*Children under 90cm do not need to pay for Reserve & Ride but can go with Reserve & Ride users on reserved rides – height, weight and age restrictions permitting.
A trip to Florida can be a once-in-a-lifetime holiday so if you are lucky enough to be going, you need to plan wisely.
There is SO MUCH to see and do that when you first sit down to organise this adventure for your family, it can seem overwhelming.
We’ve just taken our children to Florida – it was their first time in America and very special.
Our trip included Universal, Disney World, Legoland, a basketball match, five hotels (including one dream hotel – more of that later), three waterparks and four days by the coast staying on two of America’s best beaches.
I feel tired just writing all that! But it was manageable thanks to enthusiasm and some down time.
So here is our 10-day itinerary, we hope it inspires you.
Travel and settle in at our first hotel
Hotel 1 – Springfield Suites at Marriott Village Orlando.
This was a great location – a 20-minute taxi drive to Universal and a free shuttle to Disney World.
Read our full review here: Marriott Village Orlando hotels near to Disney World and Universal Studios
Universal Resort Orlando (Universal Studios)
The amazing attraction that is Universal Resort Orlando is made up of the theme parks Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure plus the Volcano Bay water park.
This had the edge over Disney World for us especially as three of us are Harry Potter fans. It’s where the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is – Diagon Alley is at Universal Studios and Hogsmeade is at Islands of Adventure. You can even catch the Hogwarts Express between the two.
Highlight: Our son being chosen by ‘Olivander’ to select a wand for him in the mini-show at Olivander’s Wand Shop.
We’ve got a full guide, pictures and video for you – Universal Orlando Resort – guide and top tips for one of the most popular attractions in the world
We wanted to do something authentically American like a sports match and our son is a basketball fan.
We went to the Orlando Magic home stadium the Amway Center, to see them take on Boston Celtics.
Everyone arrives an hour early to soak up the atmosphere and gets to their seats early to enjoy the entertainment.
It was a fantastic experience, read about it here: Want to watch a basketball match in Orlando? Here’s all you need to know
Hotel 2 – Four Seasons Resort Orlando
Widely named the best hotel in Florida, this was a real treat. It is a very luxurious place to stay with such attentive staff, delicious food and sumptuous surroundings.
Best of all, there’s a little water park so it’s a great place to enjoy a more relaxing day amid all the busy parks.
It’s within Disney World grounds and has a free shuttle bus service there.
We had a fabulous day enjoying the five-star surroundings, trying out the water slides and the lazy river, before hitting Disney the next day.
Read all about this glorious place – Top luxury hotel review and tips – Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Disney World
Disney World is one of the reasons that Florida is so popular. There are four parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios plus water parks.
We did a long day here to maximise the value of the expensive tickets. We started at 8am and left Epcot at 8pm. Yes, it was tiring but we saw a lot in one day.
We bought a Park Hopper ticket and started at the iconic Magic Kingdom, leaving after the parade in the afternoon and heading for Epcot. This was a great decision as the Frozen Ever After boat ride there is amazing.
Legoland Florida Resort
Now with a hire car, we drove 45 minutes to Legoland.
Fantastic for younger ones and without the queues of Universal and Disney World (at least not when we went), this was a slower-paced couple of days in the park and at its water park.
We stayed on site at its Pirate Island Hotel and our favourite part was the Ninjago ride, which we went on four times.
Read all about it – Legoland Florida Resort – park and hotel review, guide and top tips
After a fast-paced few days, we were ready to head to Florida’s Gulf Coast – to lovely Clearwater and St Pete.
After spending the morning at Legoland we headed for hotel 4 – Winter the Dolphin’s Beach Club in Clearwater.
This hotel has a swimming pool and is on a private beach so it was nice to chill out for the afternoon after we arrived.
We went to Clearwater Aquarium where film star Winter the Dolphin from A Dolphin’s Tale was rescued and rehabilitated.
In the afternoon we took a boat trip on Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise and in the evening, enjoyed the sunset, a market and a lovely meal.
We moved again to St Pete Beach and our final hotel – RumFish Beach Resort.
Our room opened out on to the beach and we enjoyed water slides and zip wires and an evening’s magic show.
We headed into St Petersburg to enjoy its pier, markets, museums and laid-back harbour vibe and our final lunch overlooking the water before a last beautiful Florida sunset. For more ideas on what to do in Clearwater and St Pete, read our guide to the best attractions for families.
After pancakes for breakfast, we left for our flight home.
What do you like to do in Florida? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
RELATED STORY: The best things for families to do in Clearwater and St Pete
*We received complimentary or reduced prices for some of the attractions and hotels, for review purposes, all views are our own.
