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Which California Theme Parks?

Guest boon_nz

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Hey all,


I'm travelling with 4 mates to California for the month of April (From New Zealand). It's not primarly a theme park trip but obviously I want to try and take in a couple of parks while i'm there.


We are all 24-25 year old males and while i've been doing heaps of research, i'm struggling to pick which park or parks to go to. As far I can tell, the best options are:


- Magic Mountain

- Knott's Berry Farm

- Disneyland

- Universal Studios


Based on the research i've done, I think Magic Mountain looks the best - I am into thrill rides, but I also appreciate theming (which as far as I can tell, magic mountain has none of).


Knott's Berry Farm looks like it again has some great thrill rides, and maybe a bit more balanced than MM? I like the thought of big american coasters as well as the latest high tech rides + a bit more variation.


Disneyland - I am a bit worried that the whole Disney experience will be lost on us. Are there many top notch thrill rides at Disneyland? I have heard that the Indiana Jones ride and Space Mountain are cool, but how do they compare to thrill rides at MM and KBF? I'd love to hear if the theming etc makes it all worthwhile?


From what I have heard, Universal Studios would be last on my list of options.....feel free to tell me if i'm wrong!


So in all likelyhood, we will only have 2 days (maximum 3) at theme parks. Based on what I know now, I would imagine that they will be MM and KBF - but I would love to hear what others who have been there done that have to say!


Thanks for your help!

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@ SharkTums: No problem


@ Goliath: We will be heading North so i'll read up on it - I haven't looked at SFDK at all.


Do you think we'll miss out if we skip Disneyland?

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Nah none of us have been to any Disney parks - The only theme parks any of us have done are in Gold Coast, Australia.


That might make it a little more tricky choosing between KBF and Disneyland then.....

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If you can squeeze in Disneyland, then do it! IMHO, Knott's can be done in 1/2 day if you go on a weekday. So if you have a few hours to spare after you flight comes in, go to Knott's. I did Knott's in 3 hours on a weekday, but I had all the credits and was really interested in riding Sierra Sidewinder and Xcelerator.


I hear Knott's chicken is delicious, but I haven't personally tried it. There's always a line to get into that restaurant!

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I agree with the general consensus. If you haven't done a Disney park, you should definitely make time for DL. It won't be hard to do Disney during the day and then head over to KBF later in the afternoon. I've always preferred KBF later in the day, the crowds seem to die out more than any other theme park in the SoCal area. You could easily make time for DL, KBF, and SFMM in a two day period.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I would definitely do SFMM that is a must for the awseome coasters.

And i agree with others although Knotts has better rides for your age group, Disneylands themeing is by far the most superior in California.

You'll love Space Mountain & Indiana & even Tower of Terror next door.

Knotts flat/thrilll rides are similar to those at Dreamworld so its only the coasters there that will be new to you here.

Xcellerator is awesome but is similar to Superman Great Escape at Movie World just alot faster and higher and a couple great sweeping turns whereas Superman has the airtime hills, themeing, tunnel etc. These are both coasters i really like, but i would still say miss KBF and visit SFMM & Disney.

SFDK up north is ok too but not better than SFMM or Disney.

I was 28 on my first visit and i did SFMM, Disneyland & Universal in Southern California. While i liked visiting Universal, it is definitely the number 4 park to me in this region, my days at SFMM & Disney were unforgettable.

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I think its over rated. It's definitely good, but it is not OMG wow.


I think of it as "Overpriced KFC".


I would definitely hit Magic Mountain and Disneyland, they are the "Cream Of the Crop" as far as amusement parks go in the Southern California area. Disney has great theming, and good thrill rides where as Magic Mountain has the best thrill in the state and little theming. So between the two parks you will find the perfect balance of thrill and theme.


Also, I would not recommend Knott's, it is nothing to write home about. Especially when you have Disneyland and Magic Mountain so close.

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I would definitely recommend at LEAST a half day at Disneyland. Also acquaint yourself with the Fastpass system, which will be a godsend on crowded days. Not to miss at Disneyland:


Disneyland Park

-Space Mountain

-Indiana Jones Adventure

-Matterhorn Bobsleds

-Pirates of the Caribbean

-Haunted Mansion


California Adventure

-Tower of Terror

-California Screamin'

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I would definetly recommend a day at both SFMM and DLR. I'd also recommend a half day @ KBF and a day @ SFDK. Great America just has Top Gun and that's about it. So don't waste your time there. Enjoy your trip.

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Living in Southern California and having visited the Gold Coast parks, I say you can skip KBF and it looks like you're already skipping Universal. Stick with Disney and SFMM. What you're missing at KBF coaster wise is bigger or better at SFMM and the flats are not that different then what Dreamworld has.

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YOU MUST DO DISNEY. There reallly are no parks quite like disney parks anywhere in the world. A lot of my friends try to pretend they hate disneyland because there is more "kids stuff" which is true, but it is almost impossible not to have a good day at a Disney park. Also if you go to Disneyland hit space/splash mountain first as these will be the longest lines in the day. Also if you hit DCA make sure you go o California Screamin cause that things a blast and is very smooth but gives great airtime. You need to give DLR at least a whole day. Also I would suggest staying g in Disney's hotel because although rather pricey from what I hear it's great.

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