Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Forget Disney—Inside Legoland’s Small-Town Strategy

Caught between wary locals and the big mouse, this amusement park wants to leverage both to build a national chain—brick by brick.

Inside a Goshen, N.Y., catering hall, a crowd of locals gathered last month, playing with miniature Lego blocks and posing with life-size brick characters. They were waiting to hear how a British company planned to build a huge amusement park in their midst.

When the well-coiffed representatives of London's Merlin Entertainments Plc appeared, they explained to the skeptical crowd why their small town, some 60 miles north of New York City and miles from mass transit, would be a great location for North America’s third Legoland, along with a Lego-themed aquarium and a Lego-themed hotel. At least one of the town’s denizens wasn’t swayed.