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  1. #1

    • Joe Flowers
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    Joe's very first visit to Legoland California

    My brother, his wife and their four kids are all visiting from Delaware for the weekend. Since the boys absolutely adore Lego, we ditched the girls and all drove down to Carlsbad near San Diego to Legoland!

    Having never been to Legoland myself, this was going to be a brand new experience for all of us!

    I purposefully didn't do any research before coming to the park today. I had heard that it was mostly a kid park, but I wanted to experience it fresh first-hand. I was a little shocked at the ticket prices though. While Disneyland, the gold-standard of theme parks, charges $92 for a one-day one-park ticket, Universal $84 for a year pass, Knotts $62 day of and $43 in advance, Legoland charges $80 for one day or $71 in advance. That seemed a little steep, but we'll see how the day goes.

    Maybe a little research would have been good. I don't know what any of these rides are, which ones are the favorites, which ones are good for kids, and what rides can be skipped.

    Not knowing which direction to go, we took a right at the main entrance and ran into some of the boys' favorites! Star Wars characters! Chewbacca is a 7 foot tall Wookie, next to R2-D2.

    Plus a life-sized Darth Vader.

    Just around the corner is the largest Lego model ever built! This full-size Lego X-wing Starfighter measures 11 feet tall, 43 feet long, with a wingspan of 44 feet! Containing over 5.3 million Lego bricks and weighing over 26 tons, it took 32 Lego model builders over 3 months to put together. After being built in the Czech Republic, it was shipped to New York then brought to Legoland California.

    And the boys appreciated the giant Luke Skywalker.

    Christmas is coming soon boys! I think you know what to ask for this year!

    The first ride we came across that the boys wanted to go on was the Aquazone Wave Racers. These "boats" spin around a platform while you can steer them in and out. Here we discovered that it's going to be a little difficult with 5 people today. With only 2 adults and 3 kids, most of these rides either sit 2 or 4. Not only that, but there are minimum height requirements to ride alone, so it looks like we'll be doing some child swapping.
    Josh stood by the exit while Jon and Isaac jumped in one boat and Eli and I hopped in another.


    Once we finished our turn, Isaac, Eli and I ran over to the water cannons to try to get Jon and Josh wet as they drove around.

    Next up were the Bionicle Blasters, Legoland's answer to Disney's teacups. Only difference here is the is a 42" minimum height requirement, so Isaac can't ride.

    Jon sat out with him while Josh and Eli rode with me. We kept spinning faster faster faster and the boys were loving it.

    Looks like a dark ride to me! Let's hope for something unique!

    The Lost Kingdom Adventure has an Egyptian theme going on in the queue. Maybe the designers thought the queue was going to move a bit faster because while waiting we heard the annoying safety spiel every 60 seconds. After the third time, even the boys said "I don't want to hear that anymore." After a 20 minute wait, we were at the front of the line. There's seating for 4 in each vehicle, so Jon went with the boys while I rode alone.

    Inside was a dark ride combined with a shooting element, similar to Buzz Lightyear. Everyone had laser guns to fire at targets along the track. Hitting them caused some elements to activate and move around. I didn't follow the story much, but I think we were chasing some villian through an Egyptian tomb searching for treasure.

    It's lunchtime! The boys and I camped at a table and examined the map while Jon grabbed food from the Knight's Table Barbeque.

    I was looking forward to trying some new theme park foods! The rotisserie chicken was juicy and flavorful. Plus there were lots of different types of barbeque sauces to try. I thought it was pretty tasty. The kids meals were the standard fried chicken strips with fries, raisins and a juice box. No complaints from the boys about those.

    For dessert, the park map showed Granny's Apple Fries was close by. I don't think I've ever tried an apple fry and was intrigued.

    For $5.89 each, these were a little pricy. These apples had an interesting texture after being fried and coated with cinnamon and sugar. Topped off with sweetened whipped cream, we didn't have any problem finishing them off. Glad we got them fresh though. I imagine they wouldn't be so tasty if they'd been sitting around.

    Around the corner was a giant playground with kids running around everywhere.

    The boys took off for the rope tunnel with Isaac leading the way. Neither Jon or I would easily fit in the rope tunnel so we let them go and explore by themselves.
    Maybe not the best idea... After a couple minutes without seeing them, Jon headed inside to look for them, while I stayed by the entrance. Next thing I knew, a crying and screaming Isaac was running out the exit looking for his dad. Good thing there was a Legoland employee to stop him before he could get too far. Guess we're exploring the rest of this playground together.

    We climb up rope ladders together, across hanging bridges, and through tunnels.

    Yes, tunnels. In some cases, the only way to get to certain sections with the slides was to crawl through these tiny tunnels, which is no problem for the kids, but it's a little tight for me with a backpack and a camera.

