Growing up, my brother and I were hugely into Lego sets. We’d take over my parents’ dining and front rooms with our Lego “worlds,” like “Real World,” “Pirate World,” “Adventure World,” etc. Once we had the worlds set up, we’d spend hours and hours creating stories around our Lego people. It goes without saying that one of the cool things about having kids is introducing them to the things you loved when you were their age. It’s especially great when the kids are interested. Annie has the perfect imagination for building blocks, and she’s been playing with the big toddler-friendly blocks for a couple of years now.

We live only a couple hours away from Legoland (something my brother and I would have killed for when we were kids), and last year when they opened up an adjacent hotel our TV was full of commercials for it. Annie was entranced. “We have to go there. WE HAVE TO GO THERE!” It was something Mike and I always meant to do, but it all came together last week when I needed to be in San Diego on Friday. The Legoland Hotel is about 30 miles outside of San Diego. Mike had to work, but my mom was free, so she, Annie, James and I headed down to the hotel on Thursday after Annie got out of school.

I didn’t tell her where we were headed, just that we were going on an adventure. When we arrived, I said, “Annie, we’re at the Legoland Hotel!” And she screamed, “I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO THERE!!!”

She looks like she’s gonna hate it.

The hotel is adorable, totally catering to kids and Lego-lovers. My brother and I would have died over the giant castle/pirate ship that was the centerpiece of the giant play area. Hell, I died over it now and I’m thirty-four.


There were a lot of other parents clearly living out their childhood Lego fantasies so I wasn’t out of place at all when I sat with Annie in one of the giant Lego pits and started building. I was transported back to those days as a kid, getting lost in the build. At one point Annie looked up and said, “Hey mom, I built you a time machine out of Legos and now you’re a kid and that’s why you’re allowed to play with the Legos here.” Translation: You’re so old, Mom!


Our room was pirate-themed, and it had bunk beds. Annie had never been on a set of bunk beds, yet she says she wants them every day. She thought the top bunk was the greatest thing ever. I also always wanted bunk beds as a kid, so I might have also thought the top bunk was the greatest thing ever.

hanging on the top bunk

She had such a fun time playing at the hotel, and I felt really lucky that I was in a position where I could surprise her with something fun that we all (me, Annie, my mom, even James) really enjoyed. I was also excited to branch her out a bit from Princesses. She was very into the Pirates and Knights.

Lego Pirate


with the Lego Knight

(James just liked the pirates):

James was on-theme in our pirate room

Then, at breakfast, a princess came up to our table and I was like, “And you arrrrreee….?” because I don’t remember princesses being big when I was building Lego sets.

apparently Lego has princesses?
Her wristwatch was historically accurate.

The best part is that Annie has noooo idea there is also a theme park adjacent to the hotel – she thought the hotel was the main attraction! So one of these days we’ll have to take her and James back, and she’ll get to be surprised all over again. Maybe my brother will be able to come, too, and the three of us will be giddy kids running all over the place.