A review and personal testimony regarding my recent California vacation to Hollywood with Universal Studios, Legoland, Knott’s Berry Farm and Allegiant Air.
I had been dreaming of taking my family for a California Vacation in Hollywood to do all the amazing theme parks. Universal Studios, Disneyland, Knottsberry Farm, Legoland. But you know, life gets in the way of these kinds of things sometimes. I mean…(Cough) husbands… hee hee. Yes, I love him dearly but whenever I brought up the idea of taking the fam down to Disneyland his words were, ” I couldn’t think of anything worse than going to those theme parks… rides to make me sick, super crowded with people, standing in long lines with whiny kids, hot and not to mention super expensive…it created anxiety just talking about it! Well, when Allegiant Air asked me to work with them and try out their airlines for a family trip to Los Angeles, I didn’t hesitate to say yes! It was just the push we needed (ahem, HE needed…hee hee!). So if you are on the fence too about going to these places, I am going to share all our stress-reducing discoveries and best tips for tweens and teens to have fun.
Planning this trip couldn’t have been easier. I had heard of Allegiant before…as some other moms I knew used them to fly directly to Las Vegas for under $100 from my smaller town. And you all know me, anytime someone starts talking about money saving things I am all ears! Usually from our small town of Pasco, WA we never have direct flights. We usually have to fly to Seattle or Salt Lake City, have a quick layover and then fly on another plane to our destinations. Well, that my friends, is the beauty of Allegiant. DIRECT FLIGHTS with low prices! I love it! Because you know flying with kids and having layovers? Kill me now, seriously. That’s the last thing any parent wants to do.
The beauty of Allegiant is low prices and DIRECT FLIGHTS! Usually from our small town of Pasco, WA we have to fly to Seattle or Salt Lake City, have a quick layover and then fly on another plane to our destinations. I can live with that when it’s just me flying, but if I’m flying with a whole family? Forgettaboutit!! Layovers equal extra cranky kids, extra long flight trips, spending more money in airports for food which equals broke + unhappy me. So to me, time is money…and having Allegiant specializing in direct flights even from smaller areas like my town with low prices ensures I will always check their airline first when booking a family vacation.
And how was flying on Allegiant you ask? Let’s give you the pros and cons!
Pros: Booking online is super easy, just go to Allegiant.com, enter your destination, dates, accommodations, car rental and even activities and you can book it all in one place! All the employees were very nice, very kind and calming. They even let me board early as a blogger so I could take some pictures, so I felt kinda like a wannabe VIP or somethin’, hee hee. The whole process was very easy, and simple. My favorite thing about flying on Allegiant was the roominess. Compared to other planes I’ve been on Allegiant had lots of leg room and higher ceilings, making me feel less cramped. I mean, look at how much leg room my 5’7″ tall daughter has in this picture below, and that’s just for a regular seat.
And I’m not sure if the airflow was different, but my feet didn’t freeze and the air felt cleaner on the plane. All the kids were happy, as we had devices loaded & fully charged and the flight was very quick. A couple of tips to make sure your experience is great too with Allegiant is to either print your tickets at home or just download the app to avoid a print ticket fee. Also, you get one personal small carry-on item (like a purse or tote bag) for free, but carry on’s or checked bags cost money so make sure and add those to your ticket when booking so you aren’t surprised. The flight was direct, and in 2 hours we were in Los Angeles. It was wonderful!
Cons: There was someone farting in the row in front of me the whole time (why does this always happen to me??!!!) Not Allegiant’s fault, I know, but I gotta blame someone. Has this ever happened to you too? Okay seriously, back to the cons.
No TV’s. I really love some airlines that have those little tv’s on every seat, it sure makes the time go by fast! But lucky for us, we had all our devices charged and ready to use during the flight. No free snacks/soda, if you want them you can buy them though! So come prepared with your own snacks or drinks if you want to save money, or just say no like we did! And those are my only cons!!! The trip was really fantastic!
The Packing for our California Vacation
Shorts, t-shirts, comfortable sandals, and swimsuits were all we needed all week clothes wise. I suggest also packing water bottles for each family member, headphones, electronics (if you use them), electronic fuel rod charger (because usually, everyone runs out of battery power on their phones by the end of the day at theme parks)…and travel sunscreen. To save money, I packed a few snacks in my purse. When I got to our hotel I first went to the nearest big box store and bought breakfast items for the week like yogurt, bagels, cream cheese, milk and cereal plus paper bowls and plastic spoons. My hotel didn’t have a microwave but did have a fridge so we had breakfast every day at the hotel to save money.
