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This past Saturday was a big day for my family. My 10-year old son finally got his first shot of Covid-19 vaccine. In fact, the CVS employee said he was the first kid in his age group to get it in our entire county. So, it only felt right to record the moment.
While I certainly felt relieved when me, my husband and our daughter got vaccinated, I can’t say it was an emotional experience. But I seriously got choked up when the nurse pulled out the vaccine vial for my son. I knew it meant an eventual return to normality for my family, and that’s something to celebrate.
While we did some travel with kids over the last two years, it mostly involved isolated cabins and apartments. We had plans to go to Disney World in 2020, but they got postponed. Ditto for Legoland. So, my son has been anxiously waiting for his shot because he knew it meant he could finally do all of those things.
To be clear, I’m under no illusion that the “vaccines-only” approach will solve this crisis. But based on statistics, I’m convinced it’s our best weapon. And once my family is protected from the worst outcome, I intend to get back to semi-normal, at least when it comes to travel.
So, the first order of business was booking a surprise hotel stay in Legoland Beach Retreat. My son is totally obsessed with legos, and actually prefers Legoland to Disney (though I hope to also take him to the latter in a few months). Of course, I’ve scheduled the stay after his second vaccine dose.
Booking Legoland Beach Retreat
There are three hotels associated with Florida Legoland. Two of them ( Legoland Hotel and Legoland Pirate Island) are located at the entrance to the park. And then there is a Legoland Beach Retreat, a collection of duplexes a half a mile away. That’s the one I ended up booking.
The reason? Lower price. We actually had a reservation at Legoland Pirate Island hotel in 2020, made before the pandemic. I ended up canceling it, and even though it was technically non-refundable, the rep said I would get a voucher that I could use at a later date. So, I had $202 credit, and the only way to book the hotel was by calling Legoland Vacations phone line.
We have a lot of stuff coming up in the next few months, so there was only one weekend in December that would work with my husband’s schedule. I’ve been keeping an eye on it, but wanted to wait until my son gets his first dose of vaccine, just in case.
That proved to be a mistake because the rate on Legoland Beach Retreat went up from $175 per night to $250. I should have just grabbed it a month ago. But what can you do? I’ve looked at various ways to save money, and having AAA membership would shave off $50. Unfortunately, I don’t happen to have AAA membership, but it would cost me $59 to get it for the whole year.
We actually don’t have any roadside assistance, so this was a kick in the pants I needed to finally cough up the cash. We do plan to go out of town quite a bit over the next year, and it seems prudent to have this peace of mind. Basically, I would get AAA membership for only $9, so why not? So, if you plan to pay cash for a hotel, I definitely recommend you always look into AAA rates.
I would have preferred to book the Pirate Island hotel, but the rate (even with AAA discount) was $375 compared to $200 for Beach Retreat. I doubt my son will be disappointed regardless. Plus, with the pandemic still an issue in the US, it’s definitely safer to stay in a place with an outside entrance.
I try to use hotel points and certificates whenever possible, but this is one area where Hyatt, Wyndham and IHG programs are useless. It hurts a little bit to pay $250 (all-in) for basically a colorful motel that is NOT on the beach, but c’est la vie. Legoland knows it has a unique product and charges accordingly. At least breakfast is free. I used a credit card for $50 balance (after the voucher was applied), that includes travel insurance even for partial payments.
I’ve told my husband to take lots of photos, and will try to put together a post with my son’s impressions of the place. I’m sure some of you also have kids who are Legoland fanatics!
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.