LEGOLAND: the Adventure Continues

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Last month our family visited LEGOLAND California again. Even though we’ve been there a few times before, it felt new because it’s been three years since we went as a family, and our boys are 3 years older, so it’s like bringing new kids! We know what to expect, but that gives us the comfort to look for new experiences in this fun familiar place.

The Drive: Coming from Agoura Hills, the drive can take a while, especially in traffic, so we wait until after dinner to get on the road. This time we set out around 8pm and checked into our hotel at 11pm.

The Hotel: Sure, you can drive down to Carlsbad, spend the day at LEGOLAND, and then hop back in the car after closing, but that would just be crazy. So we like to drive down the night before, stay in a hotel, spend the next day (or two) at the park, have a nice dinner, then spend a second night. On this second evening the kids can play in the pool and we parents can relax and stretch out our sore legs. Our hotel of choice has been the Best Western Encinitas, which is far less expensive than closer lodging options, and it’s only a 15-minute drive from the park. Free continental breakfast every morning and a nice little pool with a hot tub, plus it’s right near the beach.

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The Park: LEGOLAND has expanded since we last visited in 2013, with its newest attraction, Ninjago World, still not even open when we were here this time! (It’s open now, though!)

We stopped at all of the tried and true attractions we remember from when the kids were younger, but it’s kind of hilarious to see their bigger bodies in these settings:

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Upgraded shark mouth, 2016

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Original shark mouth, 2013

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Driving School, 2016

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He fit better in 2013

We took the time to marvel at the LEGO creations, things we may not have paused to consider in earlier years when kids were rushing to the rides:

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I was delighted to discover that they have added a new section to the water park, which is CHIMA themed.

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Pro tip for the water park: you should definitely pay the extra money to rent a locker for the time you are here. This keeps your valuables safe and dry, and frees up your hands so that you can run around the water park with your kids. You are given a wristband that you scan to open the locker, so you don’t even need to find a place to carry a key.

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Among the new features at LEGOLAND is a new 4D movie, LEGO® NEXO KNIGHTS™: The Book of Creativity! But it’s not just a movie – it’s an app too! You can download it before you visit the park, and use it to locate six shields hidden throughout the Park. Interactive!

legoland nexo knights

This trip to LEGOLAND was special for me because we did it to celebrate my kids’ 9th and 11th birthdays. They are old enough now that I don’t have to worry about them running off and getting lost. They are much more patient waiting in lines, and more responsible. My 9-year-old still takes forever to pick out a souvenir (we limit each child to a $15 bill to keep this expense reasonable), so some things never change. That, plus the fact that their favorite attraction in all of the park is the Fun Town Driving School, where, without lines on a gray April day, my kids drove those cars again and again and again.

Our family’s favorite ride, collectively, has always been Pirate’s Reef, where you get absolutely drenched, but that was closed during this visit. The kids made up for it by getting soaked on Splash Battle.

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Look at those happy faces. Totally worth it.

During the summer season, LEGOLAND CA and its Water Park and SEA LIFE Aquarium are all open later and later, plus they have special events happening all the time. To check out the schedule and to learn about discount ticket options, visit their website.

As an official LEGOLAND blogger, I received two complimentary admission tickets for this trip.

Get the Inside Scoop about LEGOLAND CA Right Here!

LEGO Ice Cream Pirate at LEGOLAND

As perpetual tourists in Los Angeles since we moved here many years ago, my husband and I have traveled all around Southern California. Now that we have children, it’s much more fun, because we have 2 built-in reasons to visit kid-friendly places. I recently asked our kids what their favorite trips have been, and aside from visiting their grandparents in Connecticut and Louisiana, they both said “LEGOLAND” without hesitation.

We have been to LEGOLAND as a family several times, and the kids even went with their great-aunts a few years ago (on an awesome kid-free weekend for me and the husband!). That’s a long way from our friends who are annual pass holders at other parks and pop in every time they get a free second (what fun!) but we are a good 3-hour drive from Carlsbad so we have to reserve our trips for sports-free weekends! With two active boys, our family doesn’t have a ton of those!

So why LEGOLAND? Well, it’s everyone’s favorite because:

The visitors are nice. Since the whole park is themed for kids and LEGO lovers, you’re less likely to have adults visiting without kids. And kids tend to make adults behave better.

The rides aren’t too scary. Even though my boys are getting older, they are still shy about braving the big thrill rides of other parks.

It’s not too big. Even with the water park, the SEA LIFE Aquarium, and LEGOLAND itself, a family can still go at a leisurely pace and have a great time without being overwhelmed.

We found a great place to stay. Instead of staying at the hotel on site (which is something we dream of doing one day!) we stay at the Best Western Encinitas, which is right near the beach and the groovy town of Encinitas. There is a small pool and hot tub, and continental breakfast every morning. It’s reasonably priced and only a short drive from LEGOLAND.

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If you are planning a trip to LEGOLAND, keep your eyes on this site and social media channels, because I’m excited to say that Agoura Hills Mom is an official LEGOLAND insider! I’ll get first looks at new features and promotions from the park and I will share them here!