Stay tuned for a very buggy bonus at the end of this blog post.
To me, Disneyland will always be the ultimate experience of what a theme park should be, and the standard to which I hold all other parks of its kind. And while nothing will ever beat the GOAT in the way of amusement parks, I still enjoy exploring new territories and keeping an open mind.
One of those new experiences came in the little town of Carlsbad at a place I was never totally sure I would ever find myself - LEGOland. But when you have a soon-to-be 10 year old in the family, a trip to this world based entirely around a childhood favorite toy becomes more of a likelihood.
Even though nothing will ever compare to the joy I get from taking a trip to the home of Mickey Mouse, LEGOland has opened my eyes to a new world of amazing theme parks just waiting to be discovered. If you're like me and have been considering venturing past Disney and going further south into this land made of bricks, then I hope this post helps you a bit. I took what I believed to be the most crucial areas of any theme park experience and rated how LEGOland ranked in the spectrum. Enjoy!
A First-timer's View of LEGOland California
In fact, the best area of the entire park is this awesome place called Mainland USA. I could have spent hours looking at all the creations here. Essentially, they have taken famous spots around the world - New York, the Vegas strip, Mount Rushmore, San Francisco - and built teeny tiny versions of them out of Legos.
Park Rides and Attractions
The first thing you need to know about LEGOland is that the entire park is made for young kids, and thus, so are their attractions. As long as you are of 42 inches in height you can go on literally every ride in the park. That being said, there were definitely some attractions that even I - at 64 inches tall - had a blast on.
There are a couple rides that I absolutely loved and stand out in my mind as my favorites. The first is Ninjago the Ride, which I am convinced was modeled after Toy Story Mania. BUT this ride takes it one step further. Not only do you interact with 3D glasses in order to slay monsters from the movie, the ride also takes you on a little virtual free-fall effect which added a whole new dimension of fun. I won't go into too many details in order to save you some surprises if you do decide to go, but this was a must hit attraction!
What truly made the LEGOland rides and attractions so special was the level of interaction they place into them. Water rides involve squirt guns to drench other riders and onlookers, kids can race LEGO brick cars that they build all on their own, and those of any age can get behind the wheel of their very own car to drive around all on their own. Our group had all age ranges and everyone had a great time exploring the entertainment at the park.
Park Food and Drinks
When I travel to amusement parks, a huge part of the draw for me is what I'll be consuming during the adventure. I can take a trip to Disneyland solely to enjoy the seasonal treats, new flavors of churros, and character themed meals. And while that's a hard act to follow, I think LEGOland did a pretty darn good job on their food and beverage offerings.
We had a made-to-order Philly cheesesteak (double meat since I was splitting it with my mother in law) which was hot and cheesy as well as some BBQ pulled pork that melted in your mouth. The next day, we had fried fish tacos next at the water park that were also totally fresh and delicious with an amazing crema on top. Overall, everyone agreed that we were very satisfied with what we ate and drank. There is something for the whole family!
I was mostly surprised by the amount of kindness and energy all the "Model Citizens" showed us (and by the way, how cute are those names? Model Citizens- ha!). Since you are constantly interacting with the MCs everywhere you go, whether waiting in line, playing carnival games, ordering food and much more, it was sincerely appreciated by all of us how pleasant their staff members were.
A Buggy Bonus
Despite what we may remember from DCA's opening back in 2001, the only area the bug's possessed was the "It's Tough to Be a Bug" theater. A Bug's Land didn't exist until over a year later when Imagineers decided to Disney-fy the park a bit more. Attendance for DCA was low due to the lack of "E-ticket" attractions for adults, and areas that were kid-friendly. So shortly after the opening, two things were built to address both pieces of feedback: Tower of Terror and A Bug's Land. Though I never personally took part in the attractions within this land, those with young kids very much enjoyed the rides. For me and many of us older guests, it was the land's decor that was most spectacular. The attention to detail the Imagineers put into all the facets of the land gave us a beautifully green oasis and made us feel like we too were little bugs.
There is no doubt I am always sad to see a part of the park transform, but I am also excited at the prospect of evolution and new experiences at the happiest place on earth. And at least we still have the movie to rewatch whenever we want to visit the original Bug's Land and some of our favorite Pixar characters of all time.