Southern California has a Regional Stay-at-Home Order in effect. During this time, the Holidays at LEGOLAND event is closed, however the Big Shop remains open select days. The LEGOLAND hotels accept reservations for stays beginning March 28, 2021.
We have hopping good news! Parts of LEGOLAND California have reopened. The LEGOLAND Hotel and Castle Hotel reopened (for a while), as well as The Big Shop inside the theme park. Plus, Miniland U.S.A. was open for hotel guests, passholders or people who purchase up to $25 at The Big Shop (one purchase covers a party of four). Hip, hop, hurray! Plus, during select dates this holiday season, guests were able to celebrate the Holidays at LEGOLAND! While the theme park and water park have not officially announced reopening dates, the theme park is ready to open as soon as San Diego meets state guidelines for reopening. But don't start making those park plans just yet. Southern California is under a Regional Stay-at-Home Order that keeps everything closed for now (except The Big Shop).
In order for the LEGOLAND theme park and rides to reopen, San Diego County must meet certain criteria. California has a color-coded 4-Tier Blueprint for a Safer Economy that rates each county's risk level as it relates to COVID-19 cases. San Diego must meet the criteria to move into Tier 4 (Yellow) and have minimal risk (less than 1 daily new case per 100k residents) in order to open. The state also requires a pre-sale or reservation system to help limit park capacity to 25%. Once San Diego slid back to Tier 1 (Purple) in November, the SEA LIFE Aquarium closed again as of Nov. 14.
California theme parks have been temporarily closed due to COVID-19 since mid-March. The reopening procedures differ from park-to-park, so we've got you covered when it comes to what to expect when the California theme parks reopen. We are building up to the fun with the LEGOLAND California reopening. Here’s everything you need to know before you go!
Holidays at LEGOLAND
Before we get into the LEGOLAND California reopening details, let's talk about the Holidays at LEGOLAND. The outdoor retail and dining experience takes place select days Nov. 20, 2020, through Jan. 10, 2021. Hours vary by date (and the resort will be closed during the Stay-at-Home Order, in effect Dec. 7–27, 2020). Various dining locations throughout the park are open so you can taste seasonal treats such as cookies, apples, crispy treats and more. Rides are closed.
Admission is $14.99 per person (less for pass holders), and parking is $5. The Holiday event includes:
- Distanced holiday character meet and greets — We encountered a LEGO toy soldier, Santa and Gingerbread Man.
- Holiday music
- A 30-foot LEGO Christmas tree that twinkles to holiday tunes during the Holiday Light Show
- Access to The Big Shop
- Building opportunities — The bricks are sanitized between use and guests use hand sanitizer before and after building.
- Scavenger hunt to virtually find Santa's missing reindeer, put the clues together to solve a puzzle and collect a small surprise.
- Holiday treats for purchase
- The Big Shop is open for holiday shopping
- Coloring opportunities and letters to Santa — You can hang your colored ornaments on trees or take them home.
For an additional fee of $5 online (fee may vary by date) or $8.99 at the gate, you can head into the FunTown Theater to receive a surprise gift worth $8.99 in value! (This might be a place to save money and choose your own souvenir.)
The hotels also have festive decor. All the following LEGOLAND reopening health and safety rules apply.
We recently visited the Holidays at LEGOLAND and had a hopping good time! The tadpoles were hoppy to have building opportunities, meet some LEGO holiday characters and experience snowfall in Southern California. It also gave us a chance to see how LEGO building experiences may operate once the park fully reopens.
Here's a look at the Holidays at LEGOLAND California.
The playground near Fun Town is open, however, it was closed from 2 to 3 p.m. during our visit for sanitizing, so plan you visit around that. The LEGO NINJAGO spin and climbing areas were open. We had plenty of physical distancing space, and we saw a lot of sanitizing as well as opportunities to use hand sanitizer.
The following eating areas are open:
- The Market, in the Beginning Area
- Knight’s Smokehouse BBQ
- NINJA Kitchen
- Pizza Mania
- The Garden Café
- Urban Kitchen
- Churros con Chocolate
- Granny’s Apple Fries
- Castle Ice Cream
Look for miniature LEGO Santa, reindeer and elves all over Miniland U.S.A. It seems that the reindeer have to keep rescuing Santa. Some of them are quite funny.
