Sam is the mother of two young boys, Juju and Blaze. Their family enjoys going on trips, crafting, learning, and exploring.
In December 2016, our family decided to take our first family vacation to Legoland in Orlando, Florida. My boys were three and five at the time. Between our stay at the resort hotel and our exploration of the theme park, we had an absolute blast. I hope that learning about our Legoland experience will be useful for anyone who is looking to take a family vacation of their own!
In this article, you will find detailed information about:
- booking your room.
- why the Legoland Resort is a great place for a family vacation.
- how to pay for your stay.
- the check-in and lobby experience.
- the various themed rooms at the resort.
- the resort's gorgeous outdoor areas.
- areas of the Legoland theme park (Heartlake City, Duplo Valley, World of CHIMA, Lego Kingdom, Miniland USA, Lego Technic, Imagination Zone, Lego City, and Land of Adventure).
I've also included an FAQ section along with our overall impression of the resort and theme park. Continue scrolling to learn more!
Note: This review does not include information on the waterpark, the beach resort, Cypress Gardens, or the Ninjago area.
Booking Your Stay at Legoland
All bookings can be made online through the Legoland website. Before booking, however, I would strongly recommend taking a look at the park hours and making sure it will be open during the dates you plan to take your vacation. It should be open for most of the summer, but if you're weirdos like us and like to travel during off-times, it would be in your best interest to make sure accommodations can be made.
Why should you choose the Legoland Resort?
When you book your stay, you will be given the option to choose a room at the Legoland Resort, the Legoland Beach Resort, or one of the surrounding hotels. If you have small children, I would highly recommend you book at the Legoland Resort. Here's why.
- It is literally right next to theme park. To go to the park all you have to do is walk out of the resort and go next door. No painful car rides. No "are we there yets?" You. Are. There. I believe the beach resort is still on the property but a short walk from the park. All other accommodations will require you either to drive or be shuttled to the park.
- It is like an extension of Legoland. The other perk of staying at the hotel is it feels like you are in Legoland for the entire duration of your stay. Our boys didn't mind at all when we had to leave the park, because they found the hotel just as fun. In my opinion, you really get your money's worth.
- The attention to detail is incredible. The bathrooms are solid proof of how dedicated the designers were to making this a resort for kids. Next to the standard adult-sized sinks, there are kid-sized sinks as well.
- The food at the resort restaurant was decent. As for adding meals to the package, the food at Bricks Restaurant wasn't too bad. I believe you can add this to your package later if you do not want to do it at booking. You can also pay as you would at a restaurant when you get there if you aren't certain you want to add it to your package at all.
- Breakfast is free. A free buffet-style breakfast is offered every morning. You'll get a card with your time slot on it at check-in.
- You can access the pool while you wait to check in. As long as you pay a visit to the front desk first, you will have full access to the resort's amenities even before being able to check into your room. This includes the pool! You can also leave your bags with the bellman until your room is ready.
- Tickets to the park may come with the room. Depending on your booking, you may get two-day children's tickets for the parks. Even if this deal isn't available for your stay, another one might be. Check the site for special offers.
Paying for Your Stay
We booked our trip several months in advance and paid it off over time. This was probably the most frustrating part about it because I had to call in to make payments. They did not have an online portal to track what I owed or make payments. I found this a bit irritating and hope that they have or will improve this system. That being said, the attendants were always very helpful and kind. They have great customer service.
When you check in at the hotel, anything that remains on your balance plus the usual resort fees and incidentals will need to be paid.
Note: There is currently a resort fee of $25 plus tax per night. This includes self-parking, Wi-Fi, a model builders workshop, local phone calls, pool access (and towels!), and nightly children's entertainment.
Check-In and Lobby Experience
Checking in at this resort was a blast! The atmosphere is fun, and your kids can play while you take care of the boring stuff. You will all receive badges from the front desk (new visitors get a special badge as a souvenir to commemorate their first visit!), and if you'd like, you can request to see the dragon blow off some steam. The reception desk is also your first opportunity to trade mini figures with model citizens (Legoland employees). My boys enjoyed trading minis with the model citizens and even some other kids as well. They didn't really care what the minis looked like, they just enjoyed the opportunity to trade and interact with others.