    All of us took turns going down the slides. Isaac has a look of combined terror and enjoyment going down the slide.

    The boys appropriately locked up.

    Coming up next was the section I was looking forward to most. Miniland USA shows scenes from lots of major landmarks recreated in Lego. How cool of a job would this be to build Lego models?

    In Washington DC we can see the White House with the Washington Monument in the background.

    The boys enjoyed the US Capital building. In front of many of these models are buttons to press that cause something to activate. Here there is a marching band that play music and circle around.

    Over at the New York skyline, the boys enjoyed the Grand Central Terminal with the train that went back and forth under the city.

    The Las Vegas Strip was represented really well here.

    We've stayed at the New York New York.back in 2004 for my 24th birthday.

    The Mirage even had a volcano that erupted out front.

    And Treasure Island had a couple ships out front.

    Fun to see the Eiffel Tower because we just got back from Paris (look for that trip report later).

    And back in January, we stayed at the Palazzo, sister hotel of the Venetian.

    Here's our favorite part of Miniland USA. The Star Wars lands! Let's follow the movies in order, even though it's not how they're laid out.

    On Tatooine we see Luke purchasing R2 and 3PO from the Jawas.

    After being attacked by Sand People, Obi-Wan and Luke look out to Mos Eisley Spaceport.

    Pushing a button here caused the cantina musicians to come to life and rock back and forth while playing the cantina song. Han and Greedo are sitting at a table in the front.

    Docking bay 94 housing the Millennium Falcon.

    Next we visit the ice world Hoth. We start with the Wampa having captured Luke.

    Then join the battle already in progress. Luke Skywalker repels up and down the standing AT-AT Walker.

    We see the doctor who helped Luke recover.

    Then see Luke's X-wing before he takes off to Dagoba to visit Yoda.

    On Endor, we visit the Ewok village in the treetops.

    Plus get to participate in the fight to bring down the shield generator.

    Pushing a button causes the hammers to hit the side of the AT-ST Walker and a speeder bike to circle around.

    Vader leaves the planet to head to the Death Star.

    We've successfully captured the shield generator!

    Sigh... Alright, let's get through this. From episode I, on Naboo we see an opee as it grabs the Gungan ship.

    We also see the battle between the Gungans and the droid army.

    And inside the palace get a glimpse of the lightsaber duel between Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul.

    Episode II at Geonosis, we see the Clone War.

    And see the Geonosis Battle Arena.

    From the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series, we see Christophsis.

    On to Episode III, we see the battle on the Wookie homeworld Kashyyyk.

    Over to Mustafar, we see the epic battle between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the river of lava.

    Watch as the drama unfolds!


    Rounding out the first half of this trip report, are the mini figure representations of some popular characters.

    R2-D2 of course.

    The mighty Chewbacca

    Posing next to our favorite characters.

    Jon and I both like Han Solo.

    Quite the flowing golden locks on Luke Skywalker.

    Wicket Warrick, the first Ewok to find Leia on Endor.

    Next to Leia Organa

    Of course we see Vader.

    And everyone's favorite bounty hunter, Boba Fett.

    Isaac is a huge fan of Yoda.

    While the boys like Captain Rex from the Clone Wars tv series.

    Finishing off we see Anakin Skywalker.

    There's so much more to see here at the park! We'll finish our visit in part 2.

  2. #2

    • Joe Flowers
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    Re: Joe's very first visit to Legoland California

    Continuing from Part 1, Jon, the boys and I are visiting Legoland California.

    After visiting the Star Wars section of the park, we headed over to some water rides.


    I don't think we've gotten wet enough on this trip yet. The boys saw the Soak and Sail and got excited to go it. Sounds like a job for their father. Man, I'm really disappointed this ride only seats 4.

    In theory, it sounds like a fun ride. You sail around the reef on a pirate boat armed with water cannons. You can spray not only your fellow riders, but also unsuspecting people too close to the rails. I saw quite a few distracted tourists suddenly startled by streams of water.

    All along the rails are water cannons for the non-riders to fight back. In most cases it's a fair fight where if you're spraying, you can also be sprayed. But, there's one section where there are 4 cannons along the rails and the pirate ship cannons can't rotate enough to fight back. Enjoy the carnage.


    They're soaked!

    Next was the flight squadron, where we took turns flying airplanes. Isaac flew with his dad.

    And I flew with Eli.

    Here's another ride that only seats 2. Josh did great hanging out by himself while we flew.

    Being first in line, as soon as it was time, Josh rushed through the gate and got his pick of the planes. He picked a blue one and we were off!

    Next up was Fun Town. This one was cool to see because a couple weeks ago, I was in Paris at the Rodin museum and saw the original statue of the Thinker.

