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Old 12-10-2012, 11:29 AM   #1
erin1715
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Help w/planning trip

Hi all, my husband and I will be making our first trip to California at the end of February. We will be arriving on a Monday, staying 8 full days, and leaving on a Wednesday to come home.

The only thing we know for sure is that we want to visit Disneyland for at least 2 of those days.

We will be flying into and out of LAX (best price and times I could find) and renting a car.

We want to see what LA/Hollywood has to offer and we want to visit San Diego, but not necessarily the zoo. We'd like to see a beach one day. We will not be venturing into northern Cali at all.

I guess I"m looking for what order we should do all these things in. Should we do Disney first? Or would it make more sense to drive right to San Diego first and then end up closer to LA/Hollywood since thats where we're flying out upon departure.

Also, how many days would you recommend at each place we want to see?

I appreciate any and all advice! I'm used to planning a Disney World vacation and that is very easy for me. This is new territory!
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Old 12-10-2012, 11:27 PM   #2
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For your LA area time, you should definitely considering visiting The Getty...simply breathtaking views, and of course, a world-class museum. And, it's free...you only pay a nominal cost for parking.

In San Diego, a fun place to eat is the Corvette Diner. We loved it!
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Old 12-12-2012, 02:51 PM   #3
PHXscuba
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Part of it might depend on what time your flight arrive/depart. If you are getting in late, you might want to start with Hollywood. If you have an early flight to get back home, maybe end with Hollywood/LA and stay near the airport.

If there is entertainment only playing on certain days at Disneyland (like weekends) you might want to be there those days. In fact, check the times and closures at all the places you want to hit -- end of February is off-season most everywhere in SoCal and certain attractions might have really short hours, be closed on Mondays, etc.

There are beaches everywhere; depending on how flexible your time or perfect beach is, you might want to wait on weather and pick a possible beach in each area that you would go to if the weather cooperates. For example, going to a beach in Orange County near Disneyland and driving up to LA at the end of the day vs. driving to LA at the beginning of the day and doing Hollywood stuff.

If you have more details about where you want to go, board members can probably offer more specific ideas. How many hotels do you plan -- one for each area or day trips from OC only? Where are you coming from?

PHXscuba
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:17 AM   #4
erin1715
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Originally Posted by PHXscuba View Post
Part of it might depend on what time your flight arrive/depart. If you are getting in late, you might want to start with Hollywood. If you have an early flight to get back home, maybe end with Hollywood/LA and stay near the airport.

If there is entertainment only playing on certain days at Disneyland (like weekends) you might want to be there those days. In fact, check the times and closures at all the places you want to hit -- end of February is off-season most everywhere in SoCal and certain attractions might have really short hours, be closed on Mondays, etc.

There are beaches everywhere; depending on how flexible your time or perfect beach is, you might want to wait on weather and pick a possible beach in each area that you would go to if the weather cooperates. For example, going to a beach in Orange County near Disneyland and driving up to LA at the end of the day vs. driving to LA at the beginning of the day and doing Hollywood stuff.

If you have more details about where you want to go, board members can probably offer more specific ideas. How many hotels do you plan -- one for each area or day trips from OC only? Where are you coming from?

PHXscuba
The flight arriving to LAX gets in around 5pm and we are coming from New York State. We will depart on 3/6 for a 6am flight...ugh! I was thinking of doing Disney for our first 3 days (Tues, Wed, Thurs), but I do want to see Fantasmic and the World of Color. It doesn't look like the February schedule is out yet for Disneyland, but if those shows aren't shown during the week then I will plan on visiting at least 1 weekend day instead of all 3 days during the week. We are thinking of buying the City Pass and doing a day at Universal Hollywood (possibly Friday), but we aren't very interested in Sea World. We also want to do the Warner Bros. tour in Hollywood, but that is only a couple hours.

I have read that trying to do Hollywood/LA during the week is a nightmare with traffic, so I was thinking of doing Hollywood on Saturday, then driving to San Diego Sunday morning and spending Sunday, Monday, all day Tuesday in San Diego and driving back to spend the night near LAX Tuesday night for our early flight on Wednesday.