What's there to do in the lobby?
- There are lots of Legos, including huge Lego pits your kids can play in (within your view) while you check in.
- Eat at Bricks Restaurant, the buffet-style family restaurant. (Mini figure mascots and Lego Friends stop by and chat with the kids here.)
- Stop by the Skyline Lounge, where you can order food and drinks (mocktails and cocktails included).
- Check out the pirate ship/castle, complete with lots of Legos to play with. (At certain times of the day, characters stop by and put on shows that the kids have an opportunity to be a part of.)
- Join one of the master building competitions open to kids of all ages.
- Take part in the pajama dance party at the end of the day. (My boys loved the pajama dance party—and to be honest, my husband and I really enjoyed it too!)
- Visit the party rooms and mini theater just off the lobby. They played The Lego Movie on repeat while we were there, but now that there are a few other Lego movies, I'm sure there is a bit more variety in the showings.
The lobby leads out to the pool, fire pit, and boardwalk on Lake Eloise. It is also where you catch the disco elevator to get to your room.
The castle has a stage for daily story times and shows for the kids, all of which the children get to actively participate in. It has plenty of things for them to climb on and lots of "Lego pools" where the kids can build and play. There's also a huge chalkboard for drawing.
It is surrounded by the Skyline Lounge and Bricks Restaurant, so parents and guardians who are eating or relaxing can keep an eye on their kids.
We started and ended our days at Bricks. The selection was decent for picky eaters, adult and child alike. There are lots of kid favorites like mac and cheese, quesadillas, chicken nuggets, french fries, and pizza, but there are also some adult choices like steak, salmon, and a salad bar. The chefs may also be able to make semi-custom orders for you if you ask nicely.
Mini figures and friends often stop by to say hello to the kids and will actually take time to sit down and chat with you while you eat if you like. Everyone is so friendly! The service here is the best.
Amazing Themed Rooms
We opted for the pirate-themed room for our stay. Everything is decorated beautifully and is perfectly on theme. The amenities are pretty standard, but everything is clean and well maintained. My favorite feature of the room is the divided space between the grown-up area and kids area. It's basically two rooms in one.
The Kid Room (Adults Keep Out!)
The kids' space has a bunk bed with a rollout bed underneath. Beside each of the bunk beds is a personal night light the kids can control. The kids also have their own TV where they can watch a variety of kids programming, the Lego movie(s), and Lego Mini Figure Mascots running amok on the security cameras.
The Grown-Up Room
In the adult space, there is a king-sized bed, TV, dresser, outlets, and personal lighting. It is all very comfortable and clean. I have stayed at many hotels over the years, and this was one of the nicest rooms I've ever had.
Our Favorite Amenities:
- Kids' Scavenger Hunt: All rooms come with a scavenger hunt for the kids to unlock the special treasure chest. I won't spoil the surprises inside, but they make for entertaining souvenirs to take home.
- Free Beverages: There are complimentary juices and waters in the room (restocked daily). There's even a coffee maker!
- Legos (of course!): Each room has a Lego box to keep the kids occupied while in the room.
The rooms come in a variety of themes, such as Lego Friends, pirates, adventure (think Indiana Jones), and kingdom. There are also beach-themed rooms at the beach resort.
Take Advantage of the Resort's Outdoor Areas
As fun as the hotel interior is, don't miss the chance to explore the resort's outdoor amenities!
Enjoy the Pool and Make S'mores at the Fire Pit
The pool is located behind the hotel and is extremely kid-friendly. Along the side of the pool are stacks of life vests in every size you could possibly need for your little ones to swim safely and independently in the pool. There are also loads of huge floating Lego bricks that can be built into floaties, fortresses, or anything else your little master builder(s) can imagine. To the right of the pool is a sprinkler area, and on the left is the fire pit, where you can roast marshmallows at sunset and make s'mores.
