Top Tips for Legoland California (for All Ages)

From themed rides and LEGO brick-building stations to musical fountains and roller coasters, LEGOLAND California has something to please all ages. Read on to learn from two experts which rides, attractions and dining options are best at LEGOLAND California for babies/toddlers, kids, teens and adults.

Welcome to LEGOLAND California! ~ Legoland California Tips for All Ages from Babies to Adults
Welcome to LEGOLAND California! (Photo credit: LEGOLAND)

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The Unauthorized Guide to LEGOLAND

I spent a day at LEGOLAND California with the woman who literally wrote the book on LEGOLAND. My daughter and I rode rides, explored play areas, and ate apple fries with the author of The Unauthorized Guide to LEGOLAND, Bridget A. Smith, and two of her three kids. It was like having our own personal tour guide to the park.

I know a lot about this theme park, too. As a former SoCal mom, I have been to LEGOLAND California many, many times. I was even an annual pass holder for a few years. I asked Bridget to share her thoughts on LEGOLAND California’s best attractions and food. Here are some of her picks with a few of my family’s favorites sprinkled in.

LEGOLAND Water Works Magical Fountain
My daughter making music at the Water Works Magical Fountain (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Attraction that Makes You Fall in Love with LEGOLAND California

Water Works Magical Fountain (Explore Village: All Ages)

While Bridget and I watched our kids playing at the Water Works Magical Fountain, I said, “This is my favorite attraction at LEGOLAND.”

Bridget said, “Me too!” She bubbled, “This fountain is why I fell in love with LEGOLAND. I came here with the kids and we saw this fountain and I thought, Why haven’t we been here before? This place is awesome!

The Water Works Magical Fountain is made of musical instruments formed from LEGO bricks. Kids stomp on the circles in front of the drum, trumpet, harp, or other instrument and its musical sound chimes in. It’s just a joyful, unique experience.

LEGOLAND California DUPLO Playtown
My son exploring DUPLO Playtown (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Best LEGOLAND California Attractions for Babies and Toddlers

DUPLO Playtown (Explore Village: All Ages)

This play area is filled with slides, pretend vehicles and buildings, and a crawl-through maze. This is a great place to relax a bit while the kiddies play.

LEGOLAND Express (Explore Village: All Ages)

This adorable train ride is tucked into a corner of DUPLO Playtown. Bridget recommends this train even for ride-phobic little ones. In her guidebook she says, “I love the mix of real California crops and LEGO brick produce. Make sure to point out the artichokes and fresh strawberries.”

LEGOLAND California Royal Joust
Bridget’s daughter aboard a Royal Joust horse (Photo courtesy of Bridget A. Smith)

Best LEGOLAND California attractions for Preschoolers and Kindergartners

Volvo Junior Driving School (Fun Town: Kids Ages 3-5)

What kid doesn’t want to drive a miniature car around a track all by himself? To quote the Unauthorized Guide, “This ride is a great rite of passage. At the end of the ride your child will receive an official LEGOLAND driver’s license.” The Volvo Driving School is next door for kids ages 6-12.

The Royal Joust (Castle Hill: Kids Ages 4-12 & Height Restrictions)

This is a favorite of preschoolers and kindergartners. Kids straddle pretend horses that trot through a forest dotted with life-sized LEGO knights and other characters.

The Dragon is mellow enough for first time coaster riders ~ Legoland California Tips for All Ages from Babies to Adults
The Dragon roller coaster is the first and only roller coaster my in-laws have ever ridden (Photo credit: Travel Mamas)

Best LEGOLAND California Attractions for Grade School Kids

Build & Test (Imagination Zone: All Ages)

I never really understood the appeal of this attraction until I saw how much Bridget’s son, Jared, loved playing with LEGO bricks at this and other hands-on building stations. The guidebook advises, “At the main desk big kids check out a set of wheels with axles, then build vehicles with a wide assortment of big kid LEGO bricks. There are a number of tracks with timers, and the kids can race their vehicles to see who has the fastest car.”

The Hideaways (Castle Hill: All Ages)

Bridget and I had a grand ol’ time yapping away here while our kids zipped up, down, and through this play area. According to The Unauthorized Guide to LEGOLAND, “This is one of the best places to get a lot of energy out. Kids can climb, slide and wiggle through a variety of obstacles…Luckily the entrance to the Hideaways is also the exit so you can stake out a spot nearby and make sure you catch your little one before he or she can escape. Don’t plan to see your kids anytime soon however, this area is so engaging it may be a while before they are willing to leave.”

