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Our family recently visited Legoland CA in Carlsbad near San Diego for the first time and we had a great time. Before going I had heard from a few people that it is a park geared for younger children and that you only need one day at the park. My boys are 10, 8, 6 and 2 and all love Lego’s so I thought they would be the perfect age. You can definitely see the park in one day if that is the only time you have, but if you have the time and your kids are into Lego’s then you can easily spend more than one day exploring different parts of the park. We didn’t even go to the Water Park and our tickets were for all 3 park attractions (Legoland, Waterpark and Sea Life Aquarium); next time we visit we definitely want to explore the Water Park. There are gaming stations and hands on activities throughout the park.

Be sure to arrive early! On the day we visited, the park technically did not open until 10 AM, but they opened the main gates at 9, this is great so you can spend some time shopping in the Big Shop which will hold your purchases for you so you do not have to carry your items around all day. You can also use this pre-park time to purchase your souvenir drink cup, and visit the photo center to pick up your photo pass wristband. You can browse some areas of the park, then they will officially open the ropes for attractions at 10 AM and you can hit the park ready to ride. Before you visit check the days of operation on their website.

The staff has name badges with mini-figures on them and you can bring your own mini-figures to trade with the staff. You can trade all day long, this is fun for the kids. Be sure to pick up your 1st Visit to Legoland Pins as well, a free souvenir!

My oldest son loves roller coasters, even though there were not many thrill rides, there were still rides he enjoyed, and plenty of other things to keep him entertained. His favorite rides were the Lego Technic Coaster, the Lego Ninjago Ride and Kid Power Tower. They do have a parent swap program if you have a little one who doesn’t meet a height requirement. Everyone in your party needs to be in line together, let the attendant know you have one person staying off with a little one, they will let everyone who just rode get back on with the parent that waited, which is nice for the older kids they get to ride back to back.

One thing that I loved about Legoland was there were so many interactive spots and play areas. This was great for my two year old if it was a ride he couldn’t ride; there was something nearby for him to do while we waited for the older kids. Having Lego building stations was also nice for the older kids while we waited in line helps cut down on the sibling spats. While we ordered the famous Apple Fries from Granny Apple, there was a building station nearby to keep the boys busy while we placed our order.

I was very impressed with the ‘extras’ at the park, Legoland has a lot more to offer than just rides, the 4-D Theater, the Factory Tour you can learn how Lego’s are made, the Adventure Club and so much more. There was a build your own boat station; there was a sand area where you could look for dinosaur bones near the dinosaur coaster ‘Coastersaurus’. My older boys even spent time there when the ride was finished and would have stayed longer if I would have let them. There is a small rock climbing wall near the new Ninjago ride.

Miniland was AMAZING, when we visited there was also Star Wars Miniland, my boys are Star Wars fans and they loved all the Star Wars Legos. I was in awe of the life-size creations that are constructed out of Legos. We could have spent more time in Miniland just admiring the artwork. There are Lego creations of Paris, New York City, Pier 39 in San Francisco, The Golden Gate Bridge, Las Vegas, too many more to name. Absolutely stunning!

The bathrooms were great, clean, colorful, and perfect for families. They even have Baby Care Centers with rocking chairs, microwave, bottle warmer, high chairs and changing tables. Perfect if you need a quiet space with a little one.

We purchased a souvenir cup with free refills, which was economical for our family but also the neat thing at Legoland is they have self-serve Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, there is a chip in your cup so you can go and refill on your own. Don’t send your child to refill though if they remove the cup before they fill up you then have to wait ten minutes before you can refill it again. Thankfully the staff at the food stand was happy to help us and refill our cup.

I loved the dining options they offered. There were spots to purchase theme park treats like churros and cotton candy. The churros with chocolate dipping sauce were delicious and only $5. There were a lot of healthy and fresh options as well. I ordered a steak sandwich at Fun Town’s Urban Kitchen. My sandwich was made right when I ordered it. In that same area, I ordered my kids a chicken tender kid’s meal. You can pick an apple sauce packet or fresh fruit as a side and a drink.

