LEGOLAND California Reopened and We Stayed at LEGOLAND Castle Hotel

June 9, 2021
This past weekend, we went to LEGOLAND California to celebrate my son's 5th birthday. They had just opened the new The LEGO Movie World a couple of weeks prior so we're seeing a lot of cool new stuff!

Emmet's Flying Adventure Ride
The priority on our list was Emmet's Flying Adventure Ride since it's their newest ride! The waiting time was about an hour for that when we were there. My older son had a melt down because he was getting really hot but luckily it wasn't too long after that we were able to get on the ride. It turned out to be his most favorite ride! We're so glad we patiently stuck it out and did not get out of the line. It was well worth the wait!

We also took advantage of the clear and sunny weather to enjoy the waterpark at LEGOLAND California. I stowed my phone away in the locker since I was going to get wet so I wasn't able to take pictures inside but my kids were ecstatic and we enjoyed having some water fun. It was a busy crowd but not overcrowded. No one wore masks at the waterpark. However, outside of the waterpark, masks are required to roam around the resort.

There were many things that I've already blogged about in a previous LEGOLAND California Adventure. Read this older LEGOLAND California post here. I'm just focusing on new experiences for this blog entry.

LEGOLAND Castle Hotel

We stayed at the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel for the very first time during this trip! It really made the whole weekend getaway so much more memorable. I was so impressed with everything inside of our room! I could hear the music coming from LEGOLAND California park and it really puts you in a wonderful mood. While people were walking to the park or to their cars, we were walking to and from the hotel. It is a great convenient way to maximize your experience at LEGOLAND.

We chose the wizard theme and each room had a bunk bed sectioned off so the kids get they own area to play, build and watch TV while the parents can sleep on the other end (still very closely), near the window. Here are pictures from our stay. It was wonderfully and tastefully decorated. There were LEGO figured throughout the room. Breakfast came with our stay so it was nice to come downstairs and enjoy breakfast right away. We made reservations online and then they just checked off our names before hitting the buffet line.

The only complaint I would have about staying at the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel was the check-in process. There were lines of people around the lobby waiting to get checked in or getting their keys. Even though it said check-in time was 4pm, we had to wait another hour for our keys as they were still cleaning the rooms. I am glad they are spending the extra time to clean rooms thoroughly, especially in a pandemic. However, we were really tired from a long day at LEGOLAND, going on rides and traveling so it felt really exhausting waiting around. However, around 6pm, we checked in and from then on, everything was just awesome!

See my video clips from my stay here at LEGOLAND Castle Hotel and their newest section: THE LEGO MOVIE WORLD.

There's also a pool at LEGOLAND Castle Hotel for hotel guests so if you didn't buy a waterpark ticket, you have the option to have some water play at the hotel if you're staying there. There's a large playground and a list of scheduled entertainment times is available for families in that area outside as well; exclusively for hotel guests. These are all inclusive too with your resort fees.

Note: This vacation was not sponsored in any way. We bought our own tickets and hotel rooms so our review is not biased. All photos from Pinterest shown on this blog entry are original photos that I took from my camera phone.

Question: How long did it take us to drive from San Luis Obispo County to Carlsbad, CA where LEGOLAND California is located? 

Answer: It took us 5 hours because of traffic around the LA area that delayed our travel time on the freeway.

Circus Vargas in San Luis Obispo

June 8, 2021

Circus Vargas San Luis Obispo 2021
Circus Vargas is proud to debut their amazing new 2021 production “Mr. V’s Big Top Dream” in San Luis Obispo June 17 through July 5!

A must-see, show-stopping spectacular certain to spark the imagination and indulge the senses!!

More sparkle! More sequins! Bigger and better than ever!

Run away with the circus, for two unforgettable hours of nonstop action, thrills, excitement and adventure…. only at Circus Vargas, where memories are made and cherished for a lifetime!

For tickets and information visit!


Los Angeles Trip from Local SLO Family

June 6, 2021
Last month, my family and I decided to do a getaway in Los Angeles after I received my second Covid-19 vaccination. We find that we see a lot of visitors from Los Angeles coming to visit San Luis Obispo County and vice versa. However, it has been a really long time since I've really spent some time in Los Angeles. I'm a native San Diegan so usually I am just passing through LA to get to San Diego. I always dread the LA traffic and how everyone seems to be in a hurry. But if my destination is Los Angeles county, it really didn't seem all that bad and long!

Our main points of interest were Santa Monica Pier, eating some seafood and then a last minute visit to the Mattel store located at the Mattel headquarters.

Santa Monica Pier

The picture above was taken by me while we were buying cotton candy for the kids. As you can see, the Santa Monica Pier was still very busy for a pandemic judging by the number of cars. Most people wore masks so that was comforting. We stopped by the arcade there and as always, we'd win something and then I would have to be the one holding everything.

The kids had a lot of fun and I was very surprised with how long and large the pier is! Before we even reached the end of the pier, my kids were tired!

Eating Seafood
I didn't care which restaurant I was going to have my seafood fix at, as long as it was at a restaurant on the Santa Monica Pier. The most interesting place seems to be Seaside on the Pier, even though Bubba Gump is more well known. It has a second story and a lot of seating in the front, back and upstairs. Usually at a place this huge, there's room for us without a long wait and there was no wait! I ordered the fried calamari from their starters/appetizer section as my meal. 

The food was fresh and tasted great! They also serve California beers on tap!