Stroll the Boardwalk and Go Boating on Lake Eloise
Along the back and side of the pool, you can walk on the boardwalk set on Lake Eloise. It is beautiful! It makes for a nice little break for grown-ups who feel a bit Lego'd out. I'm sorry to say I lost most of my pictures of it because I dropped my phone in the swimming pool during the second day there and not all my photos were backed up. Fortunately, I did post some on Google Maps before then that I can still share.
The hotel offers boat rides on the lake for anyone who would like to sign up. We were so exhausted from running around during our stay there we never made it to the boat ride, but I think it is something we will make time for the next time we visit.
Since the park is right behind the pool, you can also catch a glimpse of Legoland's Island in the Sky ride.
Entering the Park
When you first enter the park, you are greeted by a dinosaur who has a mischievous little mini figure on his head. If you aren't interested in getting wet, you may want to stay as close as you can to the dinosaur's feet!
We pretty much sidestepped everything except the holiday display until we reached the carousel. The carousel has two levels! Of course, my little guys needed to try the top and bottom levels to make sure they weren't missing out.
To the left of the carousel is the Lego Friends Heartlake City area. They were too small for Mia's Riding Adventure, but they had fun playing in the car and by the rock and roll fountain before we headed through Duplo Valley.
Duplo blocks are for the youngest Lego enthusiasts, so this entire area is dedicated to the little ones. There is an indoor play area where kids and parents can get out of the sun for a while (or alternatively, escape a sudden shower!). There is also a sprinkler attraction for kids to play in, a tractor ride, a train ride, and all sorts of adorable Lego figures all around for kids to play in and pose by.
World of CHIMA
After going through the Duplo Valley, we reached the World of CHIMA, our favorite area in the park (though when we first reached it, we were told that particular area was not open yet). We were making use of our extended brick time* and had arrived in the park as early as we could at 9 am. Since World of CHIMA is mostly a water play area, it strictly did not open until 10 am.
The area itself doesn't have too many attractions. There are some places to play with Legos, a few retail booths that were not open at the time we went, a giant sprinkler attraction, and—in our opinion—the best ride in the whole park: Quest for CHI.
*Apparently, Bonus Brick Time is no longer offered.
Quest for CHI
There is a chance that you will not get wet if you go on this ride on a day where there aren't many people and most of the people who are around are very polite. However, it's more likely that if you get on this ride, you will be drenched. There are waterfalls on the ride and various splashes and sprinklers, BUT most of the water in this ride comes from kids in other boats shooting you with their water guns and bystanders spraying you from the sidelines (rest assured your water guns reach them too).
If you get too wet, there are blow-drying machines near the exit of the ride to help you not feel so soggy afterward. These do cost extra, but they're pretty fun.
We are a troublesome crew, so we loved the chaos, but if you do not want to partake in such festivities, it may be best to head straight to the Lego Kingdom.
If you opted out of the dryer in the World of CHIMA, you can hop on Merlin's Challenge to dry off. This is one of those typical spinning rides that go around super fast. I knew it as the Himalaya growing up, but similar rides are found at carnivals and fairs with various other names.
The Kingdom had a few rides my boys were just too short for, including a jousting ride and the dragon roller coaster, but all four of us enjoyed playing together in the Forestman's Hideout. This is one of the many playground areas you can find in the park. It includes oversized Lego blocks to build with, slides, obstacle courses, and plenty of room to run around. We spent quite a lot of time playing here; it was actually pretty hard to convince the boys to move on.
From the Lego Kingdom, you can either head to the Land of Adventure or Miniland USA. We were drawn to all the miniature monuments, so we decided to go there first. We did not expect to spend as much time in this area as we ended up spending. Each monument has interactive features to engage the audience! My boys were particularly fond of the Nascar drag race.
In addition to the real monuments in Miniland, such as New York City and Vegas, Miniland also includes some fictional worlds such as various places found in Star Wars. The Star Wars section was particularly cool because it included life-sized Lego figures of Darth Vader, R2D2, and Darth Maul.
