LEGOLAND’s new addition to Star Wars ™ Miniland

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Star Wars Legoland

We were VERY fortunate to be able to attend the unveiling of the latest addition to the LEGO® Star Wars™ Miniland at LEGOLAND this past week.  Having two boys…ages 2 1/2 and 5 1/2, Star Wars™ is a BIG DEAL around here.

They are mesmerized by the movies and pretty much all things Luke, Vader and Yoda. We even donned the costumes this year for Halloween.  Who wouldn’t pass up a chance to be Princess Leia?! I think that having a husband (like so many of us!) that grew up in the original Star Wars™ era, dads really feel connected to their kids with the shared love of these films.

We’ve been to LEGOLAND several times before with our oldest but this was the first trip that the little one could actually enjoy it.  I just love everything about the park.

Legoland California

It has nice, wide open walkway spaces, tons of areas for little ones to explore and play and a really wide variety of rides.

There are also fantastic and HEALTHY food options, which at theme parks is sometimes hard to find.  We highly suggest the Pizza & Pasta Buffet for your trip.  They serve amazing salads, pasta and pizza (buffet-style, aka FAST) in a sit-down restaurant.  It’s super easy and quick if you are juggling strollers and multiple tired and hungry kids.

We usually spend the first half of the day exploring the rides and attractions, then a fair amount of time in Miniland in the center of the park.

Legoland Star Wars Miniland

It’a s great area to rest a little (that’s when you put the littles in a stroller) with a lot of benches for seating and to just marvel at the amazing LEGO® models of cities all over the United States.

The Star Wars™  area is quite impressive, depicting tons of characters and also mini models of full scenes from the movies.

We were lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the latest MASSIVE addition on March 4th…The Death Star.


Photo credit: LEGOLAND

It is HUGE…8-feet wide, 13-feet high, weighing more than 1,900 pounds and made out of more than 500,000 bricks.  It is incredible to see the features of the film scenes made out of the bricks.  Especially the famous trench run scene where Luke Skywalker maneuvers his X-Wing fighter through the combat zone to destroy the Death Star.  If you have boys, you KNOW what I’m talking about!

And the best part, is that adjacent to the model, guests are invited to construct their OWN starship at building stations with special LEGO® bricks.  My boys LOVED this part and I love how Legoland is so interactive and encourages creativity in our children.

Star Wars Legoland MIniland

I loved this picture with Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers.  Mind you, my oldest wouldn’t even LOOK at a costumed character one year ago so his silly nervous grin just makes me laugh!  And the little one was SO brave until the Stormtrooper talked to him.  This is the best group shot you can get with kids these ages, I guess!

Legoland Stormtroopers

So if you have the chance to hit up LEGOLAND soon…do NOT miss this new attraction.  It’s sure to be fun for kids…and Dads too.  🙂

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SoCal Family Fun at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa

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Over Mother’s Day weekend my family was invited by the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa to stay at their beautiful property and experience their eco-fun Metrolink Summer Memories Package running now through October 2012. Happy Mother’s Day to me!

This package includes a (minimum) two-night stay at the Sheraton Carlsbad, up to 4 roundtrip Metrolink passes good from destinations throughout LA, OC and Riverside, transportation to and from the Oceanside Metrolink station to the resort, kids 12 and under eat free with paid adult entree at Twenty/20 Grill and Wine bar on property and two adult LEGOLAND California Resort Hopper admission tickets for a super great deal!

Click HERE for details and to look at pricing online.  The value of the LEGOLAND tickets alone is $190!

The beauty of this package for SoCal families? You can pack up, get on the train, and can have a completely action-packed fun-filled getaway without ever needing a car!

The property is lovely; gorgeous Mediterranean style architecture and my favorite part…full of families!

We were treated to one of their spacious suites, the Pacific Studio Suite which, at 915 sq ft gave us room to spread out and BREATHE!  With a comfy king-sized bed and a sleeper sofa that was perfect for my girls, they loved being able to watch a video on the flat screen TV from their bed on the complimentary DVD player included in this package after a busy day.

The hotel featured beautiful golf course and coastline views, a mini fridge for kiddo snacks, and included with the resort fee, a 24 hour fitness center, WIFI and in-room Starbucks “One Shot” Coffee Maker with Tazo Tea and Starbucks Coffee.

