Beginning the Friday after Thanksgiving and going through New Year’s Eve, LEGOLAND California is once again bringing SNOW and wintery fun to Southern California. Being a native San Diegan who did not experience snow until I was eighteen years old, I am so excited (and a little jealous) that my kids get to feel the joy of bundling up in mittens and scarves and tubing down a snow hill, right here in their proverbial back yard.
Every year, I am amazed at how much of a transformation occurs in Fun Town during these Holiday Snow Days. They think of every little detail to truly make guests feel like they’ve entered a new zip code, like festive décor including the world’s largest LEGO Christmas tree, photo ops with the LEGO Santa, holiday music by the Jingle Jammers and of course, warm, yummy treats like cider, hot cocoa and churro crisps being served by Santa’s Kitchen Elves in the Fun Town Holiday Food truck.
New this year is a more spacious snow area, one side for the little kiddos and the other side reserved for bigger-kid (36” and over) tubing. The snow play is always the highlight of our wintery experience. My favorite part is watching the kids trying to get their “snow legs” and inevitably cracking up every time they fall on their bums.
Other Snow Days highlights:
- Holiday themed brick-building opportunities in the LEGO Clubhouse.
- A special holiday themed version of The Big Test.
- A holiday themed dance party with LEGO Santa and a LEGO Toy Soldier.
- LEGOLAND Winter Nights, every Saturday from now until the new year (and other select days*) where the Park will stay open until 7:00pm, with all the same highlights as the Snow Days, plus even more twinkly lights and holiday entertainment.
- Don’t miss the holiday-themed Daily Dive Show and Puppet Show, a ‘green’ crafting event, and the Christmas Critter Animal Encounter all at SEA LIFE® Aquarium.
- Hotel Guests during this time will also be treated to special evening entertainment featuring Hero Training: Elf Edition and other fun holiday themed games with holiday themed characters like a toy solder, snow princess, toy maker and elf!
Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights are the perfect way to get your family into the Holiday Spirit! See you there.
Model Mom Mary
Dates for Holiday Winter Nights include Nov 29, 30; Dec 7, 14, 21, 22, 23, 26 - 31
If you’re a parent with a kid somewhere between toddler and teen then you have undoubtedly heard of the LEGO Legends of Chima™, one of the top product lines brought to us by the LEGO Group. In the mystical land of Chima, animal tribes battle for control of the precious energy source called “CHI”, and beginning in Summer 2014, your kids will be able to splash about in CHI filled waters at the LEGOLAND Water Park.
LEGO Legends of Chima Water Park will be an expansion of the already existing LEGOLAND Water Park which has been bringing joy and pruning fingertips since 2010, and now, with the addition of 8 CHI-filled areas, the experience will be even more magical! Here are the first 4 areas to be announced:
CRAGGER’S SWAMP – This will be a hands-on water play area where guests can ride water slides, blast water cannons and slide through the head of a massive crocodile. This will be where my kids are hanging out. All. Day. Long.
EGLOR’S BUILD-A-BOAT – In this area, kids can do exactly what it says--build their own boat--and then they get to maneuver their craft, avoiding obstacles along the way, and even race other kids.
WOLVES CANTINA –This will most likely be my favorite area since all that water and sun always makes me hungry. The menu is still yet to be determined, so let me know if you have any suggestions and I’ll pass them on.
LION TEMPLE WAVE POOL – This will be home to the interactive wave pool designed for families with young children. When my girls were little, I used to love watching them splash about in little wave pools.
More information on the LEGO Legends of Chima Water Park will become available in the new year, but for now, just know that it’s going to wow your kids, and will be a perfect place to hang on a hot So Cal day next summer!
Model Mom Mary
While at a theme park, well-timed and at least somewhat healthy meals are crucial to the success of the day, especially if you or anyone in your family is like me and begins to get cranky the second I feel the slightest twinge of a hunger pain. Thankfully, at LEGOLAND California, getting good, healthy food options is easy, because they offer such a wide variety - even the pickiest of eaters will be satisfied.
