Amusement Park Marathon
Wednesday through Friday we had what we like to call the Amusement Park Marathon.
Wednesday, the girls and I enjoyed a full day at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Thursday, the girls and I ran through Knott’s Berry Farm in the morning while Chris was flying back from a business trip. Then in the late afternoon, all four of us drove out to Santa Monica to explore Pacific Park.
Friday, Chris took off half a day off from work and we checked out Disneyland.
We are from the east coast so we are regular visitors to Orlando and love Universal and Disney World. It was fun to compare the difference between the parks.
Universal Studios Hollywood
We loved the fact that inside the theme park you get a backlot tour of the real working studio. This is the only way to visit this studio backlot unless of course you are an actor:) Check out our Youtube video below.
We had just finished the Transformer and Jurassic Park movie marathons so we loved the interactive session with Bubble bee and the live Raptor encounter. Most of the rides were similar to Orlando’s park but the one that stands out being different is The Mummy.
Knott’s Berry Farm
Knott’s Berry farm is considered America’s first amusement park. It reminded me of Dollywood vs a six flags because it was clean, nicely landscaped, friendly staff, and great architecture. The Pony Express was our favorite ride.
Check out our Youtube video below.
Santa Monica Pier
The end of the Route 66 is on the actual Santa Monica Pier. We spent the afternoon here exploring the pier, the amusement park (Pacific Park) and the beach. It looks just like it does in the movies. It was fun to think about being on a pier when were were at the top of the Ferris wheel; quite an unique experience. The Ferris wheel is the first and only solar powered one! Being here during the sunset was the highlight of our day.
Pacific Park is free to enter, you just pay to ride as you go, or buy a wristband for unlimited rides all day. Our unlimited rides wristbands were included in our Go LA pass. There are 12 rides that we could ride with the girls.
Check out our Youtube video below.
They say Walt Disney was inspired by Knott’s Berry Farm and after visiting both parks we can see which rides may have had some influence on Disney. For example, we believe the Mine Train inspired Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
The park was larger than we expected. People had warned us that this park can fit in Magic Kingdom’s parking lot. I’m not sure if this is true or not but it didn’t feel like it but then again I haven’t spent all day walking around the Magic Kingdom parking lot.
I will say the Sleeping Beauty castle is much smaller than Cinderella’s but you can walk through this one, not just to go to a restaurant. It is it’s own separate experience. Everything is much closer than in Disney World so you don’t feel like you’ve walked as much at the end of the day. Splash Mountain was closed during our visit. And they had a few rides that were having difficulty so they’d close for a period of time and then reopen. Disneyland doesn’t have Magic Bands and they don’t have the same fast pass system. They run off the old system where you have to wait until you get into the park to obtain your fast pass, then you have to wait until that one expires to purchase a new one. You can do this on the app or at a paper ticket kiosk. The only bonus was if you were using the app and the ride broke down, the fast pass was replaced with open ended any ride pass so you could use it any time on any fast pass enabled ride.
We stood in line for Pirates of the Caribbean and Matterhorn bobsleds because they did not have fast passes but the rest of the lines were great.
Another difference we noted was that the queue’s were out in the open not covered or inside part of the ride so at first they seemed long to us but then realized we were seeing the whole line and not just a part of it outside the attraction.Check out our Youtube video below.
We were exhausted from our Amusement park marathon but had so much fun! The weather was perfect in our opinion.