View Full Version : New Englanders tackle SoCal

05-09-2012, 10:43 AM
So I've decided to do this a bit differently. This thread will be my pre and post trip in one. I'll try to do some updates while on the road, but it won't be every day.


Me...the mom. Native New Englander. This is my 2nd trip to Disneyland. One of my goals is to get my boys to all 50 states before graduating high school.

DH...the dad. A bit high strung...very much a Type A personality. From NJ but loving the move to New England. This will be his first trip to Disneyland and San Diego.

DS1...our very energetic 3 year old. He loves trucks, digging, puzzles, Mickey Mouse, and food. This boy will eat anything you put in front of him....that's probably why he's 51 lbs now. BUT he is at least 43 inches tall sooooo....he can get on almost all the rides! Woo hoo! And he's a thrill seeker. He's going to love Splash/Space/Thunder Mountain.

DS2...our equally energetic 2 year old. Loves the same stuff as big brother, except for food. This kid is going to be a pain in the butt to feed on this trip. Oh well..... He's a peanut, but also a bit wimpy (I say that with love) so it works out okay. He will cry on a carousel, so obviously thrill rides are out of the question. The fact that he's too short for many of the rides big brother can go on, shouldn't bother him. We'll stick to flying Dumbo.

Today we reached the "one week to go!" point so I'd thought I'd start my pre/post trip report. The flight we will be on next week is currently over western Michigan at 36,000 feet. Can't wait!

Our plans are to spend a few nights at the HoJo Anaheim and then head down to San Diego. Right now I have two reservations...a Residence Inn and a Hyatt House. Gotta decide which one to keep...leaning towards the Hyatt.

Right now the weather is forecast to be in the low 70s and sunny while we are in Anaheim. :cool1: Still too far out for San Diego.

05-09-2012, 11:06 AM
I've pretty much got the boys packed. Short/tshirts for Anaheim and long pants/tshirts for San Diego with a few extra pairs of shorts. We've got the portable DVD player for the airplane, books, gum, snacks, mini flashlights (for dark rides), ponchos, a night light for the hotel room, and our Sharpie marker to write our cell phone numbers on them in case one gets lost.

I'm about half way packed and dh hasn't started at all. This is no surprise....

Made reservations for Surfs Up with Mickey, the train in Julian, and Dine with Shamu.

Planning on visiting the zoo, Torrey Pines, and some tide pools as well. Oh, and dining at our first food truck!

05-09-2012, 12:44 PM

JetBlue Boston to LAX: $159.80 per person

Virgin America LAX to Boston: $158.80 per person

Alamo car rental for 1 week for a standard sized car: $140 using a Visa discount code

HoJo Anaheim: $106.82 per night. No EC rate available. Used a mousesavers.com discount code.

Hyatt House or Residence Inn Sorrento Mesa: both are $133 per night for a suite, free parking, free breakfast, social hour. This is gov't employee rate. I'll check again in a few days and see if regular rates have dropped down.

Thought this may help some folks that are wondering about costs.

05-11-2012, 04:38 PM

JetBlue Boston to LAX: $159.80 per person

Virgin America LAX to Boston: $158.80 per person

I would say you did pretty well with your airfare!

Can't wait to read about your trip...have fun!

05-12-2012, 03:24 PM
I would say you did pretty well with your airfare!

Can't wait to read about your trip...have fun!

Yes, we were very happy with our airfare prices!

Just rebooked the HoJo today...they came out with Entertainment Card rates for out dates...woo hoo! :cool1:

05-19-2012, 08:31 AM
Day 1: Got up nice and early so we could be out the door at 0530. Boys did well and were cooperative. By the time we got thru security, our flight was boarding, so no time to sit around. DH went on early with the Carseats and the boys and I boarded last. This was our first time on JetBlue. It was an uneventful flight and we arrived on time.

Got our car from Alamo. It was $140 for the week using a visa discount code. I like how Alamo lets you choose your car from the row.

Driving on wednesday afternoon at 1 was easy. No traffic to contend with. We headed to Von's for some groceries. DH thought they were overpriced.

Then it was off to the HoJo. The staff was polite and friendly. Rooms are standard but very clean. Only complaint was the bath towels. Kids loved the pool area and spent a few hours going down the slides and chilling in the wading pool.

