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Old 01-07-2013, 09:02 PM   #61
Sherry E
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It's very strange how the universe works...

(This is vaguely Catalina-related.) Just 2 days ago when I was typing out that above ^^ response to Kathy about Disneyland/Christmas stuff, I also almost suggested that she look up some Catalina-related TV shows online, to get an actual moving visual of what the town of Avalon and the island of Catalina are like. I think I decided to wait until another post to do that.

The shows I had planned to recommend were from TV travelogue host Huell Howser's series, "California's Gold"...specifically, his shows about the flying fish boat tour, the iconic Casino and the Wrigley Botanical Garden (the latter two of which you saw plenty of in this very report from July!). Huell has done more shows than that about Catalina, but those are 3 of my favorites.

Huell has also done "Visiting," "Road Trip with Huell Howser," "California's Green," California's Water," "California's Golden Parks," and various shows about the missions of California. He visited Nevada and Alaska too. Another favorite show he did was in Mexico, in which he took this boat tour to see whales migrating, and the whales came right up to the small boat. He was so amazed and excited. He didn't even try to restrain his enthusiasm like most TV reporters will do.

Huell also did a great hour-long special about Farmers Market (not The Grove). He has a show about Pink's Hot Dogs. I think he did a show at the La Brea Tar Pits. He's covered the L.A. Zoo and Sea World. He never did shows about Disneyland for some reason, but he - quite literally - covered every corner of California and all points in between. He would find the beauty and wonder in things like "vernal pools" and jacaranda trees. He would find the magic in egg nog and watch conventions. He would take the ordinary and mundane and make it exciting, whether he was talking about doughnuts or recording studios or In-n-Out Burger.

In any case, Huell Howser - a Tennessee transplant - had an extremely likable, guileless, unaffected way about him, which is rare for California. He had a boyish excitement and exuberance that was unparalleled. He was excited over everything he saw and everywhere he went. He just seemed like a kind soul; a good-natured man; a good person. He seemed like the sort of person who could be your friendly neighbor, or who you could approach in a grocery store. He was someone you probably wouldn't hesitate to say hello to because he was so genuinely nice, whether he was talking to a farmer in a small town or a member of a rock band.

Anyway, sadly, Huell Howser passed away last night. He was only 67, so I am guessing he was ill.

The Catalina Island Museum posted a nice message on their Facebook page about Huell's passing today, calling him a friend to the Museum and to Catalina in general. I must admit that I got misty-eyed. When someone passes on who seemed like such a decent person - a bright light - and who educated so many people on the wonders of California, big and small, in his very simple, no-frills way, the loss is really felt.

So, if there is anyone out there who has read this report and has been curious to take a trip to Catalina, I would also suggest that you look up some of Huell Howser's Catalina Island shows online. I know that he donated his entire archive to Chapman University, and they digitized the shows and made them available online - but I would guess that they can be found on YouTube too.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:52 PM   #62
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Wow! I want to thank you for this report (and subscribe to it). I was looking for a few different things to do during our SoCal portion of our trip this summer and this looks to be perfect.

I may come back with a few questions once I finish looking it over. Thanks again! Can't wait to visit there!!
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:28 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stacy~** View Post
Wow! I want to thank you for this report (and subscribe to it). I was looking for a few different things to do during our SoCal portion of our trip this summer and this looks to be perfect.

I may come back with a few questions once I finish looking it over. Thanks again! Can't wait to visit there!!
Hello, Stacy! Welcome!

I'm so glad you stumbled upon this trip report and joined in!

I am so used to posting reports in the actual Disneyland TR section that when I branched out and put my Catalina TR in this California forum last year I was certain that no one would ever find it. While it's true that it probably doesn't generate nearly as much traffic as my Disneyland reports do, the funny thing is that I think that more people have stumbled upon this particular TR in the last month or so than they did when I was writing it and posting photos here last year!

Anyway, if you haven't already found it in the Southern California section of the board, I have another thread about Catalina here - http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2703621. It started out as mainly a thread to promote the free birthday round trip boat offer by Catalina Express, but it turned into a sort of general purpose Catalina Island discussion and info thread. (Endy/Wendy posted a great recap of the 4th of July trip to Catalina that she took 2 years ago, based on my recommendation.) In fact, I think I posted a link to order the free Catalina Island Visitors Guide (it's like a book/magazine sort of thing rather than a brochure) on Page 1 of that thread too. You should order the free guide! It's a great start to getting familiar with Avalon and Catalina.

