Merlin Entertainments on Thursday began construction in China of a Legoland theme park and resort that it says will be the world’s largest.
The theme park resort on the Dapeng Peninsula, on the eastern edge of Southern Chinese mega-city Shenzhen, is set to cover 580,000 square meters and will cost $1.08 billion (RMB7 billion) to build. The park is due to open in 2024.
It will be exclusively operated by Merlin Entertainments, with Hazens Holdings as its local partner.
Aimed at children aged 2-12 and their families, the park is intended to cater for visitors looking for multi-day breaks. It will include nine themed areas and over 100 interactive rides, shows and attractions. The resort will also include the largest Legoland water park in China and three Legoland themed hotels, with over 1,000 Lego themed rooms.
The resort will integrate the history, culture and ecology of Shenzhen and China., and include technological innovations that reflect Shenzhen, which is home to many of China’s leading tech companies, including Tencent.
It will include a combination of indoor and outdoor play areas to account for the climate in Shenzhen. Miniland, one of the core areas of all Legoland parks, will be indoors to create a large, themed area with high-tech digital interactive experiences, while paying tribute to the beauty of Shenzhen and China through representative landmarks, cultural and everyday life scenes, executives said.
Merlin currently operates 13 Midway attractions in China, including three Legoland Discovery Centers, five Madame Tussauds wax museums, Sea Life Centers, The Dungeons, Peppa Pig World of Play and Little Big City in Beijing.
Merlin described the new resort as “the first international IP-based family entertainment theme park resort in the Greater Bay Area,” the part of southern China that includes Shenzhen, Hainan, and the two Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau. There has been a Hong Kong Disneyland since 2005 and Lionsgate is a partner in a movie-themed park in neighboring Zhuhai, which opened in June 2019.
“Construction of the world’s largest Legoland resort in Shenzhen marks a significant milestone for Merlin in China, reflecting the scale of opportunity in the country and our commitment to developing our business in China,” said Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin Entertainments.
The launch ceremony was attended by executives from Merlin and Hazens, local government officials and children. It was marked by the symbolic delivery of 20,000 Lego bricks.