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LEGOLAND California San Diego SoCal Guide

LEGOLAND California is a wonderful park for a wide variety of ages. There are play areas for toddlers, rides that will please elementary-aged kids and LEGO displays that will put any teen or adult in awe. I have the LEGOLAND tips on everything there is to see and do at this theme park in San Diego. Here’s what you can expect of a day at LEGOLAND California, with my LEGOLAND insider tips for building the best day!

LEGOLAND provided complimentary day passes for me & my family. Please note that this post includes affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you! This post was originally posted on Jan 20th, 2015 and contains updated information.

LEGOLAND Overview

As a San Diego native, my family and I have been going to LEGOLAND California since it first opened! There are over 60 rides and attractions in the 128-acre park. LEGOLAND has grown quite a bit over the years but some things have remained constant throughout. This theme park is family-friendly with an emphasis on younger guests that is safe, clean and well-kept. LEGOLAND is located in Carlsbad, about 45 minutes drive north of downtown San Diego and about 60 minutes drive south from Anaheim (where Disneyland is located). These are my LEGOLAND tips for visiting with kids.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

These larger-than-life LEGO master builder models are located all over the park.

LEGOLAND California Tips

These LEGOLAND tips for traveling with kids will help you properly plan your day. The park is very easy to navigate, but includes a lot of walking with stops for rides and attractions along the way. Start your planning by looking at the LEGOLAND California park map and plot out your day. Even on a visit during non-peak season, you’ll be hard-pressed to see and do everything in one day. Hours at LEGOLAND California vary throughout the year, so always check the calendar before your visit. LEGOLAND does have mid-week days when it’s completely closed in the off-season.

What Should I Bring to LEGOLAND?

LEGOLAND California is located in Carlsbad, just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. It can be chilly and windy, especially during the winter and spring. Bring a lightweight jacket or sweatshirt. Definitely pack your sunscreen. While it might be overcast early in the day, the sun often peeks out after noon and it may get very hot.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Parking at LEGOLAND

The LEGOLAND parking fee is $20 per car, per day. If you arrive early, you’ll be very close to the front entrance, though there is still a short (slightly inclined) walk to the front entrance. It’s not necessary to purchase the “preferred parking”.

Security Checks

All backpacks, bags, purses and strollers will be checked before entering the park.


From cool rides, water parks and billions of bricks, here's why you should plan a LEGOLAND California vacation!

Mia’s Riding Camp

Save Money on Your LEGOLAND Vacation Tickets!

Before your vacation, you can purchase LEGOLAND California tickets online. You can purchase discounted LEGOLAND vacation packages or just LEGOLAND tickets on the Get Away Today website. You can also purchase park tickets at the booths but you will pay full price. I highly recommend purchasing the tickets from Get Away Today before your trip to save money!

https://www.getawaytoday.com/?referrerid=7529

READ MORE: My friend Leslie at Trips with Tykes shares more LEGOLAND budgeting advice.

Newest Must-Do Attraction at LEGOLAND California

LEGOLAND’s newest attraction, LEGO City Deep Sea Adventure is a cool hybrid attraction that’s part interactive treasure hunt, submarine ride and aquarium. Riders board a submarine, then peer through the portholes and windows to peek at the 2000 types of real sea life, including sharks! There are fun LEGO items to spy along the way as well. The touch-screens inside the ride encourage kids to treasure hunt on a search for items on the checklist.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Deep Sea Adventure is part interactive treasure hunt, submarine ride and aquarium.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Inside the new Deep Sea Adventure interactive submarine ride

Tips for LEGOLAND Attractions:

  • Download the LEGOLAND California Resort mobile app to check ride wait times, see an interactive park map, dining options and show times.
  • Many queue areas have LEGO building stations. Kids can build here while parents are waiting in line.
These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGO play areas in queue

Thrill Rides at LEGOLAND in San Diego

A majority of the rides at LEGOLAND California are geared for younger kids. However there are a few thrill-type rides that are appropriate for elementary-aged kids and would please teens and adults as well. Nothing too crazy but still thrilling! The tallest height restriction is 42″ and several rides have an age requirement as well, so check the signage.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

The Knight’s Tournament has several “levels”, including this one that tosses guests upside down!

  • LEGO Technic Coaster
  • Knight’s Tournament
  • The Dragon Coaster
  • Coastersaurus (at 36″ height restriction, it’s a good first coaster for younger kids)

Tips for LEGOLAND Thrill Rides:

  • Don’t like waiting in lines? Consider purchasing Reserve ‘n’ Ride. This add-on offers three levels that will reduce wait times 25-99% at an additional cost from between $35 to $100 per person.
  • Rides offer a “parent swap” so that one parent can wait with a non-riding child and then switch places so that the other parent can ride.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

More Can’t Miss LEGOLAND California Attractions

  • Bring out the competitive spirit on the Lost Kingdom Adventure ride to shoot laser guns and tally points.
  • Get soaked on a warm day at Pirate Reef or Splash Battle, both located in the Pirate Shores area. Kids can even get wet by splashing at the Heartlake Fountain and Swabbie’s Deck (feel free to bring swim suits and towels to let the kids get wet).
  • LEGO NINGAGO is a small area in the park that features a very cool 4-D, interactive ride. There’s no height restriction so anyone can ride.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

  • Fun Town really is…fun! Kids love participating as a team with their family at the LEGOLAND Police & Fire Academy.
  • Skipper School and Driving School with their trackless vehicles are can’t-miss LEGOLAND attractions. Most kids will say these are their favorite attractions. There is also a Junior Driving School for little ones aged 3-5. Kids can even purchase their own LEGOLAND Driving School license.
These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Skipper School lets kids drive their own trackless boat.

LEGOLAND Miniland USA

LEGOLAND’s Miniland USA is an awesome attraction that is at the heart of what LEGO is all about. Built by their “master builders”, these city representations include New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, Washington DC and Las Vegas. There are small buttons kids can push to play a sound clip or to make one of the features in the scene move. Tiny LEGO cars move, LEGO figures dance and more. Plan to spend at least an hour exploring Miniland USA, as there’s lots of see in this detailed area.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGOLAND California Miniland USA Las Vegas

After you’ve explored the Miniland USA cities, take a walk on the Miniland USA “Block of Fame” and see famous faces (like this one of Elvis!). There are also famous Star Wars characters as well.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

The LEGO Star Wars area in Miniland USA does not disappoint. There are some amazingly detailed scenes from the movies featured here! This area is incredible and a must-see for any Star Wars fan.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Miniland Star Wars

Other Fun Things to Do at LEGOLAND

Even if you never step foot on an actual ride at LEGOLAND, there’s so much to keep busy kids active throughout the day. Check out these other great things to do at LEGOLAND after the rides.