Dinner was take out from OC Poultry in Anaheim. Chicken Bahn mi sandwiches for less than $4! And they were delicious. We had a lemongrass beef sandwich too. And we got an order of spring rolls which each had five large shrimp in them. We picked up a rotisserie chicken for sandwiches the next day.....it ended up providing two days worth of Lunch. Next door was Brianna's so we grabbed a large fruit plate for $5. Had some with dinner and the rest with breakfast the next day. Total was $35 and this ended up being dinner and two lunches.

05-19-2012, 08:50 AM
Day 2: got up very early due to the time change. Had breakfast in our room and headed out at 7am. Decide to kill time at downtown Disney since DL didn't open until 9. The walk from the HoJo was quick and easy.

Boys had fun at DD even though nothing was open. The played at the fountains and my three year old made his first wish...it was for ice cream! We checked out the Grand California....beautiful hotel! The buoys sat in the lobby watching cartoons for a bit.

Now it was time to head to Disney. We went left. Jungle cruise was up first. My youngest really enjoyed this. Then we all went climbing on tarzan's tree. Went onpirates and the haunted house with no wait at all. The two year old hated pirates, cried after the first drop, then went to sleep on my shoulder. My three year old is very tall, so splash mountain was next for him and daddy. It was walk on so they rode twice....same thing with thunder mountain. YDS and I treated ourselves to a frozen lemonade since we couldn't ride. It was $4.19 for a large portion.

By the time we got to fantasyland it was a bit crowded. We did the carousel, story land boats, Pinocchio, and small world. I wasn't waiting forty minutes for dumbo.

YDS was now asleep in my carrier, so daddy and ODS played at toontown. He was overtired so didn't enjoy it as much as he could have. We decided to go back to the hotel for a break.

Headed back out at dinner time and stopped at Mimi's. It was mediocre, and other than convenience, I would not eat here again. Their breadbasket and muffins were good thou.

Got back to the park and went right. The buzz lightyear ride had no line....but space mountain did and the fast passes were for too late in the evening. So we did autotopia and the nemo sub ride. Both boys enjoyed both of these. It's so hard to find rides that my younger one enjoys. It was now time to call it a night . The boys each got a Mickey ice cream sandwich and we walked back to the hotel. The little one fell asleep again. I got him undressed and almost fully bathed before he woke up!

Oh, forgot to mention that we got silhouettes done on Main St for the grandmothers!

Overall I was a great day. We chose to spend only one day at Disney and really could have used a second. But the two year old was too young to enjoy it fully, so I'm okay with the one day. We'll be going to WDW in 1.5 years anyway.

Costs for the day: Mimi's $39, silhouettes $18, snacks $15. I'd say that's a cheap Disney day!

05-27-2012, 06:28 PM
Day 3: We headed to Paradise Pier for Surfs Up with Mickey. We had the 740 reservation and it wasn't crowded at all. Food was pretty damn good, and the character interaction was fantastic. We would go here again. As for the hotel, it was nothing compared to the Grand California. It could use some updating, and I would have been disappointed if I had spent the money to stay there.

After breakfast, it was time to head down south. We stopped at Little Coronado Beach in Newport. The access is off Poppy Ave/Dr/St. We went right to visit some tide pools. Lots of urchins, anemones, crabs, etc. And the boys played in the ocean. They had a blast! Newport looked like a nice beach town to walk around/shop. But you'd better have deep wallets!!

Then we got stuck in traffic on our way to La Jolla. This was our only traffic of the trip. It was Friday afternoon.

We stopped to see the seals and then went to dinner at El Pescador Fish Market. We preferred the Mexican Shrimp tacos, but the fish tacos were good as well. This place is small with only a few tables. But the food is yummy.

After dinner we headed to our hotel...Hyatt Place in Sorrento Valley/Mira Mesa. Most hotels downtown were sold out so we ended up here. The hotel was in a business park. It was clean, the staff was friendly, and it was great to have a separate bedroom to get a break from the kids. Also, the complimentary breakfast was the best I've ever had at a hotel. They had lots of fresh fruit, muffins, eggs, waffles, bacon, cereal, bagels, etc. One day they had sweet potatoes that were delicious. I would stay here again if I were visiting for business, but I'd try to get a better location for pleasure. It was a great stay though.

05-27-2012, 06:34 PM
Day 4: This morning we learned why the downtown hotels were sold out. They were having a ceremony at the new USS San Diego. We went down to the harbor to check out the USS Midway and discovered we couldn't get on due to security for the USS San Diego. So we just walked around a bit.