I, personally, think that Catalina is a great place to visit for a day trip or a weekend trip (especially if you love the sea and nature and cute little beachy towns and all that goes with those things), and during the summer months (when you'd be going) you get the added benefit of some extra tours being available that are not available during the off-peak seasons, such as the Flying Fish tour (which only happens after the sun goes down) and a couple of other ocean tours. I think you'd enjoy it! Most people I have either brought to Catalina or referred there have liked it, with a couple of exceptions over the years. If for no other reason, they love the beautiful scenery from up in the hills.

Feel free to ask any questions, either here or in the other thread I linked above, and hopefully I or someone (like endy/Wendy) will be able to answer them!
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:02 PM   #64
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I'm pretty sure we'll take a trip to Catalina on our December trip but now the question is whether we book it through the disney site OR do it on our own. I like that the excursion from the disney site includes transportation to/from Long Beach as we don't plan on renting a car.

We aren't sure whether or not to do this over the weekend or during the week......I'm guessing during the week would be less crowded!
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:30 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by ksromack View Post
I'm pretty sure we'll take a trip to Catalina on our December trip but now the question is whether we book it through the disney site OR do it on our own. I like that the excursion from the disney site includes transportation to/from Long Beach as we don't plan on renting a car.

We aren't sure whether or not to do this over the weekend or during the week......I'm guessing during the week would be less crowded!
Hi, Kathy! I'm glad you came back!

In that other Catalina thread that I linked for Stacy above, I was telling DIS'er sunny45 the other day that crowds in Avalon/Catalina are different than, say, crowds in a Disney park.

In Disney parks, the crowds are concentrated around the lines for rides and in shops and in waiting areas for shows. In Avalon, because there are so many outdoorsy types of activities to do, people tend to spread out. They are either up in the hills, on the other side of the island or out on the water somewhere. They may be sunbathing on the tiny beach. But the crowds don't tend to congregate in big mobs around Catalina like they would in theme parks.

December is considered the off-peak season for Catalina. A lot of people don't want to go there during that time because it is very chilly by the water. Some of the tours will have shorter hours and a shorter schedule, as will the boat that takes you to and from the island. So, however you end up booking, be sure that you get the most time you can possibly manage for one day so you will have more flexibility in planning things to do.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:09 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Sherry E View Post
Hello, Stacy! Welcome!

I'm so glad you stumbled upon this trip report and joined in!

I am so used to posting reports in the actual Disneyland TR section that when I branched out and put my Catalina TR in this California forum last year I was certain that no one would ever find it. While it's true that it probably doesn't generate nearly as much traffic as my Disneyland reports do, the funny thing is that I think that more people have stumbled upon this particular TR in the last month or so than they did when I was writing it and posting photos here last year!

Anyway, if you haven't already found it in the Southern California section of the board, I have another thread about Catalina here - http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2703621. It started out as mainly a thread to promote the free birthday round trip boat offer by Catalina Express, but it turned into a sort of general purpose Catalina Island discussion and info thread. (Endy/Wendy posted a great recap of the 4th of July trip to Catalina that she took 2 years ago, based on my recommendation.) In fact, I think I posted a link to order the free Catalina Island Visitors Guide (it's like a book/magazine sort of thing rather than a brochure) on Page 1 of that thread too. You should order the free guide! It's a great start to getting familiar with Avalon and Catalina.

I, personally, think that Catalina is a great place to visit for a day trip or a weekend trip (especially if you love the sea and nature and cute little beachy towns and all that goes with those things), and during the summer months (when you'd be going) you get the added benefit of some extra tours being available that are not available during the off-peak seasons, such as the Flying Fish tour (which only happens after the sun goes down) and a couple of other ocean tours. I think you'd enjoy it! Most people I have either brought to Catalina or referred there have liked it, with a couple of exceptions over the years. If for no other reason, they love the beautiful scenery from up in the hills.

