Saturday, July 20, 2013

Legoland California with Jon and the boys - Part 2

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.


  1. We did this with our kids a few week ago. We spent 2 days and took in the water park area and had time for the aquarium as well. Online tickets are a bit cheaper over 2 days. (I think the promo at the time was $91 for 5 days. Although I wouldn't spend 5 days there. ;-))

    1. Cheaper is better, but I don't think I could spend 5 days there either!