Officials say that on Thursday afternoon, Legoland Florida had to be evacuated after they received a bomb threat. Six hours and an exhausting search later, the Winter Haven Police Department gave the all-clear, announcing that no bomb has been found on the grounds.
The resort’s general manager, Adrian Jones, told the media that park officials had received an anonymous bomb threat a little before noon by way of a note placed inside the park. They made the quick decision to evacuate the park and it took a little over 20 minutes to accomplish the deed, reporting the bomb threat at 11:54 a.m. and managing to get all guests safely out of Legoland by 12:43 p.m. Jones said the decision was made “to evacuate our theme park and hotel according to our established safety protocols.”
Legoland is located about 50 miles southwest of Orlando. Winter Haven Deputy Police Chief David Brannan was the one who revealed that the note with the bomb threat was found on the Legoland park premises, as well as what exactly was written on the note. The park officials also declined to say exactly how many persons had to be evacuated from the hotel and 150-acre theme park, which was built to entertain children between the ages of 2-12. The Florida location is one of seven in the chain of Legoland theme parks around the world; its opening hours on Thursday was supposed to be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
When the guests had been cleared, Legoland advised the public about the bomb threat and responded by tweeting, “A bomb threat was discovered on our property. We have evacuated the theme park & hotel for the safety and security of guests and employees.”
The Orlando Sentinel wrote that Police K9 units from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Tampa Police Bomb Squad, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, officials from the state Fire Marshal’s Office, and also from the FBI, joined in the searching of the theme park for any possible bomb materials. All agencies reported that no explosive materials were found. The spokeswoman for the police department, Jamie Brown, said that fortunately there were no injuries reported in the evacuations as everyone remained calm and orderly.
Fernando Verrua, who is from Venezuela, and was visiting Legoland with his family, filmed the evacuation after the bomb threat was made.
The guests from the theme park had to leave the premises entirely while those who were staying at the hotel at Legoland were evacuated and asked to wait in the parking lot while the authorities searched the building and grounds. Adrian Jones had informed the public early on that the theme park would remain closed for the rest of the day while the Winter Haven Police Department conducted its investigations, but he also said that any requests by guests for ticket or hotel changes and refunds would be addressed through the Guest Services team and they can be contacted at LLF.Experience@Legoland.com.
The Legoland Florida Resort opened in 2011, and by 2015, when the 152-room hotel opened on the Winter Haven property, it quickly became a multi-day destination for family fun.
According to Click Orlando, shortly before 5 p.m. the park management “received the all-clear” from the police department and Legoland was opened once more. In the press conference held in the evening, Jones told the media that while the management for the park did not believe that the bomb threat was more than a hoax, they still had to take the situation seriously. All park operations will be resumed on Friday.
The police are still working to determine where exactly the bomb threat came from.
[Featured Image by Rob Hainer/Shutterstock]