Are you planning a trip to LEGOLAND California in 2024? You’ll definitely want to read these top tips for LEGOLAND California before you start planning!
This list of the best tips for LEGOLAND California was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Are you planning your first trip to LEGOLAND California?
If so, I have a few tips for you! In this post, I’ll share my top 10 tips for planning the perfect LEGOLAND vacation. Keep scrolling for all the best LEGOLAND California tips and tricks.
My family loves visiting LEGOLAND California because it’s smaller than other theme parks, it has shorter hours, and there are so many fun things to do there!
You’ll have even more fun if you follow these simple steps below, so let’s get started!
If you’re looking for even more ideas, check out my post about what to do at LEGOLAND California with kids under 5 years old. It includes some of our favorite rides and attractions that are great for toddlers and preschoolers!
Don’t have time to read a bunch of LEGOLAND blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting LEGOLAND with kids.
Where to Stay at LEGOLAND California
- LEGOLAND Hotel (this is the original hotel and it has a great pool and indoor play area)
- LEGOLAND Castle Hotel (this is the newer hotel and it has outdoor movies and a playground)
- Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa (it’s within walking distance to LEGOLAND and has a pool)
- MarBrisa Carlsbad Resort (it’s also within walking distance to LEGOLAND and has a pool)
- Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa (slightly longer walk but has a pool)
LEGOLAND California FAQs
The airport closest to LEGOLAND California is the San Diego International Airport (SAN).
Most of the rides are designed for kids ages 2 through 12 years old. They have an entire Duplo area with toddler activities. But there are rides with minimum height requirements that are geared for kids ages 5 and up. Kids who are 48″ tall can even do a bunch of rides on their own.
YES! Kids of all genders can play with LEGOs and enjoy amusement park rides and play areas. The new LEGO Movie World has a lot of recognizable characters and attractions that will appeal to anyone who has seen the movie.
Top LEGOLAND Tips and Tricks to Know BEFORE Your Trip
1. Don’t Pay Full Price for Tickets
There are always deals for LEGOLAND California so there’s no reason to pay full price.
They run a great Black Friday sale each year with great discounts on both tickets and hotel rooms. You can also usually find coupons for free kids’ tickets in LEGO magazine or when they partner with other brands.
There’s also a promotion that happens in October where a bunch of San Diego attractions are free for kids. Otherwise, there are TONS of things to do in San Diego for kids any time of year.
2. Best Time to go to LEGOLAND
I think LEGOLAND California is really fun year-round. It’s definitely more crowded on Fridays-Sundays than Mondays-Thursdays. And it’s crowded on holidays. So, that should be your first consideration.
If your schedule is flexible, check out this LEGOLAND California crowd calendar. It can help you figure out the exact dates to go for the fewest crowds.
October is another great time to visit LEGOLAND California. That’s because they run a Kids Free San Diego promotion where you can take advantage of free kids tickets for LEGOLAND as well as other San Diego attractions. They also have some fun Halloween events.
3. Stay in a LEGOLAND Hotel (trust me)
Ok, I’m not normally someone who tells people to stay in a specific hotel because I know everyone has different needs and budgets. However, I strongly suggest staying in a LEGOLAND hotel for a few reasons.
First of all, LEGOLAND has fairly condensed hours. It’s usually open 10am-5pm or 10am-6pm. That means there is a LOT of time to figure out something to keep your kids occupied.
Thankfully, the LEGOLAND hotels have tons of kids’ programming, pools, playgrounds, and more.
Secondly, it’s literally a few steps away from the park entrance. That makes it easy to run back to the room if you forget something or need to change clothes or bring a toddler back for a quick nap.
Thirdly, they are set up to help parents out. The kids have a separate sleeping area with bunk beds and a trundle, LEGOs to play with inside the room, and their own TV. There is also a step stool in the bathroom and a seat reducer on the toilet.
When you book a LEGOLAND hotel, you also get a free breakfast buffet that has basically every kind of food. There are lots of options for kids but there are also great options for adults.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that they serve cocktails at the kids’ play areas at the hotels. Brilliant!
4. Two Days is Perfect
I know that a lot of people plan a LEGOLAND day trip and I think that’s a great option for a lot of families. However, I think two days is the optimal LEGOLAND trip and I’ll tell you why.
Because the park has shorter hours than other theme parks, the day really does fly by. With a day trip, you probably won’t be able to do all the rides you’d like (especially if there are long lines). With two days, you can easily do all the rides on your list.
