(disclosure: I was given media passes, but all opinions are my own, and we LOVED it!)
We just got back from a family vacation to Orlando, and of course, it was amazing. We packed tons of fun in, but today I want to talk specifically about LEGOLAND. I’m just going to put it out there – I liked LEGOLAND better than Universal Studios. Yep! It was SO GOOD, such a great experience, and I want the world to know, so I pulled together this post. Legoland – for older kids!
When I mentioned to family and friends that we were going to LEGOLAND Florida near Orlando, several said “it’s great for younger kids!”, or “it’s a perfect park for little ones”, etc. And I knew that – we went to LEGOLAND California when my oldest was as old as my youngest is now, so with kids that were baby through about 5 years old. And it was really great for younger kids, everyone is right. BUT, it’s also really great for older kids – this time around my kids are 7, 9, 11, and 13, and it was great for us. So I want to focus on how LEGOLAND is great for older kids, because it is! (and, spoiler alert – the WATERPARK sealed the deal, so fun!)
Legoland – for older kids!
LEGO Theme – Remember, our family really loves LEGOS – like really really loves them. So a whole park dedicated to the awesomeness of LEGOs is going to appeal to them, no matter what age. Even Trevor and I loved all the LEGO touches that non-LEGO people wouldn’t appreciate.
Relaxed Atmosphere – keep in mind we had been to Universal Studios the day before, where it was crazy and busy with people everywhere. We LOVED the more relaxed atmosphere of LEGOLAND. It wasn’t crowded, people weren’t rushing from attraction to attraction. Everyone there was relaxed and having fun. You could definitely feel that difference, and so could my kids. They even commented “today is just such a relaxing fun day!” about halfway through our day.
RIDES – let’s just hit this first because everyone wonders how the rides are for older kids – and they were really great! All of my kids could ride all of the rides (at least the ones we picked), and I love that no one was left behind waiting. And the rides were FUN! Some of the rides at Universal I got off feeling sick, etc, and the ones at LEGOLAND I got off thinking they were just all-out fun! They weren’t trying to be over-the-top, they were just trying to be enjoyable and they succeeded. If you have older kids that are hesitant to ride bigger rides at other amusement parks, LEGOLAND is a perfect opportunity for them. And on the flip side, my kiddos love all extreme bigger rides, but still had a blast on these. Some rides that my older kids especially enjoyed were:
FLYING SCHOOL – it’s a ride where your feet dangle, so it definitely appeals to the older kids. It’s longer than you think it will be (but not too long) and had a perfect thrill level without being crazy.
THE DRAGON – this one has a bit of theatrical feel to it and goes in and outside, we loved the balance of ride and special effects.
COASTERSAURUS – a wooden rollercoaster that’s just all-out fun, not too jerky or rough like some wooden roller coasters we’ve ridden.
BOATING SCHOOL – you would think that older kiddos wouldn’t want to drive a slow boat around a pre-designated course, but they did! There’s just something about being able to navigate a vehicle that never gets old and appeals to all ages. They loved that they could ride by themselves. It wasn’t a thrill ride, but it was still one of their favorites.
And it was a ride where I could get lots of pics 😉
MIA’S RIDING ADVENTURE – even though this was in the LEGO Friends section (which leans towards girls), my boys were still excited to try the ride – and it didn’t disappoint! It spins and rocks and they had a blast on it! you can see, they’re the blue-shirt crew with hands up 😉 Again, I loved that all of us (ages 7-adult) were able to ride all these rides.
KID POWER TOWERS – no pics since I was busy pulling myself to the top! These are fun and a bit different from typical theme-park rides because it’s self-powered. My older kids loved pulling themselves up and racing one another to the top.
PROJECT X – this one was just so fun! We rode it several times! It zigs back and forth way up high and it’s just super enjoyable, not too wild and crazy. It got my vote for favorite ride.
got a little sidetracked by all the fun rides… back to why my older kids loved LEGOLAND…
LINES – or lack thereof! We had spent the day before at Universal waiting over an hour on several rides. At LEGOLAND, we were able to walk on to several rides, and when we did have to wait, it was only for a few minutes, probably less than 10 on any ride. THAT was awesome.
PLAY – and if we ever did have to wait in a line, most lines had a little section within the line where kids could build with LEGOS, so they never got bored with standing around.
