Legoland California Money Saving Tips

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A trip to Legoland isn’t going to set you back as much as a trip to Disneyland or Disney World. But let’s face it, it’s still an amusement park and the tickets aren’t cheap!

There is still the cost of food, souveniers, and oh… all those LEGO sets just begging to be taken home.

After all of our visits over the past 10+ years we’ve mastered the art of budgeting Legoland and now we’re sharing these Legoland money saving tips with you!

Places to Find Discount Legoland Tickets

Before you leave, check places like Costco and AAA to see if they have any discount Legoland tickets available. If you have an AAA card, you can get their discount at the gate too.

Ask your local Lego retail store if they have any kids get in free passes. If you don’t already get the LegoLife magazine, ask friends to search their old magazines for discount coupons. They almost always have a kids go free to Legoland ticket.

Legoland also has an offer page with a special code that gives you a free kids ticket to Legoland if you buy one adult ticket at full price. This discount code works for LEGOLAND® California Resort, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, LEGOLAND New York Resort and LEGOLAND® Discovery Centers nationwide!

Annual Pass Member Discounts

Legoland save money with Merlin annual passes
Merlin Annual passes at Legoland can save you money if you go often enough!

If you plan to visit more than one day or more than once a year, I do suggest checking out an annual pass because they could definitely save you money on your Legoland visit. There are different levels of passes, from those that let you in to just one specific Legoland location or those that allow you in to all the Merlin attractions in the country (Legolands, Discovery Centers, Waterparks and more).

For our family, the annual pass has always been worth it because of the amount of times we visit and the fact that we live near a Legoland Discovery Center and Sea Life Aquarium. Our pass allows us free admission into both of those locations. We also get a 10% discount at the Discovery Center retail shop (as well as shops at Legoland), free parking at Legoland, discounts on dining, and discounts on things like Reserve N Ride at Legoland.

We’ve also purchased our Legoland annual passes every year on Black Friday because they are offered at a great deal! So keep that in mind if you are considering annual passes as a way to save money at Legoland!

Bring in Your Own Food

Although you can’t roll into Legoland with a huge family size cooler, you CAN bring your own food to help you save money! We usually bring in sandwiches, water bottles, and snacks like apples or energy bars when we visit. That way we feel okay spending a little more to eat dinner inside Legoland.

sign showing legoland cooler policy

If you do bring a cooler, it needs to be no larger than 12″ wide and 10″ high. This cooler is a great option because it fits within the size guidelines and even collapses down when it’s empty.

Another option that I like to use (now that we are beyond the stroller years!) is to have a small insulated bag like this one inside my backpack (love this one with a place for wet clothes!)

If you bring in your own water bottles, they can be refilled by using the “water” option at any of the Coca Cola Freestyle machines around the park. Be sure to check out my post with other insider tips like this here.

Refillable Popcorn Buckets

Legoland refillable popcorn saves money
Legoland refillable popcorn bucket

Purchasing the refillable popcorn bucket may seem expensive at first, but if you plan on visiting multiple days or many days throughout the year then I would recommend buying it. Refills are inexpensive and if you’ve got hungry kids then you can fill this up a few times throughout the day.

This tip will help you save money because when the kids beg for one more snack you can refill the popcorn bucket for cheap rather than paying a lot for another pricey snack!

Souvenir Drink Cups

Legoland Refillable cup prices

Similar to the refillable popcorn money saving tip, purchasing a souvenir drink cup can also save you some money if you are willing to share. I see plenty of families buying one for each person, but we just buy one for the four of us.

Here’s the money saving tip with this cup. Bring in another plastic cup or even use empty water bottles, fill up the souvenir cup, pour it out into the extra cups/bottles, then go fill up the souvenir cup again. You do have to wait 5 minutes between refills but it’s worth the wait!

Share Meals

Legoland Knight's Smokehouse BBQ menu
Knight’s Smokehouse BBQ menu — plenty to share!

While the kids meals at Legoland are usually just the right size for kids under 12, many of the full-size meals can easily feed two. The Knights’ Smokehouse BBQ has large servings of brisket, ribs and chicken with sides included and can easily feed two people. Another great spot for a sharable meal is the Everything is Ramen restaurant inside the new Lego Movie World area.

Bring Your Own Minifigures

Kids love minifigure trading in Legoland, but at $4.99 a bag, trading can get expensive.

