Official press release received from Legoland California media center
After nearly three years of planning and design, more than sixteen-thousand hours of creative artistry and more than two-million LEGO® bricks, LEGOLAND® California officially opened Miniland Las Vegas today. The family theme park in Carlsbad unveiled its largest Miniland expansion ever with the recreation of the fabulous Las Vegas Strip made entirely out of LEGO® brick. Miniland Las Vegas features the world-famous Strip including ten different hotel properties chosen for their unique architectural style. The hotels featured are the Luxor Las Vegas, New York, New York Hotel and Casino, Excalibur, Mirage, Treasure Island, Tropicana, MGM Grand, Venetian, Stratosphere tower and two iconic structures of Paris Las Vegas, the balloon sign and Eiffel Tower. "The Strip" at LEGOLAND also features a miniature wedding chapel, monorails and real life sounds recorded in Las Vegas. "Miniland is the heart of LEGOLAND California where kids and their families can see all that can be created with LEGO elements. As a visually stunning United States landmark, Las Vegas is a shining example of creativity and imagination," said President and General Manager John Jakobsen. "Las Vegas is recognizable around the world and we are excited to give our family visitors the chance to experience the city in a kid-friendly environment." At today’s grand opening ceremony, Jakobsen presented a check on behalf of LEGOLAND California to the Foundation for Positively Kids for $14,354.25 – the money was raised by auctioning off some former Park models for the first time ever on eBay. Positively Kids is a non-profit children’s charity in Las Vegas dedicated to developing services that provide comprehensive care for Nevada’s medically fragile and terminally ill children. Three-year old, Isabelle Bifulco, and her mother, Melissa, had the special honor of being the first to venture down LEGOLAND California’s version of Las Vegas Blvd. Isabelle was born at 33 weeks with IUGR (Inter-utero growth retardation) and has been a benefactor of Positively Kids since birth. Most children in her condition do not survive, but with the support of her family and Positively Kids, Isabelle is beating the odds. "This is an amazing time for Positively Kids. LEGOLAND has been an unexpected hero," said Fred Schultz, founder of Positively Kids. "It is very rewarding to know that a large organization like LEGOLAND has stepped forward to embrace a local non-profit when we know that their choices were many. The real benefactors are the children and the families we serve." In true Las Vegas fashion, LEGOLAND California’s own celebrity ventriloquist, Kevin Johnson, headlined the grand opening of Miniland Las Vegas. Johnson, most recently seen on "The Late Show with David Letterman" and "America’s Got Talent," performed along with Las Vegas cirque-style hand balancers, American Acrobats. Traditional show girls joined the troupe as Jakobsen and Schultz cut the ceremonial red ribbon in the front of "The Strip." The top pick in a poll of LEGOLAND guests, Miniland Las Vegas is designed to simulate the feeling of walking down Las Vegas Blvd. A blacktop street runs down the middle of the miniature city, starting below ground level. Guests walk down the path with models of the famous buildings rising above them on either side to create the feeling of walking next to the actual massive entertainment complexes. Miniland Las Vegas features a variety of whimsical and animated models that replicate scenes found in the actual city such as the battle of pirate ships in front of Treasure Island. Interactive features include an exploding volcano in front of the Mirage, fireboats squirting water in front of the New York, New York, and working versions of the thrill rides at the top of the Stratosphere. Models in the area range from the 20-foot-tall Stratosphere tower to the recognizable Sphinx in front of the Luxor hotel, made from 65,000 LEGO bricks. The largest Miniland hotel, the Venetian, is comprised of more than 20 individual models. Each Miniland Las Vegas building has amazing lighting and sound features, with many of them replicating the famous lights of the Nevada city. Las Vegas is one of seven geographical locations in Miniland U.S.A. recreated entirely of LEGO bricks. More than 24-million LEGO bricks create this attraction considered the heart of the Park.
(source: Legoland California official press release – March, 29 – 2007)