Just recently two new restaurants opened to make sure you have lots of options and easy access to food throughout your day. In the Imagination Zone, the new Pizza Pasta Buffet has opened next to the LEGO® Technic™ Coaster (in the place of the Sports Cafe). The all-you-care-to-eat buffet offers six different types of Pizza including Pepperoni, Hawaiian, Veggie, Cheese, Meat Lovers and the Manager Special plus two different types of pasta, Marinara and Bolognese (my stomach is grumbling as I type this!). They make their own pastas and sauces from scratch so you know you will be eating freshly prepared food. The Pizza Pasta Buffet also offers and unlimited salad bar so you can make sure you get your dose of veggies for the day.
NOTE: KIDS EAT FREE after 4pm with the purchase of adult at Pizza & Pasta Buffet only. This promotion will run until through December 20th, with exception of the following dates: 10/5, 10/12, 10/19, 10/26, 11/29 and 11/30.
The second new restaurant is called Wok ‘n’ Bowl (formerly Brickolini) which offers Asian style cuisine, including fresh ramen noodles with choice of pork belly or chicken, traditional and miso broths, stir fry, and chicken with vegetables, plus orange and teriyaki chicken for kids. How is that for variety on theme park food?
Of course you can also get the old amusement park standards like a hot dog at Fun Town Hot Dog or a juicy burger at Castle Burgers or Burger Stop in Fun Town. My kids are always down for a good dog or burger.
Vegan and Gluten Free options are available at nearly all the dining venues, and no matter where you decide to dine, if you have a specific food restriction, you can mention it to the hostess or server and the kitchen staff will do their best to accommodate you. As I witnessed first hand when I worked as the Entertainment Supervisor years ago, the Food & Beverage department does everything it can to make sure the food you eat while at LEGOLAND California is fresh, healthy and of course, delicious.
Model Mom Mary
Oh friends, it’s that time of year again! Though the cool crisp weather of fall has not yet transcended upon Southern California, the sights and sounds of Halloween have, and they’ve landed right in the heart of Carlsbad as LEGOLAND California prepares for another spooktacular month of haunted festivities. Every Saturday night in the month of October, from 5:00pm - 9:00pm, LEGOLAND will be celebrating this ghoulish holiday with a dance party, a costume contest, a brick or treat trail, a ghost cruise scavenger hunt, fireworks and much, much more!
For the Brick or Treat newbies, here are a few things you do NOT want to miss:
The Costume Contest: If you have spent a lot of time, energy, and/or creativity on your kids’ costumes, you will definitely want to sign them up for this fun event. The kids get to show off their costume and parents get some mileage for their time & money spent on making/buying it. The costume contest takes place at the Miniland Lawn Stage and guests can enter in one of three categories Kingdom, at 5:15pm, LEGO® at 6:15pm and Creative at 7:15pm. See below for more details on the costume contest.
The Ultimate Dance Off: After dancing the night away with Frank Rock, Hubble Bubble and the Witchettes at the Castle Courtyard Theatre, a handful of the best dancers will be picked from the crowd for the chance to BOOgie down in front of the crowd and hopefully be picked Ultimate Dance Off Winner (ranking is based on the fail-proof methodology of audience applause). The Ultimate Dance Off is chased by end of night fireworks so don’t run off too soon.
Art Attack: This is a must watch! Artists create a work of art by simply splashing paint on a canvas to the rhythm of spooktacular music. You won’t know what the subject of the work is until the very last minute and it is sure to amaze any and all members of your family. Art Attack takes place at the Imagination Zone Stage, check your show guide for times when you enter the Park.
If you’re a Brick or Treat veteran, you’re in store for even more fun this year with the following:
The Ghost Cruise Scavenger Hunt: One of our favorite leisure rides at the Park, The Coast Cruise, will be transformed into a Ghost Cruise, hosted by the LEGO Monster Fighters where guests look for clues along the ride for a chance to win a fabulous prize.
Expanded Brick or Treat Trail: This year there the Brick or Treat Trail is bigger and more spread out. Look for TEN treat stations throughout the East Side of the Park, plus a bonus station at SEA LIFE.* Visit each treat station on the trail to collect items like candy, healthy snacks, LEGO Magazines, Stickers and other small giveaways.
NOTE: The Brick or Treat trail will be open from 12-9 on Saturdays and Sundays in October, in case you can’t stay for the evening festivities. * SEA LIFE Admission or Brick or Treat Party Night Event Ticket required for entry.
