While Florida has always been considered the theme park capital, California is quickly becoming a theme park holiday destination in its own right. More and more UK customers are taking advantage of the great value LA flight deals and exploring what the California theme parks have to offer.
With Universal Studios Hollywood just a 10-minute drive from Central LA, Disneyland California 30-minutes away and the SeaWorld Parks in San Diego easily accessible in less than 2-hours, there’s a total of 5 amazing parks for you to discover. That’s at least 5 days of theme park fun to be had! If you’re a massive theme park fan and are thinking about visiting California, let us help you plan the perfect trip with our California theme park holiday itinerary…
Fly into LA
The cheapest flights to California are often into LAX. Our top tips for getting the best price are to book in advance and make sure you look around for the very best deal you can get. Flying into LAX is also more convenient, as this is the closest airport to the big theme parks.
From here, you can either take public transport or an Uber to downtown LA, which is a good area to stay for theme park visitors. When you first arrive, you may want to take it easy and spend some time relaxing by the pool while you adjust to the time difference. Soaking up the sunshine and lounging by the pool, will also give you all the rest you need for an action-packed day exploring the theme parks the next day!
Universal Studios Hollywood
We’d suggest spending the first full day of your holiday at the amazing Universal Studio Hollywood. This iconic theme park puts you right in the middle of the movies and while it has some of the same attractions you’ll find at Universal Studios Florida, there are lots of differences too. The main difference is that Universal Studios Hollywood is actually a working film studio! That’s right, some of the most famous films of all time have been shot here and you’ll be able to go behind the scenes and get a close-up look at the sets on the exciting Studio Tram Tour. Look out for the Bates Motel, Wisteria Lane and the War of the Worlds wreckage to name a few.
There are lots of incredible rides and attractions to try too. Some of the most popular are The Walking Dead Attraction, The Simpsons Ride, Revenge of the Mummy and Fast & Furious- Supercharged.
Of course, that’s not all. One of the most popular areas of the park and a highlight of any visit, is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You’ll be able to walk along the cobbled streets of Hogsmeade, go shopping for your very own wand, admire the towering Hogwarts Castle and enjoy the spell-binding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. If you’re a serious Potter fan, we’d recommend spending more than one day at the park, so that you can spend enough time exploring the magic of the Wizarding World. Trust us, you won’t want to miss a thing!
If you’re a major film buff or you just have limited time, you might want to consider the VIP experience for your visit. This tour gives you a full days’ admission, plus front of line access to the most popular attractions and reserved seating for the shows. You’ll also get the chance to experience a special VIP tour of the backlots to see areas that other guests don’t have access too, like the fascinating props department. Breakfast and lunch are included with the VIP tour too.
How to get there? If you’ve chosen to hire a car on your holiday, the park is just a short drive from Downtown LA. If you don’t have access to a car, don’t worry, the Metro is quick and easy to use and is also budget-friendly.
How long do I need here? You need at least a full day here, but we’d recommend two.
While there are now several Disney theme parks around the world, the Disneyland Park in California was the first every Disney park. It was opened by Walt Disney himself in 1955, so if you want to experience a piece of Disney history, a visit here is a must.
Disneyland California is just a 30-minute drive from central LA, so it’s really easy to get to. We’d recommend spending at least two days here, as there are now two fantastic parks to discover- Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. Although, to truly appreciate all the amazing attractions, shows and character experiences, you might want a few more days.
At Disneyland California you’ll be able to try classic Disney rides like Big Thunder Mountain, It’s a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain and Splash Mountain to name just a few. You’ll also be able to experience a new take on an old classic with a ride on Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout. This new attraction saw the iconic Tower of Terror ride reimagined, merging the existing thrills and exhilarating drop sequence with a new and exciting Guardians of the Galaxy storyline.
There are also lots of attractions at Disneyland California, that you won’t find at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. That means you can enjoy a host of exclusive experiences during your holiday, like a visit to the home of Minnie Mouse or a ride on the new IncrediCoaster, which is of course inspired by the famous family- The Incredibles.
You can also watch dazzling night-time shows, meet your favourite super heroes, see a colourful parade, compete against the Guardians of the Galaxy in an epic dance off and much, much more.
How to get there? Disneyland California is located in Anaheim and will only take you around 30-40 minutes to get there by car. This is the quickest and easiest way to get there. If you don’t want to hire a car, you can choose to take a taxi. Depending on where you’re staying this could be quite costly, but is a much more affordable option if you’re splitting the cost.
How long do I need here? With two parks to explore, you’ll need at least two days. To get the most out of your visit though, we’d suggest extending your trip to three or four days.
SeaWorld San Diego
There are two great SeaWorld parks to visit in San Diego and while you can get there in less than 2-hours, we’d recommend staying over for a few days if you can, so that you can explore everything this incredible city has to offer.
You’ll need two days to discover both SeaWorld parks, which include SeaWorld San Diego and Aquatica San Diego. SeaWorld is a 200—acre marine life park with exhilarating rides, impressive shows and beautiful animals. If you’re a thrill seeker, you’ll love the animal-inspired coasters like Manta which sends you speeding around the track face down, and Electric Eel which is the tallest and fastest roller coaster in San Diego!
Spend your second day making a splash at Aquatica San Diego. The park is open all summer and has loads of fun-filled attractions for all ages. Thrill seekers can take the plunge on Hooroo Run- a body slide with a terrifying 80-foot-drop or compete against friends and family on Taumata Racer, while chill seekers can unwind on the park’s lazy river Loggerhead Lane.
How to get there? If you’ve hired a car, you can drive from LA to San Diego in about two hours. If you’re planning on staying in San Diego for a while to explore, you might want to take a flight instead. If you book in advance you can often find good deals with flights costing around £60, plus the journey only takes about 50 minutes.
How long do I need here? Two days- one to explore SeaWorld and the second for a visit to Aquatica.
So, as you can see, a theme park holiday to California will definitely keep you busy! There’s so much to do, so make sure you give yourself enough time to see it all. Whether you’ve been to Florida before and are looking for something new or you want to add some theme park fun into your California holiday, you won’t be disappointed!
Ready to start planning your theme park holiday? Click here, to view our great value California attraction tickets.
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