My boys love LEGOLAND California. We’ve been several times over the past few years and have learned a few things in the process. Today I am sharing a few LEGOLAND tips and tricks to help make your trip to LEGOLAND California easier and more fun.
LEGOLAND California Tips
- LEGOLAND Souvenirs
- LEGO Minifigure Trading
- Save on LEGOLAND Tickets
- LEGOLAND Ride Lines
- LEGOLAND Food tips
Buying LEGOLAND Souvenirs
The most important piece of advice about buying LEGOLAND souvenirs is to not wait until LEGOLAND is closing. Let me state this again. Do. Not. Wait. Until. The. Park. Is. Closing.
Everyone and their mother will be shopping in the big LEGO store when LEGOLAND closes. The gift shop is overwhelming crowded and the lines can be very long. If you are saving money by staying at an offsite hotel that offers a shuttle, be aware of the return shuttle times. One time we literally had 15 minutes before the shuttle would pick us up and we waited too long to shop. There was no way we would have had time to shop and make it to our shuttle in time.
If you plan on shopping at LEGOLAND take a break earlier in the day and buy souvenirs before the park closes. If you don’t want to carry bags around the park, utilize LEGOLAND’s free package service. You can pick up your purchases as you leave the park.
We have also briefly browsed the store during the day and then ordered the same LEGO sets on Amazon. With free 2-day Amazon Prime shipping, the LEGO sets were already at our house by the time we drove back to Tucson.
LEGO Minifigure Trading
Did you know you can trade minifigures at LEGOLAND? Simply bring complete LEGO mini figures from home and trade with any Model Citizen (aka LEGOLAND employee). Each LEGO minifigure must include a head, body, and legs.
Trading minifigures is a fun way to bring home a “souvenir” without spending money. Treat trading minifigures as a fun scavenger hunt as you explore LEGOLAND. If you forget to bring minifigures to trade, you can purchase minifigures at LEGOLAND. They even have a fun build-your-own minifgure station, customize 3 minifigures for $10. I think it’s a pretty reasonable souvenir idea.
Skip the water park
If your kids aren’t super into water parks, I’d skip the park hopper options and stick to single park tickets to save money on admission. LEGOLAND offers an awesome water play area with plenty of opportunities for kids to get soaked without a visit to the LEGOLAND water park.
I recommend bringing an extra set of clothes and a towel for your kids. My boys wear swim clothes to LEGOLAND and then change into a dry set of clothes after we are done playing in the water area. LEGOLAND does offer those huge dryers you can stand inside to dry off as well. They cost around $5 to use but several people will fit inside.
Save money on LEGOLAND Tickets
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LEGOLAND Ride Lines
If you stay at one of the LEGOLAND hotels, take advantage of early entry into LEGOLAND. You can ride select attractions before the park officially opens to everyone else. Even if you don’t stay at the LEGOLAND hotel, plan on being at the park a little early. Start by riding the most popular rides first, the lines will only get longer as the day goes on.
Another trick is to ride popular rides during live shows. As people flock to the shows, the ride lines will be smaller. Besides waiting in line for rides, don’t miss these others ideas on what to do at LEGOLAND on a busy day.
LEGOLAND Food Tips
Officially LEGOLAND doesn’t allow outside food but we’ve never had a problem bringing in water bottles and a few small snacks. If you are a soda drinker, consider buying a souvenir cup. They offer ones that include drinks for the length of your stay (1 day, 2 days, etc) just like at Walt Disney World resort or single use ones with cheap refills.
Everyone touts the iconic apple fries as a must buy at LEGOLAND but I’m not a fan. I think the better deal and more extravagant treat is the churros with chocolate dipping sauce. For about $5 you get 3 good sized churros making it a perfect treat to share (or not share) with your kids. You can find the churro cart at the back of the park by the entrance to the Star Wars Miniland area.
If you plan on eating an early dinner or late lunch, make sure you download the LEGOLAND app. We often see a ‘kids eat free’ offer pop up during the late afternoon. Similar deals may pop show up for dinner at one of the LEGOLAND hotel restaurants as well.
Where to Stay when Visiting LEGOLAND:
If you are looking to splurge, we’ve enjoyed our stays at both the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel and LEGOLAND Hotel. With free breakfast, extremely fun themed room and early access to LEGOLAND, they are a great place to stay for families who want to be within steps of the LEGOLAND entrance.
There are quite a few hotels nearby that aren’t as expensive though, many with shuttles to LEGOLAND which helps you avoid the daily parking fee. We really liked the West Inn & Suites Carlsbad and Hyatt Place Vista/Carlsbad.
If you go a few minutes down the freeway, you can stay right on the beach at the
Carlsbad Beach Inn Resort. There is no shuttle but it’s a really lovely property with beach access and some condo style rooms are available. You can really save money on meals with a full kitchen!