We aren't really lay on the beach all day type people, so I think just a quick visit would suffice for us.

So, as far as hotels, we definitely want to stay within walking distance when we do Disneyland and definitely want to get a hotel and stay in San Diego. What do you recommend for the LA visit? Should we just commute from the hotel that we stay at for our Disney visit or should we try to get something a little closer to LA?
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:27 PM   #5
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I really can't speak to where specifically to stay in the LA/Hollywood area, but be aware that Disneyland to Hollywood is about 1 to 1.5 hours, and to go there for the day you will be right in rush hour unless you come and go at really odd times. Maybe stay near Universal -- Warner Bros, Hollywood, and Universal are fairly close by. If you only have to drive a little, going to Hollywood midday won't be too bad.

What do you plan to do in San Diego for your several days?

The problem with going to DL the first few days is both that you may miss some entertainment, and then have to backtrack to Hollywood/LA. Then driving from LA to SD is a looong drive even on the weekend.

What about ...

Monday -- fly in ("feels like" 8 pm) stay in LA
Tues -- Universal
Wed -- Warner Bros tour, Hollywood, Santa Monica beach/pier, drive to DL
Th -- DL
Fri -- DL
Sat -- DL
Sun -- SD
Mon -- SD
Tue -- SD, drive to LA airport hotel
Wed -- early flight out

PHXscuba
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHXscuba View Post
I really can't speak to where specifically to stay in the LA/Hollywood area, but be aware that Disneyland to Hollywood is about 1 to 1.5 hours, and to go there for the day you will be right in rush hour unless you come and go at really odd times. Maybe stay near Universal -- Warner Bros, Hollywood, and Universal are fairly close by. If you only have to drive a little, going to Hollywood midday won't be too bad.

What do you plan to do in San Diego for your several days?

The problem with going to DL the first few days is both that you may miss some entertainment, and then have to backtrack to Hollywood/LA. Then driving from LA to SD is a looong drive even on the weekend.

What about ...

Monday -- fly in ("feels like" 8 pm) stay in LA
Tues -- Universal
Wed -- Warner Bros tour, Hollywood, Santa Monica beach/pier, drive to DL
Th -- DL
Fri -- DL
Sat -- DL
Sun -- SD
Mon -- SD
Tue -- SD, drive to LA airport hotel
Wed -- early flight out

PHXscuba
That plan looks good. We don't have any set plans for SD yet but we've heard it's so beautiful and so we want to just visit the area. We are thinking about the SD Zoo, but is it better/worse than Animal Kingdom in WDW? Or is it entirely different? I love animals but I don't exactly like seeing caged animals, and that's why I like Animal Kingdom because I feel like the animals have more freedom than a typical "zoo". Is SD Zoo worth visiting? Is there anything you suggest seeing in SD? Or should we add another day to Disneyland and only do SD for 2 days?

I think we would like to visit Yosemite or Sequoia Park, but that seems to be kinda a far drive. We don't have any plans to return to CA soon, so we want to see as much as we can. I've been to SF before and I really enjoyed it, but again it's a far drive.

I'm pretty much open to all ideas at this point, haha!
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:53 PM   #7
PHXscuba
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I think unless you were willing to give Yosemite etc. about half of your trip, you would probably spend more time driving than seeing. Beautiful area but not close and possibly difficult access in winter.

The San Diego Zoo has some nice exhibits and lots of their enclosures are newer rather than "cages." Maybe check out the SD Zoo Safari Park north of SD -- run by the SD Zoo people but much more open.

Depending on the weather, you might want to do a SD harbor tour or whale watching if that interests you -- it's the right time of year. If you're from cold country, simply being outside in February will be nice!

Balboa Park has quite a few unique museums; you might find one on a subject that interests you. SD also has a hop-on/off trolley tour if you just want to see the city.

I found Trip Advisor's San Diego forum very helpful planning for that area -- lost of DIS-boards-type friendly people who live locally or visit a lot to give you ideas.

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Old 12-18-2012, 07:25 PM   #8
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I think the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is totally worth it.. but only if you do one of the caravan tours... you get to feed the giraffes and rhinos... totally fun.
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