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Old 05-05-2012, 01:24 PM   #1
mbw12
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Help me plan this trip!

Back story: Ive been to California (Los angeles) once in 1991. I dont remember much at all other then we went over memorial Day week and it rained...a lot. We own DVC and go to Disney World atleast 2 times a year. We are a family of 4 from NJ...myself, DH, DS 14, DD 12.

Sooo....now we want to plan a trip for our family and I have LOTS and LOTS of questions:

1) Which resort would be best to use our Disney points at? (walking distance to parks, atmosphere, etc)

2) how many days would we need in the parks TOTAL? We dont need to see and do everything....but want to hit a lot. Is 3 full days enough?

3) Driving distance to LA? San Diego? Venice Beach/Santa Monica? Marina Del Rey? Could these all be day trips or would we need to do overnight stays in these areas?

4) Must sees: a)obviously Disney parks. b) Hollywood sign, walk of fame, Graumans theater, anythign else in Hollywood? Kids want typical tourist stuff and restaurants, so any suggestions would be great! c) Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive d) BEACH and ocean.

5) Which month is best to go? We want our best shot at great weather....and like I said before, we went over Memorial Day and it rained....lol...just our luck. but serioulsy is Spring (at Easter time) or Summer (either Memorial Day timeframe or the beginning of July) the best time to go?

I have lots more questions as I am just starting my research now. But thought I would start with my Disers to get some info!
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Old 05-06-2012, 03:15 PM   #2
taaren
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbw12 View Post
1) Which resort would be best to use our Disney points at? (walking distance to parks, atmosphere, etc)
VGC is the only one that uses DVC points. The DLH is beautiful, and a very Disney place to stay, though its farther (you have to walk through DTD), but you would have to convert your points to Reservation points to use. You'd be better off renting out your points and booking DLH for cash most likely if you could get any kind of a discount.
The only villas are at the VGC, and you have a private entrance to DCA. It doesn't get much better than that distance-wise.
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Originally Posted by mbw12 View Post
2) how many days would we need in the parks TOTAL? We dont need to see and do everything....but want to hit a lot. Is 3 full days enough?
Since you're going after Carsland opening I'd say 4-5. Hydroguy has a DLR for WDW Vets thread, look it up. Its awesome. There are almost as many attractions in the two parks of DLR as there are in all 4 WDW parks, they're just all in a much smaller space. And don't forget to park hop every day since the parks are right next to each other.
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Originally Posted by mbw12 View Post
3) Driving distance to LA? San Diego? Venice Beach/Santa Monica? Marina Del Rey? Could these all be day trips or would we need to do overnight stays in these areas?
To L.A.? Since I'm from NorCal, I consider DLR to be part of L.A. (I know, OC people are gasping in horror, but that's how Bay Areans see y'all). To San Diego is 1.5 hours + depending on traffic. I wouldn't consider it a day trip, though some people do it that way. For S.D. I'd move to a S.D. hotel and launch from there (we usually stay in Old Town, then go to the Zoo, SeaWorld, etc from that starting point ... also personally hate driving in SoCal, because drivers there are insane, so we take Amtrak). Santa Monica and Hollywood are definitely day trips.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbw12 View Post
4) Must sees: a)obviously Disney parks. b) Hollywood sign, walk of fame, Graumans theater, anythign else in Hollywood? Kids want typical tourist stuff and restaurants, so any suggestions would be great! c) Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive d) BEACH and ocean.
Depends on what you're into. For us if we go to Hollywood we usually catch a show (saw Wicked 2 years in a row there, it was gorgeous). For my brother a must-see is the baseball games. We also love Magic Mountain for the thrill rides, but that's not if you're into the themed-ness of Disney.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbw12 View Post
5) Which month is best to go? We want our best shot at great weather....and like I said before, we went over Memorial Day and it rained....lol...just our luck. but serioulsy is Spring (at Easter time) or Summer (either Memorial Day timeframe or the beginning of July) the best time to go?
Spring is nice, and early summer is nice. Once you get into mid-June it gets hot (though not as hot as Florida) and it gets crowded. My friends go in July due to scheduling it with their kids' competitions and wish they could go when its less hot and crowded, thought the long hours are great they end up spending a lot of time in line. We like the fall and early winter. Just be aware that the trade-off for low crowds (ie. late April, and May) is that potentially some attractions at DLR will be closed for refurbs. Hydroguy has a thread on this too.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:11 PM   #3
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Since you want to do a Hollywood day, I'd spend the night near Hollywood (probably more toward Universal Studios) as it's not a lot of fun to drive from DL to Hollywood for the day.

I am a major touristy person even though I live in CA. Chinese Theatre (footprints), Kodak theatre (Oscars), Disney soda fountain all right by each other with stars up/down the sidewalk.

Pinks hot dogs, drive down Sunset. Window shopping on Rodeo Drive. We have been known to buy the map of the star homes and drive around BelAir and Beverly Hills. We then head to Malibu for ice cream, down towards Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach and then back to the motel (could head down to DL to check in).

5 nights in Anaheim 4 days in DL then down to San Diego.
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