Does LEGOLAND Work for Tweens and Teens?

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Can you visit LEGOLAND with kids over 12? I did it and I say yes!
Our family recently visited LEGOLAND Florida. Photo credit: Maria Smith, SheBuysTravel of Many

The writer was hosted on this trip.

Before a recent trip to LEGOLAND Florida, I wondered if my older kids would have a good time. With kids of varying ages, I wanted to bring them to this awesome theme park, but I also didn’t want to deal with several complaining teens and tweens. Good news! I didn’t have to! All my kids had a fantastic time at this unique amusement park and I found there are many reasons LEGOLAND works for older kids (and grown-ups as well).

When you visit LEGOLAND with kids older than 12, you have to understand that it will be a different experience compared to visiting Universal Studios, Walt Disney World or even attractions like Sea Life. LEGOLAND is created for little ones ages 2 to 12. It is focused on them and designed for them.

My family of 6 has kids ages 13 to 8 right now. I wasn’t sure if they all would be happy spending a weekend at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. However, I should not have worried at all. Everyone thought the new Pirate Island Hotel was argh-mazing! The food was “OMG good” according to my 13 year old. And we found attractions and fun rides all four of our very different kids got excited about. Our 8 year old and 10 year old sons may have been the prime audience for a lot of the fun, but it really was a wonderful weekend for us all.

LEGOLAND vs. Disney and Universal

Roller coaster at LEGOLAND, a fun place to visit with teens and tweens
A roller coaster for the whole family? That’s what you’ll find at a LEGOLAND theme park. Photo credit: Maria Smith

The first thing you will notice that is different when you compare LEGOLAND California to Disneyland or LEGOLAND Florida to Disney World or Universal Studios is that LEGOLAND is so much smaller. It is much more manageable for smaller kids to navigate. I found LEGOLAND doesn’t overwhelm younger kids and you may have less complaints about being too tired to walk.

My family and I liked that we could cover the whole park in a day or two, with time to go back to some of our favorites. Also, there are a number of rides that don’t have a minimum height at all so even babies can enjoy them. While Disney and Universal have select areas dedicated to the younger set, most of the attractions at these gigantic theme parks are made for the benefit of adults and older kids. At LEGOLAND, the park is made for your “littles”.

Younger kids can ride almost every ride at LEGOLAND. At Disney, while the “magic” is wonderful, there are many rides younger kids aren’t old enough or tall enough to experience. This can mean they might feel left out. At Universal, there are even more attractions geared toward an older crowd. However, LEGOLAND is devoted to the little ones.

If you have a family that includes preschool or elementary school kids as well as teens, you may want to add a day or two at LEGOLAND. I found it gave my younger two kids the opportunity to have it be all about them. And if you have any LEGO fans like I do, a visit that includes a stay at one of the LEGOLAND Hotels will seriously amaze them.

7 Reasons To Visit LEGOLAND With Kids Over 12

1. You can let them be a kid. Some more.

One of the best things about visiting LEGOLAND with kids over 12 is that you give them the opportunity to be a kid again. They don’t have to worry about being cool or wondering if they are on trend. They can just sit and play with LEGO bricks and their Emmet or LEGO friends minifigures. My 12 year old said to me, “Oh! I remember when I loved to build things.” He then sat down and helped his brother build a car. It seemed like he was surprised that thing he liked doing two years ago was actually still fun.

2. Help tweens and teens understand the world (and your family) doesn’t revolve around them.

Tween children riding red and blue lego cars in the Driving School ride at LEGOLAND
Driving School is a perennial hit with my boys!. Photo credit: Maria Smith

It is totally natural for tweens and teens to think that everything is all about them. But, it isn’t. Coming to LEGOLAND helps put things into perspective for them. Not everything is focused on their age group. This means they need to be a little flexible. They need to put their younger sibling’s needs before their own.

3. There are several roller coasters they will love.

Yes, most of the attractions at the LEGOLAND theme park are geared toward younger kids, but there are plenty of rides older kids will enjoy. Be sure to check out  The Dragon, The Great LEGO Race, Coastersaurus and Flying School if you have some adventurous kids. My almost-14 year old daughter LOVES roller coasters. She will ride just about anything. She really liked Coastersaurus for the interactive elements and for a little bit of a thrill.

If you are visiting the Carlsbad location, the roller coasters include Technic Coaster along with The Dragon and Coastersaurus. Later in 2021, guests will be able to visit the brand new LEGOLAND New York and ride their version of The Dragon and The Dragon’s Apprentice.

4. Allows you to give older kids some responsibility in a smaller setting.

My older kids are all about establishing their independence now. They have opinions and know what they want. They are also trying to loosen the tether that has been there between us. At LEGOLAND because the park is small, I felt comfortable letting the big kids go on rides by themselves, shop in a store without me or just wander through Miniland USA at their own speed.

Once Covid-19 isn’t a threat anymore, older kids will have fun trading minifigures with LEGOLAND staff. It is so hard for me to let go of my kids as they grow, but there are opportunities that help make it easier for me and more manageable for the kids.

5. Gives older kids the ability to try something new.

I don’t know if your tweens and teens are like mine, but my older kids shy away from trying new things, like a LEGO building challenge, if there are lot of other kids their age around. Since LEGOLAND caters to young families, teens don’t always have to worry about if they are being “cool” or doing the “right” things. They can just be kids.

My 12 year old really enjoyed Driving School, as he felt like he was really driving a motor vehicle. My 13 year old wanted to participate but she thought she was too tall to comfortably fit in the car. They also all enjoyed competing against each other in the Lost Kingdom Adventure ride. I lost!

