Should You Visit LEGOLAND California for More Than One Day?

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entrance to LEGOLAND California, a multi-day theme park
LEGOLAND California offers fun for multiple days Photo credit: LEGOLAND

LEGOLAND California is a whimsical theme park complete with an aquarium and water park. There’s enough here to build several days of fun! With two hotels on property to extend your visit, should you consider this charming SoCal theme as more than just a single day amusement park? Here’s what to consider as you decide whether to visit LEGOLAND California for more than one day.

Do I Need More than 1 Day to Visit LEGOLAND California?

Located in Carlsbad California, LEGOLAND California is a destination all on its own! As a San Diego local, I have always taken on LEGOLAND California one day at a time. However, recent expansions and more additions in the works mean there’s more to do than ever at this resort.

This theme park isn’t just about the rides. There are memorable experiences across the entire resort. From the LEGOLAND Hotel, LEGOLAND Castle Hotel, water park, SEA LIFE Aquarium and special holiday events, find out why I think it can be worth spending several days exploring LEGOLAND California.

Where to Buy Discounted LEGOLAND California Tickets

SheBuysTravel recommends Get Away Today for discounted LEGOLAND tickets and vacation packages. Get Away Today also offers price monitoring and customer service that’s invaluable to travelers. You can read all about why we love Get Away Today.

Separate theme park reservations are required. After purchasing tickets, visit the LEGOLAND California website to make reservations.

The Dragon offers thrills to younger kids. Photo credit: LEGOLAND

1. LEGO Movie World

LEGO Movie World expands upon the popular film series. With 3 rides, dining and three additional attractions, including a character greeting area, this is the place to start to your day. Emmet’s Flying Adventure Ride is the must-do here, with a full-dome virtual screen that transports guests into the world of the LEGO movies!

If you only spend one day at the park, put this on your don’t-miss list.

SheBuysTravel Tip: LEGO Ninjago The Ride often posts a wait time of one hour or longer. This should be one of your first attractions of the day. Or consider purchasing the Reserve ‘N’ Ride upgrade to significantly reduce the amount of wait time.

2. LEGOLAND California Water Park

There’s a lot to love about this expansive and fun-filled water park! There are about a hundred ways to get wet here, with play areas that satisfy everyone from toddlers to grandmas. While my big kids twist down the Twin Chasers slide, I take my youngest to the Duplo Splash Safari. And we all love floating on the Build-a-Raft River.

If you plan to spend time at the water park, you’ll definitely want to make your LEGOLAND California trip a multi-day visit. The water park alone is worth a whole day.

I recommend spending a few hours at each area of the water park, then moving to a new location. Keep in mind that lounge chairs can be difficult to find, especially mid-day. But who needs a lounge chair where there’s so much water park to experience?

Consider renting a locker for the day to store your stuff. Then you’ll only need to look for a seat when you need to eat. There are several dining locations with seating available for diners.

SheBuysTravel Tip: The tacos at Beach Street Tacos in the Surfers’ Cove area. They are authentically delicious!

Getting to the LEGOLAND Water Park

Unfortunately you can’t just visit the water park. The only entrance is inside LEGOLAND. You need to walk through LEGOLAND to the back of the theme park, so you’ll need a LEGOLAND park ticket with a water park upgrade to get in. The water park does get extremely busy during the summer months.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Before you pack your swimsuit, be sure to check the LEGOLAND water park schedule to confirm that it will be open on the day of your visit. The water park is closed in the off-season and has limited weekend-only openings outside of summer.

3. Delicious Dining

There’s no reason to leave LEGOLAND to get a great meal. As a theme-park regular, I appreciate when parks like LEGOLAND California go above and beyond to offer fresh and healthy alternatives to the usual fare.

Find items on the dining menus like Bánh Mì Vietnamese sandwiches on steamed bao buns, wood-smoked BBQ meats, Caprese panini sandwiches. Of course, you’ll also find the typical kid-friendly burgers, nuggets and pizza.

And for a sweet treat don’t miss Granny’s Apple Fries served with whipped cream. At the Fun Town Urban Kitchen, order a custom shake at the Create-a-Shake counter. Or indulge in a Nutella crepe in LEGO Movie World.

No matter how many days you spend in the theme park, you’ll find plenty of dining options to keep everyone happy.

4. LEGOLAND California Brick-or-Treat Party Nights

This Halloween-themed special nighttime event is a LEGOLAND California tradition. My family and I have been attending since the first year and the celebration just gets bigger each year. All guests are encouraged to dress in costume and trick-or-treat around the Park.

Select rides and attractions are open for the event and there are special Halloween-themed shows. There is a costume contest with LEGO prizes as well. Brick-or-Treat Party Nights is a hard ticket event and requires a separate admission.

If you’re visiting during this Halloween celebration, definitely plan to spend more than one day so you can enjoy the rest of the park during the daytime.

SheBuysTravel Tip: The park is almost always at capacity during this nighttime event. Plan your evening by eating dinner before the party. Schedule what rides and attractions are can’t miss between trick-or-treating.

