All year round and especially during summer and long weekends, families in the U.S and around the world descend on Legoland in droves. The idea that this was an amusement park crowded with people kept me away for the longest time although a part of me was always curious to see what all the hype was about. All suspicions were laid to rest during a recent overnight stay at the Legoland Hotel during which I also got to visit the waterpark and the amusement park as well as the aquarium. Quite frankly, I’d have loved to spend the weekend there though I only did one night. After my visit, I can see why families with kids head straight for this park but it makes for a fun trip for folks without kids as well.
1. First impressions – The park is easily located right off the highway, if you happen to be driving (like me) and is close to downtown Carlsbad so you don’t have to drive far if you’d like to step away from Legoland for a bit. Parking onsite is free and plenty. The hotel is a colorful Lego style construction that is bound to put a smile on your face right away. Right from the lobby to the rooms, the restaurants to elevators, you’ll notice this space was created with kids in mind. And it is sure to bring out the 6-year-old in you.
2. At the lobby – The first thing I noticed were the kids activities and how many of them! There were hosts providing different games and announcements all over the space. Watch the floors and ceilings – the decor is one of a kind since this is the Legoland Hotel. Check-in is a breeze – has to be, given the number of families they have to deal with on any given day. Restaurants onsite serve some pretty darn good food as well. One is a cafeteria style option while the other is more of a sit-down space – you will opt for the latter if you are a couple or a party without kiddos. Check out is equally easy – you don’t even have to let the front desk know. In fact, they encourage you taking your themed/branded key card home as a souvenir of your trip.
3. All along the aisle to your rooms, you will see activity areas for kids and little spots in corners here and there with some small attraction that would ignite any kid’s imagination. I wanted pictures with everything and everywhere. The elevators though were so fun! Sounds like classical music playing when you enter but once the elevator begins to move, disco music and lights come on – how can you not love that? Also interesting to see signs for quiet time after certain evening hours so that hotel floors provide restful ambience for all.
4. The rooms – Every room is themed and their new Ninjago rooms opened up this year! Mine was a family sized space – queen bed for a couple, work desk, coffee machine and fridge, and bathroom. The highlight is for the kids though – there is a bunk bed with the option of a third rollout bed below. There are all my childhood wishes coming true! This area has its own wall-mounted TV – great idea for parents who want to watch something other than the kiddy programming they usually have to resort to. All around the room you will find Lego models of animals, insects and other characters in the most unexpected places. They also leave you Lego pieces for your entertainment in the room. The bathroom is equally fun!
5. Legoland Water Park - The water park is a fun space with way too many attractions to cover in a day even though it is only part of the resort property. It is all interconnected though. They also recently opened their Surfer’s Cove attraction, which is great for summer and fall, and further expanded the water park recently. I didn’t get to indulge much in the water park as I had time constraints to my visit but I could totally see myself spending a whole day there with friends.
6. Sea Life Aquarium – This could be an easy quick visit or longer depending on how many you are in your party and the number of kids as well. We walked through real quick since spending time at the rest of the resort was top priority – the park is pretty big and if you decide to do every single attraction then you will need a day, provided you start early, else two days minimum given the long wait lines everywhere.
7. The Legoland Resort – The entire campus is huge so know that you have to plan your trip well. Pick up a map at the lobby or at the ticketing entrance to the park and chart your course for the day. There are enough food vendors spread across the place that you don’t have to worry about grabbing a quick bite now and then. What you do have to think through though is which attractions you want to see and how much time you are willing to spend waiting in line. We were lucky in that we entered fairly early and got to do some of the activities at the entrance with pretty short wait times – about 5-10 minutes on average. But as the day went by and more entered, the lines were longer at some of the attractions further inside.
8. My top picks at the resort – Remember that I did not visit every single attraction and do every single activity available so this is pretty much a list of areas that I enjoyed since we were there as a couple. The Lego Star Wars Miniland Model Display is new this year and a fun way to check out the journey to a galaxy far, far away. The Ninjago ride is fun as also the whole miniland display and the Coast Cruise ride you can do there. Fairy Tale Brook on Explorer Island is a lovely float down memory lane as you see images of characters and scenes from some of your fave childhood books.
9. For families with kids, I would say give yourselves enough time to allow your kids to enjoy and afford yourselves some rest time in between activities as well. If you consider rest stops, food breaks and other accommodations you have t/o make traveling with young ones, then I definitely recommend splitting your resort visit over two days or more and staying at the hotel to make the most of your time.
10. For 2018 – They announced that the new Legoland Castle Hotel would be ready to receive guests so looking forward to being able to experience that.
If you’ve visited, I’d love to hear your experience. If you haven’t, I hope this gives you an idea of what to plan ahead for. Also watch out for my video with more details of the whole visit!
*Hosted at this hotel as a member of the media/guest of Legoland. All opinions and images are my own*