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This was not our first time in Legoland California, but it was our first time as a family of 5! I was a little bit nervous because I didn’t know if our 1yr. old was going to enjoy the park at all. Thankfully, we had a great time and I wanted to share with you some Legoland California tips so you can also have an amazing family vacation.

Family in front of legoland califonia castle hotel

 

Plan to stay at a Legoland Hotel

There are two hotels in Legoland California the Legoland Hotel and the Castle Hotel (new!). We have been to Legoland twice now, once staying at the Legoland hotel and once as a day trip. We all unanimously prefer the trip where we stayed at the Legoland Hotel. It really changes the experiences for the kids, and the grown-ups too.

 

Child in form of Legoland California Hotel

The hotel is basically lego heaven, there are lego themed rooms, nightly entertainment for the kids, and lego play areas all over the hotel. Staying at the hotel also includes a free breakfast buffet and early access to the park. For the parents, there’s a bar located in the lobby of the hotel, and just the opportunity to take a break during the day, especially if you have little ones is great!!

Child in from of lego chwebacca

If staying in the Legoland hotel is out of your budget there are hotels near Legoland California that would be a good options like Hyatt House Carlsbad, Carlsbad by the Sea Resort, Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach, and Fairfield Inn & Suites Carlsbad.

Children with unikitty Legoland california

Use the Legoland App

The Legoland app was a lifesaver, especially the interactive park map. It made everything so much more efficient, no more carrying a round a flimsy paper map or wandering around to find a ride with shorter wait times. You can find ride wait times, show times, and dining options as well.

Children in front of Legoland California Chima waterpark

Hit the Waterpark Early

If you go in the summer, I recommend you go to the waterpark first. It is much less crowded in the morning than in the afternoon. Bring a change of clothes, so you can change afterwards and enjoy the rest of the park nice and dry. We stored all of our valuable items in the lockers and just carried around our towels in the waterpark, but I wish I had taken a waterproof phone pouch so I could take pictures of the kids in the water.

Child inside Legoland California lego armor

The Best Legoland Rides for the Whole Family

There are so many good rides, but our favorites were the Adventurer’s Club in fun town, Fairy Tale Brook, Heartlake Stables, Mia’s Riding Camp, Driving School and Sky Patrol. Our little girl loved everything in Heartlake, and our older boy loved Driving School. In the water park our favorites were the Wave Pool, Duplo Splash Safari, and the Soak and Sail.

Vegan hamburger Legoland California tips to eat vegan 

Enjoy Legoland Restaurants with Vegetarian and Vegan Options

I always carry around healthy cookies or bag of trail mix in my bag for trips like these, in case they are no vegan options available, but I was pleasantly surprised at the vegan options and the friendly staff who had no problem accommodating my requests. (Legoland does allow you to bring in small snack and water.)

Child with lego california hot dos character

We had lunch at the Castle Hotel (the restaurant is open to the public). Which I’m so glad we did, because it gave us the opportunity to cool off and enjoy a beer with our meal. I had the impossible burger, a veggie soup, and some hummus and vegetables. There are more vegan options inside the park as well. The Market, which is a sort of convenience store/café has plenty of nuts, chips, baby pouch purees, fresh fruit cups, and popsicles.

children in castle lock up Legoland california tips

Fun Town’s Urban Kitchen has a nice salad bar and they offer a tofu and veggie bowl as well. Wok n’bowl ramen has a tofu stir fry with rice, and in the Ninja Kitchen there is a tofu Bahn mi. Last but not least the pizza and pasta buffet has a huge salad bar and you can order a cheese-less pizza or some noodles with marinara.

Disclaimer:  I received two complimentary media passes to Legoland, but all opinions and thoughts are my own.

 

DisclosureI received a free SunBasket box for reviewing purposes, but all opinions and thoughts are my own.

