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San Diego vacation questions from a newbie.


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  • San Diego vacation questions from a newbie.

    I am going on several trips this year without my daughter (8), so this trip (3 days) is "just us".
    I have booked Comfort Inn & Suites for April 16th - 18th, we will be driving in from Las Vegas on the 16th, I'm planning to leave early. (It's about a 5hr drive)
    We will be purchasing tickets from Costco.
    I am a Disneylander, so this vacation is absolutely foreign to me. I haven't been to these parks since I was my daughters age.

    I'm thinking:
    Day 1: San Diego Safari Park - we should arrive around 11am and from what I'm reading online, it sounds like we could easily do the Safari Park in 6 hours.
    Do you think we'll be okay with that amount of time?
    Day 2: San Diego Zoo - Getting there early.
    I am considering doing the Discovery Cart Tour. It sounds like San Diego Zoo is definitely a full day experience.
    Day 3: SeaWorld San Diego
    The website shows several different dolphin encounter experiences, but the description isn't really clear about what the differences are.
    Is dining with Shamu worth it?
    Is the photo pass worth it?

    What nearby restaraunts do you recommend?
    From Hotel Circle, is it easy to get to the beach? My daughter has never been to the beach and she seemed pretty excited about going.

  • #2
    We haven't been in years so not sure how much help I can be at this point. I know that being in Hotel Circle is a good spot and pretty much easy to get anyone to. So it would be a quick jump to the beach from there. The Safari Park is the furthest from the area. I remember we missed the exit on the freeway because we didn't see any signs for it really on where to get off. I don't remember being at that one all day. Same with the Zoo for us because we didn't do the extra stuff. We had just walked around the whole thing seeing everything and that was it. I think if you throw in extra stuff it can be a full day for sure. Sorry can't help on the Sea World stuff. I haven't been there myself since the late 80s and its not the same as it was then. I have seen the extras they have and I think if you feel its worth it then don't. Especially if your daughter will love it. Wish I could be more help. I know we are trying to plan a day trip down to take our daughter to the zoo since she was almost 2 when we last went.
    BTW, would love to know what you think of the hotel when you get back. I have a 100 giftcard to use with them. As well as how the trip was and what you decided to do in the end. Have fun!!!
    A crowded day at Disneyland beats a busy day of housework!!

    According to my princess, its not Star Wars land its "You stole my goats away from me!! progress land"


    • #3
      Both the Safari Park and Zoo are wonderful. I would stay away from any of the upcharge activities at the Safari Park (other than the tram ride). You should have time to spare, depending on how fast you can walk. I've never done any of the upcharge things at the Zoo so maybe they are fun - plenty to do without them, though.

      The Dine with Shamu option at SeaWorld is worth it (they will be splashing you and your food, though). Never done any of the dolphin activities but they are very pricy (and the you can get you hand bitten by a dolphin for free). Don't think the photopass is worth it.

      Kid-friendly restaurant recommendations: The Corvette Diner in Liberty Station (right by the airport) is a great post-Sea World spot, Anthony's Fish Grotto in La Mesa (inland from Hotel Circle), or our famous fish taco place Rubio's (literally everywhere - but maybe NOT the best post-Sea World spot). Honestly, the Safari Park, Zoo, and Sea World may make you turn vegetarian for at least a few days!

      It's easier to get to the Bay than the Beach from Hotel Circle. If you are willing to drive a little ways north, you could get to La Jolla Shores (a little more family friendly); if you were willing to drive a little ways south, you could get to Coronado (very wide open and beachy - with the added bonus of being able to peak into the Hotel Del).


      • #4
        As said above, I would recommend Coronado or La Jolla as beaches to go to. If you have any extra time, you can go to Belmont Park at Mission Beach, which is a small boardwalk area with rides, mini golf, and a roller coaster. The Zoo and Safari Park have a lot to do there, and I would recommend the Skyfari at the zoo, which is the same ride system as the skyway that was at Disneyland. Seaworld has a few rides now, and the sky-tower there is a must do, as it provides a fantastic view, and also comes with park admission. I don't know much about the dolphin experience, but I think one involves getting in the water with the dolphins, and the other one involves just interacting with the dolphin outside the water. I hope this helps.