My family and I just got back from a wonderful Spring Break vacation at Legoland Florida. Let me tell you something about Legoland, “Everything is Awesome!”
All four of us truly enjoyed ourselves. This park is filled with fun for both kids and adults. If you’re not sure you want to tackle Disney just yet, or are looking for a simpler vacation, check out Legoland. You won’t regret it!
Here are my tips and tricks to make your trip easier:
Buy your tickets in advance from your base travel agency.
The first step is to buy your tickets. Friends, do not buy them on the Legoland website or at the gate! You can get deeply discounted tickets by purchasing them on base. It even tells you to do that on the Legoland website! A normal two-day pass including the water park is $130 online. We got ours for only $75 by purchasing them on base! If you buy tickets at the gate, it’s only a 10% discount. Also, military members are FREE every day! You just need to show a valid military ID at the gate (this is for the member ONLY. Spouse and children must purchase tickets).
If you choose to stay at the Legoland hotel or Beach Resort, be sure to ask for the military discount. You can get up to 25% off! You just need to make sure the member has his or her ID when you check-in.
Plan on spending two days at Legoland.
While the park is not huge, like Disney, you will want at least two days. If you go when the water park is open, that will be one day right there (more about the water park below). Plus, you get a discount if you buy a two-day pass, so you might as well. Even if you don’t go during water park season (check the website for dates when the WP is open), you can really take your time checking out everything and will have the chance to ride your favorite rides multiple times.
Bring Lego minifigures with you to trade with park employees.
At Legoland, all the employees have fun name badges made of Legos (of course!). Most employees will have anywhere from one to six minifigures on their name badge. If you bring Lego minifigures to the park with you (or buy blind bags there and end up with one you don’t want), you can trade them with the employees. It’s so much fun! My boys had a blast checking out all the minifigures the employees had on their badges. And, you can also trade minifigures in all the stores. That includes at the hotel and the beach resort as well. Each store has a trading plate. Just go in and ask to see it.
I wasn’t sure how this was going to work at first. I didn’t know if they would be picky about which minifigures they would accept. But they traded for ANY figure we had! No questions and no hesitation. A few of the minifigures we brought had their accessories with them (weapons, etc.) and in two of the stores we traded in, they let my boys pick from a stash of accessories they had since we had brought accessories. Bonus!
Get there at least 15 minutes before the gates open.
Getting to the park early has its advantages. One of the most obvious ones is that’ll you’ll be able to snag a parking space closer to the entrance. No one likes walking to the outer reaches of the parking lot with tired children in tow at the end of a long day at an amusement park. Another reason to arrive early is that most people actually don’t arrive right when the gates open. You’ll find the majority of park guests arrive two to three hours later.
Quick side note: At Legoland Florida, they do something fun for the kids when the park opens. They have a countdown to the time the gates open and let one of the kids in line push a button to “open” the gates. Everyone cheered when the gates opened. Super fun (Not sure if they do the same in California, but it’s worth checking out)!
Start at the back of Legoland.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed this or not, but most people have a tendency to enter an amusement park and immediately head to rides and attractions at the front where you enter. We decided to go against the norm and headed straight to the back of the park. Let me tell you, it was the right decision. There was no one at the back of the park, so we were able to get on the rides immediately.
Legoland allows you to bring in water bottles and outside food.
This was such a lifesaver, friends! We all know how expensive amusement park food can be. Well, if you hate paying those prices, you can bring food into the park with you. This is especially great for families with food allergies and other dietary restrictions. On top of being able to bring your own food into the park, you can also bring in your own water/water bottles. Legoland has Coke refill stations set up throughout the park where you can fill your souvenir cups and water bottles with any Coke product and/or water. So great! After all, no one wants to pay $5 for a bottle of water in the park!
If you have the option, get the Kids Meal.
Speaking of food and saving money…my husband and I discovered another fun trick while eating lunch our first day at the park. Some of the restaurants have kids meals. We discovered that it was actually a better option to get the kids meal than an “adult” meal. In one particular hamburger eatery, the kids’ meal came with a cheeseburger, fries and a drink. But, the regular menu required you to order everything a la carte. Drinks were not included. It would have cost us more money that way. So we ordered the kids meals for all of us. Saved us a good amount of money!
Don’t wait until the end of the day to buy souvenirs.
I know what you’re thinking here. You don’t want to carry around your purchases all day. However, if you wait until just before closing time to buy anything, you’ll regret it. The stores get packed at the end of the day and the lines are ridiculously long! It’s better to buy early. Since you can bring bookbags and other types of bags into the park, you can always put your purchases in there. Got a stroller? Why not stick the bag on the bottom? Planning to go to the water park? No problem! There are lockers you can store your items in. Trust me on this one. It’s much easier to buy early in the day than wait until the end.
Wait Times on the boards can be incorrect.
Multiple times during the day, we would get to a ride only to see that the sign said it was a 30 to 40-minute wait. However, we were pleasantly surprised when we got in line and discovered it was actually only a 10-minute wait! On one ride there wasn’t even a line at all! Now, there were still some rides where the wait time was correct. However, don’t let the wait time on the board deter you from getting in line for a ride. As I said above, the time could be incorrect, so you just never know.
