Visiting LEGOLAND with the San Diego CityPASS

Before this past October, I’d been to LEGOLAND California twice. The funniest part is, it was well before I had my Mabel. I didn’t even go either time with a child. When my birthday was rolling around last month, I knew I wanted a quick family getaway. Preferably with a theme park. I decided this would be the ideal time to return to LEGOLAND and introduce Mabel. This was her fifth visit to an amusement park and once again, we had a blast.

LEGOLAND is located in San Diego County’s Carlsbad. It’s central to a vast variety of attractions, food, and the ocean. I’ve had two great adventures there with Mabel and we were excited to introduce Mike to some of its fun.

Arriving to LEGOLAND

The plan was to leave Ventura County early and get to the park when it opened at 10 am. Per usual, that turned out to be more of a pipe dream. We still made good time but the line was already lengthy to access the parking lot. It was the first time we’d encountered one without a parking attendant at each pay station. Instead, they’re automated machines with a handful of staff on hand to assist if necessary. They accept credit cards only which does help expedite the line.

Once parked and settled, we were ready to start our escapades. Given it was a Saturday, it was crowded like any good theme park. Security was extremely smooth and fast. Mabel was able to stay in her stroller and they wheeled her through for us while Mike and I went through the usual motions of getting our belongings checked and entering a metal detector. Much like other family-friendly attractions, extra “gear” like diaper bags, food, and drinks were not an issue.

Arriving to LEGOLAND. (c) Mary Farah

Incredible LEGO models are throughout the park. (c) Mary Farah

San Diego CityPASS

CityPASS once again came through for me. Our San Diego CityPASS included LEGOLAND and it was easy peasy to simply pull up our CityPASS bar codes on my phone for entry. It was sweet as we entered to see a young visitor ask a Model Citizen (their term for park employees) if they wanted to trade Minifigures. Similar to the pin trading in Anaheim, at LEGOLAND, it’s all about the adorable Minifigures.

They also have complimentary “badges” to collect and wear during a visit. Since it was my birthday weekend, I quickly nabbed a birthday badge at their Information Center. It was also the final weekend of their Brick or Treat Halloween festivities, and we scored two additional badges themed for the holiday.

Everything is Awesome blared as we made our way through. They had a fun water play area that’s great for all ages on a hot day. Since I’d just shown Mabel the LEGO Movie, we enjoyed an interactive gallery with props from the films.

Everything is Awesome at LEGOLAND

A few of the rides were still too big for Mabel. Some had height restrictions and/or she wasn’t over the appropriate age. They do have a rollercoaster for those over 36 inches and of course, the merry-go-round was a hit as usual. Some rides are also for kids only so something to keep in mind should a kiddo prefer to stay with their grown-up.

We found our toddler haven at the Duplo Playtown. Here, Mabel could go on numerous slides, ride a choo choo train, build with LEGOS, and interact with children near her age. Imagine a playground but all decked out for the LEGO fans. We stayed here for quite a while and had a blast.

On past visits, my favorite attraction has always been Miniland USA. Once again, it didn’t disappoint. Miniland USA has dozens of replicas of some of the nation’s most well-known attractions built out of millions of LEGOS. New York City, Las Vegas, and even the Hollywood Bowl. They have kept it fresh with new installments including Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium. Several even have moving LEGO figures like people, boats, and cars. Of course, San Diego gets an impressive highlight.

The Hollywood Bowl in Miniland USA. (c) Mary Farah

Apple Fries. (c) Mary Farah

Gluten-free Options at LEGOLAND

While we brought in some of our own snacks, we decided to pause for lunch. We checked out Everything is Ramen and it wasn’t bad. Nearly every dining hall in the park has some sort of gluten-free option. For our ramen stop, I had a tofu rice bowl without their sauce (making it gluten-free). I’ll admit it was very dry without any dressing but it still hit the spot and the veggies tasted fresh.

Something I’ve had on every LEGOLAND visit is their famous apple fries. Much like it sounds, these fried apple slices come with whipped creme (even a dairy-free choice) and are little sweet bites of heaven. They never fail to hit the spot. I was impressed that the Model Citizen asked me if I was dairy-free for preference or allergy.

Mabel’s first trip to LEGOLAND was, indeed, awesome. In addition to this visit, our CityPASS gave us access to three more local attractions. All at a huge fraction of the cost especially for visiting LEGOLAND. Learn more about the park HERE and nab your San Diego CityPASS HERE.