Re-Vamped Hubble Bubble Dance Party: Join Frank Rock and Hubble Bubble at the Castle Courtyard Theatre for a whole new dance party, and sing along to all the classic 80’s haunted tunes like Thriller, Ghostbusters and The Time Warp (you’ll be surprised—the lyrics will come right back to ya!).
Other fun Brick or Treat elements include themed food and treat stations, fun photo ops throughout the Park, and the roving “Boo Crew” entertainment that includes stilt & ball walkers, jugglers, Silly Scarecrows, and tap dancing skeletons.
So get your costumes on and I’ll see ya there!
Model Mom Mary
Costume Contest Details: Registration for costume contest begins at 4:00pm in Miniland and all entrants must be registered 15 minutes prior to their chosen category timeslot to compete. Winners in all categories will be announced directly following each contest at the BOT Mainstage in Miniland. First place winners in each of the three themed categories will receive a LEGOLAND themed prize package with a Family Four Pack of Resort Memberships! 2nd, 3rd winners will receive a LEGO Prize pack and tickets. Everyone who participates in the costume contests will receive a collectible Boo Crew participation ribbon.
The LEGOLAND Water Park is a perfect place to take the kids on a hot summer day, and as it turns out, it’s also a perfect place to take the kids when it’s cloudy and breezy. According to the never-accurate weather report, last Wednesday was supposed to be sunny and 80° so my girls and I headed to the Water Park for some good ol’ fashioned summer fun. Despite the fact that there was a cloud cover all day and the temperature was more like high 60°s, my girls and their friends had the time of their life.
After spending a fun-filled day there, here are my tips for any of you Water Park goers:
Rent a Cabana: The cabanas rental rates range between $99.00 and $189.00 depending on what time of year you visit. With the price of the rental you get a locker for your valuables, a host for food orders (food not included), ten complimentary drinks plus a mini-fridge, 2 chaise lounges, 2 seating chairs, 2 towels, and best of all, a home base where you can leave your stuff while you’re enjoying the slides, or where you can rest and relax in the shady, comfy place. Capacity for the cabanas is six people with a maximum of eight. It is WAY worth the money.
NOTE: Cabanas sell out fast during the summer months so be sure to book it in advance. You can also check in after 3:00pm to see if anyone has checked out and you can do a half-day rental for a more inexpensive rate.
Enjoy the Lazy River: That slow cruise around the water park was the most relaxed I’ve been in a long time. The kids can splash about while finding LEGO® bricks to add to their rafts, but as for the adults, you can just kick back and enjoy.
NOTE: If you get a cabana, you’ll get a wristband that will allow you endless float time.
Ride Pirate’s Reef: This water ride is a blast, (you need to be 36” to ride), but warning to you all, you WILL get wet. In fact, you might get soaked, but since you’re already at a water park that shouldn’t be a deterring factor, that’s all part of the fun, right?
Safety First: Safety is key at any theme park and particularly a water park. Please be sure to review our theme park safety tips and to also go over basic water attraction rules with your children, like no running, no holding on to people under the water, and life-vest-wearing is a must for those children who are not proficient swimmers. There are lifeguards throughout the Park but talking about these rules ahead of time with your children will help prevent any accidents or injuries.
NOTE: The lifeguards close down the wading areas at the top of each hour to encourage potty breaks. Please take advantage of those breaks, for everyone’s sake.
Besides Kids’ New Years Eve, the very best day of the year at LEGOLAND California is the Fourth of July, for their massive family-friendly party called “Red, White, and BOOM!” Every year on July 4th, the energy and entertainment levels at LEGOLAND skyrocket with added elements like the spectacular fireworks, the All-American lawn games, and the famous musical acts like Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band and this year local faves The Boo Hoo Crew. And of course I can’t forget our dear Uncle Sam on stilts. There’s just really nowhere like it to celebrate this patriotic, family-centric holiday.
This years’ activities include a patriotic building event at Build and Test in the Imagination Zone, Lawn Games on the EasyTurf Miniland Lawn (who doesn’t love a little potato sack race action on the 4th?), a stroller parade with fab prizes for 1, 2 and 3 place, and a glorious fireworks display at 8:30pm.