But my very favorite had to be the KID SIZED ROBE in the bathroom!  How cute is THIS? I don’t know if it is offered in every room, but they do have them on property, so if you visit you can call and ask for it.  My girls thought it was hilarious for all of us to hang out in our Sheraton robes!

I love a resort that offers some “roaming space” for little ones, and there was a great grassy area adjacent to the lobby where the girls loved to run around after breakfast, while my husband and I could chill out with our morning Starbucks on the adirondack chairs.

The property also featured cute little seating areas to relax and the expansive pool area delighted the kids with a giant-sized Jacquzzi, air hockey table and ping pong. Complimentary water noodles were also available at the pool. Big hit.

Now let me tell you a little about the restaurant on property, Twenty/20 Grill & Wine Bar,which was soooooo amazing!

The outdoor patio had panoramic views of the coastline and there is nothing I love more than eating outside on a spring night with the ambiance of fire pits and space heaters. So cozy.

It was very upscale, yet because it is such a family-friendly resort, it was obvious they are accustomed to catering to little ones. Little things like kid-cups with lids and crayons with the menus go a long way when dining out with the whole family!

As luck would have it, my babysitter was in San Diego that weekend visiting her family, and was able to come to the resort for a couple hours to play with the kids, so after they were done eating, my husband and I actually got to enjoy the exquisite cuisine at a leisurely pace.

For starters, we split a delicious rock shrimp appetizer and Greek salad. Absolutely delish!

I am not usually a huge fan of Greek salads, but there was something about the flavor of the dressing that was so light and yummy, I could have added a protein in and called it dinner.  But that would have been silly when there were so many delectable entree items to choose from!

For me, halibut from heaven, for the hubby, perfectly cooked filet.

And their breakfast was equally as amazing. They even catered to my little one with food allergies and got her soy milk with her cereal. Plus, every table at the 8am hour was filled with children, particularly refreshing as my antsy two-year-old climbing around in our booth did not warrant any of “those looks!”

So with all of this alone, the property would be an amazing destination, but to put the cherry on top, the Sheraton Carlsbad has it’s own PRIVATE entrance into LEGOLAND, which was only about a five minute walk from the lobby!

For families, this is ultra-convenient and super spectacular. No lines, just show your key and tickets, and we could walk right smack into the middle of all the action!

Our girls (almost 3 and almost 6) had the time of their lives at LEGOLAND. As a bonus, we got there right when it opened and there were not that many people, which meant we got to do a lot of the rides with a very little wait.

If you have kids under 5 or 6, I would suggest bringing the jogger or stroller with you.  It can get to be a lot of walking for those little legs.

Overall, we had the best time, making so many family memories. I love time to get away from the same old weekend routine, and because it is so close, you can fit in a lot with even just a two-night stay.

Many thanks to the Sheraton Carlsbad for treating my family to this exquisite visit, and the best Mother’s Day I could have asked for!

For more information on this special Metrolink Summer Memories Package, click HERE.

[Disclosure: My family received complimentary accommodations, two meals and LEGOLAND tickets to facilitate this review. All my opinions are 100% my own. I would highly recommend this package to Southern California families looking for a fun eco-friendly getaway!]


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Sheraton Carlsbad Metrolink Summer Memories Package

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Want to take a local SoCalCation this summer but worried about summer traffic and through the roof gas prices? With this Summer Memories Metrolink Package at the beautiful Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa, you can take your family for a getaway and save on gas by traveling to the resort on the Metrolink Train from Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside and more.

Now that’s what I call eco-fun!

Can you imagine how thrilling it would be for the kids to go on vacation on the train? Love it!  The kids will be so entertained “are we there yet?” won’t even cross their little minds!

The Summer Memories Package includes:

* Accommodations at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa (Advance registration of 10 days + 2-night minimum stay required. Offer is good for stays booked and completed by October 10th, 2012)

* One roundtrip Metrolink pass per guest booked in reservation. A maximum of 4 Metrolink passes booked per room. Metrolink passes are valid from any Metrolink station to the Oceanside station.

* Complimentary roundtrip transportation from Oceanside station to the resort. Guest must schedule the hotel shuttle 72 hours prior to arrival. Subject to availability.

