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52 Best Tips for LEGOLAND California with Kids (2024)

52 Best Tips for LEGOLAND California with Kids (2024)

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LEGOLAND California resort is an AWESOME park for a wide variety of ages. These are the best LEGOLAND California tips, with touring advice for everything there is to see and do at this San Diego theme park. This is the ultimate guide on what to expect during a day at LEGOLAND California with kids. 

Mom Rewritten uses affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission if you purchase through the links in these posts. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the Privacy Policy and Disclosures tab. 

LEGOLAND has provided complimentary day passes for me & my family. This post was originally posted on Jan 20th, 2015 and contains updated information.

Best Tips for LEGOLAND California

LEGOLAND theme park is family-friendly with an emphasis on younger guests. There are play areas for toddlers, rides that will please elementary-aged kids and LEGO displays that will put any teen or adult in awe. LEGOLAND is safe, clean and well-kept.

LEGOLAND is located in Carlsbad, which is about 45 minutes drive north of downtown San Diego. If you’re driving down from Anaheim (where Disneyland is located), expect at least 60 minutes drive south. 

As a San Diego native, my family and I have been going to LEGOLAND California since it first opened! There are over 60 rides and attractions in the 128-acre park. The LEGOLAND parks have grown quite a bit over the years but some things have remained constant throughout. 

Keep reading for my family guide and tips for visiting LEGOLAND California with kids!

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGOLAND California with Kids

Do I Need Theme Park Reservations for LEGOLAND California?

There is an an advance park reservation system for LEGOLAND, with dates chosen when tickets are purchased. Purchase LEGOLAND tickets online, then visit on the date(s) chosen. Use tickets for entry at the theme park front gates.

Does LEGOLAND Offer Early Entry?

Guests who purchase a LEGOLAND theme park package that includes a hotel overnight and tickets automatically receive early entry to access select attractions.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGOLAND California Tips for Family Travel

These tips for LEGOLAND California with kids will help you properly plan your day. The park is very easy to navigate, but includes a lot of walking with stops for rides and attractions along the way. Start your planning by looking at the park map on the LEGOLAND California mobile app to plot out your day. 

Even on a visit during non-peak season, you’ll be hard-pressed to see and do everything in one day. Park hours at LEGOLAND California vary throughout the year, so always check the calendar before your visit. LEGOLAND does have mid-week days when it’s completely closed in the off-season. 

LEGOLAND is located in a popular San Diego area, so make sure to check out the other things to do in Carlsbad.

Dinosaur models at legoland california

Discounted LEGOLAND Vacation Tickets

There is no reason to pay full price for LEGOLAND tickets, when they’re found at great discounts online! Guests can purchase discounted LEGOLAND vacation packages for both hotel and tickets. 

Visitors can also purchase individual LEGOLAND tickets on the Get Away Today website.

Southern California Discount Travel

My travel partners at Get Away Today offer both discounted theme park tickets and SoCal-area hotels to fit any budget! Many hotels include exclusive discounts like free parking, complimentary breakfast or even free nights, just for booking through Get Away Today.

When you’re ready to book your Southern California vacation, my friends at Get Away Today are ready to help! Call 1-855-GET-AWAY to book your trip.

BONUS DISCOUNT! – Mention code REWRITTEN to receive an extra discount off your SoCal vacation package of two or more days.

LEGOLAND California with Kids Q & A

What’s the best age for LEGOLAND California?

If you’re traveling with a child 2-12 years old, this is the ideal age for the theme park. Keep reading for tips on what to do at LEGOLAND California with kids, including babies and teenagers.

When is the best time to go to LEGOLAND California?

Avoid weekends, spring break, summer season, 3-day weekends and holidays, if possible. Hint: If school is out of session, LEGOLAND will be busy! 

Mid-week visits will usually reward guests with much lower crowds. Aim to go on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Be sure to check the blackout calendar during non-peak season, as LEGOLAND California isn’t open every day.

Do you need to be a LEGO fanatic to enjoy the theme park?

Not at all. While everything in the theme park is LEGO-themed, you don’t have to be a huge building block fan to enjoy the rides, shows and attractions.  If you are a LEGO lover, that’s a bonus!

