As soon as you drive into the theme park, the colossal structures made of LEGO are obvious. For starters, have you ever seen a hotel made of LEGO? Well, it’s here at LEGOLAND California, and boy, is it impressive! The LEGOLAND Hotel is packed with LEGO features and themed play areas, with 250 rooms all based on popular LEGO product lines.
As you and your family walk in, friendly photographers greet you, keen to take your family’s photo in front of the famous LEGOLAND sign.
‘The Beginning’ is where you will commence your adventure; it’s here you’ll be itching to check out your LEGOLAND map and where to go next. There is a stroller, wheelchair and locker rental station here – especially great if you’re an overseas traveller as it’s so much easier not having to lug your own around.
Explorer Island, LEGO Friends Heartlake City, Fun Town, Water Park, CHIMA Water Park, Pirate Shores, Castle Hill, Land of Adventure, Miniland USA and Imagination Zone – these are the different ‘lands’ that make up LEGOLAND California. Each land has its own rides, shops, dining areas, shows and events. It’s hard to pick a favourite!
For the little ones, Fun Town is certainly a hit with its DUPLO Playtown, Junior Driving School and Sky Patrol, just to name a few. Hop on over next door to Pirate Shores for a swashbuckling good time! It’s here you’ll likely catch a glimpse of a pirate or two itching for you to have a go on Captain Cranky’s Challenge, a rocking and spinning pirate ship ride that’ll have you woo-hooing and throwing your hands up in all directions. If you’re prepared to get soaked, there’s the Soak-N-Sail ride and Splash Battle too.
Keen to be king or queen for the day, or perhaps a knight out to rescue a damsel in distress? Well, it’s Castle Hill where your medieval adventure awaits. Kids can try their hand at The Royal Joust and thrill seekers can experience The Dragon roller coaster. While you’re in Castle Hill, don’t forget to try Granny’s apple fries with vanilla dipping sauce or a churro from the churro stand … YUM!
Talking of food, there’s plenty of it at LEGOLAND. Choose from Pizza & Pasta Buffet, City Park Crêperie, Knights’ Smokehouse BBQ (where you can enjoy slow roasted pulled pork, beef brisket, pork ribs and chicken all cooked In a wood barbecue pit), Wok ‘n’ Bowl Ramen, Fun Town Market (where you can indulge in meals like spicy shrimp fettuccini), the Burger Stop, Fun Town Hotdogs, and LEGO Club House (for ice cream and popcorn) – the options are never ending!
When you can pick yourself up again after what’s likely to be a meal of plenty, you must not miss Miniland USA, a personal favourite. Here you will see famous cities and sights built from LEGO in such detail that you could almost swear you were looking at a photograph or in a dream as a giant, looking over them.
There’s Las Vegas with its famous casinos and hotels including the Luxor, Venetian, Treasure Island, Paris, MGM Grand, and some aliens crashed in the Nevada desert. There’s New Orleans and its Mardi Gras parade; New York and its famous city skyline and Statue of Liberty; and Southern California with Hollywood’s Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Bowl and the famous Hollywood Sign turned into ‘LEGOWOOD’. San Francisco cleverly replicates the steep curving hills of the city with cable cars and its distinctive architecture. This is just a snippet of what you will find at Miniland USA and if you’ve been to some of these cities, you’ll be amazed at the detail. Take your time walking through this section and appreciate the minute detail of each creation.
Adjoining Miniland USA is probably the coolest Star Wars LEGO display you’ll ever see. The Star Wars area is split into zones that represent the different episodes. Take a walk down the LEGO Star Wars Gallery and snap a selfie with the likes of Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and Master Yoda. You’ll need a friend to take a photo of you with the life-size Chewbacca unless you have a really long selfie stick … he’s a giant! Lastly, the Death Star space station model is something you must stop and appreciate for both its size and detail.
As you wind your way back to ‘The Beginning’ you’ll be taken through the Land of Adventure, where you’ll find Pharaoh’s Revenge and the Lost Kingdom Adventure among other Egyptian-themed rides and attractions. The Imagination Zone follows with the very realistic AQUAZONE® Wave Racer where kids will feel like they’re really riding a jet ski all by themselves. For fans of LEGO Technic and BIONICLE®, there’s plenty here too, as well as a giant Albert Einstein head!
Back at ‘The Beginning’ which will also be ‘The End’, it’s not quite over until you check out The Big Shop. You’ll never see more LEGO and LEGO branded merchandise in one place. It’s the perfect place to buy a memento or two… or three.
When it comes to visiting California, of course there’s always the drawcard of Disneyland, but if you decide to go to LEGOLAND you will not be disappointed. Not only are the LEGO displays simply awe-inspiring, you and the kids will never be short of excitement with the number of rides and attractions available. There’s simply so much to do and see. A stay at LEGOLAND Hotel is probably a very smart idea and one you’ll never forget.
Or for a local kid-friendly destination, check out our review of A kids paradise.