This area alone shows why Legoland is so unique. It would've been impressive enough just to have the sculptures themselves, but to add movement and interactive features shows that the theme park creators want to go above and beyond to engage their audience. Kids love it, but any adult who has tried to put together a complicated Lego set will appreciate the work and craftsmanship that has gone into creating all the various Lego sculptures found around the park—in this area, especially.
Lego Technic and Imagination Zone
These two areas sort of blended together in our experience (which isn't to say that they aren't awesome).
The Lego Technic area was pretty fun. We enjoyed all the rides there, especially the Kid Power Tower and Technicycle which are rides that are mostly controlled by the riders. The AQUAZONE racers were really fun to ride and just as fun to set off water bombs to splash other riders as we were passing by.
Right next to Lego Technic is the Imagination Zone, which features an oversized head of Albert Einstein. In the Imagination Zone, visitors can create Lego racers and Lego flyers, and complete various other challenges to test their creativity and the patron's understanding of engineering and physics using play. My kids (and my husband) had a blast designing the most aerodynamic Lego cars they could to race against other visitors.
Within the Imagination Zone, there is also a section that allows visitors to create digital Lego fish and play Lego video games. My husband and I tried not to spend too much time on those things because our boys spend a lot of time playing video games already, and we didn't want to spend time on them during vacation. However, this area is a good place to escape a sudden shower or cool off for a while if it is very hot outside.
By the time we reached Lego City on the first day, we were pretty tired and hungry after a full day at the park. We took a ride at the Boating School and got some super delicious ice cream from Firehouse Ice Cream and headed back to the hotel to have dinner and go for a nighttime swim.
On our second day at the park, we raced through—only stopping at the rides we love and wanted another go at—and officially started our park day at Lego City. That being said, this area is mostly for older park visitors. I have a feeling the park is designed with the attractions for younger patrons set closer to the front of the park for a reason. Our kids were definitely spent by the time we reached Lego City on the first day, and if we only had a one-day park ticket, that would have been a day well spent in our opinion.
Boating School Ride
In Lego City, our boys were able to go on the Boating School ride, which is a boat ride around a tiny manmade lake with Lego statues all around that are determined to spray you. I did not have a drivers license at this time and was terrible at steering. Ha. We went on this ride a couple of times, and my sons were always upset when they had to get stuck with me since I was so bad at driving the boat.
Go-Karting for All Ages
They also got to take a ride at the Ford Junior Driving School which is set right next to the Ford Driving School. Both are go-kart tracks that appeal to two different age groups. The Ford Junior Driving School featured toddler-sized cars in various styles, such as taxis, police cars, and fire trucks. This gave me the impression of a tiny city filled with children. So adorable! After the ride concludes, all the riders receive their junior driver licenses. My sons were very amused that they received their licenses before I had received mine (I grew up in NYC, don't judge me).
NFPA Rescue Academy (Better for Older Park Visitors)
The last ride we went on in Lego City was the NFPA Rescue Academy, which is more of a competition than a ride. I'm not sure I would recommend this for small children unless you have some really strong people on your team. You have to pump to push your truck from the start to a "burning building." Then you have to pump to spray the fire and rescue the people inside. Finally, you have to pump to push your truck back to the start before the other teams do. It's an adrenaline-filled workout. I didn't enjoy it very much, but my husband and boys seemed to, although my youngest quit halfway through and had the rest of us pick up the slack for him.
Land of Adventure
Since Lego Ninjago World wasn't open yet when we visited Legoland, our last stop in the park was the Land of Adventure.
The boys were a bit too small for the Coastersaurus, but they enjoyed the Safari Trek so much we went on twice in a row. My oldest son had a tiny meltdown on the Beetle Bounce ride but felt a lot better after playing with the ball cannons in the Pharoah's Revenge. We spent a LOT of time playing in there!
We were all so preoccupied looking for targets in the Lost Kingdom Adventure we didn't even realize when they were taking our picture! To be honest, none of us really knew what was going on in that ride, but we had a lot of fun trying to figure it out. My youngest ended up being the one to get the most points out of all of us!
Movies and Shows at the Park
There are a few shows at the park that run at various times. We saw The Lego Movie 4D Adventure and the Pirate's Cove Live Water Ski Show.
