First Time Tips for LEGOLAND California

LEGOLAND California is an awesome place to spend the day during your Southern California vacation. Today we are sharing our best tips for LEGOLAND California, the LEGOLAND attractions you can’t miss, and how to plan your day at the California theme park.

LEGOLAND California is located in Carlsbad, California. It is about 60 miles south of Disneyland and 35 miles north of San Diego.

It is a great theme park for kids ages 3-11 and we always enjoy our visits.

My Best Tips for Legoland California

  • Arrive Early
  • Familiarize Yourself with Rides and Attractions Before You Arrive
  • Purchase Tickets Ahead of Time

Read on for more details and tips for LEGOLAND California.

LEGOLAND California Tips

Where to Stay at LEGOLAND California

We stayed at the West Inn and Suites and it was a great option for staying close to the park. They offer shuttles and are less than a 10 minute drive to the parks.

If you would like to stay on-site at Legoland California guests have two options. The Legoland Hotel and the Castle Hotel. We have stayed at the LEGOLAND Florida hotel and loved it. If this is your first visit I highly recommend staying on-site.

LEGOLAND California Tips

Arrive Early

Arrive 30 minutes prior to park opening. If you are staying on-site check for early entry for hotel guests.

This is probably one of the best time-saving tips for any theme park. If you arrive 30-45 minutes before official park opening you will be ahead of most of the crowds for the first 1-2 hours the park is open.

Pack Snacks and Drinks

Legoland California allows small snacks and water inside the park. We packed a small backpack with easy grab and go options. No coolers are allowed. Use your own judgement when packing for the park.

LEGOLAND California is Cashless

LEGOLAND California is a cashless resort. Guests can exchange money at cash to card kiosks throughout the park.

Prioritize the Rides and Attractions for Your Family

Whenever we plan a visit to a theme park we spend time researching what rides and attractions we want to experience. I always check the ride height requirements as well to make sure everyone can go on what they want. It helps set expectations before we arrive at the park.

LEGOLAND Height Restrictions

  • The Lego Movie World:
    • Emmet’s Flying Adventure Ride (40″ to ride, Riders under 48″ must ride with an adult or someone over 14)
    • Coast Cruise (No Height Requirement)
    • Queen Watevra’s Carousel (No Height Requirement)
    • UniKitty’s Disco Drop (40″ to ride, Riders under 48″ must ride with an adult or someone over 14)
  • Fun Town:
    • Kid Power Tower 40 Inches
    • Sky Patrol 34 inches
    • Junior Driving School 3-5 years old
    • Driving School 6-13 Years Old
    • Fun Town Police and Fire Academy 34 Inches
    • Skipper School 34 Inches
  • Explorer Island:
    • Coastersaurus 36 Inches
    • Safari Trek 34 Inches
  • Castle Hill
    • The Royal Joust 36 Inches
    • The Dragon Coaster 40 Inches
    • Knights’ Tournament 40 Inches
  • Land of Adventure:
    • Dune Raiders 36 Inches
    • Beetle Bounce 36 Inches, and 55 Inches and Under
    • Lost Kingdom Adventure 30 Inches
  • Imagination Zone
    • LEGO Technic Coaster 42 Inches
    • BIONICLE Blaster 42 Inches
    • AQUAZONE Wave Racers 42 Inches

The attractions not listed do not have a specific height requirement. Most attractions need an adult to ride with the child or the child must be over 48 inches.

Make Reservations

Guests are required to purchase a ticket and reserve their park days. If you purchased a dated ticket you do not need to make a reservation.

Purchase Reserve & Ride to Skip the Lines

Reserve & Ride is purchased through the app and allows guests to skip the line on the most popular Legoland California attractions.

LEGOLAND Attractions You Don’t Want to Miss

There are a few LEGOLAND attractions that you don’t want to miss. They are the most popular and will have the longest lines. Our favorites are:

  • Coastersauraus
  • LEGO City: Deep Sea Adventure
  • The Dragon Coaster
  • The LEGO Factory Tour
  • Emmet’s Flying Adventure Ride
deep sea adventure at legoland california
Legoland California Tip: Ride Deep Sea Adventure! It is so much fun for all ages.