The Dragon (Castle Hill: Height Restrictions)

My family loves this roller coaster! It starts out with a mellow riding tour through a castle filled with humorous LEGO medieval scenes. Then, as the guidebook explains, “Suddenly the roller coaster takes hold and you find yourself outside in a roller coaster that has some zip to it.” I like that it’s fast enough to get your heart pumping a bit, but not so scary to deter brave young children. I also appreciate the details of the funny markers on the gravestones in the make-believe cemetery through which you will wind if the line is long. The Dragon just so happens to be the first and only roller coaster my in-laws have ever ridden!

Best LEGOLAND Attractions for Teens and Adults

Knight’s Tournament (Castle Hill: Height Restrictions)

This is Bridget’s oldest son, Justin’s all-time favorite ride. The guide says, “It is not for the faint-hearted. I have never seen anything like it at another park. Giant robotic arms like the one used in automotive assembly plants to weld on car doors spin you around and almost dip you into a slimy moat.” Riders can pick the intensity level of the ride.

LEGOLAND California's Lost Kingdom Adventure ride
LEGOLAND California’s Lost Kingdom Adventure ride is fun for the whole family (Photo credit: LEGOLAND)

Lost Kingdom Adventure (Land of Adventure: Height Restrictions)

This is one of my family’s favorite attractions at LEGOLAND California. It’s like a ride plus a carnival game all rolled into one during which you explore Egyptian ruins made of LEGO bricks. In The Unauthorized Guide Bridget says, “Blast targets with laser guns in order to recover stolen treasure…A computer records every shot, so at the end you can compare scores with your riding companions.”

Attractions for the Whole Family at LEGOLAND California

Fairy Tale Brook (Explore Village – All Ages)

This is a ride all ages can enjoy it together. As described by Bridget’s guidebook, “Take a sweet boat ride through a LEGO world populated by many of your child’s favorite story book characters.” Bridget continues in The Unauthorized Guide to LEGOLAND, “This ride provides a quiet break and is good for small children.”

Miniland USA (All Ages)

Bridget says, “This signature attraction of LEGOLAND California is fun for the whole family. Miniland is a collection of American landmarks from seven different geographical regions of the United States constructed with more than 20 million LEGO bricks at a 1:20 scale.” Star Wars fans will especially get a kick out of LEGO STAR WARS Miniland.

LEGO STAR WARS Miniland is fun for LEGO fans and Star Wars fans alike ~ Legoland California Tips for All Ages from Babies to Adults
LEGO STAR WARS Miniland is fun for LEGO fans and Star Wars fans alike (Photo credit: LEGOLAND)

Tastiest LEGOLAND California Food

Granny Apple Fries (Castle Hill)

Bridget describes this unusual sweet treat as, “The fried Granny Apples are dusted with cinnamon and sugar. They are served with a vanilla cream dipping cream. Everyone in our family loves this treat.”

Fun Town Market Restaurant (Fun Town)

My husband always insists we eat at this made-to-order buffet-style restaurant for its outstanding Philly cheese steak sandwiches. You can find something to meet everyone’s needs here from oriental chicken stir fry, to an extensive soup and salad bar, plus kids’ meals. We save money (and room in our bellies!) by splitting a sandwich so we can indulge in Granny Apple Fries afterwards.

Granny's Apple Fries are a must during any visit to LEGOLAND California ~ LEGOLAND California Tips for All Ages from Babies to Adults
Granny’s Apple Fries are a must during any visit to LEGOLAND California (Photo credit: Mary Solio, World Is A Book)

Best Way to Cool Off at LEGOLAND California

Pirate Shores (Various Age and Height Restrictions)

On a hot day, you will definitely want to bring swimsuits and towels for the kids and head over to Pirate Shores. This area encompasses several splashing attractions. Bridget explains, “This is one of the most fun areas at LEGOLAND and a great place for parents to take a break. There is only one entrance to the area, so you can keep an eye on the kids. Any kid who loves water play will want to stay there for hours.” Pirate Shores is included with a regular ticket to LEGOLAND California.

SEA LIFE Aquarium (All Ages)

With a LEGOLAND/SEA LIFE Hopper pass you can visit the adjoining SEA LIFE Aquarium during a visit to LEGOLAND California. This aquarium makes a cool addition to a day at LEGOLAND California, or you could come here on a separate day to explore. There are plenty of fish and marine life on display in educational, fun displays. Pop-up bubbles allow kids to get a feel for what it would be like to live under the sea.

SEA LIFE Aquarium is fun AND educational ~ Legoland California Tips for All Ages from Babies to Adults
SEA LIFE Aquarium is fun AND educational (Photo credit: SEA LIFE Aquarium)

LEGOLAND Water Park (All Ages)

Opened in 2010, the LEGOLAND Water Park is a wonderful place to cool off and have fun on a hot Southern California Day. Play with foam bricks while you float down Build-A-Raft River or take a spin on one of the water park’s many waterslides. Splash Zoo is filled with DUPLO animal fountains for kids ages 1 to 3. You could easily spend your entire day at this water park.

