Well it happened, get out the fireworks and mark the occasion because it actually happened: my husband and I agreed on something! After finishing our first trip to Legoland we concluded that (for our kids’ ages and stages) Legoland is better than… you know… don’t make me say it… the OTHER place 😉 Half the price, half the crowd, and double the fun 🙂 🙂 We had a BRICK-tastic time spending two days together at Legoland, California who graciously provided two media passes for our trip.
Our kids had no idea we were going. We just woke them up one morning and told them we were going somewhere. And that we were going to be driving all day to get there. We got to the hotel that night and they still didn’t know we had Legoland in store for the morning. My oldest was actually content thinking the hotel was the surprise! Cutie. So yea, their minds were blown when we pulled up the next day.
And while we were having a fantastic time, I was also busy. Busy learning anything and everything I could to help you plan YOUR trip. I asked employees, annual pass holders, regulars, locals, fans and more to bring you these tips, tricks and hidden gems to do legoland like a boss:
Tips, Tricks & Hidden Gems to do Legoland, California Like a Boss
- Do your research before purchasing tickets: Legoland does different promotions and deals so make sure you look around a bit before purchasing tickets. Obviously start by checking out the promotions running on their website. Usually it is just a few dollars more to get a 2 day pass over a 1 day pass, so that is a no-brainer. And I highly recommend allotting at least two days if this if your first time to Legoland. We went in January when the water park was closed and still didn’t see everything in two days. At the time when we purchased our tickets, Costco was running a deal: $110 for an annual play pass (which is similar to an annual membership, but there are some black out dates, it doesn’t come with free parking, and a few other perks you miss out on). But it ended up being only about $10 more per person to buy the annual play passes and now we can go back to Legoland!
- Download the App before you go: It has a map of the park, wait times and height restrictions for rides, but most importantly, COUPONS AND DISCOUNTS! So make sure you check your app for special offers when you are inside the park. The day we went they were offering “kids eat free with paying adult” at one of the restaurants with use of the app coupon.
- Food Policy: Legoland doesn’t allow outside food, but you CAN bring in small snacks and water. Hallelujah! Legoland knows what it’s like to drag kids around a theme park all day. And what it takes to keep the mamas and papas sane while doing it! Here are the signs from the entrance of the park clearly outlining their policies-
- Get there early: Check the calendar before you go because Legoland has different hours at different times. When we went, they were running from 10am-7pm and we were sure to arrive by 9:30. It takes some time to park and get everyone all loaded up in the stroller and up to the entrance, and you don’t want to waste any time when you could be inside the park doing THAT! Plus, since we got the play passes it took us about 20 minutes to wait in line and get our photos taken etc to get the cards. Luckily, Legoland was thinking and had some areas for our kids to play while we did all the “business”. And if I STILL haven’t convinced you to get there early: the first hour is the least crowded part of the day, so make sure you are there to take advantage of the shorter lines. There are some shops near the front of the park that are open before the actual park opens. On our second day we built minifigures while we waited. It was a task my kids did NOT take lightly… In fact you can see more of that in my saved insta-stories. This is a nice affordable souvenir for the kids.
- Parking: Regular parking is $20 and you can pay $30 for what they call “preffered parking”. We did pay the extra $10 the first day and quickly realized that was unnecessary. Unless you are there on an especially crowded day, or arrive late in the day, regular parking should be just fine. PARTICULARLY, if you are there early (you’re convinced, I know). In fact, we ended up being able to park closer the second day when we didn’t pay for the preferred parking. They had some parking lots shut down for the construction of their new hotel though, so that might have been why.
- Reserve N Ride: Legoland has a new Reserve N Ride system where you can pay to skip parts of the lines. We found the lines very manageable. Especially since Legoland is genius and has play areas to occupy the kids while the adults wait in line! Duh!! I suppose if you are going on a holiday weekend or something the reserve n ride could pay off!
- Get your button! If it’s your first time or you are celebrating a birthday, you can get a button as you enter the park
- Minifigure trading: I bet you’ve heard you can trade minifigures at Legoland. Have your kids bring a couple from home and then they can keep an eye out for employees with minifigures on their name tags:We learned that the employees working at the cash registers in the stores have boxes of minifigures behind the desk that they can trade! That was a gold mine for my boys who are very particular about their legos… Here is my three-year-old trading his first minifigure.
- Legoland is so much more than just rides! We LOVED the rides, they were perfect for my 8, 6 & 3 year olds. And what I loved most about the rides is how they were situated. Next to every “big kid” ride was a “little kid” ride. It made it easy for us to split up for a few minutes and then meet right back together. But more than the rides we loved everything else Legoland had to offer:
- Mini-land was impressive (I had my doubts of being impressed by it, but I was!) We actually spent about an hour just looking at the Star Wars miniland. We were all nerding out a bit over it. And we didn’t even end up seeing most of Miniland!
- Lego & Duplo play areas: There were TONS of them throughout the park. We didn’t get to see all of them, but I loved how Legoland is truly a place you can build and play with legos to your hearts content.
- Lego factory & Master-builder offices: It was so fun to see them at work. Talk about #careergoals
- Family Gaming Center: We didn’t even get to it, but it looked fun!
- Playgrounds: I found three, I am not sure if there are more. Our favorite was over in Castle Hill called the Hideaways. It happens to be right next to the place you can score some pretty delicious apple fries:
- Lego Mindstorms: We lucked out on this one! I was just walking by when I heard an employee talking to a guest about a 45-minute robotics class for ages 9 and up. We signed our oldest up for later in the day. When we came back Dad took him while I took the rest of the kiddos right across the way to some pretty awesome lego play areas (including a real race track where you can race your own lego-creation cars). Our oldest loved it so much he wanted to do it again the next day! So he did!
- 4D Movie: Don’t miss the 4D movie, it’s fun and short and a good little break from everything else.
- SeaLife Aquarium: We spent about 2 hours in the aquarium (and we went slow). There is a fun touch pool, more lego building areas, and lot of fish and sea creatures to check out! Their favorite part was collecting stamps in a book they give you at the beginning.
- Bring hand sanitizer: This is a no-brainer but somehow I ended up with no hand sanitizer. And there are a lot of “hands-on” areas at Legoland. Some of them had hand sanitizer dispensers which was nice, but having some handy is always good.
- Family Restrooms: There are family restrooms all over the park! Makes things so much easier, thank you Legoland!
- Make sure you stay until closing: The park emptied out quite a bit the last hour or two when we were there and we were able to jam quite a few rides in before Legoland kicked us out ;).
- Age Recommendation: After having spent 2 days at Legoland I would say it is PERFECT for kids ages 3 to 12. It was honestly so perfect for our family (ages 8, 6, 3 and 9 months). Everything is so stroller friendly!
- Bonus tip: Keep you eyes out for fun things Legoland is doing! When we were there we saw this poster-
And the Castle Hotel is scheduled to open this spring!
Bottom line: if you have kids 3-12 years old, and are looking for a fun family activity to do and make the most of your hard-earned money , I HIGHLY recommend Legoland California! We are so excited to go back sometime during the summer when the water park is open! And hopefully check out the rest of mini-land and a few other things that we didn’t get to this time.