“Wow!” my son said ecstatically as we entered Legoland in Carlsbad, California. This was the first time we had brought my two and a half year old to an amusement park since Covid started spreading in the United States. Personally, I felt anxious and excited all at the same time as it was also the first time we had spent a night away from home for more than a year.
Our trip started off rough as we had to take a three and a half hour detour on what normally would have been a two hour car ride. Luckily, remembering from Pre-Covid trips, I packed a cooler with water, bagels and snacks. We had also brought along a tablet and a few toys that kept my son occupied the whole time. I made a conscientious effort to stop at a rest area every hour so that my little one could stretch out his legs and not feel so cramped in the car. I felt that the occasional stops and snacks really helped facilitate the unexpected delay.
We arrived at Legoland around 2:30 pm, which we felt was plenty of time as the park closed at 6 pm. We felt that three hours was more than enough time for our toddler to ride all the rides that he was able to as well as take a look at the various Lego statues and Miniland attractions. Some of his favorite rides included sitting in a car while pretending to drive. Being seven months pregnant, I was worried about not being able to go on rides with my son. However, there were plenty of rides that I could go with my husband and toddler. Note: we did not go to the water park or the aquarium parts of Legoland but they could be fun options for another time. The park does require reservations, so plan ahead in purchasing tickets to reserve your day. Check out this site for their up-to-date Covid Restrictions and Requirements as they change often: Safe to Play at LEGOLAND California Resort
After Legoland, we ordered take-out and headed to our Airbnb. It was nice to be in an Airbnb since we had all the kitchenware we might need and could relax comfortably on a couch after a long day. Ever since having a child that could move on his own, I have always personally preferred to stay at an Airbnb versus a hotel as it gave us a fridge to put our snacks, left overs, and drinks for the next day.
The following day, we made our way to SeaWorld in San Diego. There was a long wait just to get into the park. Be prepared as it can get quite warm. Bring water and even a personal fan for your little one as you wait in line. It took about 40 minutes to get our bags checked and into the park. As we entered, there was a Sesame Street themed area for the little ones, which was my son’s favorite part! SeaWorld has a pretty strict policy on expecting mothers and their rides. As such, I spent most of the time taking photos and waiting in line for the next ride that my husband and toddler would ride on. Scattered around the theme park are areas for people to touch sea creatures, ranging from sting rays to starfishes. We did get to see the orca whales, which my son loved! However, there were no shows that featured them as they are being rehabilitated. Unfortunately due to Covid-19 precautions, there were limited shows. Reservations are required to enter the park here also, and you should check here for updates on Covid Restrictions and Requirements before you go: Park Update | SeaWorld San Diego
After spending a couple of hours at SeaWorld, we ended up getting take out at a local restaurant and headed back to our Airbnb for our last night in Carlsbad. Overall our trip helped us feel like we are returning back to some normalcy and was a great family memory.
Tips for amusement parks:
- Bring sunscreen
- Bring a cooler with drinks and snacks
- Bring extra set of clothes and a towel
- If going with a toddler, bring a stroller
- Bring hand wipes/baby wipes
- Download the app so you can view the maps and things to do
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Check the websites for updates on restrictions and if reservations are necessary
Tips for car rides:
- Prepare snacks and drinks
- Bring toys that will keep your child entertained
- Bring a tablet in case you need something extra to keep the child occupied
- Take frequent stops
- Keep baby wipes in sight
Blog written by WarmLine Volunteer Cynthia Chan