Plan my vacation :)


DIS Veteran
Jul 5, 2017
Hello! We are WDW vets and Disneyland newbies. We have two kids (they will be ages 4 (almost 5) and 7 when we travel). We love the "all inclusive feel" we get at WDW getting the dining plan/transportation/etc so this will be a little different but looking forward to it =).

We generally do 10 nights at WDW and booked the same for disneyland (staying at a close hotel). We had a 5-day park ticket and plan to fill up our other days with the waterpark (staying at the marriott), Downtown Disney, a day of shopping at outlets and maybe a day at anaheim stadium taking in a game or something.

Now I'm wondering if maybe we should do a split stay and spend some time at either Universal Studios, legoland, or seaworld. We wouldn't *love* the driving part but not that opposed to it that we wouldn't.

Thoughts? Stick with our current plans or maybe make some changes? What would you plan for 10 nights in that area?



DIS Veteran
Oct 25, 2015
I would go to San Diego for a few nights. Your kids will likely enjoy Legoland, Sea World, the San Diego Zoo and/or the Safari Park much more than Universal Studios. I think they will love Legoland. Just be sure to check the calendar there because during the slower season, they are often closed a couple times per week.

There are several hotels next to Legoland. If you stay at any of those, you'll still have a bit of a drive to any of the other things I mentioned. Other things to do right next to Legoland are the Carlsbad Outlet Mall, Museum of Making Music, the beach, Leo Carillo Ranch.

If you decide to stay more in San Diego near the Zoo or Sea World, you'll be close to Old Town San Diego, Midway Museum, Balboa Park, lot of beaches.... lots of stuff to do. I can be more specific if you decide you're going to do a San Diego visit.


DIS Veteran
Jun 30, 2007
Something so many tourists overlook is going to Knott's Berry Farm. While it has a lot of thrill rides, there are awesome shows and an amazing amount of history. This year they are celebrating their 100th anniversary, so when I say there is history here, there really is. If you are into history, you can quite easily spend an entire day here and not go on a single ride and have a great time. Especially if you also like shows, the entertainment was lacking for some time, then they hired the person is who was responsible for the Aladdin show at DCA for quite some time, among many other entertainment offerings at Disneyland, such as Laughing Stock, etc. to be their vice president of entertainment and it really shows.

For the kids, there is also Camp Snoopy that has some awesome smaller rides and there are plenty of thrill and family rides as well.

If you like the all inclusive feel, get the premium version dining plan there, it includes an all day refillable souvenir sipper (future visits are $1 refills and I believe valid at any Cedar fair park in the world) and a snack or entree with side every 90 minutes. Now, this isn't valid at sit down locations, but is valid at most of their counter service locations and the food is great in both terms of quality and portion sizes. Just remember, you can't get one plan and share between multiple people.

The only day Knott's is closed is Christmas day and depending on when you are going they may have something special going, such as the Peanuts celebration, Boysenberry Festival, etc. Just check their calendar, as some of the events are on weekends only.

And this nice part is it is less than 30 minutes from Disneyland, even in the worst traffic and the park has historical significance to Disneyland as well, as Disney was definitely inspired by some things being done there.

A hint is if you buy the tickets online, you can save almost $50 off buying them at the gate if you buy a date specific ticket.


Aug 15, 2017
I’d also consider spending a few days in LA. Obviously there is Universal but you also have great sights like Griffith Park and Onservatory, Petersen Automotive Museum, Santa Monica Pier, California Science Museum (with a Space Shuttle), La Brea Tarpits as well as all the Hollywood stuff.

Around Anaheim you also have Newport and Huntington Beach, bit further south is Laguna Beach with great tide pooling and Dana Point. I’ve spent 3 weeks in Anaheim but that was a long trip of nearly 3 months. For 10 days I’d split it 6/4, maybe 7/3 in Anaheim and LA or San Diego. Have a car for at least part of the trip.


DIS Veteran
Mar 28, 2011
I think you should stick with your current hotel plans and do a day trip to the San Diego Zoo or the safari park. Other day trips around LA could include the California Science Center (that's where the space shuttle is), Griffith Park, La Brea Tar Pits, LA Natural History museum (right next to the CA Science Center).


