a VirtualTourist member from Los Angeles
I'm taking my 4yo to Legoland on Aug 8-10. We'll be in the park all day on the 9th, but I could use some dining suggestions for the night before or the day after.
Hello. There are 2 or 3 family restaurants right there off the freeway on Palomar.
here are some good choices in Carlsbad:
1. Bistro West (http://www.bistrowest.com)
2. Jay's Gourmet Restaurant
3. Karl Strauss Brewery/Restaurant
4. Pizza Port
Having just moved to the SD area I'll be interested in your report of L-Land. I have friends coming down later in Aug to visit it.
Also you might consider driving about an hour (less) south to Chula Visat for the Nature Center at the E Street exit of I-5. It's inexpensive and kids are "up front and close" to the animals.
It's not large (like Sea World) but the kids get to see and pet (sometimes) the animals. The caretakers bring out a Bald Eagle, Red Tail Hawk, and other larger birds where the kids can get quite close.
There are a lot of Mexican restaurants near Legoland, CA. Check out Garcias Mexican Restaurant, Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill, and La Especial Norte. If you're not down with Mexican food, there's Tomoyama Sushi (Japanese and Seafood), "That Pizza Place," Buca Di Beppo (Italian), and Don's Country Kitchen (Breakfast).
@[VT member 3e837] - Thanks [VT member 3e837] the wildlife suggestion. We won't make it this time, but LA is close enough we can do it another time.
You've gotten some great suggestions here already but I'll add a few too.
Casa de Bandini relocated from Old Town SD to Carlsbad some years ago is a good place to eat if you like Mexican.
It is located more in the Village area of Carlsbad than next to Legoland.
Benihana's is great for Japanese cuisine and sushi and it is not only family friendly but might be entertaining for your little one. My nephew was four when we took him and he was fascinated.
Three that I found that you might like and are located nearer to Park are:
A chain, but family friendly.
I haven't been to this one, but I have been to the one in Otay Mesa and it was good for seafood.
This is more upscale but has a great reputation and menu.
So here's my reaction to Legoland, with an important caveat at the end.
The miniature cities are amazing, with great detail. I had fun nit-picking the layout of the cities I'm familiar with. My son loved the Star Wars scenes and pointed out the ones he recognized, and when pointing out the scenes he didn't recognize, asked when we could watch that movie.
There are lots of areas to just play. We spent a lot of time in the Duplo room, and the build your own race car room. Even the sky car ride, which has a really long wait time, has a play area, which helps pass the time as long as one member of your party is willing to stay in line. The Pirate Cove water area looks really cool, with lots of splash pad activities. One of the surprises was the mini golf course in the middle of the park.
We only did two rides. The sky car is ok, but not very exciting, and has a long wait. The fire engine race was more exciting, or would be if there wasn't a park staffer yelling instructions over a loudspeaker the whole time. A lot of the other rides look very tame. There are a couple more exciting looking rides, like the flume ride in the Pirate Cove, or the roller coaster in the castle area.
The food choices seemed well priced, and my wife said there were a lot more healthy options than at Disneyland.
Do not expect a discount on Legos at the park store. However, the selection was a lot better than any other store I'd seen, except maybe the Lego store in Glendale.
We didn't go to the water park, but we did go to the aquarium. It's not as large as Long Beach or Monterey, but it's bigger and nicer than the Santa Monica Pier aquarium.
Price-wise, Legoland feels expensive for what you get, especially compared to Disneyland, which is about the same price.
The conclusion from my 4 year old: I really liked it. The conclusion from the parents: It was OK. The best part was how much our son enjoyed it.
Now the caveat: My wife and I drove to Carlsbad on Thursday night with the intention of going to Legoland Friday and Saturday. We had pre-paid for a package (hotel stay and park hopper pass). My 4 year old was getting over being sick, and so didn't have a lot of energy, and the water park was out of the question. Even so, his enthusiasm to go was very high. We were able to pick up a free pass to come back in October, so we may get a better sense of the park then.
Nice report Nate! Hope you get to Benihannas next time.
Good suggestion. He did write it up on his Carlsbad page.
[original VT link]
Heading back to Legoland again in a week to see the X-Wing fighter. I'll have to check out Bistro West. Looks decent.
Hope your little one feels better this time!
Did you know that the LEGOLAND Resort has opened and there are a couple of restaurants there too? I don't know how good they are yet, but heard someone mention one called "Knights Table." That sparked the imagination, I think it's a barbeque place in Knights Kingdom. I also heard that Aquarium is one of the better restaurants at LEGOLAND.
Having said all that I will also say that I know, from personal experience, that Barry, "Spartan" has excellent taste in restaurants.
My wife mentioned that the park now has a ramen noodle restaurant. The cafe just above the Star Wars exhibit is also pretty good. It's nice that they make an effort to have more interesting food choices.