Legoland California Theme Park has 2 Legoland Hotels. The big question is – Which Legoland California Hotel is better? We previously stayed at Legoland California Hotel and last weekend, we stayed at the Castle Hotel to see the difference. To help you decide on your future booking, read up on our detailed comparison – Legoland Hotel VS Castle Hotel.
2021 Legoland Re-opening Update:
Starting today, March 25, guests can purchase tickets and reserve their spot along with pass holders and existing ticket holders through its new reservation system for their desired Park visit. Hotel reservations for stays at LEGOLAND® Hotel and LEGOLAND® Castle Hotel can continue to be made online as well. The Park built for kids is excited to offer Park Preview Days beginning April 1 and is officially reopening on April 15, 2021.
With priority access to Hotel guests, pass holders and existing ticket holders impacted by COVID-19 Park closure, Park Preview Days offers access to select rides and attractions including Driving School, LEGO® TECHNIC™ Coaster, Fairy Tale Brook and Coastersaurus. Kids and families can also enjoy socially distant character meet and greets, live entertainment, a wide variety of food options and Miniland U.S.A. The Resort officially reopens April 15, offering access to SEA LIFE® aquarium, LEGO® CHIMA™ Water Park, and some of the Park’s more than 60 rides, shows and attractions.
Legoland Hotel VS Castle Hotel
Which Legoland Hotel is Newer
Legoland Hotel California opened in April 2013 while the new Legoland Hotel – Castle Hotel, opened in April 2018.
Distance – Hotel near Legoland California Theme Park
If you’re looking for a hotel near Legoland California theme park, both Legoland Hotel and Legoland Castle Hotel are located right in front of the main entrance of Legoland. If both Legoland hotels are fully-booked though, your next best option is staying at Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa which has a back entrance to Legoland. All 3 hotels are the closest hotels near Legoland California, literally steps away. You would have to drive and park if you book other hotels by Legoland.
If you’re facing the theme park, Legoland California Hotel is on the right while Legoland Castle Hotel is on the left. The distance to the theme park is the same. If you wish to be exact, maybe it’s a matter of a few steps. But you can’t go wrong with either one if you’re looking for a hotel near Legoland.
From the back exit of both hotels, you’re about 40 steps away from the theme park entrance.
For the purpose of taking family pictures outside the hotel, I prefer Legoland Castle Hotel’s entrance.
Legoland Castle Hotel has a drawbridge so you actually get a nice space to take pictures and since there is no roof above it, you also get good lighting.
My tip: Take pictures when it’s not check-in time so there won’t be a lot of people coming in and out of the hotel.
At Legoland Hotel, to take pictures, you’d have to walk past the Legoland Hotel sign and porte-cochere to get a good shot which is risky with all the cars trying to get into valet.
Legoland Hotel has a bigger hotel lobby and everything is on the same level or appeared to be with the ramp access. At Legoland Castle Hotel, you’d have to go up a flight of stairs or use the elevator to head to the restaurant and store.
With such a layout, Legoland Hotel appeared to be more inviting but during its busiest times, the ground level can look a little crowded with everything that is going on – people going to the restaurant, some checking in or out, kids playing, accessing the hallway to the elevator, etc.
At Legoland Castle Hotel, due to the split level, the lobby appeared tiny but on the upside, the elevator to the rooms is located nearby and the restaurant and retail store is separate so the crowd is also split.
Both hotels have a fun ball pit in the lobby. For first-timers, the lobby of the Legoland Hotel will really excite you right when you arrive. For those who have stayed at both hotel a few times, you may enjoy the layout of Legoland Castle Hotel in terms of proximity to the elevator.
Legoland Hotel has a better elevator. Spoiler alert for those who have never stayed there yet. It turns into a disco right when the elevator door closes.
At Legoland Castle Hotel, it’s a talking wizard that lights up on the elevator wall. It’s still cool but not as cool, surprising, and fun as the elevator disco at Legoland Hotel.
Legoland Hotel has 2 restaurants plus a cafe (Bricks Family Restaurant, Skyline Cafe, and Mini’s Lounge) while Legoland Castle Hotel has 1 restaurant inside (Dragon’s Den Restaurant and Bar) and a snack bar by the pool area (The Castle Pool Bar & Grille).
I’ve never personally used the restaurants inside the hotel except for the breakfast buffet because we typically eat at Smokehouse BBQ inside Legoland for lunch or dinner. Should you find Castle Hotel limiting though, don’t forget that Legoland Hotel is just next door, you can visit and reserve at the restaurants there too or grab a coffee and pastry at Mini’s Lounge while you’re there.
Your stay at the Legoland Hotel and Legoland Castle Hotel both comes with a premium breakfast buffet but I loved it more at Legoland Hotel’s Bricks Family Restaurant. Though the food at both hotels appeared to be the same, they put more thought into the design of the buffet stations at Legoland Hotel.