* Two adult LEGOLAND California Resort Hopper admission tickets per room, per stay. Park Hopper tickets valid for LEGOLAND, Water Park & SEA LIFE (Water Park only valid on open operating days. Click here for the schedule.) Additional tickets available for purchase at the hotel. Tickets have no cash value. The resort is conveniently located adjacent to LEGOLAND.

* One complimentary DVD player for use in room during stay based on availability upon request.

* Kids 12 and under eat free. One free kid’s menu item per paid adult entree value at 20/Twenty Grill & Wine Bar only. Not applicable to in-room dining.

Book online or call 866-716-8134.

My family is going to be going to the resort on this package next weekend. Big WOO HOO! Can’t think of a better way to experience Mother’s Day than with a little getaway! I can’t wait to report back about our adventure!

[Disclosure: I will receive a complimentary media stay to facilitate my review.]


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LEGOLAND Vacation Deal!

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Felt inspired to post this deal today because as we all know, family trips can get expensive, and this is an incredible price for a 2-day LEGOLAND vacation in Carlsbad!

This deal: Plum Steal: $359-$495 for Two LEGOLAND® California Two-Day Hopper Passes + Two Nights at The Grand Pacific Palisades Resort – $599-$815 Value includes…

* Two LEGOLAND 2-Day Park Hopper Passes (Good at LEGOLAND California, LEGOLAND Water Park and the SEA LIFE Aquarium. Both passes can be used for either an adult or child – $220 value.)

* Two nights in your choice of a Coastal View Deluxe Room ($359) or a One-Bedroom Villa Suite  ($495) at The Grand Pacific Palisades Resort next to LEGOLAND.  The price includes the daily resort fee, valet parking and use of all the resort activities.

The family-friendly resort has its own private pedestrian entrance so you can easily access all the fun without even having to get into your car as it is right next door.

Be SURE to read The Nitty Gritty in the right column and look at the Black-Out dates before you buy to make sure the dates work for you. Also note that the deal expires on 12/31/12.

Seriously great deal. Wanted to share with the hopes that some of my readers can do a little getaway with their own tiny oranges this year!

[Disclosure: Tiny Oranges is a Plum District Affiliate.]

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My family was recently invited to preview “A Clutch Powers 4-D Adventure” at Legoland a couple weeks ago and we HAD A BLAST!   My mom took the day off work and my husband stayed home with our baby so we could do a girls’ only trip to the park and take Emma, just the 3 of us.  Such a special day!

Clutch Powers is a brand new LEGO character and this 4-D movie brings LEGO to life with daily shows in LEGO Show Place.  Seeing all the kids in those 4-D glasses and watching them all squeal and try to grab the air was hilarious.   It was about 10 minutes long, perfect length for young attention spans, and included nonstop action and special effects like wind.   When I asked my daughter at the end of our visit what her favorite part was, she said, “the movie!”  She absolutely loved it!

It was our first time to Legoland and judging by how much fun we had, it definitely won’t be our last!  The park was about a million times more fun than I even expected.  I had NO IDEA.

It’s easy to get to right off the freeway, parking was a breeze, and there was SO much to do for a kid in her age group. She is now 3 years 9 months and it was a total wonderland for her.  Lots of rides for her age and hands-on sort of things.

Many of the rides did have a height restriction though, and required an accompanying adult, so something to keep in mind as 1:1 adult to kid ratio would be pretty important if you go with little ones.

I am seriously considering getting our family a Membership.  You could really go and just focus on one area and be entertained for hours.   And, a brand new Legoland Water Park is opening this summer!

It was super clean, easy to get around, and for being seemingly pretty crowded we didn’t have to wait long for hardly any of the young kid rides.

On the way out we walked through and explored Sea Life, the family aquarium located next door.  Boy oh boy, so much to see and do!

Here is a little slide show of our time at Legoland.  If you do end up going, do yourself a favor and MAKE SURE to get some Granny’s Apple Fries in Castle Hill.  I am still dreaming of those cinnamon-y whipped cream topped goodies!

Make photo slide shows at

{We received free admission to Legoland for this special preview event – lucky us!!!!  And especially lucky Emma!}

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