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20 LEGOLAND California Tips for an Awesome Trip

by Leap on May 1, 2022 120 San Diego

Just a hop, skip and a jump from San Diego in beautiful Carlsbad, LEGOLAND California is a budding brick-builder's paradise. The whole park is themed around the colorful LEGO bricks. You'll find bricks pieced together for fantastic photo-ops, assembled in models throughout the park and oversized LEGO bricks on rides. Miniland offers LEGO reproductions of seven areas of the United States. That's 20 million LEGO bricks in that one section alone!

If you're always stepping on stray LEGOs around the house, then you already know this is a place you should go. But even if your little ones aren't yet hardcore LEGO devotees, they will still have a blast because the park is geared for ages 2 to 12. The park is the ultimate little playground, but it can get very crowded, especially during the summer months. We've put together these LEGOLAND California tips so that you can make the most of your day in the park. Now, we are talking about making the most of your time, but be prepared for your kids to find at least one place in the park they love and don't want to leave, such as the Land of Adventure or the new LEGO Movie World. With thrills, bricks, characters, climbing structures, water play and yummy treats, why would they ever want to leave? Let them go at their own pace and enjoy the sights and attractions! You can always come back a second day.

20 LEGOLAND California Tips for an Awesome Trip-Full-size Ferrari made out of LEGOsThere's a brand-new, first of its kind, Ferrari Build & Race experience your tadpoles will toadally want to try. We'll tell you all about it below.

LEGOLAND California Tips for an Awesome Trip

1. Buy your tickets in advance.

You will save money and time if you purchase your tickets in advance, since you can find great discounts and you won't have to stand in line at Will Call. In fact, during the LEGOLAND California reopening period, you'll need to purchase in advance and select your redemption date to visit. When you purchase through Undercover Tourist, you will select your date to visit before purchasing. If you want to park hop into the water park and/or the Sea Life Aquarium, definitely purchase a park hopper ticket in advance to save money and time compared to adding them on at the gate.

2. Pick the best times to visit. 

LEGOLAND California is busiest during the summertime and the holidays. Basically, whenever the kids are out of school, you can expect major crowds. At off-peak times and school days, the crowds are usually quite light. Check out our Crowd Calendar to see a day-by-day breakdown of park hours and anticipated crowd levels! Of course, with a reservation system in place, the park capacity is managed so that you will not likely encounter huge crowds at this time.

3. Stay on-site. 

LEGOLAND California Tips - Stay On-Site

LEGOLAND has two on-site hotels. The LEGOLAND Hotel is just as well-themed as the park, and it's located right there inside the resort. It offers fantastically themed rooms (Ninjago! Adventure! Kingdom! Pirates! LEGO Friends!), plenty of hands-on LEGO activities and a zero-entry heated pool for year-round play. The LEGOLAND Castle Hotel has exciting room themes such as Knights & Dragons, Royal Princess or Magic Wizard. It also has a zero-entry pool and water features. Plus, all hotel guests get early admission into the park! You can get a jump on savings and book through Undercover Tourist.

4. Measure up the little ones before you hit the park.

LEGOLAND California Tips - Dune Raiders

All of the rides in the park are geared toward tadpoles between 2 and 12 years old, but more than half of the attractions have height requirements of some kind. It helps to know in advance which rides your little one will be able to ride, and especially which ones they will be able to ride without a grown-up. Also, know that a handful of rides — Emmet's Flying Adventure Ride, Junior Driving School, Driving School, Knights' Tournament, LEGO Technic Coaster, Bionicle Blaster, Cargo Ace and Lego Mindstorms — have age requirements. Hop over to our hopful guide to LEGOLAND height requirements.

5. Pack an extra set of clothes or have the kids wear their bathing suits. 

Even if you aren't headed to the water park, there are a few splash and play areas. If you have little ones who love to play in the water, but don't like walking around soggy, you'll want something they can change into. You can find the most inexpensive lockers in the park, as well as dryers, at Pirate Shores.

6. Bring your own water and snacks, and bring contactless forms of payment.  

Coolers are not allowed, but guests can bring in their own water, small snacks and any food or beverages required for specific dietary needs. We like saving money on snacks for little ones.

LEGOLAND is now cashless. Bring your credit cards and debit cards with you  to make purchases in the theme park, water park, aquarium and hotels.

7. Make a pit stop at the new LEGO Ferrari Build & Race. 

20 LEGOLAND California Tips for an Awesome Trip-Build and Test area20 LEGOLAND California Tips for an Awesome Trip-Exterior of Build & RaceTadpoles and parents of all ages can enjoy the new LEGO Ferrari Build & Race experience in Imagination Zone. This is one activity that captivated both our tween boy and our toddler girl! Plus it's a great indoor way to escape the sun.

Step into the garage to explore a Ferrari made out of 350,000 LEGOS! Then you can design and build your own (much smaller) Ferrari to test out on various tracks to test speed and even the ability to catch air!  But time flies while you're having fun. If you little builders get into it, an hour can easily speed on by as you build, try out your creation, adapt it and try it again on the many different test tracks. There are both LEGO and DUPLO options, and tracks for all ages. Then, to get ready for the big race, you can scan your creation into a digital model to race on a virtual racetrack. Be sure to take a photo on the winner's platform.