There’s also a really cool aquarium you can visit in about 2 hours. I’d skip it if you’re just doing a day trip, but I’d definitely do it if you have two days in the park.
Finally, there’s also a waterpark you can visit during the warmer months. Again, I’d skip it for a day trip but it would be worth doing if you had two days.
5. It’s About an Hour from San Diego
As you’re working on your LEGOLAND trip, it’s helpful to know that it’s about an hour’s drive from the San Diego Airport. And it can be even longer with traffic.
So, consider that when you are booking your flights. And you might consider expanding your San Diego itinerary to include a few days in town.
If you take an early morning flight, you might be able to get to LEGOLAND right as it’s opening (or close to it) so you could drop your bags at the hotel and go play.
It’s also pretty easy to do almost a full day at LEGOLAND and then take an evening flight, as long as you account for the drive to the airport.
6. What to Wear to LEGOLAND
If you are used to doing Disney vacations, you probably are wondering if people do the matching family shirts for LEGOLAND or dress up in any way.
We usually see a handful of families with custom family LEGO shirts. I’ve also seen really cute LEGO dresses. But, these are definitely the minority.
Usually, you’ll see kids wearing something LEGO-related (like a shirt they bought at Target) pants/shorts, and athletic shoes.
For adults, people tend to wear jeans or “comfy” clothing like athleisurewear and athletic shoes.
You’ll also see a lot of hats to block the sun and sunglasses. And people wear sweatshirts or jackets on cooler days.
7. What to Bring to LEGOLAND
It’s helpful to bring a backpack to LEGOLAND with a few essentials. Sunscreen is helpful because so much of the park is in the open air.
I also recommend bringing some drinks and snacks. Most of the food options don’t open when the park opens, which can leave you scrambling with little kids who are hungry.
You’ll also want to bring LEGO minifigures with you to trade inside the park. They have little plastic cases with minifigures at most of the stores so you can trade with staff members. Just be sure that your LEGO minifigure has all the body parts.
8. Best Rides at LEGOLAND CA
One of the best rides at LEGOLAND California is the new Emmet’s Flying Adventure Ride. It’s basically like Soarin’ Over California at Disneyland, but it’s all about LEGO creations and it’s seriously amazing!
For thrill rides, The Dragon is a great beginner rollercoaster and the Coastasaurus is one step up from that.
The Driving School (and the Junior Driving School) is a fun place where kids can actually drive a little car on roads through a little town. And they get their own driver’s license at the end.
For interactive rides, LEGO Ninjago The Ride is pretty fun. You use your arms to throw things at bad guys at screens (sort of like Web Slingers at Disney California Adventure). And Lost Kingdom Adventure is where you shoot laser guns at targets (sort of like Buzz Lightyear).
9. What to Eat or Drink at LEGOLAND
One of the best snacks at LEGOLAND is Granny’s Apple Fries. These are fries made out of Granny Smith apples and rolled in sugar and cinnamon. They come in a portable container with whipped cream for dipping.
For “real food” I recommend checking out Knights’ Smokehouse BBQ or the Pizza and Pasta Buffet.
If your family drinks a lot of soda, you might want to buy the LEGOLAND California refillable cups. You pay for the cup and then each refill is less than $2. This saves a lot of money to do it this way versus paying for soda everywhere you go.
Anything to avoid?
I’m from Seattle and I only drink “fancy” coffee. I hate to say it, but the coffee options at LEGOLAND totally suck. It all tastes like drip coffee. The same goes for the coffee at the LEGOLAND hotels.
10. They Will Hold Your Purchases
There are several LEGO stores throughout the park and there’s a good chance someone will see something they want.
While I usually recommend that people wait to buy stuff until the end of the day so they can just bring it back to their hotel, sometimes the items are no longer in stock. This happened to us with a specific LEGO sword.
The cool thing is that you can actually have the store hang on to your purchases so you can continue your day without holding bags. And they will even bring it to the park exit!
LEGOLAND California for Toddlers
If you’re traveling to LEGOLAND with toddlers, you’ll definitely want to read my Guide to LEGOLAND with Toddlers. We all know that traveling with toddlers has its own struggles and doing a theme park with toddlers is different than with older kids.
Tips for LEGOLAND California Wrap Up
I hope this post helps you plan your perfect LEGOLAND California vacation! It’s one of our favorite family vacation destinations! Keep scrolling to read more articles about LEGOLAND California!