LEGOLAND Water Park's Build-A-Raft River ~ Legoland California Tips for All Ages from Babies to Adults
LEGOLAND Water Park’s Build-A-Raft River (Photo credit: LEGOLAND)

Where to Stay Near Legoland California

If LEGOLAND California and other Carlsbad attractions will be the primary focus of your vacation, I recommend the following hotels.

West Inn & Suites ~ This affordable hotel is one of my favorites in Southern California. Families AND pets are given a warm welcome here. A free shuttle takes guests to LEGOLAND California, the Carlsbad Flower Fields, the beach and anywhere else within a five-mile radius of the hotel. There’s also a complimentary full breakfast every morning, a selection of board games to borrow, a microwave and refrigerator in every room, and complimentary WiFi. Read my full review.

LEGOLAND Hotel ~ For true LEGO lovers, nothing could top a stay at this thoroughly themed hotel. It’s all about the kids here. The easy access to LEGOLAND California, LEGOLAND Water Park, and SEA LIFE Aquarium make this hotel a great pick for families with kids who still nap. Read my review and watch a video of the LEGOLAND disco elevator!

Read about the best San Diego County hotel options for families now.

Pirate-themed room at the LEGOLAND Hotel ~ Legoland California Tips for All Ages from Babies to Adults
Pirate-themed room at the LEGOLAND Hotel (Photo credit: LEGOLAND)

More Tips for Your LEGOLAND California Visit

To learn more, read my tips for visiting the LEGOLAND Water Park. You may also want check out my Guide to Carlsbad, California. If you want in-depth LEGOLAND California tips and tricks, I suggest buying your own copy of The Unauthorized Guide to LEGOLAND

Save Money on Your LEGOLAND California Visit

Want to save money on your LEGOLAND California visit? Of course, you do! Use discount code TravelMamas to get $10 off any two-night or longer Southern California package (hotel and two-ticket minimum) when you book through our trusted partner, Get Away Today. Just want tickets? Buy discounted LEGOLAND California tickets now!

Legoland California for All Ages from Babies to Adults

Do you have any tips or questions about LEGOLAND California? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from the Travel Mama: I received a PDF version of The Unauthorized Guide to LEGOLAND from Bridget A. Smith for this blog post.

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  1. Thank you for this post. I’m planning a trip to Legoland by myself with 3 kids, ages 8, 5 and 3. Is it doable? I’m worried that there are rides which will not allow us to be together.

    1. Hi Ellie – It is totally doable but you are right that there are rides that you won’t be able to enjoy together. There are lots of rides at Legoland that are for children only (no grown-ups), with specific height/age requirements. For example, you would need to queue up twice for Volvo Driving School where your little one can ride the one for ages 3-5, your oldest can ride the one for ages 4-12 and your middle child could ride both…and you watching from the sideline. A lot of Legoland is about watching your children have fun, more than necessarily riding with them. There are some things you can enjoy together, though, like The Hideaways, Fairy Tale Brook, Miniland USA, and Sea Life Aquarium. You all can probably ride the Lost Kingdom Adventure together, too, since the height requirement is just 30 inches. You might want to buy “The Unauthorized Guide to Legoland” to help plan out your day. Have a great time at Legoland!

    1. Frank – They’ve got a really cute little slide in part of the aquarium that just thrills little ones. (It’s the simple things!) Enjoy your trip to LEGOLAND California!

    1. I hope you can visit a LEGOLAND one day, Sapana! They also have parks in Denmark (the original), Dubai, Japan, and Orlando, Florida.

    1. LEGOLAND really does have something for all ages, if you know which attractions to choose for everyone!

  2. How fun! I’m creating two Lego themed birthday parties: Lego Star Wars and Lego Ninjago. How awesome would it be for us to see Legoland up close and personal! Bet my creative juices would get flowing for sure!

  3. Theme parks are best suited to family trips, and peer trips. LEGOLAND is just one of the best that I have ever visited so far together with my kids. We stayed there till our hearts contents. Actually, we never get contented. As we try every ride we keep wanting more.

  4. I would love to take my older kids to the Lost Kingdom Adventure and my younger kids to the fairy tale land.

  5. I think the kids would really love the sealife aquarium and so would I. We took them to the Georgia aquarium and they had a ball

    ardy22 at earthlink dot net

  6. At this very minute, I am most excited about Granny Apple Fries (Castle Hill) because I am reallllly hungry and these sound AWESOME!