LEGOLAND California has a lot to offer children under 12, but there are several cornerstones, “bricks” so to speak, that go into building a perfect day at LEGOLAND. Whether you are entertaining an 8- to 12-year-old or a toddler or preschooler in the park, knowing when to arrive, what to bring and the right touring plan to follow can make your magical day seem effortless. Ultimately, your kids will take the lead and discover what interests them in this park, which is designed just for them. Depending on your priorities and kids' ages, we'll send you in the right direction to get your day off to a hoppin' start. Here are our tips for building a perfect day at LEGOLAND California.
Tips for Building the Perfect Day at LEGOLAND California
There are so many things to do at LEGOLAND California, but if you follow our tips to hit the highlights for each of your tadpoles' age groups, you will leave feeling like you accomplished quite a lot in your day. In addition to following a general touring plan for LEGOLAND California, you'll get off to a great start with these tips.
This is true for any amusement park. Hotel guests get early access to the park, which can be huge in getting that most popular ride out of the way and getting a head start on your fun. But even if you stay off property, you can enter the turnstile 30 minutes early and walk partway in the general direction of your first attraction. Once the park opens, you will be hitting several rides with no lines in the first 30 to 60 minutes of the park opening.
Bring a Swim Suit and Towel
The water park (which requires an additional ticket) is open some weekends in cooler months and more often in hotter seasons — check the calendar. But even if you do not plan to hit the water park, there are many water play areas (such as Pirate Shores and LEGO Movie World) where your tadpoles will have an amazing time splashing about. Plus, you can wear swimsuits on some of the water rides that are guaranteed to soak you. There are changing rooms and family-size dryers outside of Pirate Shores. If you forget your suit or towel, they sell almost everything you could ever need for water play in the park.
You can access the LEGOLAND Water Park from inside the LEGOLAND theme park. You'll need a Resort Hopper ticket to enter. You can save and time money by purchasing a LEGOLAND Resort hopper ticket in advance.
Make a Plan
Determine what rides or attractions are the most important to your family. While we love having a plan, we also remain flexible. Sometimes the kids discover other fun things to do along the way because there are a lot of extra things to explore such as playground areas, LEGO and DUPLO building areas, LEGO creations and photo opportunities throughout the park.
Chances are that your tadpole's ages and heights will be a determining factor in what attractions they can ride and even which direction you head in when you enter the park. We have a hopful post on LEGOLAND height requirements to help you plan. It also covers Parent Swap in case you have kids of varying ages and heights. With Parent Swap, your whole family can wait together, but when you reach the front of the line, just inform the ride operator that you want to use Parent Swap. When the first riders' turn ends, the parents may switch places and then the other parent can ride with the older child. That saves your family from waiting in line twice, and your older kid may get to ride twice! Win-win!
Our Touring Plan at LEGOLAND California for Older and More Daring Kids
If your kids are elementary school ages and up, they may be most interested in the coasters and larger thrill rides, which are mostly to the right and back of the park once you enter the gates. Keep in mind that LEGOLAND California ride thrills are gentle kid-friendly thrills. We recommend heading to the right toward Bionical Blaster and LEGO Technic: Project X first. The Lost Kingdom Adventure is slow-moving but will thrill sharpshooters who enjoy aiming at targets. Then continue on to the Dragon on Castle Hill. If your froglets like water rides and the weather allows, you'll want to head over toward Pirate Shores and Pirate Reef where they can change into swimsuits and play in the water, hit the Pirate Reef Big Wave Ride and go to war with the land-loving guests aiming sprayers at boats in Splash Battle.
In Fun Town, kids 13 and under can earn their driver’s license at Driving School, test their climbing strength at Kid’s Power Towers. Our family loves to get our adrenaline pumping in the Fire Rescue in Fun Town Police and Fire Academy when it's open.
Are your kids fans of The LEGO Movie? Then they'll discover a world of fun for them at LEGO Movie World. They can go for a ride on a flying couch on Emmet's Flying Adventure Ride or bounce up and down on Unikitty's Disco Drop! Check out Coastersaurus on your way back to the beginning and LEGO Ninjago World and the new Ferrari Build & Race attraction in Imagination Zone to the left of it.
By midday, you'll have most thrills out of the way and lines will be at their peak, so set your kids free in several of the LEGO-building areas throughout the park. Older (and younger) kids will enjoy the Ferrari Build & Race Area, while ages 9 and up can take part in LEGO MINDSTORMS in Imagination Zone. This is a great time to sit down, take a rest and let them create or even catch a show. Your family may also enjoy playing together at the GameSpace.
Our LEGOLAND California Rides Touring Plan for Younger Guests
If you have toddlers and preschoolers, they'll find more excitement that is the right size and speed for them to the left. Your little ones will enjoy easing into gentle rides such as Fairy Tale Brook, a boat ride where they can point out the fairy tale scenes, and they will love to help you scout out LEGO animals on Safari Trek. If you have time, take your budding archeologists to dig for fossils in sand pits at Dino Island.
Everything is awesome at the new LEGO Movie World. Take a ride on a pony at Queen Whatevra's Carousel. Play in the water area or climb Benny's Playship to get the wiggles out. Meet LEGO friends before moving on to the DUPLO playground area (don’t miss the mini-train ride, the LEGOLAND Express). Toddlers and preschoolers love unstructured playtime.
