LEGOLAND New York Guide to Visiting: Reviews, Tips, Advice and Suggestions

Saturday, August 28, 2021
If you're headed to LEGOLAND New York, don't go without reading my review first! We just returned from our park visit and I have plenty of tips and suggestions for you. These are things I wish someone had told me before I visited, too, so be sure to read to the end for all of my advice.


Disclosure: I was provided with media tickets to visit LEGOLAND New York in order to facilitate my review, but that in no way influenced my opinion. I still had to pay for our food, parking, add-ons, travel costs, and more, so trust me, I wouldn't steer you wrong.

I always try to keep my posts up to date and accurate, so be sure to Pin this for future reference! Also, I try to answer all comments in the comment section (but comments are not posted until pre-approved, thanks to spammers). 


My Quick History with LEGOLAND New York

I have been covering the construction of LEGOLAND New York since 2017- literally since day one when I stood in a hard hat on the grounds that would someday become this awesome theme park. I wrote multiple posts about the park's progression (you can read them all here) and was eagerly anticipating its grand opening. As we all know, a pandemic delayed that, and I was not asked to return for a press visit until now. Finally seeing it complete in person was very special and something I'll never forget.


About Our Visit

For reference, we visited LEGOLAND New York midweek (a Thursday) in late August, 2021. Crowds were not awful, but it's a theme park, after all, so there were plenty of people. If you want to avoid crowds, I would not suggest visiting on a weekend. When we visited it was also unbearably hot - I mean, waaayyy over 90 degrees. There was also a hurricane earlier in the week when we visited. It was a tough weather week for anyone!


Don't Bring Cash

A HUGE thing that you need to know, first and foremost, is that this is a cashless theme park. None of the stores, eateries, games, or rental areas accept cash. Everything is credit card only. 


About the Themed Lands and Attractions

I am not going to go over in detail what every single ride entails because that would be a waste of time and space. If you want to see a complete list of LEGOLAND New York's rides and attractions you can see that here. You can also read an in-depth description of each themed land (including one that is not built yet, go look at my post and see if you can find it) here. Things to note:

-be sure to review height restrictions and requirements ahead of time so you know what rides your kids can and can't go on. Refer to this handy dandy chart from LEGOLAND New York if you need help.

-LEGOLAND New York is made up of a combination of attractions and rides. There are not a huge amount of rides (roughly 17, and that includes kiddie rides) that all ages/heights can actually ride on (rides are age/height specific, so look ahead at what your kids can enjoy). Others are attractions, like the 4D movie, climbing structures, shows, or building opportunities. 

-there are some areas where kids can actually build and learn, such as the Build and Test and Creative Workshop (your child can sign up for a workshop or build cars to race and go). Both areas are air conditioned, too. 



Parking Fee at LEGOLAND New York

Yes, there is a parking fee. If you pay online in advance it will cost you $20, on-site it is $25. We did not see much info about parking fees as we drove into the park. As you exit the park (on foot) there are signs reminding you to prepay, but there are no kiosks to do that and no physical ticket stubs to put into a machine anyway. I stopped at the guest services ticket window on my way out to ask about this and was told that if you did not prepay before leaving, you could hold up the QR code on your printed ticket to use upon exiting. We opted to pay at the window, so we were given a ticket stub to insert in the machine to show that we paid. It's an automatic gated exit for cars and we did not see any human attendants, so I'm not sure what would happen if scanning your ticket didn't work or if you were trying to pay at the gate with a credit card. 


Food at LEGOLAND New York 

There are so many amazing food choices listed on the LEGOLAND New York website and park map. But I have to be honest and let you know that when we visited, many of the food kiosks were closed (again, a weekday in late August). I don't know why this was, but the smaller snack and drink kiosks were all not open. There were no food carts at all. Here are some tips I can share with you about eating:

-you are permitted to bring coolers into the park of small snack items and water. There are refillable water stations throughout the park (but for us, water was not cold, although in fairness it was 100 degrees outside).

-there is plenty of room to bring a stroller and plenty of paved paths (it truly is built for kids and families). Some visitors were even bringing small wagons for their kids.

-There are several sit down restaurants throughout the park, so don't think you have to sit outside and eat. Smokey's Brick-B-Que, Brickolini's Pizza & Pasta Buffet and Brickbeard's Food Market are all sit-down eateries with air conditioning (they are counter service-type restaurants, though, no waiters/waitresses). 

