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Road trip with 9 and 6 year old

Cardiff, United...
Level Contributor
15 posts
Road trip with 9 and 6 year old

We are planning a trip to California late July/early August for 2 weeks. Must Does in the plan are Anaheim(2nights), San Diego (4nights) and L.A. (3nights). Anaheim and San Diego are our starting points and L.A. our last. We are therefore looking to fill 5 nights in the middle. We have contemplated Temecula followed by Palm Springs but not sure with the heat and 2 kids. Any suggestions on where we can go in these 5 days? We don't want to spend longer than 3 to 4 hrs at a time in the car. Thanks

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17 replies to this topic
Yucaipa, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
Level Contributor
21,527 posts
2 reviews
1. Re: Road trip with 9 and 6 year old

You are correct, Palm Springs in the summer is very hot. I have a sister who used to live there and I would sometimes visit in the summer. It even stays hot at not. Temecula is a little better, but not much.

You really need three days for the Disneyland Resort Parks during peak summer season so that you can be flexible with your time in the parks and take breaks in the park when you begin to get tired.

A lot of people suggest leaving the park for awhile and taking a swim break at your hotel. But nowadays, with the hassle of going through security each time you return to the resort I don't know if it's worth it unless you are staying on property.

With a three day ticket you get the bonus one hour early entry into Disneyland on one day. That is just for Fantasyland and Tomorrowland but really, really helps with children or anyone who wants to go on the rides in Fantasyland. They are very popular and get long lines during the day, so getting a head start on some is good. (There is no Fast Pass on any Fantasyland rides except Small World and Matterhorn.)

Keep in mind you need a night in Anaheim before you visit the parks as you will need to be up very early to get to the park. Opening is likely at 8 a.m with guests allowed into Main Street at 7:30. So if you have only two nights in Anaheim, you really only have one day in Disneyland. That is woefully short. You could possibly do a half day/night as well when you arrive. But you would enter when it's already busy. I think you need four nights, 3 days.

I am not sure what to recommend for your extra days. Maybe a beach, but then again the hotel rates will be very high.

You could stay in Anaheim and do some more things there locally, assuming you will have a car.

There is the Knott's Berry Farm theme park about 6 miles from Disneyland with an old west town and characters and Camp Snoopy and those characters. There is the famous chicken dinner restaurant outside of the park and a full scale replica of Independence Hall across the street.

There are several beaches to choose from that you can drive to for a day.

There is the major league baseball stadium up the street from Disneyland Resort (Angels).

There is the historic Queen Mary Ocean Liner in nearby Long Beach. The Mission San Juan Capistrano in southern Orange County.

Just some ideas.

Alternatively, from LA you might visit Santa Barbara. Although that is north of LA, maybe you can work it out.

Edited: 13 June 2018, 16:27
Cardiff, United...
Level Contributor
15 posts
2. Re: Road trip with 9 and 6 year old

Hi we are not doing Disney. We are going to Knotts Berry Farm as I thought it would be smaller with jet lagged kids.

San Francisco, Ca
Level Contributor
21,208 posts
76 reviews
3. Re: Road trip with 9 and 6 year old

>>Hi we are not doing Disney. We are going to Knotts Berry Farm<<

If that's the case, then I wouldn't stay in Anaheim but in Buena Park (which is where KBF is located). Staying in Anaheim, with everything promoting Disneyland, would be like walking the kids through a candy store and telling them they couldn't have any.

The original Disneyland is relatively small and user-friendly, so I think it would be fine even for jet-lagged kids. If they have a melt-down, go back to the hotel. I haven't been to KBF in years, but it seems they've added a lot of thrill rides... if the kids are little, Disneyland might have more for them.

Yucaipa, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
Level Contributor
21,527 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: Road trip with 9 and 6 year old

You may want to stay in Buena Park instead of Anaheim. Save on parking fee and no driving to the park. There are three good hotels within walking distance of Knott's, all with usually lower rates than comparable Anaheim Hotels.