As part of an action-packed holiday in Florida, we squeezed in two days and nights at Legoland Resort, enjoying the main park and waterpark and staying at one of its three hotels.
The entrance to the park was just a few quiet steps from our room at Pirate Island Hotel – bliss after racing throngs of people at Disney World and Universal.
When we arrived in our hotel room, the children were thrilled at the bunk beds, the theming, the LEGO to play with and the treasure hunt for LEGO gifts.
And we adults were quite content to sleep opposite a giant image of a bearded Lego pirate next to wallpaper and curtains depicting Lego pirates.
If first impressions are anything to go by then Legoland Pirate Island Hotel was a hit. And we still hadn’t entered the park!
Read all about our mini-break to find all about what we thought of the park and hotel and don’t miss our top tips to make the most of your visit.
LEGOLAND Florida Resort.
Legoland Florida is in the Winter Haven area. It is about an hour’s drive from Orlando in central Florida, America.
The resort is in its own grounds next to Lake Eloise in a self-contained safe site.
LEGOLAND Florida Resort is a holiday destination made up of Legoland theme park (the second biggest in the world after Windsor), Legoland Waterpark, a new Peppa Pig theme park and three on-site hotels – the Legoland Hotel, Pirate Island Hotel and the Legoland Beach Resort.
Do you really need to ask? The resort is all about families and their target age is two to 12.
The hotels have themed rooms, bunk beds, Lego to play with around the hotel, evening entertainment and specialised family dining at breakfast and in the evening.
Then there’s the theme parks…
At Legoland Pirate Island, the rooms are, you may have guessed, pirate-themed. Images cover every wall, curtains and even the carpet.
The rooms themselves have a children’s area with bunk beds, and a rollaway third child’s bed if needed, a tray of Lego and a child’s TV which can play all the Lego movies on demand.
Adults get a king-sized bed (which was surprisingly high off the ground), plus side tables with lights and their own larger HD TV.
The bathroom is compact with toiletries provided in Lego-branded tubes.
The room also has a small desk, safe and good storage for cases.
With lots of pirate ship-style brown wood it is quite dark in the room and the corridors of the hotel.
For a fresher, brighter feel – but fewer pirates – consider the Legoland Hotel which is next door.
The Shipwreck Restaurant serves breakfast and dinner.
Breakfast (included free with all rooms) is unusual as it is table-service and you get a family skillet (basically a big round tray) with hot food on it to share.
Ours had waffles, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, American breakfast biscuits (a type of savoury scone) and a gravy/creamy sauce to go with them.
Friendly waiters and waitresses take your drinks orders and you can request other items like cereal.
A big shout out to our lovely waitress Bailey who went the extra mile to get us some fruit and pancakes on request.
We enjoyed experiencing something different, but the skillet won’t suit every family at breakfast time.
There is a similar skillet offering in the evening for all courses of a three-course menu (adults $36 and children $15).
We were given a salad starter with bread then a choice of two skillets as a main course with a range of meats or fish and sides like mashed potato, rice and beans.
The restaurant will also do specific dishes for children like chicken and chips on request.
Dessert was either an ice cream and cookie dish or fresh fruit and marshmallows with chocolate sauce to dip in.
The quantities are absolutely huge, if you have a big appetite you will get value for money here. For those who prefer smaller portions, it might be a bit daunting!
More Lego stuff – the adjoining hotel next door has a large reception area and Lego to play with. There is also a nice bar area, more pleasant than the Smuggler’s Bar in Pirate Island.
But of course, the main nearby attraction is the theme park itself – only 130 steps and 30 seconds away.
We could see the entrance opposite our room!
Legoland Florida has most of the rides you might expect if you have been to Windsor.
Lego Ninjago was our favourite as all four of us could compete together, shooting the villains with 3D glasses on as we spin through the ride.
Fortunately, the park was lovely and quiet when we visited during the week in October half-term so we could ride it four times!
The site is spacious and with the lake on one side and plenty of greenery, it is quite a relaxing place to visit.
Most of the rides are suited to younger children, but there are some speedier ones.
We also enjoyed the aqua coasters and the fire engine ride where you have to pump your own engine to reach the blaze and put it out.
Some of the rides might feel a bit dated and quaint if you have just been to Disney World or Universal Studios but our children really enjoyed driving their own motorboats or steering a car in the driving school. Plus it was a relief to escape the crowds and the queues from the bigger parks.
There are several places to cool down from the Florida heat – such as indoor spaces where you can create with Lego and a 4D theatre.
