The Southern California Adventure Parks as a Pre or Post-Cruise Excursion

Taking a cruise that begins or ends in Los Angeles or San Diego?  My family just got back from a trip to Southern California, where we stopped at both Legoland and the two Disney Theme Parks- all of which have locations that make for an excellent pre or post-cruise excursion.

Legoland, located in Carlsbad, is approximately 30 minutes North of San Diego and about an hour South of Los Angeles (get directions here), making it an easy trip if you are planning a cruise that begins or ends in either city.  The Disney parks are located in Anaheim, CA  -just South of L.A., directly off the 5 (get directions here) – and about 90 minutes North of San Diego.

We drove down and stopped just north of L.A. on Saturday night, with the plan to drive through the city and down into Carlsbad (to visit Legoland) on Sunday morning.  (Warning!  The couple of hours North of Los Angles, previously unbeknownst to me, is mile after mile of flatlands, peppered with stockyards.  Don’t run the air in your car unless you have to… this region will henceforth be known to us all as “Stinky Flats” – christened by my kids, aged 7 and 9.)

Our hotel for the night was the Holiday Inn Express off I-5 near Lebec- the Frazier Mountain Road exit.  I only mention this because the place was amazingly clean, with a super-friendly staff, and provided the best breakfast we had the entire trip.  Served continental style, they had everything from bagels, to fresh fruit and yogurt, to an express-pancake making machine… and the best coffee you’ll find outside a specialty shop.  With a cost of $109 per night (then discounted further by a AAA membership) it was a great, economical stop for the 4 of us.

Traffic being what it is, we left early Sunday morning and drove down through L.A. to Carlsbad.  I’m telling you, if you can swing it, this is the perfect time to be on the freeways there… we zipped through at 75 miles an hour with hardly a stutter and made it down to Carlsbad before Legoland even opened at 10:00 AM.

Next…. What Legoland offers for families.

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