Activity: Legoland California. How to Get There: Plug Legoland Drive into your GPS. Parking costs $25 bucks. Disneyland rates! Cost: $95/adults, $86/kids 3-11, under 3 free. Better deals on Groupon, or use the San Diego GO Pass. Can upgrade your pass to include the Sea Life Aquarium (not worth it) or the water park. Hours: Roughly 9:30 AM - 7:00 pm. Hours change depending on the season.
Step one for enjoying Legoland is to not expect Disneyland. Though the prices are similar, Legoland does not have the crowd control mechanisms nor the magic of Disneyland. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here is why Legoland is awesome. It’s less focused on the rides and more on the creative play stations and stuff built out of Legos. My mom who is a big Lego aficionado (she recently got rid of her crystal to make room for her Lego cities!) took me when it opened 20 years ago. Then, it had a few rides, but the best part was all the amazing tiny Lego cities all around the park! Slowly the park has built up around it to include more rides, movie theaters, and now a water park and aquarium.
A good plan for visiting Legoland is to get there when it opens and ride the rides your kids are dying to ride. A line that looks short by Disney standards may actually take forever due to slow ride operators. Most rides have height limits AND age limits, so if your kid is under 4 or 5, they may not be able to ride a lot. They are very strict on the age limits. They asked my little boy who was well over the height limit how old he was and he proudly said “two-and-a-half!” They kicked him out of line for the cars. There were tears. I promised to take him back when he’s three.
After you’ve ridden all the rides (probably will only take a few hours) go check out Mini-land. Though the whole thing needs a good power wash, it’s still wonderful to see all the original Lego structures. We also really enjoyed the Duplo Playground area where there was a pretend Lego city just the right size for the under 5 set. I was pretty proud that Lorenzo spent nearly the whole time in the Lego hospital and ambulance.
They upgraded our ticket to include the aquarium for free so we spent the last part of our day in there. It’s not worth the extra money, but it was a nice cool place to spend the afternoon. Despite the high ticket price (we used the San Diego GO Pass so we got into the zoo/Safari Park/Legoland for only $120) Legoland is worth a visit if you have kids that are into Legos. It’s only an hour from my house, so we are excited to return and explore it more!