Then we went to Little Italy for the Farmer's Market. It's quite extensive. They have fruit, veggies, meats, nuts, flowers, crafts, etc.

After grabbing a bite to eat, we drove out to Poway to check out their steam train. Every weekend they offer train rides at their town park. The type of train varies week to week. It cost $6 for our family of four and the boys had fun.

Next it was out to Julian. We stopped at Dudley's Bakery on the way. I would recommend stopping if you are in the area, but I wouldn't make a special trip. The fruit bars and macaroons were good.

In Julian we visited an old fashioned soda fountain for some root beer floats. Then it was off to Smith Ranch for a "train ride" into an old gold mine. The boys got to pump water from a well and pan for "gold". This was a 1.5 hour tour and my kids had a lot of fun. I would not do this with just adults...those couples seemed bored. But it's great for kids.

For dinner we grabbed a pizza at Filippis. This was not good. Very thick, doughy crust and too much cheese.

05-28-2012, 06:27 PM
Day 5: Today is Seaworld Day. We got there for opening. Park was quiet and we got to ride Atlantis 3 times with no wait. My 3 year old LOVED this ride. We got to "pet" some lizards and check out some parrots. Then we just slowly meandered through the park checking things out. We had reservations for the 1230 Dine With Shamu. My 3 year old started having a meltdown around this time. Thankfully the food and show cheered him up. The lunch was actually pretty good. And I really enjoyed the Shamu cookies. The show was good as well, but shorter than I expected.

After lunch the crowds were insane! There was a concert that night and it seemed like thousands of people standing in line for wristbands. I had never heard of the singer, but it did sell out. At this point there were too many people to get on any rides without a really long wait, so we went to the kiddy play area. The boys enjoyed the water area and my older one liked the climbing rope as well. I wasn't a huge fan as it was tough to track him.

After this we ended up at the rescue animal show. It's cats, dogs, bird, pigs, etc doing a sort of talent show. It was okay.

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at Whole Foods in La Jolla for an easy dinner. Nothing like seeing a Rolls Royce in the parking lot. I'm too poor to live in California :)

05-29-2012, 02:16 PM
Day 6: Decided to just have breakfast at the hotel again. Then we headed out for the zoo. My hubby works for the airlines, so we got 50% off with his ID. Great deal!

The zoo is huge. There are buses available...one does a tour and the other is an on/off type of bus. We decided to walk through the zoo first, and then take the bus tour once the kids were tired. It worked out great. We saw about 80% of the zoo on foot, then got to see what we missed from the bus. The three year old slept through most of this.

The most annoying part of the zoo, for me, was the random play structures. Near the elephants, they had a digger the kids could play on. Trying to pry two pre-school aged boys away from that was quite a challenge.

The zoo was clean, with lots of bathroom facilities. The staff was friendly. And it is huge...so wear sneakers!

For dinner we went to Mira Mesa High School. They have a food truck meetup there on Monday nights at 530. Our favorite was Devilicious...the Cuban sandwich was yummy! We also got a great salad from an Asian truck...Tabe???... something like that.

Day 7: we headed downtown near the ballpark to watch trains from the pedestrian overpass. Then we had to head back up to the LA area. My MIL made lunch plans for us with one of her friends and we needed to be in Los Alamitos for noon. We stopped in Irvine on the way to buy some flowers at their Farmer's Market. Then we met up with the family friends for lunch.

From there we checked into our hotel...the Candlewood Suites in Hawthorne. The hotel was fine...clean with fine rooms. But the area is awful! It's very convenient to the airport, but you don't want to go walking around at night.

Since we didn't like the area, we headed to Manhattan Beach for one last swim and dinner at The Kettle. Food was okay. The muffins and soups were good. Entrees were just average.

Day 8: Time to say goodbye to California. We took Virgin America home. Check in and security were a breeze...much quicker and easier than in Boston. I was shocked. And we got our peanut butter confiscated...oops!

Flight was a bit difficult. We had an hour delay for maintenance and they left us on the aircraft. So that made for some cranky toddlers. Plus, there is NO leg room on Virgin America so every time the boys moved, they were kicking the seats in front of them. And you have to pay $25 for every bag and pay for snacks. Overall, I much preferred JetBlue....and no, that's not my hubby's company :)

06-06-2012, 11:57 PM
Loved it! Thanks for posting!

Disney owl
08-05-2012, 12:48 PM
great reports