For a bigger cool off there is Legoland Water Park on site.
You can only enter the water park with a ticket to the main park itself, but you need to pay extra.
Frustratingly it is at the far end of the park – a 15/20 minute walk from the entrance which means if you return to the park after a break/lunch like we did, you have to carry your swimming gear past all the rides – there is no separate entrance.
Once you make it inside, there is a nice, long lazy river with giant Lego bricks floating along to play with and a pool with a wave machine which runs every 10minutes. The water is lovely and warm and it feels very safe.
There is seating at the front of the wave pool and some umbrellas for shade.
Opposite the wave pool is a section with small slides and a splash park for younger children.
It has a large bucket which tips water over everyone every few minutes, five or six gentler slides and spray guns to fire water at parents.
For older children, there are the Twin Chaser and Splash Out rides. These were much bigger, faster water slides but unfortunately were closed when we visited.
There is only one changing room at the entrance to the water park and it is fairly basic.
We enjoyed our visit to cool off but parts of it do need updating and painting.
The new Peppa Pig Theme Park is aimed at young fans of the children’s tv phenomenon.
It includes interactive rides, themed playgrounds, a cinema and character shows and an indoor cinema for quieter moments.
There’s a splash pad for practising jumping in muddy puddles, fair games and a little roller coaster.
*Location – it is amazing to be staying so close to Legoland park. You can leave your hotel room just before the 10am opening and be straight on a ride minutes later.
No accommodation at Disney, Universal or most UK theme parks gets you so close to the entrance.
*Rooms – the theme is fun, the treasure hunt on arrival is entertaining and it is a magical experience for small children. It is brilliant to see their faces when they enter the room for the first time and discover their bunk beds, TV and Lego tray.
*Pool options – you can choose the theme park waterpark or there are smaller, shallow pools at both Pirate Island Hotel and the Legoland Hotel. The pool at the Legoland Hotel had its own small slide.
*The setting by Lake Eloise – it feels very calm and tranquil compared with other theme parks. You can do a short boardwalk along the lakeside, although the signs warning of possible alligators and snakes could be alarming (we think we spotted an alligator eyeing up its prey in the lake near to the shore).
*Go to the park at opening and you get the place to yourself for a bit. It is so close to the hotel that it makes sense to get in first. We visited on a quiet midweek in October and didn’t have to wait more than five minutes for any ride all day. At the same time of year at Disney and Universal, some ride waits were 90 minutes!
*Breakfast got very busy after 8.30am so try and go beforehand if you don’t want to queue for a table. Also, the restaurant is more relaxing when it is quieter – the rest of the time it sounded like a full-on children’s party!
*Grab some towels from your hotel pool area to take to the waterpark if you haven’t brought your own with you. You use your room card to access the towels from inside a cabinet and check them back in when you return after your swim.
*There are strollers and lockers to rent just inside the entrance to the park.
*Download the Legoland app for help navigating the park and seeing theatre times etc.
Food: There are various food outlets around the parks serving a range of fast food, ice creams and drinks.
For bigger meals there’s a pizza and pasta all-you-can eat buffet.
Address: Legoland Florida Resort, 1 Legoland Way, Winter Haven, FL 33884, USA.
Opening hours: Opening Hours change depending on the season but are generally – theme park 10am to 5pm, waterpark 12noon to 4pm.
Parking: Parking is free for hotel guests. Otherwise, it costs over $23 pre-paid or over $37 on the day.
How to book: LEGOLAND FLORIDA booking
RELATED STORY: The best things for families to do in Clearwater and St Pete
RELATED STORY: Florida in 10 days – where to stay and what to do
*We received complimentary or reduced prices for LEGOLAND Florida Resort, for review purposes, all views are our own.
Work to build LEGOLAND Shanghai is set to start in 2021, Merlin Entertainments has announced.
The huge new park is expected to open in China in 2024 and will incude a 250-room themed hotel.
LEGOLAND Shanghai will be opened after LEGOLAND New York – scheduled for 2021 – and LEGOLAND Korea – scheduled for 2022.
The theme park will be located in the Jinshan District and will draw inspiration from the area.
Other businesses are expected to launch in the vicinity as a result, including hotels, retail, sports facilities, offices and high-end housing.
Merlin is investing a lot in China – it has opened the world’s first Peppa Pig World of Play (Shanghai) and Little BIG City (Beijing).
Merlin Entertainments chief Executive Nick Varney said: “I am delighted to work with our partners to bring one of the world’s largest LEGOLAND Resorts to Shanghai, which builds on the other attractions we have developed in this exciting part of the country.
