Visiting Legoland California in 2021 – What You Need to Know
Are you planning a trip to Legoland California this year? Do you have questions about how safe it is to visit, what attractions are open, and how to make reservations?
We just returned from a trip to Legoland California and I have the answers you are looking for! Here’s everything you need to know if you are visiting Legoland California in 2021.
Is it safe to visit Legoland California?
Let’s address one of the biggest questions people have right now — is it safe to visit Legoland California?
Many of the original safety protocols that were in place when Legoland California first reopened have been relaxed.
Masks: Masks are not required for vaccinated guests, nor are they required for vaccinated MC’s (Legoland employees). Of course, no one is checking the vaccination status of guests so you should know that there could definitely be unvaccinated guests in the park not wearing masks.
My family chose to wear masks while we were in Legoland California because one of our sons isn’t old enough to be vaccinated. I would say we were definitely in the minority — about 30-40% of Legoland guests were wearing masks.
Social Distancing: Not happening. It’s really up to you to keep your distance from other guests now. The “6 foot” rule while standing in line at an attraction no longer exists. And unless you ask, you could be seated next to a guest you don’t know on a ride. Ride attendants are not leaving empty seats between parties.
I did see some “suggestions” of social distancing in places like the restrooms. There were signs asking guests not to use sinks or air dryers right next to another guest, but I didn’t see anyone following that suggestion.
Sanitizing: There are hand sanitizing stations located all around the park, and before and after rides. I still recommend bringing your own hand sanitizer if that’s important to you.
I did not see any employees sanitizing anything (beyond bathrooms of course). No one wipes down the ride between guests or anything like that.
We ate our lunch at a table that I know didn’t get wiped down before we sat there, so giving the table a quick wipe with some sanitizing wipes might be a good idea. Especially if you have little kids that drop food and eat it off the table (of course this is probably a good idea any time!)
So is it safe to visit Legoland California in 2021? I honestly have to say this decision needs to be up to you and what you are comfortable with. I felt safe because my family and I wore masks, hand sanitized a lot, and spent most of our time outdoors. But if you have family members that are at a higher risk of infection, you may just want to wait a little longer before visiting Legoland California.
You need reservations to visit Legoland California
Legoland California is requiring all guests to make a reservation for the day you want to visit the theme park, as well as the water park (which is now closed for the season), and Sea Life Aquarium.
How do you make a reservation for Legoland California?
Reservations for the Legoland can be made online through their web site or through the Legoland app. There does seem to be a limit on how many days you can reserve at a time. I was able to reserve two days, BUT I had to reserve those days in separate transactions. In other words, when you make the reservation you get to pick ONE day. So if you want to go more than one day, you just have to go through the reservation process again for the second day.
Once I was at Legoland and had already been there one day I went ahead and reserved another day through their app. You can also visit customer service inside Legoland to make a reservation.
When you make a reservation online for Legoland, you also have the opportunity to reserve the water park and Sea Life. Right now Sea Life Aquarium is offering timed reservations only, so you do need to pick a specific time. However, we went in a full 2 hours before our “scheduled time” and no one said a word. In fact, no one even asked to see our reservations.
Is Legoland California really checking the reservations?
The signs at the front of the theme park say you need to have proof of reservations ready to show at the gate, but in truth no one asks. The first day I had mine out and the MC glanced at it, but on the following days I didn’t even bother and again no one asked.
We also had reservations for the water park and for Sea Life, and no one checked when we entered those attractions.
Now, it could have been that it was not a crowded weekend and they were not sold out so they didn’t need to check. It also could have been that we were annual passholders and they assumed we would have made reservations. I don’t know.
I’m not recommending that you don’t make reservations — definitely do it just in case. But if you can’t reserve all the days you want at once, don’t stress too much, just reserve the days as you go.
Not all restaurants are open
During our Legoland California visit, not every restaurant was open for dining.
The following restaurants and stands were open: Knights’ Smokehouse BBQ, Granny’s Apple Fries, Castle Ice Cream, Fun Town’s Urban Kitchen, Burger Stop, The Market, Pizza Mania, Ninja Kitchen, Everything is Ramen, Benny’s Rocket Fuel, and Pizza & Pasta Buffet (weekends only).
Benny’s Rocket Fuel was the only place to get popcorn buckets and refills, as there weren’t any other of the usual popcorn stands open around the park.
These restaurants and stands were closed: Cloud Cuckoo Crepes (bummer!), Fun Town Treats (located inside of LEGO Life, this whole snack area had actually been removed), Beer Garden and Coffee Shop (if you want coffee you have to get it at the Market at the front of the park, beer at Knights’ BBQ), Churro Stand, and Castle Burgers.
The Legoland app will tell you which restaurants are open that day. Basically, if you don’t see it listed, it isn’t open.
My advice: if you are looking for coffee or snacks, load up at The Market (located at the front of the park). The only stand with snacks we saw open was Benny’s Rocket Fuel at the back of the park in the LEGO Movie World.
For the best variety of choices, try Fun Town’s Urban Kitchen.
