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4luv2cdisney 02-11-2013 09:31 PM

This is so much work!!!
Trying to plan a Spring Break trip to someplace other than WDW! DL has come up as an option and I am stressing out! Can someone please help me? If we are going to spend big bucks to fly to Cali, we want to get all this in:

1) We may want to visit some relatives in San Diego.

2) We want to spend at least one additional non Disney day.....doing something....I don't know what. Not interested in the beach, Sea World, or San Diego Zoo. Probably not interested in Universal. Thinking some Hollywood / LA tourist type thing. Any suggestions appreciated.

3) Obviously: DL and DCA.

So, here are some of my questions:

Do we fly into SNA, shuttle and stay in a walkable DL hotel for our entire stay, renting a car for 2 "off" days sometime during the middle to the trip? 1 daytrip to San Diego, 1 daytrip to .......?


Do we fly into one airport, change hotels, and fly out of another airport? I really don't like changing hotels, but I was thinking something along the lines of flying into LAX getting a car and nearby hotel, staying 1 night to do whatever it is we decide to do, then driving to DL area late the next day. Stay put 4 (?) nights. Check out, rent car, drive to San Diego to visit relatives, get hotel for 1 night and drive selves to airport (San Diego) the next day.

Or is there an option I'm missing?

Also, is 4 nights too little or too long for the Disney stuff?

How hard is renting a car going to be if we don't get a rental from the airport? I haven't rented a car while on vacation since 1993!:lmao:

I have been researching / planning this all of about 24 hours, so I know almost nothing. If I can't pull this off, we will just be driving to WDW....again. I do want to go back, but I feel like we should take the kids somewhere else! We do long weekend trips closer to home, but our main family vacations have only been to WDW. Still Disney, but at least a different state!!

Thanks for any help or suggestions. I really need to book something quickly and am having a very hard time making decisions!

Disney Dreams 02-11-2013 10:04 PM

Okay, so I think a LA/Disney/San Diego vacation is very doable and could be a lot of fun. There are a variety of ways you could do your trip -- none are more right or wrong than another.

San Diego is about an hour and a half from DLR. you could drive down, visit, and drive back or drive down, spend the night, and fly out of San Diego. If you rent your car at SNA and drop it at San Diego, it will probably have an additional fee. You could drive back up to SNA on departure day to avoid that fee.

It's sort of a question of time vs. money.

You could do LA from your hotel in Anaheim, just try to avoid rush hour traffic in the AM and the PM.

Does that help get you started? :)

- Dreams

TheChapman6 02-11-2013 10:09 PM

I don't know if I would go during spring break because of the crowds. If you think you will have a blast then I would say you may need 4 days to see/do everything? I would not rent a car while at disney because it will sit in a parking lot and charge you fees for the rental and the parking. I would use a shuttle and then rent a car after your stay at DL/DCA to drive to see family and whatever else so it's less of an expense.

hope23 02-11-2013 10:11 PM

It is a lot of work... but oh, so worth it!! Our family has several similarities to yours. We are doing DL rather than WDW to be similar, but different. While researching Southern California, we came up with so many other fun activities, that we are actually only doing DL for a couple of the days. I don't know what your family is into or your kids' ages, but we are trying some other things that may be of interest. We will be in San Diego for 3 days and while there we are doing:
*Legoland (our boys are sooooo excited about this)
*Kayak along the coast of La Jolla (comes very highly recommended- minimum age is 6).
*Tour the USS Midway which is a Battleship.
*Take a boat ride at Dana Point
*Balboa Park
*See sea lions at Children's Park.
Then to LA where we will take in all the traditional tourist stuff/ Hollywood... because WE'RE HERE... may as well experience it. Also, near LA you can go on whale watching tours from Newport Landing. Then we'll end our trip with a couple of days in DL/DCA. We're quite excited to try so many different things and our kids are super excited about the non-Disney things too!

We are flying into San Diego and out of LAX. We're glad about this, but be prepared that renting a car at one place and returning it another is quite a bit more expensive.

Yes, it's different than WDW... but now that I dove in, I can't wait to do it!

dpinchot 02-11-2013 11:27 PM

I'd definitely look at flying in and out of different airports. Next month, I'll be flying into SNA, heading to San Diego for a night, heading back up to Hollywood, and flying out of Burbank. I try to avoid LAX at all costs because it's so hectic. I've used SAN, SNA, ONT and BUR. With Southwest, it's super easy and pretty reasonable. It's a lot better than having to head back to your original airport, though you have to watch for drop fees on rental cars. Still, worth it IMO.

theluckyrabbit 02-12-2013 02:34 AM

Would your relatives be interested in joining you for a day at DLR? Or for some sightseeing in L.A.? If so, then you would only need a rental car for one day.

pikaboo27 02-12-2013 11:24 AM

You could easily fly into SNA, take a cab to Disney, spend your 4 days, then get up the next morning and rent a car from the Alamo at Downtown Disney, do your LA stuff and then drive to San Diego, visit family and fly out of San Diego. Then you would only have to rent a car for 2 days at the end of your trip.