As an example, the Legoland Hotel Breakfast Buffet has a kids’ food station where the counter is lower, there’s also a drinks station, and every food appeared to have a nice station with signs.
At Legoland Castle Hotel, if you want pancakes or french toast, you’d be lucky if you see them as they just put it on top of the main buffet station or some food is just laid out in a long counter. It’s simply more fun at Legoland Hotel.
On the other hand, Castle Hotel delivers your drinks and omelets. So, if you want don’t want to keep heading to the buffet for everything, you might enjoy the Castle Hotel’s breakfast buffet more. Castle Hotel also has a ball pit and a play area in one of the corners of the restaurant.
In terms of the rooms at both Legoland hotels, they are equally as fun! Both hotels have the same room layout, just different themes.
Each Legoland Hotel or Castle Hotel room has a separate area for the kids that comes with a bunk bed for 3 and their own TV. The kids also get a LEGO surprise via a scavenger hunt and LEGOs to play with while they’re at the hotel. The bathroom is also spacious. The huge difference is in the themes of the rooms and what is available when you book a room.
Legoland Castle Hotel has 3-themed rooms: Knights & Dragons, Royal Princess or Magic Wizard. We stayed at the Magic Wizard room during our stay. We would have preferred Royal Princess but it was not available during our booking.
Legoland Hotel has 5-themed rooms: Pirate, Kingdom, Adventure, LEGO NINJAGO or LEGO Friends. We stayed at the Legoland Hotel Adventure-themed room during our past stay. We would have preferred LEGO Friends but it also was not available during our booking. Maybe next time.
Another difference is where your room is located as some rooms at Legoland Castle Hotel is facing a long middle courtyard where the playground and nightly entertainment is held. If you want some peace and quiet, I would suggest asking where your room will be facing. Ours was facing the parking lot and it was quiet.
During our stay at the Legoland Hotel California, our room was facing the Legoland park, it actually was not loud and looked really fun seeing the huge Legoland sign from our room. That’s how close the Legoland hotels are from the theme park.
Legoland Hotel has an indoor castle play area at the main lobby while Legoland Castle Hotel has a playground with a huge play structure, toddler play area, and movie area – all outdoors.
For this, Legoland Castle Hotel is more fun for the kids except if it is too cold to play outside or if you really don’t have the time to play at the hotel as you’ll be spending more time at Legoland theme park.
When we stayed at the Legoland Hotel California, we stayed overnight then entered the park the next day. Check-in was at 4 PM and we didn’t get to do much at the hotel since we wanted to rest early to take advantage of the early hotel guest pass to Legoland the next day.
On this stay at Legoland Castle Hotel, we played all day at Legoland theme park first before staying overnight so we had more time to actually enjoy the hotel the next day but we didn’t get to use our early hotel guests pass to Legoland. We also didn’t get to attend any of the nightly entertainment at the hotel as we were having fun at Legoland’s Brick or Treat after-hours event.
I do prefer playing at the theme park first then staying overnight as we didn’t have to rush to breakfast or getting up so early in the morning.
Legoland also typically closes around 5 PM so unless there is an after-hours event, you’d still be able to attend the nightly entertainment.
Hotel Benefits available at both Legoland Hotel VS Legoland Castle Hotel
Guests from both hotels get exclusive early access to select rides and attractions before the Park opens to the public. All guests age 3+ must have a valid Park admission ticket and an active room key card. Early entry time begins half-hour prior to park opening.
During our stay at the Legoland Hotel, they gave as a button, this time (our stay at Castle Hotel) the early passes to Legoland was a slap bracelet.
Both Legoland California Hotel and Legoland Castle Hotel have free buffet breakfast, nightly entertainment, a treasure hunt with FREE Legos, character meet & greet, a retail store for souvenirs, a gym, and a heated swimming pool.
BTW, the Legoland Castle Hotel Treasure Hunt Code 2019 is 1221.
So which Legoland Hotel is Better?
So let’s recap the difference between Legoland Hotel VS Castle Hotel and which Legoland Hotel is better.
The two hotels are almost identical but Legoland California Hotel is the better hotel for me. I prefer the buffet at Bricks Family Restaurant, the disco elevator, just how fun the hotel lobby is, and if they’ve maintained the hotel well – it would also be cheaper to stay at Legoland Hotel since it is the older hotel by 5 years.
Now, if you personally want a newer hotel, a less frantic lobby, proximity of the elevator to the lobby, and a fun outdoor play structure for your kids, then you should stay at Legoland Castle Hotel. But truly, as a true blue LEGO fan, you’d actually have to stay at both.
If you still can’t decide on which Legoland California Hotel is better, let the kids choose a theme from both hotels and see which is available then book that hotel. Or if you’ve already stayed at either one, then stay on the other on your next trip.
Good luck! Every now and then, a Legoland Hotel Groupon deal comes up, take advantage to save!
Can’t wait to visit Legoland New York when it opens!
posted 10/15/19, updated 3/25,2021.
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