26 of the Best Legoland California Insider Tips

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Planning a trip to Legoland California in 2022? I’ve got all the best Legoland tips for parents who want to experience Legoland with their kids this year!

These Legoland California tips and tricks will help you save money, save time, and plan your day. Be sure to also read my post that shows you even more ways to save money at Legoland California!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.

Download the Legoland App

Download the Legoland App! First thing, or even before you get to the park, download their app. Although there used to be discounts for food and merchandise offered inside the app, I haven’t seen any in a few years. Still it’s worth downloading to keep track of wait times on rides as well as show times. You can even set a reminder for events and show times so you don’t forget!

Collect Pop Badges!

kid wearing lanyard and Legoland Pop Badges

These are fun collectible badges that you can earn by going on certain rides, visiting areas like the Sea Life Aquarium or the water park, or by participating in certain challenges. We found a firefighter badge at the Fun Town Police and Fire Academy, and a First Coaster Ride badge at the Technic coaster.

Pop Badge challenges run at certain times throughout the year (especially around holidays), so stop by guest services when you come in and see if they have one running.

Mr. Gold Wanted Poster

There is one challenge that is currently running — the elusive Mr. Gold pop badge challenge. Each day a select number of employees are given the Mr. Gold pop badge to wear, and if you spot it, all you have to do is ask them for it and it’s yours (only kids can ask)! This pop badge is one of the most coveted and you’ll probably hear kids asking just about everyone “do you have Mr. Gold?”

You can keep Mr. Gold or trade it in for prize at Customer Service!

Be sure to check out our Legoland Pop Badge guide so you know where to find them all!

Trade Pop Badges

Not only can you earn pop badges but you can trade them with park employees! Just like with minifigures, some employees have pop badges on their shirts and they are happy to trade with you. Pop badges can be found all around the park as well, on rides and lots of other places you can read about here.

Tip: if you plan to collect pop badges, you may want to purchase a lanyard to keep them on! You can also purchase lanyards for your pop badges at the Big Shop in Legoland.

Bring in Food and Snacks

You can bring in your own food. Although it is discouraged on their web site, as long as you bring small snacks in a backpack or keep your food in a 12″ x 10″ (or smaller) soft-sided cooler like this one, you’re golden. Of course, I personally think the food inside is some of the healthiest and best-tasting food I’ve ever had at a theme park, but if you are looking to save some money, this is a good tip.

We frequently bring in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and then eat dinner in the park.

Looking to for even more money saving tips? Check out my post on the best money saving tips in Legoland.

Legoland Insider Tips - sign up for Lego Mindstorms classes early

Sign Up for LEGO Mindstorms Classes

Inside the Imagination Zone, there is an often overlooked section right across from the Legoland Movie display area. Here at Mindstorms, kids age 9 and older can sign up for a Lego robotics class! They will learn how to code and command a Lego robot to do several different tasks. There is usually more than one themed class so be sure to try them all! Just be sure to sign up early in the morning to secure your spot. Classes are about 45-50 minutes long. Also a great option for rainy days at Legoland.

TOP SECRET MEAL TIP!

Healthy meal swaps! Adults and children can swap their chips for a piece of fruit. Children’s meals usually include either a box of raisins or an apple/orange, but if you’d rather skip the chips you can get another piece of fruit instead.

Annual Pass Holder Discounts

Annual Pass holders get a 10% merchandise discount and a 20% discount on food. We have also been able to convince some employees to let us use our Lego VIP discount (5%) in addition to the 10% on merchandise (ahem, Big Shop). It doesn’t hurt to ask!

Birthdays and First Visits

Birthday and First Visit Pins are available at Customer Service. Don’t forget to ask for a First Visit Pop Badge too! The Legoland Hotel and the Legoland Castle Hotel also offer birthday packages to guests of the hotels.

Don’t Forget to Check Legoland Hours

Don’t forget to check Legoland hours! The park closes on certain weekdays in the winter, and the water park has seasonal hours.

Bring Minifigures for Trading

My kids really look forward to minifigure trading when we visit Legoland. It’s a good idea to buy a few minifigures before you go. Or, see what minifigs you already own and your kids might be willing to trade. Minifigures are also available for purchase in the park.

