Most people who head to Southern California to go to a theme park are headed to Disneyland. I totally get it. I love Disneyland as you can tell from my Insiders Guide! But if you think Disneyland is all So. Cal has to offer you will be missing out! This year our family has Legoland passes and we are loving it. It is not Disneyland so don’t compare! The showmanship is not the same, lets be honest – no one does showmanship like Disney! That does not mean that Legoland is still not as awesome, it is! In fact there are a lot of things about Legoland that I like more than Disneyland. If you are thinking about making a trip to Legoland, here are my insider tips!
1. As with any theme park, timing is key! Do not go in the middle of the summer or on a holiday unless you absolutely must! We have gone during several times of the year and we have hit days were there are no lines! We even hit one day when it was drizzling and there were times during the day when we could not see another soul but ourselves! Beware though, on many weeks during the winter Legoland is not open on Tuesday or Wednesday! I know some people don’t agree with this, but play hooky and take your kids on school day. It is so worth it! I think happy family memories are just as important as school. Crowds and lines just make people grumpy and you don’t get to do as much. If I had to pick the best best months to go I would say September, February, and March. its warm enough for some of the water rides to be going but you still will be avoiding the bigger crowds. It doesn’t matter if its not open as long. We went for 4 hours one day and hit every major ride we wanted to go on!
2. Show up on time! This is the most important thing you can do when going to any theme park. Legoland often will open their gates 30 minutes early and even a few rides will start running 30 minutes early. I think the best ride to hit early is the Sky Cruiser. Most people hit the Safari Trek but we keep going through the Duplo area and up to the Sky Cruiser. The line moves slow and usually gets really long. Its killer to pass all the other rides but worth it to us.
3. Before you plan your trip to Legoland check the heights of your kids! We went when our sons were 1 and 4 and the 1 year old could hardly go on any of the rides! Even some of the little kiddie rides have a height requirement. Most rides have height restrictions that require kids to ride with an adult which means that you may have to do some ride swapping. I also don’t love that some of the rides have age restrictions too. For example my son was tall enough for the Joust ride but you have to be at least 4 years old. I think the perfect age for Legoland is 3-11. Any younger and they might have a hard time going on enough of the rides, and any older they might start to outgrow it.
4. They have a lot of water areas and splash pads. If you are going and its going to be warm – have your kids wear or bring bathing suits! Trust me you will wish you had! Mom’s do not wear a white shirt! My boys just wear their bathing suits as shorts for the day. They take their shirts, shoes, and socks off while they play and then they put them back on and wear their wet swimsuit and it keeps them cool. I don’t have girls but I would bring something for them to play in because they will get wet and if the Soak and Sail is open they are going to get drenched!
5. One of the things that I love about Legoland is all of the attractions that are not rides and don’t have lines. They have several play areas that can keep my kids busy for hours! Don’t assume all the buildings you pass are stores, check to see if it is something you can walk through. There are tons of interesting Lego things tucked away. These are not all of them but these are our favorites:
- The Build and Test area – Kids can check out a set of wheels and then build their own car and test it on the track against other cars that are being built. I love that I see my kids test them and then go modify them to make them better. Such a great activity for little minds to learn and develop. And if you ask they will let you take a picture of your child a big their Lego trophy and their car.
- The Soak and Sail – A huge water playground and splash pad! Such a great thing to do in the afternoon heat! Beware your kids will get drenched (see #2.)
- Dig those Dinos – Kids can grab a bucket, shovel, and brush and go dig and uncover dinosaur bones and fossils.
- Castle Hill Hideaways – This is one of my boys favorites! A big climbing and slides area all medieval style. So fun for kids of all ages…Moms and Dads too! Plus it is right next to Granny’s Apples Fries which are delish!
- Duplo Playtown – Big play area for toddlers. Soft pad for kids and big rubber duplo bricks that they can build and play with. Its hard to see because its hidden in the back but they have a cute little train for kids. My Beckham rode it about 20 times in a row. Older kids will get bored fast here, while toddlers and young preschoolers could probably play all day here!
- Adventurer’s Club – A little walk though area where kids look for hidden keys.
- LEGO Factory Tour – Interesting little walk though area where you can see how Legos are made.
- Dune Raiders – Carpet slides that are fun and the whole family can race!
- Pharaoh’s Revenge – Another favorite. Kids (and adults) can go inside and grab soft balls to shoot up into the second level where they can be blasted down on the people below. Our kids tend to shoot up top at Mom and Dad who are below and sending balls back up to them.
- Minitown – Kids love all the details in Minitown. You can see miniature versions of Star Wars scenes and all sorts of major US cities.
6. Legoland has kids play while parent wait areas. Most major attractions have an area filled with buckets of Legos and Lego tables that the kids can build while the parents wait in line.
7. Another thing that Legoland has going for it over other theme parks like Disneyland and Knott’s is that the kids actually can control the rides! On the boat ride they actually drive the boat. That means sometimes the boats get backwards and they crash a little but they actually get to drive them which is so fun. It’s the same with the cars. They push the pedals and they actually steer. It is so much more fun than a track! They even have the kids cars divided into two different tracks. One for kids ages 3-5 and one for kids 6-12. I love that parents are not even allowed on the ride! Its so much fun for kids to actually be in charge and learn to drive!
8. I don’t know if there are not a lot of bathrooms or if we have just had bad luck but it seems like the bathrooms are not super conveniently located. If we are passing a bathroom I just ask if they have to go because I don’t want to backtrack a long way to find one.
9. Take time to go to the Fun Town Stage. Their Fire Academy show is pretty funny and a lot of fun for kids! We have seen it 4 times and they still want to go back!
10. Food in Legoland – Unlike Disneyland their policy is no outside food and drinks. I have never been stopped for it, but it is their policy. Servings are huge! Just be aware. First time we ate there we threw away so much food! Check portions before you order. I usually only order 2 kids meals for my 3 kids. Our favorite places to eat:
- Knights’ Table Barbecue – BBQ place with ribs and fire roasted chicken and all sorts of special BBQ sauces.
- Fun Town Market – I love it here! There are tons of options including a salad bar, Asian Chicken Stir Fry, and my favorite Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches.
- Not a main dish but a must have while at Legoland – Granny’s Apple Fries. A churro meats apple pie. So delicious!
Don’t forget some overall theme park hints:
- Wear comfortable shoes! You will be walking miles – don’t be the girl who heels look cute but the look of agony on her face is horrific. No joking, I see it all the time!
- Bring sunscreen and headache meds. Usually I take 2 Excedrin right before we go in so I don’t have any headache problems.
- If it is crazy and busy, roll with it. Just because there are rides does not mean you have to go on them. I think the times we have had the most fun at Legoland were the times I just let them play at all the playgrounds. I didn’t rush them, push them to do anything, I just sat back and let them dictate the day! They love it.
- I say this all time and its the most important tip of all – HAVE FUN! Sounds obvious, right? You would be amazed, I see the grumpiest parents at theme parks! Remember why you decided to take the trip, it suppose to be fun! I know the day can be long and the kids can be so excited that they are a little crazy, but just remember that you took this trip for them. Enjoy them. Be goofy with them. Whatever you do don’t let anything spoil your day!
If you are planning a trip, check out our printable Lego money that kids can earn before your trip for souvenirs.
Hope you have a great trip!
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