“The Shanghai LEGOLAND Resort will be a must-visit destination for playful learning experiences for the millions of people who live in the vicinity and beyond.
“The Merlin team looks forward to working with our partners to develop the creative concept design for the resort and making it a reality, marking a significant milestone for Merlin’s presence in the Chinese market.”
Merlin Entertainments announced this week that it has entered into a formal co-operation agreement with the Shanghai Jinshan District Government, CMC Inc. and KIRKBI to develop the resort.
This follows the signing of a framework agreement in November 2019.
A joint venture company is being formed to contribute funding to the construction and development of LEGOLAND Shanghai.
The total project investment is expected to be approximately $550 million.
Billund in Denmark is the home of Lego.
It is where the very first Lego toy brick was made in 1932. And where the first Legoland Park opened on June 7, 1968, next to the original Lego factory.
Legoland Billund is smaller, flatter and easier to get around than Legoland Windsor. Plus it’s just a 90-minute flight from the UK so makes a great alternative for Lego fans.
Legoland Billund is across the road from Billund Airport. You can fly there from Manchester, Heathrow and Stansted Airports. Ryanair fly from Stansted and Sun-Air, a British Airways partner, goes from Heathrow and Manchester.
We flew direct from Manchester with Sun-Air (which works in partnership with BA) on a tiny plane. The flight took 90 minutes.
It is expensive but you can stay stay at the park – at Legoland Hotel or Legoland Castle Hotel, a stay which can include park tickets, parking and early park access.
There is also Legoland Holiday Village, 450 metres from the entrance to Legoland.
But we stayed over the road at Lalandia Billund – an amazing water park resort, so got the best of both worlds. We stayed in a fantastic two-bedroomed lodge.
The busiest days at Legoland Billund are Tuesdays and Wednesdays while Saturdays are the quietest.
If you want to go over the summer, go as late as you can as Danish children usually go back to school towards the end of August so it will be quieter.
We found queues manageable despite visiting during the Easter holidays – there are lots of rides and plenty of space.
Most people enter the park and start going on rides as soon as they see them so head straight to the back to avoid the crowds.
The longest queues when we went were in the Ninjago area which did mean a wait for Lloyd’s Laser Maze and the Ninjago Ride.
If you have Ninjago fans you could head there as soon as the gates open. Alternatively, the most popular rides are often quieter in the last 30 minutes before the park closes, although you may miss out altogether if you leave it too late.
To really save time queuing, splash out on the Q-Bot Reserve and Ride system. Instead of waiting in a queue at each attraction, you spend the waiting time elsewhere in the park. An Express pass reduces your waiting time by 50 per cent and an Ultimate pass means almost no waits in queues on your chosen rides, which can be a game changer when you have young children.
Legoland Billund is divided into themed areas.
The Miniland area is at its heart with recreations of everything from old Amsterdam to Star Wars, made out of Lego, which everyone will enjoy.
This park uses 65 million of the little bricks to build its displays.
There is a Duplo Land, Imagination Zone, Pirate Land, Knights’ Kingdom, Polar Land and Legoredo Town.
Lego Ninjago World and Adventure Land are really popular.
Our favourite ride was the competitive Falck Fire Engine in Adventure Land. You work with your family to use a pump to move a fire engine and then spray out ‘fires’ while racing against other visitors on their fire engines.
The farthest end of the park is the quietest and we found a nice picnic spot by the penguin enclosure where we could watch them swimming while we ate.
Unlike some theme parks, there is lots for little ones including Duplo Land for toddlers and Imagination Zone.
There are also enough rollercoasters to keep teenagers happy – so this suits all ages from two to 16.
Don’t forget to be aware of height and age restrictions, so children aren’t left disappointed on the day.
There are food and drink outfits but the options can be pricey. Plus they get very busy after 12.30pm so take your own food and drinks where possible, to enjoy in one of the picnic areas.
This is obviously a Danish theme park but some of the 4D films are in English – check the times for these in advance.
It’s a nice flat theme park and not overly huge but if little one’s legs get tired, there are pushchairs to hire.
If the weather is bad or you want a break from the rides then there is a good aquarium in the Imagination Zone called Atlantis by Sea Life.
It takes you on an expedition under the sea with a few bricks to find along the way. It doesn’t take very long but is a good spot to dry off or warm up and includes a tunnel under the water.
The park is flat and all roads and paths are paved so wheelchairs users can go everywhere.
Those with a hidden disability such as anxiety, autism or ADHD can collect a ’show consideration’ wristband.