So where can you find places to trade minifigures at Legoland? The Big Shop, the Awesome Shop in the Lego Movie World area, inside Build Your World, at Lego Mindstorms, and inside the Lego Life building. I have also seen them in the shop at the Lego City Deep Sea Adventure, but during our last few trips there was no one working here and the shop didn’t have any merchandise for sale.

Have older kids? Challenge them to make a monochromatic minifigure by collecting pants, shirts, heads, etc. in all one color. This is something my husband actually has fun doing too!

Where to Start Your Day at Legoland

Hotel guests at either the Legoland Hotel or the Castle Hotel get early access to the park and some rides. Guests can go in as early as 9:00 am and access the Ninjago area, Coastersaurus, Fairy Tale Brook, and Coast Cruise.

Gates for everyone else open around 9:15, so you can hang out in the Beginning or shop at the Big Shop. You just won’t be able to go past this area.

Once all the ropes have dropped and you are free to roam the park, head all the way to the back of the park first. The lines at places like Coastersaurus, which opened first for hotel guests, are crazy long in the morning. So make your way back to The Dragon or to Lego Movie World and ride those rides while the lines are still short.

Places to Charge Your Phone

I love taking pictures whenever we are at Legoland, but it definitely drains my phone. Especially if I am posting to social media too! I always bring along a charger with a long cord, and I’ve found a few good places to recharge.

Stop off at the Builder’s Guild, a covered Lego-building spot in the Castle Hill area. There is an electrical outlet on the bottom part of the seating area.

There’s also a plug right outside of the Awesome Shop in the Lego Movie World area.

Bottom line here is just keep your eyes peeled around the park for electrical outlets. Don’t count on any restaurants having plugs as most seating is outside. It’s never a bad idea to invest in a portable charging unit!

If you’re willing to shell out money to recharge your phone, the hotels do sell charging units you use and return, and there are cell phone charging lockers right inside the entrance to the park (next to package pickup).

Rides With the Longest Lines

Which rides have the longest lines at Legoland?

Coastersaurus, Unikitty’s Disco Drop, Emmet’s Flying Adventure, Technic Coaster, Safari Trek and Lego Ninjago the Ride have the longest lines on busy days. The Dragon also tends to have a longer line but when they are running two coasters it moves pretty quickly.

The line at Skipper School can get pretty long on a busy day too, especially when there are drivers that just can’t seem to grasp how to steer the boat.

Coastersaurus and Safari Trek get crowded early because they are near the entrance and they open first to hotel guests. Avoid these rides until later in the day.

I always tell people to head towards the back of the park first, to the Dragon or to the Lego Movie World, and ride those while the lines are still short in the morning.

Shop at the Big Shop Early

the Big Shop at Legoland California

Arrive at the park early and hit the Big Shop. At the end of the day, this shop is very crowded and will have very long lines. If you shop early you’ll avoid crowds and you can use the package pickup option so you won’t have to lug your purchases around all day.

Use Package Pick-up

Package pickup at Legoland works for any store, not just the Big Shop. The only thing you can’t do is drop off those gigantic stuffed animals you’ve won at the skill games. Nope, you’ll have to drag those around with you all day. Hope you have a stroller!

boat under fountain of water on Pirate Reef ride at Legoland
Yes there is a boat under all that water!

You Will Get Soaked on Pirate Reef

You’ll thank me for this one! I see so many unsuspecting parents get on this ride and wish they’d known… you get soaked! That’s right, no matter where you sit on this ride you are going to get very wet.

Pirate Reef is a unique ride inside Legoland because it can be ridden by both guests of the waterpark as well as guests of Legoland. There are two separate line entrances and exits.

Waterpark guests usually already have their bathing suits on, but many people entering from the Legoland side don’t realize quite how wet soaked they are about to get.

If you’re not cool with getting absolutely soaked on this ride then make sure you have a poncho or skip this one altogether! Or, shell out the $5 for the big “human dryers” in the Pirate Shores area.

The Scariest Ride at Legoland California

People riding Lego Technic Coaster

Well, it really depends on what you are scared of, but the tallest and fastest rollercoaster at Legoland California is the Lego Technic coaster. It has a steep drop at the beginning, and then the majority of the ride is a series of hairpin turns way up high. I can only do this ride once or twice a visit. Those hairpin turns make me feel like I’m going to be flung right out of the coaster.

