The kingdom of LEGOLAND California just a got a little bit more powerful: The Carlsbad theme park has opened its second hotel, the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel, decked out in fairytale characters and led by LEGO wizard Merlin, whose statue presides over the hotel lobby. The turreted hotel next to the park entrance is loaded with details and enticements that will thrill kids and keep parents buzzing too—like these 13 features:
1. The 250 rooms and suites come in one of three colorful themes: Magic Wizards, Knights and Dragons, and Royal Princesses. Regular rooms are actually junior suites with separate, bunk-bed and TV-equipped sleeping nooks for the kids. Each theme comes with its own LEGO art, from the wizard’s owl to a jumbo dragon sconce.
2. The whole hotel houses 2,100 LEGO models, built with more than 3 million LEGO bricks.
3. Staying here comes with some VIP access: Hotel guests get access to a separate entrance to the theme park and can get in up to an hour early, depending on the season. To boost your value, check out the hotel’s packages, which often bundle in tickets to both the LEGOLAND theme park and its Sea Life Aquarium.
4. Kids will want to climb the stairs in the lobby. After all, right next to those stairs is a playground-style slide that takes them back down to the check-in area.
5. In the elevator lobby, rap on the Knock-Knock Door, which offers up a joke while you wait. Or, sit in the lobby’s throne—just be prepared for a whoopee-cushion-style reaction.
6. Rooms come with play areas for kids: a bin of LEGOs and building stations near the bunk beds, and a built-in treasure hunt that leads to the room safe, which holds a small surprise inside.
7. The hotel’s Dragon’s Den restaurant has both a buffet and sit-down service, as well as locally sourced cuisine—and breakfast is free with your stay.
8. The Dragon’s Den also has a kid’s play area with live entertainment (jesters who tell jokes when you spin the wheel), and the hotel offers daily games and LEGO-creating activities—just ask the concierge. The restaurant’s bar even offers parents a few games incorporating LEGOs.
9. In the hotel’s courtyard area, there’s a big pool with interactive water features, a LEGO-stocked playground, and an outdoor big screen that plays LEGO movies.
10. Traveling with a kid who’s potty training? The hotel room bathrooms come with an added, trainer-friendly toilet seat. (Don’t judge: For anyone in this parenting phase, this is a real perk—and unlike the throne in the lobby, at least it makes no noise.)
11. If your LEGO fan has any Mini Figures, bring ’em along. While staying at the hotel you can trade them with staffers (aka Model Citizens).
12. At bedtime, kids can activate their own starry night lights in their sleeping nook—a constellation of tiny lights in the ceiling over their bunk beds.
13. Through May 13, kids ages 5–12 can enter the Royal Model Competition, to win a free night at the hotel for their family, by sending in a pic of their own royal-themed LEGO creation.