  • If you have a child who can’t get enough of simply building LEGO creations, be sure to stop inside several of these areas (Imagination Zone Build and Test, LEGO Mindstorms, Heartlake Stables and LEGO Life Zone). Kids can build and play with the thousands of LEGOS that are available in these areas.
These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

The Hideaways play area

  • If your kids need to run and play, there are a few areas where they can burn off steam. The Hideaways is a complex arrangement of rope ladders and slides. There’s only one way in and out so parents can sit on the wall surrounding the play area and not worry their kids will leave without them. There’s a rock climbing wall in LEGO Ninjago area. In Land of Adventure, kids and adults can slide down the Dune Raiders. In Pharaoh’s Revenge, kids can shoot foam balls at each other.
  • Watch LEGO NINJAGO Master of the 4th Dimension, a 4D show inside the LEGO Show Place Theater.
  • The Adventure’s Club walk-through is a favorite for my older ones though my preschooler was a little nervous of the darker areas and sounds inside.
  • Don’t miss the LEGO Factory Tour to see how LEGO bricks are made!
These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Keep your eyes open for the quirky LEGO humor!

LEGOLAND Dining Options

If you’re expecting the same boring theme park options for dining, no fear! LEGOLAND California offers only fresh, made-on-site meals that are unique and delicious. Quite often dishes are prepared right in front of you. This makes for a hot meal that’s made to order. It can also mean that wait times for meals can be longer than normal for amusement parks.

Choose from items like the pork belly bao sandwiches, pesto chicken salad sandwich or freshly prepared stir fry from Wok n’ Bowl (photo below). The Pizza & Pasta buffet is a popular place for all-you-can-eat with a great salad bar and creative offerings. We’ve also enjoyed the Knight’s Smokehouse BBQ with slowcooked Texas BBQ dishes and craft beer.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

And yes, you can still find the usual burgers, fries and soft serve cones if that’s what you want to eat! For dessert, you have to grab a box of Granny’s Apple Fries. You might not want to share!

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGOLAND Assisted Access Pass

If you have a guest with special needs, visit Guest Services before entering the park. You’ll be supplied with a simple “Assisted Access Pass”. This business card will be noted with the date, number of people in your party and the name of the person for whom the card is issued. We used this card in the past for my daughter (who has autism). Instructions on the card let us know that we were permitted to enter rides through the exit and wait there so we didn’t have to stand in a crowded queue.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Carefully read signage in regards to age & height restrictions

LEGOLAND with Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

There are quite a few rides in LEGOLAND that do not have height restrictions, so they’re perfect for babies and toddlers. I highly recommend the Fairy Tale Brook, Mia’s Riding Camp and Coast Cruise. There are a few rides that have surprising height restrictions, though they seem appropriately aged for toddlers (like Safari Trek), so be aware of signage before getting in line.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Duplo Playtown is a must with toddlers and preschoolers!

Duplo Playtown is going to be a hit with your toddler! There are quaint little houses set up like a town including a fire station with a pole and tons of stairs and slides. The LEGOLAND Express, a small train, circles around here as well. Plan for plenty of time in this area if you have a toddler or preschooler, they’ll absolutely love this place!

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGOLAND strollers available for rent in the parks

There are areas that are appropriate for toddlers to hang out while waiting for older siblings to ride. My daughter enjoyed playing in the sand at Dig Those Dinos. Queue waiting areas sometimes have larger Duplo blocks but check for the tiny LEGO bricks, which may be a choking hazard for toddlers.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGOLAND Royal Joust

The Royal Joust is for kids aged 4-12 only (and must be 36″ as well). This adorable horse ride takes kids on a journey through the Castle Hill area. Make sure to ride Coast Cruise, where you’ll be able to see LEGO displays from around the world, including the Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower or George Washington getting his ears cleaned at Mount Rushmore!

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Where to Get Discounted LEGOLAND California Tickets

Did you know that each October in San Diego, there are many theme parks and restaurants that offer FREE entertainment for kids?! LEGOLAND is a participant in this special offer, so click through and find out how you can get your kid’s free offer! Kids FREE in San Diego for October!

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGOLAND California Water Park

When the weather warms, our thoughts turn to the water-play activities at the expansive LEGOLAND Water Park! From toddler splash pads, water slides for big kids and a giant wave pool, there’s plenty here for the whole family. Entrance to the water park is on top of the regular park admission. Water park days and hours of operation vary upon the season, so check the LEGOLAND website to make sure it’s open during your visit before you pack your swim suits!

Read More: 10 Things to Know Before Visiting the LEGOLAND California Water Park

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGOLAND Halloween Special Event

Brick-or-Treat Party Nights at LEGOLAND offers children and their families trick-or-treating and entertainment throughout the Park on Saturday nights in October. This is a special ticketed event that is not included with regular park admission. Guests are invited to dress in costume and there is candy given, certain rides are open during the event as well as a costume contest and not-too-scary Halloween-themed entertainment for kids.

Read More: Brick-or-Treat Party Nights Halloween Celebration at LEGOLAND® California Resort

LEGOLAND® California Resort Brick-or-Treat Party Nights Halloween Celebration

LEGOLAND Holidays

All of LEGOLAND gets into the holiday spirit during the winter season, with festivities and shows that are included in the regular park admission. There are also seasonal foods and treats, holiday decor and special gift shopping areas. Visit Miniland U.S.A. to see more of the Christmas spirit, where many of the buildings have fun holiday touches, including Santa and his sleigh and wreaths decorating the LEGO White House.

Read More: Holidays at LEGOLAND California – Ultimate Seasonal Guide

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

LEGOLAND Sea Life Aquarium

The Sea Life Aquarium combines a real, learning aquarium of actual sea life with fun LEGO models. Guests can see jelly fish and seahorses, spy octopus and sharks, reach inside touch pools, and experience feeder talks.

The Sea Life Aquarium is compact and will take about an hour to completely walk through. During busier seasons and holiday events, strollers are not allowed inside so make arrangements for little ones (I brought a front carrier for my baby so I wouldn’t have to hold her in my arms the entire time). Admission to the Sea Life Aquarium can be purchased separately or as an add-on to your LEGOLAND park ticket.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Inside the LEGOLAND Sea Life Aquarium

LEGOLAND Hotels

LEGOLAND is known for their unique, tongue-in-cheek humor so it was no surprise to me that these unique hotels feature a disco ball in the elevator and a treasure hunt inside the rooms!

