For Grimlock’s 6th birthday, we took him to Legoland (California) for the first time! I’ll let pictures show how great the experience was:
It was a dismal day, but the only day we had free for the excursion, so we left Newport Beach at 8am, thinking we’d get there about half an hour early, and we’d just wander around until the park opened at 10am. But they let us in before 10!
Throughout the park, there are many displays built out of Legos. This is one of the first you can encounter, located in the Ninjago (I don’t know the real name) section. Those giant figures are Lego. That water is Lego. That mountain and castle/temple on top of the mountain is made of Legos. Grimlock had to touch everything. ***Note: Although most displays are made of Legos that have been glued together or secured somehow, there are still loose Legos that small children might put in their mouths. Here, there were white pieces all around the snowy base.***
I highly encourage you to click to embiggen the above photo. That is a Lego Death Star, made of Legos. And Lego star fighters. Grimlock for scale. We spent a lot of time looking through all the displays in the Star Wars section.
Lots of great photo opportunities and Grimlock loved hamming it up with the life-sized figures.
As a mom, my favorite thing about Legoland is that all the rides are kid-sized. Unlike Disneyland and Great America, where elementary-aged kids are kind of confined to only a fraction of the park, kids about 5 years old and above can ride almost all the rides with a taller companion or by themselves.
It seemed to help his sense of independence to get in line and ride some rides by himself.
Again, lots of Lego displays to interact with. This one was a fortuitous combination of two of his favorite things: Legos and sharks.
My absolute least favorite part of Legoland: Grimlock had gotten a Lego gift card from his aunt and uncle at his birthday party the weekend before, and we’d saved it and anticipated spending it at Legoland. BUT THEY DON’T TAKE LEGO GIFT CARDS AT THE LEGOLAND SOUVENIR SHOPS. They only take gift cards that are purchased from Legoland. Such a huge disappointment, but Futurehusband had been making the penny souvenirs from the penny machines located throughout the park. You put two quarters and a penny into the machine, choose a figure to stamp on it, turn a crank, and flatten and stamp that image on the penny! Very cheap souvenir, and collecting them with his Dad made it even more special.
FAMILY FRIENDLINESS: Yes! Absolutely great for elementary-age kids. Streets and avenues are wide enough for double-strollers and even small wagons. Lunch meals were reasonably priced in some areas – we ate in the medieval section (I don’t know the real name). Almost all the rides are for kids. Check the website for details on height requirements for specific rides.
IMPORTANT NOTES: Definitely prepurchase tickets. Legoland is on a huge plot of land and also kind of contains two other attractions: Legoland Water Park and Sea Life. Both are NOT full sized amusement parks but larger than something that could be incorporated into one park. Ticket “packages” are marketed for Legoland plus the Water Park, or Legoland plus Sea Life (actually an aquarium), or all 3, or multiple-day passes. Choose what’s right for your vacation, but the best package for us was “Legoland + Sea Life, Buy One Adult Ticket, Get a Child Ticket Free” promo. We saved about $100 doing this, and I found the deal by searching for “Legoland California ticket coupons promo” in Google.
***It was impossible for me to input a “coupon code” through the Legoland website itself. Usually, the “Legoland ticket coupons promo” will give you a list of websites that you need to click through in order to get to a Legoland promo page that will allow you to enter coupon codes.
***There are souvenir shops in Legoland that sell merchandise that you can only get from Legoland, like some cool hats or shirts. These are reasonably priced from about $10. This is also one of the few places in North America where you can have Lego block keychains engraved! (We got Grimlock a new Lego backpack and lunchbox for 1st grade. Futurehusband and I got personalized keychains.) I recommend planning for these expenses, or helping your kids save up in advance.
***Legoland California is located in Carlsbad, which is in Southern California. If you’re driving from NorCal, it will definitely save your sanity to drive down the day before and stay in a nearby hotel or AirBnB. There is no way to avoid L.A. traffic unless you’re going through in the middle of the night.
***Take a photo of your kid(s) in front of the Legoland entrance. This image will help with descriptions of what your kid(s) look like/what they’re wearing if you and you kid(s) get separated while in the park. Also makes a cute memento.
***At the Guest Services building at the entrance, you can get some free buttons to wear on your visit: a Birthday button, and a “My First Visit” button. I got both for me and Grimlock, and I got a “Happy Birthday!” from every ride-attendant and Legoland employee (everyone was so nice!), and a Legoland birthday pencil from one of the kiosks.
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