Disabled and ’show consideration’ access to rides is via the exits or sometimes through the Q-bot entrance.
Buy online to save money and to save time queuing for tickets and download the free, official app to plan your trip.
If you are after another Lego experience – try the big Lego House, which has opened in Billund and is within walking distance of Legoland.
This 12,000-square-metre house is filled with 25 million Lego bricks.
Here, children learn through play with Lego. The house also includes three restaurants and a Lego store.
You can go to other Legoland parks, but only one place is the home of Lego.
Almost every visitor stops for an iconic photo outside the main entrance sign. Save time getting in by doing this at the end of the day not the beginning, when the shot will be more clear of people.
This park is not huge but it is historic and has enough to keep you entertained for a full day or a couple of days.
Advance entry starts from around 300DKK – about £30 – per person. For tickets and information visit the Legoland Billund website.
The world’s first DUPLO rollercoaster has opened at LEGOLAND Windsor Resort.
The DUPLO Dino Coaster, for children aged around two to five, is part of the attraction’s bigger improved DUPLO Valley area.
The ride has dino-themed carriages which soar around supersized DUPLO dinosaur models, 18 times bigger than if you were to build them at home.
Legoland staff think it will be the perfect first rollercoaster experience for little ones, who need to be 0.9 metres or over to ride it.
The area has also has a new show and new supersized DUPLO models, great for family selfies, plus its own official character, Dexter the Dog.
Outdoor play area Brickville has become DUPLO Playtown with a new rocket play structure for budding astronauts and there is a new puppet show at the DUPLO Puppet Theatre.
DUPLO Valley Airport has a new look with with three coloured helicopters for little pilots to choose from.
Existing family rides at DUPLO Valley include the riverboat Fairy Tale Brook ride and the DUPLO train.
The area also hosts the resort’s outdoor water play areas – Splash Safari and Drench Towers.
Meanwhile the park has launched a new adult and toddler annual pass to be used while older children are at school.
For £49, a toddler (classed as under 0.9 metres) and adult can visit the theme park as often as they like during term time (Monday to Friday), with 20 per cent off at restaurants and a 10 per cent discount in the shops.
Children under 0.9 metres get free entry anyway to the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort all year round.
Day tickets are from £29 per person when booked online in advance.
Families can book a LEGOLAND short break at the unique LEGOLAND Hotel and enjoy the DUPLO Valley area with stays from £99.25.
The LEGOLAND Windsor Resort is aimed at children aged two to 12 and is open until November 1, 2020, visit here for opening hours.
It has over 55 interactive rides, attractions, live shows, building workshops and driving schools and 80 million LEGO bricks, all set in 150 acres of beautiful parkland.
We’ve got lots of lovely LEGOLAND content here at The Family Holiday Guide for you to enjoy:
A new roller coaster aimed at pre-school children will open next year at Legoland Windsor.
The theme park is expanding its Duplo Valley area with the Duplo Dream Coaster, especially for visitors aged between two and five.
The roller coaster will open in March 2020 and is part of improvements to Duplo Valley, including work on Duplo Valley Airport and the outdoor play area Brickville.
A LEGOLAND Windsor spokesperson said: “The new ride will take children on a journey, exploring their wildest dreams and igniting their imagination.
“Swooping through a topsy turvy wonderland full of colour and a sprinkle of magic, they can be sure they will meet all sorts of cool creatures along the way.”
We’ve got lots of lovely LEGOLAND content for you to enjoy:
LEGOLAND Windsor is a theme park for children based around LEGO toy building bricks. It has more than 55 rides and attractions and opened in 1996 – the second LEGOLAND – the first was LEGOLAND Billund in Denmark – read our review of that here.
It is in Windsor, Berkshire in England.
* Lego Ninjago The Ride
This is an interactive 4D ride. You sit four to a vehicle, put on 3D glasses and travel around a series of screens to battle enemies. You fire at them by using ninja hand movements which are detected by sensors while also feeling blasts of air and heat. Your scores are in front of you so you can see who does the best.
It was a little scary for our four-year-old daughter but great fun for our older son.
The queues are long for this popular ride, which opened as part of Ninjago World! in 2017. You can cut down waiting time with the Reserve & Ride reservation system on this ride.
*Atlantis Submarine Voyage
This submarine ride to find the lost city of Atlantis was a highlight for our children and as it had one of the shortest queues, we did it twice in a row.
*The LEGO 4D Movie Theatre
We saw Lego Ninjago – Master of the 4th Dimension at this 4D cinema.
