After our time in Disney, we drove a little over an hour south, staying along the coastline, to Calsbad, CA, which houses Legoland California. This park opened in 1999, so wasn't around when my parents took us to Southern California. Andy and I had taken Brady to Legoland Deutschland when he was two, so we were interested to see how it compared. Lego is a European brand, but it seems that the US has amusement parks pretty figured out. We had two days admission there and took a lot of pictures, so our time there will be split into a few different posts.
Right after we got in, we had the opportunity to meet a Lego man named Buddy.
Legoland was a bit of a disappointment coming straight from Disney. Brady was at that magic number of 42 inches tall and could ride all but two rides in both parks combined. Here it seemed that 48 inches was the magic number and the rides weren't all that spectacular. If you're looking for great rides, you're better off in a Six Flags, Busch Gardens, or Cedar Point. We got very spoiled with the efficiency of cast members in Disney, where they hustled you on and off of rides, had an easy system for seat belt checks where everyone was instructed to pull on a yellow tab to show it was fastened, and multiple cars were on the tracks so that the lines were always moving. Here, the lines were longer, they had one ride on the track, and the people working there had to check every single seat belt before the ride started. It didn't take very long for us to decide that we were glad we did it once, but that we didn't have to do it again. The one in Florida is very new, being open less than three years, so we will see if that one is any better, when we eventually make it there.
Poor Izzie could hardly ride anything and of course they don't have a Rider Switch program, so Andy and I would have to decide who wanted to go on which ride because it wasn't worth a second long wait.
Brady at Junior Driving School. He did pretty well and I'm sure it's in part to having the Escalade at home.
Brady couldn't resist a ride that involved firetrucks and police cars.
We remember Brady riding this ride in Germany! It's a good thing we were there when he was younger because here, the height didn't matter if you weren't at least four years old. In Germany, all that mattered was the height.
Although some lines were long (45 min seemed too long to us after being in Disney and waiting no longer than 30), because it was still that lull before Memorial Day weekend, there were some that were insanely short and the place did seem deserted that first day. The ride pictured above only had a five minute wait and we could see it from the windows of where we had lunch. I stayed and kept feeding Izzie while Andy rode with Brady and we got to watch! Andy insisted that I go too. It was like a wild mouse but was fun.
The park closed at 5PM both days since the season hadn't begun yet. Before closing, we took the kids to the building center that had all Duplos and we got to relax while they played.
We scoped out the gift shop before calling it quits for the day and in Disney you expect the prices to be more than they would be online or in your local store. Here, the Lego sets were way cheaper! When Brady asked for this one and I saw the price, I said of course! It would keep him entertained in the hotel room for the next few days as well, so that was a bonus.
We bought Brady name art when he was just a baby when we vacationed in Myrtle Beach. We saw name art vendors everywhere in both San Francisco and Disney, but I didn't give it a second thought because I couldn't imagine how we'd get it home. The stand in Legoland blew them all away when it came to Disney Princess designs and they had travel tubes to get it home. I even got to pick the princesses I wanted. I made sure to have all three redheaded princesses represented. Izzie will have a Disney Princess big girl room someday and this will fit in perfectly!
Our hotel was very close to the parks, but still not so close that we would walk like in Disney. They are used to guests staying there to go to the park, so they have a complementary shuttle. The first day, we took it and it was perfect since parking would cost $15 if we parked ourselves. The second day (Friday), we got to the lobby, and there were five other families in front of us. It was only a minivan, so we knew it would be at least an hour before we got a shuttle. Andy decided he would drive us to the drop point and then go back and hop in a shuttle with another family that didn't take up all the seats. We didn't even make it halfway there before we got stopped in traffic. I guess a lot of people get the Friday before Memorial Day off and a lot of the locals with season passes were taking advantage.
It didn't take long for us to realize that it would just be easier to park ourselves. Apparently, the Legoland employees were just as surprised as we were and were very disoriented and understaffed for such a surge of cars. They waved us into the parking lot and weren't even making people pay. We even got waved into preferred parking because they were trying to keep cars moving. We were glad that we'd gone the day before, as the lines were worse, and we'd ridden everything we wanted (mostly) already. We figured we wouldn't make it to closing and we didn't.
Since we'd already decided we weren't waiting in crazy lines, we decided to let the kids run around in the play place.
The Lego Movie came out this past February and we haven't had the chance to see it yet, but they had a few characters there to get your pictures with. Above is us with Wyldstyle (yes, that's how they spell it).
Emmet from the movie.
The only ride Brady wanted to ride, was the safari ride. It was the first ride once you got into the park, so the lines were always long and it's not a ride I'd be willing to wait an hour to ride. The line was down to about 20 min on our way out, so I told Brady we could do it. Fortunately, they have a penned in area with Legos for the kids to play with, and then they let them out when the adult waiting gets to the front of the line.
There were a number of similar items or rides between the two Legoland parks we've been to and it was fun to put them side by side.