What Should You Bring to LEGOLAND California?

LEGOLAND California is located in Carlsbad, just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. It can be chilly and windy, especially during the winter and spring. Bring a lightweight jacket or sweatshirt (this LEGO Wear jacket will get kids in the mood!). 

If your kids plan to enjoy the many splash pads at LEGOLAND California, bring the essentials like an extra set of clothes. Pack in a swimsuit, LEGO-themed beach towel and sandals with good traction on the bottoms.

Definitely pack your sunscreen. While it might be overcast early in the day, the sun often peeks out after noon and it may get very hot. 

Planning for a Day at LEGOLAND California

Parking at LEGOLAND

The LEGOLAND California parking fee is $35 per car, per day. If you arrive early, you’ll be very close to the front entrance. There is a short (slightly inclined) walk to the front entrance. It’s not necessary to purchase the “preferred parking” at the additional cost.

Cashless Theme Park

One of the top tips for LEGOLAND California is to bring credit cards or debit cards for payments. LEGOLAND California is completely cashless.

Security Checks

All backpacks, bags, purses and strollers will be checked before entering the park.

Rainy Day Promise

On days when heavy rain closes many of the theme park rides for an extended time, the resort management will initiate the Rainy Day Promise. Guests with paid tickets may use their existing ticket for one more visit within one year from that date.

Can You Bring Outside Food into LEGOLAND?

Water bottles and small snacks are permitted.

LEGOLAND Funtown sign

LEGOLAND App

Before leaving home, download the LEGOLAND app and add to your smart phone. The mobile app and interactive map will allow you to more easily tour the theme park during your stay. 

Through the LEGOLAND app, guests can find an interactive park map. Navigate the park with directions for attractions, dining, restrooms and shopping. Get show times and view ride wait times.

Charging Cell Phones at LEGOLAND California

To best use the LEGOLAND app, it’s important to keep a full charge on your smart phone. There are 2 secure cell phone charging locker stations inside the LEGOLAND California amusement park. 

I recommend bringing your own charger and cord. The Anker portable charger is my go-to for theme park travel. This power bank holds enough for multiple charges and can accommodate several cords at the same time.

Areas of LEGOLAND California

This family friendly theme park is broken up into 9 distinctly themed zones. Within each zone are rides and attractions for various ages. 

By walking in a circular loop, you’ll be able to hit each of the areas of LEGOLAND California. Branch off into Miniland USA, which is centrally located within the park. 

Here are the sections, moving from left to right around the loop. I’ve included rides to be found in each area (additional attractions will be discussed in the rest of the article).

  • The Beginning – Entrance of the park, Big Shop, stroller rentals and lockers
  • *NEW* Dino Valley – Coastersaurus, DUPLO Little Dino Trail, Explorer River Quest
  • LEGO Movie World – Emmet’s Flying Adventure, Unikitty’s Disco Drop, Queen Watevra’s Carousel
  • Fun Town – Driving School, Junior Driving School, Skipper School, Kid Power Tower, LEGOLAND Express, Sky Patrol.
  • Pirate Shores – Captain Cranky’s Challenge, Splash Battle
  • LEGO City – LEGO City: Deep Sea Adventure
  • Miniland USA – Coast Cruise
  • Castle Hill – The Dragon Coaster, Royal Joust
  • Land of Adventure – Lost Kingdom Adventure, Beetle Bounce, Cargo Ace
  • Imagination Zone – Bionicle Blaster, LEGO Technic Coaster
  • LEGO Ninjago World – LEGO Ninjago The Ride

Dino Valley

Dino Valley is the very first area you’ll encounter if you walk left after the entrance to LEGOLAND California. Previously called “Explorer Island”, this newly refurbished area includes three rides and a sandbox play area.

I don’t recommend starting your day here. Continue walking through to LEGO Movie World. Return to Dino Valley as your last stop of the day. 

DUPLO Little Dino Trail – Outdoor Jeep ride, with the dinosaurs being made of DUPLO LEGO, naturally! Each of the ride vehicles seats four riders without any height requirement. The front seats have access to two “cameras” for riders to snap photos during the trip!