This is amazing for Ninjago fans, who can watch their favourite characters in stunning 3D while also getting the fourth dimension experience of being sprayed with water and fake snow and feeling the heat of fire (there are dry seats at the side for anyone who doesn’t want to get wet).
*LEGO Star Wars Miniland Model Display
This indoor display was a welcome bonus on a wet day. But it is also a great walk through the most famous scenes from Star Wars films, made from 1.5 million LEGO bricks.
Explore the world in LEGO form at Miniland with famous sites and monuments from different countries built of the small bricks.
Just the very fact that this is all about LEGO is such a thrill for children – they are at LEGOLAND, LEGO is everywhere you look and the shops are full of LEGO sets.
This theme park obviously has the wow factor for LEGO fans, who will be excited as soon as they know they are going to LEGOLAND.
On the downside, it is showing its age in places and the queues are long for some of the rides.
But it is otherwise perfectly pitched for young children. There are a good variety of attractions, shows and play areas and it is set in nice parkland.
*The rides open at 10am but the front of the park opens at 9.30am so to get a good parking space and be first at one of the more popular rides, get there early. You can kill time in the shop and look around Miniland but at 10am there is a stampede to the rides.
*Parking costs £6 and you can pay in advance. For an extra £6 you can secure priority parking nearer the entrance. We were there fairly early both days and managed to get good spots without the extra charge.
*The Reserve & Ride (formerly called Q-BOTS) ride reservation service save a lot of queuing time but is expensive. There are three options, we had the Express version and hardly had to wait at all on the rides where we used them. In the cold and rain when we went, this was a huge relief and a big bonus and the staff treat you like royalty (although there is definitely some guilt to be felt at skipping on ahead of others patiently waiting their turn). You use the system on your mobile phone and can only use it on one ride at a time. Read our full guide to it here: How to beat the queues at LEGOLAND Windsor Resort with the Reserve & Ride (formerly Q-Bot) Ride Reservation System
*Buggies can be left outside rides at the owner’s own risk.
*There are two hotels – LEGOLAND Resort Hotel and LEGOLAND Castle Hotel, if you want to stay over on site, with themed rooms. They are very popular and very expensive. There are also lots of cheaper hotels in the area.
*Be aware that there is not much to do indoors if the weather is bad so be well prepared with umbrellas and waterproofs. When it is raining particularly hard or you need to dry off for a bit, aim for attractions like the LEGO 4D cinema, Star Wars display, X-BOX Gaming Zone and Atlantis Submarine Voyage. Some of the queues for the bigger, indoor rides are also undercover – like the Ninjago Ride and Laser Raiders. Umbrellas and rain ponchos can be bought. (There is also free sun cream available around the site which I thought was a great idea).
*Check out height restrictions so you don’t have disappointed children. Staff are very strict and always check – for lots of rides children have to be over 0.9 metres (with a parent) and 1.3 metres to go on alone.
*There are obviously lots of temping LEGO sets and other LEGO products you can buy from shops. You can pay for your purchases and collect later as the shops can get busy at the end of the day.
*Take swimming costumes if you plan to try out Splash Safari where toddlers can splash and enjoy water features and DUPLO-themed animals.
Don’t miss our article: LEGOLAND Windsor – our 10 top tips to get the most out of your visit
Food: Picnics are allowed but there aren’t many picnic spots and even less under cover, as we discovered on our first day, standing up to eat our sandwiches, huddled under a shelter.
There are various restaurants and food stalls around the park, but it is quite pricey. We had a nice pasta pot at one stall on our second day, which helped to warm us up.
Opening hours: Varies depending on the day and time of year.
Cost: Tickets bought in advance online are from £29 and from £53 if bought at the park. Children under 90cm go free.
Look out for two-for-one offers and other discounts, plus you can use Tesco Clubcard vouchers or a Merlin Annual Pass.
Annual passes are also available as well as prices for short breaks, staying at one of the two LEGOLAND hotels.
Best for: Children aged three/four (0.9 metres in height) to 10.
Time needed: A full day or more.
Access and restrictions: LEGOLAND has a lot in place for guests with additional needs. It is a hilly site but there is a hill train, which has a carriage for wheelchairs and buggies. There is a Ride Access Pass for those who struggle to queue, a Wheelchair Access Pass, so people in wheelchairs can access the rides, disabled toilets and a Changing Places facility. There is also a sensory space.
Address: LEGOLAND Windsor Park, Winkfield Road, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 4AY.
Book via the LEGOLAND website.
Reserve & Ride replaces the Q-Bot system and helps you avoid the often long queues at Legoland Windsor – at a price.
Using Reserve & Ride means you don’t have to physically queue for the included rides.