INSIDER TIPS FOR A FUN FOURTH AT LEGOLAND California:
1) The Fireworks will be set off from a new location this year, so here are the spots for best viewing:
• The Beginning
• Fun Town
• And for Hotel Guests--guest rooms or Hotel Pool/Skyline Patio
2) For some great entertainment & a fun way to cool off in the middle of the day, don’t miss the Island style musical group, Nalukai, in the Water Park between 1:00-4:00pm.
3) If you’re a crafty, creative type, be sure to deck out your stroller and enter the parade. There are awesome prizes to be had. This almost makes me wish my kids still sat in strollers. Almost.
The celebration lasts from 10:00am – 9:00pm and fireworks at 8:30pm. As a special treat, all rides will remain open until 9:30pm on the 4th! All Red, White and BOOM! activities are included in the cost of admission to LEGOLAND California.
For a more information on Red, White and Boom, plus a full schedule of the day’s events check out the main LEGOLAND California events page.
Model Mom Mary
Once again, LEGOLAND California is warming up its vocal chords and dusting off its dancing shoes for a fun-filled summer of top-notch entertainment. New comers to the Park are typically very surprised by all the entertainment options that get fan-kicked into high gear every summer. My first job at LEGOLAND was, ironically, as the supervisor for the big summer show called Bionicle Jam (I had to become well versed in my Bionicle jargon, which I’m sure many of you parents already are!), and so yes, the in-Park entertainment options are near and dear to my heart. This summer, the Park is going to wow guests with all sorts of singing, dancing and zany antics.
Here is a list of all the entertainment this summer at LEGOLAND California:
• LEGO Friends LIVE – Wednesdays – Sundays June 22nd - September 1st. Performing at various locations throughout the park. My kids can hardly wait for summer to begin, mainly so they can go see the LEGO Friends: Stephanie, Andrea, Mia, Emma, and Olivia, up close and personal.
• The Big Test – Daily at the Fun Town Stage. As always, the resident firefighters of Fun Town will be in full swing this summer. Not only is this a crowd favorite, but it’s also a perfect place to cool down on hot summer days. Just be sure to sit in the first three rows!
• LEGO Legends of Chima 4-D Adventure & Clutch Powers 4-D Adventure – Daily at LEGO Show Place. These family favorite 4-D movies are a perfect way to get out of the sun for a bit and enjoy some thrills on the big screen. Your kids will love these films and so will your feet.
• Character Dance Party – Daily (May 25th – September 1st). Performing on the Miniland Stage and The Beginning. This is your chance for your little ones to boogie on down with some LEGO costume characters and some LEGOLAND dancers. If you miss them throughout the day, be sure to check out their show at Park closing in The Beginning.
• The Enchanted Treasure – Daily at the Courtyard Theater (May 25th - September 1st). Your budding little prince and pirates will love this royal romp. If your kids are hams, then be sure to secure them a spot in the front row; there just might be some audience participation in this one!
INSIDER TIP: The performers are always available after the shows for high fives and photos, so be sure to stick around to the end of each performance to catch a quick pic with the stars.
Oh, and since show times and dates are always subject to change, be sure to grab a show guide when you enter the Park!
Enjoy the shows! Brick regards,
Model Mom Mary
For the past year, every time my daughters and I have driven past the construction site for the LEGOLAND Hotel, which is nearly every day, we have oohed, ahhed and fantasized about all the magical things that could potentially await us there. We finally were able to see and experience the magic first hand as the first ever LEGOLAND Hotel opened up its doors for media and its very first guests a few weeks ago.
My eardrums are still rattling from my kids’ screams as we pulled up to the front of the hotel. Their excitement was off the charts.
While I checked in, my kids played around in the LEGO brick pit located right there in the lobby, as well as the big pirate ship that overlooks the lobby. I probably could have let them play in there for hours, alas it was time to go check out our room.
All the rooms in the hotel are LEGO themed, either Adventure, Pirate, or Kingdom and we had Adventure. The squeals of excitement continued when they saw their own little area of the room complete with bunk beds (plus trundle) and their own TV. After having an intense game of Rock, Paper, Scissors for the top bunk, they clamored around the room and searched for all the LEGO themed décor items and hidden treasures (each room comes with hidden treasures).
