Just when the final building blocks were coming together at LEGOLAND New York, the Hudson Valley theme park presses pause on its summertime opening.
The March 31 announcement comes in response to the COVID-19 crisis, which continues to spiderweb its way across the Hudson Valley. Although Governor Cuomo’s March 20 NYS on Pause mandate, which declares that 100 percent of the non-essential workforce must stay home, originally included certain construction projects on the list of essential businesses allowed to remain open, it placed them into the non-exempt category on March 29.
Because of this, construction at LEGOLAND New York in Goshen is now on halt until further notice from New York State.
“Nothing is more important to us than the health, safety, and security of our team, the partners we work with, and the communities we serve,” says LEGOLAND New York Resort Divisional Director Stephanie Johnson. “We are in an unprecedented situation that has affected businesses worldwide.”
The theme park will now debut sometime in 2021. An exact date has not yet been decided.
Scroll down to get a glimpse of what the park will look like when it does open.
Westchester’s about to get a major tourist destination nearby, and you won’t have to cross a pit of plastic bricks barefoot to get there, just a bridge.
Opening in spring of 2020, LEGOLAND New York is set to be the largest LEGO amusement park ever constructed. Unlike the completely indoor LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Yonkers, the new park will be spread over 150 acres (surrounded by another 150 acres of woodland) in Goshen just off Route 17. As construction ramps up, we were lucky enough to get an inside peek at what the massive resort will look like when completed.
Combining the most popular rides and attractions from LEGOLAND California and LEGOLAND Florida, the park will sport eight different themed lands for guests to explore spring through fall, as well as an on-site hotel of 250 brick-themed rooms open year-round.
Theme park zones will include:
The Factory, where the whole area appears to be made of LEGO bricks and features a ride designed to make you feel like/in-scale with a Minifgureâ€‹.
Bricktopia, where, unhindered by rules, guests can build anything they want, then test its functionality.
NINJAGO World, where ninjas can learn “Spinjutsu” at the training camp before taking on the Great Devourer in an interactive motion-sensing ride.
Heartlake City, home of the LEGO Friends, complete with outdoor performances, balloon rides, and LEGO’s famous Granny’s Apple Fries snack.
Knights’ Kingdom, complete with the LEGO Castle, junior Dragon Coaster, and Dragon Rider School where you can learn to fly with baby dragons.
LEGO City, where guests can learn to be firefighters at the Rescue Academy, earn their official LEGO City driver’s licenses, catch a film, or shop and dine at all the local businesses you’d expect in a vibrant urban space.
Pirate Shores is the place for landlubbers to get their sea legs amidst rolling storms and hungry sea monsters.
Miniland, lastly, will be an enormous 3D atlas of U.S. cities, rendered entirely in LEGO bricks and featuring tons of hidden gems and interactive features like moving subways.
“We’re excited to bring this unique family theme park to Goshen,” says Julie Estrada, Head of Public Relations North America for development company Merlin Entertainment. The location is “the first major theme park in decades to be built in the Northeast,” she says, “aiming to be the ultimate family destination for visitors from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and beyond.”
That “beyond” isn’t just hype: In addition to the on-site hotel, LEGOLAND New York will benefit from the nearby Stewart International Airport and a partnership with Shortline Coach USA, who announced they will offer direct bus service to the park from Port Authority Bus Terminal, meaning anyone flying into the city can be at the resort within about 90 minutes.
“By the time LEGOLAND New York opens, you’re going to see 6.5 million more visitors to the Hudson Valley than you do today,” says newly appointed LEGOLAND New York Public Relations Manager Matt Besterman.
Aside from the nearly 800 construction jobs needed for the $350 million project, LEGO expects the resort will create up to 1,300 jobs by the time it opens, including 500 each full-time and seasonal and an additional 300 seasonal positions.
LEGOLAND New York had a bumpy ride coming into existence, with local pushback from the town of Goshen on issues from environmental impacts to noise pollution. Yet conservation of the surrounding forests and new planting have been prominently touted by the Merlin Entertainment and LEGOLAND staff.
“By and large the response from everyone, especially the local community, has been extraordinarily positive,” says Besterman. “It’s time to get excited.”