On their website Legoland does say outside coolers, food and beverages may not be brought into the Park. I had some small snack items (fruit snacks, pretzels and apple sauce squeeze packs) in my son’s diaper bag and had no problem bringing it in. I also saw more families with what looked like outside food in the park. I think if you bring in light items you should have no problem. We ate breakfast before we entered the park, had lunch in the park and with all the other goodies, churros, apple fries, ice cream treats, we did not eat dinner in the park. The day we visited the park closed at 6 PM.

We purchased the photo pass for only $35; I thought it is well worth it, I was pleasantly surprised at how many rides take your picture on the ride. These are great memories we will cherish forever. It was really easy to use, they give you a wristband once you enter the park at the photo center, then you scan your bar code on the wrist band anytime you want to save a picture to your account. As you get off an attraction many of the rides have monitors that show your picture, you touch the screen to select your picture then scan your bar code and the pictures are loaded on your account. There are photographers throughout the park to take your family picture which is nice so everyone in your party can be in the picture. I will say the photo quality wasn’t quite like the Disneyland PhotoPass quality but still the pictures are great, I would definitely purchase photo pass again.

I had matching shirts made for our family from a shop on Etsy, I loved the way they turned out. Having matching shirts makes it easy to keep your group together and also to see your group on an attraction or pick out your pictures after. We received so many compliments that we were the best dressed at Legoland. I highly recommend when visiting a theme park to wear matching shirts or matching colors, it makes traveling with little ones much easier.

Legoland CA also has an Aquarium, which we visited as we were leaving the park, and I am so glad we did. We entered from the Legoland Park side but they have a main entrance as well. It was very neat and again so thought out for all ages. There was a small climbing structure with slide perfect for my two year old. There were cut out windows and areas for the kids to crawl through. It was really neat to see Lego creations in the water. At the end the kids can touch and feel star fish and anemones. They take a picture as you near the end and you can purchase the two photos in a booklet of sea life facts. Since I had purchased the Legoland Photopass, I received a discount and only paid $10 for 2-8×10 photos and the booklet of our family. Great deal! They also have a cute café as you exit. We spent around two hours exploring the Sea Life Aquarium. If you are returning to Legoland be sure to get your hand stamped.

We did not stay at the Legoland Hotel this time but I had read on-line from another mom blogger to check out the lobby and fun elevators. So as we left Legoland and the Aquariaum we visited the hotel which is located next to the parks front gate. They also have a restaurant named Brick’s Family Restaurant that I have read great reviews on Yelp. When we went in there was a pirate show for kids going on in the lobby, it was cute. When you ride the elevator music plays and a small disco ball lights up, my boys thought it was neat. We were on the search for a whoopee cushion floor I had read about, well, it is right next to the elevator we totally missed it, had to go back and find it. In my mind I was picturing an actual whoopee cushion floor well it’s carpet with a whoopee cushion graphic, but when you jump on it, it does make sounds. My boys got a kick out of it.

Legoland has a lot of new things in the works like Surfers’ Cove in the water park opening Summer 2017 which will also have new Beach Street Tacos and there is a new hotel ‘Castle Hotel’ planned for 2018! If you have never visited Legoland, I recommend a visit and although you can visit the park and aquarium in one day, you could just as easily spend more time at the parks especially if you have a Lego fan in your family. My boys are already asking “when are we going back?”

Look for deals when purchasing your tickets, my boys receive the Lego magazine in the mail which usually has coupons for a free child admission with the purchase of an adult. I have seen Groupon deals for Legoland, CA and coupons at local fast food chains, so keep your eye out and on their website they have specials at different times.

I hope this will help you in planning your Legoland trip. I will tell you that we did not feel as exhausted at the end of the day as when we have visited Disneyland. I would have loved to enjoy the Waterpark, I don’t see how we could have done both on one day, which was okay with us since when we visited (even though it was June) it was overcast and too chilly for the water park.

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