Legoland California duplo ride

Coastersaurus – Dinosaur themed coaster with very mild thrills. It’s an ideal first roller coaster for preschoolers. There is a 36″ height requirement. Use the Parent Swap program if needed (discussed further in the baby and toddler section).

Explorer River Quest – Slow and unscary, this ride is a LEGOLAND must-do for dinosaur fans. There is no minimum height requirement. This lazy boat road takes families along the water with awesome dinosaur models to spot along the way.

Legoland california explorer river quest ride with two kids in a boat and dinosaur in the background

LEGO Movie World

LEGO Movie World is themed to the popular LEGO movies and features characters from the films. Bricksburg has come to life, complete with a water feature for splashing and plenty of room for people watching. 

These are the must-see attractions inside the new LEGO Movie World area at LEGOLAND California.

Emmet’s Flying Adventure Ride – Seated in the “Triple Decker Flying Couch”, guests view the action on the full dome virtual screen. This is a motion simulator ride so if these rides make you nauseated, you might want to sit out. 

It’s really a cool ride and the flagship of this new area. Emmet’s Flying Adventure usually boasts the longest wait time of any attraction at LEGOLAND California. I highly recommend visiting this ride first thing in the morning.

Queen Watevra’s Carousel – The LEGO Friend’s Riding Camp carousel has been made over into this new theme, complete with a colorful overhaul and change of music. 

As a heads up, these horses are extremely uncomfortable for adults to sit on. Consider sitting on one of the chairs instead.

Unikitty’s Disco Drop! – Spin, rise, bounce and drop on this colorful tower ride that takes to the skies. This ride is actually more intense than it appears at first glance! And you’ve gotta love the rainbow arch of LEGO bricks at the entrance.

legoland california unikitty disco drop ride

Fun Town

Driving School and Junior Driving School – Fun Town really is…fun! With their trackless vehicles, most kids will say these are their favorite attractions. Driving School is a can’t-miss LEGOLAND attraction, just for children. 

Junior Driving School is for little ones aged 3-5. Driving School is for ages 6-12 only. Parents can watch from the sidelines where there are concrete bleacher seats. Kids can even purchase their own LEGOLAND Driving School license.

Kid Power Tower & LEGOLAND Express – You’ll find these two rides inside Duplo Playtown, access by stairs or a ramp. The Kid Power Tower offers an overlook of the theme park, in a hand-operated rope pull that lifts seated guests.

The LEGOLAND Express is a petite train ride through the farm inside Playtown. Toddlers especially enjoy this one.

Skipper School – Similar to Driving School, trackless boats float along the canal. All ages can ride this one together. 

LEGOLAND Skipper School

Fun Town Police & Fire Academy – Kids love participating as a team with their family. Teams spray water on a “burning” building in competition with other ride vehicles.

Sky Patrol – Up to two guests fit inside these helicopters that rise, lower and spin with hand controls.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Pirate Shores

Captain Cranky’s Challenge – This rotating pirate ship ride rocks and swings in all directions. If you’re prone to motion sickness, consider sitting this one out!

Splash Battle – Spray water at on-lookers from a pirate ship vehicle. But beware, spectators can fire water cannons back at you! Expect to get soaked on this water attraction.

LEGO City: Deep Sea Adventure

LEGO City Deep Sea Adventure – A hybrid attraction that’s part interactive treasure hunt, submarine ride and aquarium. Riders board a submarine, then peer through the portholes and windows to peek at the many types of real sea life, including sharks! 

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

There are fun LEGO items to spy along the way as well. The touch-screens inside the ride encourage kids to treasure hunt on a search for items on the checklist.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGOLAND Miniland USA

Coast Cruise – The lone ride in Miniland USA is a guided boat tour. Guests can see whimsical LEGO builds including this quirky take on Mount Rushmore.

LEGOLAND Mount Rushmore

LEGOLAND’s Miniland USA – This awesome attraction is at the heart of what LEGO is all about. Built by their “master builders”, these city representations include New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, Washington DC and Las Vegas. San Diego is the newest section features in Miniland USA!

