If the hit Lego movies prove anything, it’s that nobody gets tired of seeking how far those brightly colored building blocks can take them. No matter what comes along in the world of high-tech toys, the nearly 90-year-old institution is the original “click and play” pastime for kids of all ages. Just ask Will Ferrell’s super Lego fan character, Vitruvius (a.k.a. Morgan Freeman), and the Lego Superfriends who have done their bit to remind us how we can make any universe our own with a lot of imagination, a sense of humor and the power to adapt that world any way we choose.
With Lego theme parks still going strong around the world, the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel, opened April 2018 in Carlsbad, Calif. (just outside San Diego), takes the ageless play sets’ appeal to the next level, much like the Lego movies and theme parks around the world. The property comes on the heels of the first park-adjacent Carlsbad LEGOLAND Hotel, opened five years ago.
The LEGOLAND Castle Hotel is built around an overriding fairytale/royalty theme, which, by happy accident, coincided with the buzz leading up to the royal nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. However, the three main storylines — Royal Princess, Magic Wizard and Knights and Dragons — ensure the core audience of kids ages 2 through 12 (and their nostalgic parents and grandparents) will find something they can relate to inside the palace. A towering LEGO wizard (with a similar commanding presence to the movie’s Vitruvius) greets arriving guests. He stands among 2,100 models crafted from more than 3 million bricks.
The fantasy continues seamlessly into public areas. The Royal Courtyard immerses children in their own customizable fairytale, via numerous play areas for different age groups, a giant movie screen, a resort-style pool with interactive water features and hot tub and a tented stage for live plays and shows. Eye-catching interactive elements throughout the hotel include a knock-knock door, a royal throne that makes silly noises, LEGO caricatures to build upon, a self-playing piano and a slide from the first floor to the lobby. All these elements together give the term “funhouse” a new meaning.
Individual family suites, meanwhile, are outfitted with a children’s sleeping area fully loaded with bunk beds or a trundle bed, their own television, a LEGO building station and shooting stars illuminating on the ceiling. Adult sleeping areas are equally magical, with LED light-adorned headboards, a canopy sparkling with twinkling lights or shelves filled with potions and a magical bubbling illuminated cauldron-based room theme.
The Royal Princess rooms’ mood, with feminine flourishes, revolves around girl power, with the princess plotting with her jester friend to sneak into and compete with the boys in a grand tournament. In the Knights and Dragons rooms, young heroes are on a mission to defend the castle and protect its treasure. In the Magic Wizard rooms, wizards of all genders work their magic to ensure all goes well and a happy ending is ensured.
Even with the obvious kid appeal inside the Dragon’s Den sit-down restaurant, parents of the royal guest of honor will appreciate the fact there are some adult-friendly items on the menu (including vegan and gluten-free choices) made from local produce and the fact that breakfast, including both made-to-order items and the buffet, is included in the room charge. Better still, there’s no commuting time to the branded theme park, water park and Sea Life Aquarium, and vacation packages incorporating hotels and parks can be purchased online.
This October, take the whole family to London and take time to not only enjoy the classic sites but also these scary fun Halloween events and experiences. Whether it’s a spooky-filled trip to the London Zoo or a step into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, here are the three can’t-miss experiences:
United Airlines is in the midst of a major initiative to modernize its fleet over the next several years. After first announcing the plan in 2021, planes fitted with United’s signature interior are finally beginning to appear across the airline’s narrowbody fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes. United flyers are sure to notice these enhancements from the moment they step on board: Each new or updated plane sports remodeled seats, seatback entertainment screens for everyone, Bluetooth connectivity and more, all adding up to a better experience on every journey.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next family trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Medellín, Colombia, with us.
Make your family trip to Orlando so much more than just visiting the theme parks. Thanks to new vacation bundles from luxury hotels in Orlando, available as of Sept. 1, you can enjoy exclusive boating experiences during your trip.
As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
Where can family travelers experience a truly unique (and possibly unusual) Halloween tradition? Look no further than Morro Bay, California, a city hosting the annual Witches Paddle. Just as it sounds, the Witches Paddle sees hundreds of people don witches’ costumes in honor of Halloween before taking to the water on stand-up paddleboards.