Feel free to ask any questions, either here or in the other thread I linked above, and hopefully I or someone (like endy/Wendy) will be able to answer them!
Thanks, Sherry! I ordered the vistors guide today! Still need to find the time to look at your report in more detail. Was orginally thinking of a day trip but might look into an overnight stay. Very interested in the golf cart, seal tour and possibly zip line for my older daughter and me. I am hoping to start a PTR in the next week or so to have a place to collect all my ideas. Hopefully once I do you can offer advice on some of my plans, etc.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:01 PM   #67
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Thanks, Sherry! I ordered the vistors guide today! Still need to find the time to look at your report in more detail. Was orginally thinking of a day trip but might look into an overnight stay. Very interested in the golf cart, seal tour and possibly zip line for my older daughter and me. I am hoping to start a PTR in the next week or so to have a place to collect all my ideas. Hopefully once I do you can offer advice on some of my plans, etc.
Stacy -

Fortunately, this specific trip report is short and it is mostly comprised of photos in the first few pages...there won't be a whole lot of reading to do. Even the other thread that I linked above (the one from the SoCal forum) is not too long in terms of the number of pages, but there is a lot more reading to do because it's mostly comprised of information/discussion about Catalina.

The golf cart is really a quintessential Catalina thing to do - especially on your very first trip to Catalina. So I think that's a good idea. I recommend getting to the golf cart rental place as early as possible after it opens (so the carts don't get snapped up immediately), and doing the "Get 3 hours for the price of 2 hours" deal. Now it is not going to take 3 hours just to drive around town and up in the hills, BUT the key is to spend part of the 3 hours at the Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden (which I posted a lot of photos of in this report). You can take the golf cart to Wrigley, get out and wander around for a while, climbing up the steps, etc. Then, use the rest of your golf cart time to drive up in the hills, over to the Casino and around the little side streets in town.

When you incorporate Wrigley into the golf cart time, it's easy to fill out the 3 hours.

The seal tour (whatever they are calling it now) is fun. The semi-submersible tour is great fun (don't do the glass bottom boat tour - even though it is synonymous with Catalina - when you could do the semi-sub instead, which is great for seeing fish up close). The flying fish tour is a nighttime tour - and you'd be surprised at how many fish jump out of the water during this tour (sometimes they land in the boat!).

If anyone in your group is interested in architecture and beautiful design, the Casino tour is great. And endy/Wendy's son did the zip line and loved it!

Keep in mind that staying for one night only during summer might be tricky - a lot of places in Avalon will not allow for anything less than a 2-night stay in the summer. So your best bet would be to just do a long day trip (from early morning to nighttime) or stay a couple of nights. But if you a day trip, take the Catalina Express out of Long Beach and not the Catalina Flyer out of Newport (which has a very limited schedule).

I look forward to your Pre-TR! That's why I'm here on the DIS - to help give advice on the subjects that are my specific areas of interest (Disneyland at Christmas time, Halloween Time, Goofy's Kitchen, the Paradise Pier Hotel, Catalina Island, Farmers Market/The Grove, etc.) and to help connect our members to other threads or trip reports that will be most relevant to them.

Stay tuned to this thread (I will be headed to Avalon again if the Express renews the free birthday boat trip offer this year and will post about it) and subscribe/stay tuned to the other thread in the SoCal forum.
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Pumpkins, Peppermint, Pastels and...Club 33!!! - (A new chapter begins... Many photos and wacky tales, coming soon to a Trip Report thread near you!)
And for some non-holiday seaside fun in the sun ~~ 2012 Catalina Island/Avalon Trip Report - My Solo Day Trip, in Photos (LOTS of Photos!)- 7/21/12 & Highlights from 2013 & 2014
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:27 PM   #68
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Sherry, Thanks for directing me back to this. I had not seen your response.

I hadn't thought about the 2 night requirement for lodging but that makes sense. Luckily I had kinda already talked myself out of that plan. We like to just get to a hotel and settle in and since we are already dividing time between two places adding a 3rd would definately go against our typical travel routine. We will use this day trip to check it out and if we fall in love we may add it in for a longer stay next time!!

Thanks for the advice on the carts. Getting that extra hour for free seems like a great deal. We will be going on a weekday so hopefully that should help with sell outs but will still do our best to get there early (although there is NO WAY we would make the 6am one!!).

I will have to look at the tours closer and also look at the costs. Between the ferry ride over and the golf cart the day is already looking pretty costly. Are there any budget tips or discounts on any of these that you are aware of?
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:31 PM   #69
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Sherry, Thanks for directing me back to this. I had not seen your response.