LEGOLAND California Miniland USA

There are small buttons kids can push to play a sound clip. Kids can also make features in the scenes move. Tiny LEGO cars move, LEGO figures dance, music plays and more. Plan to spend at least an hour exploring Miniland USA. There’s lots of see in this detailed area.

LEGOLAND California Las Vegas scene in Miniland USA

After you’ve explored the Miniland USA cities, take a walk on the Miniland USA “Block of Fame” and see famous faces (like this one of Elvis!). There are also famous Star Wars characters as well.

LEGOLAND Block of Fame Elvis Presley bust

Castle Hill

The Dragon – Once your kid has tackled some of the other tame coasters, The Dragon is a great step up. Start inside with a slow ride in the dragon, touring the castle. Then the doors open and riders are treated to thrilling dips and turns.

Royal Joust – This adorable horse ride takes kids on a journey through the Castle Hill area. The Royal Joust is for kids aged 4-12 only (and must be 36″ as well).

Land of Adventure

Beetle Bounce – This one is only for younger guests, between 36-55″ in height.

Cargo Ace – Airplanes “fly” in a circle, with a sweeping turn that’s faster than it looks. Grown ups are permitted to ride with kids. Just know that getting in and out of the small planes can be tricky!

Lost Kingdom Adventure – This “Indiana Jones” inspired laser ride brings out the competitive spirit. Up to four guests per ride vehicle can shoot laser guns at the targets and tally points.

Imagination Zone

LEGO Technic Coaster – The most thrilling ride at LEGOLAND California, this “crazy mouse” coaster has an exciting first drop.

Bionicle Blaster – A spinning “tea cup” ride with a rider-powered wheel to control speed. Another one to skip if you suffer from nausea.

LEGOLAND oversized Bionicles figures inside the theme park

Ferrari Build and Race

This is a new interactive LEGO building experience like no other. Enter the “garage” to see a life-size LEGO Ferrari F40, made with 356,863 LEGO blocks!

Various stations inside offer up plenty of race car design opportunities. Test your vehicle on one of the three different race tracks. Each track offers a different experience including a virtual version.

My son’s favorite was getting his Ferrari to jump through the tire, while the video footage is caught on film. Bystanders can watch the reply in slow motion, it’s so cool! 

A Duplo zone for younger kids allows them to build on a larger scale. Don’t forget the photo ops at the Ferrari and in the winner’s circle.

LEGO Ninjago World

LEGO Ninjago The Ride – LEGO NINJAGO is a small area in the park that features a very cool 4-D interactive ride. There’s no height restriction so anyone can ride.

Thrill Rides Tips at LEGOLAND California

A majority of the rides at LEGOLAND California are geared for younger kids. However there are a few thrill-type rides that are appropriate for older kids. These attractions are ideal for elementary-aged kids, and would please teens and adults as well. 

Nothing too crazy, but still thrilling! The tallest height restriction is 42″ and several rides have an age requirement as well, so check the signage. These are the three roller coasters at LEGOLAND California:

  • LEGO Technic Coaster – must be 42″ tall and at least 4 years old
  • The Dragon Coaster – must be 40″ tall
  • Coastersaurus – with a 36″ height restriction, it’s a good first roller coaster for younger kids

Thrill Ride LEGOLAND California Tips:

  • Rides offer a “parent swap” so that one parent can wait with a non-riding child and then switch places so that the other parent can ride.
  • Some of these favorite rides can have the longest wait times. Scroll through for ways to shorten time spent in queue.
  • Visit the thrill rides first thing after park opening for a shorter wait in line.
LEGOLAND Wyld Style character with kids

Kid’s Play Areas at LEGOLAND California

Even if you never step foot on an actual ride at LEGOLAND, there’s so much to keep busy kids active throughout the day. If your kids need to run and play, there are a few areas where they can burn off steam. 

Unlike the LEGOLAND water park (which carries an additional fee), these splash and play areas are included in regular park admission. It’s acceptable to bring bathing suits and towels to let the kids get wet. 