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Rooms at both the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel and the original LEGOLAND Hotel are heavily themed. At the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel guests can choose from castle-themed rooms, naturally – Knights & Dragons, Royal Princess or Magic Wizard. And at the LEGOLAND Hotel, pick from Pirate, Kingdom, Adventure, Friends, and LEGO NINJAGO.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGOLAND Castle Hotel

A stay at one of the two LEGOLAND hotels includes a complimentary buffet breakfast. Kids will also receive a welcome treasure hunt with a LEGO prize. One of the nicest features (for the benefit of the grown-ups!) is a separate kid’s sleeping area with entertainment center, bunk bed and pull out trundle.

READ MORE: My friend Karen at Desert Chica has a review on the new LEGOLAND Castle Hotel with in-room photos.


These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium. #LEGOLAND #LegolandCA #California #SanDiego #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #Carlsbad #ThemeParks #AmusementParks #LEGO

SoCal Guide – San Diego Zoo with Kids and Families

As a San Diego native, my family and I have been going to the San Diego Zoo since I was a baby! The park has changed immensely over the years but some things have remained constant throughout. The San Diego Zoo has always been a place for learning, fun and unique experiences. It’s always safe, clean and well-kept – the ideal place to spend a sunny afternoon in San Diego. These are my tips for visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids.

Please note that this post includes affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

This post was originally published Oct 17th, 2014

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

San Diego Zoo with Kids – SoCal Guide Overview

At a vast 100 acres, the San Diego Zoo is a sprawling paradise in the middle of the city. Plenty has evolved at the zoo over the years including a move away from isolated cages towards lush, natural exhibits that mimic that animal’s habitat. The Zoo is one of the must see things in San Diego.

The San Diego Zoo is a pleasurable outdoor experience that takes all day to properly explore. It is home to around 3500 rare and endangered animals of more than 650 species (the largest collection of species in the world). It also boasts a gorgeous botanical collection with 700,000+ plants.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

San Diego Zoo Guide

My San Diego Zoo with kids guide tips will help you properly plan your day. The park can be a challenge to navigate, with so much ground to cover. There are also varied elevations so unless you’re up for a long hike, you’ll want to know how to properly see everything. Start your planning by looking at the park map and plot out your day. It is quite possible to see all of the exhibits in one day. You’ll have to stay from morning to night and not linger too long in any one place. You’ll also probably walk 4 miles to cover the entire Zoo!

Zoo Location: The San Diego Zoo is located in the heart of Balboa Park. This 1200 acre park features museums, walking trails and gardens.

Tickets: San Diego Zoo tickets might be higher cost than you’re used to for local zoos. However this zoo is a non-profit and all proceeds go towards the animals. I recommend pre-purchasing discount tickets ahead of time. You can purchase discounted San Diego Zoo vacation packages or just Zoo tickets on the Get Away Today website. You can also purchase zoo tickets at the booths but you will pay full price.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Buy tickets from Get Away Today for the best pricing!

What Should You Bring to the Zoo?

The Zoo is located in downtown San Diego and it can be chilly and windy during the winter and spring. The Skyfari ride can be especially cold. Bring a lightweight jacket or sweatshirt. A considerable amount of the park offers large tree shade protection but you should still pack your sunscreen. While it might be overcast early in the day, the sun often peeks out after noon and it may get very hot.

Parking: 

Parking at the San Diego Zoo is totally FREE! There is a very large lot in front of the park, however during busy seasons, it does fill up. You can also seek parking elsewhere in Balboa Park and then walk to the Zoo.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and what NOT to miss!

Is Outside Food Allowed at the San Diego Zoo?

The San Diego Zoo allows outside food so feel free to bring a picnic lunch, bottled water and whatever snacks you need for the day.

Security Checks:

While most San Diego area theme parks will check your packages, backpacks and purses before park entry, there are no such security inspections at the San Diego Zoo.

Rides at the San Diego Zoo

There are many ways to explore the San Diego Zoo. Guests can take a 35-minute Guided Bus Tour on double-decker buses that give a good overview of the Zoo. There is also the option of the “Kangaroo” Express Bus that stops at several locations for guests to access different areas. The Guided Bus Tour & Kangaroo Bus is included in your admission price.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Also included in the Zoo admission is unlimited rides on the Skyfari Aeriel Tram. This ride will transport you quickly across the Zoo to the higher regions and you can work your way back downhill. I love this amazing view of the city and Balboa Park museums over the lush treetops of the zoo!

Tips for San Diego Zoo Rides & Tours:

  • Jump on the Guided Bus Tour first thing in the morning. From there, plan your own walking tour to deeply explore other areas.
  • You’ll be able to see the animals better from the first deck of the guided bus (rather than sitting on the top of the bus). I recommend sitting on the right side of the bus towards the middle for the best views.
  • The line for the Skyfari is always longer at the front of the park since most people take it to the top elevations and then walk back. Visit early in the day (try right after the Guided Bus).
Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

See the Skyfari in the distance?

Must-See Exhibits at the San Diego Zoo

There are many pathways that guests can walk, which reach aviaries and enclosures that you won’t see on the bus.  Please note that many of the trails are quite steep so be sure to take advantage of the Skyfari Aeriel Tram to take you to the top of the hill.

Bird Aviaries

Accessed only by the walking paths, making your way through the cool confines of one of the aviaries is one of the most fascinating parts of a San Diego Zoo visit. If you walk too fast you’ll miss a lot so make sure to find a bench to bird-watch. Many of these birds are camouflaged in the lush trees and bushes and you won’t see them until you pause to look. Keepers set up trays of fruit and the birds stop over to nibble.

Panda Canyon

Panda Canyon has two giant pandas on exhibit, one of the few zoos outside of China. These adorable pandas are so fun and playful to watch as they climb trees and strip bamboo. If you plan to visit the pandas, do so first thing in the morning.

Hippo Trail in the Lost Forest

The hippos have a cool upper and lower exhibit so you can watch them swim (so graceful under water!)

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Koala Outback

The San Diego Zoo has the most koala as well as the most successful koala breeding program outside of Australia!

Elephant Odyssey

Take a stroll through Elephant Odyssey for a close look at both African and Asian elephants. Last time we were there the elephants were loping around to grab branches from each other!

Monkey Trails

Monkeys, gorillas & orangutans are housed in these open air enclosed under deep shade. This is a lovely walk in the heat of the day.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Africa Rocks

The newest area at the San Diego Zoo, Africa Rocks is the new home for leopards and African penguins. Be sure to walk behind the big waterfall for an unforgettable photo experience.