From there it was off to the Bricks Family Restaurant for a buffet with a huge array of choices for both kids and adults. The kids’ buffet is mini-sized, so they can grab their own plate and help themselves to whatever they want (though you may want to supervise so they don’t walk away with a plate full of dessert).
Oh, and I almost forgot about the BEST part of the hotel. I almost don’t want to tell you about it because part of the thrill is the surprise factor but I just can’t keep it a secret. Each elevator is a DISCO elevator, complete with 70’s tunes and disco ball lighting. But shhhh, don’t tell your kiddos. Keep it a surprise and have your camera ready. You will want to capture their reaction on film!
FIVE FUN FACTS ABOUT THE LEGOLAND HOTEL
• Each guestroom’s restroom is equipped with a built-in toddler seat for your potty training little ones.
• Free Valet Parking.
• Peep holes at both adult and kid eye levels.
• Each room comes with a bucket of LEGO bricks for your kids to enjoy during your time in your room (just be sure to leave them there for the next guest).
• There are two locations within the hotel that serve wine and beer in case you like a post-theme-park nightcap.
Giving guests the opportunity to stay in a LEGO-themed family-friendly hotel after a full day or two at the Park, SEA LIFE® Aquarium or the Water Park, is the perfect icing to a LEGOLAND Resort vacation. You and your kids will flip for it. Rooms are booking up quickly, so book your stay soon!
Model Mom Mary
A few days ago, my daughters and I attended an early screening of the new 4D movie called LEGO® Legends of Chima, now showing at LEGOLAND® California at the LEGO Show Place.
Even if you and your kiddos aren’t well versed in the intricate and compelling backstory to the Legends of Chima, you are sure to enjoy this 12-minute action-packed 4D adventure.
The basics you should know before seeing the film.
• Chima is a land of and for animals.
• CHI is the name for a powerful element that everyone covets (and fights over). It is both a source of life and potential destruction
• Skunks emit a stinky smell.
Beyond these basics lies an elaborate backstory to the Legends of Chima and the fight over the CHI. Check out LEGO website for more on the history of the Chima characters and their battle for the CHI.
As for the new film, the animation is adorable and my kiddos laughed all the way through it (and put their hands up in the air trying to touch all the images flying out at them). Parents, you’ll also love it because it provide you with a place that you can rest your feet for 12 minutes.
LEGO® Legends of Chima is now open to the public! Be sure to grab your show guide as you enter the Park for show times.
Enjoy the show! Brick regards,
Model Mom Mary
Some of my favorite memories from when my daughters were young, are of the three of us wandering the paths of LEGOLAND® California. Even before their current obsession with LEGO® products, they simply loved walking around LEGOLAND, seeing the sites and enjoying the fun attractions built just for little ones.
I became an expert at tackling the Park with two kids in tow, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite things to do with one parent and two (or more) kids. Here are our favorite rides that you can ride with only one parent and two (sometimes more) kids.
• Coastersaurus: This is a perfect ride for three people, as long as the little ones are all over 32”, because the cars can seat three people in a row. It’s also an excellent way to expose younger riders to the thrill of a coaster without it being too scary. My kids adore this ride!
• Fairy Tale Brook: This ride is slow and sweet and great for any size group, of any ages and heights.
• The LEGOLAND Express: This “choo choo” never ceases to fascinate my kids.
• Captain Cranky’s Challenge: This ride is a MUST as long as your littlest ones are at least 34”
• Fun Town Police and Fire Academy: If all your kids meet the height minimum of 34” this ride will get that competitive drive going!
• Coast Cruise: This ride is a definite must for first timers to the Park as it will take you to several vantage points behind the scenes of Miniland that are simply fascinating.
• Beetle Bounce: Another great one for when both kids are over 36”.
In addition to all these rides, there are also several attractions and shows that any size group can enjoy, including:
• Miniland USA
• DUPLO Playtown & Water Works – DUPLO Village
• Swabbie’s Deck – Pirate Island
• Dig Those Dinos – Dino Island
• Pharoah’s Revenge – Land of Adeventure
Just to name a few! There are also several live entertainment options throughout the park that are fun for the whole family. Be sure to grab a show guide when you enter the Park for show times and locations. The Big Test is our personal fave! For all things to do with little ones under two, check out this post on “What To Do When You’re Two.”
Model Mom Mary