However, this is my teenager’s favorite ride and I know it’s very popular with older kids and adults. When the ropes drop in the morning this is one of the places you’ll see people running to because the lines for the Technic coaster do get pretty long — at peak visiting times I’ve seen close to an hour.

Fill Up Your Water Bottles for Free at Freestyle Machines

Legoland Insider Tips - fill water bottles for free at Coke Freestyle machines

Bring in your own water bottles and fill them up for free with nice cold water at any of the Coke Freestyle machines around the park! Just select “water” on the screen and fill away.

Where to Find Adult Beverages

person holding mai tai drink

Beer and wine are sold at the Knight Smokehouse BBQ in Castle Hill and at the Garden Restaurant they have beer, wine, and hard seltzers. Inside the waterpark there are even more options like the Mai Tai shown above. And yes, you can walk around the park with drinks in hand.

Legoland is “Cashless”

During the pandemic, Legoland converted to a cashless resort. This means they no longer accept cash as a form of payment. So make sure you have your credit cards! If you prefer not to use credit cards then use your cash to buy a Visa gift card before your vacation. Oh, and gift cards from the Lego retail stores DO NOT WORK at Legoland!

sign that says Legoland is a cashless resort

Check Ride Closures Before You Visit

Unfortunately some rides do close for maintenance throughout the year, and you don’t want to have a broken-hearted kiddo that finds out his or her favorite ride isn’t open when you visit! Check out this page to see what rides are closed for refurbishment!

Bring Bathing Suits for Water Attractions

Bathing suits for kids and swim diapers for toddlers are a good idea if you plan to let your kids play in any of the splash pad areas inside Legoland. There is one in the Pirate Shores area and one in the Lego Movie World area as well.

There are also two rides you will get wet on — Pirate Reef and Splash Battle. These are both inside Legoland (not the waterpark).

And of course, bring bathing suits if you are visiting the waterpark! Proper swimwear is required inside the waterpark, and “Swim wear with exposed zippers, buckles, rivets, or metal ornamentation are not permitted.” So don’t try to get away with a t-shirt and jean shorts.

Bring Your Own Towels for the Waterpark

If you are visiting the waterpark while you are at Legoland, you’ll need to bring your own towels. (Unless you want to buy the expensive ones inside the waterpark.)

When we visit the waterpark what we usually do is rent a locker inside the waterpark and leave our towels and swim suits in there when we are done. Then we don’t have to carry them around the rest of the day while we enjoy the rides in Legoland. Just make sure you pay attention to the waterpark hours. They often close earlier than Legoland, so you’ll have to grab your stuff before they close.

The Dragon Coaster at Legoland

Rides for Adults

Yes! There are definitely rides for adults at Legoland California, and while they may not be like coasters at Six Flags, you can definitely still have fun on them.

In addition to the Technic Coaster I mentioned above, adults will enjoy The Dragon, Coastersaurus, Unikitty’s Disco Drop, Emmet’s Flying Adventure, and Pirate Reef (if you don’t mind getting soaked).

When you’re exhausted and need to get off your feet, I recommend the Coast Cruise! All you have to do is sit and listen to corny jokes from the ride operator.

The only rides that adults CANNOT go on in Legoland California are Royal Joust and Beetle Bounce.

Buy a Refillable Cup

Probably one of the best investments we’ve made at Legoland is the refillable cup.

man holding refillable cup from Legoland

The refillable cups at Legoland have chips in them that allow you to fill up at any of the Coca Cola Freestyle stations around the park. Activate it for one day and pay $16.95, two (consecutive) days for $19.95, and $8.95 for daily reactivation (if you buy it one day and come back to visit later in the year). Or, you can pay $29.95 for 365 days. So, if you plan on visiting Legoland more than 2 days in a year, this is a great deal.

Since we are passholders we definitely visit more than two days a year and this 365 day refillable cup was a great investment. You can fill these over and over throughout the day, you only need to wait about 10 minutes between fills. Pro tip – bring other cups or water bottles for the whole family, fill the refillable cup and pour it into your other cups. Yes you have to wait 10 minutes but it’s still worth it.

I hope these top secret tips help you on your next visit to Legoland California!

Do you have any other Legoland California questions I didn’t answer in this post? I’d love to hear them in the comments below. I keep this list updated and I’m always on the lookout for new tips each time we visit. Have a great time on your Legoland vacation!

The Best Insider Tips for visiting Legoland California!

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