What’s new at California theme parks

Posted Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Legoland California

Legoland has three theme parks — Legoland California, Sea Life Aquarium and Legoland Water Park. Through Jan. 13, you can see a life-size Lego Star Wars X-wingv fighter on display at Legoland California. The Legoland Water Park, adjacent to the main park, will be expanding next summer with a “Legends of Chima” area.

Recommended for: Ages 2 to 12

Where: One Legoland Drive, Carlsbad, Calif.

Cost: One-day ticket: $78 adult, $68 children ages 3 to 12; resort hopper (includes admission to all three parks): $97 adults; $87 ages 3 to 12. Children 2 and younger are free.

Where to stay: The Legoland Hotel opened in April. It has Lego-themed family suites with sleeping areas for the kids. One great amenity for potty-training parents — toilet-training seats. The resort also has several play areas, including a castle, a water-spraying dragon on the patio and a play pit in the reception area. Rates start at $369 per night.



Universal Studios Hollywood

The Transformers: The Ride-3D, which debuted in 2012, is a must. Through Jan. 4, celebrate “Grinchmas,” which features nightly tree lighting ceremonies, a snow playground and daily celebrity readings of the Dr. Seuss classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Recommended for: 5 and older

Where: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, Calif.

Where to stay: The landmark Hollywood Roosevelt, home to the first Academy Awards, is newly revamped and one metro stop away from Universal Studios Hollywood. You might even spot a celebrity at the Tropicana Bar. Rates start at $250 per night.

Cost: One-day ticket: $84 adults, $76 ages 3 to 9; front-of-line tickets, which allows priority access to rides, start at $139 per person.



Knott’s Berry Farm

Through Jan. 5, the park transforms into “Knott’s Merry Farm,” which features a Christmas tree lighting ceremony with Snoopy, a Christmas crafts village, the holiday ice show It’s Christmas Snoopy, and Santa, of course. In 2014, the park will enhance Camp Snoopy and refurbish Knott’s first major ride, the Calico Mine Ride.

Recommended for: All ages

Where: 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, Calif.

Cost: One-day ticket: $62 adults; $33 ages 3 to 12 and 62 and older. Children 2 and younger are free. You can buy discounted tickets online, three days in advance, starting at $37.99 per person.

Where to stay: The Knott’s Hotel is a 320-room property, adjacent to theme park, that offers Snoopy themed rooms and a resort pool with a children’s activity area. Rates start at $149 per night.



California Adventure and Disneyland

Through Jan. 6, Disneyland is a winter wonderland. See the outdoor, nighttime 28-minute show “World of Color” at California Adventure. Don’t miss the new Cars Land with its home-spun holiday touches or the delightful decor highlighted by a 60-foot Christmas tree and a stunningly lighted Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and Christmas Fantasy Parade in Disneyland.

Recommended for: All ages

Where: 1313 Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, Calif.

Where to stay: Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa offers themed pools, character dining, a world-class spa and a special theme park entrance for guests. For rates, visit

Cost: One-day park hopper tickets valid for both parks are $137 for ages 10 and older, $131 for ages 3 to 9. Children ages 2 and younger are free.


Maricar Estrella is the editor of Follow her on Twitter: @maricare

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