Our son Ethan turned 8 about a week ago, and when planning his first birthday away from our home state of Texas, we wanted to do something special. Because we travel fulltime and have little room for birthday presents, gifts come in the form of experiences instead of too many things.

Last year on our trip to California, we had the privilege to go to both Disneyland and to Universal Studios. This year we did not want to get caught up in the lines or the hype of these two places. They were fun, but not a great value for the price because most of our time was spent waiting in lines.

Being 8 years old, we felt that LEGOLAND would be a perfect experience for his birthday. And, because we didn’t want to drive over 2 hours for 2 days so we began looking at the LEGOLAND Hotel in addition to the theme park.

Looking at the website, the cost for 2 nights and 2 days at the theme park was going to cost over $1000.00. That was definitely out of our budget and comfort level for this adventure, so I put the idea on hold and we went on our merry way, not thinking about it and hoping we could find something else to do instead.

One day while looking for other fun things to do while in California, I was checking out the Groupon website which I periodically do. LEGOLAND popped up as one of the deals and they also had a deal for the hotel. I talked it over with Tom and we booked it! The birthday we hoped for Ethan was on! With 2 day tickets to the park and the LEGOLAND hotel for 2 nights it was around $700 for everything.

The experience did not disappoint (for the most part)! When we checked into the hotel, there were pools of Legos to keep the kids occupied! Some of the hotel highlights for the kids and for us were:

  1. Lego Scavenger Hunt- The kids answered 4 questions when we checked in down in the lobby and received a 4-digit code that opened a treasure box in our room

  2. The room itself was so fun with bunk beds and Lego sculptures and a view of the clock tower

  3. A box full of Legos in the room that the kids could play with during their time in the room

  4. Dance Party in the conference room

  5. Breakfast Buffet was HUGE and had so many choices… and it’s included in your stay!

  6. A whoopee cushion on the floor by the elevator complete with sounds!

There were a couple of drawbacks about our particular visit. They were not deal breakers but slightly frustrating:

  1. The park was not open 2 of the days we were there. We had 2-day park tickets and had to quickly go through the park the Monday we arrived in the afternoon and then again on Thursday. This added a night to our stay and we stayed elsewhere due to the cost directly through the hotel. We decided to purchase the Go San Diego discount card for 2 days- Tuesday and Wednesday and were able to go to Knott’s Berry Farm and the San Diego Zoo. It added to our cost; but in the end was worth it.

  2. When we looked at the LEGOLAND Hotel amenities it stated that there were Master Builder sessions where the kids would be able to build a project with the help of the Master Builder and would be able to keep the project; however, because we were coming at an off-season time, this was not available to us at the time. It was only a let-down to me; however, because we did not tell the kids about it.

What to know before you go:

  1. Legos are everywhere and they are cleaned frequently. At the hotel, allow some down-time to enjoy the play spaces as well as the pool.

  2. If going during a slower season, please be aware that the park may or may not be open during your stay. Double check the dates and times with the LEGOLAND website. The hotel website will show those times; if ordering off of a third party website like GROUPON, be aware that you will need to research that before you go!

  3. Check out the schedule of events you receive when you check in. The hotel has several activities that families can participate while they stay at the hotel

  4. Allow time after check-in and before you get to your room to do the scavenger hunt so they can have fun when they get to the room opening their treasure box and finding their prize!

  5. Bricks restaurant is an all you can eat buffet and is a lot of fun. Breakfast is included; however, dinner is pricey for the quality of food. It was $100.00 for our family of 4 to eat there the one night we did. If you purchase your dinner from the front desk ahead of time, there is a discount!

  6. We did not know what Pop Badges were or what they were for; but each child received one when we checked in to the hotel. There is a Pop Badge booth in the park that has challenges related to the Pop Badges. If you think this would be fun for the kids, then wear your pop badges, and take part in the fun!

  7. If celebrating a birthday, you can purchase a birthday package at the hotel that includes dinner for the child at Bricks restaurant, a gift package when they check in and a cake for dessert that the child can choose the style. Ethan chose Ninjago for his cake. The cost was high for this package but we purchased it because this was his only birthday cake due to our travels.

  8. Go to the Dance Party! The kids will have a ball and while it goes on for a while, you can usually pry your kids away after about 10 = 15 minutes and it gets the rest of the wiggles out before bedtime!

  9. LEGOLAND is opening a new Castle Hotel soon in 2018! More rooms and more fun await.

  10. LEGOLAND Hotel does have a resort fee for each day you stay at the park. This is included in what you pay up front. The upside to this is that your parking is included.

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