Located in Northern San Diego County in Carlsbad, Calif., Legoland California is a whimsical theme park with attractions based around the little plastic bricks that are the construction material of choice for many children. A theme park, waterpark, and aquarium are all parts of the attraction. The theme park, which opened in 1999, was the first Legoland located in the U.S. The park is geared to families with children between 2 and 12.
Regular admission pricing is $93 for children 3-12 and $99 for adults. Guests can combine a visit to the theme park with a day at the waterpark for $30 more; special deals that offer an additional consecutive 4-days added on to a single day purchase, hotel packages, and other online discounts are available. Any Legoland ticket can be upgraded to include admission to Sea Life Aquarium for an additional $22.
The theme park has over 60 rides and attractions, including the Lego Ninjago World ride, which is interactive, allowing riders to control animated fireballs, shockwaves, lightning, and ice. The Dragon Coaster is another popular attraction, with child-friendly drops and curves; Lego Driving School, and the Fun Town Police and Fire Academy are also big hits that let kids take the wheel. But perhaps the most popular of all is Miniland USA, a carefully rendered miniature series of attractions made from Legos. From Las Vegas to Mt. Rushmore to the Washington Monument - kids and adults alike spend time studying the details.
The park is divided into a variety of themed, main areas: Explorer Island allows kids to dig for fossils in a large sandy area and ride the Coastersaurus, a mini-steel roller coaster built by Gerstlauer. Heartlake City revolves around the Lego Friends brand, with a water fountain, performance stage, and Heartlake Stables. Fun Town, where rides such as the Driving School are located, is a role-play area where children can adopt different adult identities. Castle Hill encompasses a medieval- themed area. In the Imagination Zone, visitors will find 4D movies, and race Lego cars they can build themselves; and of course, there’s the imaginative Miniland.
Joining the theme park at the resort, Sea Life Aquarium features over 5,000 ocean dwellers and weaves in play zones, fun facts and quiz trails. In the Legoland Water Park and the new Lego Legends of CHIMA, families enjoy seven slides, a wave pool, sandy beaches and the Build-A-Raft River. The Orange Rush is a giant, spinning rubber raft; Pirate Reef allows riders to fire water cannons across ships' bows while racing down a flume between battling ships. The interactive water play area Splash Zoo is the perfect spot for the littlest guests to enjoy getting wet. In the new CHIMA area, highlights include the elaborate Lion Temple Wave pool, that features a lion’s head archway and a 30-foot Mt. Cavora.
According to Geena Mahler, who handles social media and media relations for Legoland California Resort, new attractions and events abound this year.
“Opened in March, Sea At Night at the Sea Life Aquarium offers a world of bioluminescence with stars above and projected ocean waves on the ground to give guests the experience of a nighttime tide,” she says. She describes the exhibit as “alive with glowing stars and sea creatures.” An additional fee applies to visit the aquarium which includes Sea at Night: kids 3–12 $22; adults $20.
In the theme park, Lego Star Wars Days offers some interstellar fun in early June, with the characters of Stormtroopers, Jedi Knights, and Kylo Ren leading a Miniland scavenger hunt, and costume contests among other activities. The special event is included with park admission.
Also included with the price of admission is a brand new ride. Mahler describes Lego City: Deep Sea Adventure as “a new submarine ride with real sea creatures including sharks, rays, and fish along with Lego divers and a shipwreck.” Riders can search for lost treasure and gems, making this ride another interactive experience.
The resort’s Legoland Hotel opened in 2013; this year the new Castle Hotel riffs on tales of knights, dragons, and royal princesses in castle rooms which “feature 2,000 Lego models and a courtyard with daily entertainment,” as Mahler notes. The hotel just opened on April 27th.
Special occasion events are also part of the Legoland picture this year. “Red, White, and Boom! is a 4th of July celebration that includes games such as tossing water-balloons, burlap sack races, patriotic costume contests, and building activities,” Mahler reports. A fireworks show begins at 8:30, and the event is included with park admission.
Later in the year, events such as Brick or Treat Party Nights liven the Halloween season with safe trick or treating and Lego pumpkin patch building on Saturday nights late September through October. A tree lighting ceremony – the tree made of some 245,000 Duplo bricks – takes place November 27th; from mid-November through January 1st, live entertainment, a snow flurry, and festive seasonal lights and music light up the theme park. There’s even a Kids’ New Year’s Eve celebration on December 31st. “A huge Lego brick drops 22 feet,” Mahler describes, “followed by a fireworks display and performances by children’s entertainment groups.” These celebrations are also included with admission to the park.
Park attendees enjoy a variety of dining and shopping experiences along with attractions, including sandwiches, salads, and soups at the Garden Deli and Café, with fresh soups made daily and a variety of healthy choices. Wok n Bowl Ramen and Pizza Mania offer tasty alternative choices for diverse dining tastes. But of course, Legoland also includes the more standard burgers and hot dogs; a creperie satisfies many a sweet tooth with choices from fruit to Nutella as crepe fillings. However, sweet, crisp apple fries from Granny’s are a park favorite. Shopping includes many different Lego toy options including mini-figures and Duplo blocks.
Guests can also experience, "The LEGO® Movie™ 4D A New Adventure" which uses elements such as wind, water, smoke and special lighting effects for an immersive viewing adventure.
Mahler adds that another activity available to guests is to trade mini-figures at the park. “Guests bring a Lego mini-figure or purchase one at any of the park’s retail stores to trade throughout the day with any Model Citizen.” Multiple trades are not only allowed, they’re encouraged. Model Citizens are Legoland staff employees.
The park markets primarily through conventional television advertising, print advertising, email blasts, and social media.