Thursday, January 26, 2017
i've had several people ask me about legoland- what i'd recommend and what worked for us. not that i needed some incentive to blog about our trip but i sure feel like a celebrity with some inside knowledge. having been to legoland for two whole days, i'm basically an expert.
we've wanted to go to legoland for a while but wanted to wait until our boys were older. since justin was going to carson city, we knew we wanted to go on a family vacation somewhere and had planted a bug in our father in law's ear that we were saving up to go. well, my father in law is quite generous and loves to surprise us and he sure did! he found season passes at costco for $100! what a steal. as luck would have it, legoland's slow time is the first of january so we planned a trip, complete with a lowest-price of the year stay at the legoland hotel. note, in the summer it averages $450/night. we paid $150 + $30 resort fee/taxes. kind of steep for a hotel but it was a once in a year splurge and it ended up being so worth it.
the legoland hotel is so close to the theme park's entrance; like ridiculously close. the park itself is weirdly located in a residential area and not close off the freeway. i didn't really see any hotels nearby so staying so nearby the park was nice, considering the weather was predicted to be raining cats and dogs the days we were there. during the off-season, legoland is closed tuesday-thursday. we decided to stay sunday-tuesday; go to the park two days and the seaquarium/swim tuesday before we left. that helped keep our hotel cost lost. the park is about 5 hours away so we left sunday morning about 5am while it was pouring. i was quite anxious driving [well, sitting shot gun] through all the rain and sometimes snow. thankfully the kids slept until barstow; where griffin threw up milk before we stopped for breakfast. after cleaning up the kids and enduring several hours of screaming fits of who gets to hold the ipad, we finally made it.
the hotel held our luggage and actually had a room available several hours before check in. the legoland hotel itself is quite kid friendly. in the lobby there's a lego pit for the kids to play in while parent's check in. then there's a huge indoor pirate ship and legos near the cafe for kids to play inside. that's also where they host several night activities like lego building competition, storytimes, etc. they offer two restaurants; BRICKS, a buffet style restaurant [where they host a free breakfast each morning. super delicious and a wide variety] and skyline restaurant which was actually super yummy and had some cool lego sculptures/figurines. we chose a pirate themed room. the boys had a bunk bed in their own room and we set up griffin's pack and play in there. not only did they have their own TV but our room also had a treasure chest. after doing a hotel scavenger hunt for the combination, they opened the chest to find their own lego mixel packets and some chocolate coins. every night we were there. they also had a box of legos to play with in our rooms, plus free juice boxes/waterbottles for us. honestly, i felt like $180 a night for all these amenities was a steal. $450/night? not so much. oh- i didn't mention the best part of the hotel. the elevator turns into a disco party once the door closes. that was so fun! we briefly swam in the pool which was nice and heated. since the park closes at 5pm, it would be nice to go for a dip before dinner [assuming it's not pouring rain like it was for us].
legoland itself is not disneyland so don't expect it to. they don't move people through the rides as quickly, things are not as coordinated as well, and the desserts are severely subpar. still, it was better then disneyland in some ways. landon is 5 and could ride every single ride. that says a lot right there. the rides aren't made for adults and there aren't adults walking around there without kids. that by itself makes it less populated. porter, at 3, could only do half the rides [with an adult] and griffin couldn't do as many rides as he could have at disneyland. another great thing about legoland is that they have alternative activities near the big kid rides for the younger kids to do while they wait. like a sandpit, enclosed ball area or jungle gym. they also have waiting areas with legos in the lines for kids themselves- all enclosed. that was genius right there. there are a ton of lego figurines to look at but we didn't spend much time on that, or the several carnival games. my boy's favorite areas were ninjago ride [griffin could go on] and costersaurus roller coaster [porter could go on with an adult]. other favorites include: the 4D movies [lego movie spin-off and nexo-knights. they also have a friends one but sadly my boys weren't interested in that], the characters [not as plentiful as disneyland but a good amount], and the race car track [where landon won 1st place!].
our time there was seriously so much fun. because of the predicted storms, the crowds were away. it would sprinkle off and on but it was pretty clear. there were just two times we had to head inside to avoid the rain but even then, it wasn't that bad. legoland has a surprisingly amount of inside activities, more so then disneyland. probably because it focuses more on construction. movies, race car building, game stations, lego factory tour, build your own figurine, etc. that worked out for us but i think in the summertime when it's more crowded, it would be hard to get into those places. with the crowd level almost non-existent, we rode every single ride several times. in fact, on the coastersaurus we rode it 10 times in a row. without stopping. can't get better then that! plus no line for characters. the souvenirs are crazy expensive of course. i bought a legoman flashlight at christmastime for $10; $15 at the park. i bought some sets on clearance at target beforehand and got some shirts from walmart for $1. so definitely prepare.
i wish we could have checked out the water feature rides or the water park but it's the price we paid for going when we go was worth it. we'll definitely be going back in the warmer months so let me know whose going with me!
we went to the aquarium the last day at the last few hours of the day. it didn't take longer then an hour. it's small but nice. there's a fun passport activity that allows kids to get a fun headband at the end. there's a touching pool that my kids were too scared to do.
a couple of tips:
legoland doesn't allow for outside food. not that disneyland does but i felt more comfortable sneaking in food there. there's just not empty tables in secluded places to eat at. i still brought in several snacks and lunchables. that held us over until dinner + snacks inside the park. [apple fries = not worth the hype. same with nutella rice krispies. i do wish i would have tried the chocolate dip and churros]. that being said, they didn't scour my bags when they did security checks so you really can.
although under 3 get in free, i wouldn't go until at least two of your kids are over 3. that plus the height requirement is needed for some rides. babies going to disneyland for free which is a score because they can still go on a lot but not so much at legoland.
you really need two adults if you have little or more then one kids. i don't think i could take landon and porter by myself, just because of the logistics of rides. landon couldn't go on many without an adult.
bring some figurines to trade with park employees. they have way better ones with cool accessories. you can trade it as many times as you want!
ask for badges on rides/attractions. they're free and fun souvenirs! we got some at the aquarium, ninjago, and carousel, to name a few.
legoland does rider swap just like disneyland does for parents with small children.
download the legoland app for deals on merchandise and food when you're within the park.
at disneyland, the professional photographers will scan your card and save all your character/ride pictures in one place that you can look at online after. legoland has wristbands that you can't access after you leave the park so make sure you look before you leave. i kind of regret not doing this.
go with extremely low expectations and just do as much as you can! then you can be pleasantly surprised.
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