Why I think Legoland > Disneyland
I have something to say. It’s kind of controversial, but I’m going to say it anyway. We just returned from a family getaway to Southern California… and we had more fun at Legoland than we did at Disneyland.
Now just hold your King Arthur’s Carousel Horses! I didn’t say we didn’t like Disneyland – we loved it. We are big Disney fans. It’s just that we had a BETTER experience at Legoland. Here are 7 reasons why we think Legoland > Disneyland.
1. Crowd control
We visited both theme parks on weekdays two weeks before Christmas. Legoland had manageable (dare I say small) crowds. Disneyland was a madhouse. We took advice from friends and were inside the Disney park for “rope drop”. (the official opening for the general public. Crowds congregate at the end of Main Street USA near the Walt and Mickey statue, ready to beeline for a favourite ride as soon as the ropes fall.) We found we could get onto rides from 8am to 10am at Disneyland, and after that, if we didn’t have a Genie+ pass available, we very likely couldn’t get on a ride unless we were willing to wait more than 60 minutes, at best.
It was a very different story at Legoland. Often, we’d come to the end of a ride and there would be very few people waiting to board – we could just stay on and ride again! The girls were tall enough (over 48”) to do most rides alone. We could stand and watch and see both ride lines and the rides themselves, in most cases, and could let them go alone if we needed a “ride break”. I think the longest we waited for a ride at Legoland was about 10 minutes – but for most rides we just walked right on.
On our first visit to Legoland in 2018, we saw a couple of characters, but this time around it seemed like there were characters zipping around the park constantly! We snapped pics with Benny, King, Knight, Princess, Santa, Gingerbread Man and Soldier! The best part was that when we spotted a character, the girls could run right up to them and we’d usually not have to wait for more than one kid or family in front of us! We did get a handful of pics with characters at Disneyland too, however, they involved waiting in much longer lines. (The character experience at Disneyland is outstanding – the characters all do a wonderful job of making kids feel special, signing autographs and posing for pics – it just always involved a significant wait.)
Simply put, there is no downtime at Disneyland. At Disneyland, you hustle! Get up early, because your prime riding time is first thing in the morning! Scanned your Genie+ pass for a ride? Better get cracking on booking that next one or you’ll miss a ride window. Disneyland is GO, GO, GO. Legoland has a number of spots throughout the park where you can step inside and just pause to build something. This was VERY popular with my little Lego fanatics. They loved building cars in the Ferrari Race and Build (that one scored bonus points with my husband too!), creating wall art in the Lego Dots Gallery, and adding creations to the giant globe in Planet Lego! It was great to have those opportunities to chill without having major FOMO.
4. Bathrooms and bottle fillers
Dumb reason? Maybe, but it was one that stood out to me. At Legoland, there were bathrooms at every turn, and every one of them had a water fountain AND upright water bottle filler. At Disneyland, I found the bathrooms to be fewer and further between, a little tucked away and hidden, and only some had water fountains, and NONE had water bottle fillers.
This one might be a draw. Legoland has more rides, and you can ride them more often. I lost track of how many times the girls went on Unikitty’s Disco Drop and the Emmet’s Flying Adventure. As for Disney, I can probably count on one hand the number of rides that we were able to hit more than once. That said, Disney rides are a bit more epic and last longer than the typical Legoland ride. But at Legoland you can ride your favourites over and over again!
6. Photo ops
Legoland has what seems like zillions of cool photo ops! Peek through a giant shark mouth or Lion’s head (made of Lego, of course), sit with the bunny driver in the giant Lego car (make sure you beep the horn!) and peer through the diving cage in the Legoland Sea Life Aquarium! Disneyland probably also has great photo ops – I just couldn’t find any of them as I was trying to work my way through throngs of people at every turn! (Gate admission for an “average” day at Disneyland is estimated at 50,000 people, with the peak being estimated at about 80,000 people!)
Disney gets the advantage here, as it truly covers all ages. Legoland is definitely geared to a younger crowd, mainly the under-10 set. But, if you are travelling with kids in that age group (as we were) you just might feel like Legoland wins this one too! Legoland also includes some cool play areas – the Duplo play area, the Hideaways treehouse playground, and a brand new Ninjago playground that was just about to open at the time of our visit. Those will definitely score points with the littles!
The point of this article is not to dump on Disneyland, but to give you pause to consider another theme park option – especially if your kids LOVE Lego as much as mine do! We even surprised them with a stay at the Legoland Castle Hotel! Read about our experience HERE!
Our visits to Legoland and Disneyland were NOT hosted, and the opinions are entirely my own.