LEGOLAND splash pad in lego movie world
Splash pad within LEGO Movie World area

There are many areas that are appropriate for toddlers to hang out while waiting for older siblings to ride.

One of the best tips for LEGOLAND California is to allow plenty of free play time in your schedule. Check out these free play locations in various parts of the park at LEGOLAND California.

LEGO Movie World

Splash Pad and Benny’s Spaceship – Multi-level kid’s space themed play structure with internal stairs and slides. A good number of benches around for adults to sit and watch kids.

Dino Valley

Dino Outpost – Sandy area with buried dinosaur fossils underneath. Separate LEGO DUPLO building block area.

Fun Town

Duplo Playtown – This is the area for toddlers and preschoolers! Quaint little houses are set up like a town including a fire station with a pole and tons of stairs and slides. 

The LEGOLAND Express, a small train, circles around here as well. Plan for plenty of time in this area if you have a young child, they’ll absolutely love this place!

Pirate Shores

Pirate Reef and Swabbie’s Deck – Get soaked on a warm day at Pirate Reef or Swabbie’s Deck, both located in the Pirate Shores area. 

Castle Hill

The Hideaways – A complex arrangement of rope ladders and slides. There’s only one way in and out. Parents can sit on the wall surrounding the play area and not worry their kids will leave without them. 

Land of Adventure

Dune Raiders – Kids and adults can slide down the long, wavy slides.

Pharaoh’s Revenge – Enclosed multi-level play space with tunnels and the ability to shoot foam balls at each other. It’s loud and hectic inside, so avoid if you or your kids don’t like chaos.

Ninjago World

Kai’s Spinners, Cole’s Rock Climb and Jay’s Lightning Drill – Small areas for active play near the ride.

LEGO Ninjago Training Camp – My kids’ favorite place to play, this extensive area offers so much fun in the way of slides and climbing apparatus with a ninja theme.

LEGOLAND Ninjago training camp play area

LEGO Building Areas for Super Fans

LEGOLAND offers a hands-on theme park experience for all ages that includes building with their famous blocks. Most of the areas inside LEGOLAND California have free play building spots. Kids and adults can use the provided LEGO bricks to unleash creativity. 

Many locations have nicely shaded spaces or air conditioning, ideal when the weather is hot. All the blocks need to stay in the area when families are done playing. 

Boy building with Lego bricks at LEGOLAND

If you have a child who can’t get enough of simply building LEGO creations, be sure to stop inside several of these areas. Kids can build and play with the thousands of LEGOS that are available in these areas:

  • Build Watevra You Wa’Na Build (LEGO Movie World) 
  • LEGO Life (Fun Town) 
  • Builders’ Guild (Castle Hill) 
  • Coast Guard Build-a-Boat (Miniland USA)
  • Zane’s Temple Build (Land of Adventure) 
  • LEGO Dots Build Your Art Gallery (Imagination Zone)
  • LEGO Mindstorms (Imagination Zone)

Many ride queue areas also have LEGO building stations. Kids can build here while parents are waiting in line.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGOLAND Tips for Dining Options

If you’re expecting the same boring theme park options for dining, no fear! LEGOLAND California offers only fresh, made-on-site meals that are unique and delicious. 

Quite often dishes are prepared right in front of you. This makes for a hot meal that’s made to order. It can also mean that wait times for food can be longer than normal than other amusement parks.

Choose from items like the pork belly bao sandwiches, pesto chicken salad sandwich or freshly prepared stir fry ramen noodle bowls. The Pizza & Pasta buffet restaurant is a popular place. We’ve also enjoyed the Knight’s Smokehouse BBQ with slow-cooked Texas BBQ dishes and craft beer.

And yes, you can still find the usual burgers, fries and soft serve cones if that’s what you want to eat. For dessert, you have to grab a box (or two) of Granny’s Apple Fries. You might not want to share!

LEGOLAND Assisted Access Pass

If you have a guest with special needs, visit Guest Services before entering the park. You’ll be supplied with a simple “Assisted Access Pass”. This business card will be noted with the date, number of people in your party and the name of the person for whom the card is issued. 

