As part of our family annual budget, vacation is at the top of the list of things to save up for. Ideally we like to do a winter trip and summer trip. This year we were able to do a long weekend in Tahoe and then still plan for a great family vacation in the summer to Southern California. Now being that we live in California, it’s easy enough for us to drive a few hours and get somewhere interesting or beautiful.
So being that we are able to drive, we were able to save heavily on airfare and just put our money toward the hotel stays and fun activities. We also decided to utilize our credit card points to help ease the cost of the trip. (If you’re looking for ways to find easy money/points, check with Chase Sapphire or Capitol One, both great cards.) With that said for our summer vacation we decided to bring the kids to Legoland, Newport Beach, Hollywood and Universal Studios. It was a busy trip but we prepared mentally for it and we made sure that our stay was comfortable for both adults and kids.
Let’s first talk about Legoland. When we first began talking about the trip, we discussed whether it would be best to stay at the Legoland Hotel or stay a little further out of the way to save money. My husband and I agreed that since we were only staying two nights that it would be best to give the kids the full on exerpience and book the Legoland Hotel. And that descision was the best one we made. The kids were absolutley in LOVE with the hotel. Even more so than the actual park.
Here’s what you can expect when you book with LEGOLAND Hotel.
If arriving earlier than check-in, no problem, there is an amazing bellhop service that will hold your bags until your room is ready. You can check in and if your room is not available the front desk will text you when it is available. This way you can go enjoy the park and not worry about your luggage. For an extra $6 fee they will bring the bags up to your room so everything is in your room when you arrive. Can I get a “heck ya!”
Immediately upon walking into the hotel you will find a lego pit. Now if you are deathly affraid of germs, this may gross you out, only beacuse it’s a pit of legos that a bunch of kids are sitting in and play with all day long. If you’re like me, you’ve gotten over it and are grateful for the distraction so you can check in and get yourself organized for the day. Hey, germs builds immunity, right?!
Walk a little bit around the lego pit and you will find an gigantic pirate Lego boat with more things to keep kids busy while mom and dad sip wine next door at the cafe. What’s better than busy kids and relaxed parents.
If that isn’t enough the hotel provides a new treausre hunt daily for the kids. Kids have to look for different clues around the first floor of the hotel to figure out the code to the treasure chest in their room. Yes, there is a treasure chest that housekeeping fills with little lego treasures for the kids to find daily. The kids loved this. Additionally there are events happening every night at the hotel for the kids. Everything from dance parties to lego building competitions. It’s absolutely wonderful. Oh and let’s not forget the disco elevator, it’s a party on every ride up and down.
The rooms have to be the coolest rooms. We splurged a little and got a fully decorated room. What that meant was that the kids area, adult sleeping area, bathroom and doors were all fully decorated in Lego. I believe the other option still keeps the kids area decorated but not the rest of the room. Either way is pretty cool but I’m glad we got a little more. The kids noticed immediately that our door was decorated and that several others were not, so it made them feel special right off the bat. But I think they would have thought it was cool either way. My favortie part was that the kids had their own sleeping aread with bunk beds (and a trundle) with their own TV and night lights. It was wonderful for us parents because we were able to get a good nights sleep and really enjoy the evenings a bit more.
Then there’s the cafeteria which my kids were obsessed with. Now let me say this, we made a decision not to eat dinner there because in my family we are not big eaters and for almost $30/adult and somewhere in the high teens $$$ for kids, I thought it would be a waste of money for us. So the first night we at a the resturant just across the hall to Skyline Café. While we still paid a similar price, we ate some overall good food that was served right to the table and fairly quickly. I didn’t feel like we wasted money on food that would end up in the garbage and on top of that my husband and I were able to enjoy wine and a cocktail. In the morning, however, we did get to experience the cafeteria (Bricks Restaurant) and the kids thought it was awesome. Breakfast is free for ever night’s stay at the Legoland hotel, which is an amazing deal because they have everything under the sun for breakfast and it’s designed so the kids can serve themselves from the buffet. Normally I’d opt out of buffets but this was truly great for adults and kids alike, not for quality neccessarily but for the plethera of options. And if you’re savey (which sadly we were not), you could fill up yor waterbottles for the park here and maybe pack a small container with snacks for the day at the park. Like I said, we weren’t savey enough. We only thought of the idea aftewards. Breakfast is also loads of fun for the kids since there are people dressed up in customes making up balloon animals for the kids or singing songs for the families.
Now onto the park itself.
The park itself is cool enough. I’d say that while I did see some kids in their teens, I’d argue that this park is really geared for kids 5-11. Most rides were great for my youngest who is under 48″, he was excited that he could essentially go on almost every ride. Ironically though, my kids were not as intersted in the rides as they were in building cars with legos in the club house (I believe that’s what it was called) and racing them or walking through the miniature park. Either way they loved it. While we didn’t go on many rides we had full days exploring the park.
Day 1: We explored the park, went on a few rides such as the new 3D Ninjago Ride (which was Awesome!). Then in the later part of the day before dinner we hit up the aquirium which was small but really cool. Again this was another perk of the package and was included in our ticket price.
Day 2: We had early entry into the park but none of the rides we really wanted to go on were open. Luckly Ninjago was so we did that again and then we decided to take the boat ride called Coast Cruise around to see all the monuments and mini cities created in legos. By the time that ride was over, the park was officially open and we went straight for the rides that we wanted to really do before the lines got crazy. It turned out the Adventerer’s Club was way cool and the kids loved the Pharaoh’s Revenge. I’d say if you get to the park right when it opens, you can probably do the whole park in a day, probably. But my kids, had other plans and to them they wanted to spend time in the waterpark, so that’s what we did. Lego has done an amazing job with this area. While it was an extra fee for the Waterpark, it was worth it. The Chima area was absoltely well done and was a load of fun. They had cabanas for anyone who wanted to rent them which included a small pepsi fridge full of cold drinks. It was pricey and I didn’t feel it neccessary for our family, but if you’re traveling with another family it might be worth spliting the cost and going for it.
The wave pool in Chima is really nice as well. The water is really clean but kids under 48″ must wear a life jacket. That did not boad well with my youngest so needless to say we did not spend much time in the wave pool.
All in all two days at Legoland was more than enough for us. Perhaps a 3rd day might have been ok too but I honestly felt that we did what we set out to do in the two days and it was enough.
Now that you’ve read the novel above here’s the “Cliffs Notes”:
Arrive early on day one and leave your baggage with the bellhop. Pay the $6 and get your luggage delivered to your room so you can enjoy the park. Check in and the front desk will text you when your room is ready. Because you paid for the bellhop your stuff will be waiting for you in your room.
Do enjoy the included breakfast and be savey if you can about taking some ziplockbacks or contains for snacks and water. [get my drift ;)]
Do splurge on the waterpark.
The aqurium is open later in the day so do that last. Something to do before dinner.
Two days is really enough, but 3 would probably be the maximum.
The park is probably too young for a 14 year old but just right if you have 5-11 year old.
P.S. if you reading this in 2018 things may have changed since the new Lego Castle Hotel opens in 2018 (you may want to check that out insted.)
If we are able we will definatley do this trip again. The memories were priceless.
Everything was awesome!