With this year’s opening of LEGOLAND New York Resort and announcement of future resort enhancements across the California and Florida properties, Merlin Entertainments, a global leader in location-based family entertainment, has solidified its commitment to the U.S. market. With these expansions, Merlin, is well positioned to continue its growth across North America and has appointed Rex Jackson as the North America Regional Managing Director for LEGOLAND Resorts to lead the charge.
With LEGOLAND Resorts located in Florida, New York and California, the LEGOLAND brand has expanded to support a vacation destination message for travelers throughout the country. This newly formed role is designed to further establish the resorts as a top theme park brand in US households for their next family vacation.
Just this year, the company has already demonstrated a willingness to invest in the U.S. by opening its largest LEGOLAND Park, LEGOLAND New York, and its sister parks in Florida and California both celebrated new attraction openings. Merlin also announced that the world’s first Peppa Pig Theme Park will open in early 2022, just steps away from LEGOLAND Florida Resort.
Jackson, an award-winning executive who helped lead LEGOLAND Florida Resort from a single theme park into a multi-day vacation destination, will support the ongoing expansion of the Merlin Parks in North America, which include the three LEGOLAND Parks as well as the second-gate attractions and hotels in those resort locations.
With Jackson leading the strategic development of the national brands in the North America region, Stephanie Johnson and Kurt Stocks will maintain their divisional director roles LEGOLAND New York Resort and LEGOLAND California Resort, respectively.
Jackson joined LEGOLAND Florida Resort in 2014 as vice president of marketing and sales and ascended to his Resort President and General Manager role in August 2017. In addition to supporting the vision for all North American LEGOLAND Parks, Jackson will maintain responsibility for the day-to-day operation and strategic direction of the family-favorite Florida destination, which is celebrating its 10th birthday this October.
During the largest period of growth and expansion in its history, LEGOLAND Florida Resort rebranded itself as “built for kids to take the lead” under Jackson’s direction, capitalising on its unique position as a destination focused on the imagination and creativity of children in a region filled with some of the world’s most popular theme parks. Under Jackson’s leadership, the Florida Resort’s grew to include three onsite hotels in addition to its Theme Park and Water Park.
A Missouri native, Jackson earned his MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He began his career as brand manager with Procter & Gamble and then spent several years with Orlando-based Darden Restaurants as brand manager and marketing director of Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurant brands. During his previous career in marketing, Jackson’s work received numerous awards and accolades, including several Cannes Lions from the International Festival of Creativity in Cannes, France.