MINIFIGS – Every employee has a fun custom-made LEGO nametag with a minifig attached, and you can trade them. You offer them a minifig and they’ll trade you and give you theirs. Younger kids like the trading just cause it’s fun, but older kiddos appreciate the awesomeness of cool minifigs, so it makes it fun for them as well. Also at the gift shop are the limited edition minifigs, where you buy a sealed packed with one inside and you never know what you’ll get – that’s fun! In fact after the kids opened theirs Trevor had to go back and buy one for himself 😉
LEGO SCULPTURES – my older kiddos really appreciate seeing all the LEGO sculptures around – they are wowed by everything that goes in to creating them. They love seeing how many bricks and hours it took to make everything, and how big they are, etc.
they kept talking about how real the lego car was, how they used different shades of red brick to create dimension, etc – things that older kids appreciate and admire.
MINILAND – I could probably spend a whole day just staring at all the details of Miniland – it’s mesmerizing! Older kids are old enough to know the landmarks of Vegas and NYC, etc, so they appreciate the fun of miniland. There was also a whole section of Star Wars Miniland – my kids loved it so much that they filmed video in there to post on their YouTube channels 😉
IMAGINATION STATION – if your older kids still love to build with LEGOS like mine do, they’ll love the building activities. Here they built boats and then raced them against each other – it was a hit, because we don’t really have a boat-racing arena set up at home 😉
WATERPARK – if you don’t know, there’s a LEGOLAND Water Park at the back of the main park. You can’t go just to the waterpark, but it’s an add-on to the regular park ticket (but cheap for kiddos). I am weak for waterparks, so this was a huge perk of LEGOLAND. We spent the morning til about 2pm at the main park, then spent the afternoon on the waterpark side. The water WAS a little (a lot?!) chilly, but that may be because we were there in April.
WAVE POOL – my kids love the wave pool, and I loved this one. We’ve been to other wave pools where I was on high-alert and worried the whole time cause the waves were big and the pool was packed, but not the case here. The waves were mild – wavy enough that the kids enjoyed them, but mild enough that I wasn’t freaking out. It was a fun spot for older kids to just play and swim. And extra fun are the foam LEGO bricks floating in the pool, so the kids were building floating rafts, etc. And again, I can’t stress enough, it wasn’t crowded! there was ample room to play, and ample seating to watch (no rush and stress to find empty beach chairs).
LAZY RIVER – in the lazy river, you can actually build with those foam bricks right on your raft – so fun! Older kids had a blast because there were able to have a little more freedom (floated out of sight) and still have fun.
WATER SLIDES – what older kid doesn’t like waterslides?!In fact, these are probably geared more towards older kids – my 7 year old rode them, but I can’t imagine a kiddo younger than that going down it on their own.
SPLASH OUT – They were super fun and didn’t hold back on the thrill factor. One is straight-down, which makes it feel like a waterslide freefall, another is in a tunnel. You don’t land in a pool, you just slide out until you slow down and stand up.
TWIN CHASHERS – these are waterslides that you ride on an inner-tube, And you can ride single or double. My older kids loved the option to ride on their own. We went down these over and over again!
It was really a ton of fun – probably my favorite ride on the water side.
JOKER SOAKER – this is the one thing we found, in both parks, that didn’t really appeal to my 13-yr-old. He sat out in the warm sun while the younger kiddos played around for a big at Joker Soaker. It could be because the water was super cold!!
SHOPPING – of course! My older kids saved up $$ so they could pick up a LEGO set while there were there. Because you know, LEGOs!!
Legoland – for older kids! RECAP:
My older kids had a blast!! They loved it and I would hands-down recommend LEGOLAND for older kids. In fact, I think it was an awesome age in which to experience the park and really appreciate all that it has to offer. We gravitated towards the rides that appealed to them, and they had a blast. We didn’t spend any time in the younger-kid areas such as DuploLand, etc, so I’m not sure how those are. We also missed the show, but walked past near the end and it seemed pretty fun.
Just a few general things to note for travel tips:
–we spent our morning in LEGOLAND and crossed over to the waterpark area around 2pm (check the schedule, because the waterpark isn’t always open, and it’s definitely worth it to go on a day when it’s open)
–we brought snack food with us and ate that around lunchtime – we bought a small chicken-finger meal to share in the later afternoon and then were able to wait til we left the park to have dinner offsite.
–since we planned on the waterpark, we had a large bag that we needed to stow in a locker – locker rental was a little pricey, but worth it to not have to carry our swim towels and gear around the whole day. Once we got to the waterpark side, we were able to set the bag on some beach chairs in the wave pool area as a “home base”.
–we spent one day total at LEGOLAND and I think we had plenty of time to see and ride the things that we wanted to – we didn’t ride every single ride in the park, or catch the show, but I feel like 1 day was sufficient time.
–there is a resort right next door to the park – we didn’t stay there, but I would consider it in the future – it looked super convenient to be able to just walk from the park to your hotel room!