The Radisson Inn and Suites has a good pool with landscaping around it and a complimentary breakfast.

The Courtyard by Marriott is on the same side of the street as Knott's with a McDonald's between.

The Knott's Resort Hotel is the closest, just steps from the Knott's Market Place and theme park. With the Knott's Resort Hotel you can get a bedtime tuck in for the kids from Snoopy. I am not exactly sure how that works. Also, they say Snoopy shows up during breakfast.

You can do two days at Knott's if you want to take it at a slower pace. With Ghost Town Alive they have so much interactions with the characters that kids can really get into it.

Or you could do one day at the water park and one in the theme park.

Knott's is highly misunderstood as being all or mostly thrill rides. This is due to their past marketing. There is a lot more to it.

Keep in mind that Knott's does get long lines or waits for their rides during peak summer season, even the family rides like the Calico Train. I have been a season passholder twice. They get early access to select rides a half hour before the park opens every day in the summer.

Knott's doesn't post wait times like Disneyland does, unfortunately. They do have the Fast Lane ticket, but its an extra charge and doesn't cover all rides.

A couple of other things to keep in mind in comparison to Disneyland. There is a lack of shade and air conditioned areas in the Knott's theme park. If you want air conditioning, go to the show in the Charles Schultz Theater and the Mystery Lodge. I personally don't mind this much, but I am used to it. The second thing to know is inside the park there are not at lot of food choices and the lines can get long. It is best to either go to Mrs. Knott's or the Fireman's BBQ. The BBQ is outside.

I love Knott's, but other than Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner it cannot compare to the menu choices in the Disneyland Resort Parks.

I respect you choice. I do think that with the amount of days you have and the distance you are traveling from it would be a very big shame to miss out on Disneyland. You don't need to choose and can do both. But, of course, it's up to you.

Edited: 13 June 2018, 17:43
Newcastle, Australia
Level Contributor
4,671 posts
207 reviews
5. Re: Road trip with 9 and 6 year old

If jet lag is your concern, don’t go too far and move around too much, maybe just add those 5 nights to your current destinations. You could start with 3 nights in Santa Monica, great place to get over jet lag. Then do 3-4 nights in Anaheim or Buena Park, 4-5 nights in San Diego and finish with 3-4 nights in Hollywood.

Alternatively, 3-4 nights in Santa Barbara would be nice if you had a car to explore the coast. I’d still add a night to Anaheim/Buena Park and LA no matter what you do.

All the best.

Yucaipa, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
Level Contributor
21,527 posts
2 reviews
6. Re: Road trip with 9 and 6 year old

"The original Disneyland is relatively small and user-friendly."

Very true. They have even been finding ways to make it more user friendly, at least for those using smart phones.

If jet lag is a concern, I would not recommend going to any theme park. Go to a beach first. Less stress on the body.

Where are you flying into and what time are you landing?

Edited: 13 June 2018, 18:07
Cardiff, United...
Level Contributor
15 posts
7. Re: Road trip with 9 and 6 year old

Where would you recommend us to go to for the first 2 nights close to a beach and not too pricey.

Level Contributor
6,574 posts
7 reviews
8. Re: Road trip with 9 and 6 year old

Sea View Inn Manhattan Beach. You could do 3 nights here since Knotts is not a bad drive from MB as long as you wait til traffic subsides around 9am.

If it's not available, there are several options a mile away from the beach in Manhattan Beach. But what's your budget per night?

Cardiff, United...
Level Contributor
15 posts
9. Re: Road trip with 9 and 6 year old

We are probably looking at 100GBP per night.

Level Contributor
6,574 posts
7 reviews
10. Re: Road trip with 9 and 6 year old

At $135 us per night you'll be looking at motels a mile or two from the beach, nothing right on or near the beach in the middle of the summer tourist influx. Hi View Inn Manhattan Beach or the Seahorse Inn. Or maybe Ocean Surf Inn near Seal Beach.

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