Merlin Entertainments Names Adrian Jones to Lead Midway North America Division

By | June 27, 2017

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Adrian Jones, the attractions industry veteran who led Legoland Florida Resort through nearly seven years of growth and expansion, has accepted a new role as divisional director of Midway North America, parent company Merlin Entertainments Group announced.

Jones will be responsible for a rapidly expanding portfolio of two dozen U.S. and Canadian attractions that include iconic brands such as Madame Tussauds, SEA LIFE Aquarium and Legoland Discovery Center.

Named general manager of the future Legoland Florida in August 2010, Jones oversaw a dramatic transformation of the former Cypress Gardens site into the globe’s fifth Legoland theme park, which opened to enthusiastic crowds Oct. 15, 2011.

Under his leadership, what started as a single theme park quickly expanded into a multi-day vacation destination that now boasts more than 50 rides, shows and attractions, with additions that have included Legoland Water Park (May 2012) and Lego Ninjago World (January 2017). In May 2015, the resort opened the 152-room Legoland Hotel, and in April 2017, added the 166-room Legoland Beach Retreat, a village-style site unique to the now eight Legoland resorts worldwide.

The resort’s swift success and steady growth drew strong praise from The Ledger in an August 2016 editorial published by the Lakeland, Fla., newspaper:

“Given where [Legoland] was when it opened five years ago, and especially sitting in the shadows of some of the best known theme parks and tourist magnets in the world, the transformation of the old Cypress Gardens property under [parent company] Merlin Entertainments’ guidance has been nothing short of astonishing.”

During his years in Winter Haven, Jones was lauded for his strong support of Polk County and the Central Florida attractions industry, a commitment that will continue under his successor.

In a three-decade career with UK-based Merlin Entertainments, Jones previously served as divisional director of Midway Attractions in the western United States, where in 2008 he opened Legoland Discovery Center near Chicago, Ill., the first in North America; and in 2009, Madame Tussauds Hollywood, the first of the premier celebrity wax attractions to be built from the ground up in 200 years. His varied roles have included general manager, marketing event coordinator, business development sales and sponsorship manager.

Jones received a bachelor’s degree in industrial management from England’s Nottingham Trent University and has lived in the United States since 2004.

A start date for Jones’ Midway North America role will be set once a successor has been confirmed for his current role as divisional director of Legoland Florida Resort.