Standing anywhere in the park and using your mobile phone, you reserve a place on a ride and are given a countdown waiting time (or no waiting time if you pick the most expensive Ultimate option).
So instead of waiting in the queue you can go on other rides or do other things. At any point after the time is up (you don’t have to be there at the exact moment), you go through the ride’s Reserve & Ride entrance where you will be able to bypass the normal queue.
You can make a reservation on only one ride at a time.
There are different types of Reserve & Ride options at various prices.
Reserve & Ride Regular (£25 per person) – You do not have to physically queue but your wait – or your countdown – is as long as that for the people queuing. (Haunted House Monster Party costs £4 extra).
Reserve & Ride Express (£40 per person) – This cuts the waiting time in half, eg if the normal queue is 40 minutes, you only have to wait 20 minutes (doing what you please elsewhere) before you can access the ride. (Haunted House Monster Party costs £4 extra).
Reserve & Ride Ultimate (£90 per person) – No waiting time at all. Just book the ride and go straight through the Reserve & Ride entrance. Reserve & Ride Ultimate also Includes the free add-on for Haunted House Monster Party.
You can also buy:
Reserve & Ride One Shot (£5 to £7 per person) – This allows you to use Reserve & Ride at ONE included ride of your choice and get almost instant access to it.
Deep Sea Adventure
Duplo Dino Coaster
Fairy Tale Brook
Haunted House Monster Party (only included in Reserve & Ride Ultimate or available as an additional £4 add-on to Reserve & Ride Regular and Express)
Lego Ninjago the Ride
Mia’s Riding Adventure
Viking River Splash
The rides within LEGO Mythica are not included in Reserve & Ride.
You can pre-book your Reserve and Ride through the LEGOLAND website here.
There is also a Reserve & Ride office just inside the main entrance at Windsor on the right and another at Heartlake City within the park.
Q-Bot and Reserve & Ride are the same – Reserve & Ride replaced Q-Bots from 2020. The only difference is that Reserve & Ride always operates on your mobile device whereas LEGOLAND also offered handheld devices for Q-Bots users as an alternative.
We used the reservation system for two days and there is no doubt it makes the park a more pleasurable experience.
You can get around so many more rides and if you work it correctly you can virtually hop from one ride to another without queuing all day.
It was a very rainy weekend and queuing for long periods would have been miserable.
The whole system is well designed and works seamlessly, the staff are very good at getting you on the ride as soon as possible.
However the cost is substantial.
*To benefit most, book your next ride as soon as you can – basically, as soon as staff have scanned your phone to let you on the ride before.
*Don’t wait until your countdown time is at 0 before going through the Reserve & Ride entrance. Go in at about two to three minutes, as often (especially on the indoor and larger rides) even this entrance has a short walk and wait before you board your ride.
*Check your dates and the weather. LEGOLAND will be much busier on a sunny day in the school holidays or at the weekend, than a rainy midweek day in October, when the Reserve & Ride system won’t save you as much time.
*It doesn’t cost any more to book Reserve & Ride on the day, so you can always wait and see when you arrive what the queues are like, if you can’t decide. HOWEVER, you risk not being able to get one as there are a limited number available.
*One way to make the Reserve & Ride cost effective is to use it as a means of cutting your visit from two days to one. On any school holiday or weekend it would be nearly impossible to see all of the park in one day without it. So it may be worth investing in a Reserve & Ride instead of a second day’s admission. That could add up for you.
*Reserve & Ride does not include entry to Legoland, you have to buy entry tickets separately.
*Children under 90cm do not need to pay for Reserve & Ride but can go with Reserve & Ride users on reserved rides – height, weight and age restrictions permitting.
For more details visit the LEGOLAND website.
Across the road from LEGOLAND Billund, in the small Danish town which is the home to the world famous toy.
Lalandia is a Center Parcs-style resort with lodges, a huge indoor water park, an ice rink, soft play area and restaurants.
Absolutely, it is geared around families with children of all ages. There are soft play areas for toddlers, mini golf and the Aquadome has rides for ages three up to teenagers.
You can rent a modern Scandinavian style chalet, which inside looked like a smart part of an Ikea showroom. We had a Classic Plus 4 with two decent sized bedrooms, a lovely lounge and kitchen area and a good sized balcony.
You have to hire bedding and there is a shower not a bath. The chalet has a good sized deck for sitting on and the park is large so there is plenty of space to run around with small playgrounds dotted around the site.
Denmark isn’t a cheap place to go but there are family-friendly options in Lalandia’s indoor ‘town square’ of shops and restaurants.
