Hi guys! I’m excited to announce a new series on my page! I decided to start a “let me help you” series that ranges from planning vacations to explaining different things to picking outfits. I’m not someone that travels constantly, but I’ve been to a fair amount of places and feel like I can give helpful advice when it comes to traveling, what beach to choose, stuff like that! I feel like people are always looking for advice, especially around traveling and holidays. I hope you like this series as much as I like writing it!
To be honest, I haven’t been to either Disneyland or World in almost 9 years and Universal in 6, but I absolutely love both these places. Disney and Universal both have parks in Orlando, Florida and Anaheim, California, and I love them all so so much. I will always enjoy going to these parks no matter what my age is because of the overwhelming, magical experience you get from the rides, atmosphere, and employees. It’s something we all have to do in our lifetime!
If you can’t decide between California or Florida, or Universal Studios or Disney, this guide will help make that choice easier!
For both these locations, WINTER IS IDEAL. It’ll be hot enough for the beach but not hot enough that you’re not enjoying anything. Plus the Christmas magic is amazing! There’s fake snow on everything! Plan ahead and you’ll get the best prices!
If you’re considering a trip to California, there’s an absolute abundance of things you can do, from skiing to Hollywood. If you want to get the most out of your California vacation and see all the iconic places and the beach, here is my suggestion. You can leave out any part that doesn’t interest you.
- Spend a few days in Santa Monica. Santa Monica has an incredible carnival pier and beautiful ocean. The water is generally warm and the waves are good enough to bougie board, but still not crazy. In Santa Monica, you can eat and shop on the legendary Third Street Promenade, which is just miles of all the stores you can think of. Santa Monica is perfect if you want to see Hollywood. If you’re looking to surf or for a more classic beach, try Huntington.
- From Santa Monica, take an open bus tour to Hollywood. On the way, there will be stop at famous sighting like Beverly Hills, Rhodeo Drive, and more. Spend the day being a tourist and seeing the Hollywood sign.
- After a few days on the beach being a California girl, go over to Anaheim. I recommend staying in Downtown Disney to get the full experience, even if you choose to go Universal. It’ll keep you entertained!
- CHOOSING BETWEEN DISNEYLAND OR UNIVERSAL CALIFORNIA: Obviously, you can do both of these if you have the time and money, but realistically, you’ll probably have to choose one. If you do both, I recommend spending two days in Universal and one day at Disney. If you pick one, get a two day pass. You have to discuss with the group you’re with which park would be better for you. Think about why you are going, is it for the rides, the visuals, the nostalgia? I think it’s safe to say everyone has to see a Disney park in their lifetime. I recommend going for the Disney park if you pick one. It fits more of a range of people since the rides are generally calm. If you are looking for a thrill, your kids are older, and you’ve been to Disney, I would pick Universal. You could easily spend two days in each park and you have to start bright and early each day.
- Disney: If you choose to go to Disney, be prepared with apps that help you see what rides are less busy and get fast passes. Go in the middle of the week and far from a holiday for the most relaxed experience. Having a two day pass means not having to rush ad getting to see everything! Take water bottles and little snacks for sure but prepare to buy at least one meal at the park, unless you’re on a budget! Stay until the very end to see the fireworks! You can find cheap Disney merch outside of Disney, but even in the parks and DD, the merch isn’t too crazy overpriced.
- Universal: If you choose Universal, starting early and at the most popular rides first is essential! Rides like Jurassic Park get really packed in the afternoon, so go when the weather is cooler and you might get a few rides! I like to get a two day Universal pass because there are so many parks within the park. Personally, as an enormous Harry Potter fan, I need at least half a day at the Wizarding World. The first time seeing that castle irl was very special. If you want merch, bring A LOT of money, the novelty is not cheap. I recommend starting here at the big Hogwarts ride since it gets extremely packed later and it’s rather fast in the morning. By the end of the day, smaller rides like the Simpsons are much less crowded, so finish with those.
Florida is an easy option for families. The difference between the Disney parks in Cali and Florida are that California only has Disneyland which is essentially just Magic Kingdom in Florida. Florida also has epcot, animal kingdom, and other Disney parks. Magic Kingdom and Universal in Florida are a little bigger than Cali, other than that they are basically the same, although Jurassic Park at Universal California is much scarier.
- The Florida trip flows a path similar to California. I love the beach so whenever I’m close to one I must go to it, if you want to skip the beach do it by all means. I like to start my Florida trip with a few days on Clearwater Beach. East coast beaches are much more calm and clear than west coast, which I appreciate. You won’t find that bright blue coastal beach in the U.S., but Clearwater Beach is a beautiful one and probably the best in Florida.
- After a few days of soaking up the sun and hitting up the pier stores, make your way to Orlando. Stay at Downtown Disney. This is an easy way to ensure you’ll have something to do at night or you could even plan a day walking and shopping around Downtown Disney. There are various characters and entertainers around, especially around Christmas time.
- Disney: Choose the Disney park you want to go to carefully. If everyone is older and you’re not the kind of “magic kingdom” people, you might enjoy trying different foods and learning about the world at epcot. Or maybe you want to take a safari but don’t want to go to Africa, so you pick the Animal Kingdom. Go through the options carefully.
- Universal: Just like Cali, you’ll need plenty of time in Universal Studios to take it all in. I’e never been the Wizarding World at Cali, but I’ve heard the Florida one, which is the original, is bigger with more to see. Start at HP world, drink a butterbeer, then make your way to whoville. They have really great Dr. Seuss shows around Christmas. Afterwards, you can head to your hotel in Downtown Disney for dinner and nightlife!
I hope you guys enjoyed this or it helped you out! Be excited for more of these because I already have so many ideas that I’m dying to write! Let me know what you think below and check out more posts! I’ve included some old pictures of Disney and Universal below, hopefully I can go back soon and make more detailed posts!