I hadn't thought about the 2 night requirement for lodging but that makes sense. Luckily I had kinda already talked myself out of that plan. We like to just get to a hotel and settle in and since we are already dividing time between two places adding a 3rd would definately go against our typical travel routine. We will use this day trip to check it out and if we fall in love we may add it in for a longer stay next time!!

Thanks for the advice on the carts. Getting that extra hour for free seems like a great deal. We will be going on a weekday so hopefully that should help with sell outs but will still do our best to get there early (although there is NO WAY we would make the 6am one!!).

I will have to look at the tours closer and also look at the costs. Between the ferry ride over and the golf cart the day is already looking pretty costly. Are there any budget tips or discounts on any of these that you are aware of?
Stacy -

I think that sounds like a good plan. Use one day to visit Catalina and see if you love it, and if you do you can go back on a future trip and stay a couple of nights.

From what I've heard in the past, there are certain times of year when the hotels/cottages/bed & breakfasts in Avalon might allow for spontaneous 1-night stays...or they are at least more receptive to the idea. I would imagine that a lot of people visit for one day and decide they want to stay overnight, and if the hotel, etc. is not booked up then there is no sense in turning a guest away if they want to stay only one night.

But, as you can imagine, the summer months are peak season in a beach town such as Avalon so I think the hotels are less receptive to 1-night stays at the last minute. They probably allow for 1-night stays in the off-peak months (like late Fall and Winter).

I think the golf cart place (I posted a picture of it earlier in this thread) - the specific one I am recommending with the '3 hours for 2' deal - opens at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. You have until 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. (I think it changes) to rent the cart and get that specific '3 for 2' deal, but again, there are times (it happens often) when the carts are all rented out and you have to wait for people to start bringing them back.

What happens with a lot of folks when they rent the cart is that they simply drive up in the hills, don't stop other than to take a couple of photos, and then decide that they are only 1.5 hours into their rental time but they want to return the cart because they feel as if they have seen all there is to see.

I am one who likes to get 'more bang for my buck' and I will use every minute of that 3 hours, not bringing the cart back to the lot until 2 or 3 minutes before it's due! If I drive around for 1 hour and see pretty much all there is to see in the hills on the main path, then I will drive around again...and again...and again. I will look for little hidden paths or trails. Stopping at the Wrigley Memorial/Botanical Garden is a good way to kill some time - and the views from the Memorial are nice (after you climb the stairs!). I will also take the cart and drive over to the Casino, up and down the side streets of Avalon, and anywhere where the cart is not blocked off. I even got out and wandered in the pet cemetery once! I will use up that 3 hours! I don't let the time go to waste.

The golf cart should be $40 per hour - so $80 for the 3-hour deal. Bring cash and your drivers license - for some odd reason, the golf cart places don't take credit/debit cards. I'm not sure why.

As for discounts and things like that - during the off-peak season there are occasionally discounts on the round -trip boat fare. I don't think there would be any discounts in the summer. You can check Groupon from time to time (I've seen some Catalina Express discounts pop up there before), and also the big Entertainment Book (the one that everyone used to get to grab the HoJo's hotel deals). I've seen some Catalina Express coupons in the Entertainment Book in the past, but not every year.

Some people take the Catalina Flyer out of Newport Beach (which may be slightly cheaper than the Express) - but I don't recommend that. I think that the Flyer is fine if you are visiting the island for at least a couple of days. However, for a 1-day trip taking the Flyer is not the most practical. The reason for this - as I explained to sunny45 in my "FREE Catalina Express Birthday Boat Ride" thread a week or so ago - is that the schedule for the Flyer is way, way too limited. There are literally only one or two departure times (going to Avalon) and one or two return times (back to the mainland) - and the return times are fairly early.

For a 1-day trip the Catalina Express is much better because there are many departure times and many return times - so this allows you to have more flexibility in your plans. If you can't book the boat that leaves in the 6 a.m. hour, then you could try for the one in the 7:00 a.m. hour, or the 8 a.m. hour, etc. You have choices. With the Catalina Flyer, you don't have those choices.

I don't know of any deep discounts on the tours, but in the past I'm pretty sure I have seen coupons here or there for a few bucks off certain ones - though I can't recall where I saw them (maybe on the Catalina Express website?? I'm not sure.). Just avoid the glass-bottom boat tour because it's not the best way to actually see any sea life. The semi-submersible is much better for seeing fish up close (and seeing sharks too, sometimes!).