LEGOLAND California Reopening Details
As you may have guessed, you can expect several health and safety changes to LEGOLAND. You’ll notice that some play areas, restaurants and rides will remain closed. All LEGO brick pits have been removed from common play areas to reduce cross-contamination. Overall, we hope you’ll find the park cleaner than ever before and comfortable with the physical distancing measures in place.
LEGOLAND California Reopening Dates
The LEGOLAND California theme park reopening is pending government approval. Park hoursmay vary per day, so check the calendar before your visit. The SEA LIFE Aquarium reopened for select days but it closed again due to government limitations. In the meantime, The Big Store inside LEGOLAND has reopened, as well as the LEGOLAND hotels and Miniland U.S.A.
Preparing for Your Arrival to LEGOLAND California
Purchase LEGOLAND California Resort tickets in advance to save yourself an extra stop at the ticket booth. (Plus, you'll save some $$$ when you buy with us!) In fact, advanced purchase tickets may be required once the park reopens because capacity is limited (set at 25 percent or of normal capacity). If you already have tickets, you will need to pre-book a date and time slot to ensure your spot. Use the icon for booking only and not admission (this will be available once the park is closer to reopening).
When the SEA LIFE Aquarium reopens — once San Diego County hits Tier 2 (Red) — you can purchase SEA LIFE Aquarium tickets in advance as well. Aquarium tickets begin at $9.99 (there are discounts for hotel guests and prices increase on peak days). You must choose a date and time when purchasing. Arrive 10 minutes early. Parking is $5 for a limited time. Take a look at the SEA LIFE Aquarium with Tad's video on our YouTube channel.
Before leaving home, stay up-to-date on the latest information by checking LEGOLAND California’s website. Download the mobile app to check park hours, wait times and find the nearest hygiene station. Vendors are not accepting cash payments, so have a credit or debit card ready. When you park, leave a space on each side of your car. And be sure to bring face coverings for you and the tadpoles!
Pack a mask for each family member age 2 and up, as California state law requires face coverings. Also bring a back-up face covering in case you drop yours, lose it on a ride, or get it dirty or wet. Guests may wear a face shield in addition to a mask but not in place of one. Allowable face coverings are cloth or disposable coverings that cover the nose or mouth. It can have straps or ties or wrapped around the lower face. Coverings with mesh, holes or exhalation valves are not permitted.
All guests ages 2 and up must wear a face covering that overs the nose and mouth unless they produce a note from a physician or qualified health care provider that they have medical or mental health condition or developmental disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering. Those exempt from the requirement should remain at least six feet away from guests not in their party and wear wristbands while in the resort so that LEGOLAND personnel know not to ask them to re-apply face coverings.
People who are hearing impaired do not need a note. Same for people communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
If you have a disability that prevents you from wearing a face covering and have questions about the policies and how they may impact you or those in your party, please contact Guest Services prior to your visit.
Guests may remove the mask in restroom stalls while eating or drinking in a restaurant when six feet away from other parties and in designated “cool off” areas.
All guests will undergo a non-invasive temperature check and quick health check. We answered questions about our health and whether we all brought face coverings at the parking booth.
The park will not admit guests who have:
- Coughing, fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or more), or difficulty breathing
- Been on a cruise ship in the last 14 days
- Traveled internationally in the last 14 days
- Been in a location with widespread COVID-19 transmission in the last 14 days
- Been in close contact with a person known or suspected of having COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- Tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days
As we entered the park, we had out temperature checked and our bags were visually inspected.
Front Gate Height Checks
Froget the days of checking your tadpole’s height at each ride and wondering if they are tall enough! All height checks will be conducted at the front gate. Froglets who still have room to grow into an attraction will receive a wristband that indicates which rides they are eligible to ride.
Let’s take a closer look at the safety measures you can expect once you enter the resort.
LEGOLAND California Reopening Safety Measures
During this initial reopening phase, LEGOLAND California must follow California government guidelines for all theme parks, as well as San Diego Tourism Authority’s San Diego Attraction Reopening Health and Safety Plan. You can expect limited capacity and the following safety measures to be in place during your visit. Keep in mind that these measures may change over time as the situation changes.
- Capacity is limited to 25 percent.
- Purchase date-based tickets in advance.
