Sesame Place San Diego vs LEGOLAND Water Park

Having trouble deciding which San Diego water park to visit with your family? Use our comparison guide to see if Sesame Place or the LEGOLAND Water Park is best.
Jess Tucker
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Sesame Place vs LEGOLAND Water Park
Choosing a Park
Cost Comparison
Bundle & Save
Location Comparison
Things to Do
Attraction Sizes
Different Tours
Our Verdict

Highlights

Sesame Place San Diego vs LEGOLAND Water Park
Cost
Exhibits
Sesame Place vs LEGOLAND Water Park
Cost
Exhibits
Final Verdict

Overview of Both Attractions: Sesame Place San Diego vs LEGOLAND Water Park

Sesame Street at Sesame Place San DiegoEntrance to Legoland Waterpark

San Diego’s warm temperatures and sunny weather are ideal conditions for cooling off at a waterpark.

For families with young kids, two of the best parks to visit are Sesame Place San Diego and LEGOLAND California Water Park.

Entrance to Sesame Place San Diego
Entrance to Sesame Place San Diego

Picking a San Diego Water Park

For some parents, the decision of which park to visit will be as simple as which characters your kids love more. But if you have fans of both Sesame Street and LEGO properties in the family, or you’d like to know how each park differs in rides, attractions, and what’s nearby, the decision is a lot trickier.

Luckily, we’re here to make the choice easy with our comparison guide. See what each water park has to offer so you can choose where to visit if you have limited time.

Local Tips
The Best Park for Your Family
If you have young children who love Sesame Street characters and enjoy gentle rides, Sesame Place is for you. If your family includes LEGO enthusiasts or older kids who love thrilling water slides, then LEGOLAND is the winner!

Comparing Admission and Parking Costs

Here’s some information about how much you can expect to spend at each park.

Prices for admission to both LEGOLAND Water Park and Sesame Place vary depending on the month and day of your visit. For the most accurate ticket costs, check each attraction’s website.

Ride at Sesame Place San Diego
Ride at Sesame Place San Diego

The Cost of a Day at Sesame Place

Single-day tickets for Sesame Place San Diego currently start at $46.99 per person, with free admission for children 3 and under.

At Sesame Place, parking for cars, motorcycles, and oversized vehicles starts at $30, with up-close parking available for $50.

Sea Life Aquarium next to Legoland Ca Entrance
Sea Life Aquarium next to Legoland Ca Entrance

LEGOLAND Water Park Pricing

At LEGOLAND, admission to the water park cannot be purchased separately and must be purchased as a park hopper pass. Tickets start at $124 per person, with free admission for kids under 2 years old.

While this may be more expensive than Sesame Place admission alone, buying a park hopper pass also grants access to the LEGOLAND California theme park and SEA LIFE Aquarium, so families who want to visit each location will find the park hopper ticket more cost-effective.

LEGOLAND Water Park also offers parking for cars and motorcycles for $30, while oversized vehicles and preferred parking costs start at $35.

SeaWorld Exit at SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld Exit at SeaWorld San Diego

Saving the Smart Way

One of my personal top tips if you want to get the best prices to the top theme parks in San Diego is to get a Go City San Diego pass. Pre-purchase your pass with our discount code GVSD5OFF and save when you visit attractions like SeaWorld San Diego and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Note that Sesame Place is not part of the Go City San Diego Pass, but that standard admission to LEGOLAND California is available through the All-inclusive pass, with an optional upgrade for the Water Park for an additional fee.

Ernie at Sesame Place San Diego
Ernie at Sesame Place San Diego

The Cheaper Park: Sesame Place

If you’re vacationing on a budget, Sesame Place is the more wallet-friendly option. However, if you’d rather do it all and want admission to a theme park as well, bundling admission at LEGOLAND may be a better value.

Bundle and SAVE!
Kids looking at knight at LEGOLAND California
Visit LEGOLAND California!
Create family memories at LEGOLAND California! Admission is included with your All-Inclusive Go City pass - enjoy over 60 rides and attractions! Bundle admission with Birch Aquarium at Scripps or the Safari Park for the ultimate day of savings!
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Local Tips
What attractions are included with a Go City San Diego pass?

Attractions that you can visit with a Go City San Diego pass include:

The San Diego Zoo, Birch Aquarium, SeaWorld, Safari Park, LEGOLAND, Harbor Cruise, USS Midway Museum, the NAT Museum, Whaley House, PETCO Park Tour, iFLY San Diego and many, many more!

