“ One LEGOLAND Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008 USA. For general information please call: (760) 918-5346 „
Whilst on holiday in California we wanted to spend a day doing something to keep our 4 year old happy; and we stumbled across a leaflet describing the Legoland Park in southern California. The Theme Park is aimed squarely at children and parents with children. If you want big scary roller coasters than you ought to save your money for Universal or Magic Mountain With this in mind, here are our experiences: Location ======== The Legoland Theme park is located near Carlsbad in southern California (near San Diego) off the I-5. It takes about 60 minutes to drive down there from Anaheim in Los Angeles (where the bulk of the theme parks are located). The American’s don’t signpost their theme parks very well and we took a turning off the I-5 into central Carlsbad, which turned out to be the wrong move. Upon rejoining the I-5, Legoland was signposted at the next exit. Upon leaving the freeway, you head towards the first set of traffic lights, take a left, drive up a hill and the entrance is about half a mile away on the right. My advice would be to ignore the Carlsbad signs until the Legoland one is displayed. Legoland has been open for about 2 years and they are still extending it. (As an aside, Carlsbad was an interesting place. It’s a seaside resort, but with upmarket Swiss/Bavarian type houses. It looked like a place to stay whilst playing golf or taking in the airs). Charges and opening hours ========================= Like most American theme parks, you will be charged to park your car as well as getting into the theme park. We were charged $7, though there was a $12 ‘VIP’ charge for those not wanting to walk so far (or with money to burn). Standard Adult admission is $38 or $34 for children. A child is designated as someone below a certain height – usually 48 inches. We were able to reduce the cost of admission by $6 per head
after obtaining a leaflet in our Hotel. These are worth checking out. With your tickets, you obtain a Guide, which shows you what is available, where and height restrictions on rides. When we visited during the Easter Holiday period in 2001, the park was open from 10am to 6pm. I am not sure whether the hours are extended for the summer – but I would expect so. Restrictions ============ Again like most theme parks, children below a certain height are not allowed on specific rides. Rather than having to measure your child before going on marginal rides, Legoland simply measure your child at the entrance area and put a coloured wrist tag on them. Josh had a yellow one indicating he could go solo on all rides designated for those over 40”. Legoland is great in that children can go on all rides. Although my son had an armband, he was able to go on all rides accompanied by an adult. This meant we could try everything together. I’ll now describe a few of the attractions that caught our interest (positively or otherwise) Things to see ============= Miniland USA – the centrepiece of Legoland are a number of reproductions American landmarks built in Lego. These include the Statue of Liberty, White House etc. There are also some reproductions of famous American streets including New Orleans. Even though you may find them a little kitsch, you have to be impressed by the time and effort in recreating these monuments in Lego bricks. There is also a New England dockland recreation with moving trains and a tanker that sinks in the harbour! These models can be visited on foot (they are in the centre of Legoland) or on a boat (what is called a ‘Coast Cruise’). Castle Hill – Up at the top end of Legoland is an area with a mock castle and a courtyard theatre where you can be entertained by Court Jesters and a mechanical dragon. The kids seemed to love it. <
br><br> Things to ride on ================= The Dragon – A roller coaster suitable for kids and parents a little apprehensive about what to expect. You start off in the Castle (in a dragon car) where your conveyance takes you past singing knaves and knights before heading outside for the main event. Hold onto your hats – its good. My son loved it! Aquazone Wave Races – On this ride you whiz around on a form of power ski and are blasted with water from the pool beneath you. You get a little damp – but it’s harmless fun. Spellbreaker – On this suspended ride, you are raised into the air whereupon you whiz around and complete your ride coming to a grinding stop. The queues for this ride were lengthy and after about 20 minutes we gave up. Waiting 40 minutes for 30 seconds of ride seemed to be a waste of time to us. Sky Cruiser – This leisurely ride allows you to pedal around a track from ahigh. I thought this could be a bit strenuous for some larger Americans until I realised that you could pedal as much or as little as you wanted – i.e. it was motorised (only in America!). Before I finish here, I need to mention a roller coaster so new that doesn’t appear on the map. Four of you sit in a space age Lego car which then charges around this track. I very quickly ceased to underestimate children’s roller coasters – they can be as equally scary as the big ones! Things to play with =================== Imagination Zone – This is what Lego is all about. An area where children (and adults) can go mad building things. There are areas with Duplo for the weenies, areas to build and race cars, and PC’s to play Lego games. The area has a number of large models outside including lions and a dinosaur with smoke coming out of its nostrils! Other activities ================ The Hideaways – Located near Cast
le Hill, this is one of those huge adventure playgrounds incorporating rope climbs, cargo nets and slides. Leave your kids her and you will have problems finding them let alone get them out of there. It’s a good place to have lunch and rest the legs. Walking – The Theme park is nicely laid out (landscaped) and is very roomy. There are plenty of areas to sit and eat. You don’t feel so hemmed in like many other theme parks. Pit stops – Legoland has lots of clean toilets and water fountains. Conclusion ========== Unlike some theme parks we went to, Legoland did not charge extra for some rides. We enjoyed our time at there and would certainly recommend it for those with kids or big kids. I cannot compare Legoland with its Windsor or Danish cousins, as I have not been to either. For further details, please visit their web-site, which can be found at: www.legoland.com. It’s got a 3D virtual reality tour, which looks fun.