Visiting Legoland in California

Visiting Legoland is something I always wanted to do, so when my girlfriend said that we were meeting her aunt and 5 year old cousins in California I knew that we would be going to Legoland. Unfortunately I do not think I would ever go back and this post will tell you why.
Legoland San Diego California

Table of Contents

One of my favorite childhood toys, the Lego, was invented in Denmark in 1949. The Lego was designed as a simple stack-able brick that has now transformed into complex stylized sets. It even has crossed over into movies, video games and theme parks around the world.

Legoland California
Retired Lego Mold

I recently visited the Legoland theme park in California with my girlfriend Emma, her aunt, young cousins and grandparents. In this post I will cover cost, things to do and give you important advice on how to avoid lines and save money.

Legoland California
Entrance to Legoland
Legoland California
Entering Legoland – Where to go
Legoland California
Emma and her Family

Getting to Legoland in California

If you are like me and not from California getting to Legoland is a downside against visiting. Legoland is displayed as a San Diego attraction but in reality it is located well over 45 minutes north of the city, without traffic, so make sure to leave early in the morning. Which means if you don’t already have a rental car you will need one to visit Legoland.

Legoland California
Where are you coming from?

Legoland Prices

Emma wanted to do an activity with her family and I was stoked to see Legoland so we figured this was perfect for us. Even with our excitement it was hard for us, living on a backpackers budget, to shell out $130 for one attraction. I could not imagine being a full family on vacation and having to pay that amount for Legoland alone. (My opinion but I think Legoland is easily overvalued by $30-$40 for what you experience.)

Legoland California
Land of Adventure
Legoland California
NinjaGo World
Legoland California
Pirate Shores
Legoland California
I’m here with the band

Pass Types

You can get tickets online, at the park entrance or as part of the San Diego Attractions pass, which is the way to go and what Emma’s family did. This is what I would do if ever visiting San Diego again.

Like any other theme park, there are various types of passes for Legoland. You can get the Legoland only pass, A Legoland plus Waterpark or SeaLife aquarium pass or also the VIP pass. Annual passes are available along with extra add-on’s and perks like Reserve-N-Ride.

Only having one nite notice Emma and I got our passes the next morning at the entrance. We paid $118 plus tax for the one day adult theme & water park pass. Emma’s family had the San Diego Activity pass, so they got free entry to Legoland but they did have to pay an extra $29 for the water park.


For more information on pass types visit the Legoland website or go to the San Diego Attractions page to save money.

A trip to Legoland - Outsidevibes
Pass Types (click to enlarge)
A trip to Legoland - Outsidevibes
Same day pass prices (click to enlarge)
A trip to Legoland - Outsidevibes
San Diego Attraction Pass (click to enlarge)
Legoland California
Fun Fact (click to enlarge)

How to avoid long lines, save money and see more

Legoland’s official operating hours are 10 am to 6 pm, but the ticketing gates open at 9 am and if you already have a ticket you can enter part of Legoland at 9 am to line up or wander around the gift shop area.

Legoland California
Back side of the park
  • Make sure to plan for drive time and arrive before 9 am to beat the crowd.
  • Parking cost’s $17 for standard and $25 for preferred. Skip paying for preferred, the price is not worth it.
  • When Legoland officially opens there will be a line of people rushing towards the left to get on the dinosaur rides and to the right see the new NinjaGO area. Don’t be apart of the crowd or get stuck in lines! The BEST thing to do is to head directly to the backside of the park. By going to the back first you avoid most of the lines. Go to the back right and explore Pirate Shores, Castle Hill or the Land of Adventure and make your way to the front.
Legoland California
Castle Hill
Legoland California
Pirate Shores
  • The queues are longer than they appear. The lines might look short but they are deceiving. Each ride has a covered area that hides the actual length of the line from view.
  • Visit the Water park before 11 am or after 3 pm, otherwise you will wait for hours in line. We showed up at 12 pm to a massive line so we went for lunch and kept checking back. At around 3:30 pm there was no one in line.
  • A locker rental at the Water park costs $10, so either bring a bag for your clothing or grab a locker at Pirate Shores for $3.

Legoland California Legoland California

  • Food is pricey, so to get the most out of your dollar visit #73 on the Legoland map. The Pizza & Pasta Buffet and fill up!
  • Keep your eyes open for hidden areas. These areas have various information about Legos and fun little activities to do.
Legoland California
Building workshop
Legoland California
Hidden adventures
Legoland California
Hidden adventures

Miniland USA

Miniland USA is definitely the highlight of visiting Legoland in California, make sure not to miss it. Miniland lives up to it’s name with dozens of lifelike cities and buildings constructed completely out of Legos. They even extended Miniland to include a full Lego Star Wars themed area. Miniland is what I pictured more of Legoland to be like.

Legoland California Miniland
Las Vegas
Legoland California Miniland
Las Vegas
Legoland California Miniland
Raising the flag
Legoland California Miniland
Washington DC
Legoland California Miniland
New York Skyline
Legoland California Miniland
San Fransisco
Legoland California Miniland
Camping life is the best life
Legoland California Miniland
New Orleans

My Experience

I had fun at Legoland but I was a bit disappointed, in my mind I pictured more things made of Legos. I understand that it is a theme park first and not just Lego creations but even with the rides, young kids just wanted to play with Legos and the older kids might not be satisfied with the sub 2 minute ride after waiting in line for over an hour.

Getting schooled
Legoland California
Having fun

Make sure to check for maintenance, in 2017 the Chima Water park was closed for maintenance and Surfer’s Cove was being constructed so at this time I would say skip the extra price of the Water park pass until the construction is finished. With California’s nice weather the water parks seem to be the direction Legoland is going and it might be worth it in the future.

Legoland California
Chima water park

Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading about Visiting Legoland in California and I hoped these few tips and thoughts help you decide if Legoland is something that should be part of your sunny San Diego adventure.

Legoland California Miniland

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Sheridan is a full-time adventure seeker, professional photographer, and creator of Outsidevibes. Having a serious case of wanderlust Sheridan has traveled extensively around the world. He has overcome multiple, serious injuries from traveling but he is determined to continue experiencing life to the fullest.

Created for those who love to explore and strive to experience the most life can offer, expand your passion for adventure with Outsidevibes.

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