My family LOVES vacationing in California. There is SO, SO, SO much to do! Over the past several years, we’ve made trips to Disneyland, San Diego, San Francisco, Universal Studios, and the Hyatt Regency at Huntington Beach. We’ve had so much fun on every one of them! This past year, we decided to try out a Southern California CityPASS vacation, and I’m soooo glad we did. It was a week packed full of fun, for an incredible deal. I had never realized before how much more you get for your money when you go the CityPASS route. Seriously. It was awesome! I’m excited to share with you how it works and tell you all about our vacation. 🙂
Here’s an overview of how the Southern California CityPASS works:
The Southern California CityPASS saves you over 33% off individual gate prices! Experience the best attractions that Southern California has to offer, with one flexible ticket! Includes a 3-Day Disneyland® Resort Park Hopper® Ticket and one day admission tickets to each of the following: LEGOLAND and SeaWorld ® San Diego. The CityPass must first be redeemed at the Disneyland® Resort. Tickets must be used within 14 days and individually redeemed at the various attractions. Tickets include coupons and offers to various stores and restaurants in Southern California, printable gifts and vacation craft ideas. Over a $400 value!
Retail Gate Price for All 3 attractions: $525/adult and $500/child
Get Away Today’s Southern California CityPASS Price: $343/adult and $314/child
Think about this… the gate price for an adult 3-day Park Hopper is $315. So, for $28 more, you get TWO additional theme parks. Nuts, right?!? Yep.
Our Southern California CityPASS Vacation:
So, we started our vacation at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, right next to Disneyland. We have always wanted to stay at one of the Disneyland hotels, and I’m so glad we did! With my many kids, it was nice to be able to have our hotel so close to the park, for little breaks now and then. If someone needed a nap or even just forgot something in the room, we could be back to our hotel in a few minutes. My teenage boys loved being able to head back into the park after dark, after all of us old and young folk pooped out. It really was super convenient! Not only that, but the hotel was really nice. We had a perfect view of the happenings in Downtown Disney, the hotel pool was a perfect way to escape the busy crowds, and restaurants and fun shops were just a step outside the door. Oh, and there was always something fun going on in the lobby.
This was one of those moments when Grace and I needed a break. We hit up the Wetzel’s Pretzels (SO yummy!) and the macaron booth in Downtown Disney, and had a grand ole time on the hotel balcony.
The weather at Disneyland was PERFECT! I couldn’t believe it was November… especially knowing how cold things were at home in Utah.
Benny. This kid is such a goof. He had the whole crowd entertained at the Bug’s Life splash pad, watching the drains a little too closely.
The jungle cruise is such a corny ride, but always one of my favorites. Maybe because the line isn’t ever too long, but even more than that, my young animal-loving kids love spotting the animals in the jungle.
Did I mention it was a little busy? We were there the week of Thanksgiving, so I’m pretty sure everyone in the world was out of school and at Disneyland that same week. But, I had some tricks up my sleeve to make the most of it. If we had the energy, one of our favorite things to do was to play at the hotel, swim in the pool, shop at Downtown Disney, and then hit the park at night when a lot of people with younger kids are starting to leave. It’s the best time to ride It’s a Small World and well, pretty much every ride! Especially the last hour the park is open, we jam pack it in. It’s worth keeping the littles up for it!
Get Away Today has shared several tips on ‘Or so she says…’ about what to do when the park is busy. It really helps to learn about Disneyland’s FastPass system and some of the less crowded rides and shows that are fun to go to when you need a little more space. (See ‘20 Things to Do at Disneyland When It’s Crowded’ and ’10 Tips for Visiting Disneyland in the Busy Season‘.)
This was during one of our late night excursions… I loved seeing the castle all lit up. Too bad it doesn’t make for a good family snapshot. Lighting issues. But, that picture makes me laugh! My four year old is dead asleep in my baby’s stroller, so we had to carry her around. You can see she’s in her jammies with no shoes on. Oh, and then my 7 year old is hanging his head, grumpy, because his legs are tired from walking, and my 13 year old thinks it’s hilarious to make this super weird face in literally EVERY picture he’s in. I gave up trying to convince him otherwise. Ha, that’s family life for ya… I love it.
I love this picture. Here, we were standing in a long line for the Haunted Mansion ride, right during Grace’s nap time. It was decorated so fun for Christmas. I couldn’t believe all the work they put into it! Definitely worth the wait.
So, on one of the days, I took the littles to Disneyland by myself and Dan took the older kids to Knott’s Berry Farm. They love the adventurous rides there, so it’s been a ‘must-do’ every time we’re in the area. I swiped this pic off of Dan’s phone. I love being on vacation with just our family and seeing the kids interact and have fun together. That’s not to say they never get irritated with each other… they do, but overall they’re great friends.
When I first saw this pic, I was like, “Dan. What is that barf on the plate??” Does it not look like barf?? Funnel cake, folks. Melted whipped cream on a demolished funnel cake.
Next up, we headed to the Dana Resort at Mission Bay, right by SeaWorld… our second Southern California CityPASS destination. I was super excited to go to SeaWorld, as I hadn’t been since I was little. But, I honestly thought my husband would hate it. It just didn’t seem like ‘his thing’ and I was hoping the whole time that he didn’t think it was super lame, looking at a bunch of sea life. Guess what… he LOVED it. Honestly, Sea World was probably our favorite part of the trip!
First of all, we were there on Thanksgiving, and the crowd level was PERFECT. We could easily do anything we wanted to with little to no wait. It was awesome.
Second, we were pleasantly surprised at how big the park was and how much there was to do. We didn’t even know there were rides there, so that alone was really fun for us. Clearly, we were pretty SeaWorld clueless! Besides several rides (even some legit thrill rides), there was a huge playground area for little kids and my little ones LOVED. There was a huge rope course, bounce house, bridges, etc.
Third, the sea life was fascinating! We were all saying how much more we appreciated the sea life and how much we learned, thanks to our experience there. The dolphin and whale shows were really neat. We loved to sit in the very front and get super wet from the splashing. 🙂
Finally, I loooooved that SeaWorld had a musical nativity program at night, for Christmas. It was a little goofy, but so refreshing and admirable to see such a large company celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.
SeaWorld converted us. We’re fans, even my husband.
Oh, and one last thing about SeaWorld… Grace was SO happy to see the big Sesame Street area. Another fun surprise! She’s a little Elmo-obsessed.
Finally, for our last Southern California CityPASS destination, we made it to LegoLand. I’ll admit, we were a little pooped by the time we got there. Between Disneyland, Knott’s Berry, and SeaWorld, we didn’t have a lot left. But, the younger boys were anxious to go. Well, I think the most important part to them was checking out the Lego store and all of the Lego creations around the park.
My 4 and 7 year old boys and my older girls were in HEAVEN the minute we entered the big store. My girls love the Lego Friends and my boys love any of the superhero Legos, so they spent half the day browsing and dreaming. They’re already begging to go back to LegoLand! The older kids were a little uninterested in the rides, as they’re geared more towards younger kids. But, they used the time to get caught up on Instagram. Oh, and they found some hot girls to hang out with…
Of course, we can’t head back to ocean-less Utah without visiting the ocean! Like I said, there is so much to do as a family in California. If you’re thinking of a vacation, the Southern California CityPASS is the way to go!
You can book your Southern California CityPASS vacation on getawaytoday.com , or you can all any of their awesome, super helpful agents at 855-GET-AWAY. Either way, be sure to let them know that ‘Or so she says… ‘ sent you. Use promo code: OSSS2015 for an extra savings off of your package.
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