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Old 06-09-2008, 05:33 PM   #11
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I lived in Coronado and San Diego for 13 years, and SD deserves the name "America's Finest City." Too bad you can't see the Zoo and Balboa park. It will take you all day to see the zoo and with a small child a stroller is definitely needed. Wild Animal Park is another place to see animals in natural habitat. You travel the huge compound by train. Worth seeing.

. The Birch Aquarium is worth seeing as is Coronado. You can take the bridge or better yet, ferry over to Coronado. If you want a fantastic dinner, one that you'll remember for a long time, go to Tomaso's in Coronado. BTW, Coronado is not an island, it's a peninsula. The drive along the Strand back into San Diego (Imperial Beach) is gorgeous.

Seaport Village in Downtown San Diego is filled with one- of- a kind shops and restaurants and is considered a tourist attraction in itself since the merchandise is unique. It is also located on fabulous San Diego Bay. Get a picnic lunch together and eat on the lawn there. The huge carousel in Seaport Village is also unique and everyone, but everyone rides it.

Sea World of course is a must see. Try to see it at night. The fireworks are spectacular.

Get into the San Diego Convention and Visitor's site on the internet for a lot more things to see and do. The beaches in La Jolly are wonderful.

I went to Mexico once - ONCE - and that was more than enough for me. None of us enjoyed it because we were bombarded with little kids and women begging for money. The city of Tijuana is one to stay away from. The food sanitation there is questionable at best.

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Old 06-09-2008, 07:09 PM   #12
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I've a SoCal native, and it would behoove you to take a good, solid 2 days for Disney - really. Our family went through a dozen years of annual passes till our kids got a little too old for the old mouse. First, Disneyland needs to be seen, experienced, etc, in all it's glory. You just can't rush it. That said, keep in mind the lines will be tremendously long. There is one good part, which is the "fastpass". Those things will keep your sanity. You can put your entrance ticket into a fastpass machine, which is located in front of the ride (not all rides, but the most-ridden ones) and it will spit you out a pass to come back at a later time (it says it on the ticket). This pass will allow you to go through the fast lane of the ride. Usually, it'll take anywhere from 20-60 minutes off of your wait. Also, Disney really has the best parades, and they're worth watching, especially for your little one. Also helpful, is that in the last 5 years or so, Disney got smart and put on their maps where and when certain characters can be seen for photo ops.

Keep in mind, there's also Disney's California Adventure, right next door. It's another full theme park, and it shows all the wonders of living in this great state. You can stroll through "Hollywood", where your little one can see a NickJr type stage show, followed by Muppets 3-D, and your older kids may want to check out the "Tower of Terror". You can also find out what character you are in the Beast's Library. Those are just a few items in Hollywood, and California Adventure also has areas like the north's Fishermans wharf (where you can get a sourdough bowl of clam chowder and watch the ocean waves), the redwoods (a GREAT place for the kids to get their wiggles out!), the Boardwalk and many other areas. If you do go, make sure to go on (what I consider) the greatest ride of both parks, combined: Soaring over California. Hard to describe, but truly amazing and beautiful.
Another reminder: between the parking garage and the parks is "Downtown Disney" - lots of stores, including quite possibly the biggest Disney store you've ever seen.
I noticed at Costco that they have 4-day Disney tickets for a really great price.

Other California ideas: Knott's Berry Farm - another theme park, with a special Camp Snoopy section for smaller children. It also has a water park next door.

I wouldn't bother with Six Flags Magic Mountain, due to your kids' ages - better for older teens.

YES to Sea World! They've changed in the last few years, and now it's even better.

The Wild Animal Park is also great, and it's in Escondido.

San Diego Zoo is nicer than LA Zoo, especially since it has better animals, and more shade (and it will be super hot!)

I don't think I'd take the kids anywhere near Hollywood. It's pretty run-down, and the dregs of society hang out there.

