Where else to visit?

Fred M

DIS Dad #860
Jul 1, 2019
I lived in San Diego for 12 years and it’s worth it. The Zoo and the Safari Park (a lot of us still call it the Wild Animal Park) are great places to go. And I always enjoy the Aerospace Museum in Balboa Park. Your husband should golf at the muni course in Coronado, one of the most beautiful courses you’ll find and right on the water, while you and the kids spend the day at the Hotel Del (part of the inspiration for the Grand Floridian and has a great beach) and check out the rest of Coronado. Plus the USS Midway Downtown is fantastic.

In getting between Anaheim and San Diego, you can stop at Legoland if you want.

I spent about 5 years in Orange County (CA) and if you want to have a beach day closer to Disneyland, I was always partial to Laguna Beach or Huntington Beach.

In L.A., Griffith Observatory is definitely worth it. Hollywood for me is way overrated. The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino is awesome!

My personal favorite California spot is Santa Barbara.


Staff member
Dec 15, 1998
My family and I are planning to visit DL next June. Myself, my husband, and our two daughters who will be 10 and 8. I was thinking 3 days in the parks with MaxPass, very likely staying in one of the on-site hotels using our DVC points that we have banked (not the best exchanage rate, but we have some points to use).

None of us have been to California before, so we want to do other things (looking to go for about 9 days probably). We are overwhelmed with figuring what else to do/where to go. We are fine with driving to say, San Diego, or wherever, for a few days. Would like to find something where the girls and I can do something and my husband can golf one day. Obviously there are a ton of other amusement parts (Universal, Knott’s, etc.), but we don’t want to make the cross-country trip (we’re in PA) and only see amusement parks. Would love some ideas of places we could go for a few days on the trip, etc. We’re just overwhelmed because there is so much!
Hi there,

At the top of this forum we have a sticky thread with links to our podcasts featuring Day 6 adventures (Things to do around LA/Southern California). You might want to check some out. I'll come back with my own recommendations (similar to many that have already been said. :) )



DIS Veteran
Jun 20, 2008
DD is 13 and we have gone to DLR every year since she was 4. Except for 2 of those years, we have spent half the week at DLR and the other in the San Diego area. The San Diego area is great. I highly recommend going that direction. There are lots of nice beaches in San Diego County. There are also some nice ones along the path between Disneyland and San Diego County. We love the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo. Coronado is a nice area both for the beach and the little shops and restaurants. Also, closer to Disneyland the Newport Beach/Balboa Island area is nice for a day- there is also the Laguna Beach area, etc.

Our typical vacation schedule would be something like: 1. fly out to DLR on Saturday morning-- hit a park as soon as we get there; 2. spend Sunday-Tuesday in the parks. 3. Wednesday, back in the park until early to mid-afternoon and then head to a hotel somewhere in the San Diego area; 4. Thursday- relax on the beach to recover from Disney; 5. Friday- something like Zoo, Safari Park etc. 6. Saturday-maybe another beach day, maybe Coronado (we usually stay near Carlsbad where our friends live- so we only visit Coronado- haven't stayed there); maybe a boat ride; maybe a museum etc; and then 6) Sunday- spend the morning at the beach and fly out late afternoon. There is really a ton of stuff to do if you head south from DLR and some really pretty areas. There are plenty of places to golf down that way too. Also the traffic heading down the San Diego direction and back usually isn't too bad. We did do Legoland once when DD was 4, and that was enough for us. DD never asked to go back. It is okay if you really love legos-but after several days at DLR it just doesn't compare. DH's take on it is that Disney makes sure there is something to entertain all ages- the adults too-- but Legoland is only entertaining for younger kids.

We went north to the Hollywood area this July for a change, and while it was fun, we much prefer the San Diego area. It is much more relaxed. I would recommend going South from DLR for a first California trip. Being from PA- I'm guessing you have been to NYC. The touristy Hollywood area (Chinese Theatre, Madame Tussards, Dolby Theatre, Disney Soda Shop), is kind of like a smaller, dirtier, times square without the green/blue tape on the ground to keep the "characters" confined to one area. Even the Disney Soda Shop was dirty-- DH came back from the bathroom and said "I wouldn't go in there if I was you". It is fun for a few hours. We had fun walking and looking for certain stars on the ground (there is a brochure that lists where everyone's star is), looking at the Chinese Theatre and the stars' hand and footprints, and DD had a great time taking a million photos at Madame Tussards. It was a fun afternoon. In the Hollywood/Burbank area we also loved the Warner Brothers Studio Tour and the Griffith Observatory. We thought the Santa Monica pier and that area was pretty rough compared to the San Diego areas. The traffic getting to and from SNA to the Hollywood, was horrible.
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  • PiratesMansion

    Jun 14, 2013
    I'm going to go against the grain and recommend skipping Legoland unless your kids are more on the timid side with rides or are really into Legos. 10 especially is bordering on too old for the park IMO.

    In terms of the other parks in SoCal, here are my thoughts:
    -Six Flags: Don't bother unless everyone is a huge coaster buff. Very little else to offer.
    -Sea World: Nicer than the one in Florida IMO with a higher number of animal exhibits.
    -Knott's: 1/2 of the park you might as well be at Six Flags, but there's also Ghost Town, which is really cool and well-themed. It also has the Calico Mine Ride and Log Ride, both of which directly inspired Disney over the years. Mystery Lodge is a stand out as well.
    -Universal: One thing this Universal has over all the others is that it is an actual studio with the studio tour. However, if you've been to the one in Florida you might consider skipping this one as it is much smaller and most of the rides are exact clones of attractions at the Florida parks (some are also folded into the Studio Tour). You can scratch your Studio Tour itch at Warner Bros, Sony, or Paramount instead for less money (and in the case of Warner's, a better tour too!)

    You might consider looking into the Go LA or Go SD passes. This is a decent way to do a bunch of attractions for a relatively reasonable amount of money, especially if you're looking at doing some other parks or some of the more expensive attractions. If you're looking at some studio tours, you could even do Sony and Warners on the same day and come out ahead!

    Definitely do a Studio Tour. Warner Bros. is the best, followed by Universal, then Sony, then Paramount.

    Douglas Dubh

    True Fiscal Conservative
    Nov 13, 1999
    One thing this Universal has over all the others is that it is an actual studio with the studio tour. However, if you've been to the one in Florida you might consider skipping this one as it is much smaller and most of the rides are exact clones of attractions at the Florida parks (some are also folded into the Studio Tour)
    And Hollywood’s Mummy ride isn’t as good as Orlando’s.


    DIS Veteran
    May 9, 2019
    When we go to Disneyland, Anaheim (by far my favourite and I'm jealous you are going lol), we usually take a day to do Knott's Berry Farm as well - and make sure you eat at Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner. Yum!

    Sometimes we start with a couple days in San Diego for the zoo and Seaworld.

    Universal Hollywood is neat and since it is an actual movie studio (unlike Florida) we always do the tram tour.

    Oh, and Universal has the new improved Jurassic World!!! I loved the original ride, so can't wait to try this one whenever I manage to get back to California.
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  • usnuzuloose

    Loosing Boo Boo
    Sep 20, 2009
    You could go to Catalina Island.
    Use Groupon.com
    for discounts


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