LEGO bricks are a toy that seems to transcend age. Kids love them when they are younger, but don’t seem to outgrow them as quickly as other toys. So, it makes perfect sense that a theme park filled with rides, shows, and attractions based on LEGO would definitely appeal to kids of all ages.
If you are visiting the Southern California area and have younger kids, you may consider a trip to LEGOLAND California, a park that is most appropriate for families with children aged 2-12. The resort features a theme park, two resort hotels, a water park, and an aquarium. If you’ve got children within that age range, it’s definitely worth a visit. Older kids may still have fun but might find some of the attractions less than thrilling.
Disclosure: We received complimentary tickets to LEGOLAND during our Southern California vacation. This post contains affiliate links. A purchase/click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.
Save money on your LEGOLAND California tickets and your Southern California vacation by booking through Get Away Today. You can also save $10 on your Southern California vacation of 2 days or more with the code FTM10.
Family Fun at LEGOLAND California Resort
Location of LEGOLAND California Resort
Located about 45 minutes from downtown San Diego (where you’ll find lots of activities like the San Diego Zoo) and about an hour and ten minutes from Anaheim (home of Disneyland), LEGOLAND is in the seaside town of Carlsbad, CA. You can easily stay in one of these locations and drive in for the day.
However, Carlsbad itself is also a beautiful town to stay in, and the resort itself offers two LEGO-themed hotels. In addition to LEGOLAND, Carlsbad has beaches, the Carlsbad Premium Outlets, the Carlsabad Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch, and much more.
Tickets at LEGOLAND California
Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the gate. Buying online may result in some savings. If you purchase a dated ticket, you won’t need a park reservation, but open-dated tickets do require a reservation. If you need an advanced reservation, make sure you do that well in advance.
Ticket options include the following but are always subject to change:
- Standard ticket to one park
- Hopper including tickets to LEGOLAND park and the SEA LIFE Aquarium (2 days)
- Resort hopper including tickets to LEGOLAND park, SEA LIFE Aquarium, and the LEGOLAND water park (2 days)
- Annual passes are also offered
If you are planning to stay at the hotel, there are also packages that include a stay at the hotel and tickets to the parks.
There are additional add-ons that you can purchase to enhance your stay. These include the Reserve ‘N’ Ride option, where you can save time waiting in lines. There’s also the digital photo pass, VIP experiences, and cabanas at the water park.
Other options are offered, including visit-anytime tickets.
If you purchase your tickets through Get Away Today, you can also purchase a bundle that includes tickets to Disneyland and/or SeaWorld.
Attractions at LEGOLAND California
My kids were so excited to see all of the attractions at LEGOLAND California. With bright primary colors and a bold design, these rides are definitely striking. Since I visited with tweens, we headed to the rides that were most appropriate for that age range. Here are some of the standouts:
Bionicle Blaster: A spinning ride that goes faster as you spin it more. Since my husband and I don’t love spinning, we let the kids go on this alone. Kids do have to be a certain age/height to go on alone.
Coastersaurus: This coaster is a popular ride, so you should definitely head there early in your visit so the lines aren’t too long.
The Dragon: Another coaster, this one goes inside and outside. It is also very popular – we ended up waiting in line the longest for this attraction.
Lost Kingdom Adventure: Try your hand at a battle on this mild ride.
Coast Cruise: Take a gentle boat ride to see the LEGO models of Miniland USA.
Kid Power Tower: Ride to the top and then back down in this fun ride located in the Fun Town section of the park.
LEGO Technic Coaster: One of the “thrill rides” at the park, this is definitely best for the older end of the LEGOLAND age range.
There are loads of other rides, experiences, and live entertainment as well. These include the LEGO City Deep Sea Adventure, LEGO Ninjago the Ride, the LEGO Movie 2 Experience, LEGO Star Wars, and the LEGOLAND Express.
Younger kids will have their choice of some fun mild rides, including Mia’s Riding Camp, the Royal Joust, Fairy Tale Brook, and Cargo Ace.
Since our last visit, there have been some upgrades and new attractions. One of these is the LEGO City Deep Sea Adventure, which opened. This underwater submarine lets you see real sea life during your experience. There’s also the LEGO Ferrari Build & Race experience where you can build a car, choose a mini figure, and watch it race other vehicles.