If you like seafood, there are sit-down options and counter service options. Rosie's on the Pier (less expensive) is a counter service place, but a lot of people like the food there. Armstrong's is the table service place for seafood.

I like Antonio's Cabaret on the main strip - next to Armstrong's. It's not a seafood place, but it is sit-down and there are a lot of things on the menu. Plus, you can get a table right over the water and look down to see the bright orange Garibaldi fish and occasionally a flying fish splashing about.
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Pumpkins, Peppermint, Pastels and...Club 33!!! - (A new chapter begins... Many photos and wacky tales, coming soon to a Trip Report thread near you!)
And for some non-holiday seaside fun in the sun ~~ 2012 Catalina Island/Avalon Trip Report - My Solo Day Trip, in Photos (LOTS of Photos!)- 7/21/12 & Highlights from 2013 & 2014
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Old 02-02-2013, 04:46 PM   #70
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http://www.visitcalifornia.com/Fun-Spots/e80246

Here's a $7.50 off Catalina Express.

There are quite a few coupons on this site.

If I remember while waiting to leave Long Beach there is a Catalina tour kiosk and I think there was a discount for booking 3 or more tours at once. Also check out the tours on the Catalina site and view the webite listed on the tour. I know I had everything priced out before I went so I could get the best deal and how long each was.
Another option may be is to stay the night and several motels offer a pass to do some/all tours, this could work out to be the best deal depending on how many people and how many tours you want to do.
We spent 6 days on the island so we did most tours. Loved all of them especially the semi submersible, dolphin/sea lions, flying fish. Let's just say all were great. Also the tour up to the airport.
If you only have the day you'll want to do the shorter tours.
Definitely do the golf cart. It's a great way to explore, look for the house that was a boat near downtown.

Everything you see about 'island time' is true. It's very relaxed, nobody is in a hurry. I'd love to go back this summer but my ds16 wants to go somewhere new, he did the zipline and intro to scuba.
Wow I don't usually write so much but I loved Catalina so much I could go on and on.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:03 PM   #71
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Thanks, Endy! I bookmarked that coupon! (since my oldest will be 18 it will save us over $20!!).

Glad to hear you loved the island so much. I am really, really looking forward to it!!
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Old 04-02-2013, 09:56 PM   #72
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I found out that Catalina Express is once again doing the free birthday trip promo this year (3rd year in a row), in celebration of Avalon's 100th birthday!!! They start taking registrations for the new year on May 1st, but I don't think they have posted the updated info on their website yet (they still show April 30, 2013 as the end date).

Because my birthday will fall on a Sunday (in July) - which means later return times back to the mainland - I think I'm going to take advantage of this offer one more time! I have a feeling that by the time my 2014 birthday rolls around, the promo will have ended. This may be my last chance to get that free boat ride!

So, this means another Catalina Trip Report/photo report will be coming from me in a few months! I'm not sure if I will put it in this existing thread with my other Catalina TR (which is what I've done with my Disneyland TR thread - all of the Trip Reports you see linked in my signature below, except for Catalina, are in one single TR thread, so they're easy to find), or start a new thread.

But I hope to take a whole new array of photos around town, as I scout out more flowers, sea life and sunsets!!
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**...Rockin' my Disney Side since 1972 ... Now taking on the holidays, one photo (and one Superthread!) at a time...**

Pumpkins, Peppermint, Pastels and...Club 33!!! - (A new chapter begins... Many photos and wacky tales, coming soon to a Trip Report thread near you!)
And for some non-holiday seaside fun in the sun ~~ 2012 Catalina Island/Avalon Trip Report - My Solo Day Trip, in Photos (LOTS of Photos!)- 7/21/12 & Highlights from 2013 & 2014
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:04 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by Sherry E View Post
I found out that Catalina Express is once again doing the free birthday trip promo this year (3rd year in a row), in celebration of Avalon's 100th birthday!!! They start taking registrations for the new year on May 1st, but I don't think they have posted the updated info on their website yet (they still show April 30, 2013 as the end date).

Because my birthday will fall on a Sunday (in July) - which means later return times back to the mainland - I think I'm going to take advantage of this offer one more time! I have a feeling that by the time my 2014 birthday rolls around, the promo will have ended. This may be my last chance to get that free boat ride!

