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Legoland California: Everything You Need to Know (Guide)

Legoland California Guide

Anyone who has kids knows that Legos are essential. The little plastic bricks open up a world of imagination. Lucky for us, North County is home to Legoland California Resort. North County’s only theme park, Legoland is not only great for Lego enthusiasts, but for anyone with kids, or who are kids at heart!

The Legoland California Resort has four main parts: Legoland California, Sea Life Aquarium, Legoland Water Park and the Legoland Resort Hotel. Use this comprehensive guide to help navigate your adventure!

Legoland California

Geared towards ages 2-12, Legoland not only offers more than 60 Rides, shows and attractions, but there are also Lego details throughout them all!

Getting There:

Legoland is located in Carlsbad, just East of Hwy 5.

Tickets/Annual Memberships:

Tip: Buy your tickets in advance.

Legoland offers discounts throughout the year. Depending on the season you may even get additional free days or free children’s admission (children 2 and under are always free).

If you decide to upgrade your ticket to an Annual Membership you have 30 days in which to apply the price of that ticket toward membership.

The Rainy Day Promise is if the weather should close a portion of the rides for more than 2 hours, it ensures that if you keep your ticket, you can redeem it within 6 months of the visit for free one day visit (cannot be used with Memberships or Complimentary Tickets).

Twilight Rate: Get into the Park for 50% off. Guests can purchase a 1-Day, Same Day ticket 2 hours prior to the Park’s scheduled closure (not available Saturdays in October.

Hours:

Legoland is open daily during Summer, Holidays and Spring break, during select seasons they close on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Your best bet is to check the hours beforehand, so you’re not met with any surprises.

Tip: Get there early!

Toll and Ticket Booths open 45 minutes before the turnstiles. The park officially opens at 10am, but during summer months turnstiles and some rides will open at 9:30am.

Parking

  • Cars: $18
  • Campers/RVs: $25
  • Motorcycles: $5
  • Preferred Parking: $25
  • Handicap and L2 Charging Stations available

Tip: Skip Preferred Parking. Even the furthest space is not too bad of a walk.

Before You Go

Tip: Download the Legoland Mobile App which features: an interactive map, ride wait times, daily entertainment guide, ride information with height requirements and much more!

Tip: Bring a Minifigure to Trade

Throughout the park you’ll find display cases of Minifigures waiting to be traded, or look at the name tag of any Lego Model Citizen and just ask to trade!

Tip: Bring Snacks and Water!

There are lots of great restaurant options, but snacks are great for the little ones, especially if waiting in line!

Tip: Bring a Swimsuit

There are Splash Pads and Spraygrounds available to cool off in, perfect for hot summer days.

Tip: Remember Sunscreen!

Close to the ocean, Legoland California can be under cloud cover for most of the morning, however, don’t be fooled, the sun rays are still coming through.

Tip: Skip long lines by starting at the back of the Park.

Walk straight through Miniland and work your way back to the front (East side of park caters to older children, West side to younger).

Tip: Use Rider Switch.

If you have little ones that are too small parents can still enjoy the ride. Inform the attendant, and both parents can have a turn. Also, if you have multiple children, ask if there are Model Citizens that can accompany them on rides – that way everyone can ride together.

Tip: Kids Eat Free! Check the dining guide, occasionally kids meals will be free with the purchase of a full priced adult meal 2 hours before closing.

Other helpful links:

Park Guide

Legoland California has 10 different themed areas. While there are attractions for all ages in each area, the West side of the park caters to younger children, while the East side has the largest, fastest rides.

The Beginning

The Beginning is where all the fun begins! In this area you’ll find:

  • Cell Phone Charging Lockers ($3 for 2 hour charge, credit cards only)
  • First Aid
  • Locker Rentals (Single $10/Family $14)
  • Lost and Found
  • Membership Services
  • Minifigure Market: build your own Minifigure to Trade
  • Package Pick-up
  • Stroller Rentals (Single $14/Double $17/Infant $14)
  • The Big Shop (the biggest in-Park retail location)
  • Wheelchair Rental (Wheelchair $15/ Electric Convenience Vehicle with Canopy $50)
  • The Market
  • Reserve ‘N Ride
  • Photo Center

Tip: Utilize Package-Pickup! Each retail outlet has Lego Sets unique to that area’s theme. Any retail item bought can be transferred and held at the Beginning of the park until the end of the day!