- People with existing tickets can book a date and time to reserve their spot.
Employee (Model Citizen) Screenings and Protection
- Mandatory health and safety COVID-19 training for all employees.
- Wellness checks for employees prior to the start of the workday.
- Employee temperature checks using contactless infrared thermometers.
- Employees wear protective face masks.
- Hygiene barriers at check stands.
Entrance and Security Checkpoints
- Reduced attendance capacity to ensure adequate social distancing can be maintained throughout the property.
- A minimum distance of six feet at ticket booths, security queues, inspection tables and park entrances to maintain proper social distancing.
- Hand sanitizer stations at ticket booth windows and park entrances.
- Visitors are asked to open their own bags for security inspections to minimize contact.
Disinfecting and Sanitation
- Additional hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the park.
- Additional hand-washing stations throughout the park.
- Park announcements encourage guests and Model Citizens to wash hands frequently.
- Chairs and tables disinfected after each use.
- All building areas and LEGOS are disinfected between use.
- Each party has its own building table, which is sanitized between use.
- Guests sanitize hands before and after building or playing.
- Playground areas are closed periodically for sanitization.
- Reduced restroom capacity to maximize social distancing.
- Employees frequently sanitize restrooms.
- Signage throughout park states new health and safety guidelines.
- Markers and signs encourage social distancing (bonus: they are whimsical and fun!).
- Guests follow directional markings.
- One-way traffic on narrow pathways to manage pedestrian flow.
- Modified photo opportunities with costumed characters to maintain six feet minimum distance.
Rides and Attractions
- Hand sanitizer dispensers at each ride entrance and exit.
- Markers throughout rides and queues indicate where to stand to maintain six feet minimum distance.
- Staggered seating on each ride and empty rows between parties.
- Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of ride vehicles, queue railings and touch points.
- Smaller guests undergo one height check and receive a wristband that indicates which rides they are tall enough for — no more measuring up at each attraction.
- Select restaurants may be open.
- Dining areas have distanced seating areas.
- Prepackaged grab-and-go snack and meals available.
- Reconfigured self-service buffets and salad bars.
- Model Citizens provide cutlery and condiments with the meal rather than open-area, self-serve style.
- Hygiene screens at food stations and cashiers to reduce close interactions.
- Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of door handles, counters and common areas.
- Cashless transactions.
Rides Available During the LEGOLAND California Reopening
Like the other theme parks, the way you approach rides will be a little different after the LEGOLAND California reopening. First of all, instead of getting your tadpoles' height checked at individual rides, a Model Citizen can check them once upon entering the park. A wristband indicates for which rides they are eligible to ride.
We expect most rides to be open, although a few may be on a “time-out” or will open later in the day. You can find them on the ride closure calendar on the LEGOLAND website. You will find hand sanitizer dispensers before and after you ride. Follow the floor markings in the queue to help you keep your physical distance from others. Expect to see empty rows between parties on rides. Make sure to tighten your mask on roller coasters and bring a backup mask just in case!
LEGOLAND Water Park New Guidelines
You should still be able to catch a wave and make a splash at the LEGOLAND California Water Park with the following modifications:
- Maintain six feet of distance from other guests.
- Keep your mask dry! Wear mask when not wet.
- LEGOLAND will be sanitizing all water tubes and life jackets between uses.
- Employees sanitize high-frequency touch points on a regular basis.
- Some areas and fountains are on a temporary "time-out."
LEGOLAND Hotel Safety
You’ll see more of the same at the hotels, including the following:
- Temperature checks
- Hygiene stations/hand sanitizer dispensers
- Social distancing reminders
- One party at a time in elevators
- Temporary suspension of some entertainment
- Increased time between stays in hotel rooms
- Temporarily suspended housekeeping
- Reserved pool time slots
- Cabanas for purchase for more private space at the pool
- Guests required to maintain six feet of space to play in pools
- Masks required at pools, except when wet
- Reservations required for meal periods
- Contact-free checkout
Hopfully, you have a good idea of what to expect when LEGOLAND reopens. Don't froget to purchase discount LEGOLAND California Resort tickets in advance. If you need a hotel stay, you can get a jump on saving money on a San Diego hotel (including the LEGOLAND California Hotel) when you book with Undercover Tourist.
Related: LEGOLAND California Tips