I am sorry, but Disney has the young kids and Universal has the older kids. Also, Disney seems to be the major reason why people come down to the area still too.
Disney is expensive and their rides are more suited for taller riders. There is little interactive exhibits designed for toddlers. The lines themselves are unsuitable for young kids. One hour waits are just ridiculous and cannot be good for screaming fickle kids. If your kids don't mind going on fewer rides and seeing more mature entertainment, then maybe Disney is alright.
I happen to think Legoland is probably better for the local market than the tourist market.
I don't understand why people think Disney is Universal's rival, or that Lego Land is out to steal Disney's guest or anything like that. Each park, from Busch, Seaworld, Disney, Universal to Old Towne have a niche. They do well enough without stealing people from the other, just like the attendance spike in IOA is not the same number of the decline in some of the Disney parks. In fact, it might be the opposite...if there is more reason to come to Florida, the more they all benefit.
That said, I'm worried for Legoland in Florida. I think it was a poor place to put a park when there is already so much competition in the area (Atlanta would have been an inspired choice). The US economy is going to be down for the foreseeable future with less middle-class Americans being able to take expensive vacations to Florida. And the local population is not the huge young family market that is in Southern California. In fact it's mostly old retirees who will have no use for the Legoland park except to take the grandkids when they visit every few years (if that). And European visitors already have three Legolands to visit so they won't need to visit this one. Mark my words, there's going to be a big shake-out in the Orlando theme park business in upcoming years. And either Legoland or Sea World will be the one big fall.... (I'm betting Sea World since Legoland is not as expensive to upkeep).
Legoland in the UK does extremely well from what I have heard. I went once when I was much younger with some younger children too and they loved it.
Has anyone ever seen the Lego shop empty in Downtown Disney?
Kennedy Space centre isnt near the other big theme parks but this still does well. (I know its a different audience and theme but its proof you dont need to be 'next door' to Disney.)
I think with the right advertising/promos it could do really well. Whether it will still be doing well in 20 years remains to be seen however...
Its never going to be competition for Disney/Universal/Seaworld but it will certainly do well from their attendance... but only if aforementioned promos get done right. Here in the UK, if you dont read TPI - you won't know about it.
It will be popular at first (I would think), but attendance will decline over time. I can't see a loyal following like the big two in Orlando have with season pass holders and on-site guests who visit the parks for a week at a time.
I'm doing two trips to Orlando next year and I probably won't bother. The reason is that ticket packages at the Big 3 Disney, Seaworld (Aquatica & BGT), and Universal Orlando have high upfront costs but makes additional days much cheaper.
So chances are I won't be paying much to add another day at these parks, while I would have to pay an additional high 1 day fee to go to Legoland. Most of the Orlando parks already have extensive kiddie rides and attractions, so it just isn't worth it to go there unless it was basically a free or low cost throw in for another park.
So if they gave $25 tickets for those that went to Seaworld or made it free for Seaworld season ticketholders, I would consider it. Both are owned by Blackstone but under different corporate entities. I know I would have never gone to Aquatica unless it was already part of my 1 week Seaworld pass, but that Aquatica add in was strong incentive to get the Seaworld 1 week pass.
Walt Disney World
Tokyo Disney Resort