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LEGOLAND vs Disneyland: Which is Better For Your Vacation?

In addition to sunny days, beautiful beaches, and a casual lifestyle, Southern California offers some great theme parks. Although it’s often overshadowed by the parks of Central Florida, there are also great options for family fun in Southern California.

When you are visiting the area, you can also combine a trip to LA or San Diego with a day or two at one of the theme parks. If you are traveling with younger kids, you may be wondering what would be best – LEGOLAND California, or Disneyland California.

Both are fun places that are great for families. However, there are some circumstances where one park may be better than the other.

Learn about what you’ll need to consider when evaluating LEGOLAND vs Disneyland.

Disclosure: We’ve received complimentary to both of these theme parks in the past. This post contains affiliate links and 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.

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Entrance to LEGOLAND California with ticket booths

LEGOLAND vs Disneyland: Which is Better For Your Vacation?

The bottom line: Both of these parks are so much fun and can be great for families. We would recommend LEGOLAND for families with younger kids but not older kids. Otherwise, we would recommend Disneyland.

Disneyland Considerations

Disneyland is a classic – the very first Disney park in the world and the only one that Walt Disney spent time in. While Disney’s California Adventure park does tend to be a little more focused on older kids, Disneyland Park is still an excellent place for young families.

Classic rides like it’s a small world, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, and Alice in Wonderland are just two of the attractions that are great for young kids. The recently renovated ToonTown is also perfect for families with younger kids. There are also lots of character greetings for kids who love Disney shows and movies.

Disneyland Castle from the side

In addition to Disneyland Park, there’s also Disney’s California Adventure, as well as Downtown Disney and three Disneyland hotels (the Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Resort, and Disney’s Pixar Place Hotel – formerly Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel). You’ll find more thrilling rides at California Adventure but will need a park hopper to go to both in one day.

Disneyland is expensive, and add-ons like the Park Hopper and Genie+ can make it even more expensive. But it’s also a bucket list-type trip. That’s a good reason to add some time at Disneyland to your Southern California family vacation.

While you can stay at Disneyland, you can also visit as part of a day trip from LA. It’s located in Anaheim, a suburb of Los Angeles. If you are staying in San Diego, you’ll want to spend at least one night in the Disneyland area.

Entrance to LEGOLAND hotel

LEGOLAND Considerations

LEGO bricks are universally beloved, so a theme park based on them is a great option for families. It offers over 60 rides, and the theme park suggests the best age range is 2-12.

During our visit to LEGOLAND California, our kids were on the upper edge of this range. We still loved our day at the park, but I could see that the rides would have been a little too young for them if they were a few years older. It’s best for families with little kids.

LEGOLAND California Resort also offers a SEA LIFE Aquarium, a water park, and two LEGO-themed hotels (LEGOLAND Hotel and LEGOLAND Castle Hotel) in addition to the LEGOLAND Park.

LEGOLAND California is located in Carlsbad, a suburb of San Diego. Carlsbad is a great place to stay, as is San Diego. It’s about 40 minutes from San Diego and well over two hours from Los Angeles. If you are vacationing in LA, you’ll really want to stay overnight in the area around LEGOLAND because it would be a long day trip.

Overall considerations

Unless you’ve got a very specific place you want to visit, or your kids have a favorite character/product, you’ll need to consider a few things when deciding whether to go to LEGOLAND or Disneyland. These include price, age range, and location.


The prices of LEGOLAND tickets vary depending on the date. For LEGOLAND, expect to pay in a range of $84 to $129 per day for a standard ticket when buying online, in advance. An advance purchase of parking at LEGOLAND is $34 per day.

LEGOLAND California is also included in the purchase of an all-inclusive pass from Go City. The cost of this Los Angeles pass starts at $279 but includes attractions for three days. See more and purchase here.

A base, one-day ticket to Disneyland (without park hopping to a second park), ranges from around $104 to $194. That does not include a purchase of Genie+. An advance purchase of parking at Disneyland is $35.

LEGOLAND California is a little less expensive overall. However, it’s probably not enough to really affect your decision, unless you’re planning on already purchasing an all-inclusive pass from Go City (which can be a great deal for your trip to LA).

Mr Toad statue

Age range

I think the age range of your kids is probably the biggest factor in choosing one park over the other. LEGOLAND is best for kids up to the age of 12. If you are traveling with older kids, they will probably not enjoy the rides and attractions at LEGOLAND as much as the ones at Disneyland.

It gets a little trickier to choose if you have younger kids. Disneyland, while not specifically focused on younger children, does have a lot to offer them.

Fantasyland in Disneyland Park, for instance, does have quite a few rides for younger kids. But, there are attractions in the park that younger kids won’t be able to ride. This can be good if you have kids in different age ranges, however.

Disneyland also has character greetings that some kids may love (and others may be afraid of).

Overall, this comes down to what types of things your kids like. If you are traveling exclusively with younger kids (who aren’t specifically Disney character fans), LEGOLAND may be the easier option.


To this East Coaster, I think location is the biggest factor you should consider. Anaheim and Carlsbad are hours apart, so you’ll need to think about where you’d prefer to vacation.

For Los Angeles-based vacations, Disneyland is closer. This type of vacation can include other theme parks (like Knotts Berry Farm and Universal Hollywood), as well as other touristy type tours of Hollywood. There are also nearby beaches.

San Diego, however, is much closer to LEGOLAND. In addition to that park, you can also visit the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, and the local beaches as part of a San Diego vacation.

Have you been to Disneyland Resort California or LEGOLAND California? Which is your favorite?

LEGOLAND Hotel entrance and Disneyland Castle

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