Want to save more? Use our exclusive discount code GVSD5OFF to save an extra 5%!

Comparing Park Locations - Sesame Place San Diego vs LEGOLAND Water Park

Let’s take a look at what the neighborhoods around the parks have to offer for families.

Walking Trail Outside the Living Coast Discovery Center
Walking Trail Outside the Living Coast Discovery Center

Explore Chula Vista

Sesame Place is in Chula Vista, on the site of the old Aquatica San Diego. Known for its beautiful views, the neighborhood sits between the San Diego Bay and the area’s more mountainous region.

There’s lots for families to do in Chula Vista, such as visiting the Living Coast Discovery Center. Kids will also enjoy go karting at the K1 Speedway and Speed Circuit Family Fun Center.

Enjoying the Water at Carlsbad City Beach
Enjoying the Water at Carlsbad City Beach

See the Sights in Carlsbad

LEGOLAND Water Park is in Carlsbad, a seaside neighborhood with plenty of beaches for families.

See our list of the best things to do in Carlsbad for more ideas, from shopping at Carlsbad Premium Outlets to touring the flower fields at Carlsbad Ranch.

As part of LEGOLAND California, LEGOLAND Water Park is best experienced when staying at a hotel nearby. For a truly special experience, stay on-site at one of LEGOLAND’s themed hotels, at either the LEGOLAND California Resort Hotel or the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel.

Main Entrance to Legoland Ca
Main Entrance to Legoland Ca

Which Park has the Best Location: LEGOLAND Water Park

Carlsbad has a lot more to do, including some great attractions, making LEGOLAND Water Park in that neighborhood our clear winner for the better location.

Compare Exhibits / Things You can See or Do

See the rides, shows, and more that make each park unique.

Big Bird at Sesame Place San Diego
Big Bird at Sesame Place San Diego

Everything to Do at Sesame Place

Sesame Place features a mix of water and theme park activities, plus lots of fun shows.

Water Rides

Sesame Place has 10 water rides to enjoy, including a series of slides, rafting rides, races, and wave pools.

Kids can climb around at The Count’s Splash Castle, race each other on Honkey Dinger Dash slides, and kick back as they float down Big Bird’s Rambling River.

There are even attractions just for little kids, like Elmo’s Silly Sand Slides.

Dry Rides

Sesame Place offers 8 dry rides and activities.

They include swings, a Sunny Day Carousel, a kid-friendly coaster, some thrill rides, and hands-on opportunities for play and exploration throughout the iconic Sesame Street neighborhood.

Shows and Other Performances

Sesame Place brings the locations and characters of Sesame Street to life through a series of shows and meet-and-greet events all year round. The most popular of these is the Sesame Street Party Parade, where kids can sing and dance with all their Sesame Street friends.

Other shows include Storytime with Big Bird, the Welcome to Our Street performance, and the Furry Friends Dance Party, alongside chance meetings with costumed characters roaming the park.

Legoland Waterpark Ride
Legoland Waterpark Ride

Your Day at the LEGOLAND Water Park

See the variety of attractions that await at LEGOLAND Water Park.

Water Rides

LEGOLAND Water Park currently has 17 different water rides and activities, with plenty to do for all ages.

Younger kids can play at the DUPLO Splash Pad, float down the Build-a-Raft River, and build LEGO creations at the Imagination Station.

For older kids, thrill rides like the Crug’s Run slide at Cragger Swamp, the Riptide Racers slide, and the giant raft ride Orange Rush are sure to delight.

Dry Rides

Unlike Sesame Place, LEGOLAND Water Park’s regular and water rides are separated between the parks. However, since a park hopper pass gets you admission to all three LEGOLAND parks, you can easily head to the main LEGOLAND California theme park if you’re feeling a little waterlogged.

Rides include family-friendly roller coasters, a drop ride, playgrounds, and movie rides.

Shows and Other Performances

At LEGOLAND, most LEGO-themed shows are held in the main theme park. These include stage shows like Once Upon a Brick and interactive activities like Benny’s Dance Party.

However, the water park does offer performances and meet-and-greet events during special events, like 2024’s LEGO NINJAGO Weekends.

