A bomb threat caused a total evacuation Thursday at Legoland Florida Resort. Winter Haven Deputy Police Chief, David Brannan, said officials found an anonymous note inside the park just before noon, but he declined to clarify the exact message, according to Orlando Sentinel. The threat turned out to be a hoax. Police said no explosives were found and gave the all clear at the amusement park and hotel around 5 p.m. local time (2100 GMT).
The Winter Haven Police Department said all guests were evacuated within twenty minutes, according to Reuters. It remains unknown how many people were in the compound at the time of the evacuation, but no injuries were reported. Because it was already closed on Thursday, Legoland’s Water Park was not affected by the bomb threat and the evacuation.
The FBI and police K9s from several agencies searched for any possible bomb material. Police spokeswoman Jamie Brown told reporters in a phone interview that dogs cleared every inch of the park. The department said in a statement that they don’t consider bomb hoaxes as “a joke,” which is why the investigation will continue.
Visitors were asked to leave the compound entirely whereas hotel guests were invited to wait in the parking lot until the search in the building was completed. The latter were allowed to go back to the 152-room hotel shortly after 5 p.m. The park is expected to reopen Friday morning on its regular schedule.
Adrian Jones, general manager of Legoland Florida Resort, said in a statement that park officials take all threats seriously and that they decided to evacuate at the advice of law enforcement based on their safety protocols.
“We’ll work with all guests to address any requests for ticket or hotel changes and refunds,” Jones declared, as quoted by Orlando Sentinel.
The park is offering refunds to guests who were asked to leave. In case they want to request any refunds, need assistance with tickets or hotel reservations, they can contact Guest Services at LLF.Experience@Legoland.com.
Owned by Merlin Entertainments (MERL.L), the amusement park is one of seven parks in the chain of Legoland parks around the world. The 150-acre park designed for children ages 2-12 opened in October 2011 in a complex located between Tampa and Orlando in Central Florida. The resort also includes several restaurants and a water park. The hotel opened in May last year.
A new 24-acre hotel property named Legoland Beach Retreat is set to open in mid-2017 at the Florida complex and a new theme park land, Lego Ninjago World, is also expected to join the current attractions.