Ride Height Requirements – your kids can do more than you think.
The majority of the rides have a 40″ height requirement. For my boys, who are five and eight, this worked out well. There were only two rides in the entire park that my 5-year-old was not tall enough to go on. That’s fantastic and doesn’t happen very often. But what if you have got babies and toddlers? Legoland’s got you covered! Duplo Valley is designed for toddlers and is super cute. There was also a Tot Spot in Lego City. The park is truly perfect for all ages!
Don’t skip the Pirate’s Cove Water Ski Show or Miniland!
You might not think that a water ski show will be very interesting. But this is no ordinary water ski show. Ever see Lego characters on water skis? You won’t want to miss it! The show is filled with fun from open to close and will keep you entertained the entire 20 minutes. My 8-year-old complained that he didn’t want to go see it but by the end of the show he was begging to see it again.
Be sure not to skip Miniland either. It is amazing! Miniland features the Vegas Strip, NYC, multiple cities in Florida, scenes from all of the Star Wars movies, San Francisco and more. All made from thousands of Legos! On top of that, many of the displays are animated and interactive. There are buttons you can push to make parts of the scene move and/or squirt water. So much fun!
Legoland Beach Retreat vs the Legoland Hotel
Legoland offers multiple accommodations. There is the Legoland Beach Retreat and the Legoland Hotel (Legoland FL will also be opening a Pirate Island Hotel in 2020). You can’t go wrong no matter where you stay. Each location offers a FREE breakfast buffet, nightly games and activities, a swimming pool, themed rooms, and character meet and greets (character meet and greets also occur in the park). And EVERYTHING is Lego from the largest detail to the smallest! There were floating legos in the pool, the Lego Times newspaper delivered to our door, the bathroom signs, and the maid service cards were even custom Lego. So fun!
We stayed at the Legoland Beach Retreat, which is located across the street from the park. When you stay there, you receive free parking at Legoland. The cabanas are adorable and the television comes equipped with a channel that plays all the Lego movies nonstop.
However, I will say this …the cabana is a little cozy. From the pictures on the website, I thought we would have the entire house (pictured below). However, you actually only get half of that. When you walk in, the bed is immediately in the front room, then there is the bathroom and a small room in the back with bunk beds and a trundle underneath. It will fit a family with three small children.
But, if you have a baby and plan to bring a pack-n-play or have more than three children, I’d recommend the hotel. It will allow you more space and to spread out a bit more. The hotel is also located right on site, so all you have to do is walk out the front door and a few steps later you’re in the park.
(Don’t want to pay the prices for either place? There’s a Marriott hotel located conveniently down the road from Legoland FL).
No need to bring your own swimmies/floaties
My 5-year-old still uses floaties in the pool, so we brought ours along. However, it turned out that we didn’t need to. The Beach Retreat, Hotel, and water park all provide Coast Guard approved life jackets. One less thing to pack? Yes, please!
Water Park Tips
The Legoland water park is fantastic! There are areas for all ages so your entire family will be able to enjoy the park. Here are a few tips to help your day at the waterpark be more enjoyable:
The Water park opens an hour after the regular park does. Use this to your advantage! We went to the water park on our second day at Legoland. Since the water park is all the way at the back and doesn’t open until an hour after the regular park, we used the first part of the morning to do some shopping, see the water ski show, and go on a ride or two as we made our way to the back of the park.
Make sure you have your tickets with you. While the water park is within the gates of the regular park, you will need to show and have your tickets scanned again in order to gain entry. So be sure to have them handy!
Use the lockers. I highly recommend getting a locker for the day. There are three different size lockers available with prices ranging from $9 to $15 for the day. It may seem pricey, but it’s well worth it. It’s so much easier to store your belongings and purchases rather than having to carry them around the water park and/or leave them unattended on a chair while you’re in the water. Payment for the lockers can be made with cash or credit card and is super easy. The best part is that it’s keyless entry, so you don’t have to worry about carrying a locker key around the park with you all day.
Wear sandals around the park. We decided to put our sandals in the locker and walk around the water park barefoot. That was a mistake. The ground can get very hot and burn your feet as you walk from section to section. So, I recommend wearing your shoes and then putting them on a chair while you enjoy the water slides.
Food allergies? No problem!
My oldest son has life-threatening food allergies. As a result, I’m always a mess when we go anywhere where I don’t have control over the food. So I was a bit nervous about what Legoland would be like. However, I was very happy to discover that the Beach Retreat and restaurants at Legoland were very accommodating and helpful.
Each time we went into the Beach Retreat restaurant, they asked if we had any food allergies. They also provided us with a food allergy guide (pictured below next to the Lego shaped waffle. Yep, Lego shaped waffle!). There were a few items I wasn’t sure about and the chef came out to speak with me personally and was very friendly and helpful. It made me feel much more at ease. It was much the same in the park. The restaurants were able to provide allergy information upon request and did all they could to make sure we were comfortable with our food options.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip! In fact, we are planning to go again next year, and I can’t wait! If Legoland wasn’t on your radar before, I hope it is now.
If you are stationed overseas, you also have the opportunity to visit Legoland. Aside from Legoland in California, Florida and NY (opening in 2020), Legoland has multiple locations in other countries. You can check HERE for a full list.