Apr 282012
 
Legoland California entrance

Legoland California entrance

The other week, I took my youngest daughter to Legoland California for a short spring break vacation. Located in Carlsbad about 35 miles north of San Diego Airport, Legoland is a tamer version of Disneyland for younger kids.

Upon entering the park, my 8-year-old daughter, an adventurer by heart, immediately gravitated to the “big kid” rides which ended up being her favorite attractions of the park. She didn’t have much interest in the indoor exhibits and attractions. When I asked her what her favorite Legoland ride was, she said it was a tie among the Technic Coaster, the Dragon, and Knights’ Tournament.

Technic Coaster ride

Technic Coaster ride

The Technic Coaster, a single car coaster, had a pretty wild drop at the beginning which was magnified because we sat in the front seats of the car. We looked straight down the track as we breached the apex and tilted downward. From that angle, the drop seemed much more severe than the officially listed 50 foot height.

The Dragon, a nine-car coaster, takes passengers through several displays of medieval Lego scenes before zipping them through a series of twists and turns. The twists and speed of the ride was just enough to keep it interesting for older kids but I am guessing this ride wouldn’t excite many die hard roller coaster fans.

Knights' Tournament ride

Knights' Tournament ride

The Knights’ Tournament is probably my favorite ride in the park. Seated riders are mounted on a robotic arm and held by over-the-shoulder bars. It quickly becomes clear why riders are asked to empty their pockets and take off their glasses and ear rings. You are spun around in various acute angles and sudden directions over a water moat. Depending on their height, riders can choose one of five ride levels with 5 being an extreme ride spent upside down much of the time. After seeing previous riders do a level 5, I was glad that we couldn’t ride higher than level 2 given my daughter’s height. Avoid any embarrassment, don’t do this ride right after lunch.

A tip for maximizing your time at Legoland. Go to your favorite ride during the last half hour before the park closes after most visitors have left for the day. Your wait times will be very short. After each ride, we ran from the ride exit around the building to the ride entrance and did not even wait in line!

One of the nice things about Legoland for younger kids is that the height requirements on most of the rides are minimal so they won’t be continually disappointed like they are at Disneyland. If you go, don’t pay full price. There are plenty of deals on discount tickets.

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