Legoland California Builds New Attractions to Mark 20 Years and Everything Is Awesome

A Duplo playground, an express train, and several movie tie-ins will have your toddlers in heaven.

Legoland California Builds New Attractions to Mark 20 Years and Everything Is Awesome

Legoland California was the first of the company’s parks in the United States when it opened in 1999.

Courtesy of Legoland California

Legoland California reached the grand old age of 20 this year, and the park has opened several new attractions to celebrate. The biggest change is the repositioning and reimagining of the Duplo Playtown, a primary-colored mini-wonderland of slides, small houses, and static vehicles positioned on a hill overlooking the diminutive buildings of Miniland.

AFAR’s chief playground tester, Oliver Chester (age three), gave the area a rigorous inspection last weekend and confirmed that everything stacks up brilliantly.

In fact he wouldn’t leave, insisting on running back and forth between a motorbike and a jail cell despite the promise of other new attractions for 2019, including the LEGO Movie 2 Experience, which shows tiny, intricate models from the recent smash, and LEGO City 4D—Officer in Pursuit, a new 4D film experience full of wind and water surprises.

The area also includes a new Legoland Express Train, which is “express” in toddlerese alone but entertained the tykes, and several Kid Power Towers that feature chairs attached to ropes that allow children to hoist themselves up and drop themselves back down.


The Duplo Playtown area sits atop a hill in the center of the park.

Courtesy of Legoland California

Guests at the resort’s hotels, including the Legoland Castle Hotel, which opened last year, can access this and other parts of the park earlier than standard ticket holders. The playground’s previous space is currently boarded off, with plans for a secret new area underway. The decor is all about the recent Lego movie, which may give a hint to its future use.

Also marking the resort’s anniversary: free entry for kids under 12 on their birthday for the whole of this year. In fact, birthdays are celebrated well here. During our visit, many rooms at the Castle Hotel had birthday banners on their doors and presumably more goodies inside.

Oliver, who is four weeks shy of four, had to make do with a treasure chest common to all rooms, whose contents (Lego toys, naturally) are unlocked by cracking a code in the hotel lobby. And a Lego play table by his bunk bed. And giant Lego bricks in the pool. And a wizard Lego man to meet in the lobby.

Elsewhere in the Lego world, a new Legoland is opening in Goshen in the Hudson Valley in spring 2020, complete with a 250-room hotel and aquarium.

>> Next: You Can Stay in a Castle With Lego Wizards at California Legoland

Tim Chester is a deputy editor at AFAR, focusing primarily on destination inspiration and sustainable travel. He lives near L.A. and likes spending time in the waves, on the mountains, or on wheels.
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