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Trip List by Alicia S

A fun family trip to sunny southern California!

Aug 10, 2012  Mom and Dad want to have fun like the kids!
4.0 of 5 bubbles based on 3 votes

Recently I planned a fabulous trip to Southern California with our family and everyone had a blast! I worked so hard on finding the right balance of kid and adult fun.
Each night we would read the Fondor's Disneyland and Southern California with kids book I checked out from our library. We got all the inside info to help with where to eat in the park, where to go for the fireworks, what to see, etc. It was great to look at it each night and plan our next day one at a time. We read it on the plane too and felt really prepared. Without that book we would have not enjoyed ourselves so much. We knew for sure we saw everything worthwhile and didn't second guess ourselves about certain rides or places to eat. Stop and get a copy at your library or buy one, it is worth it!
As for the parks we went to I bought and would recommend to anyone looking to do the same parks a Southern California City Pass with Safari Park/Zoo add on. We saved a ton (I added it all up myself to make sure) and yes the price was very good and saved us. The only park we had to buy was Legoland. But I found coupons for that too. Really a great package and price! Check out the CityPass website and look for Southern Cali.

  • 1. Universal Studios Hollywood
    Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

    wow...we got off the plane, got our mini van and drove straight here. what fun for us all, and we stayed until closing. The only thing to avoid with littler ones is the back lot tour, our kids FREAKED out...and they aren't that scared about things. I was shaking during the King Kong vs. T-Rex part...really...maye the adults take turns doing it so the kids are ok, but it was educational for the adults, you saw the lots and prop areas. I liked it but with a screaming four year old on my lap...I could only enjoy it so much.

  • 2. Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles Burbank Airport
    Courtyard Los Angeles Burbank Airport, Burbank, California

    We stayed here for two nights at the start of our trip and it was a wonderful hotel and got the best sleep of all the trip.
    We started here because our friend lives in Pasedena and this was the nicest hotel in the area for the price.

  • 3. Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground - Anaheim / Disneyland Park
    Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel and Water Playground, Anaheim

    I booked this based on the wonderful reviews, was upset that the room we were in was under construction and had massive skylights which kept my 4 year old up at night and prevented naps. But....it had its perks and it was a great hotel - I would ask if there were skylights if you wanted your kids to nap and see if you can get a recently redone room.

  • 4. Mimi's Cafe Disneyland
    Mimi's Cafe Disneyland, Anaheim

    Great dinner!

  • 5. McDonald's
    McDonald's, Anaheim

    On the way to walking from our hotel to Disneyland we stopped here each morning. I am inpressed now by McDonal's oatmeal and healthier options. Plus spending $25 on breakfast here filled us up and saved us a lot of money eating before we got into the park. If you are staying at the hotel up the road, it makes sense to stop here for some oatmea or yogurt or the kids love the pancakes.

  • 6. Disneyland Park
    Disneyland Park, Anaheim

    Not much to add - it is Disneyland!!!!!! If you stay at the Howard Johnson up the street you can easily walk there and save the parking fee. Each day our kids walked and we didn't have any problem....well...the way back we were all a little tired :)

  • 7. Disney's California Adventure
    Disney California Adventure Park, Anaheim

    What fun! Must see the show at night - amazing but get there early and get a good spot. Right up front you get wet, we were front row against a fence a little fruther back from the water and it was great!

  • 8. Ariel's Grotto
    Ariel's Grotto, Anaheim

    Take your prince or princess here, they will not forget it. Even our son posed with the Princesses and considered himself quiet the stud.

  • 9. Huntington Beach
    Huntington Beach

    On our way down to San Diego we stopped for a few hours here. Before we stopped we went to a target, got some $1 beachy toys and two beach towels. It made it more fun for the kids to dig in the sand, play with a ball and lay down in the sand and soak up the sun. We have some great pictures of us playing and having fun and what a great way to enjoy the ocean. If you park in the public lot you pay at a pay station and then we walked to Jamba Juice for a little treat. Then we kept driving to our hotel in San Diego. A fun few hours that we will remember for years to come. Don't just drive stright through to San Diego...see the ocean and enjoy the trip.

  • 10. Comfort Inn & Suites Hotel Circle / SeaWorld

    I have a review already posted on this hotel.

  • 11. Legoland California
    LEGOLAND California, Carlsbad, California

    Fun for the WHOLE family. My husband and I had as much fun as the kids! Very nice park and fun rides the kids can go on themselves. Seriously, I can not say enough, the water park we did not do, but looked fun. Take the whole day there. I went on ebay and bought two buy one get one free coupons and we saved a ton of money. Cost me $5 with shipping! A friend recommened that to me, worth the extra work to save all that cash! Eat the apple fries.....a real yummy messy treat!

  • 12. SeaWorld San Diego
    SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego, California

    Fun, the shows are nicely done. Bring your sunscreen and water - we just baked in the sun and heat that day!

  • 13. San Diego Zoo Safari Park
    San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Escondido, California

    We were here on a very hot day and it was our last sightseeing day. We were tired and there is so much walking. I think we were here maybe 4 hours. Do the tram tour, that was fun. Also just plan on walking and wear comfortable shoes (I saw women in heels?!) and go at a slower pace. The animals and scenery is very nice and if it wasn't so hot and we weren't so tired I think we could have enjoyed it even more.