Merlin Entertainments is set to open a new Legoland theme park in Florida at the end of next year.
The entertainment company, which owns a number of major tourist attractions including the London Eye, is paying $22 million (approx £13.6 million) to acquire the 145-acre site located just half an hour from Orlando.
The Financial Times reports that this will be the fifth Legoland opened by the company worldwide, and is hoped to provide competition to the other major attractions in the popular family holiday destination – including Walt Disney World and Orlando Seaworld.
Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin owners Blackstone, said that the decision to set up in Orlando was natural, explaining: “We are following the market.
“This is an obvious place for us to be located.”
Mr Varney also observed that holidays in Florida have remained popular among international travellers across the decades, stating: “The Florida market, with the odd setback in the recession and after 9/11 has shown consistent growth for the past 25 years.”
Other Legoland parks are located in California, Denmark, Germany and the UK, and the company is hoping to acquire other sites worldwide as theme park owners are increasingly putting their sites on the market.
Mr Varney explained: “There will be more of these around. It is still a quite fragmented market. There are a lot of parks that are family-owned and there are some distressed corporates out there. From our perspective, a lot of these parks are under-managed.”