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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
If you find this post to be pretty wild, please share it with some friends (or strangers) and make sure to connect with @Outsidevibes on our social media.
Planning your next adventure? This page contains affiliate links to some of the best backpacking resources available. It would be cool if you visited from here so I might get a super small commission, at no additional cost to you. Cheers!