So, this means another Catalina Trip Report/photo report will be coming from me in a few months! I'm not sure if I will put it in this existing thread with my other Catalina TR (which is what I've done with my Disneyland TR thread - all of the Trip Reports you see linked in my signature below, except for Catalina, are in one single TR thread, so they're easy to find), or start a new thread.

But I hope to take a whole new array of photos around town, as I scout out more flowers, sea life and sunsets!!
This is wonderful news...we'll have to pay for ours in December....I wonder what day would be best to go to Catalina, thinking it would be nice to break up our Disneyland Adventure. We arrive Monday and leave the following Monday.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:00 PM   #74
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This is wonderful news...we'll have to pay for ours in December....I wonder what day would be best to go to Catalina, thinking it would be nice to break up our Disneyland Adventure. We arrive Monday and leave the following Monday.
Hi, Kathy!

It is good news. You know, when this Catalina Express birthday promo first began in May 2011, I signed up for it and made the reservation but ended up having to cancel for a few reasons. I was bummed out over having to cancel because I hadn't been to Catalina in so long (whereas it used to be an annual trip for me for many years) and I had no clue if the promo would be extended beyond that first year.

When I found out last year that Catalina Express was going to extend the offer for a second year, I thought "Okay, I am not missing out on this a second time! I am going, no matter what!" And of course I went, did this Trip Report and then secretly crossed my fingers that the offer would be extended for a 3rd year even though I knew it was likely a long shot. And now, it has been renewed for a 3rd year!

Honestly, I don't know how the Express can afford to keep renewing this free boat trip offer. I keep thinking they must be losing money, and at the same time I am thinking that they're attracting a lot of new business to the Island. The vendors who run the shops on the Island take a big hit when they give out little freebies (free ice cream; free coffee; free knick knacks) as part of the promo, and most of them did not want to participate for a 3rd year if the promo was extended.

As we all know, Disney Parks only ran their 'get in free on your birthday' offer for one year (2009), and they sure as heck didn't extend it beyond that! The Give a Day, Get a Day promo that happened after that was not quite the same. So I feel very lucky and blessed to have one more chance to sail over to Avalon for free because those boat rides are not cheap! If it were not Avalon's 100th birthday this year, I think the promo would have ended.


Kathy, remind me of your December dates again. I think you told me the specific dates in the past and I blanked out. I normally do my holiday Disneyland trip in the first or second week of December, so I wonder if I will end up being there at some point during your trip! I haven't booked anything yet, but it's a possibility.

Also, are you planning to head up to the L.A. area during your December trip as well (like to Farmers Market, The Grove, the Tar Pits, Hollywood, etc.)? Let me know if you do, as some of those places are in my neighborhood!

As for when you should go to Catalina during that specific Mon. - Mon. week, that is a good question. Maybe on Friday or Saturday. You want to make sure you're not too exhausted from Disneyland to walk around Catalina (even though Avalon itself is a tiny town), but a Friday or Saturday might offer a couple of extra boat times that aren't there during the earlier portion of the week.

I haven't been to the Island in (what Catalina considers to be) its off-peak season (which would be October-November-December) in so long, but I'm fairly positive you will run into very minimal crowds. It's not like Disneyland, where crowds are substantial for the holidays. As long as the weather holds up and there are no huge ocean swells, the boats should still run on schedule although the activities and boat departure/return times in December will be a bit more limited. Some of the tours shut down in the off-season. The golf carts are pretty much available all the time.


I noticed that a new restaurant is opening in Avalon (it will be open by summer) called Bluewater Grill. It is taking over the wonderful waterfront location that used to be occupied by a restaurant called the Busy Bee Cafe. Bluewater will be situated right next to Armstrong's Seafood and Antonio's Cabaret/Italian Restaurant, in that little waterfront block of restaurants. I love getting a table outside and looking down at the water for fish! In December, it probably will not be hard to get an outdoor table at Antonio's, Armstrong's or Bluewater!
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**...Rockin' my Disney Side since 1972 ... Now taking on the holidays, one photo (and one Superthread!) at a time...**

Pumpkins, Peppermint, Pastels and...Club 33!!! - (A new chapter begins... Many photos and wacky tales, coming soon to a Trip Report thread near you!)
And for some non-holiday seaside fun in the sun ~~ 2012 Catalina Island/Avalon Trip Report - My Solo Day Trip, in Photos (LOTS of Photos!)- 7/21/12 & Highlights from 2013 & 2014
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:21 PM   #75
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Ahoy, matey(s)!