We used this card in the past for one of my children (who has autism). Instructions on the card let us know that we were permitted to enter rides through the exit. Families are able to wait there and not have to stand in a crowded queue.

LEGOLAND Tips for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

In a theme park that’s geared for younger guests, there’s a good amount of things for babies, toddlers and preschoolers to do at LEGOLAND. 

The following sections will discuss height restrictions for young children, best rides and other important things to know before you go.

LEGOLAND Friends figures with toddler

LEGOLAND California with Kids – Height Requirements

Be aware of signage before getting in line. Some attractions do not have height restrictions, while others may require a guest accompaniment on the ride.

My advice is to measure the height of young kids before you leave home. Compare your child’s height to the LEGOLAND height requirements, then plan your itinerary from there.

There are quite a few rides in LEGOLAND California that do not have height restrictions, so they’re perfect for babies and toddlers. There are also some fun, kid-friendly play areas that are tailored to younger kids.

LEGOLAND California attraction signage

Best Rides for Little Kids at LEGOLAND

These attractions at LEGOLAND California have low or no height requirements. These are the most ideal rides for babies, toddlers and preschoolers:

  • Cargo Ace (must be able to stand)
  • Coast Cruise
  • DUPLO Little Dino Trail
  • Explorer River Quest
  • Junior Driving School (for ages 3-5)
From cool rides, water parks and billions of bricks, here's why you should plan a LEGOLAND California vacation!
  • LEGO City: Deep Sea Adventure
  • LEGO Ninjago The Ride
  • LEGOLAND Express Train Ride
  • Lost Kingdom Adventure (30″)
  • Queen Watevra’s Carousel
  • Royal Joust (for ages 4-12 and over 36″ tall)
  • Safari Trek (34″)
  • Skipper School (34″)
  • Sky Patrol (34″)
LEGOLAND California jousting horse ride

Other Things to Know About Taking Babies to LEGOLAND

Family bathrooms are available throughout LEGOLAND California. Look for changing tables in all restrooms and lower children’s-height sinks for handwashing.

Queue waiting areas sometimes have larger Duplo blocks. Check for the tiny LEGO bricks, which may be a choking hazard for toddlers.

A full baby care center is available in the Fun Town area near Urban Kitchen restaurant. Parents will find rocking chairs, nursing areas and microwaves for heating baby food. 

Strollers are available for rent, at the Marketplace just inside the front entrance (The Beginning). Personal strollers and wagon can be brought inside as well.

LEGOLAND stroller rental

LEGOLAND Parent Swap

Parent Swap is available at LEGOLAND and it works a little differently than at Disney. Families wait all together in line at LEGOLAND CA. 

When a family reaches the front of the line, one parent rides with a child who meets the height requirement. The other parent waits to the side with the non-riding child. When the first parent returns, they switch places. The second parent rides with the child who meets the height requirement.

Save Time with These Tips for LEGOLAND California

Rides at LEGOLAND do not load quickly. As a result lines move very slowly. Don’t like waiting in long lines? There are ways that visitors can avoid the waits and maximize time at LEGOLAND.

Pick Less Busy Vacation Dates

Carefully choose your date to visit LEGOLAND California. Mid-week visits in the “off-season” are preferred for lower crowd levels.

Any time that elementary aged kids are out of school (summer, holiday vacations, 3-day weekends) will be busier. Just be sure to check the LEGOLAND calendar, as they may be closed on certain days.

Kids standing at the welcome letters in the front entrance of LEGOLAND california

Aim to Arrive a Park Opening

Just like I always suggest rope drop at Disneyland, it pays to be an early bird at LEGOLAND. Arrive to the gates ahead of opening clear security. Gates usually open early (often up to 30 minutes early). You’ll be first in line for the best attractions!

Have a Touring Strategy

Once through the park entrance, LEGOLAND guests can go either left or right, around the “lagoon” and Miniland USA. I recommend walking towards the back of the park first in either direction. The back of the park will be less crowded. 

Best plan: Go left for Emmet’s Flying Adventure in LEGO Movie World, one of the most popular rides at LEGOLAND California. 