Legoland Waterpark Playground
Legoland Waterpark Playground

Where the Family can Do More: LEGOLAND Water Park

There’s more to do at LEGOLAND in terms of the sheer number of rides and attractions, with lots of variety as well.

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Legoland Castle Hotel
Legoland Castel Hotel
Families
Families
Near Beach
Near Beach
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Shopping
3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars
Kid-friendly fun, LEGOs, treasure hunts, and medieval and fantasy themed rooms are just some of the great features you’ll experience at LEGOLAND Castle Hotel.
Prices Starting at $339
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Compare the Attraction Sizes between the Parks

Since you can easily spend all day at either park, where to get lunch is an important consideration, as are the sizes and amenities available in each park.

The Size and Scope of Sesame Place

Sesame Place is a bit bigger than the LEGOLAND Water Park, at 17 acres.

Both parks have multiple places to grab snacks and drinks, or even enjoy a sit-down meal. One standout that I recommend is meeting Elmo and friends at Sesame Place’s character dining experience.

LEGOLAND Water Park’s Layout and Amenities

LEGOLAND Water Park spans 10 acres, which is smaller than Sesame Place. Still, both parks are packed with enough things to do that it will take a few hours to see it all.

As for food options, on top of some grab-and-go food stands, I enjoy chowing down at Beach Front Grill in LEGOLAND’s water park.

Inside Legoland Waterpark
Inside Legoland Waterpark

Our Team’s Choice: LEGOLAND Water Park

Sesame Place may be the bigger park, but there’s more to do overall at LEGOLAND Water Park, especially taking into account the main park too.

Which Fits Your Adventure?

LEGOLAND Water Park Hopper Ticket
LEGOLAND Water Park Hopper Ticket
$127 per person
Learn More
LEGOLAND Hopper Ticket
LEGOLAND Hopper Ticket
$127 per person
Learn More

Compare Different Tours You can Take at Each Park

Though neither water park offers tours in the traditional sense, both parks have optional upgrades for families looking for an elevated experience.

See and Do More at Sesame Place

At Sesame Place, optional add-ons are designed to make your visit simpler and more convenient.

You can reserve a spot at different activities and meet-and-greet events held at the park, or even skip the line at rides with priority access.

Feel Like a VIP at LEGOLAND California

OK now to be fair, I’m considering more than just the LEGOLAND Water Park with this tour, but it’s so close that I think it’s worth considering.

If you want to feel like true royalty at LEGOLAND California, the Ultimate VIP Experience provides you with a personal tour guide who will assist with booking and transportation all day long.

The experience also comes with a behind-the-scenes tour of the factory, model shop, or an encounter with reptiles or marine life.

Water Slide at Sesame Place San Diego
Water Slide at Sesame Place San Diego

Comparing Extra Experiences: A Tie

The tours and special experiences at each park are about equivalent so in terms of added experiences, I give this category a tie!

Tips from Our Team for Visiting Both Attractions

Here are a few pointers to know before booking your trip to Sesame Place San Diego or LEGOLAND California Water Park.

Cookie Monster Bubble Maker at Sesame Place San Diego
Cookie Monster Bubble Maker at Sesame Place San Diego

Things to Know About Sesame Place

  • Sesame Place offers a more well-rounded experience as a water park, with dry rides and character-centric activities.
  • While Southern California is warm year-round, it heats up during the summer, which is when the water park will feel most refreshing. Some rides close during the cooler months.

Legoland Waterpark Waterslide
Legoland Waterpark Waterslide

Tips for LEGOLAND Water Park

  • With a greater focus on its water rides, LEGOLAND Water Park is best for kids who love to swim and splash, but also offers more to do outside of character meet-ups.
  • Not every ride is open year-round. We suggest visiting in the summer to make sure you can see and do everything.

Which Water Park Should You Visit According to Our Team?

Minifigure Market at Legoland California
Minifigure Market at Legoland California

The biggest difference between the parks comes down to the balance between rides and character experiences. For that reason, if your kids are really sold on character experiences, Sesame Place may be your park of choice.

Overall, however, our team prefers the LEGOLAND Water Park for its diversity of activities, rides, and more!

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Which One is Best for You?
LEGOLAND Water Park Hopper Ticket
LEGOLAND Water Park Hopper Ticket
$127 per person
Learn More
LEGOLAND Hopper Ticket
LEGOLAND Hopper Ticket
$127 per person
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