Friday, April 20, 2018

Legoland delights: SoCal theme park offers fun for children of all ages

Penelope Margaret and James Brian Ganner prepare their take off for a day of frolic at Legoland, north of San Diego.
Ready for their Legoland close-ups, from left:  Amarylla Ganner, Penelope Ganner,
Christene Meyers, aka Cookie, and James Brian Ganner, on a recent visit to the resort.



LEGOLAND is more fun than I'd imagined.  But only if undertaken with a least one child.  Two is better. Add their energetic mother and you're set for a time of adventure, laughs, discovery, family togetherness.
James and Peny Ganner pose in front of a giant Lego dinosaur.
I invited my niece, Amarylla Ganner, and her two eager youngsters, Penelope and James Ganner. (James is building an entire Lego city and is enraptured with Legos.)  The three flew in from San Francisco so we headed north to Carlsbad to check into a lovely ocean view room. The welcoming Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad is a quick five minutes from famed Legoland, whose locations include Europe and Asia. The SoCal Legoland has its own flashy lego-theme hotel, too, but we opted for the ocean view the Hilton offered. We were pleased with friendly, helpful personnel, a lovely happy hour with fine fare and decent wine, quiet rooms, pleasant landscaping and made-to-order breakfasts in a cheery environment.
"Wow." Peny and her mum, Amarylla, enjoy the Coast Cruise 
which takes passengers via waterway to view landmarks,
animals and famous buildings from around the world.
Checking into a pretty ocean-view room at
Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad: Amarylla,
Peny and James Ganner and Auntie Cookie.
James and Peny Ganner give the peace sign to chef Kevin,
as thanks for their custom-made breakfast.
WE ENJOYED a pleasant dinner, the kids played in the pool then we slept, dined on the kids' favorite chocolate chip pancakes, served by cheery  chef Kevin.  We hit the decks early for a fun, full and happy day of "Legoland" overload.  Legos, if you've been on another planet, are those interlocking plastic bricks made by a smart Dane in 1949.  Kids love them as they're both play toys and an educational tool. Legoland's huge theme park has dozens of attractions, rides, shows, shops and restaurants. Most families plan at least two days to do it justice.  We crammed our visit into a single long day, knowing we'll return.

A fascinating Legoland New York scene
is in one of several miniature cities.
--Amarylla Ganner photo
 THE SHORT DRIVE from the Garden Inn took us through an imposing entrance lined with all manner of Lego movie and cartoon characters -- lifesize and larger.  The invention is Danish and the name 'Lego' is an abbreviation of two Danish words "leg godt," meaning "play well." We certainly did, beginning with a fun cruise around the world, through Miniland's array of iconic buildings: the Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, Big Ben -- all made of legos. Millions and millions of Legos.
James says "way cool" to the
Legoland Taj Mahal, a bit smaller
than the original in India.
On to a Lego "Star Wars" display with all the beloved characters, then Castle Hill with its "Dragon Coaster," which the kids loved.  Legoland's Ninjago World offers a rock climb and temple build. There are pharaohs, fairies, stables with Lego horses to ride and a dig for dinos.
THE THEME park is enjoyable for adults, too, but it's much more fun with a kid or two in tow.  The friendly staff trades Lego figures, and our kids came prepared.
Handicapped access is available throughout the resort and children with developmental difficulties get special attention.
The expansive, well organized attraction is divided into three parts, with a beautifully designed aquarium and a fun water park too. Too much for a single day, so Legoland, prepare: we'll be back.

Josh Young and Ester Rada star
in "Soul Doctor" at the Lyceum.
Their chemistry is electric.
BEST BET: A high-energy biographical musical, "Soul Doctor," is on stage in San Diego only through April 22 at the Lyceum Theatre  downtown. The high-energy musical tale tells the unlikely but true story of real-life "singing rabbi" Shlomo Carlebach and his remarkable  friendship with singer Nina Simone, the high priestess of soul. A spirited and versatile cast, particularly the two lead players, tell the fascinating story with fun dancing, and creative staging which includes musicians both on stage and in the wings. Catch it at the Lyceum before the show begins a world tour that includes Israel, where Rada grew up and is a star. One of the hottest bands to play the Lyceum conveys the delightful score and many of the actors play instruments too. The Holy Beggars are conducted by talented Rick Fox on piano.

The view from The Boathouse Restaurant offers a stunning
look at the Hotel Del Coronado, 
 **************UP NEXT:
Coronado, known to locals as "the 
Island," is home to around 25,000 people.
Located in San Diego County, it is a prized
vacation spot with gentle surf, inviting beaches,
a charming main street with pretty shops, 
terrific theater by Lamb's Players and great 
hotels, including the famous Hotel del Coronado.
We visit this romantic getaway next week. 
Remember to explore, learn and live and catch
us Fridays when we post for each weekend.


  1. Brighton Beach LoversApril 20, 2018 at 10:09 PM

    We read this with great enjoyment as we have booked a trip to southern California with our grandchildren. We will build this into our plan, and thank you for the spirited Legoland report, and hotel recommendation to Hilton Garden Inn. We booked a time that should take us out of next winter's doldrums in the UK.

  2. Portland park loversApril 21, 2018 at 10:51 AM

    The sheer fun of this adventure shines through in happy photos and lively prose. Delightful.

  3. Tennessee TravelersApril 21, 2018 at 11:45 AM

    Had a chance to get to Legoland late last year. Love it. Happy memories.