It was a Monday. Two intrepid adventurers set forth to conquer Southern California theme parks. Armed with annual passes and magic wands, these two had a grand adventure.
Yes, I’m talking about myself and Mr. Camjaxn himself, Cameron. We took one day to go to four theme parks before the last one closed. Keep in mind that the latest closing hour was 9 pm. Just going to the parks was not enough. We made a challenge for ourselves. 2 rides needed to be ridden at each park, one “fast” and one “slow.” We needed to get a selfie with a character at each park. We needed to view a performance of some sort at each park. We needed to get a selfie in every region or land in every park. A high five in each park was also on the list. Finally, at least one iconic food item and drink needed to be purchased and devoured.
Did we succeed? Well, let’s see…
Universal Studios Hollywood
The first park on the list was Universal Studios. This park is the farthest from where we live, so it made sense to try to hit it right away. This meant traveling first thing in the morning and braving the Los Angeles freeway. Really, the car ride was not unbearable. We entertained ourselves quite well talking about Hamilton, singing Disney songs, and bringing up one road trip song.
So, back to the park. We brought our wizard wands to play around at Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the newest portion of the theme park. This wasn’t on our list of challenges, but just nice to bring along.
Our slow ride of choice was the Studio Tour. We braved dinosaurs, an earthquake, Jaws, and even King Kong. It was entertaining and fun. One highlight is we got to see a little behind the scenes of a filming of The Mindy Project. Our faster ride was Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (of course). It was Cameron’s first ride and he loved it! I did too as it’s one of the reasons I got a pass in the first place.
Our token beverage was Butterbeer. Token food? A chocolate frog.
There was a bit of challenge to getting on everything as well as getting pictures done. The reason? We wanted to spend quite a lot of time in the park as it is the farthest, but not compromise the whole day when we needed to brave traffic again to reach the Orange County parks. It took quite a bit of doing, especially waiting for the Raptor character to get a selfie with. We got everything done and headed back on the California Interstate.
Knott’s Berry Farm
The next park on the list was Knott’s. It had the earliest closing time on the list. Should it have been our first park, then? Not really. In the off season, with a day like Monday, we knew it would be easy to hit everything. Our slow ride was Supreme Scream. The argument was that it takes a slow ride to the top. The fast was Silver Bullet. Both fun!
The food we got was funnel cake with boysenberry sauce, berry punch, and I got iconic chicken strips.
Our highlight? Seeing Snoopy right away and getting an easy picture with the beagle. Snoopy is great!
Though we were pressed with having an hour and a half to do everything, the park was conquered. And it wasn’t a bad time, either. Knott’s is a great park that many don’t consider. It has great thrills and fun entertainment. Some cool shopping too. Cameron especially wanted to check out a somewhat authentic old west gun shop. Anyway, Knott’s is worth considering in the line up of parks.
Disney California Adventure
Next to be knocked off the list was DCA. Again, it was because of closing time that we chose this to be after Knott’s. We got in with a little less than 2 hours to go do everything. Rides were simple enough to go on. California Screamin’ was our fast one, and it had a relatively short line. The Little Mermaid was our slow one of choice, and it had almost no line at this time of day. Check and check. Eating happened over at the Cozy Cones. “Motor oil” drink and churro were the iconic food and beverage.
All through, even with pictures from every region. I guess DCA doesn’t have lands. We’ll save that for…
The last park of the day was Disneyland. The classic. Our home advantage. But, now we had a very limited time for having done DCA and there being an hour difference in closing time! Also, attractions were much more impacted with wait times than the park across the way. Our concern was for the fast ride. What to go on where we don’t compromise anything else? We decided to save this for the very last thing we’d do before closing. Why? It’s known that as long as you’re in line before the park closes, you’ll ride the ride. We just needed to get in a line somewhere before park closing.
The slow ride, however, was easy to go do. Haunted Mansion had a very short wait, and that’s how we chose it. Then, we figured the most iconic food and drink would be in Tomorrowland since everything was themed to Star Wars. We grabbed Light Side drinks, The Jedi Order, and Darth By Chocolate. All delicious. A quick run over to Paint the Night completed all our entertainment. Now it was time for our last ride, the fast one.
Star Tours was a relatively short wait, but still fun. We even got the last high five here. After it all we stopped at Sleeping Beauty Castle to recap the day and get that nice view before headed home.
Was this all worth doing? Yes! Was it tiring? Yes. Would you do it again? Maybe. We learned lessons on how to get through every park in a day. Is it the best thing to do? No. We were really only able to do two rides per park. Having annual passes help because we know we can go back to each one for a full day. We don’t need to soak everything in with one visit. If you’re vacationing, this is a terrible thing to do.
But, for a challenge? This was a journey worth taking. We had limited time with it being off season for all the parks. Yet, there was still some lines to wait in. It was a little surprising, and made everything challenging. But, who doesn’t love a challenge?
Will we do it again anytime soon? Probably not. I think I’m still recovering. But, it was loads of fun. And we documented the whole day as you can see in the video below.