Aug 9, 2006
If this is your first visit to Southern California, then there's literally an infinite number of activities that I would recommend above your hotel's "waterpark," Downtown Disney (which really isn't worth spending more than a few hours exploring ... and much of that will be navigating the Disneyland-owned hotels), outlet shopping or Anaheim Stadium.

-- Take the train into Downtown Los Angeles, and explore the area. You can create your own walking tour, visiting sights such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Hollywood, Griffin Park, The Getty, etc. On weekends, the Metrolink is just $10 all day. That $10 pass use to include use of the entire transportation system (subway, buses, etc.) but I believe they scaled it back to one transfer. I have a different type of pass, and am not up to date on all of the changes, so somebody else would have to elaborate. Parking at the Anaheim station is free, or you can ride the ART for free from your hotel (with a valid train ticket).

-- Visit Universal Studios (train and subway to get there) and/or Knott's.

-- Drive along the ocean. Head toward Huntington Beach and take Pacific Coast Highway (which basically turns into El Camino Real in Dana Point) into San Clemente. Turn off toward San Clemente Pier, and stop for a gorgeous walk and view. Of course, you could also enjoy a day at the beach :). Or at least a nice meal -- Ruby's (on Huntington Pier) and El Torito (on Dana Point Harbor) are large, California-based chains with modest prices. El Torito claims in invented/popularized the fajita, margaritas and table-side guac.

-- Take the Amtrak toward Santa Barbra for a beautiful, enjoyable day. The train runs along the ocean throughout much of the journey. If you book in advance, you can get a RT for a family of four (including two kids) for less than $100. The train runs nonstop from Anaheim, but for an extra treat, change to the Coast Starlight at Los Angeles - it's a long distance train (it goes onto Seattle) that has an observation car, perfect for viewing the ocean. Alternatively, you can take the Metrolink toward Oceanside, which will cost less on weekends and offers similar views going south. (For a few bucks more, connect to the San Diego Coaster and go into Downtown). Note that if you buy an Amtrak ticket, you're entitled to a discount on Disneyland tickets that's often a few bucks cheaper than the most common discount sources.

-- Find a trail in Southern Orange County and go for a hike! There's literally an infinite number of options to pick from. Or rent a bicycle and go for a family ride.



DIS Veteran
Nov 23, 2012
We have done SoCal the last two years. The first trip was a daddy daughter trip (9yo the first year) the second trip was with both DW and DD and this is what we did. I know your kids are younger so some stuff would not interest them I'm sure but it gives you an idea of what can be done in terms of driving etc. We would at least take a quick swim every day/night but a few times we spent a bit of time at the pool.

Fri- Arrival and then an Angels game. As we were coming from the east coast I know it's important to stay up late the first night to get your bodies adjusted or else you will be up 5a staring at the walls.

Sat- Character breakfast- Donald's Seaside Breakfast. We then headed to the LA area. The Skriball Center had a great Jim henson exibit with the Muppets and Sesame Street Stuff (unfortunately I think it moved on). Santa Monica Pier, and a Dodgers Game,

Sun- California Science Center w an Omni Theater Movie, NHRA Drag Racing Museum, and Disneyland late afternoon arrival

Mon- Drive to San Diego Zoo

Tue to Thur- Disneyland an DCA

Fri- Downtown Disney and pool time

Sat- Hollywood Sign in the AM, pool time, and then dove to San Diego for Padres game.

Sun- Departure- Character breakfast at Storytellers Cafe

Fri- Arrival then did DL late afternoon

Sat- Knott's Berry Farm pool time

Sun- Downtown Disney, pool time, DL late afternoon

Mon- San Diego Zoo

Tue-Thur DL and DCA

Fri- Warner Brothers Tour- late lunch at City Walk at Universal, drove through Hollywood

Sat- Drove to LaJolla, got off I-5 in Oceanside and drove the coastal road to Del Mar, then a Padres game

Sun- Drove to Sequoia National Forest

Mon- Sequoia National Forest

Tue- Drove back to LA and Griffith Observatory

Wed- Depart

As you can probably tell we are baseball fans. Only reason we did a Padres game again the second year was that the Red Sox were in town.

Hope that helps.
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