There are so many gorgeous beach areas too - La Jolla is a good one, but we also like "touristing" at Laguna Beach too.
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Old 06-09-2008, 07:44 PM   #13
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I went to Mexico once - ONCE - and that was more than enough for me. None of us enjoyed it because we were bombarded with little kids and women begging for money. The city of Tijuana is one to stay away from. The food sanitation there is questionable at best.
I agree with you about Tijuana - but please don't judge all of Mexico by the border towns...that is NOT Mexico. There is so much beauty and color and warmth here to enjoy.
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Old 06-09-2008, 08:37 PM   #14
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Now, jkath - how could you possibly want to miss getting caught in the middle of Rodeo Drive at 5pm on a Friday afternoon? The slow traffic rate gives you plenty of time to "rubber neck" without getting honked at for being a slow driving tourist!
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Old 06-10-2008, 03:38 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Michael in FtW View Post
...While the San Diego zoo is one of the best in the country - you really should check out their Wild Animal Park just north of town...
This is definitely a wonderful place to go! Bring your own lunches and lots of bottled water, as the food and drinks there cost a fortune. Make sure you take the tram. You can see things you can't see just walking, and the guides are full of great information (and some of them are funny as all get-out). I got to go there in March. That was my first time taking the tram. The last time I had been there they still had the old monorail. I loved the monorail, but the tram is really great too. Go early and take your time to really see things. Check the show schedule (they are really good, and not very long) and choose the shows you want to see, then you can plan what you want to see around that. It is designed so that you can relax and not feel rushed to get somewhere. There are lots of nice picnic areas where you can eat in the shade.

Barbara
P.S. If you do choose to buy your food and drinks there, one good thing to know is that even though they cost a lot, the profits all go to benefit the animals.
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Old 06-10-2008, 04:28 PM   #16
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Don't forget Legoland in San Diego. It's in Carlsbad, north San Diego County.
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Old 06-10-2008, 05:09 PM   #17
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As a veteran Disneyland goer (once or twice a year for 27 years) I would agree that you should probably plan on 2 days there, especially if you or your kids are going to be heartbroken if you don't ride "all the rides". A couple of general tips. 1. get there early, spend the night before you want to go in Anaheim or very nearby and get to the park at least 15-20 minutes before open. 2. When the park opens make your way into the park, you can always come back later in the day to see main street but if you make your way directly to a ride at open you can practically walk right on. 3. Take advantage of FastPass. Most of the big attractions let you scan the ticket of each person in your party and print out a "FastPass" for later in the day. This pass lets you wait in reduced line. 4. If you want to watch one of the Parades stake out a spot early this also applies to the Fantasmic and the fireworks in the evening. Once it is about to happen crowds just stop in place to watch and your ability to maneuver to a better vantage point will be greatly reduced. If you do not want to see the parades/etc. stay away from the areas they are in and the lines will shorten up while everyone else watches.
Our typical Attack Plan:
Fastpass Space Mountain
Ride Space mountain (just open short line)
Ride the rest of the tomorrowland rides till our fastpass time comes around.
Ride Space mountain with fastpass
Change lands
Fast pass longest line ride in area
ride the rest of the area
Go back and take advantage of Fastpass
Repeat.
If you have more questions I would be happy to help.
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Old 06-10-2008, 05:20 PM   #18
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Oh and unless you have a change of clothes/shoes stay away from splash mountain. I went on it the week before my wedding and spent the rest of the day soaked including socks and shoes and had blisters on my feet for my wedding and honeymoon :(

Sorry Jkath, I was typing while you posted, but we agree for the most part. However, with the exception of "Soaring over California", I do not know any Californians who like California Adventure. That said, since you aren't Californians you might enjoy it.

-Josh
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Old 06-10-2008, 08:34 PM   #19
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That's okay Josh - keep in mind I'm a 41 year old Mom ;)

We've always had the same plan of attack on Splash Mountain - we get the fastpasses early on (since they're usually gone for the rest of the day around 2pm) and ride it early.
We love it, and when he was really young, my older boy would call it the Zippity Do Dah ride (for those who aren't familiar with it, Brer Rabbit and the gang sing it over and over)

Make sure you don't miss the Jungle Cruise, as their jokes and puns are as good as the ride. But don't go at night - it's really hard to see the animals!

Foodwise, there are actually healthy options (!). For example, at Red Rocket's Pizza Port (in tomorrowland), there are really pretty salads, along with the typical pizza/pasta fare. Also, you'll see about four wagons throughout the park that have fresh fruit and water to purchase.

Make sure to grab a locker as soon as you get in the gates. They do go fast! As you walk through Main Street, you'll see a fruit cart on your right. Turn right, just before and it will lead you to the lockers.
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Old 06-11-2008, 05:53 AM   #20
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Things you need to EAT:

In-N-Out Burger: Double-Double Animal Style with Animal Style Fries

Tommy's: Chili Burger with Chili-Cheese Fries

Pink's: Bacon Chili-Cheese Dog

Jerry's Famous Deli: Fried Kreplachs and Tongue Sandwich
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