8. Try the Food.

LEGOLAND California Tips for an Awesome Trip-Child licks whipped cream off a crepe in LEGO Movie WorldOf course, we also love the locally sourced food at LEGOLAND. Did you know LEGOLAND makes its own pasta fresh every day? And we also leap with joy for options you don't normally find in other theme parks such as ramen, apple fries and crepes. Have your Philly cheesesteak made up fresh right in front of you. Don't worry, LEGOLAND has all the kid favorites for even the pickiest eaters too! We highly recommend the pizza at Pizza Mania! For big appetites, hit the all-you-can-eat Pizza & Pasta Buffet.

9. Go early!

The early bird gets the LEGO! The turnstiles open a half hour to an hour ahead of the park's opening depending on the season, with select rides open early. For the lowest crowds, arrive ahead of the park's opening and you'll be in in no time.

10. Head to the water park early. 

Legoland California Tips - Water Play Area You can avoid the biggest lines to get into LEGOLAND California's Water Park if you arrive before 11 a.m. or after 3 p.m. The water park usually opens mid-March in time for spring break and runs through early November. It may be open weekends only during the school year except for breaks. Note that hojrs may vary and experiences may be limited during the reopening period.

11. Download the LEGOLAND California app.

You can use the app to check wait times (that feature only works once you’ve entered the park), make dinner reservations at hotel restaurants, purchase Reserve ‘n’ Ride and get more LEGOLAND California tips and information.

12. Consider using Reserve ‘n’ Ride to skip the lines.

If you find yourself at LEGOLAND and it’s busier than you’d hoped, you might consider getting Reserve ‘n’ Ride to shorten your wait times. You can use LEGOLAND's handheld device to make ride selections or use your phone for the mobile option. There are different levels of Reserve ‘n’ Ride that vary in price and benefits — basically, the more you pay, the shorter the wait. Online prices may vary from walk-up prices.

13. Never Underestimate the Thrill of Free Play

We parents all feel the need to press on when in a theme park, but we are giving you permission to just accept a slower pace and let your tadpoles take the lead at LEGOLAND. A toddler can spend a really long time in DUPLO Play Area. Your older LEGO fan will be in brick heaven at Ferrari Build & Race and other building experiences (such as the all-new Build Whatevra You Wa'Na Build zone or the LEGO Life building area in Fun Town). Let them play and build until they have had their fill before pushing them to move on. This is toadally one of the Legoland California tips our kids agree on.

14. Start in the back.

If you arrive early, start in the back or right side of the park and work your way back to the front. Lines build early for LEGO Movie World rides, especially Emmet's Flying Adventure.

15. Don't skip the aquarium!

Legoland California Tips - SeaLife Aquarium Entrance

LEGOLAND California is home to the Sea Life Aquarium, where you can see jellyfish, rays, sharks and octopuses up close! There is a touch pool for little hands to reach out and touch sea stars and crabs, and feeding times are posted so you can watch and learn from the animal experts.

16. Parent Swap.

If you have tadpoles with you who do not meet the height requirements for a ride that you parents can ride, you can all wait in line together and when you reach the front, let the operator know you want to do Parent Swap. The first parent will ride with an older child while the other parent waits with the other child, and then the parents will, well, swap!

17. Trade LEGO Minifigures.

20 LEGOLAND California Tips for an Awesome Trip-Kid Trading Mini FiguresPurchase a LEGO Minifigure or two to trade in the park. Look for a Model Citizen who wants to trade and see if they have a Minifigure you'd like to have and trade with them. Lily had so much fun trading her Minifigure. Then a different team member saw her Minifigure and offered her a tiny pretzel to clip into the Minifigure's hand. It made her day extra special to have a tiny LEGO pal to accompany her on her journey and use it to break the ice when meeting LEGO characters and LEGOLAND Model Citizens.

Trade a complete Minifigure with any Model Citizen across the Resort or at a designated Trading Post. You can find Minifigure Trading Posts with a variety of different Minifigures. These posts can be found in the following locations:

  • Guest Services
  • SEA LIFE Aquarium Retail Shop
  • The Awesome Shop in LEGO Movie World
  • LEGO Life Zone / Planet LEGO in Fun Town
  • King’s Market in Castle Hill
  • Imagination Zone
  • LEGOLAND California Hotel Front Desk
  • LEGOLAND Castle Hotel Front Desk

18. Use Package Pick-Up.

We all know how big and bulky some of those LEGO boxes can be. Even though there are many stores at the front of the park where you can souvenir shop before exiting, if you find that perfect item elsewhere in the park, you can use Package Pick-Up service to send your items to the exit so you can pick it up on your way home without having to schlep it through the park.

LEGOLAND California Tips for an Awesome Trip-Push Buttons in Miniland19. Sign up early for LEGO MINDSTORMS lab.

