In and Around San Diego - Legoland California
Our experience at Legoland was vastly different to that of Disney, but for the sake of providing *hopefully* useful information I'm going to go through most of the elements that I did with Disney planning.
Much like Disney staying at the park hotel provides the perk of early access to the park, at Legoland this is only a half hour headstart, but given the much smaller nature of the park and the lower visitor numbers (at least while we were there) that was ample.
The Extra half hour gave us a chance to orient ourselves in the part of the park that is open and check out the Ninjago area including riding the awesome Ninjago ride where you defeat the bad guys by throwing fire / ice / energy balls at them as the ride moves along.
Single and double strollers were available but had hard plastic seats and didn't seem to comfortable so we skipped them. The smaller size of the park meant that this wasn't too much of an issue for Eve.
Reserve and Ride
Legoland has it's own version of line skipping to the Fastpass which is called, you guessed it, Reserve 'n' Ride.
There are 14 rides that the RNR system can be used for and it is actually a little device that reminds you when your allocated time for a ride is. Up to 6 people can use one device, but you purchase a RNR ticket for each person using the system.
Like the Fastpass you can only reserve one ride at a time.
As you might have noticed, unlike the Fastpass system using RNR will cost you, there are 3 levels to choose from ranging between $25 and $100 per person each reducing your wait time by a larger percentage (correlating with the larger wait time).
We didn't opt in to this system as we were going at a super quiet time of the year for Legoland so it would have been an absolute waste of money.
Food here was really anything to write home or Instagram about. I did make sure we tried the Granny Smiths Apple Fries, which are Apples fried and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, which was actually pretty delicious.
This is one park where ride heights work a little differently with a fair amount of rides designed expressly for the little ones to go on their own anyone too big had to miss out.
There were also rides that had different levels of intensity depending on the height of the rider.
The Knight's tournament has several robotic arms with two seats on them and can range from level 1 to 5. Eve was able to ride (wearing an additional safety vest) at level one, where Tyler and I could ride at level 5, but probable should have stuck to maybe level 3, because it is a very intense ride.
While I didn't see a formal rider switch system when Eve wanted to ride the Knight's tournament the cast members first let her ride with Tyler and then watched her while Tyler and I rode at the more intense setting.
As I mentioned there are a great deal of rides exclusively for little ones and really the park is designed around them, which was quite refreshing for all of the worn out bigger ones and lots of fun for someone who often missed out on rides we could go on to have the tables turned for once.
The atmosphere at Legoland is super friendly, while not as all encompassing as a Disney visit it had a certain amount of charm and going through the minaturised worlds made of Lego was a nostalgic reminder of the weird magic I remember at Cockington green as a child.
It did bug me a bit that there were a lot of additional carnival style games that were pay to play, which makes for a lot of nagging, and that there were a significant amount of rides shut down for maintenance but there had been no forewarning of this when planning the trip. But I guess that is the downfall of attending during the off season, and the shorter lines at what is open are the pay off.
We did miss out on checking out the water park (it shut down the weekend before we arrived), which was a shame as it looked pretty awesome.
All in all Legoland was an interesting visit and something I'm glad we did as it is something I've been curious about for a long time, but not somewhere I would stretch to make a trip to (we had tickets as part of our Southern California passes for Disney). But that being said it was cute, intensely creative and a great time for a five year old.