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Old 08-10-2007, 04:52 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2003
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Posts: 652

Talking SeaWorld etc trip report w/ kids August 8/5-8/9 '07, DAY 1 of 3

Quick links:
DAY 2 of 3
DAY 3 of 3

Post 1 of 3: Day 1

When: Sunday-Thursday August 5th-9th 2007
Who: DH, me, DS6 and DD4, Grandma #1 & DH's sister 18, Grandma #2 and my bro 19
Where: SeaWorld, La Jolla beach, San Diego Harbor
Hotel: Motel 6 La Mesa
Transportation: drove from AZ
Park Package: "borrowed" SeaWorld "2 day for the price of 1" tickets
Weather: high 70's, low 80's, overcast in the mornings, sunny in the afternoons, cool breezes, very nice!

Day 1 is our hotel review. Day 2 will have our SeaWorld review, day 3/4 will have our La Jolla beach and SD Harbor review! HTH!

Overall it was a great trip, but DH and I have since decided that purchasing a GPS system for our car is necessary for the survival of our marriage haha! (guess its cheaper than buying plane tickets, right?!)

Day 1, Sunday 8/5: We drove from AZ, about 6 hours (including our frequent stops with the kids, otherwise its only a 5.5 hour drive) and arrived in the evening to our hotel. We stayed at the Motel 6 in La Mesa, which was about 15 minutes from SeaWorld. I was apprehensive about it since the reviews I had read online were very mixed. Also, when we looked online for availability at their website it showed rooms open, but when we would call to make reservations, they didn't have any. :/ I asked how often the website was updated and she said changes were shown immediately and that "rooms were going fast!" We checked the website again while on the phone with her and it still showed those rooms were available. I asked what would have happened if we had booked our rooms online and then showed up only to find out those rooms supposedly weren't available, and all she could say was "I'll have to talk to corporate about it". That happened with the one in El Cajon and in La Mesa. So in the end we decided to pay a bit more to book through Orbitz.com because at least then our rooms were guaranteed.

Honestly, both Motel 6 and Orbitz seemed to not have a good grip on what they were doing, but thankfully our rooms were available when we showed up and everything turned out fine. We were reserving 3 rooms at once and when we called Orbitz they transfered us to their sister company b/c they couldnt "book 3 rooms at once, only 1-2" so we talk to the other company and they tell us they have to transfer us back b/c they "can only book 5 rooms or more, not 3" Um. OK. So in the end we had to book each room separately and hope that all 3 would be available b/c they told us they couldnt check the availability for all 3 beforehand. ::sigh:: Add in the fact that their call center is run out of India, and you've got 2 whole hours on the phone to complete our reservations. Not happy. We called Motel 6 the next day to confirm that our reservation had indeed gone through and it had. We also printed out our copy from Orbitz and brought it with us just in case.

In the end, I guess you get what you pay for, and it WAS a good deal and saved us lots of money. It was only $65 a night, $275 total for 4 nights. The surrounding area was nice and the motel was *right* off the highway so it was easy to find and navigate to and from all of our other activities. 5 minutes away there was a huge shopping center with a Walmart & Target (which were both two stories!! Crazy!), Barnes & Nobles, Costco, Macys, Trader Joes, Chilis, Olive Garden, MickeyDs, Rubios, Chipotle, Jamba Juice, etc etc etc. So that was REALLY nice and convenient. We bought groceries that evening to keep in our room and we would grab quick meals before heading off to our next activity during the week. I had read that the fact that the motel was next to the highway and also next to the light rail station was a problem noise-wise, but no one in our group was bothered by it or had trouble sleeping. In fact I watched the tram thing go by multiple times while outside our room and it didnt make any noise at all. And the multiple times that we drove by the station there was no one there or any trams, so I'm not even sure they actually stop there. Also, the motel is tucked behind a car dealership so it felt very secluded and quiet. I did read that the highway exit was very twisty and confusing and it indeed was! It does a kinda roundabout thing with 3 roads leading off it and a 4 way stop right in the middle, but by the next day we had mastered it and it wasn't a problem. (I'm glad I wasn't the one driving though!)

We had 3 rooms, 2 rooms had 2 double beds, and 1 room had 1 double bed. All 3 were in fine condition, although like some of the reviews I read, in some rooms 1 of the wall lamps didn't work. We didnt care though...we were just sleeping there and the rest worked and it was plenty light enough without all 3 lamps on. The bathrooms were newly renovated- new showerheads, the showerbars curved out so the curtain wouldn't touch you. The bathrooms were roomy with plenty of space to change in, counters & sinks were newly updated. The tvs were on swivel things which was nice, and they had limited cable so we got TLC and Cartoon Network and a couple other cable stations. The rooms were clean and suited our needs just fine. The towels were indeed small, but we managed. One day we came back from the beach around 2pm and housecleaning was just barely getting to our room, so I had to go next door and give her our dirty towels from yesterday and grab some clean ones off her cart, but it wasnt that big of a deal and she was really nice about it and gave us a bunch extra. 1 room out of the three had a slight musty smell when we arrived, so we opened the door and window (which opens all the way) to let it air out and lit a candle, and by the time we went to sleep that night it was fine. 2 of the rooms had new AC/heater units, 1 had an older version. I must say that although ours looked new, it would make a loud noise every few hours, and that was irritating. No, it wasnt the Hilton, but it was livable and clean and thats all we cared about. And for a family of four on a tight budget it was perfect for us.

Some of the patrons were not-so-pleasant-looking, and since we arrived back at the hotel late most evenings there were usually 3-4 men standing outside their hotel rooms smoking and/or drinking. It bothered me a bit, but it was late and the kids were asleep anyway, so they didn't "see" anything. Most of the other patrons were just families like us. Other than that the hotel felt safe and clean overall. It was pretty small, and there was always someone in the office which had a window that looked out at all the rooms. The final say: I would definitely stay there again, which pretty much says it all.

Click HERE to read DAY 2 of 3: Seaworld!
DH PinkTink83 DS11 DD9 DS DD3

*Disneyland (CA) 5/06: 1st w/ kids! {Trip report} *SeaWorld 8/07: 1st w/ kids! {Trip report}
*Disneyland (CA) 10/08: 1st Halloween! *Daddy/Son Legoland 5/09
*Mommy/Daughter American Girl Place LA 1/11{Trip report}
*Disneyland (CA) 11/11: 1st Christmas! *Disneyland (CA) 1/13: Carsland!

Last edited by pinktink83; 08-23-2008 at 05:43 PM.
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