The Lego Movie 4D Adventure is a sequel to The Lego Movie. The heroes from the movie reprise their roles to defeat the evil Risky Business. At the end of the show, kids have an opportunity to take pictures with one of the characters from the movie. In addition to the Lego movie adventure, there is a Nexo Knights show which plays in the same theatre.
The Pirate's Cove show was a bit cheesy in terms of acting in the typical made-for-young-audiences sort of way. The kids don't mind, of course, but the ski stunts made up for it for me as an adult viewer. It was very cute and a lot of fun.
Is Legoland Better Than Disney or Universal?
Legoland was much more affordable than Disney or Universal and offered many more options for small children than most other theme parks we have visited. The hotel is also completely tailored to kids, which actually helps relieve a lot of the stress that comes with traveling with kids.
What Age Group Is Legoland Best for?
The park is designed for children between 2 and 12 years of age, but I think there's something there for everyone. Still, for kids outside the 4–6 range, it's a good idea to go into your park experience knowing where to look.
Best Areas for Toddlers, Tweens, and Teens at Legoland
Toddlers: Duplo Village was made specifically for little ones. In addition to a fun indoor area where kids can play with Duplo blocks (toddler-friendly Legos) and explore the playhouse, the village also features kid-sized tractor and train rides. My 3-year-old loved this part of the park.
The carousel in Fun Town is another good attraction for the park's littlest visitors.
Tweens: The Imagination Zone has an area dedicated to LEGO Mindstorms, where you can practice building and programming computerized robots with help from professional coders. Where else can you get an opportunity like that?! (This area is great for teens, too!)
Heartlake City is also popular among tweens, though it appears to be geared mainly toward girls.
Teens: Coastersaurus, Flying School, Miniland USA and The Quest For Chi could be entertaining for them, but unless your teen is a Lego fanatic, they might not have the best time at this park.
Don't expect to find thrill rides.
I can see how people coming to the park expecting huge, Six-Flags-esque roller coasters and other thrill rides might be disappointed. I'd say that kids from ages 4 to 6 would have the best time here, as the rides are still exciting for them. If, on the other hand, your child has already been on bigger, scarier rides and is looking for that same adrenaline rush, Legoland might not be the best place for you.
Focus on the non-ride parts of the park.
There are lots of rides at Legoland with no height restrictions, which is great for toddlers, but in my opinion, the non-ride parts of the park are just as fun. Between the various play zones and shows, even those who don't want to go on the rides will have plenty to do. Besides, admission is free for children under 3 years old, so you don't have to worry about "wasting money" by taking your toddler to Legoland.
Our resort is BUILT FOR KIDS and specifically children 2-12, although adults without children will enjoy it, it’s a children’s family theme park with pink knuckle roller coasters rather than white knuckle coaster that hit 50mph!
— Kari S., Guest Communications at LEGOLAND Florida Resort
How Many Days Should I Spend at Legoland?
There are more than 50 rides and TONS of other areas to explore, so if you want to experience everything, one day might not be enough. That being said, if you and your family aren't as interested in the non-ride parts of the park and tend to move through theme parks quickly, one day might be enough. I'd recommend sitting down with your family and discussing what you all want out of your Legoland experience before buying tickets.
In our experience, two days gave us enough time to see most of the park. We had to deal with some size limitations, but the Ninjago area wasn't open yet, the water park was closed for the season, the lines were short/nonexistent when we went, and no one but I wanted to visit the Cypress Gardens—so that saved us some time. Even still, we had enough time between the two days to do what we wanted to and then revisit the rides and places we liked best a few times.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Legoland?
The resort site recommends visiting during the school year, from late August to late May, if you want to avoid crowds, though holidays can still be busy.
We went in mid-December, right before the holiday rush, and we experienced basically no lines. The longest line we waited in probably had 10 people ahead of us. As this park becomes more popular, that may change, but we were able to move around very comfortably when we went. There is a special Christmas event that goes on at Legoland around this time, but I purposely planned our trip to avoid the holiday rush, so we didn't get to experience it. I thought maybe the park would be too crowded at that time, but when I asked a model citizen about it, he said the park was never very crowded. This may change in the coming years as the park gains popularity, but it seems even during on-seasons there isn't a huge crowd at the park.
