Days 9, 10 and 11:
By Day 9, we were ready for a bit of a break. We decided to pick-up some groceries and hang-out at the guest house pool.
On Day 10, we were up and at it early. We had planned to spend the Day at the San Diego Zoo. It was voted the #1 zoo in the world on Trip Advisor and is really quite spectacular. It’s huge and there’s lots to see, so it meant for a long day of walking. It was overcast in the morning, so the heat wasn’t too bad until the afternoon. We had pre-purchased our tickets online. (It is always better to buy ahead as the gate prices are generally escalated.) The zoo parking is free (Bonus!) and it was only a short trek back to the van for lunch. We took our own water bottles with us and were able to fill them up at the water fountains in the park. The animals were quite active and we were able to get lots of great pictures.
The 11th day was spent at Knott’s Berry Farm. Knott’s Berry Farm is an amusement park that is just south of LA. It was about an hours drive from Vista, but we were all ready for a day of fun. We had a bit of a lazy start to the day and didn’t get there until 1, but stayed until well after dark. We had a blast and the lines weren’t too long, so we got to do everything we wanted. We were so proud of the kids, as they rode on all of the roller coasters with us. Tim and I love rides and it was so nice to have the kids overcome their fears and join in the fun.
Los Angeles Go Card Review:
When planning this vacation, I was really trying to figure out how to make it affordable with the Canadian dollar being so bad. After a lot of number crunching and research, I ended up purchasing each of us a Los Angeles Go Card from Costco. We bought “4 day passes” and basically this enabled us to visit as many attractions as we can in 4 days (within a 14 day period). The catch is that you have to use the card for entry before 5:30 p.m. To make the cards worth the money, you really have to take in more than one attraction in a day (at least once). For example, an adult 4 day card is $246.99 Canadian.
The attractions we plan to take in are:
- Knott’s Berry Farm $67 US (gate price)
- Knott’s Berry Farm Soak City (water park) $38 US (gate price)
- Warner Bros. VIP Studio Tour $62 US
- Hollywood Movie Star Homes Tour $47 US
- Behind-the-Scenes Hollywood Tour by Red Line $24.95 US
The above equals $238.95 US ($309.91 Canadian). We are actually doing all three Hollywood tours on the same day. That means, we have one day at Knott’s Berry Farm, one day at Soak City (we can also walk across the parking lot before the 5:30 cut-off and spend another evening in the Knott’s amusement park if we want) and a third day doing the Hollywood tours. We haven’t decided what we are going to do on the fourth day. Our card includes entry to Six Flags, Universal, Santa Monica Pier as well as about 3o other attractions. You can see this was a great option for us. Just in the three days, we’ve already saved about $63 per person ($251.68 savings between the four of us) and this is not including the attractions we take in on the 4th day. You do have to weigh this out based on what you want to do, regular gate prices (and advanced online) and how many attractions you can fit it. It may not always be economical. I think the biggest savings was reflected in the Costco price in Canadian dollars, as the price was not that much more than the US price on the Smart Destinations Web site (Go Card). They don’t actually sell a 4 day pass on their site, so it would be somewhere between the 3 and 5 day cost, keeping in mind that these are US prices. So you can see that $246.99 Canadian is a pretty good price. With the current conversion rate, the $190 3 day pass converts to $246 Canadian, so essentially you are getting the fourth day for free!
It’s always important to do your own research and determine what works best for your family. For us the “Go Cards” proved to be a huge savings.