Legoland is a great amusement park for kids my daughter’s age (3-7). She loved it 2 years ago when we went with a few other families and she loved it this time around. She’s 5 years old and loves rollercoasters but not dark “scary” rides. She’ll outgrow the rides here soon, though.
Our favorite ride (we went on it 5 times) was the Lego Technic Coaster. Similar to Goofy’s Sky School in California Adventure, it’s a fun rollercoaster without upside down loops. My other favorite ride that no one else wanted to go on again was Ninjago. This one falls into the dark “scary” category for my little one, so she covered her ears and closed her eyes while we battled the bad guys. The ride is like a video game and you use hand motions to hit a target. I thought it was really cool but I also really liked video games as a kid.
Our least favorite ride was Emmett’s Flying Adventure. It reminds me of Star Tours in that you’re watching a screen and being jerked around to mimic a rollercoaster. Those types of rides give me motion sickness. During covid, it also felt like a potential super spreader event.
Legoland seems to have a lot of rides closed due to maintenance or seasonality, so if you have your heart set on a ride, it’s best to check ahead. We were looking forward to the Dragoncoaster and the water ride Pirate Reef, which were both closed. If it is the right season for water rides, bring a change of clothes for the whole family.
We only spent 1 day here, and we knew the little one was going to want to do mostly rides, rather than looking at Lego attractions or building with legos (even though she LOVES building at home), so we splurged on the Reserve & Ride. After waiting 90 minutes for one ride at Seaworld, we were primed for this upgrade. There are 3 levels of Reserve & Ride and you cannot book them until you are in the park. There’s a limited number and they sell out. We opted to purchase the pass that lets you skip the entire line. In the app, you tap on the ride you want to go on and it tells you to arrive in 3-5 minutes. By the time you walk over there, it’ll be time to go on the ride. You walk into a separate line and it takes you almost all the way to the front. That walk past everyone in line is a little awkward, but this was how we were able to ride Lego Technic Coaster so many times in one day. If we had more people in our group, or if we were planning on spending multiple days there, this would not have been a feasible option, but given that we were maximizing the hours we had, it made sense for us. It was absolutely worth the splurge! Tip: You can request your pass to the next ride as soon as you’ve checked into your current ride, even while you’re still in the very short line.
On our way out of the park, we stopped to get apple fries as the refreshment stand is very close to the back of the park. They were so good – like apple pie with whipped cream. Overall, Legoland’s operations and food options were much better than San Diego Zoo and Safari Park.
Lodging: Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa
Stayed here on both trips and would recommend it again. The pool and hot tub were hits with the kids 2 years ago, but we didn’t have time to take a dip this time around. The main reason we like this hotel is because it has direct access via its parking lot and a walking trail to an entrance in the back of Legoland. That means that while everyone else is coming in through the main entrance in the morning and leaving that way at night, you can access the rides at the back of Legoland without crowds.
Carlsbad Food Recommendations:
- Campfire: Reservations available on OpenTable and we opted for a table outside. We’ve eaten here on both trips – once in a large group indoors and this time just the 3 of us outside. Great cocktails, fabulous preparation of vegetables, and the little one loved the steak (not the kiddie version…we don’t order off the kid’s menu).
- The Privateer Coal Fire Pizza in Oceanside: Stopped here on the way to LA. Again, we ate outdoors due to covid. Pizza was good, but the outdoor ambiance is a bit lacking as the tables are in a strip mall parking lot. But it served its purpose, a place to eat food that made us all happy.