Insect House

Located inside the Children’s Zoo area, the Insect House is one of the most fascinating places to get up close and personal with bugs! The creepy-crawlies are all behind glass (except when a trainer brings one out for a closer look). We loved watching the busy Leafcutter Ants and Diving Beetles.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Animal Interactions at the San Diego Zoo

The zoo offers a few shows and animal presentations. The shows are a nice place to get off your feet for a bit though you will be in the sun. Check out the animal encounter section on your daily map to see what Keeper Talks are planned during your visit. We usually catch them on Front Street coming in and out of the park. On our last visit we “met” a giant walking stick inside the Insect House!

Other Fun Things to Do at the San Diego Zoo with Kids

  • There are several 4-D theaters located at the Zoo and you can watch a show inside for an additional fee.
  • Looking for a major splurge for adults? Try the San Diego Zoo Keeper for a Day! Shadow either a giraffe or koala keeper, which includes preparing food, stepping inside the enclosure and even cleaning the exhibit.
  • Before coming to the Zoo, show your kids the live internet cams on the San Diego Zoo website to build up excitement for the visit!
  • Even if you don’t have young kids with you, make it a point to stop in at the Children’s Zoo area. There are animals here that you won’t find in other areas including the amusing Naked Mole-Rats.
  • Just outside of the Zoo gates is a children’s mini train and carousel. It’s a fun way to end your Zoo day with a ride on these (extra cost).
Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

The mini train located outside the Zoo entrance

San Diego Zoo with Kids, Toddlers and Babies

Toddlers and babies will greatly enjoy the outdoors at the San Diego Zoo. Because the Zoo is so large, I highly recommend bringing your own stroller or renting a stroller inside. There are some exhibits with high bushes so you may have to lift your little one out of their seat for them to see the animals. In other exhibits, the windows reach the floor and your baby will have a great view from the stroller.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Visit the Petting Paddock inside the Children’s Zoo where kids can pet the goats. Just inside the entrance to this area there is also a playground so we usually spend about 30 minutes letting our stroller-bound toddler run around. There are several other play areas around the park where kids can explore.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Dining at the San Diego Zoo

Dining at the Zoo is mostly walk-up with outdoor patio dining. Offerings are wide and include sandwiches, grilled burgers & chicken, salads, wraps and Chinese. The only full-service dining restaurant, Albert’s, offers a more elegant selection and happy hour. There’s also soft serve ice cream at many locations in the park (which makes my kids very happy on a hot day!)

You can also bring in any of your own food from home (which we frequently do). Have a picnic lunch in the Treetops Cafe seating area. There’s plenty of covered seating and an amazing view of the city. Please note that straws are not permitted as they are a choking hazard to the animals.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Chocolate soft serve in the Treetops area of the San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo Special Events

Nighttime Zoo

Throughout the entire summer, the San Diego Zoo stays open late for Nighttime Zoo. Included in your daily park admission, the Zoo is open as late at 9 pm for special evening shows, live music and animal encounters. There are also summertime food offerings including Berry Walnut Salad and a Loaded Hot Dog.

Extra Zoo Experiences

The San Diego Zoo offers special experiences at an additional fee, including an early-morning tour to visit the pandas, overnight sleepovers in the park or even children’s birthday parties. Educational classes and camps can also be booked.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Meerkat lookout

Kids Play FREE at the San Diego Zoo in October!

Yes, in addition to free admission at the San Diego Zoo, kids also get in free at LEGOLAND California and SeaWorld. They’ll also dine free at participating restaurants. Read more about the kids free in San Diego for October promotion.

WATCH THE VIDEO for more San Diego Zoo with Kids tips!

Read this post for more tips if you only have one day to explore the San Diego Zoo.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Peeking at the tortoise


Save Money on Your San Diego Zoo Vacation!

Purchase discount tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today. Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount).

If you’re also planning to visit SeaWorld San Diego and the San Diego Zoo with kids consider purchasing a discounted ticket bundle that includes both locations.


READ MORE:

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo. #California #SanDiego #SanDiegoZoo #Zoo #Travel #TravelwithKids #FamilyTravel #SoCal #ThemeParks


Holidays at LEGOLAND California – Ultimate Seasonal Guide

While my family and I have been to LEGOLAND California dozens of times, we’ve never been during the holidays! This weekend we had the chance to experience the holidays at LEGOLAND events, including seasonal treats, unique LEGO photo ops and live shows. And did I mention the treats?! Peppermint milkshakes, need I go on? Keep reading for all the fun things to do during the holidays at LEGOLAND, along with my insider tips for an enjoyable day with the family.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

Please note that I was provided complimentary tickets for my family and I to experience the holidays at LEGOLAND. All thoughts and opinions are my own and there was no monetary compensation. I include affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

Holidays at LEGOLAND

LEGOLAND California is open almost every day in December. Opening times vary, as well. Be sure to check the days and hours of operation online before your visit. In addition to all the usual rides, the holidays at LEGOLAND offers special seasonal shows, foods and photo opportunities throughout the park. I’ll share with you how to maximize your day at LEGOLAND and how to experience all that the holidays at LEGOLAND offers.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!


Save Money at LEGOLAND!

Purchase discount tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today. Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 

https://www.getawaytoday.com/?referrerid=7529


Must-Do Photo Ops

LEGO Santa, Reindeer and Christmas Tree

While there are always lots of unique and larger-than-life LEGO figures to pose with throughout the park, make a point of visiting Santa and his reindeer during the holidays at LEGOLAND. This photo op is located in Fun Town, under the glow of the huge LEGO Christmas Tree!

LEGOLAND Holiday Tip – Arrive in this area about 30 minutes before/after one of the stage shows when the crowds aren’t as heavy.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

It “snows” in Fun Land!


Live Entertainment

My kids never want to take a break from all the attractions long enough to watch the shows. However we often catch both shows when walking through these areas.

LEGO Friends Holiday Show

Targeted mostly as young girls, the sweeter-than-sweet holiday show in Heartlake City features the five LEGO Friends.

Fun Town Show – The Yule Tides

This one couldn’t be more jolly! Santa’s elves are singing and dancing old and new Christmas carols on the stage in Fun Town.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

LEGO Friends Holiday Show in Heartlake City

Little LEGO-Sized Touches

Be sure to take a visit to Miniland U.S.A. to see where the Christmas spirit has been sprinkled! We found many of the buildings have fun holiday touches, including Santa and his sleigh and wreaths decorating the LEGO White House.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

Holiday Eats and Treats

Throughout the park, seasonal treats are sold that will surely get you into the holiday spirit. For lunch, dine on a Holiday Smoked Turkey Sandwich with rustic stuffing and spiced cranberry dressing or a smoked turkey leg. Sip warm apple cider or hot chocolate. And for dessert indulge in churros con chocolate, holiday cookies, peppermint milkshakes, and candy apples!

