May 4, 2016 by Terumi
I almost didn’t book the Legoland hotel. I had planned a beach vacation for the family and Legoland wasn’t even on my radar. I thought we’d laze on the beach, visit some museums and eat yummy food. But then we were invited to a Legoland event at our local Science Center and I realized my kids are growing up way too fast and that I had planned a ‘grown up’ vacation and WE MIGHT NEVER GET TO GO TO LEGOLAND BEFORE THEY OUTGROW THE BUNKBEDS! My trip-planning logic downward spiraled from here and I asked the duo if they’d rather spend another day at the beach or go to Legoland.
Minutes later we were booked into a pirate-themed suite and my kids were bouncing off the walls with excitement.
Legoland would not get here soon enough.
If theme-y kid-centered hotels aren’t your thing, this might be a terrifying hotel for you. There are three floors of Lego excitement: the first floor has a Lego Friends theme, the middle floor is pirates and the top is filled with adventure. I picked the Pirate theme because it was the middle floor and it seemed like it might be a pretty cool room.
There is a disco elevator that takes you to your floor. Our room ended up being about a mile away from the elevator but then it was close to a stairway so being scared of elevators, I loved having the excuse of taking the stairs AND I was all over getting some extra steps in. The hotel is a little isolated and usually I do like heading out to shop and walk or find dessert after we put the kids to sleep anew we were pretty tired from the day’s activities so it wasn’t a big deal but those extra steps helped.
There are fun kids’ activities planned for the evening and my guys loved the Lego-building contest. They even won first-prize! I couldn’t believe that there were just Lego bricks everywhere but I was thankful that there were more bricks here than we have at home and thankfully here I didn’t step on any.
My guys were enthralled by the treasure chest in our room and had a great time solving the clues to find the code to open the lock. If your kids are having difficulties I noticed some kids ask the concierge for help and he helped them figure out the clues they had completed correctly so they could figure out the ones they had to re-do.
We probably should have eaten at the dinner buffet, but we were craving In-N-out and there is one pretty close by. I thought maybe I would get tired of eating all our meals at the Legoland establishment but in hindsight we had decent food there and we probably would have enjoyed the buffet dinner there too. I loved that the hotel stay included early entry into the park and that’s the primary reason why I booked the hotel-my husband and I do not like big crowds and that hour is precious and I was worried that we would have crowds at dinner. (Have you been to the dinner buffet at the Legoland hotel? What did you think?)
The famous Carlsbad flower fields are literally right next door too. I love ranunculus and these fields are absolutely gorgeous. I ended up snapping some really fun pictures and I didn’t expect them to be SO close to Legoland. We have AAA and it gave us a discount at both the Legoland hotel AND the flower fields so I was quite pleased that we had AAA for this trip.
The hotel is definitely spendy and I was worried I would begrudge it a little. I don’t typically spend a lot on accommodation and this felt like the most expensive hotel stay we’ve ever booked. When I broke down the fees though it wasn’t as horrible as I thought: A giant breakfast buffet was included in the morning and there were plenty of options as well as smoothies, juice and coffee. My kids received some Lego trinkets for completing the scavenger hunt. There is a private play area in the hotel and there is Lego for entertainment. There are also evening activities that would not be included if we stayed somewhere else. AND parking was also included in the cost. Finally, early entry to Legoland was the biggest plus and I think that alone could have made the stay worth it. We also appreciated how organized everything was. This Legoland hotel definitely did a good job.
The pirate-themed room was pretty cool. The bunkbeds were a hit with my guys-one got the top bunk in exchange for the other being the one to open the treasure chest. I wish there was a door between the bunkbeds room and the grownup area but it was still nice that the two rooms were sort of separated. The bathroom had a barn-door and not a traditional door and I think I’m more of a traditional door fan. My husband noted that despite being full of a million kids, we could not hear any otheir kids in our room so however the hotel miraculously made that happen, this was perfect.
I’m glad we went to Legoland because my guys seem to be at the right age. I’ve heard people say it’s for ‘younger’ kids but it feels like the perfect age would be 6-10 years old. I love that Lego is creative and I appreciated areas like where we could see the master builders in their studio and the mini Lego-factory. (Going to the REAL factory in Denmark is my ultimate dream trip. I love seeing how things are made!)
The roller coasters were fun and my guys want to go back to see the new Ninjago area. I loved watching them drive cars around like they were mini grown ups. We even had fun playing golf and of course I made us get the famous Apple fries. We also ate pizza for lunch and ramen for dinner and both were quite good too.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the Sea Life Aquarium. The cool combinations of Lego and sea life were intriguing and I love places that encourage sustainable living and care for the earth.
So ultimately, despite losing a day on the beach, I’m definitely glad I rearranged my trip. I love exploring beach towns and looking for fun places to eat, but when I asked my guys about what they liked best about their San Diego trip, they immediately chimed “THE LEGOLAND HOTEL!” And they want to go back…..
(PS. My family received tickets to Legoland and the aquarium for the purpose of this review, but the opinions in this piece are all my own)