Tip: Cell Phone charging – bring your own chord just in case the ones provided aren’t compatible.

Tip: Reserve ‘N’ Ride is a great way to save time in the busy seasons (summer, holidays and spring break). It’s not really necessary during the Winter months.

Tip: Get an Unlimited Digital Photo Pass. Get your pictures from Rides and Character Meet and Greets (Single Day $34.99/Annual $49.99).

Explorer Island

If you decide to head left, the first area you’ll arrive at is Explorer Island. There you will find the first roller coaster, and two rides for younger children.

  • Coastersaurus (Minimum 36”)
  • Dig Those Dinos
  • Dino Dig Store (Minifigure Trading Post)
  • Fairy Tale Brook
  • Safari Trek (Minimum 34”)

Tip: Use play areas to entertain younger children, while older ones wait for rides. Dig Those Dinos is located right next to Coastersaurus. Grab a pail and brush from the Dino Dig Store and discover what’s hidden under the sand!

Tip: Bring Cash. Explorer Island is the first place you’ll encounter Carnival Games that continue throughout the park. There are also a number of face painting kiosks that are popular as well.

LEGO Friends Heartlake City

One of the newer areas of the park, Heartlake City transports you into the popular LEGO Friends world!

  • City Park Creperie
  • Heartlake City Boutique (featuring Lego Friends and Elves)
  • Heartlake Fountain
  • Heartlake Stables
  • Lego Friends: Meet and Greet, Lego Friends to the Rescue Show
  • Mia’s Riding Camp Carousel (Minimum 42”)
  • Wok N’ Bowl Ramen

Tip: Try a Crepe! A Legoland favorite, try it with Nutella or Berries!

Tip: Heartlake Fountain is the first water area in the park. The fountain runs all day, but is paused during LEGO Friends shows.

Fun Town

One of the largest areas of the park, Fun Town extends from Heartlake City to the Legoland Water Park.

  • Duplo Play Town
  • Legoland Express (Under 36” must be accompanied)
  • Kid Power Towers (Minimum 40”)
  • Sky Patrol Helicopters (Minimum 34”)
  • Burger Stop
  • Junior Driving School (3-5 years old)
  • Driving School (6-13 years old)
  • Fun Town’s Urban Kitchen
  • Fun Town Hot Dogs
  • Police and Fire Academy (Minimum 34”)
  • LEGO Factory Tour
  • LEGO Clubhouse
  • Brick Brothers Trading Company
  • Adventurer’s Club
  • Baby Care Center
  • Skipper School Boats (Minimum 34”)

Tip: Duplo Play Town is the ideal place for Toddlers. The small train ride and extra large soft Lego bricks are favorites.

Tip: Everyone gets a license after Driving School. You can choose to upgrade to a laminate for a fee.

Tip: Don’t skip Adventurer’s Club! Tucked between the Water Park and Brick Brother’s Trading Company, this little scavenger hunt area is easy to miss!

Tip: The LEGO Clubhouse offers bricks by the pound, a create your own Minifigure area, and soft serve ice cream.

Tip: Utilize the Baby Care Center. Changing Centers, Rocking Chairs for nursing mothers, refrigerator and microwave, this is a great escape from the crowds for some quiet.

Pirate Shores

Pirate Shores is the place to go if you want to get wet (but don’t want to spend the day at the water park). There are water rides, cannons, play area, and dryers.

  • Captain Cranky’s Challenge (Minimum 34”)
  • Buccaneer’s Booty
  • Pirate Reef (Minimum 36”)
  • Splash Battle (Minimum 36”)
  • Swabbie’s Deck (swim diaper required)

Tip: Locker Rentals and Charging Stations are available by the restrooms took keep your valuables dry and you’re mobile devices ready ($3).

Tip: Buccaneer’s Booty has sunscreen, swim suits, towels, hats, flip flops and anything else you might need for water fun.

Castle Hill

Castle Hill is the quietest section of the park. With winding trails and attractions tucked into corners it’s a nice reprieve from the extra crowded areas.

  • Granny’s Apple Fries
  • Hideaways
  • Knight’s Smokehouse
  • Knights Tournament (Minimum 40”)
  • Royal Joust (4-12 years old, Minimum 36”)
  • The Dragon Rollercoaster (minimum 40”)
  • Castle Burgers
  • Castle Ice Cream (and Coffee)

Tip: Try Granny’s Apple Fries! Fried Granny Smith Apples, dusted with cinnamon and sugar, and topped with whip cream. A Legoland original!

