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Old 08-28-2008, 11:57 AM   #16
CrazyDuck
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Originally Posted by TheTXTaylors5 View Post
We figure this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip and really want the kids to see those great big trees. Also, we may try and plan something on the way from the Redwood National Park to Anaheim. Any suggestions?

Jennifer
Well, since you are going all the way up there after Vegas add a stop for a day at Yosemitie. On your way down from Redwood you will be driving through San Francisco (golden gate/Alcatraz) maybe? Then on your way to Anaheim take the Pacific Coast Highway . Also ok your way home or on your way out, when you are driving through New Mexico, you may want to check out Carlsbad Caverns.
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Old 08-28-2008, 12:48 PM   #17
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I too am planning a DLR trip this year... I know that dining on-site at WDW is IMO the only way to go...is it the same as DLR?

We always do the DDP at WDW, last trip we did DxDDP. Is it necessary at DLR. I was thinking Goofy or Minnie's dining would be OK. Because IIRC, its much easier to go out to eat at DL than at WDW.

I feel like a newbie all over again.
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:20 PM   #18
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DH gets more than three weeks a year for vacation (four if you count "personal" days). So, this will be a very long, but fun adventure. A few things to know about our family. We homeschool. So, we are pretty flexible on when to take our vacations. This will definitely be during a non-peak season. Our children LOVE roadtrips. Getting there is sometimes half the fun. They are NOT prone to whining while in the car. (Yes, we've been very lucky.) We've driven straight from Dallas, TX to Orlando, FL (19 + hours) without stopping (except for gas, food and bathroom breaks.). Also, we recently drove from TX to Northern VA in a day and half. With that said (written) . . . On this trip, I DO want lots of stops along the way to let the kids experience our great country.

Next year, our children will be DS9, DD7 and DS4 for our trip. We don't want to always wait until the kids get older for all our trips. (We ARE waiting for our Europe trip though. Since we all got our passports for a cruise last year, I want to use them outside of the Caribbean. But, we are holding off. Even though I'm itching to go now. Maybe by the time we go, the dollar will be stronger towards the Euro.) The older kids are getting closer and closer to not wanting to be around Mom and Dad on vacation anymore. Kids grow up way too fast these days. It's scary. DS8 was 2 when we went to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas last time and still talks about it. So, we have to plan that in somewhere. Mind you, we aren't dragging the kids through the casinos while we gamble. We like to take in the ambiance and maybe take in a show. Also, the shopping is amazing. DD5 is my little shopping companion. She's a girly girl. I can only image how she will be next year. I agree that the Grand Canyon isn't a whole day activity. However, I may want to surprise them with a helicopter or airplane tour of the Canyon. Those always look neat on the travel shows. We're creating our own real-life "On the Road with the Taylor's". (I did apply for a Travel Channel show and was called by a Producer. However, I haven't heard anymore about it though.) The kids are still too little for the water rapids tours. My Dad did that a few years ago and said it was fun. Okay, I stated it would be a once-in-a-lifetime trip. That may change. We're going on another once-in-a-lifetime trip to WDW in a few weeks. Also, those Disney cruises are addictive. (Can't visit The Grand Canyon and not reference The Brady Bunch episode. Okay, that ages me. But, I was watching the re-runs when I was a kiddo. )

I figured San Diego would be a couple of days trip. DH was there a few month back on business and "scoped" it out for us. We have a Sea World in TX (San Antonio). So, we are 50/50 whether to go while in San Diego. We do have two great local zoos (Fort Worth and Dallas). But, we wanted to take the kids to the "world-famous" San Diego Zoo. Polar bears alone would get DD5 there. She loves nature programs with polar bears and penguins. That is until a seal eats a penguin. Some of those nature programs can be gruesome.

Thanks for the Sequoia mention. I saw that on the map when I was looking for a CA route to DLR. That might make a better pit-stop than going all the way to Redwood Nat'l Forest. This is all still in the very beginning stages of planning. So, any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.

We definitely have to plan in some beach days. We love the ocean. However, I read it is VERY cold. So, maybe we can play on the beach and find a hotel with a nice pool. Any nice hotels near the beach in SD recommendations? I honestly take 0% advice from the ones posted on the travel sites, because most are posted from the hotel/company. That is why you usually have lots of 4 stars and then a 1 and 2 star. I take more stock in "real" person reviews.

I will compile all the great information on here and come back with a "modified" itinerary.

Jennifer

BTW - Did I mention I can get wordy???? Sorry my posts are so long. You should meet me in person. It's the Italian in me.
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Last edited by TheTXTaylors5; 08-28-2008 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:21 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cindy's Mom View Post
I feel like a newbie all over again.
Same here. We're in the same boat.

