San Diego, Lego and Disney - need help!

China Expat

Mouseketeer
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
We loved our stay at Loews Coronado Island! Perfect location and views on the beach and bay, massive pools, boat rentals great food. Avoid the Hotel Del due to construction-read the Trip Advisor reviews!
 

DLgal

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2013
We loved our stay at Loews Coronado Island! Perfect location and views on the beach and bay, massive pools, boat rentals great food. Avoid the Hotel Del due to construction-read the Trip Advisor reviews!
That is a really great hotel. I agree with this suggestion.
 


DLgal

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2013
Thank you guys for the suggestions! I am SO SAD about the pandas! I guess I was listening to one of the older Day 6 podcasts and just assumed they were still there. Lucky for us, we have seen them in Memphis a few times. That was going to be a highlight for my daughter but I know she will love other things.

Good tips about traffic, these are things we clearly don't know! Now we are discussing Knotts and what to do there. Eek. I would love to switch from SD hotel to another night at Disneyland Hotel but I am not sure that is feasible. I would also love to add a day to the whole trip overall! I love having rest days at the resort, remember :o) Right now I think we will try to get up really early and just drive on Tuesday. Not ideal but it is what it is.

I am glad to hear that La Jolla resort is in a good area but I can't commit to it just yet. Anyone else do that!? I feel like I need to see EVERY option and read every review and even then I second guess myself!
Why did you abandon Legoland? Seems like it was a must do from your first post.

Unless your kids are super thrill seekers, Legoland will be a better fit for their ages. It's a much more unique park, in my opinion. We've done Knotts a few times and it's just not that great. My kids will do mild coasters, but not crazy ones so there wasn't much to do at Knotts for us. It's mostly off the shelf rides like scrambler and teacup type spinners. The food is overpriced and terrible and on weekdays in October, there is little to no live entertainment. I really think you should reconsider Legoland for Tuesday. If you get there at opening, you can be done by mid-late afternoon and have an enjoyable drive up to Anaheim and arrive around dinnertime.
 
  • ambula603

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 4, 2019
    I really think you should reconsider Legoland for Tuesday. If you get there at opening, you can be done by mid-late afternoon and have an enjoyable drive up to Anaheim and arrive around dinnertime.
    Ack! We switched from Lego to Knotts because I feared it would be too childish. But obviously, nothing is set in stone yet. My husband went to Knotts as a boy and would love to re-visit it so we thought it might be a good switch.

    I wish I could just add a day to the whole trip and do both. I will investigate this option...

    Thanks for the hotel recommendations, I am reading all about them now and will come back and see what else ya'll tell me soon!
     

    DLgal

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2013
    Ack! We switched from Lego to Knotts because I feared it would be too childish. But obviously, nothing is set in stone yet. My husband went to Knotts as a boy and would love to re-visit it so we thought it might be a good switch.

    I wish I could just add a day to the whole trip and do both. I will investigate this option...

    Thanks for the hotel recommendations, I am reading all about them now and will come back and see what else ya'll tell me soon!
    I have 13 and 15 year old sons and we went to Legoland last summer. They still love it. There is plenty to do there for tweens. It is not too childish at all. My kids are a bit immature due to autism, but they love legos and it's a really neat park. We go every year. We went to Knotts in fall 2017 on free tickets and the kids haven't asked to go back since. It's really nothing special. It's like Six Flags to me.
     

    cruisehopeful

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2015
    As an adult, I still like to walk around Legoland. There's only a few rides that I'll go on, but it's a really cool park to visit.

    Once in a great while, I'll go to Knott's because I do have fond childhood memories of being there. I can't really put my finger on what's missing there, but it isn't magical or particularly interesting. I still have fun going every 10 years or so, but like others have said, I don't have a big urge to go back and do anything there. I think the combination of having bad service and not a lot of rides/shows that I consider must do's keep it from being more fun for my family.
     

    Fred M

    DIS Dad #860
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2019
    Here is our updated plan - thoughts?
    Saturday - fly into San Diego, check into hotel, explore beach area and have a nice dinner. Looking here - thoughts? https://thegrandecolonial.com/
    I spent 12 years in San Diego before relocating to Orange County (CA) and then Sacramento, so when my wife and I got married, for our honeymoon, I took her to San Diego and I booked us in The Grande Colonial. I had always wanted to stay there when I was in San Diego and I absolutely loved it. It's old school, eclectic, and charming. And this was before the most recent room remodel. We also ate at Nine-Ten, the restaurant attached to the hotel, and it was amazing then, and all the current reviews read that it's still amazing. Plus, you in walking distance to anywhere in La Jolla proper you want to eat at.
     
  • Rory607

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 10, 2016
    This thread has been super helpful as we are planning a similar trip. Our kids will be 6 and 9.

