Ultimate Guide to Early Access at Legoland California (2023)

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Staying onsite at Legoland California is a real treat and the 30-minute early access is a fantastic perk. Having access to Legoland as part of this small group of Legoland hotel and vacation guests is an awesome experience and we really strive to make the most of early access to the park.

For those of you planning your own trip, we’ve included a guide to early access at Legoland and our tips for making the most of your extra 30 minutes in the park!

Legoland Califonia: we had Early Access on a recent 2023 visit with our 5-year-old, 3-year-old and 9-month-old. We stayed in the fantastic Legoland Castle Hotel and Early Access is a perk of staying onsite.

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Having fun during Early Access at Legoland California

Early Access at Legoland California

Early Access is an amazing perk and is granted to guests staying onsite at a Legoland hotel (either the Legoland Hotel and Legoland Castle Hotel) or to those who have booked a Legoland vacation at one of their partner hotels.

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Legoland Hotel

These guests can benefit from entry to Legoland California 30 minutes prior to the regular park opening time.

  • Early access begins at 9:00 AM when the park closes at 6:00 PM or later
  • Early access begins at 9:30 AM when the park closes at 5:00 PM

Legoland Califronia Early Access: the park can sometimes open early on busy days e.g. over holiday weekends. This can be quite a last minute change so make sure to check the park opening hours the evening before.

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We love the Legoland Castle Hotel

Legoland California Tickets

We highly recommend purchasing your Legoland California tickets well in advance of your visit. Reservations are required in advance and Klook.com offers all the ticket options, including some second-day free offers – check prices now!

Buy your Legoland California tickets now

What time do I need to arrive for Early Access?

You will have to pass through security and bag checks and have your tickets scanned before entering the park.

Hotel guests can enter through the regular main entrance or via a separate security for hotel guests on the Bricks Family Restaurant patio, located at the LEGOLAND California Hotel.

We enter through the main entrance if the line is short and aim to get to security about 30 minutes before early access starts – we were close to the top of the queue on both mornings during our most recent visit.

You will also need to show your room key/reservation to pass through the roped-off areas during early access.

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Early Entry lines

What rides are open during Early Access at Legoland California?

Four rides and two attractions/experiences (a build experience at LEGO® Ferrari Build & Race and a playground, the LEGO NINJAGO Training Camp) are available to guests with early access:

Rides

  • Coast Cruise (no height requirement)
  • NINJAGO The Ride (no height requirement but infants need to be able to sit up in the ride carriage beside an adult)
  • BIONICLE® Blaster (42″ minimum height requirement)
  • LEGO Technic Coaster (42″ minimum height requirement)

Attractions/ Experiences

  • LEGO® Ferrari Build & Race
  • LEGO NINJAGO Training Camp
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Ninjago

Early Access Strategies at Legoland California

Guests with early access can enter a small section of Legoland California to the right of the main entrance.

With 30 minutes for early access to play with, here are a few of our strategies for making the most of your time:

1 | NINJAGO The Ride and Lego Technic Coaster

Works for: adults, kids over 42″, (Kids under 42″ and babies who can sit up can ride Ninjago but not Lego Technic Coaster)
Tried and tested with: 4-year-old and 5-year-old

NINJAGO is one of the most popular rides at Legoland Califonia. Guests use ninja skills and flick their hands to throw fireballs, ice, and lightning at villains (it reminds me of Webslingers if you are familiar with Disneyland California). We found that it takes us at least 15 minutes to wait and line and ride even with Early Access.

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Ninjago

If you have 10 minutes or so of Early Access remaining then make your way to the Lego Technic Coaster to take advantage of low waits for another popular ride.

Legoland California Early Access: our 9 month old was able to join us on Ninjago. Babies have to be able to sit on the seat beside and adult to ride Ninjago so this only works for older babies.

2 | NINJAGO AND Coast Cruise

Works for: adults, kids, older babies (need to sit up for Ninjago)
Tried and tested with: our 9-month-old, 3.5-year-old and 5-year-old

As mentioned, NINJAGO is one of the most popular rides at Legoland Califonia and one of the best rides to do during Early Access.

If you still have time left after riding NINJAGO (it can take at least 15/20 minutes) then stop by Coast Cruise, a slow boat ride through Miniland and the replicas of sights like the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower and the New York skyline.