LEGOLAND Holiday Tip – Dining can get really crowded at LEGOLAND. Also, food is prepared fresh, so it often takes longer than you might expect to receive your food. Have one person order while the other gets the table to save time.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

Seasonal shopping is available in the retail shops

Winter Holiday Market

Saturdays, December 9th and 16th till 7:00 pm in Fun Town.

The Winter Holiday Market is all new this year. Guests can purchase authentic “German Christmas Market” inspired treats like grilled sausages, giant Bavarian pretzels, spiced wine, and specialty hot chocolate.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

Holidays at SEA LIFE Aquarium

Take the time for a tour through the SEA LIFE aquarium where seasonal décor appears throughout . There’s even a special holiday themed daily dive show daily from December 1st – 24th.


Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

 

10 Things to Know Before Visiting the LEGOLAND California Water Park

As LEGOLAND California continues to grow, I’m finding that one day just isn’t enough. This is definitely a destination vacation spot for families! If you’re planning a visit to LEGOLAND California, consider adding an extra day or two to your visit. You’ll be able to spend time in the theme park itself, as well as the attached LEGOLAND Sealife Aquarium and LEGOLAND California Water Park. The water park has recently undergone an expansion and it’s a fantastic place to spend a warm day!

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

I am a LEGOLAND ambassador. I have received complimentary tickets to the parks. All thoughts and opinions are my own. There are affiliate links in this post. Purchasing through my link helps me in a small financial way, thank you.

From cool rides, water parks and billions of bricks, here's why you should plan a LEGOLAND California vacation!

The Duplo Splash Zoo at LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad

 

Last year I visited the LEGOLAND water park for the first time. My kids had been with their grandma but this was my first visit. I was really impressed with the variety of play areas for a wide range of kids. I have a 15-month old, 5 year old and two 13-year olds and each of them enjoyed something different at the water park.

I’ve since been able to visit two more times and have truly enjoyed the visit. There are ample seating areas for those not wanting to swim. Areas are spread out to lessen the crowd impact. And I love the diversity of the play areas for a variety of ages.

From cool rides, water parks and billions of bricks, here's why you should plan a LEGOLAND California vacation!

1. Locker Rentals and Changing Areas

You can’t wear your swimsuit inside the LEGOLAND theme park. In the mornings, I’d suggest wearing your suit under your clothing to enter the park. Once inside the water park you can easily remove your clothes, apply sunscreen and be quickly ready to swim!

After you’re done swimming and you need to walk into the theme park again, there are ample changing areas available. I like that I don’t have to stand in the toilet stall to change and that there are roomy private areas to change out of my wet suit.

I highly recommend renting a locker if you don’t have someone to watch your things. Don’t risk leaving your purse on an empty beach chair while you splash; get a locker instead so it’s safe inside.


2. Get Soaked (or Just a Little Wet)

Wanna get soaked? Stand under the Joker Soaker, where over 350 gallons of water drops from the clock tower overhead.

Don’t want to get submerged? At Eglor’s Build-a-Boat, guests can build a LEGO boat and set it free in the rushing water in a CHIMA display.

Planning to include a visit to the LEGOLAND California Water Park in your Southern California vacation? Here are 10 things you need to know before you go!

Joker Soaker dumps buckets of water!

3. Things for Families to Do Together

My three oldest kids (ages 5 to 13) enjoyed a good amount of time in the Lion Temple Wave Pool (over 42″ tall). My preschooler is a tall 46.5″ and the waves were still strong enough to knock him over. Take note if your younger kids aren’t swimming and make sure they’re wearing a life jacket.

The float on Orange Rush can hold four adults and two children (over 42″ tall).

Have a side by side water slide race on the Twin Chasers (over 42″ tall).

Build-a-Raft River. The idea of this lazy river is that you can collect the floating blocks in the water and add them to your raft. Unfortunately there are only a handful of blocks available. Best to just kick back and enjoy the ride!

Planning to include a visit to the LEGOLAND California Water Park in your Southern California vacation? Here are 10 things you need to know before you go!

The lazy river is my favorite!

4. Places for Babies and Toddlers

Duplo Splash Safari has shallow water that’s nice for wading. My baby was able to walk in the water while my preschooler went down the short water slides. There are even wide “family-sized” mini-water slides here so you can splash down together.

From cool rides, water parks and billions of bricks, here's why you should plan a LEGOLAND California vacation!

Babies and toddlers will enjoy the LEGOLAND California water park Safari Splash

There are complimentary life jackets for use in the parks. All babies are required to wear a swim diaper. If you forget to bring one with you, they do have a small gift shop that sells them.

Splash Zoo is specifically sized for babies and toddlers however there were older kids running around here on our visit. The spray from some of the fountains can be rather intense. As you can see, my toddler was none to happy about the sudden squirt!

Planning to include a visit to the LEGOLAND California Water Park in your Southern California vacation? Here are 10 things you need to know before you go!

5. Take Frequent Potty Breaks

Every few hours each of the sections will close. This allows guests to take a break, eat and use the restroom. Signs encourage parents to take their children for potty breaks. Even that might not be often enough, as they did have to close down one section for a “poop evacuation”…yuck! Kids under 3 need to wear swim diapers, so don’t forget to bring them!


Visiting with a Preschooler? Check out my post about LEGOLAND California on Traveling Mom.

6. Rent a Cabana

A total of 35 standard, premium and deluxe premium cabanas are located all over the LEGOLAND Water Park. Cost is dependent upon the season and can be found HERE.Planning to include a visit to the LEGOLAND California Water Park in your Southern California vacation? Here are 10 things you need to know before you go!

7. Surfers’ Cove

The newest area at LEGOLAND Water park is Surfers’ Cove. In Surfers’ Cove, kids and adults are able to race their friends at Riptide Racers timed water slides and enjoy an epic splash-ground at Wipeout Lagoon.

Riptide Racers is a competitive water raceway designed for children to jump on a mat and race down one of six slides with family and friends for the fastest time! Each slide stands 17 feet high and is more than 100 feet in length. Wipeout Lagoon is a “spray ground” with multiple water jets splashing on and off and plenty of new LEGO® models like a surfing dog to create a fun place to cool off this summer.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.


Check out this post for 5 reasons to plan a LEGOLAND California vacation!

8. Swimming Makes Me Hungry!

Big appetite? There are some truly tasty and hearty dishes to order here. I had a chicken and avocado burrito on my last visit and it was big and delicious.

When Surfers’ Cove opens you can eat like native Southern Californians at the new Beach Street Tacos. My family got a “sneak taste” of the tacos and they were deliciously authentic. I still can’t decide which were my favorite – carnitas, carne asada or the fish!

From cool rides, water parks and billions of bricks, here's why you should plan a LEGOLAND California vacation!

