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LEGOLAND California Resort Carlsbad Tips: Leave the Teenagers at Home

Last Updated on November 29, 2021

LEGOLAND California Resort is a cute property with LEGOs and screaming children as far as the eye can see. It has a lot going for it for families with young kids, but it has some serious work to do in the customer service department. What LEGOLAND California Resort Carlsbad tips can you utilize to improve your trip?

LEGOLAND California Resort Carlsbad Tips

1. Where is LEGOLAND in California Located?

2. Choose the Right Property

3. Select Your LEGOLAND California Resort Hotel Room

4. LEGOLAND California Hotel Check In Time

5. Play in the Lobby

6. Explore the LEGOLAND Hotel in California Common Areas

7. Make Time to Swim in the LEGOLAND California Pool

8. Don’t Miss the Free Activities at the LEGOLAND Resort in California

9. Checkout Time

10. LEGOs in the LEGOLAND California Hotel Room Safe Are Replenished Daily

11. Eat the Free Breakfast and Skip the Rest of the LEGOLAND California Resort Dining Options

12. Save with LEGOLAND California Resort Packages

13. Utilize Early LEGOLAND California Admission

14. Leave the Teenagers at Home

15. Are the Water Park and LEGOLAND California SEA LIFE Aquarium Worth it?

16. LEGOLAND California Resort Reserve ‘N Ride

17. The LEGOLAND Hotel California Customer Service is Subpar

18. Know the Cancellation Policy

19. Wi-Fi is Included

20. Avoid the LEGOLAND California Shop

21. How Long Should You Stay?

22. Download the LEGOLAND California App

23. Check LEGOLAND California Crowd Calendars

24. Microwaves Are Available

25. Request a Room on a Higher Floor

26. You Have to Pay to Park

legoland ca resort hotel dragon

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LEGOLAND California Resort Carlsbad Tips

1. Where is LEGOLAND California Resort?

LEGOLAND California Resort Carlsbad is located about forty-five minutes from San Diego by car at One Legoland Drive. You can make it to Disneyland in about an hour. The hotels on property are steps from the parks, so the LEGOLAND California Resort location cannot be beat.

If you are flying in, there is a small airport in Carlsbad. Otherwise, the best airport for LEGOLAND California is San Diego.

2. LEGOLAND California Resort Properties

LEGOLAND California Resort has two hotels, the LEGOLAND Hotel and LEGOLAND Castle Hotel.

Both hotels charge a LEGOLAND California Resort fee. As of the time of this writing, it is $30 per night on top of what you paid to reserve the room. Standard internet is included, as are local and long distance calls (in case you’re visiting in 1984).

The hotels offer similar things, but each have uniquely themed categories of rooms.

Legoland Hotel California Tips Joker

3. LEGOLAND California Resort Rooms

LEGOLAND California Hotel Room Themes

The hotel rooms at both resorts are heavily themed. Some are more expensive popular than others. The LEGOLAND California Hotel Ninjago rooms are particularly awesome.

LEGOLAND Hotel Room Themes

1. LEGOLAND California Ninjago Rooms

2. Pirate

3. LEGO Friends

4. Kingdom

5. Adventure

LEGOLAND Castle Hotel Room Themes

1. Royal Princess

2. Knights & Dragons

3. Magic Wizard

LEGOLAND California Resort Room Configuration

The LEGOLAND Hotel California room layouts at both properties are perfect for families. There is a kids’ sleeping area with bunk beds and a pull out trundle bed in a separate area of the room. While not technically a one bedroom, it allows for some sanity saving separation.

The rooms also include a spacious bathroom, mini fridge and coffee maker.

The kids’ section of the rooms has its own TV, and there is a box of LEGOs to use while in the room.

Pro tip: Pack ‘N Plays are available on a first come first serve basis. Call ahead to ensure you will have what you need.

Ninjago Room

4. LEGOLAND Hotel Check In Time

LEGOLAND check in time is 4:00 p.m.

As of the time of this writing, you can add LEGOLAND early check in for $71.50, which gets you in at 1:00 p.m. This is a monumental rip off.

Most hotel chains will let you into your room early if rooms are available. Do not reward LEGOLAND’s bad behavior by paying this fee. The hotel will store your luggage. There is no need to give the hotel more money.

Pro tip: If you do decide to pay this fee, you must pay it at the time of booking.