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Coast Cruise
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The New York skyline from Coast Cruise

3 | Lego Technic Coaster and BIONICLE® Blaster

Works for: adults, kids over 42″
Tried and tested with: 4-year-old and 5-year-old

If you have kids over 42″ then the Imagination Zone, with Lego Technic Coaster and BIONICLE® Blaster, can be a good place to start. LEGO® Ferrari Build & Race is a great option if you have time remaining or walk over to Lego Ninjago World for the Ninjago Ride or to have some fun in the Training Camp playground.

4| LEGO® Ferrari Build & Race

Works for: adults, kids
Tried and tested with: 9 month old, 4-year-old and 5-year-old

Guests can build and race their own Lego Ferrari at the LEGO® Ferrari Build, Test & Race. Lego cars are digitally scanned with the option to choose tires and an engine before completing the race with 3 virtual laps of the track.

I don’t typically recommend using Early Access time for non-rides but I’m swayed by my 5-year-old who loves this attraction. It tends to get really busy during the day so we have a lot more fun when crowds are low during Early Access.

5 | Ride one or two Early Access rides and rope drop another area of the park

The great thing about Early Access is that you can rope drop other lands/zones in the park and get a head start on all the lines.

We’ve taken a few different routes through the park after Early Access.

Our kids love going to straight to Fun Town after Early Access – they can usually ride everything multiple times (Driving School is a firm favorite) and enjoy the play areas without any crowds. Fun Town is easy to reach by walking through Lego Movie World after the park opens for regular entry.

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Driving School

From Lego Ninjago World, you can get a head start on Land of Adventure (Lost Kingdom Adventure), Imagination Zone (Lego Technic Adventure) and Castle Hill (The Dragon) before they get crowded.

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The Dragon is a fantastic indoor/outdoor coaster

What if I have Early Access and Reserve ‘n’ Ride?

We had Early Access and an Ultimate Reserve ‘n’ Ride pass on our most recent visit and it is a great combination when the park is busy.

Focus on rides and attractions not included in Early Access

We ride BIONICLE® Blaster during Early Access as it is not included in Reserve ‘n’ Ride.

We also love to have some fun in the awesome Ninjago-themed playground, the Ninjago Training Camp – it’s one of our favorite attractions and is hugely popular so it is lovely to play freely during Early Access.

Our 5-year-old is a huge fan of Ferrari Build and Race and loves the experience during Early Access when the attractions is much less crowded than later in the day.

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LEGO CITY: Deep Sea Adventure is one of our Legoland favorites

If you only have one or two days at Legoland California

Even with 2 days, 2 Early Access and 1 day Reserve ‘n’ Ride we still found it a challenge to cover everything in Legoland California.

The park opening hours are quite short (usually 10am to 6pm) and there are 60 rides, shows and attractions plus a Water Park (seasonal). Our kids often get sidetracked for hours with Lego builds, having fun in the playgrounds and visiting the Water Park.

The extra half hour of Early Access really helps if you want to cover as much as possible in one or two days.

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Reserve and Ride saves a lot of time on busy days at Legoland California

Lego Movie World (Emmet’s Flying Adventure)

Emmet’s Flying Adventure and Lego Movie World are extremely popular and the lines can get super long for Emmet’s Flying Adventure (it’s the Legoland California equivalent to Disneyland’s Soarin’). However, it is not open during early access and access is roped off.

You can wait at the entrance to that area of the park (to the left of the main entrance) so that you are one of the first to enter but this means you will miss out on making most of the attractions that are open during this time.

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Emmet’s Flying Adventure is one of the most popular rides in the park

We’ve had some success with riding the Early Access rides until a few minutes before regular park opening and then switching over towards Lego Movie World for rope drop. It depends on how busy the park is but we’ve been able to get quite close to the top of the line for Emmet’s Flying Adventure.

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Lego Movie World

Emmet’s Flying Adventure and Unikitty’s Disco Drop in Lego Move World both have a 40″ minimum height requirement so we use parent swap to ride. We all wai in line together and then Dave and I take turns at riding with the two older kids while the other stays with the baby.

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Lego Movie World at Rope Drop

Another option is to take advantage of having access to areas of the park that are exclusive to Early Access guests and saving Lego Movie World for later in the day. This means you can be waiting for the entrances to Castle Hill (where The Dragon is located) and Land of Adventure (home to Pharoh’s Revenge) and get a head start on these rides while guests with regular entry will take time to make their way over to these areas of the park.

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