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Posts Tagged ‘theme parks’

October Family Fun in San Diego: Brick or Treat

October 7th, 2010 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in Autumn Adventures, Legoland, Legoland bargains, LEGOLAND Brick or Treat, San Diego Family Travel, theme parks

 Destiny, Jared and I boogied down at the Brick or Treat Celebration at LEGOLAND CA last weekend.  The weather was pure Indian summer and we had a great time getting together with friends, watching the shows, and getting our groove on at the Brick or Treat Dance Party.  Brick or Treat activities are much more spread out this year, which makes things a lot easier and more fun.  The last one I attended there were moments that felt more claustrophobic especially as we went from place to place with preschoolers.  Now that the festivities take place throughout half of the park, kids and parents have plenty of room to enjoy the fun.  Here are some highlights of our Brick or Treat adventures:

Meeting Up With Friends

Family Adventure Guidebooks was lucky enough to receive a VIP invite to attend Brick or Treat.  The kids and I had fun seeing two of my favorite travel bloggers and their kids.  Sharlene Earnshaw of Trekaroo and Double the Adventure came with her delightful twins.  We had fun swapping stories as moms of bossy big sisters and mischievious little brothers. Coleen Lanin of  Travel Mamas brought her kids as well and as the kids enjoyed to Duplo Play Area the moms shared blogging and travel writing war stories.  I love the picture below because it shows that girls like construction equipment to ;) .

Construction Girls, LEGOLAND CA

LEGOLAND is an ideal place for a play date.  Kids love hanging out with their friends, and Moms have someone to help keep them sane as they navigate the theme park lines.  It is also allows for a little kid swapping so the daring can ride the roller coasters and the timid can find other fun.  We were lucky to spend the rest of our evening with Destiny’s best friend and her family.  Aren’t they cute as they pose by the Brick or Treat Trail?

Destiny and Friends LEGOLAND CA


This was one of the best parts of our Brick or Treat Adventure.  The witchy cast members were experts at  creating a fun environment where  kids felt comfortable boogieing down .   The music was fun, kid appropriate yet bearable for the adults.  Kids got participation ribbons which unfortunately didn’t stick to clothing very well and were lost within minutes.  Destiny  and Jared could have spent all night  shaking their groove things.

Destiny's Brick or Treat Dance Moves

Disco Jared, Brick or Treat Party LEGOLAND CA

Brick or Treat Trail

Brick or Treat Trail, Legoland Ca

The kids love this experience because they get candy.  I love this experience because they don’t get too much candy.  This year LEGOLAND is offering Brick or Treat Trails at two different locations, but kids can only choose one.  I’m glad they’re spreading out, but wish the kids could try both trails.  It’s pretty hard to explain to an impulsive five year old, why he can’t go trick or treating at that cool are over there.

The Scoop on Brick or Treat

My kids are passionate fans of Halloween and it is excruciating for them to wait 31 days until trick or treating despite the spooky decorations popping up on our neighbor’s houses and the giant bags of candy showing up in the stores.  Brick or Treat is the perfect place for little kids to get ready for Halloween.  The LEGOLAND staff and Cast Members work very hard to transform LEGOLAND into a truly magical place for a night time adventure.      Brick or Treat continues Saturday Nights through Halloween.  It’s free with a full day admission, but there is also a lower cost option for evenings only. $30 to visit LEGOLAND.  That’s a bargain!

P.S.  To learn more about other fun Halloween happenings in the San Diego Area check out my post on UPTAKE.COM.

P.P.S. Family Adventure Guidebooks is a proud participant in Trekaroo’s Spotlight Thursdays Blog Roundup.

P.P.P.S.  Family Adventure Guidebooks received complimentary passes to attend Brick or Treat.  This didn’t really influence my review as I am already a huge LEGOLAND fan without the freebees.  I even wrote a book about it.  Check out The Unauthorized Legoland Guidebook on

Happy Trails!



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Solo Theme Park Adventures

February 19th, 2009 by bsmith | 4 Comments | Filed in Legoland, theme parks, Travel Tips
Jared became a big Pluto Fan on this Visit to Disneyland

Jared became a big Pluto Fan on this Visit to Disneyland

The idea for the Unauthorized Legoland Guidebook came from a series of Legoland visits with three kids and no husband.  Ken works very hard and is also not the biggest fan of themeparks without humongous rollercoasters.  In order to make the most of our Legoland membership, more often than not, I needed to go it alone.  This situation created some limitations.  Several rides at Legoland, had a one adult per child rule, so my preschooler could not ride with my nine year old.  Even bathroom runs take a bit more planning without an extra adult along. 

Since then I’ve also tackled Disneyland, Seaworld, and the zoo on my own.  Each trip  presented some challenges, but also offered plenty of fun.

I  discovered that knowing the park and planning ahead made a huge difference in our Legoland adventures.  Here are a few tips to make your solo theme park visit a little easier.

  • Plan ahead.  Know the age and height restrictions for the various rides.  Try to have some rides and attractions in mind that the whole family will enjoy.  My book, The Unauthorized Legoland Guidebook includes pull out sections that give detailed ride suggestions for every age group.  There are many great web resources for other themeparks.  If you do some digging, theme park websites also have this information.
  • Prep your kids.  When I am going solo, I make sure that my nine year old knows that there will be some activities that we won’t be able to enjoy due to our parent kid ratio.  I make sure that everyone knows that the goal for this trip is to have fun as a family.  I try to have a future “Mom date” visit planned, so Justin can look forward to enjoying a few more thrills at some point.
  • Take a picture of your kids using your digital camera before entering the park.  That way if they get lost, you have an up to date picture to share with the theme park staff.
  • Have a family motto.  Ours is “The Smith Family Stays Together” .  This is our travel mantra.  We repeat it often throughout the day.
  • Enlist your older children’s help in keeping an eye on the little guys.
  • Bring a stroller.  It’s a great place to store your stuff and make a quick exit during that end of the day tantrum.
  • Bring a friend if possible.  A theme park is actually a great place to have a playdate, and you can switch kids, if your family is like mine half timid/half brave.
  • Bring a big kid buddy.  Believe or not some of my most fun adventures came with bringing four kids to Legoland.  Since Justin had a buddy he could ride some of the big kid rides, and both boys were helpful in wrangling the little ones.
  • Pack lots of snacks.  You never know when a break or a bribe will come in handy.

Most of all, be brave. Go solo.  Don’t miss out on fun family adventures just because you are outnumbered.  The day won’t be perfect, but the kids will bring home some funny stories, you will have some cute pictures, and everyone will sleep well after all that adventure!


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The Force Was With Them…

September 16th, 2008 by bsmith | 2 Comments | Filed in Legoland
Jared, Justin, and Justin's favorite clone trooper Commander Cody at Legoland 2008

Jared, Justin, and Commander Cody

Lego Starwars Day is something that every 5-12 year old boy should have the chance to experience at least once.  Think “kid-friendly version of Comi-Com”.  Justin loves all the elaborate Star Wars Costumes and amazing Lego models built by adult fans.  This year they had a several fun activities including one where everytime the kids were approached by storm troopers they had to respond “We are not the ones you are seeking.”  There are also costume contests and building events.  If you missed Lego Starwars Day, make sure that you keep an eye out for it in Fall 2009.  Be warned though, the park is very busy that day and there will be long lines for many of the rides.
Happy Trails,
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