Where we stayed at in LA

I had some points that I had accumulated as a Hyatt member so we used them to redeem a free night at the Hyatt Place/Los Angeles/El Segundo. It was only 20 minutes from Santa Monica Pier and I had the right amount of points to redeem for a one night stay at this very hotel. The hotel is located right by the LAX airport so traffic can be very congested as you get closer to the hotel location. However, I still enjoyed my stay even with all the traffic. I liked that you're like right there in the middle of it all, close to so many places and restaurants. I also liked how clean my hotel room was and my view from the window!

The check in process was easy and I discovered from my room that I could surprisingly see the Mattel sign. Mattel is the company that builds famous toys like Ken and Barbie and Mega Bloks. I did some research about it and it just so happens that Mattel is headquartered in El Segundo! So, we made an impromptu trip to their store right there at the headquarter the next morning!

Mattel Headquarters

When we decided to come 15 minutes before the Mattel Toy Store opens at their headquarters, I thought we were being too early. To my surprise, there were already 20 - 30 people there waiting in line already! I didn't know it was a thing! There is such great value for buying toys straight from the headquarters and there's only 2 Mattel Toy Stores in all of U.S., even though Mattel toys are sold is many major stores all over the country. I even saw two guys bring their Ken collectible while they were waiting in line. I can see how this place can be an excellent photo op!

I'm a Game of Thrones fan so when I saw that there were Mega Construx dragon eggs I could buy, I snatched one of these Drogon ones. This is the very one that I bought at the Mattel Toy Store at their headquarter store. See the video clip below!

I highly recommend visiting this Mattel Toy Store at the El Segundo headquarters if you have the time and are already planning to visit Los Angeles county or El Segundo anyway!

AJ Spurs is great for families and steaks

May 29, 2021
I had been eyeing AJ Spurs off the 101 highway exit in Grover Beach for years but just never had the opportunity to dine there. It's pricey and like a type of place for a special occasion. Earlier this month, we've finally went!

We've actually dined at the AJ Spurs in Buellton before we dined at this Grover Beach location. The decor is similar but I feel like maybe this place feels much bigger! The parking situation is much easier.

My collage below is a collection of photos taken by me at AJ Spurs in Grover Beach, California.

We're in a pandemic and it was very easy to get seated. There was no waiting time when we came. The place feels dark inside as it should as it's meant to have an old western vibe with a lot of taxidermy!

The portions were very big! The kids seemed to enjoy looking around in their seats. There's a whole lot to take in. Desserts came with the entrees we ordered and you could pick from a float or a sweet shot. This place is definitely different. Be ready to spend 30 - 40 dollars for a nice steak entree but you will definitely not leave hungry!

See other restaurants that I've dined at with my family in San Luis Obispo County under the Restaurants page.

AJ Spurs Address: 1760 El Camino Real, Grover Beach, CA 93433

Staycation at La Quinta Inn in San Luis Obispo Downtown and Dinner at 1865 Craft House

May 26, 2021
We recently did a staycation at La Quinta in downtown SLO. I just refer it as La Quinta but the full name of this hotel is La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham San Luis Obispo Downtown.

It was a short 17 hour staycation because we wanted to be able to use our 1865 Craft House & Kitchen gift card that we've been hoarding during the pandemic and since it's located right next door from the hotel, we decided to have a relaxing tourist experience as locals as well. We're so glad we did it. My family really enjoyed this nice relaxing Sunday dinner and relaxation afterwards. 

Here's food that we ordered from the 1865 Craft House & Kitchen Restaurant. They seated us outside and our table had a fire pit. 
risotto with salmon from 1865 Craft House & Kitchen
picture of wings appetizer from 1865 Craft House
picture of Mac and cheese from the kid's food menu from 1865 Craft House
sweet potato fries picture

The service was great and the food came out fast. The food quality was top notch! After we had a nice dinner at 1865 Craft House & Kitchen, we walked back to our hotel.

It was too cold to dip into the pool but my sons and I still took the elevator up to the 4th floor to check it out and look at the view. It's so awesome. I really didn't expect a rooftop like this at a La Quinta. 

In the morning, they had grab and go breakfast bags for free for guests so we grabbed a couple and enjoyed some local Edna pastries, breakfast bars, orange juice and water. They charged me $10 for parking, which is fair and I didn't need to put any ticket on the dashboard so that saved me a trip back-and-forth because normally, I'd do this after checking in at a hotel to make sure no one would tow it.

One thing I want to note is that every room has a mini-fridge but the mini-fridge is located inside of the closest, not the cabinet. I thought that was strange but maybe it's for sanitary reasons! I had a hard time finding it at first.

One complaint: Even though check-in time was 3pm, when we arrived there at 3pm, our room was still not ready and we had to wait another hour. We booked a deluxe double queen, which has a balcony so there were only certain rooms with that feature. I thought that was a real bummer to have to wait but they said they were so busy the night before. In retrospect, I think they should have just upgraded me to an available suite so I didn't have to wait. Anyway, they gave me a coupon for 2 free cocktails or appetizer for the restaurant next door, which we had planned on dining at anyway. I'm not sure if they gave every guest this 1865 Craft House & Kitchen coupon or only if they are trying to step up their customer service when needed.

All and all, I would definitely return here and recommend my friends.

Note: This staycation was not sponsored in anyway and they did not know that I am a blogger. Therefore, like 95% of my content here, this review is not biased.

About Me Originally from San Diego, California, I'm a San Diego State University alumna, veteran's wife and mom of two kids who were born two years apart. After living on the East Coast for 6 years, we now reside in San Luis Obispo County and here, the exploration continues.
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All photos (except for ads) on including: homepage, 'Family-Friendly Things to do' page, 'SLO Restaurants' page,'Mom Groups & Childcare' page, and 'blog' page were taken by me so they are original content of 

To find family-friendly activities in the SLO area, go to the 'Family-Friendly Things To Do' page.

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