We rented a car for the day from that Alamo for a day trip to visit a friend at Universal so I know it's an easy place to do it.

nikkistevej 02-12-2013 12:59 PM

Just set up my rental car for our Aug San Diego/DLR trip, we are flying into San Diego and leaving from LAX, we got a compact(just me/DH/DD10) and it was $375.00- that was with no discounts, so I am hoping it goes down to about $300ish. It was worth it for us to not have to drive back down to SNA. :thumbsup2

4luv2cdisney 02-14-2013 12:38 AM

Lots of good info in the replies here! Thanks everyone!

There are so many hotel options, airport options (there are 2 near home to choose from for our flight out, too) and possible ways to do this! I have spent hours trying to find the right hotel and the best flight and airfare possible. A lot to research, so little time! I still haven't booked anything!

I think we could stay 8 nights instead of 6 if we travelled around Thanksgiving (my kids have a whole week off school), so we may end up putting it off until then!

Oh, and of course, my DH has had car trouble this week. So we are dropping his truck off for repair in the morning. The estimate for the work was $1,300. Kind of took me out of "planning mode". Also makes me not want to spend so much money!:lmao: I have Friday off work and am going to try to make a decision by then!

4luv2cdisney 02-14-2013 12:42 AM


Originally Posted by TheChapman6 (Post 47479373)
I don't know if I would go during spring break because of the crowds. If you think you will have a blast then I would say you may need 4 days to see/do everything? I would not rent a car while at disney because it will sit in a parking lot and charge you fees for the rental and the parking. I would use a shuttle and then rent a car after your stay at DL/DCA to drive to see family and whatever else so it's less of an expense.

I am concerned about crowds. Unfortunately, I can no longer take the kids out of school for trips and my DH cannot take time off in the summer. So, we are basically left with Spring Break, Thanksgiving break, or Christmas (but none of us want to travel at Christmas). So, crowds either way!

mikedoyleblogger 02-14-2013 12:56 AM

At least in terms of the airports on the CA side, you could see that as a blessing, too. It's *really* easy to get from LAX and SNA to Disneyland, and not really a big challenge from the secondary airports, either. So it doesn't matter too much which one you choose. There really isn't a "wrong" decision in this regard :-)

Greysword 02-14-2013 07:25 PM


Originally Posted by hope23 (Post 47479402)
*Tour the USS Midway which is a Battleship.

I apologize for nit picking, but as a Navy sailor I got the twitch from this :upsidedow

USS Midway:

Iowa class Battleship:

Midway is an aircraft carrier. Just wanted to set the right expectations :)

Now, to read the other DISer's posts...

Greysword 02-14-2013 07:51 PM

I, too, like the idea of basically making it two trips (Anaheim/LA and San Diego); flying into one and leaving via the other.

I'm not sure about your family's financial situation or credit, but in my quest to reduce Disney travel costs, I investigated the credit card miles/points game. I know some cards have decent sign up bonuses, such as a free two nights in a Hyatt after $1,000 spend on the Chase card (like your truck repair), the Hilton American Express card (no annual fee version) has 40,000 Hilton points after $750 spend, which you can use for a cash & points room to make the room rates less expensive. The Citi Hilton Reserve card has two free weekend night rooms after $2,500 spend (I think that's it), along with Gold status with the hotel chain (free breakfast and internet with the chain). Of course, there are airline versions as well, which can save on airfare expenses, enabling you to channel the cash into hotel/park costs.

Maybe something worth looking into.

Also, you may want to look into signing up for rental car preferred programs, since many times they will have your car ready (no check-in desk) and sometimes auto upgrade to a bigger vehicle.

Just remember, DLR is much easier to plan than WDW. A basic framework is usually fine for both on-property and off-property activities.

sunflare 02-14-2013 09:56 PM

LOL @Greysword! That's kind of like my DH... he was on a BOAT (submarine for non-Navy), not a ship, and any time the two get interchanged I am in trouble!

SGDisneyFam 02-15-2013 10:52 AM

FYI Avis has no drop fees for one way rentals, and try code B7900000

I got a minivan for a week and a day for just over 400 bucks on a one way rental.

Mousesavers has lots of codes and info for car rentals.

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