    Next in Fun Town was the Police and Fire Academy. On this ride you pump levers up and down to propel your car down the track.

    Josh and I took the fire truck, while Eli, Isaac and Jon took a Police truck. These levers are meant for two people to power the vehicle down the track.

    But Josh felt like "driving" instead.

    As soon as you get to the end, you jump out of the car and run to the fire hoses. Everyone has a fire to aim at and the boys really seemed to enjoy this ride.

    Just across the street was a small Lego factory. We got to see Lego pieces being made, stamped with a Lego logo, and assembled into packages.

    The twins went to the driving school for kids 6-13 years old.

    I took Isaac to fly some helicopters.

    He had fun raising us up and down and spinning in circles.

    Next we found the driving school for kids 3-5 years old. To me, these cars seem better than Autopia since there's no track to have to follow. The kids are truly driving on their own!

    Isaac drove pretty well and didn't even plow into the person who suddenly cut in front of him. There were a few times when he was driving forward while looking backwards at all the people following him.


    When he was finished and exiting, all the kids got their drivers license. Isaac said, "They gave me a ticket!" Probably for distracted driving.

    Next we found Jon taking the boys on the helicopters. Josh in a blue Coast Patrol.

    Then Eli in a Fire Patrol. Another two seater where the boys were split up, but they each stood by themselves in line really well.

    The more intense rides and coasters had 40-60 minute lines. The worst offender we saw was the Sky Cruiser. 120 minutes? No thanks!

    The Kid Power Towers had a short line. Here 8 people at a time can pull themselves up the tower. Something physical? Josh sat out while Jon and I took the first boys, then he rode with me when they were done.

    On a sunnier day, this might be a better view towards the entrance.

    Scattered throughout Legoland were lots of build stations. I think this was the boy's favorite. Here there were four ramps and a ton of wheeled car platforms for building on.

    I think the boys could have spent hours here just building cars and racing them. Look at that smile!

    Of course, when you get kids, wheeled cars, and a ramp together they're going to see who can make it go the farthest and fastest. There were a few kids at the bottom end of the ramp getting hit by pushed cars that went flying off the ramp.

    After half an hour, we went to one more giant play place, Duplo Playtown.

    Here there was a train that rode around Lego vegetables.

    Plus another huge playground area for the kids to run around in. Twenty more minutes here watching the kids run around and it was time for dinner.

    Not even mentioned on the park map, but recommended by some friends was the Wok N' Bowl Ramen restaurant. For $9 each, Jon and I got a ramen bowl where he tried chicken and I had pork belly. There's a great promotion going on where kids eat free after 5pm, so the boys had chicken and rice bowls with raisins and a drink and dinner for the five of us only ended up costing $20. Not bad.

    After picking out everything that wasn't pork or noodles (yes, I'm a picky eater), the soup was pretty tasty. Jon sampled my pork and said he preferred it to the more bland chicken.

    After dinner, the boys enjoyed spraying some frogs and alligators with water.

    Fairy Tale Brook looked like a fun ride for all of us to go on.

    We split into two boats and floated down the river.

    We encountered characters from lots of classic fairy tales, including the Three Little Pigs. Here the Big Bad Wolf was blowing the pig's house down. As we floated by, we could feel the wind blowing super hard.

    And we could see the roof of the house start to blow away while the pigs tried to hold it down.

    Lots of other tales were represented here including Sleeping Beauty, Billy Goats Gruff, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Jack and the Beanstalk and Aladdin. It was a cute ride. There was a strange encounter at the end though. As we came back into the loading platform, a Lego employee was there with a camera. As we were climbing out, she asked us to smile then handed us a ticket to look at our photo later. It was a weird place to take a photo in the first place, and no one was really paying attention to the person with the camera while we were trying to unload.

    Our last ride of the day is the Safari Trek. While it doesn't have real animals, it's pretty cool seeing all of them made out of Lego.

    These giraffes would have been fun to make.

    Another 2 seater, but this time Eli got to ride in a car all by himself.

    A Lego Rhino

    These don't look too shabby. They must be gnu.

    The panda and cub look pretty cute.

    And we ran into a pride of lions.

    Time to drive back home. I definitely think the boys were the right age to come to the park. They loved all the build stations and playgrounds, probably even more than the rides. They were stimulated the entire day and less than 5 minutes after getting in the car, Isaac was asleep. The twins were quiet in the back seat reading the free Lego magazine we got on the way out.

    So now the big question, what did I think of Legoland?
    I had a fun time today and was entertained. Since everything was new to me, it was fun to sit back and take it all in.

    Everyone who said this was a kids park was totally right. Most of the rides are carnival style rides with a little bit of Lego theming on top. It was more an amusement park with a Lego overlay than a true theme park.