Allegiant has many great partners for hotels including the place we stayed at which was Courtyard Marriot Anaheim Buena Park. When booking your airline tickets just add a hotel to the itinerary to save money.
The Courtyard Anaheim Buena Park is a bit dated, but clean, with comfortable beds and an amazing location! I could walk to Knotts Berry Farm in 10 minutes, drive to Universal Studios in under an hour and only 10 minutes away from Disneyland. Plus you are right on beach boulevard so you can drive straight down to the beach. Very convenient. It’s right next to the Movieland Wax Museum (under construction when I went), Medieval Times Dinner & Show, Pirates Dinner & Show, several huge restaurants and directly across the street from Portos which is a huge glorious bakery with the most beautiful and inexpensive baked goods. Hotel has free parking, an outdoor pool, indoor hottub, free wifi and a mini fridge in the room. What more could I ask for? I would totally recommend you staying here if you are on a budget and want to be close to it all.
California Vacation Trip Plan with Tweens & Teens
When planning out this trip, I had to consider the ages of my kids. I knew with older kids we probably didn’t want to spend 3 days at Disneyland, and instead chose to go to Universal Studios, which was SO amazingly fun for tweens and teens. And Knotts berry farm was also fun and a place all roller coaster junkies must go to. Here is what we ended up doing for our week of fun on our California vacation.
Day one we went to Universal Studios, using front of the line passes. Well worth the money to upgrade to front of the line passes especially if you HATE lines more than life itself and you can afford it, especially in the summer. I have done Universal Studios in May and didn’t need front of line passes, as the lines weren’t that long at all. But in the summer, the park can be packed, lines are long and you will appreciate not waiting in line all day.
Day two was my 11-year-old son’s birthday and he wanted to go to Legoland. Of course, the teenagers were like, nope, we ain’t going to that, it’s for babies! So my husband, 12 yr old and 11 yr old and I went on down to Legoland. We had so much fun!
Day three of our California Vacation, we did Disneyland, and it was really magical! My biggest tip for any of you wanting to do Disneyland in one day is to use this disney planning app called ridemax.com (you pay $14.99 but it saved me soooooo much time! Best investment ever. I didn’t have to wait in line as it shows you how to plan your day out using FastPass, and slow times. My favorite part of Disneyland was the electronic parade at night and the fireworks show. Seriously, pure pure magic.
Day four of our California vacation was Knotts berry farm, using fast passes. All rides all day baby! It was so much fun. There were shows, roller coasters, good food, and entertainment. I think if I did it again, I would want to do two days at Knotts, I loved it that much.
Day five and six of our California vacation we went down to the beaches and let the kids play in the waves all day. Felt good to relax the last few days away after all the go-go at theme parks. We drove to a few beaches down the coast, but found our favorite was Huntington beach.
All in all, we had a wonderful family vacation and even my husband had a great time! I plan on going into depth about each of these parks and share all my favorite things to do, food recommendations, money saving tips and more.
Thanks to Allegiant, Universal Studios Hollywood, Legoland and Knott’s Berry Farm for coming together to actively promote this storyline. You can book a trip on Allegiant Air and actually get the hotel, car rental, and tickets to Universal, Legoland and Knottsberry farm at once to save money.
May your next trip to California be filled with fun, laughter, magic and best of all full of amazing memories you make with your family.
Comments & Reviews
So fun Karrie! We just got back from California also. Huntington Beach is our favorite too.
Louise Smith says
It looks like you guys packed so much in on your trip! We’re hoping to have a family weekend away next weekend and I can’t wait!
These are all great places and ideas! I grew up in southern California and my kids, husband and I go back every summer. It is a wonderful place to visit and soooo much to do!
We have family all over California and now you’re making me want to plan another trip there! What fun!
Heather Lawrence says
You had me at California!!
We did a big family vacation to Disneyland a couple of years back and the kids had a ball!!
You mentioned you were working with an airline, do you know if they have any Canadian partners?
Wow, you packed everything into one week. I’m so impressed! That looks like an amazing vacation!
My husband and I went on a 10 day Highway 1 road trip this summer and stopped at Universal Studios Hollywood. We absolutely loved it! Going on a Tuesday made for do-able lines and we loved that Universal worked hard to make sure that for most of the rides there was fun waiting in line experience to get you ready for the themed ride!
So true, most of the line waiting at Universal is really fun!