Amazing street tacos will soon be offered at the LEGOLAND California Water Park

Legoland California hosts Brick or Treat Party Nights during Halloween.

9. Park Hours & Ticket Information

Guests staying at the LEGOLAND Hotel or the new LEGOLAND Castle Hotel (read the review from my friend Karen at Desert Chica) may wonder if a Water Park visit is worth it, since they will have swimming pool access. I’ve heard that the pools at the hotels just aren’t very special, so I highly recommend upgrading to the Water Park ticket.

Hours of the LEGOLAND Water Park vary, depending upon the season. Be sure to check the guide to make sure it will be open when planning your visit.

Unfortunately there is only one entrance to the LEGOLAND Water Park and it requires a regular LEGOLAND theme park ticket to enter. This means you can’t plan a visit only to the water park. You’ll need a theme park admission to get to the water park. Upgrading your theme park ticket to included the water park is $30.

Planning to include a visit to the LEGOLAND California Water Park in your Southern California vacation? Here are 10 things you need to know before you go!

10. What to Bring with You (And What to Leave at Home)

Bring:

  • Your swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Flip-flops (especially important when you need to use the restroom!)
  • Wet/Dry bag to hold suits when you go into the theme park
  • Water shoes are allowed (except on slides).

Leave:

  • Beach chair
  • Umbrella
  • Outside food

Save Money at LEGOLAND!

Purchase discount tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today. Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount).


Planning to include a visit to the LEGOLAND California Water Park in your Southern California vacation? Here are 10 things you need to know before you go!


For more great water parks,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


SoCal Guide – Hands-on Fun at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

Ever visited the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park? There are tons of hands-on science-minded activities for kids and adults alike. The IMAX movies are fantastic in the dome theater. We especially like visiting if it’s a rare rainy San Diego day because there is enough here to fill up the entire day.

Stop over at the Traveling Mom’s website and read my newest article, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego -100 Ways for Kids to Learn and Play.

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego

10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day

Sometimes it rains in Southern California. Yes, really! It doesn’t happen all that often so I can catch us off-guard and total unprepared for even the slightest shower. Don’t let the rain put a damper on your day! I’ve been to Disneyland during many heavy downpours. These are my insider tips for surviving a Disneyland rainy day.

Check out my Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day!

If you’ve never been to Disneyland when it’s raining, you might have a few questions. Here are the answers to the top questions about Disneyland rainy days:

  • Do the rides at Disneyland close when it rains? – Yes, some of the outdoor rides and roller coasters close when it’s rainy.
  • Is there a Disneyland rain refund? – No, there is no Disneyland rain policy and no refunds for rainy days.
  • What gets cancelled at Disneyland if it rains? – Parades, fireworks, and some outdoor shows are cancelled when it’s raining. Occasionally there is an abbreviated version of the parade when it’s rainy, that features some characters riding inside the Main Street U.S.A. vehicles.

Keep reading for more tips on how to do Disneyland when it’s raining!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Check out my Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day!

1. Check the Forecast

Should you bring extra sunscreen or a poncho? Always best to know ahead of time by checking the weather forecast for Anaheim before your trip. Keep in mind that when it rains in Southern California, it’s usually accompanied by cooler weather which might be the opposite of what you’re used to if you frequent Walt Disney World (where it might be warm and humid).

2. Be Prepared

Wear sensible shoes like rain boots or sneakers that have been treated with Scotchguard. Bring what you need for a rainy day in the Park and don’t rely on purchasing there. Rain parkas are available but the price will be at a premium and you can buy them ahead of time for quite a bit cheaper. The Dollar Store has them. Or you can buy cute Disney themed ones online.

Umbrellas are iffy. They are hard to wield in a crowd and might poke someone. I brought an umbrella to Disneyland once and it turned inside out during a gust of wind! That being said Southern Californians tend to be more of the umbrella-carrying type than the poncho-wearing type.



Save Money on Your DISNEYLAND Vacation!

Purchase discount tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today. Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). https://www.getawaytoday.com/?referrerid=7529


3. Lock Up ‘Yer Valuables

If you don’t want it wet, put it in a locker for the day. Or use gallon-sized plastic zip bags for precious cargo like your wallet and cell phone.

Check out my Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day!

4. An Extra Set of Clothes

At the end of the day, you’ll be glad you brought extra clothes. I always seem to get the hem of my pants soaking wet on a rainy day and a dry pair is so nice put on! A pair of leggings are small and lightweight to pack in with you. Bring a few extra pairs of socks too.

5. Seek Shelter and People-Watch

When all else fails and the rain is relentless, find a covered area. There are some outside areas with overhanging porches. I particularly like sitting in front of The Golden Horseshoe on a bench to watch the rain fall on the Rivers of America. And of course, to watch the tourists in flip-flops scurrying through the rain!

Golden Horseshoe at Disneyland

6. Eat Indoors & Dine Leisurely

Many of the restaurants around Disneyland offer both outdoor or indoor dining. On a rainy day skip the patio and go inside for your meals. I recall a particularly soggy day when my son and I sought respite inside Cafe Orleans and it was great to sit inside where it was warm and dry. By the time we got to the dessert beignets my coat that had been sopping wet was dry.

With rain in your forecast, this is a perfect time to get an Advanced Dining Reservation for a Character Meal and take your time eating and getting autographs and photos. Book that ADR before your trip!

Check out my Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day!

7. Souvenir Shopping

Slowly walking through the shops while you wait for the clouds to clear is a fun pastime. Emporium, Elias & Co. and World of Disney are loaded with goodies. Or stop in at the Mad Hatter to see which chapeau works for you!

Check out my Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day!

8. Indoor Entertainment

Rain or shine, taking in the entertainment at Disneyland is always a great choice. Little ones will love the Disney Jr – Live on Stage! show. The show Frozen: Live on Stage at the Hyperion takes place at Disney California Adventure Park and that soaks up about an hour of time.

You can also spend hours inside the Disney Animation Building. Take an art class at the Animation Academy, chat in Turtle Talk with Crush, see the Beast’s library or create animation in the Sorcerer’s Workshop.

9. Disneyland Rides Inside

Some of the outside rides close down during a downpour but there is still plenty that remains open. If the Park isn’t particularly busy, ask if you can ride multiple times without getting out of your seat. Rides like Pirates of the Caribbean, Little Mermaid and Haunted Mansion. are ideal indoor rides. “it’s a small world” has a lengthy indoor section of the ride, but your boat will also take you outside, so have your umbrella ready! We’ve taken on Zurg over and over inside Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters on a rainy day!

Check out my Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day!