What's the Weather Like at Legoland Orlando?
We went to Legoland Orlando during the second week of December in 2016. I'm not sure how helpful our experience will be since the weather has been so unpredictable lately, but it was hot. I wore jeans the first day out to the park and regretted it terribly. I wore nothing but shorts and sandals for the rest of our time there.
After sunset, the temperature dropped considerably, so sweatpants and hoodies were useful when we went out after dark. The pool was heated, but I wouldn't recommend a night swim. My husband ended up catching a cold from swimming after dark (although he has the immune system of an infant).
In general, temperatures in Florida rarely drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so even if you're there during a "cold snap," it shouldn't be too bad. Honestly, I'd be more worried about it being too hot and humid!
What If It Rains?
The park has a strict weather policy, and many rides close if there is rain or lightning. However, the park promises that if inclement weather affects rides for more than an hour and a half during your visit, you'll get a free ticket to return in the next year. Not too bad!
Will Adults Without Children Enjoy Legoland?
The short answer is YES. If you are a Lego enthusiast, I think you will love it here whether you have children or not.
Lego enthusiasts will be amazed by the craftsmanship.
The park is full of expertly crafted Lego sculptures any enthusiast would love, appreciate, and want to take pictures with.
The rides aren't just for kids.
I am not sure all the rides would appeal to an adult park visitor, but some of them have higher height restrictions and should be fun for adults (my husband underestimated how frightening a "kid coaster" like Project X could be). I would recommend the following rides to adult guests:
- Safari Trek
- Boating School
- The Coastersaurus
- Project X
- The Dragon
- Flying School
- Mia's Riding Adventure
Lego City, Imagination Zone, Cypress Gardens, and Miniland USA are all areas where adults would probably enjoy themselves most in the park. The water acrobatic show at Pirates Cove might have some cheesy acting, but the stunts are pretty cool and the show overall is fun.
It's a one-stop Lego shop.
I can't speak about what is available in the shops as we came to play and not shop and my boys are still in the Duplo/Juniors/simple Lego kit stages of their fandom. However, from what I read, the stores tend to only carry newer Lego kits, so if you are looking for something shiny or rare, you probably won't get it here. Apparently, there are some Legoland exclusives though.
Should I stay at the resort if I don't have kids?
It depends. I am not sure a stay at the hotel would be very comfortable for you as kids are always running around and the hotel really does cater to them specifically. However, if you are someone who loves kids and has a childlike sense of wonder, the hotel might be enjoyable for you as well. The place emanates fun. I have never experienced anything quite like it before.
Overall Impression? We LOVE Legoland!
I, for one, enjoyed this experience so much I wanted to go home and remodel my sons' room into a Lego-themed room. My impression of it was so good and the price was so fair that I even thought we should stay at the hotel every time we visit Florida—whether we intended to go to the theme park or not. You hear a lot of places call themselves "family-friendly," but the Legoland hotel completely redefines what that means.
You hear a lot of places call themselves "family-friendly," but the Legoland hotel completely redefines what that means.
Legoland encourages kids to be KIDS! Get messy, have fun, be wild, be crazy, create, be curious. There are so many things hidden all around the park that only wide-eyed kids seem to pick up on. There is such great attention to detail that even if the lines had been longer than 10 people, kids would still have been entertained while waiting.
There is something for everyone here. I can't imagine that anyone who visits will feel as though they completely missed out on a good time. Not only is the park filled with rides and attractions to entertain, it is also filled with opportunities to learn new things, be creative, and explore.
Samantha Harris (author) from New York on October 04, 2017:
If they still like Legos they might still enjoy it. :)
Dianna Mendez on October 03, 2017:
This was built just as my grandkids entered their teen years. They would have enjoyed being there when they were younger. Thanks for sharing the highlights so families can enjoy their trip.