5. Lobby

The lobbies in both hotels are full of bright colors and disorder. There are large play structures and lots of LEGOs. Lloyd is frequently in the LEGOLAND Hotel lobby with a handler. It is unlikely you will have to wait for a photo. Don’t miss this area.

legoland california images lobby

6. Explore the Common Areas

The resort wins the day for theming. The detail throughout the property is incredible. There are intricate LEGO statues everywhere throughout the common areas. Kids will find random things with which to play and on which to jump, including whoopie cushions in the floor.

The themed rooms are clustered together, so the halls are decorated in different corresponding themes as well.

legoland hotel california hotel hall

7. LEGOLAND California Resort Pools

The resort has a zero depth entry heated pool with some foam LEGOs floating in the water. The LEGOLAND California hotel pool is not anything special, but it is not crowded and does the job.

You can rent a cabana and have food served to the pool. Prices begin at $200. This seems overpriced and unnecessary, but it is an option if it interests you.

The lifeguards are over the top vigilant. The policy seems to be one small step away from not allowing one to submerge his or her head in the water, but at least the kids are safe.

LEGOLAND California Resort Carlsbad Tips Pool

8. LEGOLAND California Hotel Activities and Entertainment

The hotel has a schedule of organized activities happening during the day. Check the schedule when you arrive.

LEGOLAND California has skits each night in the lobby. Young actors with lots of energy poll children for silly things to do during the shows.

There is also a dance party each night wherein teenagers dressed as nondescript characters floss and orange justice with the kids.


9. LEGOLAND Check Out Time

LEGOLAND Hotel check out time is 11:00 a.m. The hotel can hold your luggage after you check out if you want to visit the theme parks.

LEGOLAND Hotel late check out can be added to your reservation $71.50. You get to check out a whopping two hours later at 1:00 p.m. If you want to light money on fire, I’m not going to stop you.

Pro tip: If you want this add on, you need to purchase it at the time of booking.

Sea Life Touch

10. LEGOLAND California Hotel Treasure Hunt

At both properties, upon LEGOLAND check in, you go on a scavenger hunt throughout the hotel to crack the code to the safe in your room. In it, you will find LEGO gifts to take home.

The single most important of the LEGOLAND California Resort Carlsbad tips is that housekeeping replenishes these each day. The code does not change from day to day, so no need to run around multiple times. Don’t leave your gifts behind.

LEGOLAND California Resorts Carlsbad Tips Safe

11. LEGOLAND California Hotel Dining

Other than the included breakfast, the food at the hotel is not great and costs just slightly less than your child’s braces. There are plenty of good restaurants near LEGOLAND California. Visit them.

LEGOLAND Hotel at LEGOLAND California Resort Options

The LEGOLAND California Bricks Restaurant

LEGOLAND Hotel’s Bricks serves a dinner buffet in addition to the free breakfast. Dinner is not included. The dinner is advertised as a character meal, but it’s really not. Find Lloyd in the lobby and eat off property.

Skyline Cafe

LEGOLAND Hotel California food is overpriced. Skyline Cafe is no exception. It is a table service restaurant offering things like burgers, flatbreads, salads, and appetizers. It also offers cocktails of the obscenely expensive variety. You can get a better meal off property, but it is a convenient option if you don’t want to leave.

LEGOLAND Castle Hotel in California

Dragon’s Den Restaurant and Bar

Dragon’s Den Restaurant and Bar serves the complimentary LEGOLAND California breakfast buffet. It operates as a full service restaurant for dinner. The menu includes burgers and flatbreads, and also has more expensive options like steak and seafood. You could certainly find a better deal off property.

Free LEGOLAND California Hotel Breakfast Buffet

A daily breakfast buffet is included with your stay at both properties. LEGOLAND Hotel’s breakfast is at Bricks and the Castle Hotel’s is served at Dragon’s Den. It is actually quite good.

There are a lot of options, many of which were gluten free. It has an omelet station, fruit, smoothies, cereals, meats, and potatoes. There are plenty of kid friendly choices as well. Eating gluten free at LEGOLAND California Resort is pretty painless.

Room Service is Available

LEGOLAND California offers room service from 12:00 p.m. through 10:00 p.m. as of the time of this writing. The menu is overpriced, and they add an $8.00 delivery fee plus eighteen percent gratuity. This is highway robbery. Walk to the restaurant yourself, or, better yet, go off property.


12. Save with LEGOLAND California Hotel Discounts

LEGOLAND California Resort consists of LEGOLAND California theme park, LEGOLAND Water Park, and Sea Life Aquarium. Packages often include the LEGOLAND California Resort Hopper ticket which includes visits to all three, but check the fine print and save your original confirmation if you make changes.

Does LEGOLAND Offer Military Discounts?

There are LEGOLAND California Resort military discounts offered for tickets. Packages vary. Contact the resort for the latest offers.