-I personally thought the best deal at Royal Feast (which was walk-up service, not indoor seating) was the kids combo meal, which came with fries and a drink. The other combo meals there did not include drinks. Food is pricey! Be prepared to pay a lot, especially for a large family. 

-I hear the best deal for families is at Brickolini's Pizza & Pasta Buffet,  for  about $50 a family of four can get all you can eat pizza, pasta, salad and dessert, including drinks.

-Don't miss the signature Granny's Apple Fries and exclusive apple-flavored ice cream. These are famous at LEGOLAND and shouldn't be missed! 

-Brick Street Cafe is a self-serve grab and go place to find snacks, muffins, candy, drinks, and coffee. If you hit the park early and need a pick me up, this might be what you're looking for. I'm not sure why they call it a cafe, though, since it's like a walkthrough self-serve kind of thing.

-Want to eat outside the park? Check out the Goshen Diner or Parm in Woodbury Common (Harriman). 



apple ice cream photo via LEGOLAND New York Facebook page

Not to Miss Rides/Attractions*

If you're wondering which rides shouldn't be missed or what you should hit first, here's my opinion:

-The Dragon (in LEGO Castle area) was my favorite ride of the day. According to one of my Season Pass Holder Experts (thank you, Stephanie!), when you get to the park, hit this ride up first (scope out your map ahead of time- you'll need to walk to the back of the park first), you'll most likely beat the lines. Honestly I feel like experiencing this ride alone was worth the trip for us!

-LEGO Factory Adventure Ride (in Bricktopia) was really incredible and used some awesome technology (you can read more about how the ride works here). We rode this as soon as we arrived and pretty much had zero wait time. Our only gripe was that we must've experienced a glitch. The ride is supposed to show what you'd look like as a LEGO minifigure but ours never worked. The screen was blank when it was supposed to show us as minifigures so that was a huge disappointment. I asked an attendant what happened and she said maybe we didn't move our arms enough for the system to recognize us, but who knows?

-LEGO Ninjago the Ride (in LEGO Ninjago World) was a fun experience (and a great arm workout). This ride can also be a long wait time so it's another choice for "ride first." Some of the line will be outdoors and other times indoors. You need to wear 3D glasses for this one and there are some "scary" LEGO skeletons and giant snakes that you have to battle virtually.

-The Palace Cinema (LEGO CITY) shows a 4D movie that is a great place to sit and cool off. When we visited, the movie showtimes were not posted, but I think they are supposed to be posted somewhere outside of the theater or on the app.

-Splash Battle (at LEGO Pirates) and Rogue Riders were soooo needed after the hot day that we had. We didn't get to ride Rogue Riders because we were leaving and the line was too long, but you can actually stand near the ride itself (without actually going on the ride) and get totally soaked from the imaginary pirate cannons exploding in the water. LEGO Pirates was my favorite themed land of the day.

-LEGOLAND theater (near LEGO Castle) offered a live outdoor show that looked adorable. We didn't make it to the show itself but I saw it in passing and it looked fun. 

-Little kids will love the Driving School/Junior Driving School (in LEGO CITY). They can "drive" LEGO cars around an actual mini road and earn their LEGO driver's license at the end. Geared towards kids ages 3-5 and 8-12.

-Miniland is truly awesome. I've seen a lot of LEGO displays in my lifetime, but Miniland was beyond extraordinary. It was amazing to walk through it and see all of the detail and work that went into the creation of it. Spotting our favorite landmarks and real places we have visited was a blast.

-Don't miss the souvenir shops, especially The BIG Shop. They had so many cool LEGO themed items (some hard to find sets, too). They also carry some exclusive LEGOLAND sets (and if you skip buying, you can actually purchase some items online here). IMPORTANT TO NOTE: there are no plastic bags with purchase. You will need to purchase a reusable tote (they range in price from $1 and up, based on size) or carry out in your own bag. I actually liked the little tote bag- it made a cute souvenir by itself.

*Note: Several of the rides were closed while we visited, or were open and then closed at lunch time. Merlin's Flying Machines, Dragon's Apprentice, Jay's Gravity Force Trainer, Fire Academy, and Driving School were all closed (Junior Driving School was open).  Many playground areas were also roped off (possibly due to covid concerns?). I don't know the reason behind the closures (short staffed, maybe?) but I can see how this would cause major disappointment for any family. I have talked to people who have visited often throughout the summer and this was not the case for them, so perhaps this was a staffing issue we encountered at the time. 