10. Fireside at the Grand Californian

A quick walk through Downtown Disney and you can enjoy the lobby at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa. Get a drink at the lobby Hearthstone Lounge and warm up by the fireplace. At certain times, live piano music is played.

If All Else Fails….Retreat to your Hotel

So despite the good efforts, you’re soaked through? Time to retreat and head back to the hotel and wait out the storm. Take a hot shower, change your clothes and consider returning to the Parks later in the day.

10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day

Ahhh, take off your wet clothes and slip on a nice warm robe.

DOWNFALL OF A DISNEY DOWNPOUR

  • Outdoor shows may be cancelled.
  • Some outdoor rides are closed during rain.
  • Harder to take photographs.
  • Parade is abbreviated or cancelled outright.
  • No fireworks spectacular.

The biggest benefit to a rainy day at Disneyland is that crowds are considerably thinned out. With certain attractions rained-out you’ll also have the ability to think outside the box and experience things you might not have otherwise!


CLICK THE IMAGE TO RECEIVE A FREE DISNEY VACATION PLANNING VIDEO


Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Magical Mickey Tips.

MB-Blue-Logo

Here is the map of our Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop – My Dreams of Disney – Magic Kingdom Attractions for Rainy Days

2nd Stop – Ashley Aspires – Rainy Day Resort Hopping

3rd Stop – Mom Rewritten – YOU ARE HERE!

Final Stop – Magical Mickey Tips- Top Tips For Rainy Options at Walt Disney World

These ten tips will help you to survive a rainy day at Disneyland in California.


Christmas at Disneyland Park – The Merriest Place on Earth!

Christmas at Disneyland - The Merriest Place on Earth!

Christmas at Disneyland is nothing else but…MAGICAL! Even before you step inside the gates, you will see that the Park is decorated to the hilt. You will be amazed at the detailed Christmas displays down Main Street, U.S.A. From the 60-foot tall fully-decorated Christmas tree in Town Square to the colorful floral decor, nothing has been left untouched by the holiday spirit in Disneyland Park!


Here are the holiday highlights for Christmas at Disneyland Park –

Greet the characters dressed up in their holiday finest. We always make a point to take pictures with our favorites on Main Street, U.S.A. first thing in the morning. Check out the enormous ornaments and packages at the Christmas tree. This is a popular location and for good reason…it’s the perfect spot to take the photo you use on your Christmas card!

Christmas at Disneyland - The Merriest Place on Earth!

Guests may book the seasonal favorite “Holiday Time at the Disneyland Resort” guided tour which provides entry (subject to availability) into “it’s a small world” Holiday, Haunted Mansion Holiday and Jingle Cruise along with reserved seating and a holiday treat while enjoying “A Christmas Fantasy” parade. The tour also includes viewing of the holiday décor in Disney California Adventure, a keepsake remembrance and entertaining information about Disneyland holiday traditions. For information and reservations guests may visit any Disneyland Resort Guest Relations location or call (714) 781-TOUR (781-8687).

We have yet to experience the “Jingle Cruise”, a holiday version of the popular Jungle Cruise attraction but it sounds like it’s going to be as adventurous (and silly) as ever!

Christmas at Disneyland - The Merriest Place on Earth!

Mosey on over to the Jingle Jangle Jamboree in Big Thunder Ranch for fun and games including music, games and character meet-and-greets. There are also crafts, cookie decoratings and seasonal entertainment. Pluto joined us at craft time one year! You’ll also be able to catch Mr & Mrs Claus for photos there as well!

Christmas at Disneyland - The Merriest Place on Earth!

Haunted Mansion Holiday continues its wild mash-up, covering Halloween & Christmas, with Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” at the helm!

Special holiday food items include Walt’s favorite gingerbread cookies at Jolly Holiday Bakery and Café and holiday tamale plates at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante. Elf Mickey premium popcorn buckets and drink steins are available in both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

Christmas at Disneyland - The Merriest Place on Earth!

 “it’s a small world” Holiday has taken on a completely new overlay for the winter season with the children of the world dressed up in the holiday attire of their nations. This is a can’t miss attraction after dark! More than 300,000 lights glitter and every 15-minutes, the façade of the attraction is transformed with advanced 3D-projection technology.

Find a great seat for “A Christmas Fantasy” parade, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. There are 100+ performers in the parade and you’ll be sure to see Mickey,  Minnie and a special guest from the North Pole…Santa Claus!  Anna and Elsa from “Frozen” are joining the parade this year and it’s a great way to see them without waiting in any lines!

Each area of the Park is decorated for the holidays with amazing themed decor for that Land. I particularly love the colorful garlands in Mickey’s Toontown.

Christmas at Disneyland - The Merriest Place on Earth!

At nightfall, choose a prime spot on Main Street U.S.A for the spectacular special-effects show and holiday lighting. Magic will happen from Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle all the way down to the Disneyland Christmas Tree in Town Square.

Your Disneyland Christmas is not complete without a viewing of  “Believe … in Holiday Magic” fireworks show. Snow will fall upon Main Street, U.S.A., “it’s a small world” Mall and New Orleans Square! It’s a magical holiday feeling, for sure!!


Have you ever visited Disneyland Park during the Christmas season? What is your favorite part of the holidays at Disneyland? Share in the comments below!

I recommend purchasing your tickets early through Park Savers. Save a few dollars as well as time at the gate (affiliate link).

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SoCal Guide – SeaWorld San Diego Dine with Orcas

Have you ever dined with an orca whale? It’s an amazing experience that you can have on your SeaWorld San Diego vacation. Dine With Orcas is a meal experience you won’t soon forget. Find out more about Dine with Orcas including cost, the food quality and what’s included for the price.

Dine With Orcas at SeaWorld San Diego

Please note that I use affiliate links in my post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you! My family received four complimentary buffet meals to faciliate this post. All comments and opinions are my own.

My family and I have been visiting SeaWorld San Diego for 40+ years. However none of us had ever experienced Dine With Orcas before. This meal experience puts guests up-close to killer whales, while offering an expansive buffet lunch.

Our reservation for the Dine With Orcas lunch was at 12:30 and we arrived 15-minutes early to wait in line. My family was able to see the orca whales swimming in the underwater viewing area while we waited. We had our photo taken as a group in front of a large picture of a killer whale. Unfortunately we were the last ones leaving at the end of the meal (one of the littles took a long time in the bathroom!) As a result we never did see or receive our photo.


Poolside Patio Dining

The host seated us at a long table against the glass with a great view of the pool. The dining space was in a curve around a viewing pool with the buffet room and restrooms in the center. A trainer was speaking over a microphone for the guests to hear but unfortunately most of the people were in line for the buffet and probably didn’t catch the educational talk.