LEGOLAND California Resort Hotel Bookings with Miles and Points

Miles and points are a great way to get deals on LEGOLAND Hotel California. You have a couple of options for an on property stay. Do the math to make sure they make sense.

Capital One Venture

The Capital One Venture line of credit cards allow you to erase travel purchases from your statement. You can book your LEGOLAND California vacation package directly with this credit card, then erase it from your statement.

As of the time of this update, the introductory bonus is up to 100,000 Bonus Miles, which is worth $1,000. You earn 50,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months, and an additional 50,000 if you spend a total of $20,000 on the card in the first year.

Citi ThankYou Points

You can book deals for LEGOLAND California in the Citi ThankYou portal. You can earn ThankYou points from multiple Citi cards.

LEGOLAND Hotel California Groupon

You can occasionally find LEGOLAND California Hotel specials on Groupon. This isn’t always the cheapest route. Compare prices before finalizing your purchase.

LEGOLAND California Hotel Membership Discount

The LEGOLAND California annual passholders get fifteen percent off hotel stays.

LEGOLAND California Hotel AAA Discounts

AAA members save a minimum of five percent on special packages for LEGOLAND California Hotel and park tickets. Five percent isn’t really something about which to write home, so confirm this is the best deal for you.

First Responder Discount

First responders get a discount of an unspecified amount.

legoland california hotel themed rooms

13. Early Admission to Theme Parks

Guests who stay at an on property hotel get to enter the parks thirty minutes before LEGOLAND California Resort hours begin for the general public. This is a huge perk and should be utilized whether or not your kids feel like getting out of bed.

14. LEGOLAND California Resort Ideal Age Range

The parks best serve young children. A teenage boy would have more fun at the fabric store.

There are a few decent LEGOLAND California Resort rides that involve shooting at targets, like the LEGO Ninjago ride and Lost Kingdom Adventure. Almost all of the rides are little kid friendly. The ideal age for LEGOLAND California caps out around twelve.

LEGOLAND California Resort Carlsbad Cars

15. Should You Visit the Water Park and SEA LIFE Aquarium?

LEGOLAND Water Park is OK at best. There isn’t really anything you can’t find at Six Flags, and the majority of it needs an update.

The Sea Life Aquarium is entertaining for a few minutes, but I would definitely not pay extra to go there.

LEGOLAND California Resort Carlsbad Tips Sea Life Aquarium Exterior

16. Reserve ‘N Ride

Reserve ‘N Ride is a front of the line pass like Disney World’s FastPass, SeaWorld San Diego’s Quick Queue, and Disneyland’s MaxPass. It allows you to virtually get in line for a ride on the LEGOLAND California Resort app. You go to the ride when it is your turn, so you can do other things in the meantime. There are different tiers available with different amounts of waiting.

Is Reserve and Ride worth it at LEGOLAND? It is pricey, but it is worth it on a crowded day. This is the best way to ensure you can ride everything. LEGOLAND California is not winning any awards for efficient ride loading. People on the Oregon Trail made it to their destination faster.

LEGOLAND California Rides

17. LEGOLAND California Customer Service Concerns

LEGOLAND California has some things going for it, but it has some glaring issues of which you should be aware.

A. The Resort is Pure Chaos

LEGOLAND California Resort has some great features, but it is not for everyone. Unlike Disney, which offers something for most people, LEGOLAND California Resort really only caters to little kids. Think that through.

Every. Single. Room. is occupied by little kids. Did I mention the hallways are narrow? It is Lord of the Flies meets Kevin McCallister.

At one point, I found a lost kid in the hall (last name Legoland, per the child). I could have kidnapped him twenty times in the amount of time it took me to locate an employee with a walkie talkie.

B. Practices That Feel Dishonest

LEGOLAND California Resort gives off the vibe that it is trying to get away with something. We had several negative experiences, too many to be a one off rather than representative of its culture.

Signs in Rooms Warning of Fines

The hotel rooms include LEGO statues. The statues add a lot to the room and make it feel special to kids. However, they are accompanied by signs warning of a hefty fine if you alter them. It is reminiscent of the FBI warning you used to see on VHS tapes. How about applying some super glue to those suckers and saving the threats?

LEGOLAND California Hotel Parking Fee

Our package purported to include the hotel stay, LEGOLAND California theme park, LEGOLAND Water Park, Sea Life Aquarium, and parking. When I got to the resort, the woman checking us in told me parking was not included.