I have two money saving tips for you here.

First, have your kids search through the minifigures they already have and bring those instead!

Second, check Ebay! There are many listings for “lots” of minifigures. Recently there was a listing for 10 random minifigures for $18.99, free shipping. That means you are only paying $1.89 per minifigure!

Just make sure you don’t forget to bring them along or you will end up paying full price at Legoland.

Bring Your Own Water Bottles with Mix-ins

Save money at Legoland by bringing in water bottles
Add mix-ins to your water and refill your bottles at the Freestyle machines!

The refillable soda cup can be a good idea when you share with your family and are going to use it for at least two days, but if you want to skip the soda try this money saving tip!

Bring in your own water bottles with some fun mix-ins that you are your kids will like. This makes it a little more special than plain water but still has the benefits of keeping hydrated. Some of our favorite mix-ins are the True Lemon brand because of all the flavors they come in, and they are low calorie too!

Water bottles can even be refilled with water at the Coca Cola Freestyle machines!

Skip the Extras like Reserve N ride and Photo Pass

You might be wondering if Reserve N Ride is worth it, or whether you should purchase the Photo Pass for your trip to Legoland. If you are on a budget, I would definitely say skip these two extras.

Reserve N Ride is a little like a fast pass. When you purchase the Reserve N Ride pass you get a pager type device that tells you when to show up for a ride. There are three levels you can purchase, and of course the more you pay the less your wait time.

However, there are very few times that I have visited Legoland California that the wait time has been any longer than 30 minutes. If you are there off-season, wait times might only average 5-10 minutes. So unless you are there on a super busy day, I’d say paying to skip the line is not going to be worth it.

Photo Pass gives you access to all of the photos that are taken on rides. You also get any that are taken by photographers around the park. Unless you are at a special event like Brick or Treat or Holidays at Legoland, the only photographer is usually just at the front entrance.

It’s definitely fun to have ride pictures but you can get a lot of great pictures around the park with your phone. You can also ask ride operators to snap a quick photo when you are getting on a ride!

Buy LEGO Shirts Ahead of Time

There are a ton of cute shirts at the stores inside of Legoland, but boy are they expensive! If you think your kiddo is going to want a souvenir tee shirt, you might want to save money and buy one ahead of time.

These Ninjago shirts are cute or this one if your kiddo isn’t into any specific Lego theme. And yes, even Dad can get his own Lego shirt, and Mom too!

Make it extra special by keeping the shirts a secret until the day you go to Legoland and surprise them in the morning!

Avoid Holidays

While holidays won’t make the cost of your ticket go up, planning a Legoland vacation around a holiday like Memorial Day or Fourth of July will guarantee higher hotel prices.

Of course summer is going to be more expensive and busy altogether, so if you can visit in off-months like January and February, or September and October, you’ll save money on your trip with lower hotel prices.

Use Points to Stay at Neighboring Hotels

If you’re on a budget, the Legoland Hotel and the Legoland Castle hotel are probably going to be out of your price range. Although if you are traveling off-season, it may be worth just checking the prices because it is really fun to stay on property.

Instead, a money saving tip is to check out the more budget-friendly hotels in the area, many within a 15 minute drive to Legoland. A few are even within walking distance!

If you have Hilton or Sheraton Points to use, check out the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa (it has it’s own entrance to Legoland) or the Hilton Grand Vacations at Marbrisa or The Hilton Cassara Carlsbad, both within walking distance to Legoland.

We’ve also enjoyed staying at the Hilton Home2Suites Carlsbad and the Hampton Inn and Suites Carlsbad, both affordable choices with free breakfast too!

Just keep in mind that parking at Legoland is $25 a day if you are staying off property, so it could be worth it to stay within walking distance.

I hope these tips help you save money on your next visit to Legoland California! Be sure to save this post and share it with friends!

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3 Comments

    1. Right now the only place they sell popcorn is at Benny’s Rocket Fuel back in the Lego Movie World. They used to have popcorn stands around the park, but we were told due to staffing shortages they weren’t able to keep them open.

  1. On our trip to Legoland (a few weeks ago) we purchased a couple of the refillable souvenir drinking cups. A friend is planning to go in about a month so I was wondering if she could use our cups on their trip too?…would they have to pay the full price all over again or a refill fee? Or need to get their own cups? Thanks

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