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Family Vacation Part 3 – Legoland California Resort (A Review of the Park)

Legoland

On Friday I took the family to the Legoland California Resort in Carlsbad, CA. Toby is 10 and Miller is 4 so we figured these are the perfect ages to get them introduce to the park. That, and they are pretty big Lego fans, especially the older one.

Please note that we did not get to all of the features/rides/experiences at Legoland, and thus I suggest you treat this as a partial review. I will only be discussing components of the park that we personally had experience with.

We arrived around 10:15 am and promptly mapped out our route for the day.  Our first impressions were very positive – colorful, well-decorated entrance, a beautiful courtyard/entry area, and all the right things you need when you enter an amusement park, like stroller facilities, the big Lego store, and somewhere to buy something to eat & drink.

First thing we did was to buy our younger son a Lego hat from the big Lego shop, since he accidentally left his in the van that transported us from our hotel – it was $15. Gotta stay sun protected since you are outdoors all day.

Lego Movie ExperienceLego Movie Experience

We proceeded in a northwesterly direction and came upon the Lego Movie Experience. This exhibit alone was a top-notch experience. Imagine yourself walking around the dad’s basement in The Lego Movie, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. It had everything from Lord Business’ supertall ominous building (the Octan Tower), to Star Wars, to the Old West. I wished that they would have given the Clock Cuckoo Land exhibit more space and attention, however. Probably took at least a dozen pictures here. Outside we were able to get pictures with a life-sized Wyldstyle and Emmet.

Water WorksWater Works

After that we stumbled upon Water Works interactive music feature.  This was actually one of the main highlights for me personally. You and your kids can hop around and trigger musical instruments to play a delightful medley of sounds fit to dance to, and believe me, our little guy did exactly that.

 

Kid Power Towers

Kid Power Towers

Next we were off to the Kid Power Towers. Did this with my 10-year old and we waited about 10-15 minutes in line. It’s similar to one of those rides in say, Zombieland, where the characters are attached to a cylindrical-shaped vertical structure and thrust up in to the air. Wasn’t that extreme though, what happens is that you pull yourself up to the top by pulling on a rope, and have the ability to let yourself come back down a few inches at a time. Lasted maybe 5 minutes or so and was an enjoyable and fun experience where you could get a bird’s-eye view of the park.

Sky Cruiser

Here’s my biggest complaint of the entire day. The wait-time at Sky Cruiser was ridiculous! We clocked it at 53 minutes. Seriously?! The only reason I followed through was because my 4-yr old was begging me. What helped was that while parents waited in line, the kids could enter a Lego play area, and keep themselves occupied. The ride was nice and fun, but only lasted maybe 3-4 minutes, literally. The wait time on this ride was a real downer.

Lego Club House Lego Club

Liked this one – it’s a place similar to The Lego Store where kids can go and build Legos out of a bucket, hang out, and do their own thing. My boys loved it, but because lunch was quickly approaching we weren’t able to spend very much time here.

Fun Town Hot Dogs

Ate lunch here, and of course, the entree was hot dogs. Pretty good – we ordered 2 hot dogs for the adults, an adult-sized beverage, and 2 “kid packs”, that included a hot dog, chips, and a drink. $29 was definitely a fair price considering Legoland has a monopoly here.

Fun Town Police & Fire Academy

We had a blast here! Only waited about 10 minutes to get on. It’s actually a race between you and 3 other families. You get on a police or fire vehicle, “pump” your way to the scene of the fire, get out and spray water at the fire until the bell sounds, and then back to your vehicle and speed back to where you started. We finished 2nd out of 4, but were curious how another family beat us that didn’t seem to be pumping their vehicle as hard. Oh well, it was a lot of fun.

Fun Town Stage Performance

As we were walking to our next venue, we had the opportunity to listen to a group of young girls performing the song “Roar” by Katie Perry. My wife is a trained musician, and listened intently for the quality of the vocals. First of all, one of the main soloist performers was out of breath, which could supposedly be expected when you are both singing and dancing. But it wasn’t just that. The other performers were not in the same key with each other or the background music.

Miniland USA

Star Wars - the Hoth System
Star Wars – the Hoth System

Miniland USA was by far one of the best parts of the entire park for me personally. The amount of Legos used and attention to detail, and expansiveness of these displays boggles the mind. I found myself standing in front of many of these exhibits for minutes at a time. An absolutely incredible visual experience. Legoland Miniland USA

Most notable was the entire Star Wars section, Las Vegas, New York, and Washington DC. Legoland gets extra points from me on these ones

Caricature Artists

Our boys, Miler (4) and Toby (10)
Our boys, Miler (4) and Toby (10)

Throughout the park there are places where an artist will paint a caricature of you, your kids, or your entire family. We had our boys drawn as Lego people and surprisingly they sat still for a good 10-15 minutes while it was being done.. The artist did a wonderful job capturing some of their most unique facial features. We also had it framed. Cost about $70 and the company is called Kaman’s Art Shoppes. I was happy to pay the fee.

Coast CruiseMount Rushmore

This is a must-do in my opinion. Had a little bit of the feel of the “Jungle Cruise” at Disneyland, but with Legos, of course. It seems there are Lego creations that you can only see well if you go on the cruise, which makes it somewhat exclusive. We got right on and were very happy with our tour guide, the sound system, and the incredible Lego creations we were able to observe.

Dino Score Games

My son bought a bucket of ping-pong balls for $10 and the family shared in trying to get a ball in those hard plastic dishes that float around water for a prize. We won 1 medium stuffed animal and 1 small one. It was fun.

Matthew Coates Basketball Minion

I played the basketball game and was given 4 balls/chances for $10. I made the 2nd shot and won a really cool plush Minion (about 3′ high) from Despicable Me.

The Big Shop

Once you finish at the park this is one of those “must do” places where you buy your kid something to take home. Options galore, well-staffed, and lots of great eye candy.

Final Items & Notes

We were there 4 1/2 hours total, and all pretty exhausted when it was over. We aren’t one of those families that can stay an at amusement park for 8 hours. We did what we wanted to do then left happy, not worn down and ready to hit our beds.

One of the things my wife did was to write our cell phone numbers on our kids’ tummies. This way if they get lost they could show them to the park authorities and we would be contacted.

The water fountains are really low-flow and we were a little agitated when we tried refilling our water bottles.

The restroom facilities are state-of-the-art and kept in tip-top shape. They even have short sinks for little guys & gals.

I refuse to pay $3.62 for a 20-ounce Powerade, but that’s just me

It was a lot of fun watching Miller put together his first Lego set ever. We’ll be back.

Overall Legoland California Resort rating 7.5 out of 10 stars.

Have you been to Legoland? Please feel free to leave your comments about the park below. I’d love to hear from you!