Tip: Knight’s Smokehouse, one of the largest restaurants, is where you can find BBQ, Craft Beer and a large, shaded outdoor dining area.

Tip: The Knight’s Tournament ride has a long wait time and adjusts its speed based on age and weight. If you have littles that don’t like the wait, skip this one.

Tip: The Dragon has a small play area near the line for smaller children.

Land of Adventure

The Land of Adventureis an area where smaller kids can not only enjoy the rides, but can also ride most of them by themselves!

  • Beetle Bounce (minimum 36”)
  • Cargo Ace (minimum 36”)
  • Dune Raiders (minimum 36”, opens at noon)
  • Lost Kingdom Adventure (minimum 30”)
  • Pharaoh’s Revenge (% years and under must be accompanied by adult, opens at noon)

Tip: The Dune Raiders racing slide sometimes has a longer line. You can skip the line to use the other slides on the far side of the racers.

Imagination Zone

The Imagination Zone holds the biggest rollercoaster in the Park, The Lego 4D Movie Theater, and Mindstorms.

  • Aquazone Wave Racer (minimum 40”)
  • Bionicle Blaster (minimum 42”, 4 years and older)
  • Build and Test
  • Character Meet and Greet
  • Duplo Play
  • 4D Movie Theater featuring Nexo Knights and The Lego 4D movie
  • Lego Hero factory
  • Lego Mindstorms (9 years and older)
  • Lego Technic Roller Coaster (minimum 42”)
  • Pizza & Pasta Buffet, Pizza Mania
  • WB Family Gamespace

Tip: Sign up for Mindstorms early. Kids 9 years and older can sign up for this robot building workshop.

Tip: Don’t miss the Lego 4D Movie! If you were a fan of the original Lego movie, the New Adventure, is a great follow up. Filled with clever jokes and a fun story line, it’s a great time for the whole family.

Lego Ninjago World

The newest area in Legoland, Lego Ninjago World has a Ninja Training Course for smaller kids and the popular interactive Ninjago Ride.

Lego Ninjago The Ride

  • Wu’s Warehouse (Exclusive Ninjago merchandise)
  • Ninja Training: Cole’s Rock Climb, Jay’s Lightning Drill, Kai’s Spinners
  • Ninja Kitchen

Tip: The Lego Ninjago Ride is a great interactive experience, making you feel like you are part of the action. However, It is dark and loud, with some scarier elements. If you have smaller children, they may want to wait outside and do some Ninja Training!

Miniland USA

At the center of Legoland you’ll find Miniland USA, an homage to all the greatest cities in the US. Over 32 Million Bricks make up this amazing garden. On the upper deck lies the Star Wars area, complete with Death Star!

  • Block of Fame
  • Coast Cruise
  • Empire Emporium (specializing in Star Wars merchandise)
  • Garden Restaurant
  • LEGO Star Wars
  • LEGO USA
  • The Model Shop

Tip: Don’t miss the model shop! Watch as builders maintain and build the LEGO sculptures that grace all of Legoland.

Sea Life Aquarium

Sea Life Aquarium can be enjoyed on its own or added onto a Park Hopper Ticket to Legoland California. The hour+ experience is a nice reprieve from the park, or a great way to spend an afternoon on the days Legoland California is closed. The Aquarium has 14 interactive exhibits, with over 5,000 creatures,  that allow the public to experience ocean wonders, while hearing Sea Life’s message to Breed, Rescue and Protect.

Highlights Include:

  • Interactive Touch Pool: touch and feel sea stars and more.
  • Shoaling Exhibit: where hundreds of fish swim around you in a circular tank room.
  • Jellyfish Discovery: See Moon Jellies big and small in this disco room.
  • Shark and Ray Lagoon: Come face to face with a smiling Ray as they swim by.
  • San Francisco Harbor:  See Eels and maybe catch the Octopus stretching its tentacles.
  • Tropical Ocean Exhibit: The heart of the aquarium tunnels you through the ocean itself.

Tip: Grab a Dive Log Book on the way in and use it to log the interactive dive stations. Turn it into the shop at the end and receive a Lego Dive Hat!

Tip: Eat at the Cafe. The restaurant at the end of the journey is a great place for lunch. They make Macaroni and Cheese to order and the sliders are big enough to share!
Tip: During busy months, strollers must be parked outside.

