A Parent’s Guide to LEGOLAND California

A Parent’s Guide to LEGOLAND California

One of the most famous places in Carlsbad has got to be LEGOLAND California! This is one of my kids’ favorite place to go visit and I’ve actually done a lot of staycations at the LEGOLAND hotel. I recently went to LEGOLAND with my son, my niece, and my nephew. We filmed our day so I could give you an inside look at the park! 

My first pro tip is to pick up a LEGOLAND pass if you’re a Costco member. They’re about $100 a year and if you go a lot, it definitely pays for itself. 

My next pro tip is to make sure you go right when you enter the park. You can go either left or right and probably 90% of people go to the left. The best roller coasters are to the right though, so you can beat the crowds and ride them while the lines are still short. My son’s favorite rides are the Technic Coaster and the new ride in the LEGO movie world, Emmett’s Fly Adventure. Another pro tip, the Dragon roller coaster tends to have the shortest line of all the roller coasters.

In addition to roller coasters, there are a number of LEGO statues throughout the park and interactive things to do. There’s a Driving School, where kids can drive their own cars around on a track. It’s pretty cool because they have two different experiences depending on the child’s age. Skipper School is a boat ride, where you get to pilot the boats around the lake. On this trip, we also checked out the 4D theater which was fun because it’s inside and air conditioned. Definitely recommend that on a hot day. 

The LEGO movie land is a newer part of the park that was added after the success of the LEGO movies. Built in the last year, it even has a splash pad right in in the middle – a great thing to take advantage of if you’re visiting in the summer! You can take the kids here instead of to the water park.

Yes, that’s right – LEGOLAND has a water park as well. We didn’t visit it on this trip as it tends to be very crowded in the summer. The water park stays open into the fall, which is when we like to go. Less crowded after most of the tourists go home. There’s also an aquarium here. 

There are a bunch of food places scattered throughout the park. We often go to the BBQ place, but on their trip, we went to Urban Kitchen. They have a lot of different items on the menu including a Philly Cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz. Maybe not super authentic but could be a good item to try if you’re super hungry and looking for something more filling.  

My last pro tip for visiting the park is this: if you can leave without your kids noticing the LEGO store, do it! We can never leave without picking up a new LEGO set. 

If you’re from out of town, I highly recommend staying at the LEGOLAND hotel. It’s super fun for kids. They have rooms with bunk beds and treasure chests that you need to figure out the combination to. Inside the chest are LEGOs the kids can play with. There are two hotels, the original LEGOLAND Hotel and a castle-themed one. Both are great and super close to the park. Really lets you get the full LEGOLAND experience. 

I hope you enjoyed this tour of LEGOLAND California. We’ll be visiting some of the other parks in the San Diego area so leave a comment below with where you’d like to see Courtney and I go next! 

Torrey Highlands vs Pacific Highlands Ranch: Where Should You Live?

Torrey Highlands vs Pacific Highlands Ranch: Where Should You Live?

Welcome to the first of our new series, Battle of the Burbs! 

Buyers are always asking us, “What neighborhoods should we live in? Pacific Highlands Ranch? Torrey Highlands? 4S Ranch? Del Sur?” So, we thought we’d do a few episodes pitting these neighborhoods head-to-head so you can get your questions answered and ultimately decide which is the right choice for your family! 

Today we’re going to be discussing Torrey Highlands vs Pacific Highlands Ranch. We’re going to compare amenities, park, restaurants, schools…everything each neighborhood has to offer.

Restaurants in Torrey Highlands and Pacific Highlands Ranch

Both neighborhoods have some pretty good restaurants. Pacific Highlands Ranch has a good breakfast spot, lunch spots, and dinner spots. Places like Pacific SocialBreakfast RepublicWokou RamenDeath by Tequila, and Flora Bar & Kitchen

In Torrey Highlands, we have some great pizza options like Fresco, which is my favorite pizza place Off the 56. The Merge 56 shopping center is also coming to Torrey Highlands and that should give us some new restaurants, breweries, and coffee shop options. 

Winner: Pacific Highlands Ranch

Parks in Torrey Highlands and Pacific Highlands Ranch

Next up, we’re talking parks!

Pacific Highlands Ranch is a little bit bigger, so they tend to have a few more amenities than Torrey Highlands. They have the beautiful Pacific Highlands Ranch community park and rec center, plus some smaller neighborhood parks. They also have an indoor rec center and a pump track

Torrey Highlands does not have a rec center, but we do have Torrey Meadows Park. That’s the largest park in Torrey Highlands and it’s only about two years old. It has a beautiful playground. We have other smaller parks as well, but we don’t have any community pools or rec centers in Torrey Highlands. 

Winner: Pacific Highlands Ranch

Schools in Torrey Highlands and Pacific Highlands Ranch

The schools in Torrey Highlands and Pacific Highlands Ranch are both excellent. They are actually two different school districts though, so we really have a face-off between San Dieguito and Poway Unified School Districts. However, based on Great Schools ratings, those are both some of the best school districts in all of San Diego. 

Talking specific schools, Pacific Highlands Ranch has the 10-rated Canyon Crest Academy and Pacific Trails Middle School. In Torrey Highlands, you have Westview High School, Willow Grove Elementary, and Park Village Elementary. Both neighborhoods have highly rated schools, 9s and 10s all over.

Winner: Draw

Homes in Torrey Highlands and Pacific Highlands Ranch

All right, now we’re talking about the homes in these two neighborhoods!

The median home price in Pacific Highlands Ranch is $1.8 Million! Torrey Highlands is a bit more affordable – the median home price over there is around $1.4 Million. 

Pacific Highlands Ranch might have a few more amenities than Torrey Highlands, however you’re definitely paying for it. Torrey Highlands is also just east of Pacific Highlands Ranch, so you’re still super close to the beach and the 56 freeway. The HOA fees in Torrey Highlands tend to be a bit less than Pacific Highlands Ranch, mainly because they don’t have as many community amenities. 

As far as Mello-Roos fees goes, both of them have Mello-Roos. However, most of the Mello-Roos fees in Torrey Highlands are going to expire within the next ten years whereas Pacific Highlands Ranch is newer, so you still have a lot of time left on those fees. 

Winner: Torrey Highlands

Hiking and Mountain Biking Trails in Torrey Highlands and Pacific Highlands Ranch

Last on our list in this Battle of the Burbs are hiking and mountain biking trails.

The trails in Torrey Highlands are some of the best in the entire city. Torrey Highlands is right on the Rancho Peñasquitos Canyon which, as we’ve covered on previous episodes, is absolutely amazing. Pacific Highlands Ranch does have access to this canyon, however Torrey Highlands has the trailhead right there!

Winner: Torrey Highlands

So, for those of you keeping score at home, this Battle of the Burbs is all tied up! However, we’re going to give this one to Torrey Highlands because this is the neighborhood where we personally live so we can attest to how awesome both the neighborhood and the neighbors are.

Either way, you really can’t go wrong when it comes to Pacific Highlands Ranch and Torrey Highlands. Both great places to live in San Diego. If you’re looking to move to either of these communities or anywhere else in San Diego County, we’d love to help!

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