If you have froglets 9 and older who want to build a programmable robot, you can make a reservation in the MINDSTORMS building on the right (in Imagination Zone). Be sure to sign up as early as possible, as spaces are limited.

20. Push those buttons!

When you are in Miniland U.S.A., you may notice some buttons about toddler height. Push them to make things move or to create sound. So fun! Lily cannot get enough of exploring Miniland.

For your little ones, you can't go wrong with a visit to LEGOLAND California! We hope you've enjoyed our LEGOLAND California tips to help you make the most of your time at the park. Have a tip we didn't mention? Share it in comments below!

Related: Building a Perfect Day at LEGOLAND California

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
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51–57 of 57 comments
Mar 22, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. Nicole Says...

Wanting to take kids mar. 24 & 25th. How crowded do u think it will be?

Reply
Mar 28, 2016 at 9:45 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nicole,

Sorry for the delay. Did you make it to the parks? How busy were the parks? We expect they would have been fairly busy.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Mar 17, 2016 at 5:35 a.m. Brenda Says...

We are planning to be in town Monday April 11 to Friday April 15th. Which day would be the least busy out of those? We are bringing our 4-year-old and she won't have the stamina for waiting in long lines...

Reply
Mar 30, 2016 at 10:26 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Brenda,

Since you will be visiting during the week, any of the days should be great, but LEGOLAND seems to be the least crowded on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The park is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day that week. The best strategy is to arrive at 9:30 a.m. on a Tuesday or Wednesday, and you will have no wait to very short waits for the first two hours. You should not see any really long lines those days, but if you do encounter some lines, focus on the the many playgrounds, building areas, and water play areas, which do not have lines at all. Some of the lines have building play areas right there in the line, so kids can play while the parents wait in the line. The line wraps around the play area and allows parents to keep an eye on their kid at all times.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 1, 2016 at 8:32 a.m. Amber Says...

Hello, we will be visiting Cali in a few weeks and will be going for the first time! We are going Monday Feb. 15th.2016, Presidents Day. do you know how busy it gets? Possible attraction estimated wait times? Thank you!

Reply
Feb 2, 2016 at 9:03 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amber,

Expect very heavy crowds. You might want to check out this post as well:

https://www.undercovertourist.com/blog/building-perfect-day-legoland-california/

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 9, 2016 at 7:18 p.m. Amber Says...

I meant 10am to 5pm

Reply
Feb 9, 2016 at 7:16 p.m. Amber Says...

Hello, we will not be going Monday anymore we will be going Wednesday Feb. 17th! I seen that Legoland is normally closed Tuesday Wednesdays, but is open all week that week. Any particular reason? Also, why is the park only open 10pm to 5pm is that enough time to get through everything including the aquarium? Look forward to hearing back from you, thank you!

Reply
Feb 10, 2016 at 1:26 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amber,

The park is opened seasonally at this time based on crowd levels. That should give you enough time to do most everything at the park, but ideally you'd have another day to experience the aquarium.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 10, 2016 at 8:25 a.m. Dana Says...

Hello I have 3 children I will be taking for their first time, and I'm on a budget. Where can I get the best discounts and when is park the very least busy? ? Thanks

Reply
Jul 8, 2016 at 8:59 p.m. dmar29 Says...

if you subscribe your children to recieve ther free lego club magazine, those come with coupons for the children. defitnitly worth looking at if your on a budget.

Reply
Jan 11, 2016 at 7:22 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dana,

We offer some terrific discounts for LEGOLAND California. Check them out:

https://www.undercovertourist.com/san-diego/legoland-california/

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 16, 2015 at 6:47 a.m. Susana Says...

Hello I'm planning to take my son for his Bday in Nov however I'm contemplating waiting until Dec for the Holiday event, do you think it's worth the wait? Or is it pretty much the same only w some snow?

This will be our first time going. Thank you.

Reply
Nov 3, 2016 at 1:06 a.m. Janel Holaday Says...

Hi Susana:

My son's birthday is in November, too. We're thinking of going to Legoland. Did you get to go last November? If so, please share your experience. A site I saw said it is the least busy time of year to go. Thanks!

Reply
Aug 18, 2015 at 3:03 a.m. KJG Says...

Are the VIP line passes worth it? How are the crowds the weekend before Thanksgiving?

Reply
Aug 25, 2015 at 8:07 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there,

It is always great to have skip-the-line access, but worth it is subjective. For that weekend before Thanksgiving, it won't be nearly as crowded as the following weekend, and I don't think the upgrade is absolutely necessary.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 8, 2015 at 4:37 a.m. HNJ Says...

Any tips on summer discounts for the hotel? Off season rates are like $180/night and during the summer it is more like $460/night!

Reply
Jul 22, 2015 at 9:08 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there,

As I am sure you are aware, summer hotel discounts are much harder to come by. I recommend you check the hotel site for discounts, I currently see one available. When there are none, I look at my options such as making sure I am putting it on a credit card that offers points or even paying with points.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
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