    We are staying in Carlsbad near the beach. We plan on walking the beach, but not getting in as the water will be too cold. We are planning one day at Legoland, one day we will drive to La Jolla and the other will probably be Balboa Park area. We are skipping the zoo, I think. Our kids aren’t really that into zoos and we would rather save money for other activities. Then, we’ll drive up to Anaheim and do two days at DL.

    Can anyone comment more on Balboa Park? Is this an all day thing or more half day?
     

    cruisehopeful

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2015
    Can anyone comment more on Balboa Park? Is this an all day thing or more half day?
    It can be either partial day or all day. The entire park is very spread out. If you are just doing museums (which is the part that most people visiting do), you will probably want to visit Reuben H Fleet and the Natural History Museum. I'd say you'd want a couple hours for each with kids those ages. There are endless other choices for museums, but those 2 offer a lot for kids. It can easily be an all day park if you want to look at everything and go to most of the museums.
     

    PHXscuba

    Mouseketeer since birth!
    Joined
    Jul 7, 2008
    This thread has been super helpful as we are planning a similar trip. Our kids will be 6 and 9.

    We are staying in Carlsbad near the beach. We plan on walking the beach, but not getting in as the water will be too cold. We are planning one day at Legoland, one day we will drive to La Jolla and the other will probably be Balboa Park area. We are skipping the zoo, I think. Our kids aren’t really that into zoos and we would rather save money for other activities. Then, we’ll drive up to Anaheim and do two days at DL.

    Can anyone comment more on Balboa Park? Is this an all day thing or more half day?
    I had to laugh when I read this. I can't tell you how many times we have visited California beaches in the spring or fall, wearing street clothes because "the kids won't want to get in the water because it's cold." Inevitably, they inched farther and farther into the water and usually ended up with their bottom half soaked, especially with the sneaky waves. I'd consider bringing a change of clothes or at least a couple of towels ... just in case. :rolleyes:
     

    Lumpy1106

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2010
    Balboa Park - If your kids like model trains there is a HUGE display in Balboa Park that is maintained by a bunch of retired train nuts. They really focus on making the displays realistic and there are usually a couple of guys hanging around just begging to answer questions. We absolutely loved it. A true hidden gem.
    Model Train Museum, Balboa Park
     
  • VandVsmama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2011
    I think you have a good plan. Some additional things to consider:

    • the wooden roller coaster at Mission Beach that somebody mentioned earlier is fun. It's also fun to consider stopping there to ride it before you hit up Pixar Pier at DCA later in your trip.
    • our favorite part of Knotts Berry Farm was the Old Town section. We disliked most of the rest of it, but we are not super thrill ride people. We went on the wooden roller coaster at Knotts and it was super fast and super intense. Probably wouldn't go on that again! But if you and your kids really enjoy fast & twisty-turny roller coasters, you guys will love that park.
    • you could tour the aircraft carrier in San Diego bay. That's pretty cool.
    • there are some cool shops to explore in Old Town San Diego.
    • if you're going to Knotts, consider checking into your Anaheim hotel first to drop off your luggage and THEN go to Knotts. It's not that far of a drive...maybe 20 min?
    • we went to the Fleet Science Center once in Balboa Park. Our kids really enjoyed it. That's good for about 3 hours worth of time.
    On your arrival day, I think that you should:
    - go ride the Giant Dipper roller coaster at Balboa Park on Mission Beach
    - dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean and get some beach time
    - have dinner at one of the Mexican restaurants in Old Town San Diego
    - shop a bit in the evening in Old Town
    - go to your hotel and hit the hay

    Then the next day would be San Diego Zoo or Safari Park day. And then you follow the rest of your itinerary.
     

    Rory607

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 10, 2016
    I had to laugh when I read this. I can't tell you how many times we have visited California beaches in the spring or fall, wearing street clothes because "the kids won't want to get in the water because it's cold." Inevitably, they inched farther and farther into the water and usually ended up with their bottom half soaked, especially with the sneaky waves. I'd consider bringing a change of clothes or at least a couple of towels ... just in case. :rolleyes:
    This is good advice, lol! Thanks!
     

    Rory607

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 10, 2016
    Balboa Park - If your kids like model trains there is a HUGE display in Balboa Park that is maintained by a bunch of retired train nuts. They really focus on making the displays realistic and there are usually a couple of guys hanging around just begging to answer questions. We absolutely loved it. A true hidden gem.
    Model Train Museum, Balboa Park
    This looks awesome! Our 6 year old would especially love it! Thank you! Looking into Balboa Park more makes me feel that we are right about skipping the zoo. I know it’s amazing, but our kids aren’t huge zoo fans and there are so many other cool things to do in San Diego.
     

    Where'sPiglet?

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 17, 2007
    The Zoo is in Balboa Park, and IMO, it can be done (the zoo) in a few hours. I don't know how often you go to zoos, and the one in SD is always lauded as one of the best, but I wasn't overly impressed the 2 times I went there. Maybe zoos just aren't for me. You can explore Balboa Park's museums and such in the afternoon after a morning at the zoo.