Dine With Orcas at SeaWorld San Diego for a unique experience and amazing buffet meal, poolside next to killer whales.

I stayed behind with our toddler while the rest of my group got their plates of food so I was able to listen to the trainer talk and watch her toss fish by the handfuls to the orcas. Fortunately by the time most everyone was back at the tables with their food, the two orca whales were  getting close to the glass.

The killer whales jumped, twirled, stuck their tongues out and pulled themselves up on the deck right next to our table! It was incredible to be so close to these beautiful creatures!

Dine With Orcas at SeaWorld San Diego for a unique experience and amazing buffet meal, poolside next to killer whales.


Buffet-Style Dining

As for the food, it was really quite delicious and not the typical buffet-fare. There were a variety of unique and tasty salads. My family enjoyed the sustainable fish dishes including the salmon and shrimp. There was a pot of steaming hot clam chowder, soft rolls with butter and a server was carving fresh pork. The smashed red potatoes were perfect alongside a saucy chicken breast and steamed veggies. The “kid’s section” included Swedish meatballs, creamy mac and cheese, mixed vegetables and breaded chicken.

Dine With Orcas at SeaWorld San Diego for a unique experience and amazing buffet meal, poolside next to killer whales.

A waitress took drink orders and kept on top of bringing refills for everyone in our party. Standard soft drinks, coffee and tea were included in the price and alcohol and specialty drinks were extra. The kid’s drinks were served in souvenir plastic cups that we took home with us.

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

The dessert bar was heavenly! It included carrot cupcakes (my toddler took mine right off my plate!), fresh fruit salad, and chocolate-covered Shamu shaped cookies. There was cheesecake with a variety of toppings; I had the pumpkin cheesecake with fresh whipped cream and caramel sauce…amazing! The cherry on top of the meal were the delicious vanilla mint canolis. We had several of them, they were so yummy!

Dine With Orcas at SeaWorld San Diego for a unique experience and amazing buffet meal, poolside next to killer whales.

Sustainable Foods at SeaWorld

This is from SeaWorld’s website in regards to the food that they serve:

Our commitment to care for the natural world extends to the food that we serve. From sustainable seafood to organic coffee, even our menu items promote environmental responsibility.

Why is it important to choose sustainable seafood? As the world’s appetite for seafood skyrockets and commercial fishing becomes increasingly efficient, many of our ocean’s fisheries are overfished, overexploited or collapsing. Choosing sustainable seafood that was responsibly fished or farmed replenishes our oceans, preserves species and ensures a healthy world for future generations.

Our signature Dine With Shamu dining experience also features menu items that are sustainable, organic and locally sourced. From fresh California salad greens to locally-grown vegetables, in-season produce is selected straight from regional farmers. This ensures not only that our guests are getting the freshest produce available, but also that this produce has a minimal carbon footprint.

Dine With Orcas Experience

We had a wonderful experience at the Dine with Orcas lunch! It was so nice to have such an up-close and personal view of the whales. I appreciated that the food wasn’t an afterthought to the show and instead was a delicious and filling meal.

Dine With Orcas at SeaWorld San Diego for a unique experience and amazing buffet meal, poolside next to killer whales.

Tickets for Dine With Orcas

The current cost of Dine With Orcas can be found on the SeaWorld website.  Click SAN DIEGO under the PARKS tab, then DINE WITH ORCAS under the “Get Up Close to Killer Whales” section. The adult ticket is discounted via this link!

Other dining options for SeaWorld San Diego include Breakfast with Shamu or the All-Day Dining Deal which is good for other dining locations (not the Dine With Orcas area).

SeaWorld Tickets

You can also purchase your Park tickets, SoCal City Pass or Preschool Fun Card via the SeaWorld website. Be sure to check out the military discounts and Teacher Fun Card as well!

Dine With Orcas at SeaWorld San Diego for a unique experience and amazing buffet meal, poolside next to killer whales. Find out the details on this meal experience, including where to get tickets & what's included.


SoCal Guide – SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular

Sea World San Diego - Halloween Spooktacular

My family and I had the pleasure of experiencing SeaWorld San Diego’s fun Halloween Spooktacular event this past weekend. We brought our three kids dressed in their costumes for the event: Ninja, Vanellope Von Schweetz and Mickey Mouse, along with their cousin Elsa from Frozen!

Sea World San Diego - Halloween Spooktacular

The main Spooktacular area is called Otto and Penelope’s Pumpkinfish Patch. DJ Rock Candy was spinning fun tunes and two costumed dancers (Red the Licorice Kid and cowgirl Sally Taffy) were engaging the crowd. My three kids hovered on the fringe and prefered to just watch the action instead of dancing along. But if they’d wanted to dance, I’d have been right alongside them!

A costumed mermaid was taking photos with the kids. For an additional charge kids could decorate cookies or paint pumpkins at one of the many shaded picnic tables. There were great underwater/Halloween-themed photo areas, including these pumpkinfish!

Sea World San Diego - Halloween Spooktacular

There are ten trick-or-treat areas spread out around the park for this event. These stations are designated on the map we were given when we entered the park. Costume or not, young guests are welcome to grab a free bag and receive a treat. Our kids received great treats including Jelly Belly candy corn & jelly bean packs, M&Ms, SunRype Fruit Strips and Junior Mints.

Sea World San Diego - Halloween Spooktacular

We missed Clyde & Seamore’s Spooky Adventure Halloween-themed show but I’m sure it was comical; the sea lion show is always a hoot. We did catch the Sesame Street gang dressed up in their costumes and posing for pictures over at Sesame Street Bay of Play. Elmo was dressed as a skeleton!

Sea World San Diego - Halloween Spooktacular

The SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular is included with the regular park admission. Open weekends until Oct 26th, 2014. For the rest of October kids are free (ages 3-9 years old) with a full-price paid adult admission.

Kids are FREE in San Diego during the month of October!

Offering 100+ FREE things for kids in the San Diego area, Kidvasion in October has begun!!

Photo: San Diego.org

October is a great time to visit San Diego. The summer crowds have gone, the weather is still quite warm and of course, all the fun, free things for kids that are being offered in the San Diego area for the entire month.

From free restaurant dining, free museum visits, free amusement park tickets to free transportation; We are talking big deal savings here, including free admission to the World Famous San Diego Zoo and Safari Park , Sea World San Diego and Legoland California! See the Model Railroad Museum, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and the San Diego Children’s Discovery museum. Take free rides on the Amtrack Pacific Surfliner and free cruises on the Hornblower. Visit the Birch Aquarium, U.S.S. Midway and Belmont Park…for free!

Check out this link to San Diego.org and find out more about this promotion. It’s a great time to visit our great city!