SEA LIFE Aquarium is a small add-on to your day in Carlsbad Photo credit: LEGOLAND

5. SEA LIFE Aquarium

Look for LEGO touches throughout the kid-friendly interactive zones at the SEA LIFE Aquarium. This aquarium is particularly geared to preschoolers or younger elementary age kids.

My kids like the domes where they can literally pop their head into the tanks! I like that there are windows down low for little ones to peek into the pools so I’m not constantly lifting my toddler to see the fish. Check the schedule to plan your visit during a live talk or feeding.

Unlike the water park, you don’t have to have a theme park ticket to visit the aquarium. Although you can buy a combo ticket that allows entry to LEGOLAND California as well, it’s possible to buy tickets for the Sea Life Aquarium only. Allow about 60-90 minutes to properly explore the aquarium.

You can do it as a next-time event, or visit during the afternoon to give everyone a break from the sunshine.

SheBuysTravel Tip: During summertime and other peak times of the year, strollers are not allowed inside the Sea Life Aquarium. If you’re traveling with a baby, consider bringing a front carrier.

6. The “Rainy Day Promise”

Hoping that spring showers don’t rain on your LEGOLAND California day? While it’s usually sunny in San Diego, it does rain on occasion.

That’s when the Rainy Day Promise goes into effect. If inclement weather closes a portion of the attractions for an extended time, any paid guest already in the park can get a rain check to return later in the season.

It’s another reason to plan more than one day at the theme park. If it rains, and you’re staying on-site, retreat back to the hotel for scheduled activities indoors.

Castle Hotel at LEGOLAND California Resort. Photo credit: LOCK + LAND, Chip Litherland

7. LEGOLAND Resort Hotels

Wanting to indulge in the full LEGOLAND experience? The LEGOLAND Resort Hotel and LEGOLAND Castle Hotel are just steps away from the front entrance! The family rooms feature fantastical themes and each room includes a collection of LEGO bricks to build with at your leisure.

Complimentary breakfast buffet is included with your overnight stay. Check the hotel entertainment guide to learn more about LEGO building competitions, character meetings and a pajama dance party. This hotel is regularly booked to capacity so be sure to get your reservation far in advance, especially during busier seasons.

If you want to spend more than one day at LEGOLAND California, staying on-site at one of these LEGO-theme resorts is definitely the way to enhance the experience! Book your stay at one of the LEGOLAND Resort Hotels (or another Carlsbad hotel) through our travel partner Get Away Today for great discounts on ticket and hotel packages!

Entertaining elves at LEGOLAND California Holiday celebration Photo credit: Julie Bigboy

8. Holidays at LEGOLAND

The season comes to life during the Holidays at LEGOLAND event, one of the best San Diego Christmas events for families. Along with other in-park holiday entertainment, guests can enjoy a photo op with LEGO brick Santa and his reindeer under a whimsical LEGO Christmas tree!

During the LEGOLAND Kids’ New Years Eve, families can celebrate at a kid-friendly 6 p.m. There’s a replica of the Times Square ball drop (in LEGO form, of course). Included are fireworks and special glasses for viewing the pyrotechnics.

9. Memories Captured at LEGOLAND

Do you love to buy theme park photos? You know the ones, like this one I have of my son riding Technic Coaster. It was his first time on the ride and this expression tells the story, doesn’t it?

You can’t take these ride photos yourself. But the unlimited digital photo pass at LEGOLAND for all of the memories you’ll want to preserve.

Legoland California’s new One World Trade Center in the Miniland New York exhibit area. Photo credit: Sandy Huffaker/LEGOLAND

10. Miniland USA

Last but not least, Miniland USA is the heart of what makes LEGOLAND completely different than any other theme park.

This sprawling land of mini-cities built by LEGO Master Builders is yet another reason to plan to spend more than one day at the theme park. You’ll want to resist the urge to zip through. View the White House in the Washington D.C. section, Pier 39 in San Francisco or vibrant activity from the mini-figures in New York’s Central Park.

Interactive buttons cause vehicles to move and music to play.

Who Should Visit LEGOLAND California for More Than One Day?

Families with younger kids. The rides, shows and attractions at LEGOLAND California are aimed at younger kids; ages 3-10 years old is the sweet spot for LEGOLAND. Kids that age get tired. They need naps, or at least a little downtime at the hotel pool. For that reason alone, I highly recommend that families traveling with younger kids consider planning a multi-day LEGOLAND stay.

Families with water park fans. LEGOLAND California does offer enough to please older kids and adults. I’d recommend visiting the theme park one day and the water park on a separate day.

All LEGO lovers. Have a big LEGO fan in the family? Plan enough time in the day for building at one of the many stations throughout the park!

And of course, leave time in your vacation to explore the other things to do with kids in San Diego.

A travel writer who specializes in Disney and family travel destinations, Julie Bigboy also enjoys quilting, watching baseball, and spending time with her four children. A San Diego native, Julie writes with a detailed eye, to provide families with helpful tips and guidance for planning every aspect of a trip with children. Julie is the owner and content creator for the website Mom Rewritten, a lifestyle blog. She also co-owns Disneyland With Kids, a Facebook group and podcast for families.
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