Today is the first day of registration for the 3rd year of the Catalina Express Free Birthday Boat Ride promo (this latest cycle will last from May 1, 2013 - April 30, 2014), so I zoomed right over to the Express website this morning and registered myself.

I must admit that I was afraid there would be some sort of ominous message that popped up to tell me that I couldn't register again since I had already used this free boat ride offer in the past. But no such ominous message appeared, so I got in and they e-mailed me my special code to claim when I make my boat reservation. (I forgot to check out the list of participating vendors who will also be giving away birthday freebies and discounts in conjunction with this deal, so I don't know if another free ice cream cone and free cup of coffee are in my future or not!)

I cannot express strongly enough what a good deal this free boat ride is. Not only is the regular round-trip fare in the range of $70 (though you can find ways to get little teeny discounts here and there -- especially in the Catalina off-peak season, which is any time after Labor Day), but the mere fact that they are extending this for a 3rd solid year is astounding! I don't see how the Express can possibly be making any money!

Anyway, I only wish that my birthday were not in July. As anyone who has followed my Disneyland/Halloween Time/Christmas time trip reports knows, I am not a Summer person at all. I love the beach. I love the ocean. I love cool sea breezes and busy harbors. I love piers, lighthouses, dolphins, flying fish, weather-beaten seaside cottages, waves crashing against the rocks, seagulls, etc. I love burying my toes in sand (if it's clean sand).

I just don't love heat and smoldering hot sun (hence, my regular Disneyland trips in December!). The sun is not my friend. I've had the terrible, painful sunburns and mysterious skin growths to prove it all throughout my life.

I am a pasty-skinned Irish person, and I don't think that my ancestors ever went outside.

Alas, since I was born in July, I cannot avoid hot sun...especially when tackling the Endless Steps of Doom at the Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Garden.

But, unless the forecast tells me that it's going to be 100 degrees or something, I will soldier ahead.



Now...I just have to figure out what I'm going to do on this day trip. I feel like I should rent a golf cart again because I spent so much time at Wrigley last year that I didn't actually spend enough time in the hills, overlooking the scenic vistas, when I had the cart. When I realized that I was about to run out of precious cart time I put the pedal to the metal and hit the road like I was in a high speed freeway chase, just to get back to the golf cart rental place before said cart turned into a pumpkin. (I could almost hear "I Can't Drive 55" playing in the background as I zoomed around the dirt roads and narrow paths.)

Renting a golf cart upon arrival in Avalon is as much a tradition for me as eating at Goofy's Kitchen is at Disneyland.

But I don't know what will be happening money-wise, and I don't know if I will get another free boat ride in 2014. So, in some ways I feel like I should do something instead of the golf cart...like a tour. Maybe I can take the Safari Bus to the other side of the island (Two Harbors, and the Isthmus), which will basically put me in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of bees and not much to do except look at pelicans.

However, having traveled via the interior of the Island to Two Harbors in the past, I know that it is a great way to see a lot of bison/buffalo, often up close. Sometimes they even just mosey out into the road, in front of the various vehicles that cruise by. I like nature. I like to see critters that I wouldn't normally see at home. Maybe that can be an option.

Or, I can do the nighttime flying fish tour again, which I haven't done in probably 12 years.

Maybe the Casino tour? I can get some inside-the-ornate-ballroom-and-theater pictures?

Hmm...I will have to think on this.


I received my 2013 Catalina Visitors Guide in the mail a couple of days ago (I order one every year whether a trip is on the horizon or not), so I will skim through it and see if anything grabs me.



Stay tuned for updates between now and July!
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**...Rockin' my Disney Side since 1972 ... Now taking on the holidays, one photo (and one Superthread!) at a time...**

Pumpkins, Peppermint, Pastels and...Club 33!!! - (A new chapter begins... Many photos and wacky tales, coming soon to a Trip Report thread near you!)
And for some non-holiday seaside fun in the sun ~~ 2012 Catalina Island/Avalon Trip Report - My Solo Day Trip, in Photos (LOTS of Photos!)- 7/21/12 & Highlights from 2013 & 2014
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