LEGOLAND California Itinerary

We arrived at LEGOLAND on an unusually rainy day for Southern California. The forecast had called for rain in the afternoon but it pretty much lightly rained all day long.

We arrived around 8:00am for an opening time of 9:00am. There was not a line at the gate yet and we took the time to explore the LEGOLAND hotel and the Castle Hotel. They are all located on the same property and it was easy to explore before we waited to get in the park.

After we explored the hotels we headed through bag check, got a picture in front of the LEGOLAND sign, and lined up at the gate. At 8:30 the park opened and we were let in.

During this time you are allowed into the gift shop and the main entrance area, but not on the attractions. If you are a guest of the hotel you may enter with a wrist band and ride a few early morning attractions.

The early entry didn’t create a lot of lines and our visit was definitely on a low crowd day. Tip: Line up at the area you want to visit first. Our first ride was NINJAGO so we made our way as close as we could to that area.

As soon as the park officially opened we made our way to NINJAGO, and rode it a few times. On a busy day I suggest riding 1-2 times and then making your way to the rest of the park. From there our plan was to go in a circle around the park stopping at our main attractions along the way.

Technic Coaster was next…but was closed due to rain. So we we headed over to The Dragon Coaster. Riding the Dragon was a big moment for our family because on our visit to LEGOLAND Florida my youngest didn’t ride it. This year we could all ride as a family. As we walked to the ride entrance we learned it was also closed due to rain.

The rain closed a few rides periodically throughout the day. This caused us to do a bit more back tracking than previously planned but we didn’t wait for any ride longer than 5-10 minutes.

We continued around the circle stopping at the rides that were open and taking our time to do some indoor attractions. One of our favorite rides was the LEGO City: Deep Sea Adventure. I was a little nervous we would feel claustrophobic but we loved it! We rode a few times before we moved on to the next attraction.

Deep Sea Adventure has you boarding a submarine that goes through a real aquarium with LEGO treasure throughout the journey. Inside the submarine there is a touch screen that you play on to find all the missing treasures. We really enjoyed this ride and it was one of our favorites of the day.

At this point it started to rain harder so we stopped for lunch at the Knights Smokehouse BBQ. The food was great but they only had outside seating, which I’m sure is great on a sunny day, but today nothing was dry. We found a table with an umbrella, dried our seats with napkins, and made the best of it.

After lunch we headed back to a few rides we missed because the rain had finally let up a bit. Then we continued around the outside of the park.

As we made our way around the park we passed Granny Apple Fries-this is a must when we visit any LEGOLAND park and it was a perfect after lunch treat.

granny apple fries at legoland california
Granny Apple Fries at Legoland.

LEGOLAND California is a fairly small park and is easy to walk. We made our way over to Fun Town. My kids love the Driving school!

They get to earn their drivers licence and practice driving on streets. There are two driving schools: One for ages 3-5 and one for ages 6-13. The kids did this a few times.

There is also a full water park and LEGOLAND Sea Life Aquarium. Both require separate admission tickets to enter. We had about 45 minutes to explore Sea Life.

It closed an hour before LEGOLAND park. I wish we had a bit more time to explore Sea Life. From the short time we visited we were impressed with everything there is to see and do.

The park closed at 5:00pm for the day and we took full advantage by riding NINJAGO again. We also made time to visit other LEGOLAND attractions like the LEGO Movie 2 walk through set exhibit, the LEGO 4D shows, and Heartlake City. There are also many shows and characters to meet throughout the park.

Of course our visit to LEGOLAND California wouldn’t be complete without a stroll through Mini-Land. If the weather had been nicer we would have spent a bit more time exploring but we quickly went through and checked it out.

Mini-Land is one of my favorites. I love seeing all the attention to details and interesting interactive elements added to the lands.

mini land at legoland california
Mini-Land at Legoland California.

I loved the memories we made during our visit to LEGOLAND California. It was a rainy day but we made it fun! The crowds were low and it was a perfect way to spend the day.

Read More About Visiting Southern California: Disneyland and California Adventure Itinerary

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