There’s also new land, called the LEGO Movie World. It includes several new rides and character interactions.
LEGOLAND also features a number of family-friendly shows and other experiences. These include LEGO character interactions, the Birthday Dance Party, and the LEGO Friends: Better Together show. You can find the schedule and location of these activities once you arrive at the park for the day. In addition, there are also special LEGO events, such as the Brick or Treat Event.
Food at LEGOLAND California – Dining Options
You are likely to spend at least one full day at the park, so you’ll definitely need to eat while you are there. The park offers lots of cuisine options, including pizza, BBQ, burgers, crepes, and pasta.
For our lunch during our visit, we decided to eat at the Wok N Bowl Ramen, located in the LEGO Friends Heartlake City part of the park. This restaurant offers ramen and stir fry, so the kids, my husband, and I were all able to find things we enjoyed. I’d definitely recommend eating there – it’s very different from the usual theme park fare.
If it’s especially busy, you may want to take advantage of the mobile ordering option at the Burger Stop and Castle Burgers.
During your visit, you’ll also want to try their signature treat, apple fries. You can get them at Granny’s Apple Fries, and they are absolutely delicious!
LEGOLAND Water Park
In addition to the regular LEGOLAND California park, you may also consider visiting the LEGOLAND water park, located adjacent to the theme park. The water park includes the standard water park, as well as the Legends of Chima-themed LEGO Chima water park.
These parks offer traditional water slides, a wave pool, splash areas, a soaking area, a raft ride, a flume ride, and more. The regular water park usually opens in the spring, while the LEGO Chima water park opens for the season in the summer.
You’ll need to purchase separate tickets for the water park or get a pass that includes both the theme park and the water park.
SEA LIFE Aquarium
There’s also a SEA LIFE Aquarium that is located right on the property, where you can see live sea creatures. Tickets for SEA LIFE can be purchased separately, or as part of a pass with the other park(s).
When purchasing individual SEA LIFE tickets online, you can either get a flexible ticket or a ticket for a specific date. You’ll definitely want to know when you are visiting if purchasing one of these dated tickets.
The aquarium includes 16 individual exhibits, including the Sea at Night. While we didn’t visit SEA LIFE during this visit, I’ve been to the one in Phoenix before a few times and enjoyed it. It’s especially good for younger kids as one of their first introductions to sea life.
In my experience, SEA LIFE can generally be explored in about two hours, so you can do something else on the day of your visit. I’d probably consider purchasing the two-day hopper ticket, especially if you are staying at one of the hotels.
Where to Stay at LEGOLAND California
When visiting LEGOLAND, you’ll have lots of options for where to stay. During our trip, we stayed in San Diego, and drove up for the day. But Carlsbad is so beautiful, so you may enjoy spending a few days there. Some hotels that you may consider are (note that I’ve stayed at the first two of these resorts at no cost in the past):
- Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad – this popular hotel chain offers a location across the street from the beach.
- Park Hyatt Aviara Resort – If you’d like to stay at a higher-end resort, this one is absolutely beautiful.
- West Inn and Suites Carlsbad
- Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort
There are also two LEGO-themed hotels on property. While we didn’t stay at either of these two, I did walk through the LEGOLAND Hotel during my visit.
The LEGOLAND hotel offers theme rooms (Pirate rooms, Kingdom rooms, Adventure rooms, LEGO NINJAGO rooms, or LEGO Friends guest rooms). Hotels guests receive free access to the breakfast buffet at the restaurant and early access to the park.
During my brief walk through the park, I was so impressed with how thorough the theme is. The hotel is so bright and colorful, and incredibly kid-friendly. Any LEGO-loving child would absolutely love to stay there, and it’s a great way to really bring even more magic to your LEGOLAND vacation.
LEGOLAND Castle Hotel
The LEGOLAND Castle Hotel is the newer one on the property. This hotel is completely castle themed, with themed rooms (Knights and Dragons, Royal Princess, or Magic Wizard rooms) that fit right in. Rooms at the hotel offer a separate little area for kids. Guests receive a free buffet breakfast and early park access.
To learn more about LEGOLAND California Resort, visit their website.