Sunbasket is a meal plan delivery service that uses organic and seasonal ingredients, and brings them right to your door. They have recently started offering a vegan meal service, and I have been super curious about the whole thing and wanted to try it out myself. I ‘m going to be honest, I was skeptical about the whole thing, because in the past I worked for a while as a personal chef, and I cook all my meals from scratch.

Sunbasket Vegan Meal Plan Review, I try their service out so you don't have to. Sunbasket is a meal plan delivery service that offers organic and seasonal ingredients.

The box was delivered right to my front door, and I opened it right away thinking that I had to put the stuff in the fridge. The box was insulated and had a huge ice pack, so there was no reason to worry about the food spoiling. Inside the box was a recipe booklet and 3 large brown paper bags with 3 meals: Deconstructed Samosas, Moo Shu Tofu Lettuce Wraps, and Three Mushroom Risotto. All vegan of course.

Sunbasket Vegan Meal Plan Review, I try their service out so you don't have to. Sunbasket is a meal plan delivery service that offers organic and seasonal ingredients.

That evening I cooked the deconstructed samosas, which I really liked. The recipe was very well written with specific instructions and cooking tips, and all the ingredients I needed were right in the bag. The box I received was for two people and the portion size was just right. It was nice not having to worry about what I was going to make for dinner, and it was very convenient to have everything on hand.

I cooked the other recipes later in the week. My only complaint is that I wish the moo shu lettuce wraps had been moo shu pancakes instead. That would’ve been very good! Because it was just me eating the meals I was able to have some of the leftovers for lunch the next day. I think my favorite part was the variety in the meals, and that there were specialty ingredients like tamarind paste, and wood ear mushrooms that I would’ve had to go to 3 different stores to find. In terms of the price, the box I was sent (3 meals for two people) is $11.99 per meal, which comes out to about $75 a week.

Would I use this service for my family?? Unfortunately, they don’t offer a vegan family plan yet, but if I didn’t have any children this is definitely how I would make my meals. It’s less expensive than going out to eat, and everything is organic.
Actually, now that I think about it, when I just had baby number 3 I was looking for a vegan meal service that would deliver to my house, but I couldn’t find one. I think you could even use it when you’re traveling. Last year we visited some friends in California and the only vegan person was me, our host had to go out of her way to make sure I had vegan meals. Next time, I would just have Sunbasket do a delivery to her house, so she doesn’t have to worry. All in all, I’m pretty happy and pleasantly surprised with Sunbasket  and do recommend them!

 

 

 

 

Waking up at 3:30 am was not what I had in mind for the start of our vacation, but if we wanted to make our reservation for lunch at Chez Panisse, we had to.

Chez Panisse is a restaurant in Berkeley, CA. It was founded by Alice Waters in 1971. It is said to be the birthplace of the farm to table,-organic-sustainable-California cuisine movement that has now swept the country. But back then it was a small house turned into an improvised restaurant, run by a couple of college graduates with hardly any experience in the industry.

The reason why Chez Panisse is so important and why we wanted to visit, is the fact that it has played such an important role in making American cuisine what it is today and forged a path in establishing a relationship with the farmers that grow our food.

At Chez Panisse the menu changes daily with the seasons and the ingredients are local and organic. We are fortunate enough that spring is in full bloom right now, so the menu included tender peas, buttery fava beans, and baby artichokes. The food was simple, unpretentious, and well executed, oh, and did I mention delicious. The ambiance and the decor was not what I expected. I though we were going to literally walk into an old house filled with a couple of tables, but instead we walked into a rustic house decorated with elegant and modern touches.

I didn’t take any pictures of the food because I find it to be an interruption to the dining experience as a whole, so sorry if you were expecting a detailed description of our lunch. The next stop on our vacation is Napa, Yountville, St. Helena, and a lot more wine drinking. Thankfully, after lunch at Chez Panisse waking up so early doesn’t seem like it was a hardship at all.

Lunch at Chez Panisse, the food was simple, unpretentious, and well executed, oh, and did I mention delicious.

Lunch at Chez Panisse, the food was simple, unpretentious, and well executed, oh, and did I mention delicious.