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North AmericaTravel with kidsUSA

Roadtripping California (with kids). San Diego and the Southern California Theme Parks

Next stop was San Diego. A great place to be and we stayed for a week.

The kids loved San Diego – much more user friendly than Los Angeles, with great places to eat, and tons to do. San Diego Zoo is one the most famous zoos in the world, while Sea World is basically a theme park, but a pretty great one at that.

Special experiences included visiting the USS Midway aircraft carrier museum, and the kids had a real live sword fight with a pirate on the replica ship used in the movie Master And Commander. We also saw a live baseball match and really had a great time at Encinitas beach.

My take: I’d go back and stay at Encinitas next time!

As we turned North again, we headed for the theme parks.

Disneyland took three days. Now, I am not great lover of theme parks, but I won’t deny that Disney do the most incredible job. I have ben to Disneyworld twice and Euro Disney once, and this was our first time in Disneyland. I think we liked it the most of all of them. It is smaller, but that just makes it so much easier to work your way around the park, and you do work when visiting any Disney park. You need to figure out what to do and when, and it takes some strategy. It was a major highlight of our whole trip. Being August, lines were long, but never so long that we became disenchanted. The kids loved the roller coasters and they went up the Tower of Terror at least 5 times – you know, the one that drops, like a dressed up hellavator.

One of the most unexpected rides was the Ferris Wheel. Why? Because we chose a car that swung freely, and it was one of the scariest rides we did in the whole park!

We also visited Cars Land a few times – amazingly, the line to get a fast pass took a massive 45 minutes, but it paid of in spades later on, when we bypassed the crowds waiting over 100 minutes for their 2 minute ride. The new cars land is great – we loved the race and we loved the Mater ride, but we thought that the Flying Tires was a failure – they just don’t work well, and  hopefully Disney will fix them up or replace them.

A few days later we visited Universal Studios – we spent one day only, but it was fantastic. The only problem – massively long lines – at least they sprayed us with a fine mist all the time.

I took the boys to Legoland – good but not great, and way too busy in summer. We also went to 6 Flags – terrible if you do not ride coasters, and even if you do, the waiting times were a disaster. We missed half the rides we wanted to go on as the lines typically took 2 hours or longer. If you don’t love coasters, DO NOT go here.

So, we learned a lot.

1) Disney work great – even in the middle of summer.

2) Six Flags is terrible – lines go on forever and unless you go in the off-season, don’t go near.

3) Legoland is ok. Probably best for kids 8 and under.
4) San Diego Zoo is terrific.

5) Sea World is good as well.

The hands-down winner by far was Disneyland.