The San Diego Zoo - Getting There on the Gray Line From Disneyland
A Disneyland and Southern California Reviewby Amy Wear, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 06-30-2016
Like most people who make a trip to Southern California, we wanted to see some attractions beyond the Disneyland parks.
We didn’t want the stress of driving the Los Angeles area freeways, however, so we were very pleased to discover Gray Line Tours.
SD zoo tour
Gray Line tours are an add-on option to Disney vacation packages for both on-site and Good Neighbour hotels. You can even do a split stay like we did and be picked up at an alternate hotel from the one where you booked your package. Bus tours are offered to popular Southern California destinations, including Sea World Adventure Park, Legoland California, Knott’s Berry Farm, San Diego Zoo, and San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Note that Gray Line provides the option to purchase with admission or pay for transportation only. At the time of this writing, children under the age of 15 receive free transportation when traveling with adults. Our family of four had round trip transportation to the San Diego Zoo for a very reasonable total of $96.00. Renting a vehicle would usually cost more by the time you pay for gas and other additional costs.
For some tours, it will cost you less to purchase tickets separately online, as was the case for our zoo admission. This way you can also take advantage of coupon savings, such as the Legoland 2-for-1 coupons that often come with the purchase of a Lego set.
You can conveniently pre-pay for the tours as part of your total package price. Once you get your tour vouchers in the mail, you (or your travel agent) just call Gray Line and book your date. You can also change your tour date with very short notice.
On the morning of our tour, we were picked up at 8:15am just outside the entrance to the Disneyland Hotel. After a very short drive, we were taken to the Gray Line bus depot and directed to different buses, according to which tour you were doing.
We were giddy as we boarded a roomy double decker coach bus. As luck would have it, very few people were on the bus that day and we scored the prime spot at the front of the top level of the bus. The views from the top of the bus along Highway 5 were breathtaking at times, with many opportunities to drink in the Pacific Ocean and other sights.
Free wifi onboard was an unexpected bonus. My inner post-aholic was thoroughly entertained posting pictures of our surroundings, as it happened. Friends and family back home were getting in on the fun, sharing their favourite memories of the area as we traveled. The lack of traffic along Highway 5 in both directions was also a nice touch. It probably helped that we chose to do the tour on a Sunday.
SD zoo tour
What impressed us the most was our driver, who pointed out the sights and historical background all the way to San Diego, down to the smallest details. He gave a full effort, as though there weren’t just a handful of us on the bus that day. Instead of the long, mundane 90-minute bus ride we were expecting, we felt like V.I.P’s on a private tour.
Our driver was so entertaining that we were in no rush to get to the Zoo. Instead, we found ourselves adding to our bucket list about a dozen other places we want to explore someday when we are back in Southern California!
As we drove into San Diego, the city skyline over the water was a sight to behold. We were so enamoured with our surroundings that my desire to make a trip to San Diego is even higher than my longing to eventually get back to Disneyland.
Rather than making a day trip to San Diego next time we’re in Southern California, I foresee San Diego as the destination and Disney California Adventure the day trip. When previously I wouldn’t have considered one of the short Disney Wonder sailings from San Diego, I now find myself scheming about just how soon we can make it happen!
At zoo closing, our driver was there promptly to pick us up. Rather than commentate for our return trip, he gave us the much needed rest we needed. Yet again, we scored the front row seats of the upper deck. We were even more mesmerized by our surroundings, as we watched the sun begin to set on the ocean in the distance.
We had no regrets about our decision to take the tour bus rather than renting a car. In fact, our only regret was that we didn’t build in time for more tours with Gray Line, especially the tour to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Stay tuned for my follow-up article, where I review our day spent at the incredible San Diego Zoo!
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