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What's New at Universal Studios, Knott's Berry Farm and More!

By Kimberly Fidler 11/03/2014

If you've been following us on Facebook, you already know that our staff has spent the last two days exploring Southern California - and the fun is just beginning! This week our agents are on our annual FAM (short for familiarization) Trip to tour our most popular hotels and attractions. Here's what we've been up to so far:

Saturday:

Our team flew into LAX and headed straight to the Entertainment Capital of L.A., Universal Studios Hollywood! Here we were given Front of the Line Passes (completely worth the extra money from a regular ticket) and were on our own for the day. With no tour guide or the need to stay in a large group, we got to experience the park as any guest would. All of our staff agrees that Front of the Line Passes are definitely the way to go. They make your day incredibly convenient and so much fun. We got to walk on every single ride with no waiting at all!



The new Despicable Me area is amazing! Minion Mayhem is the main attraction and the ride itself is located inside Gru's house, perfectly placed in his neighborhood. Once you get in line, there are TV screens scattered throughout with trivia and movie clips to keep everyone entertained and make the line go by incredibly fast. Before boarding the ride, you'll see a super cute and funny introduction video with Gru, his girls and, of course, some minions. The video takes place in Gru's living room and it feels like you are actually there. Next, you enter Gru's lab where they set the story for the ride. The ride itself is incredibly cute and kid friendly... not scary or too extreme and continues the Despicable Me storyline. There is also a whole fun land, character meet-n-greet locations and a quick service restaurant.  It is a great addition. You can read one of our recent articles: A Minion Reasons to Visit Universal Studios Hollywood for more details and a family's firsthand experience.



Our staff also had a blast on our favorite classics like the Studio Tour, Jurassic Park: The Ride, Transformers: The Ride-3D and more.



After a fun-filled day at Universal Studios, we walked over to the City Walk. There are so many delicious and fun restaurants to chose from and our group was treated to a shrimp fest at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. If you love the movie Forest Gump (and who doesn't), this themed restaurant is a must. The food was so yummy that we had some stowaways follow us over from the park!



After dinner, we took our shuttle to Anaheim and were able to check-in to the brand new Springhill Suites at Anaheim Resort/Convention Center. They had a reception for us and we loved our rooms. It is so much fun to be among the first guests at a new hotel! We can already tell it's going to be among our most popular hotels for a few reasons. Their rooms are spacious and have two TVs, they have an awesome breakfast, their rooftop pool has an incredible view of the Disneyland fireworks, oh, and we have an exclusive 3rd night free for most dates next year!



Sunday:

Our second day of our annual FAM trip couldn't have started out more perfect than it did with a fantastic breakfast hosted at the Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort. This is another hotel that is one of our guests' favorites because of its large and comfortable guest rooms (most with a patio or private balcony), huge pool area and convenient location. As an added bonus, Get Away Today guests also get free parking - a $15 per night value!



After breakfast we toured two other popular Anaheim hotels; the Castle Inn & Suites and the
Fairfield Inn Anaheim Disneyland Resort.

The Castle Inn has recently renovated their rooms and we think they look pretty amazing. This hotel has been a longtime favorite of Get Away Today guests because it's a quick walk to Disneyland and the outside looks like a castle. Who doesn't want to stay in a castle when the visit Disneyland?



The Fairfield Inn Anaheim Disneyland Resort is a huge hit for families because their rooms are spacious and each one comes with a twin sized sofa bed and has a refrigerator. It's also a top pick for groups because most of their rooms connect and it's within easy walking distance to the main gates at Disneyland. They offer Disney themed rooms (choose from Mickey, Pirates of the Caribbean, Disney Princess, Toy Story or Lightning McQueen) that you can book for an upgrade and our staff was thrilled to see that they've recently added a handful of Frozen themed rooms to the mix! These go quickly, so you'll want to snatch yours up ASAP.



After a morning in Anaheim, we took a bus for a quick ride over to Buena Park, home to Knott's Berry Farm. But, before we visited America's First Theme Park, we stopped by some of the neighboring hotels.

Our first stop was the Holiday Inn Buena Park, which recently was renovated. It is known for having the largest outdoor pool in the area and now has a completely updated look. We were so impressed and know our guests will be too.



Then, we were able to tour one of the most recent additions to our hotel options, Fairfield Inn & Suites Buena Park as well as one of our longtime Buena Park hotels, the Radisson Suites Buena Park.

Our final stop before hitting the park was the Knott's Berry Farm Resort Hotel, which has its own private entrance to Knott's Berry Farm, a large outdoor pool with a children's splash area, a sports court, and so much more. We had an awesome lunch here with Mrs. Knott's Famous Fried Chicken, because if you haven't had it, you haven't really been to Knott's Berry Farm. The hotel is great and we definitely recommend it to anyone who is visiting the park.

One of our first stops at Knott's Berry Farm was the Xcelerator, one of Knott's most intense roller coasters. We love it! Thrill seekers can also get their heart pumping on Silver Bullet, Ghost Rider and Supreme Scream. We thought that the updated Camp Snoopy was a perfect touch and were impressed with how many family friendly attractions are now available. The rides at the boardwalk area, recently renovated log ride, and others are all so great for the entire family.



We ended our fun-filled day with a sweet surprise after checking in to Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. It is such a treat to be able to stay on property. There is nothing like staying inside a Disney theme park!



Check-in was followed by an exclusive dinner at Steakhouse 55 located inside the Disneyland Hotel. Everything was heavenly and the atmosphere took us right back to Walt's version of Hollywood.



Our evening was topped off with preferred viewing of the very last showing ever of "Remember... Dreams Come True," Disneyland's most recent fireworks spectacular. It is ending now because the holiday season is starting next weekend and next year Disneyland will celebrate its 60th anniversary. We can't wait to see what's in store!



Now, now FAM Trip would be complete without some great giveaways for our incredible fans! We've been posting them on our Facebook page since we got to California, but we thought we'd share them here too, just in case you missed them:


a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Don't miss any more of our adventures or giveaways:
Anaheim Hotels, the Packing House, Saddleback Ranch and More
Get Away Today's Perfect Day at the Disneyland Resort
Win One of 25 Giveaways This Week Only
Kimberly Fidler