Our first visit to Legoland California
On Tuesday, my daughter and I visited Legoland California for the first time. The friends we went with had been there before, but when the oldest kid was only two. So, our visit was a total of two adults, two kids (ages 3 and 4), and one baby (less than a year old). As a member of the Legoland Blogger Program, my daughter and I received complimentary park hopper tickets. Our friends took advantage of the “Buy one adult ticket, get one child ticket free” promotion with Subway, which is a promo coupon you can pick up in-store, and is good online until 9/26/17, and at the gate until the end of the year.
Since we live in Los Angeles, we spent the night at a hotel in Dana Point, 30 minutes north of Carlsbad. Initially, we were going to stay in Carlsbad, but my friend’s timeshare in that location was already at capacity. The hotel stay helped us get a good night’s rest, which would have been impossible had we driven straight from L.A.
There are two options for car parking: $17 general and $25 preferred. I opted for the $25 parking because we had 3 kids and one stroller. Also, I always seem to get lost trying to find my car in a big lot. I could tell there were some seasoned Legoland park go-ers because we saw guests with covered pull-wagons!
Get there early to ride the more popular rides
We got there early-ish…early enough for our kids to ride the popular Junior Driving School drive-it-yourself car ride twice. We hit most of the rides in FUN TOWN, because there were more ride options for our kids’ height (36 inches). It’s a good idea to hit the rides deep in the park first, to avoid long lines. I highly suggest referencing the park map on the Legoland website first to make a plan of action.
Hit the water park before the hottest time of the day
The Legoland Water Park was a lifesaver, as it was almost 90 degrees that day. My daughter doesn’t know how to swim yet, but is comfortable in the pool with a life vest (which the park provides, based on availability). We spent about two hours in Surfer’s Cove, a water area for small kids. It was perfect for her because it there a walk-in pool that doesn’t get deeper than 2.5 feet, animal water fountains, and four slides. There are lifeguards at the top and bottom of each slide, and a few strategically located around the pool. They were all very friendly and helpful. My kid liked this area a little too much, because after two hours in this area, she had a mini-tantrum when I wanted us to move on to the rest of the park. (This is where having a multiple visit ticket would be helpful). It’s a good thing we arrived early, because when we left it was packed!
The Legoland Water Park requires separate admission if you did not purchase a park-hopper ticket. Infants younger than 12 months get in for free, and there is a $5 fee for ages 12 – 24 months.
P.S. Rent a locker! It is only $10 for a small locker and $14 for a larger one. I rented a small one and felt a lot better knowing my wallet and phone were safe in the locker than on the side in the stroller. I put my dry clothes and towel in there too. I saw a few people with DSLR cameras and their phones in the water area, but I know I’m way too paranoid (and clumsy) to bring anything electronic near liquid.
Rides for 36″ Kids
Luckily, my daughter and her friend are about the same height (36″), so they could ride the same rides together. The Legoland website has a height filter to help you plan your visit. At first, I thought we would hit all the rides before the day was over, but the kids wanted to ride some rides more than once.
Here are the rides we hit:
Mia’s Riding Camp
This carousel has an audio track you need to listen to carefully. The horses are synchronized with the “riding instructions” where they start off slow then eventually ride into a gallop. The kids rode on this three times.
Junior Driving School
This the ride was the most fun for the kids. They loved driving the electric cars on the small track. It took my kid a little bit of time to get the concept (we don’t have a drivable electric car at home), but my friend’s kid took to it like a pro. Once my kid understood how it worked, she wanted to ride it again and again. I can’t wait until she is old enough for the bigger track (which is for 6 years and up), because it looks pretty awesome. At the end, each kid gets a paper “driver’s license” where you can attach a photo to look like a real license.
[photo credit: Aya Kimura]
This was a ride which required an adult companion. Since my friend couldn’t bring her baby on the ride, we took turns holding the baby (this is where visiting the park with a mom friend comes in handy), so we could ride with our respective children. The rider controls the ride to go up, down, left, or right! This is great ride that lets your kid feel like they are “in charge.”
Kids can take the helm of the electric boat, with an adult companion. My kid enjoyed this ride, but seemed to do a little better with the car than she did the boat. We would have ridden this again, but the line was very long by the time we finished our turn.
Fairy Tale Brook
This was a nice, relaxing ride for all of us (yes, the baby went too). It was nice to see my daughter identify some of the storybook characters and the stories they are from. The brick building at the park is very impressive!
Like the Fairy Tale Brook, Safari Trek takes you on a tour, but this time around Lego animals! My kid liked this one a lot, and loved identifying the animals. She got most of them right, with the exception of the rhino (she said “hippo,” so it was pretty close). The baby could not go on this ride, so instead of making us wait to come back, the friendly and helpful staff offered one of their members to ride with our friend’s kid. That was really nice of them!
My kid talks a big game, and argued with me a little when I told her I had to accompany her on this ride. When it was our turn on the track, she got scared on the first dip (hah!). Good thing they do two runs, because it gave her a chance to be brave again. She loves coasters, so this was something she kept talking about after the trip.
Lego Ninjago The Ride
[photo credit: Aya Kimura]
This was an all ages ride, which my friend was able to take her infant on. “Just as long as he can sit upright and hold his head up,” they said. Each car sits up to four people, so my daughter and I had a separate car. This interactive game uses screens where the riders “shoot” virtual fireballs at the bad guys. I enjoyed it a lot! My daughter is a little sensitive, so she got scared of some of the scenes (even though they are Lego figure characters), and the big dragon at the end. However, when she retold the story of the ride to her older cousin (on FaceTime), it was a different (braver) story!
Impressive brick decor + Photo Opportunities
[photo credit: Aya Kimura]
I loved everything we saw in the park and was very impressed by what they created. I was a big fan of Legos and a kid. Visiting the park made me feel like a kid again and I really enjoyed sharing the experience with my daughter and friends. Here are a few of the fun photo ops we took. I would have taken more but my phone died midway through our visit. So thanks to my friend Aya, we were able to take a few more!
Model Mom Baby Care Center
The Model Mom Baby Care Center is centrally located in the Fun Town area of the Park, close to Driving School and the Fun Town Market Restaurant. This is where my friend breasted her son, and I was able to charge my phone. It was a little haven that allowed us to regroup and relax a little bit before hitting more rides. There is even a little nook with Lego bricks which entertained the kids!
In addition, there is a baby-changing area, rocking chairs for nursing mothers, little rocking chairs for kids, and highchairs, as well as a refrigerator and microwave for preparing a baby’s meal.
Thank you, Legoland! We had an amazing time!
Legoland California is located at One LEGOLAND Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008
For more information, including hours and admission, visit their website at:
Disclaimer:Westside Mommy is a member of the Legoland Blogger Program and received complimentary tickets for our visit.