washer/dryer – and a nearby grocery store that services them. Villa guests have access to their own private pool, plus all the amenities at the main resort, including fitness center, daily housekeeping and room service.

If You Go

Kenn Space Center Danger ZoneKennedy Space Center, www.KennedySpaceCenter.com: Families can save 20 to 30 percent off the price of general admission, which includes the Angry Bird exhibition, through June 28, 2013: $80/party of 2; $112.50/party of 3; $140/party of 4. Tax is additional.

LEGOLAND Florida, www.LEGOLAND.com: A variety of ticket categories are available, including single, combo and Pick-A-Date tickets. Two VIP experiences are also available that include a personal park escort, behind-the-scenes tours, LEGO gift bag, lunch and more. See website for details.

Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, www.OmniHotels.com: LEGOLAND package includes accommodations, daily breakfast, LEGO gift and single-day park admission, from Front exterior day$319 per night. The “102 Days of Summer” package offers rates from $139/night, $102 resort credit (3-night minimum), through Sept. 2. The Orlando Family Escape, from $338, includes two guestrooms, breakfast in Trevi’s, unlimited golf on Champions 9, Omni Kids backpack and more. See website for details. NOTE: If you’d like a cabana – and with a chaise lounges, ceiling fans, refrigerator stocked with beverage of guest choice, fruit smoothies delivered to guests, plush robes, reading materials, who wouldn’t? – it is best to reserve one as soon as you’ve book your room.

www.VisitCentralFlorida.org; www.VisitOrlando.com