Keep in mind that fewer open restaurants means longer lines at the ones that are open!
Of course Legoland does allow you to bring in a small cooler, so load it up with PB&J sandwiches and snacks if you don’t want to waste time standing in long restaurant lines.
some legoland attractions are closed
Sadly one of our favorite rides, the Knight’s Tournament, has closed for good. It’s really too bad because it was a great ride for older kids.
AquaZone Wave Racers was completely dismantled, and no one we talked to seemed to know if that was permanent or if it was just being refurbished. The ride is still listed on the current Legoland map, so I do hope to see it open again.
Cargo Ace in the Land of Adventure was also closed. It was partially dismantled but the attraction sign did suggest that it would reopen at some point.
Four shopping locations were noticeably missing. The King’s Market outside of the Dragon coaster and the Dig Those Dinos shop were completely shuttered. All of the retail has been removed from the LEGO Life building and the Dive Shop. Still, these were small stores and it really didn’t impact our ability to shop.
minifigure trading is back!
Good news! Minifigure trading has returned to Legoland! While most MC’s (employees) are no longer wearing minifigures for trading, there are still locations around the park where you can trade.
The Dive Shop outside of the Deep Sea Adventure Ride has minifigure trading. In fact since all of the retail has been removed from this shop, minifigure trading was about the only thing the MC in the shop had to do!
Other locations for minifigure trading include The Big Shop, inside LEGO Rebuild the World, and the Minifigure Market.
pop badge collecting returns
Not a lot of people know about Pop Badges in Legoland, but we have been collecting them for years and have quite a collection! We wear our lanyards covered with pop badges when we visit Legoland, and we always get questions about them.
Our sources tell us that pop badges were on their way out before the pandemic, but they are making a comeback! We actually collecting several new ones on our last visit!
If you want to know more about pop badges and where to find them, then check out my ultimate guide to Legoland pop badges!
mr. gold pop badges and hidden envelopes
One of the most prized and hardest to find pop badges in Legoland is Mr. Gold. Prior to the pandemic, 10 Mr. Gold pop badges would be released into the park each day. You could find them being worn by employees and if you spotted them with it, all you had to do was ask for it! You could then trade it in for a free ticket to Legoland at customer service.
We found out that while the Mr. Gold pop badge is back, it’s not worth a free ticket anymore. However, you can trade it for a new (blind bag) minifigure or two “skip the line” passes for the attraction of your choice.
In addition to the Mr. Gold pop badge there is now a Mr. Gold envelope! Ten of the envelopes are released into the park every day, placed in lots of different locations. Hint: check the tacklebox of the Lego fisherman standing on the bridge near Coastersaurus!
These hidden Mr. Gold envelopes contain a variety of small souvenirs, most commonly we saw people getting a pop badge (but not Mr. Gold!), a minifigure, and a keychain. So it’s definitely worth the hunt!
The Lego Movie world is open
The opening of the Lego Movie World was delayed a few times because of the pandemic but it is now open and tons of fun!
This new area took over what was once Lego Friends Heartlake City, with some new rides and some revamped to the new theme.
New attractions include Emmet’s Flying Adventure (similar to the Soarin’ ride in Disneyland), and Unikitty’s Disco Drop (so much fun!), and Emmet’s Super Suite where you can meet Emmet and other characters from The Lego Movie.
Mia’s Riding Camp has been revamped into Queen Watevra’s Carousel, and Heartlake Stables is now Build Watevra You Wa’na Build. Wok ‘N Bowl Ramen has been renamed Everything is Ramen, and Heartlake City Boutique is now Awesome Shop.
The giant splash pad is still there and next to it they have built a big climbing structure modeled after Benny’s spaceship.
NEW! LEGO rebuild the world: Planet Legoland
Another fun new area is Lego Rebuild the World. Located in the Imagination Zone, this indoor building area is a great place to take a break and let kids build to their hearts delight. There are also some pretty cool Lego builds worth checking out!
When you are done building your creation you can add it to the giant Lego globe in the middle of the room!
Upcoming events at Legoland California
Legoland California has definitely been stepping it up with special events this year. In August and September Legoland hosted the Ninjago 10th Anniversary celebration with a virtual reality challenge that earned you a special collectible gold medallion. Later in September there is a LEGO VIDYO™ Music Fest, an all-new, family-friendly music festival.
Brick or Treat nights is a really fun event that takes place every weekend in October. While some things have changed, I did cover this event in a blog post a few years back. We’ll be there this year so check back to see how it was!
In December, Legoland Holidays arrive with even more fun holiday events and (as we have been told) new pop badges! And of course there is the Legoland New Year’s Eve celebration, with a “kid-friendly” New Year countdown around between 6-7 pm.
is it worth it to visit legoland california in 2021?
Yes! Now is a great time to visit Legoland California. Crowds are lower, almost all of the rides are open, the majority of attractions are outdoors, and there are fun new rides in The Lego Movie World. Mask up, bring hand sanitizer and wipes, and just ask for an MC’s help if you aren’t comfortable sitting next to strangers on rides. Be safe and have fun!