Legoland Billund Resort, the original Legoland park, opened on 7 June 1968 in Billund, Denmark. The park is located next to the original Lego factory and Billund Airport, Denmark's second-busiest airport. Over 1.9 million guests visited the park in 2011, and since the opening more than 50 million guests have visited the park. This makes Legoland the largest tourist attraction in Denmark outside Copenhagen. The Legoland parks that have since been built are modelled upon Legoland Billund, most noticeably the Miniland area, which is made up of millions of plastic Lego bricks.

 Entrance gates (1968)

The Lego company, led by Ole Kirk Christiansen, introduced plastic toys alongside their existing wooden toy line in 1949 after purchasing one of the first injection moulding machines in 1947.[1]: 10  One son, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen (GKC), was named the managing director of the family business in 1957 shortly before his father died and just two years later he bought out his three brothers.[1]: 20  In the 1960s, GKC decided to open a 14-acre (5.7 ha) Legoland Park adjacent to the Lego factory in Billund to promote his toy business; the factory itself was already drawing approximately 20,000 visitors per year by the mid-1960s, who came to view models produced for trade shows and shops.[1]: 49  [2] GKC hired Arnold Boutrop as the park's first general director and designer; after visiting Madurodam, the two men began finalizing plans for what would become Miniland, the main attraction of Legoland.[1]: 49  Dagny Holm, a cousin of GKC trained as a sculptor who was hired as a model designer in 1961[2] is credited with much of the original design and building of Miniland.[1]: 50  The park became an instant success, with 625,000 visitors in its first abbreviated season after opening on 7 June 1968.[1]: 56 

Over the years, Legoland Billund has added many original models and rides. The park, which has now been expanded to cover 45 acres (18 ha), is divided into nine themed areas, including Duplo Land, Imagination Zone, LEGOREDO Town, Adventure Land, Lego City, Knight's Kingdom, Mini Land, Pirate Land, and Polar Land.

 Miniland in Legoland Billund (1968)

Today, Legoland Billund is the most visited tourist attraction in Jutland and the third-most visited attraction in Denmark, after Tivoli Gardens and Dyrehavsbakken.[3] Several other Legolands have since been built in other parts of the world:

Legoland Windsor Resort (1996) Legoland California (1999) Legoland Deutschland Resort (2002) Legoland Florida (2011) Legoland Malaysia Resort (2012) Legoland Dubai Resort (2016) Legoland Japan Resort (2017) Legoland New York (2021) Legoland Korea Resort (2022)

The Blackstone Group, an investment firm, bought a 70% controlling stake in Legoland in 2005, with the remaining 30% still owned by Lego. The parks are operated by Merlin Entertainments.[4]

^ a b c d e f Herman, Sarah (2012). A Million Little Bricks: The Unofficial Illustrated History of the LEGO Phenomenon. New York City: Skyhorse Publishing. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-62087-054-9. Retrieved 6 May 2019. ^ a b "The first LEGOLAND® park". LEGO System A/S. Archived from the original on 6 May 2019. Retrieved 6 May 2019. ^ "Exploring Denmark: The Most Visited Tourist Attractions In The Country". World Atlas. 25 April 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2019. ^ Marriner, Cosima (13 July 2005). "US swoop takes Legoland under Merlin's wand". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
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