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9 Day Visit to Anaheim in August 2018

2 posts
9 Day Visit to Anaheim in August 2018

I'm visiting Anaheim with my wife and 3 twenty something "kids" for 11nights, 9 full days from 9th August through August 20th (Flight from LAX back to the UK) and have a rental car.

1) Would appreciate some thoughts on must see things in SoCal and best way to use the time.

2) Will Universal/ Disneyland be really busy - or manageable, in the week from Monday 13th through 19th August. Should I buy the Universal Express tickets?

3) Which would be the best day(s) to visit San Diego

4) How long should I plan on the drive from Anaheim back to LAX on a Monday morning taking?

9 replies to this topic
Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Anaheim, St. George
Level Contributor
30,722 posts
94 reviews
1. Re: 9 Day Visit to Anaheim in August 2018

Welcome to forum posting roy b,

Your timeframe is Summertime, and lots of Schools are out for Summer break till late August, so yes, it will be busy at all Theme Parks and Southern California in general too.

The "Is it Packed" site will be helpful to you somewhat as it shows crowd predictions for most Southern California Theme Parks. Keep in mind, a "Hey its alright" does not mean low crowds, it means average busy crowds.


As far as Universal Studios goes... keep in mind that is located in LA, which is about a 1 hour drive North of Anaheim where Disneyland is located. I would suggest just getting a regular ticket, go inside, see how busy it is. You can always add the Front of the Line Pass within the Park if you feel you want it. Their are only about 15 attraction total, most of them simulator attractions, most people can see in a day. Arriving early and taking advantage of that first few hour is helpful which is the least busy time at any theme Park.

San Diego is a 2 hour drive South of Anaheim. And as said Universal a 1 hour drive North in good traffic. If you have things planned in alot of areas especially for multiple days, you would want to split your trip and stay in those specific areas, things are pretty spread out. However, if your willing to put up with traffic hassles and really dont want to move Hotels, thats up to you.

What time on Monday are you thinking of leaving? Or when is your flight?

We can also help you with finding somewhere to stay, or let you know about where you have chosen to stay.

2 posts
2. Re: 9 Day Visit to Anaheim in August 2018

Hi happytotrip,

thanks for the pointers,

We'd rather stay in one place, somewhere near DisneyLand, and put up with the traffic.

When are the best times to drive north to Universal/ times to avoid and which days of the week would be better to plan on doing this journey?

Our flight check-in is from 13:00

Long Beach...
Level Contributor
7,712 posts
3. Re: 9 Day Visit to Anaheim in August 2018

1- Santa Monica Pier, coastal drive (Malibu, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Laguna Beach)- it is the summer :), at least one museum- there are lots too choose from, depends on interests,

3- probably on a weekend (though I've had terrible delays getting to SD on weekends too)

(I would split you stay, Half in Anaheim and Half near the coast- San Diego County? Or just stay near the beach- Newport?)

Edited: 05 February 2018, 04:18
Long Beach...
Level Contributor
7,712 posts
4. Re: 9 Day Visit to Anaheim in August 2018

Also look at Knotts Berry Farm, 6 Flags Magic Mountain- if kids like roller coasters, maybe a water park?

Edited: 05 February 2018, 04:26
Anaheim, California
Level Contributor
436 posts
45 reviews
5. Re: 9 Day Visit to Anaheim in August 2018

Hi Roy,

Your Universal trip will take about 1 hour and 20 minutes if you leave to arrive at opening, which I highly recommend. We drive there every day and, with a transponder for the Express Lanes (which you won't have) it's still an hour+)

That first hour before the other buses get there is great. I would also recommend the premium parking which is pricey but so worth it...

They have an hour early opening if you buy your tickets directly or at least have recently. I would check online direct to see if they have that.

There is no Front of the Line Ticket any longer. The new Express Ticket is $259 during the time of your visit. That's pretty pricey - especially since you can buy a two day ticket for $159 which, for me is a better bang for your buck - especially with all the time you have - also, you might want to look at the recommendations for drives along the LA coast above. That could be down after spending 5 or 6 hours at the park in the morning and early afternoon - especially if you do the two day option...

If your check in for your flight home is 1pm, I would suggest leaving Anaheim around 11am - this will give you loads of time to return your rental car and be there early. You can even stop for lunch at In-n-Out Burger by the airport or, better yet, get a dozen Randy's Donuts and get a photo in front of this LA Icon (think Iron Man sitting in the middle of a big donut... that's the one).

I hope that helps and wish you a very excellent visit!


Anaheim Tour Company

Los Angeles...
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128 reviews
6. Re: 9 Day Visit to Anaheim in August 2018

There is a news report that came out today and isn't a surprise to anyone who lives here - LA has the worst traffic in the WORLD. I understand not wanting to move hotels, but you are going to live in your car on your trips out of Orange County (which is where Anaheim is located). Doing it several days in a row will be exhausting and frustrating - and hour minimum to get to LA. As for San Diego - at least two hours each way. And if you hit bad traffic - which can happen anytime due to breakdowns, accidents, road construction - those times can double.

How often do you want to do that? I would seriously think about moving at least once - closer to San Diego for the San Diego portion of your trip. To quote an old John Denver song, "living on an LA freeway ain't my kind of having fun".

Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Anaheim, St. George
Level Contributor
30,722 posts
94 reviews
7. Re: 9 Day Visit to Anaheim in August 2018

Well we often stay in Anaheim to visit San Diego area and attractions as well as LA attractions, and have just gotten used to the traffic, and avoid traveling in the really busy hours, 7-9am and 3 to 7pm on weekdays. While its not ideal for some people, it is for some, and thats ok. But obviously its more convenient to switch Hotels as far as travel time goes, and San Diego is a fun city to visit and stay there Imo.

Santa Monica...
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for Santa Monica
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8. Re: 9 Day Visit to Anaheim in August 2018

You do not want to put up with the traffic, so I recommend you drop Universal and stick with Orange County entirely. I'm so tired of this plan and the subsequent complaints. It's like no one wants to learn, you desire to sit in traffic, then go back home to complain bout LA. But you do it to your own selves, over and over, and.......

Corona del Mar...
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
Level Contributor
59,600 posts
435 reviews
9. Re: 9 Day Visit to Anaheim in August 2018

Staying in one location isn't practical for the reasons others have laid out.

A one day trip to San Diego isn't bad from Anaheim, but you do have to two days, then spend the night. If you DO do a day trip, leave Anaheim VERY early (6AMish) and come back late (after 7PM).

Same thing for LA. If you have more than one day's of activity, move hotels. If 9 days means eight nights, then I would do 5 nights in Anaheim (assuming a day trip to SD is in there) and end in LA, preferably West Hollywood/Beverly Center area (assuming Santa Monica would be a budget buster).

I hope you get away from the Anaheim Resort Area and see some of the beautiful locations in Orange County and the area.

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