I subtly pushed back on that, and by subtly, I mean I let the woman know there was no freaking way I was paying for parking a second time. She accepted that, but I heard chatter by the pool from nice less assertive people who paid for parking a second time.

LEGOLAND California Resort Ticket Discrepancies

We had our biggest issue when we tried to enter LEGOLAND Water Park. Not unlike the parking issue, LEGOLAND California Resort Water Park was supposed to be included in our package. When we arrived with excited children in swim trunks, the employee told us it wasn’t.

I involved a manager who finally made it right, but I wasted thirty minutes doing that. While we were waiting for a manager, another family walked up, insisted they purchased the water park, and was sent packing.

I should have saved the energy I wasted arguing about getting into the water park because half of it was closed. I have a sneaking suspicion they didn’t make this obvious to people who paid full price to enter only half the park. This suspicion was formed when I observed countless people attempt to enter the closed half.

Character Meal

The description of the character dinner at Bricks led me to believe it would have several characters, singing, and dancing. In reality, Lloyd stands in the corner, and that is the extent of the character interaction the entire meal. Lloyd is in the lobby on the regular, so I would definitely hit up Burger Lounge off property instead.

C. Employee Morale

Almost every employee I encountered had an IDGAF attitude about any issue with the guests. I assume this apathy developed over time because people are constantly berating them for not honoring their purchases. Customer service gets two thumbs down, and I promise you, we are not high maintenance.

LEGOLAND California Attractions

18. LEGOLAND California Hotel Cancellation Policy

Understanding the draconian cancellation policy enforced by this hotel is one of the most important LEGOLAND California Resort Carlsbad tips. The official policy is that payment is due in full at the time of booking, and you cannot make any changes. At all. No refunds.

However, there is currently a Peace of Mind policy in place that allows LEGOLAND California reservations to be rescheduled. The amount of time you have to reschedule varies by the date you made your reservation. Check the policy in effect at the time of your booking to ensure you have the most up to date information.

LEGO Ninjago Statue

19. Wi-fi is Included

Wi-fi is included in your stay, which is possibly the most valuable of the LEGOLAND California hotel amenities. Don’t forget to jump on the network.

20. Skip the LEGOLAND California Hotel Gift Shop

The LEGOLAND California gift shop is exactly what you would expect from a theme park property. It is small, overpriced, and doesn’t really contain anything you can’t find elsewhere. Take a walk around if you want, then hop onto Amazon to make your purchase.

legoland in california pictures pirate

21. How Many Days Should You Spend at LEGOLAND California?

LEGOLAND California has the theme park, water park, and SEA LIFE Aquarium. You don’t need a full day for each. The water park and aquarium do not warrant a full day visit.

Two days is the ideal amount of time to visit the resort. You won’t be able to take much more. Plan to visit the theme park one day, then bounce between the others and revisit your favorite LEGOLAND California attractions on the other.

Pro tip: If you want to visit the park the day you arrive before your room is ready, the front desk will store your luggage.

22. Download the LEGOLAND California App

The LEGOLAND California app isn’t going to do much for you at the hotel, but it will give you a ton of information you need when you visit the theme park, including current wait times.

23. Check the LEGOLAND California Is It Packed Crowd Calendar

If you have flexibility in when you can visit, consult a LEGOLAND California calendar when choosing your trip dates. When school is in session, you will find lower crowds.

Note: Less busy times may also come with reduced park hours. Decide how important this is to you when making your decision.

LEGOLAND California Sea Life Aquarium

24. Microwaves Are Available

Microwaves are not in every guest room, but you can request one. They are first come first serve, so you may not get one. If you don’t, there is a communal one located on the first floor next to the vending machine.

25. Request a Room on a Higher Floor

A room on a higher floor equals less foot traffic directly above your head. On top of that, the elevators at LEGOLAND California are themed. Even if you are on the ground floor, be sure to ride in one once.

26. LEGOLAND California Parking

As of the time of this update, it costs $25 per night to park at the hotels. Valet is $28 per night.

Final Thoughts – LEGOLAND California Resort Carlsbad Tips

The hotel has awesome theming, but the decor does not make up for its faults as a whole. Is LEGOLAND California worth it? Eh.

I have mixed feelings about our trip to LEGOLAND California. When we pulled away from the property, I was super over it and ready to go. However, over time, I developed a sense of nostalgia. This feeling would likely be knocked out of me the second I encountered an employee upon return.

If you choose to visit, look for the best deal, try to visit at an off time, and set your expectations appropriately. It won’t be as good as a trip to Disney, but it will be a special memory for your kids.

LEGOLAND California Resort Pin

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LEGOLAND California Resort Carlsbad Tips

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