Our favourite was Ristorante Il Bambino, an Italian buffet. There are also Mexican and American restaurants along with cafes and take away choices. We also enjoyed the brilliant ice cream shop on site.
LEGOLAND – the home of LEGO is next door with a large theme park, which is the main reason to come here.
Billund itself isn’t a particularly scenic town but there is a large zoo a short drive away.
*The Aquadome. This huge indoor water park, the biggest in Scandinavia, is the number one reason to stay at Lalandia Billund. There are slides for all ages and all bravery levels, warm toddler pools, a wave machine, gentle rapid ride and a giant splash zone where a 1,000 litre bucket of water loudly deposits its contents every few minutes. It is free entry if you stay in one of the chalets.
*Winter Wonder. You can hire your skates and get on the rink or grab a tube and take on a small ice slide. This space isn’t huge but it is something different for an hour or so. You have to pay to use all the Winter Wonder facilities.
*Monky Tonky Land. This is a giant soft play area with slides, tunnels and big ball pits. There are also children’s workshops. You get free entry if you are staying on site.
Lalandia Billund, Ellehammers Alle 3, 7190 Billund, Denmark
For more information visit the Lalandia Billund website.
(We stayed as guests of Lalandia for the purposes of this review, all views are our own).
How to do LEGOLAND in style.
Step 1. Don’t settle for LEGOLAND in Manchester. Or even Windsor. Go one better and head for the original LEGOLAND park itself in Denmark.
Step 2. Arrive in style in your own personal jet.
Step 3. LEGOLAND not enough entertainment for you? Stay at a neighbouring water park, to really keep little thrill seekers happy.
Check. Check. And check!
Billund in Denmark is a small town with a lot going for it.
It is THE home of Lego.
It was here where the company made its very first toy brick in 1932 and then built the first LEGOLAND park in 1968.
We flew direct from Manchester with Sun-Air (which works in partnership with British Airways) on a tiny plane.
Its motto “Not bigger – but better” was true of our flight – the 32-seater was carrying only eight other passengers so felt like a private plane.
The 90-minute journey was short enough for our excited children to pass as quiet and well-behaved.
Fares are on the higher side but you can use Avios air miles to make tickets more affordable and this is really travelling in style.
There was no waiting around in our seats at either end and ours were the only bags on the carousel at the sleek and modern Billund Airport.
A five-minute taxi journey later and we’re ready to get wet in northern Europe’s biggest water park.
Lalandia tropical holiday resort – just across the road from LEGOLAND – is our home for three nights. It is bursting with entertainment, all under one roof (for our full review of Lalandia click here).
But the Aquadome is the number one reason to stay here. A huge indoor water park which really puts Center Parcs in the shade.
There are slides for all ages and bravery levels, warm toddler pools, a wave machine, gentle rapid ride and a giant splash zone where a 1,000 litre bucket of water loudly deposits its contents every few minutes.
The other main sound we heard was our children shouting “again, again, again” as they raced from the bottom of one slide to the top of the next.
You could easily spend all day in the Aquadome. But that would mean missing out on the impressive soft play area, small winter wonderland ice skating rink, tenpin bowling and mini golf.
And there’s a “town square” of shops and restaurants, all underneath a beautiful indoor sky, reminiscent of Las Vegas hotels.
We stayed in a fantastic two-bedroomed lodge in the grounds, kitted out like an IKEA showroom and with everything we needed.
Lalandia is a holiday in itself but we still had LEGOLAND Billund to enjoy, a theme park created using 65 million of those toy bricks, which still rate among the world’s most popular toys.
It is divided into themed areas with Miniland at its heart. Recreations of old Amsterdam and Danish ferry terminals may have passed our son by – but the Star Wars section, depicting scenes from all the films, did not.
His highlight was a ride where you race your own fire engine, pump out water and then hose down a (pretend) blazing building. We did that four times.
They both also loved the NINJAGO World where visitors can test out their Ninja skills.
The park isn’t huge so if the queues are short – as they were for us – you can pack it all into two days with ease.
Rides are mainly aimed at pre-teens and families so suited us perfectly. There wasn’t much we couldn’t go on.
In fact, that’s the beauty of Billund. From airport, to accommodation, to attractions, everything is geared for families to enjoy.
The town has built its success on the back of those little bricks. And it has built a near-perfect short break.
Accommodation: We stayed as guests at Lalandia tropical holiday resort for the purposes of this review. All views are our own.
Travel: Flew from Manchester to Billund with Sun-Air.
Main attraction: Legoland Billund Resort, Denmark.