Jennifer
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:28 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by CrazyDuck View Post
. Also ok your way home or on your way out, when you are driving through New Mexico, you may want to check out Carlsbad Caverns.
I "googled" Carlsbad Caverns. It looks like another stop for our itinerary. Another thing to note about our family, we love nature and the outdoors. So, this is right up our alley.

This trip will be a nice balance between chaotic (the parks/LV), the serenity of nature (Sequoia National Park) and pure relaxation (the beach).

Okay, can I leave tomorrow for this trip?!?!?!?!?! This is going to be a very loooooooooooooooong year.

Jennifer
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:35 PM   #21
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A couple more points of intrest. If you can check out "Monument Valley" it is on the Utah/Arizona Border. But you have to go noth to hit Las Vegas anyways so it may not be too out of your way. Also near Las Veags don't forget Hoover Dam. Also if you keep Redwood National Park in your iternerrary I'd leave Vegas and head noth towards Reno and check out Lake Tahoe. There should be snow in December! Then head west hit Yellowstone, then Redwood, then San Fran and down Pacific Coast Highway towards Disneyland!!
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Old 08-28-2008, 03:02 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by CrazyDuck View Post
A couple more points of intrest. If you can check out "Monument Valley" it is on the Utah/Arizona Border. But you have to go noth to hit Las Vegas anyways so it may not be too out of your way. Also near Las Veags don't forget Hoover Dam. Also if you keep Redwood National Park in your iternerrary I'd leave Vegas and head noth towards Reno and check out Lake Tahoe. There should be snow in December! Then head west hit Yellowstone, then Redwood, then San Fran and down Pacific Coast Highway towards Disneyland!!
Excellent suggestions, but one caveat.....when driving south on PCH, you are on the outer lane of the mountains, that bother some people (like me), that why I only drive north on PCH. I fly into San Diego and out of somewhere up the coast
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2012 - Off Site
2012 - On and Off Site
2011 - Coronado Springs
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2008 - Yacht Club
2007 - WL (summer)
2007 - CBR (spring)
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Old 08-28-2008, 03:20 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTXTaylors5 View Post
I have a question regarding "Good Neighbor" hotels . . . (Which seem to be the best value. No, we aren't made of money. This will be our BIG family vacation for the year. Also, we are a family of five and since DS3 just turned 3 (last weekend), we can't squeeze into a room of 4 anymore. ). Are you able to get a park ticket/room combo discount?
I have never found a discount by getting the park and tickets combined. In fact it seems to usually cost more that way.

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Also, I read about the MM (magical mornings). Do they not have extra park time in the evening for resort guests? Are the good neighbor guests able to participate in MM?
No extra hours in the evenings. Only the one hour in the morning. And only at DL (not DCA). If you get to the section on Magic Mornings in my DLR Guide it will explain this.

Here is a summary:

1. All 2+ day tickets are automatically parkhoppers (no extra cost to hop at DLR)

2. If you get a 3+ day ticket it will include one MM day. Does not matter where you stay, on-site or off.

3. If you stay at a Disney hotel you can go to MM every day it is offered. This is a weird one, as Disney does not advertise this perk that has been in existence since July 2005.

For complete and up-to-date info on this see: "Magic Morning (Early Entry) Super Thread" by DLR29 www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1675403

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTXTaylors5 View Post
Outside of DLR:
Just for fun, after reading it on "The Guide" and seeing it in the movie "The Hammer", I want to take the kids to LA to see the tar pits and visit the museum. Our kids love things like that. Is it worth it?
IMO the La Brea Tar Pits is really cool for adults and kids alike. Yes it is worth it if you have time to go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTXTaylors5 View Post
We have been warned traffic going in and out of LA can be horrendous. Is it better on the weekends like mentioned in "The Guide"? We live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas. Traffic can get pretty bad around here during rush-hour. It has been compared to NY and LA regarding the amount of time it takes to go from point A to point B.
You can try to be smart about when and where you drive in SoCal, but in the end it is a crap shoot. Too many times I have sat in stop-and-go bumper-to-bumper traffic at 11PM at night and on weekends. Making things worse are the traffic reports on the radio. My DW and I are from SoCal originally and know all the lingo, but out of towners will not know what the radio announcer means by "an accident on the Golden State freeway north has traffic backed up in both directions". There are tons of freeways and if you know the lingo you can sometimes miss the traffic. But it is not only rush hour. It can be 24 hours a day in SoCal.

So what should you do? Well, whenever possible travel later in the evening (after 8PM) the night before if you need to be somewhere the next morning. If there is traffic, you just drive longer that night but do not miss anything. If you venture out mid-day, do not cut it close as that 15 mile trip may take over an hour. A couple years ago we ventured out on a weekday at 2PM and it took us 4 hours to go 40 miles to see my folks. It is such a crap shoot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTXTaylors5 View Post
We have the DLR Samantha Brown show saved on our DVR. That is what initially got us interested in DLR for December (next year). We've been to WDW during the holidays. But, they don't change The Haunted Mansion and IASW like at DL. We really want to see DLR during the holidays. Do they have a special party at DL like at MK (Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party - Which we are going to in December! )??????
We have never done this but they do have special ticket events like this. Other people can get specifics.
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Old 08-28-2008, 03:35 PM   #24
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Welcome to the DL board.