Helpful Links:

Legoland Water Park

The Legoland Water Park is massive; rides, slides, wave pools, lazy rivers and more, you could spend your whole day here. Located at the back of Legoland California, you can upgrade your ticket for $30 to access the Water Park. For passholders, the waterpark is a big perk.

  • Build-A-Raft-River: Large floating Legos can be used to build up rafts (Minimum 42”).
  • Duplo Splash Safari: Pool for kids 6 and under with shallow water and smaller slides (must be accompanied by an adult).
  • Joker Soaker: A large clock tower surrounded by water cannons and soaked with 350 gallons of water that drops from a bucket every few minutes.
  • Orange Rush: Slide down a giant water slide in a raft built for 4 (Minimum 42”).
  • Pirate Reef: Race a boat down between two battling pirate ships equipped with water cannons.
  • Splash Out: Single rider blue water slide (Minimum 42”).
  • Soak N’ Sail: Water soaked jungle gym that has a 300 gallon bucket pour down every few minutes. (Guests under 36” or younger than 10 years old must be accompanied by an adult).
  • Twin Chasers: Side by side red racing slides (Minimum 42”)
  • Splash Zoo: Spray and play area for children ages 1-3.
  • Beach Front Grill: Burritos and Pizza

Tip: Children 2 and Under will be charged a $5 fee to enter the Water Park.

Tip: Life vests are available for small children.

Tip: Swim diapers are required for children 3 and under.

Chima Water Park

An extension of the Legoland Water Park, Chima adds a wave pool, medium sized slides and a Build-a-boat area.

  • Cragger’s Swamp: Shallow pool with small and medium sized water slides.
  • Lion Temple Wave Pool: Large wave pool (minimun 42”)
  • Eglor’s Build-a-Boat: Build up and race small boats
  • Wolves Den Grill: Burgers

Surfer’s Cove

Partially open, Surfer’s Cove is the newest addition to the water Park.

  • Wipeout Lagoon with water jets.
  • Riptide Racers: Water slide race between 6 racers.
  • Beach Street Tacos: Taqueria Tacos and Craft Beer

Useful links:

Tip: Locker rentals available (Single $10/Family $14).

Tip: Seating and shade are on a first come first serve basis, if you plan on staying all day show up early to secure your spot.

Tip: Consider Cabana Rental. Cabanas come with considerable perks, including souvenir towels, front of the line passes and more.

Standard Cabana Includes:

  • 2 Chaise lounges and seating chairs
  • 2 complimentary towels
  • 1 complimentary tote bag
  • 10 complimentary beverages (water, juice or soda)
  • 1 Family locker in locker area
  • 1 table with duplo bricks for play
  • Wait service available
  • Mini-fridge (no outside food or beverage allowed)
  • Unlimited float time in Lazy River and front-of-line access to Pirate Reef

Premium Cabana Includes:

  • 2 Chaise lounges and seating chairs
  • 4 complimentary towels
  • 1 complimentary tote bag
  • 12 complimentary beverages (water, juice or soda)
  • 1 Personal safe in cabana plus family size locker rental
  • 1 table with duplo bricks for play
  • Wait service available
  • Mini-fridge (no outside food or beverage allowed)
  • Unlimited float time in Lazy River and front-of-line access to Pirate Reef

Deluxe Cabana Includes:

  • 2 Chaise lounges and seating chairs
  • 6 complimentary towels
  • 1 complimentary tote bag
  • 12 complimentary beverages (water, juice or soda)
  • 1 Personal safe in cabana plus family size locker rental
  • 1 table with duplo bricks for play
  • Wait service available
  • Mini-fridge (no outside food or beverage allowed)
  • Unlimited float time in Lazy River and front-of-line access to Pirate Reef
  • Cabana locations and pricing

Legoland Hotel

Just steps from the Legoland California entrance is the Legoland Resort Hotel. Lego dragons, fountains, Pirate Ships and Castle, greet you when you walk in. A wonderful extension of the park, the Hotel offers plenty.

Tip: Check Out the Elevators for a disco dance party!

Tip: Meeting people at the Park? The Legoland Hotel lobby has a lounge and play area for kids, A great, cool place to meet up.

Helpful links:

Your Turn…

What’s your favorite thing to do at Legoland?

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Drea Colores: Drea Colores grew up in Tucson, AZ and now lives in Carlsbad. Writer + Maker + Photographer. IG: dreacolores