Legoland California is one of the six Legoland parks in the world. If you’re wondering, the other 5 are in: Malaysia, Windsor (England), Florida, Germany and the original one in Denmark which was originally built in 1968.Future Legoland resorts are also scheduled to open in Japan, Korea and Dubai. There is a Wikipedia entry to the Legoland page that there is one coming to Clark, Pampanga but unless I hear more news about it, Pfffttt…
Legoland California is located in North San Diego County in the City of Carlsbad. It sits right out of the freeway exit of Canon Road East. Take the I-5 south and follow the signs towards the park. Coming from Orange County, it took us about 1 hour down on the I-5 – so doing the math, about 2 hours from the heart of Los Angeles, if you’re coming that way. Coming from the other direction, the park is about 45 minutes from San Diego.
The park is mostly designed for the enjoyment of those who are 4-7 years old and the rest is consolation for the rest of the people. Having experienced Legoland myself, I describe it as “those for the very young and the very old.” I say this because most of the rides are designed for the little ones – they don’t really go too fast, don’t really go to the extreme side of fun and don’t really last a long time. And as for the very old, they are the ones who are not too gung ho about getting on rides and interacting with the park stuff but are able to sit and enjoy and appreciate the architectural marvels of the Miniland section.
There are 11 things that you can find in Legoland California and they are:
Like I said, they are mostly for kids and are usually painfully slow or uneventful. Unless you’re 4-7 years old, then it’s just wonderful. The Techniq Test Track Coaster has a large-ish dip in the ride that may be more suited for the older ones, although other than that one dip, the whole ride is alright with the younger set. There is also the one ride in the park that I was happy was under maintenance repairs that day: Knight’s Tournament. It’s basically the most adult ride in the park where a large robotic arm basically constantly flips you over and over and over. And over.
Other than those two, all other rides are very tame for the little ones.
2. LEGO PHOTO OPS
You’ll spend a lot of time just taking photos with semi-interactive displays where you poke your head somewhere or stand next to someone. They’re made of Lego. It looks cool and half of your photos will look like what ours do.
3. LEGO PLAY AREAS
They have them within souvenir shops, within the playground areas, while you’re in line for a ride and random areas around the park. Whether they’re oversized foam-ish blocks or the real thing, in open air or in a comfortably air conditioned room, there will always be Lego out there for you to build with.
This leads to #4
4. LEGO BLOCKS FOR SALE
What’s Legoland without trying to sell you some Lego? Although they have the usual suspects: boxed sets that you normally see in toy and department stores, I think the highlight of Legoland California Lego souvenirs is that there is a section where you can buy Lego by the pound. You can pick any shape, any color and just get what you want and let your imagination run wild.
Don’t forget to buy yourself a Lego separator (Yes, such a thing exists – well, I didn’t know it existed actually). We didn’t and are regretting the decision.
The one live show is about fire safety. It’s obviously built for the younger set as the main lesson of the story is: Put the wet stuff to the hot stuff. Yes, you read that right. No, don’t bother to read that sentence again. Read forward.
There are also 2 4D shows, we got to see Legends of Chima which was a good 20 minutes, the other one is Clutch Powers.
The Kid’s Meal option is very good and doesn’t veer away from the usual suspects. Tonie ended up with chicken tenders, a bag of chips, some raisins and some juice. Adult options are quite varied with sandwiches, Asian stir fry, salads, pizza and of course, throughout the park, churros. What is a theme park without churros, am I right?
This is one of my favorite parts of the park. Kids get to use up all that pent up energy and use it up running, climbing, sliding, swinging, tumbling, rolling, crawling and every other physically exhausting activity that most adults actually pay for on a daily basis. And the adults get to sit down in the shade and have a drink of water to go with yummy Apple Fries (they are located in the Knights-and Castles section of the park – DO NOT miss them and DO NOT leave the park without having some).
A good 15-20 minutes is long enough to have the kids worn down so that they are too tired to drive you nuts but not too tired that they want to be carried or want to take a nap.
This section sorta bores out the little ones but is the saving grace for the bigger-more mature kids in your group. The Happy Meal of mine took 5 seconds to stare at a building and went on off to see the other while other older adults may want to take their time to really stare and look at each building, boat, city and town.
I think this applies to looking at the Miniland exhibits:
Joyce: “How long are we supposed to look at it?”
Andy: “Ten minutes? Seems disrespectful to look at for any less…”
(Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand as mother and daughter in The Guilt Trip, talking about the Grand Canyon – Yes, I quoted this movie – but it’s just one of those things that resonate with you, even though it shouldn’t. *Shrug*)
9. WATER PARK
There is a water park inside the theme park. You have to pay extra on your regular ticket to gain access here. For us tropical girls, we knew that spring weather wasn’t going to be water park weather for us so we just opted out of it. It was very cold for the two of us and if we went on to get wet and wild, would’ve left with a cold, if not pneumonia.
But I can imagine that the place would be overflowing with kids come summer time.
Sea Life Aquarium Shows and Feedings is the new section of the park also requires an additional fee on top of the regular park tickets. Since we were headed to Sea World the next day, we opted out to go to the Aquarium.
10. CHARACTER MEET UPS
Really, if you’re not a die-hard Lego fanatic, the only characters that would be really exciting for you to meet are Emmet and WyldStyle from the Lego Movie. And we got the chance to meet Emmet. We would’ve stayed to meet Wyldstyle but 45 minutes is too long for a 5-year old to stay in one part of the park. Obviously, we just had to give him a Lego-high five!
11. LEGOLAND HOTEL
If you’ve got the dough to spend at least $250-a-night on a Lego-themed room, then good for you. We are poor and ergo, have no choice but to bypass this. Ummm, yea. There.
Also, since I’m in such a know-it-all mood, I’ve included some tips you might want to keep in mind if and when you do visit Legoland California:
- The park is open daily during the summer but when school is in, the park is usually open only from Thursdays/Fridays to Mondays. (Refer to their website calendar for more details)
- During the summers, the park is open from 10am-8pm but during non-summer days, it’s only open from 10am-6pm. (Refer to their website calendar for more details)
- Bringing of snacks and drinks are alright with the park. They are not overly strict and understand that, since the kids they market to are really young, that they may have very insistent dietary needs (e.g. only eats a very particular kind of chicken nugget or hotdog)
- Buy your tickets online and in advance. You can actually save quite a bit of money just by doing this, especially if you’re in a bigger group. Off the bat, you can save $7 per ticket.
- Park tickets start at $85 ($75 for kids) for a 1-day visit to the park with no Water Park and Aquarium access.
- They have promo tickets for multiple day visits and visits to the Water Park and Aquarium. Check their website for the ticket package that is best for your group.
There you go, Legoland California. Bow.