From cool rides, water parks and billions of bricks, here's why you should plan a LEGOLAND California vacation!

Pay More to Maximize Your LEGOLAND Vacation

If you really don’t want to wait in lines, these extra cost additions can help your family maximize time:

Consider purchasing Reserve ‘n’ Ride. This add-on offers three levels that will reduce wait times 25-99% at an additional cost from between $35 to $100 per person.

Opt to visit LEGOLAND for more than one day. This is ideal for families that like to take mid-day breaks. Also if you’re interested in experiencing the LEGO building zones and Miniland more deeply, multiple days are best.

legoland dino valley figure

Entertainment Tips for LEGOLAND California

Fireworks only happen during special seasonal events. But there are still plenty of non-ride entertainment choices around the SoCal theme park.

  • Meet n’ greet area for popular characters from the films inside Emmet’s Super Suite.
  • Watch a 4D show inside the LEGO Show Place Theater. There are several versions, each lasting about 15 minutes.
  • The Adventure’s Club walk-through is a favorite for my older ones. There’s a quest to find “keys” hidden through this Indiana Jones-style search. Preschoolers may be a little nervous of the darker areas and eerie must inside.
  • Don’t miss the LEGO Factory Tour. This brief walkthrough shows exactly how LEGO bricks are made, from start to finish.
  • Mini-figure trading happens between guests and Model Citizen (LEGOLAND employees). Look on a Model Citizen’s Brick Badge and negotiate a trade!
  • Celebrating a special occasion, like a birthday? Pick up a complimentary Pop Badge at guest services. They also hand out Pop Badges during special events.
little girl wearing a legoland birthday pop badge

Best Deals on Discounted LEGOLAND California Tickets

Visitors can purchase individual LEGOLAND tickets or full Southern California vacation packages on the Get Away Today website.

Free LEGOLAND Admission for Kids in October

If you plan on a fall trip, this one of the BEST money saving tips for LEGOLAND California. Each October in San Diego, many theme parks and restaurants offer FREE entertainment for kids! 

LEGOLAND is a participant in this special offer every year. Find out how you can get your kid’s free offer on this article, Kids FREE in San Diego for October.

LEGOLAND California is located in Carlsbad, within San Diego county. If you’re planning on visiting multiple SoCal destinations, it’s highly recommended to rent a car. Click the links below for additional tips on visiting each location.

Disneyland Resort in Anaheim- 63 miles from LEGOLAND California

SeaWorld San Diego in Mission Valley – 30 miles from LEGOLAND California

Sesame Place in Chula Vista – 46 miles from LEGOLAND California

LEGOLAND Hotels

I highly recommend staying at one of the on-site hotels when visiting LEGOLAND California. The two LEGO-themed hotels are literally steps away from the theme park front entrance. That makes either the LEGOLAND Hotel or the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel perfect for a mid-day break. Within minutes, guests can be relaxing in their rooms.

LEGOLAND is known for their unique, tongue-in-cheek humor. It should be no surprise that these unique hotels feature a disco ball in the elevator and a treasure hunt inside the rooms!

Rooms at both the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel and the original LEGOLAND Hotel are heavily themed. At the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel guests can choose from castle-themed rooms, naturally – Knights & Dragons, Royal Princess or Magic Wizard. 

READ MORE: Full review of what to expect at the LEGOLAND Hotel.

And at the LEGOLAND Hotel, pick from Pirate, Kingdom, Adventure, Friends, and LEGO NINJAGO. My friend Karen at Desert Chica has a review on the new LEGOLAND Castle Hotel with in-room photos.

A stay at one of the two LEGOLAND hotels includes a complimentary breakfast. Kids will also receive a welcome treasure hunt with a LEGO prize. 

One of the nicest features (for the benefit of the grown-ups!) is a separate kid’s sleeping area with entertainment center, bunk bed and pull out trundle.

Kids on the bunk bed in the Adventure separate sleeping area at the LEGOLAND Hotel

How close are the LEGOLAND hotels to the theme park front entrance?

The LEGOLAND Hotel and LEGOLAND Castle Hotel are literally a minute-long walk from each other, across a short walkway. Each of the hotels are just steps away from the LEGOLAND California theme park front entrance. 