6. They will adore the LEGOLAND Water Park.

LEGOLAND Florida water park, a great place to visit with teens and tweens
Seasonally, the LEGOLAND Water Park is a huge addition of fun. Photo credit: Maria Smith

The LEGOLAND Water Park is fabulous! It is honestly the best part of the theme park for teens and tweens. For $25, you can add it on to your LEGOLAND ticket. This makes it a very affordable add-on for families. Your older kids will love the Twin Chasers slides with a double tube. The wave pool, with floating LEGO bricks, was a hit with my older ones too. My 13 year old told me that the only wrong with the LEGOLAND Water Park is that we didn’t spend enough time there!

7. Adding an overnight at one of the LEGOLAND hotels will impress them.

It is hard to impress teens and tweens. However, when you go to LEGOLAND with kids over 12, you can almost be sure that they will be wow’d. We stayed in the Pirate Island Hotel and it was fantastic. From the minute we walked inside, the LEGO and pirate theme was everywhere. The kids kept pointing out all of pirates they saw! From the pirate voice on the elevator to the patches given out at dinner to the treasure hunt (with real treasure!) in every LEGOLAND hotel room, there are surprises everywhere. Of course the little ones will be in awe at all the LEGO play areas and the themed rooms, but your older ones will have fun too!

It was especially nice that the Pirate Island LEGOLAND hotel has suites that sleep up to 8 people. My family of 6 was super comfortable in the two bedroom suite. The LEGOLAND Hotel and Beach Retreat rooms can accommodate families of up to 5 people. The Beach Retreat Hotel opens for the season starting May 28, 2021.

4 Ways To Make Older Kids Happy When Visiting LEGOLAND With Kids Over 12

Teen daughter with dad at LEGOLAND Florida, a fun place to visit with teens and tweens
LEGOLAND was even fun for my 13 year old daughter! Photo credit: Maria Smith

It is so important that older kids feel involved when visiting a LEGOLAND theme park. Yes, the park is designed for children ages 2 to 12, but that doesn’t mean the older kids won’t have fun. With a little pre-planning and a bit of patience, all ages of kids (and adults too) can have a splendid experience at LEGOLAND.

1. Let them lead.

Go ahead and hand over the theme park map to your older kids. Let them know they are in charge of getting you to the next attraction they or their siblings want to ride. They can look up the height requirement for the rides, check out the wait times or find the closest bathroom. The LEGOLAND Florida resort app is extremely helpful for them to download. Now they can use their phone to help you!

2. Have them choose what and where you eat.

I have found one of the only things most tweens and teens love is food. There are lots of great opportunities to eat delicious food at LEGOLAND. Go ahead and give older kids the ability to choose where you eat lunch or what sweet treat you will splurge on. I definitely suggest stopping by Granny’s Apple Fries. They are healthy-ish and oh so delicious.  My family still talks about the crisp apple slices dusted with cinnamon and sugar, and served with a vanilla cream dipping sauce. You may need to get two orders!

3. Let them take younger siblings on rides.

Helping your tween or teen understand that not every vacation is centered around their wants and needs is healthy. They can learn how to enjoy rides through watching the joy on the faces of their brother or sister. Let them build something in the Duplo Playtown with your preschooler. Or maybe they can take their sibling on Coastersaurus so you can relax for 15 minutes.

4. Allow them to buy something fun.

Everyone likes the ability to buy something fun. Tweens and teens like it even more than anyone else. If you are at LEGOLAND with kids over 12, then you should plan to spend some time at one of the stores. There are so many fun items to buy from sweet treats to apparel to LEGO sets, I’m sure they can find something amazing.

If you have kids in different age groups, LEGOLAND is a great amusement park to spend your next family vacation. Whether you are at LEGOLAND California Resort or the New York or Florida resorts, you can impress even the most blasé teen or tween. Don’t be afraid to visit LEGOLAND with kids over 12. It could be the family vacation you will always remember!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Is LEGOLAND only for young children?

A: Not at all! While LEGOLAND is designed with younger children in mind, there are plenty of attractions and activities that can be enjoyed by tweens and teens as well. Roller coasters like The Dragon and Coastersaurus, for example, are popular with older kids.

Q: Will my tween/teen be bored at LEGOLAND?

A: It’s possible, but there are ways to keep them engaged. For example, they might enjoy building their own LEGO creations in the Imagination Zone, or testing their driving skills at the LEGO Technic Test Track. Additionally, LEGOLAND often hosts special events and seasonal activities that might appeal to older kids.

Q: How can I make the most of my LEGOLAND visit with older kids?

A: One strategy is to plan your visit around the park’s busiest attractions, such as the roller coasters, early in the day or during meal times when lines are likely to be shorter. You might also consider purchasing a “Reserve N’ Ride” pass, which allows you to skip the line at certain attractions. Finally, be sure to take advantage of the park’s dining options and shows, which can provide a nice break from the rides and attractions.

Maria Smith is a wife and on-the-go stay at home mom to four children. Maria lives in Atlanta and blogs at A former Oprah Winfrey Show producer, she is now a freelance writer and editor. When not writing, Maria can be found on the tennis courts, savoring a book, or traveling the world with her family.
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One response

  1. So thankful for this article- we postponed a birthday visit to KC Legoland when my son turned 11 because of Covid. Now he will be 13 in August but I’d still like to take him there with a friend. Your info was just what I needed- very appreciated.

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