In Fun Town, kids as young as 3 to 5 can earn their driver's license at Junior Driving School and hop in a rescue vehicle at Sky Patrol. It's toadally hilarious to watch your toddler operate a vehicle, BTW. And their excitement when they receive a drivers license is priceless. They will enjoy setting sail at Skipper School, where they can drive a boat and also play with large LEGO bricks. The line at Skipper School is shortest early in the day and at the end of the day. Be sure to take a photo in the LEGO shark’s mouth!
By then, it's time to cool off at the indoor LEGO Life Zone building area or by splashing about at Pirate Shores. Pirate Shores has a lot of action and is great for families with different age groups to entertain.
Over at the Royal Joust on Castle Hill, your little one can ride a LEGO horse, and they will enjoy flying in a plane at Cargo Ace. There are some LEGO building areas for all ages on that side as well, plus The Hideaways playground. On your way back to the entrance, you can take a boat ride on Coast Cruise and visit Miniland, where kids can build a LEGO boat and send it downstream. Lily loves looking at all of the LEGO creations in Miniland. Look for buttons to push to make things move.
Best Attractions or Worlds for All Ages
With a toddler and a tween in our family, we understand the struggle of meeting each tadpole's needs, interests and abilities. Our tadpoles find common ground in building with LEGOS. Here are your best attractions and LEGO worlds that offer something for everyone.
If you have tadpoles of multiple ages, as so many of us do, ask about Parent Swap and take advantage of the LEGO play or build areas adjacent to some lines. You can entertain a little one, while a bigger kid rides. When bringing kids of varying ages, make sure you have at least two adults so one adult can ride with older kids while the other watches the smaller tadpole and then swap places.
Miniland is fun to explore at any age. Kids can build a boat and race it downstream. Older kids and younger tadpoles get caught up in all the tiny details and moving parts.
LEGO Ninjago World
Kids of all ages can enjoy LEGO Ninjago World. The whole family can use their hands to control fireballs, lightning, shockwaves and ice to defeat the Great Devourer on LEGO Ninjago The Ride. Kids can climb rocks, master Spinjitzu and test their reflexes in the play areas. LEGO Ninjago Training Camp comes to LEGOLAND California in 2022!
LEGO Ferrari Build & Race in Imagination Zone
Here is one area that both our tween boy and our toddler girl spent over an hour doing. They both loved building cars out of LEGOs and DUPLO bricks and then testing them on different test tracks and ramps. You can test speed and even the ability to catch some air as your vehicle jumps through a tire tunnel. Be sure to watch the replay video! Do you need to make some adjustments? Your car might even make some vrooming noises as it passes through some tunnels! Then take your creation to the big digital racetrack. Scan your vehicle (or create a new digital car) into the system, make any adjustments you need to make to enhance performance and watch it race. You can even give it a boost and change lanes. How did it do?
LEGO Movie World
LEGO Movie World has something for everyone including varying age-appropriate LEGOLAND California rides parents will love too, from Queen Whatevera's Carousel to Unikitty's Disco Drop! to Emmet's Flying Adventure Ride. You can build with LEGOS, climb Benny's Playship, splash in sprinklers or meet LEGO friends. Fans of The LEGO Movie will toadally get the humor and signs and LEGO figures. Parents love the food at Everything is Ramen and Cloud Cuckoo Crepes.
Castle Hill has a variety of attractions. All kids love to play in The Hideaways playground. You can enjoy good eats such as family BBQ, ice cream and a LEGOLAND specialty — apple fries. Older kids can hop aboard The Dragon coaster while smaller siblings ride a horse in Royal Joust. But the coolest ride of them all is LEGO CITY: Deep Sea Adventure. Climb into a submerged submarine. You can watch real live sea creatures swim past and search for treasure amongst LEGO creations. Tap the screen when you find them. It's a ride, game, treasure hunt and aquarium all in one.
The SEA LIFE Aquarium
Purchase a LEGOLAND California hopper ticket and take a tour through the SEA LIFE Aquarium. No strollers allowed so keep that in mind if you have really little ones. You can take as much or as little time as you need to see sea creatures. The kids will find secret passages and viewing portholes that are just their height.
See a Show or Enjoy Exploring
There is a lot to do besides rides. Be sure to check the schedule for the shows, meet and greets and demonstrations in the park. Shows give you chance to sit and rest tired flippers. In Fun Town, your kids can explore the indoor Adventurer's Club on the hunt for keys. It's a little spooky (with darkness and scary sounds) for very sensitive younger kids, but it's designed for all ages to enjoy. Curious kids can find out how those beloved bricks are made in the LEGO Factory Tour in Fun Town. The LEGO Hero Factory is where real heroes are built.
Skip the Lines With Reserve 'N' Ride
On a normal day, LEGOLAND lines are pretty short and manageable. However, if you are visiting near a holiday and wait times are more than you can stand, you can pay extra to reserve ride times with Reserve ‘N’ Ride. There are different packages that range in price. If you arrive early and hit your favorite rides first, you should not feel the need to spend more money. But if you want to do it all, it always helps to shorten the wait times.
Keep in mind that following a general touring plan at LEGOLAND California, while remaining flexible and being prepared for water fun, is the best blueprint for helping your family build some hoppy family memories. But definitely let your tadpoles take the lead in this park. They may get really excited about things that were not even on your radar and that's OK. The park was designed for kids 2 to 12, so let them explore and build at their own pace.
Hopfully, you now have a general touring plan for LEGOLAND California in mind for your visit. Undercover Tourist offers discount tickets on San Diego-based attractions, including LEGOLAND and SeaWorld. See all of our San Diego tickets here. If you are in the San Diego area, be sure to check out SeaWorld San Diego, which also provides some water-based fun as well as more hands-on exhibits and activities for kids.