    One thing that really stood out to me were the employees. Every interaction I can remember, they were polite and friendly. Those working the rides seemed in a good mood, apologized if a child didn't measure up, and even though they've probably recited the safety spiel hundreds of times, still did so with enthusiasm.

    The food we tried was all good for a theme park. I would recommend both restaurants we ate at.

    I still think the $80 price tag was a bit expensive and I don't know how much value a 2nd visit would be. There weren't any rides that blew me away, so I wouldn't go there again for the rides. What I did really like was seeing the creativity of all the Lego model builders, the sculptures, and especially Miniland with all the models of cities.

    For those who enjoy Lego or have kids who enjoy Lego, you'll have fun at this park. I certainly did, but I think I saw enough on this visit and I don't know when I'll be coming back.

  3. #3

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    Re: Joe's very first visit to Legoland California

    Too bad the Sky Cruiser had such a long line. That ride was my favorite in the park. You basically power yourself along the course. It's a lot of fun but because it's people powered, i would imagine it would have low turnover times. The one time I went to Legoland, it was late spring on a weekday, so no lines.

  4. #4

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    Re: Joe's very first visit to Legoland California

    Awesome trip report as usual! Those Star Wars scene recreations are really cool! Can't wait to see your Paris report!

  5. #5

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    Re: Joe's very first visit to Legoland California

    Very nice report. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the review of the place.
    Stalking is when two people go for a long romantic walk together but only one of them knows about it.

  6. #6

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    Re: Joe's very first visit to Legoland California

    Nicely done. Don't feel bad about the sticker shock, the price for a one day admission to LegoLand Florida is about the same over here. Fortunately they do have a Florida Residents AP for about $100. I'm thinking of getting one so I can take my time and see how they transitioned the park from its old Cypress Gardens days.
    Current coaster count: 155
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    last new park addition: Fun Spot America

  7. #7

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    Re: Joe's very first visit to Legoland California

    I may be the minority here, but I absolutely love Legoland...of course that would have to be connected with my associated love for LEGO and my constant interaction and mingling with other AFOLs online (Adult Fans of LEGO).

    Did you go to the attraction "Adventurer's Club" (33)? That and Miniland are some of my favorite highlights of the park. If you haven't been on it, it's basically a walk-through dark ride. You pass by three themed rooms with various LEGO figures scattered around, like toucans, sarcophaguses, polar bears, etc. While it may not be up to par with Disney's standards of theming and immersion, for a Legoland park, I still find it impressive.



    If you or anyone else hasn't seen it yet, you should, because the way I see it, this attraction is on its last legs and may hit the chopping block. The original attraction that inspired "Adventurer's Club" was the "Explorer's Institute" located at Legoland Windsor in England. That closed down in 2009, so I feel that "Adventurer's Club is not too far away.



    Total Tender Rides: 20
    Total Lilly Belle Rides: 9
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    Total Mark Twain Wheelhouse Rides: 5

  8. #8

    • Joe Flowers
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    Re: Joe's very first visit to Legoland California

    Quote Originally Posted by dazyhill View Post
    Too bad the Sky Cruiser had such a long line. That ride was my favorite in the park. You basically power yourself along the course. It's a lot of fun but because it's people powered, i would imagine it would have low turnover times. The one time I went to Legoland, it was late spring on a weekday, so no lines.
    You're right, I think turnover is the huge problem with that ride. Only 2 people go per car, so it has to be slow loading. While playing around in the build section over there, the Sky Cruiser line goes right beside it. We watched as people barely crawled forward in the 30 minutes we were playing there.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bongo View Post
    I may be the minority here, but I absolutely love Legoland...of course that would have to be connected with my associated love for LEGO and my constant interaction and mingling with other AFOLs online (Adult Fans of LEGO). Did you go to the attraction "Adventurer's Club" (33)? That and Miniland are some of my favorite highlights of the park. If you haven't been on it, it's basically a walk-through dark ride. You pass by three themed rooms with various LEGO figures scattered around, like toucans, sarcophaguses, polar bears, etc. While it may not be up to par with Disney's standards of theming and immersion, for a Legoland park, I still find it impressive. If you or anyone else hasn't seen it yet, you should, because the way I see it, this attraction is on its last legs and may hit the chopping block. The original attraction that inspired "Adventurer's Club" was the "Explorer's Institute" located at Legoland Windsor in England. That closed down in 2009, so I feel that "Adventurer's Club is not too far away.
    I did see the Adventurer's Club there, but declined to go inside. From just walking by, it totally looked like a store!
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    Thanks for the video showing what I missed.

  9. #9

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    Re: Joe's very first visit to Legoland California

    Cool report ! Chances are, with not having any small kids, ill never visit the Ca. park, but hope to see the park in Florida. Thanks for sharing.

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