Tips, Suggestions and IMPORTANT Things to Note

-There is a LEGOLAND New York app that you can download for free. It will tell you wait times for rides and which are closed, but only when you are within the park.

-My annual pass holder expert (thanks again, Stephanie!) said the best time to get to the park is around 9:30am (opening time is 10am). We arrived around 11:30am and still had to wait on a long line to get in (although it did move quickly). There is NO shade coverage while waiting in this line at the entrance, FYI.

-Again, this park is cashless, so credit/debit only!! 

-Don't forget there's a parking fee ($20 online or $25 at the park)

-All of the reviews I read online mentioned the walking, the walking, the walking. I came in expecting a long, winding path that I'd have to traverse through the whole park, but that wasn't the case at all. There is a winding asphalt path or two between worlds but nothing awful (it's a theme park, so you're going to be doing a. lot of walking, that's just how it goes!). Just wear good walking shoes and remember that it's asphalt so it's hot. I did notice how some people just couldn't stick to the path, though, and were cutting down steep grassy areas that were clearly not paved for a reason. Why, people? Just...why? 

-We were a little bummed not to find any cooling misters on such a hot day, and very little shaded areas. LEGOLAND New York, I hope you'll add some screen coverings to some of your ride waiting/line areas, because it was literally unbearable in some places. Bring a hat and sunscreen for sure! Many people also carried parasol type umbrellas, but those can be heavy in a backpack. If you have grandparents or seniors with you, consider renting a scooter or finding a central spot in the park for them with umbrellas or shade. The restaurants are air conditioned, too. I feel like the upper part of the park (Bricktopia, Brick Street) was a little cooler than the bottom part, possibly because it's higher up on the hill. We just seemed to feel more of a breeze there.

-Bathrooms were clean and plentiful. The ones I visited were also air conditioned. 

-The staff I encountered were friendly and helpful, especially in the gift shops.

-There were supposed to be Minifigure trading stations around but we didn't see any during our visit. Maybe we missed them? If you've visited and know where they are, please let me know in the comments! (*update you can trade minifigures with any staff member!)

-There are extra fees for carnival-type games where you can win (non-LEGO themed) carnival prizes throughout the park, but remember, cashless

-There are many free play playground areas scattered throughout the park but when we visited, they were closed or roped off (possibly due to virus concerns?)

-Stay tuned for Fall events! There are already opportunities to purchase tickets for their Brick or Treat event this October. I'd imagine this area of New York is going to be beautiful in the Fall, and visiting the park during cooler weather will also be nice!

-Follow LEGOLAND New York on Facebook and Instagram and sign up for their email newsletter. Watch for sales, ticket deals and specials! Groupon also offers discounted tickets. 

-Be sure to really look at all of the displays and LEGO figures throughout the park. There are so many fun photo opportunities!!


LEGOLAND New York Hotel

We did not stay at LEGOLAND New York Hotel but it looked fun! There is an outdoor pool out front but it was not open when we visited (although it looked complete and ready to be used!). You can walk to the park right from the hotel. There is a restaurant inside the hotel, too, as well as many local places to eat in the town of Goshen (I hear the Goshen Diner is great!). 


The Jersey Momma's Final Word

If you search for reviews of LEGOLAND New York online you will come up with mixed reports. Are there things LEGOLAND New York can improve on? Sure. Are there glitches to be worked out for a brand new park that opened during a pandemic? Of course. Would I go back again? In a heartbeat. This park was adorable. LEGO fans of all ages are bound to find something here to appreciate, be it the amazing structures of Miniland (and throughout the whole park) or the awesome Dragon roller coaster. The park was clean, vibrant, fun, and bright. I think it's perfect for kids 12 and under (and some older LEGO teen fans might appreciate it, too, even though it is not exactly geared for them). It's only about 90 minutes from Central New Jersey, and easily accessible from New York City. If you visit and really enjoy it, consider annual passes, since you'll get free parking and a discount on purchases within the park. Annual pass holders also save on LEGOLAND New York Hotel reservations. I'm so proud to have covered the construction of the park all these years. I am honored to have witnessed a part of its historic beginning, and I will always, always tell people go while you can! Enjoy it while your kids are still little, seize the day! Everything is awesome.


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