Saturday, January 16, 2010
20100116_cypress.pngAs we've discussed here before, Merlin Entertainments Group owns the LEGOLAND parks as well as London's Madame Tussauds waxworks, the London Eye ferris wheel and some other small attractions.

The investment arm of the Government of Dubai actually owns a 20% stake in Merlin Entertainments Group, too, but that's a side story (see LEGO, Merlin, And Dubai).

Anyway, it turns out Merlin just bought Florida's Cypress Gardens: "Legoland owner buys Cypress Gardens".

This matters to me because A) I like Floridian theme parks a whole bunch and B) Cypress Gardens is the sight of two of the cutest incidents from two of my favorite people.

I'll explain.

The first story is from my younger brother. He was six years old in February of 1984; while at Cypress Gardens on vacation he bought a fake mustache - one of those clip-on Halloween types that they made in the early 1980s. He wore it all day, assuming everyone would think he was a little man.

His dedication to the act was legendary:


The next is my wife, Liz. She was there even earlier in life, around 3 years old, and apparently she wouldn't leave one of the gardens because she loved a little Foo Dog statue. Thirty years later she still becomes wistful when she sees any little Chinese dog crockery.

Anyway, I'll be interesting to see what Merlin does with Cypress Gardens. Whatever the outcome, hopefully they won't remove the fake mustache shop or the cement foo dogs.

Oh, the other thing of note is that Merlin's parent company is Blackstone, a large large large investment company that also recently bought SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment (formerly Busch Entertainment) which owns the various Busch Gardens and SeaWorld parks and owns 1/2 of Universal Orlando Resort.

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posted by Josh at 9:13 AM |