    The Safari Park, on the other hand, is great. It is quite far from downtown San Diego, so I would actually suggest doing that one on Sunday so you aren't fighting traffic to get there and back. Do the zoo and Balboa park on Monday since it will be close to your hotel.

    On Tuesday, prepare for a LONG drive up to Knotts from San Diego. Honestly, trying to fit in Knott's after that drive is going to be tough. It's a good 2 hours (with no traffic) from downtown San Diego and you will have to leave SD at the crack of dawn unless you want to spend 3+ hours in the car. I'm talking, leave by 5am early. I'd recommend first stopping at the DL hotel to check in and drop your bags off, so that when you are done at Knott's, you have a room ready to come back to. You don't want to have all your suitcases sitting in the car in the parking lot at Knott's. Let's just say, security isn't super impressive there and the lot is easily accessible to anyone off the street.
    I would recommend skipping Knotts on your Tuesday :( That day will be a lot of driving, and it might be a lot less stressful (and good preparation for your Disney days) to just relax once you get to the area of your hotel. Check in, explore a little, get dinner, and have kind of a recovery day after your San Diego adventures before starting your Disney adventures.

    We are planning a trip to San Diego this summer, and I was bummed to find out that the zoo no longer has pandas. But I am very much looking forward to the rest of it. We love zoos and have never been to the one in San Diego before :)
    I had an idea to possibly take a day trip from Disneyland to go down to San Diego to visit the zoo, but I think it may be a terrible idea after reading these posts.

    Also, the miniature train museum in Balboa Park sounds really neat and something I'd enjoy. It might be more sensible to take a separate trip to San Diego in the future.

    I have a 5-day Park Hopper, but my flight does not leave from SNA until 4:30 on Day 6, so I'm not quite sure how to fill that time. I was going to go down to the zoo on a Thursday and use my PH on Days 1-3 and 5-6, even though day 6 is a partial day.
     

    Rory607

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 10, 2016
    I had an idea to possibly take a day trip from Disneyland to go down to San Diego to visit the zoo, but I think it may be a terrible idea after reading these posts.

    I don’t think it’s a terrible idea, necessarily. It is a world-renowned zoo for a reason. I don’t know if you would be doing it with kids or not, but it sounds like adults could easily do the zoo and Balboa in one day. I just know our kids tire out and that wouldn’t be fun for us.

    For our trip this time, it comes down to time and cost. We will only have three full days in San Diego. Legoland and La Jolla are “must-dos,” so that leaves us with one more day. Since our kids aren’t huge zoo people we’d rather not spend money on it this time. Balboa Park is unique and something that we can’t do at home.
     

    Where'sPiglet?

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 17, 2007
    I don’t think it’s a terrible idea, necessarily. It is a world-renowned zoo for a reason. I don’t know if you would be doing it with kids or not, but it sounds like adults could easily do the zoo and Balboa in one day. I just know our kids tire out and that wouldn’t be fun for us.

    For our trip this time, it comes down to time and cost. We will only have three full days in San Diego. Legoland and La Jolla are “must-dos,” so that leaves us with one more day. Since our kids aren’t huge zoo people we’d rather not spend money on it this time. Balboa Park is unique and something that we can’t do at home.
    It would just be me, a solo adult, but I love zoos. I do not have one anywhere near me, unless you count observing the small rodents at the Petsmart. I can spend the bulk of a day on the animal trails at Animal Kingdom.

    My concern is related to doing both ways of the drive in one day after reading some of the posts in this thread.
     

    Lumpy1106

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2010
    It would just be me, a solo adult, but I love zoos. I do not have one anywhere near me, unless you count observing the small rodents at the Petsmart. I can spend the bulk of a day on the animal trails at Animal Kingdom.

    My concern is related to doing both ways of the drive in one day after reading some of the posts in this thread.
    If you love zoos the SD Zoo is a must IMHO. The drive is totally doable. Yes, it's 2 hours each way but it's a beautiful drive. You can also take the train and Uber up to Balboa Park - it's very close to DT San Diego and the train station is right along the waterfront there.
     

    Where'sPiglet?

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 17, 2007
    If you love zoos the SD Zoo is a must IMHO. The drive is totally doable. Yes, it's 2 hours each way but it's a beautiful drive. You can also take the train and Uber up to Balboa Park - it's very close to DT San Diego and the train station is right along the waterfront there.
    Ooh, thanks for this idea. The train sounds like a possible option. I'll have to look into this. Are you talking about Amtrak or is there a regional commuter train of some kind?
     

    Lumpy1106

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2010
    Ooh, thanks for this idea. The train sounds like a possible option. I'll have to look into this. Are you talking about Amtrak or is there a regional commuter train of some kind?
    Pacific Surfliner
    If you are staying in Anaheim, there is a station right next to Angels Stadium. It's a really pretty ride but will take longer than driving and you won't have a car at the other end. If you are travelling solo though I would think it would be very cost competitive with renting a car.
     

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