Do LEGOLAND hotel guests get into the park early?

Yes, guests of the LEGOLAND resort hotels (with a valid theme park ticket) receive 30 minutes of early entry before the general public is admitted. Note that this early access is only for a few select attractions.

Tips for LEGOLAND California Souvenir Shopping

Of course, in a theme park that’s known for it’s popular building bricks, there are many places to buy your favorite toys. 

The best place to find souvenirs inside LEGOLAND California is at The Big Shop. This large gift shop is home to all things LEGO including exclusive items.

You’ll find souvenir LEGOLAND products including shirts and hats as well as LEGO building kits like LEGO Friends, Star Wars, Disney, and DUPLO.

Forgot a swim suit or towel for the splash pad or water park? Visit Brick Brothers Trading Co. for a large variety of beachwear.

LEGOLAND offers package pickup service, so that guests can shop throughout the day. Simply pick up your bags at the end of the day before exiting.

Prices for LEGO sets are comparable in the theme park to what you’ll find elsewhere. For items like LEGO t-shirts or hats, I’d recommend purchasing before or after a trip to save money.

Water Park Fun at LEGOLAND California with Kids

When the weather warms, our thoughts turn to the water-play activities at the expansive LEGOLAND Water Park! From toddler splash pads, water slides for big kids, a lazy river, and a giant wave pool, there’s plenty here for the whole family. 

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Entrance to the water park is an additional charge on top of the regular park admission. Water park days and hours of operation vary upon the season, so check the LEGOLAND website to make sure it’s open during your visit before you pack your swim suits! 

When the weather is agreeable you’ll want to spend a good portion of the day here, enjoying the water rides. A LEGOLAND Resort Hopper ticket is required for admission to the water park portion. I highly recommend you consider adding on an extra day to your vacation if you plan to do the water park.

READ MORE: All the LEGOLAND tips in this post about the LEGOLAND California Water Park Tips.

LEGOLAND California Water Park Joker Soaker

LEGOLAND Sea Life Aquarium

The Sea Life Aquarium at LEGOLAND California combines a real, learning aquarium of actual sea life with fun LEGO models. Guests can see jelly fish and seahorses, spy octopus and sharks, reach inside touch pools, and experience feeder talks.

The Sea Life Aquarium is compact and will take about an hour to completely walk through. Allow between 1-2 hours for exploring Sea Life depending upon how interested your children are.

During busier seasons and holiday events, strollers are not allowed inside so make arrangements for little ones. I brought a front carrier for my baby so I wouldn’t have to hold her in my arms the entire time. 

Admission to the Sea Life Aquarium can be purchased separately or as an add-on to your LEGOLAND park ticket. My travel partner Get Away Today offers the bundled LEGOLAND discounted ticket.

LEGOLAND Sea Life Aquarium

LEGOLAND Halloween Special Event

Brick-or-Treat Party Nights at LEGOLAND California offers children and their families trick-or-treating and entertainment throughout the Park on Saturday nights in October. This is a special ticketed event that is not included with regular park admission. 

Guests are invited to dress in costume and there is candy given, certain rides are open during the event as well as a costume contest and not-too-scary Halloween-themed entertainment for kids.

Read more LEGOLAND tips for the fall special event, LEGOLAND Halloween California Brick-or-Treat Guide.

LEGOLAND Halloween giant lego pumpkin with girl inside

LEGOLAND California with Kids for the Holidays

All of LEGOLAND gets into the holiday spirit during the winter season, with festivities and shows that are included in the regular park admission. There are also seasonal foods and treats, holiday decor and special gift shopping areas. 

Visit Miniland U.S.A. to see more of the Christmas spirit, where many of the buildings have fun holiday touches, including Santa and his sleigh and wreaths decorating the LEGO White House.

Check out more about celebrating Holidays at LEGOLAND California – Ultimate Seasonal Guide.

LEGOLAND White House decorated for the holidays

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Brick-or-Treat Party Nights Halloween Celebration at LEGOLAND® California Resort

Wednesday 12th of September 2018

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