Another Texan who far prefers DLR to WDW (have been to both 4 times).

Hydroguy's tips are the gospel for WDW vets / DLR newbies...so you are on the right track. I've got other comments below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTXTaylors5 View Post
DH gets more than three weeks a year for vacation (four if you count "personal" days). So, this will be a very long, but fun adventure. A few things to know about our family. We homeschool. So, we are pretty flexible on when to take our vacations. This will definitely be during a non-peak season.

Good, because avoid the holiday period if possible.

Our children LOVE roadtrips. Getting there is sometimes half the fun. They are NOT prone to whining while in the car. (Yes, we've been very lucky.) We've driven straight from Dallas, TX to Orlando, FL (19 + hours) without stopping (except for gas, food and bathroom breaks.). Also, we recently drove from TX to Northern VA in a day and half. With that said (written) . . . On this trip, I DO want lots of stops along the way to let the kids experience our great country.

Next year, our children will be DS9, DD7 and DS4 for our trip. We don't want to always wait until the kids get older for all our trips. (We ARE waiting for our Europe trip though. Since we all got our passports for a cruise last year, I want to use them outside of the Caribbean. But, we are holding off. Even though I'm itching to go now. Maybe by the time we go, the dollar will be stronger towards the Euro.) The older kids are getting closer and closer to not wanting to be around Mom and Dad on vacation anymore. Kids grow up way too fast these days. It's scary. DS8 was 2 when we went to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas last time and still talks about it. So, we have to plan that in somewhere. Mind you, we aren't dragging the kids through the casinos while we gamble. We like to take in the ambiance and maybe take in a show. Also, the shopping is amazing. DD5 is my little shopping companion. She's a girly girl. I can only image how she will be next year. I agree that the Grand Canyon isn't a whole day activity. However, I may want to surprise them with a helicopter or airplane tour of the Canyon. Those always look neat on the travel shows. We're creating our own real-life "On the Road with the Taylor's". (I did apply for a Travel Channel show and was called by a Producer. However, I haven't heard anymore about it though.) The kids are still too little for the water rapids tours. My Dad did that a few years ago and said it was fun. Okay, I stated it would be a once-in-a-lifetime trip. That may change. We're going on another once-in-a-lifetime trip to WDW in a few weeks. Also, those Disney cruises are addictive. (Can't visit The Grand Canyon and not reference The Brady Bunch episode. Okay, that ages me. But, I was watching the re-runs when I was a kiddo. )

I figured San Diego would be a couple of days trip. DH was there a few month back on business and "scoped" it out for us. We have a Sea World in TX (San Antonio). So, we are 50/50 whether to go while in San Diego. We do have two great local zoos (Fort Worth and Dallas). But, we wanted to take the kids to the "world-famous" San Diego Zoo.

I think a 2 day trip to SD (Zoo, beach, tourist stuff) is a great idea.

Polar bears alone would get DD5 there. She loves nature programs with polar bears and penguins. That is until a seal eats a penguin. Some of those nature programs can be gruesome.

Thanks for the Sequoia mention. I saw that on the map when I was looking for a CA route to DLR. That might make a better pit-stop than going all the way to Redwood Nat'l Forest. This is all still in the very beginning stages of planning. So, any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Sequoia makes WAY more sense than Redwood....imo....like 10-14 hours driving more sense.

We definitely have to plan in some beach days. We love the ocean. However, I read it is VERY cold. So, maybe we can play on the beach and find a hotel with a nice pool. Any nice hotels near the beach in SD recommendations? I honestly take 0% advice from the ones posted on the travel sites, because most are posted from the hotel/company. That is why you usually have lots of 4 stars and then a 1 and 2 star. I take more stock in "real" person reviews.

Check out KC Mike's trip report. They stayed at the Del Coronado. If you could swing off season / cheap....maybe it would work....it definitely would be a highlight.

I will compile all the great information on here and come back with a "modified" itinerary.

Jennifer

BTW - Did I mention I can get wordy???? Sorry my posts are so long. You should meet me in person. It's the Italian in me.
Not wordy........just conversational.

I agree that there are 5-7 nice motels on Harbor that would deliver a fine "DLR experience" at 1/2 (or 1/3rd) the cost of the DLR hotels. I'd plan on 3-5 nights at one of these & spend your $$ elsewhere (like on the Del )

A few other random thoughts:

- Carlbad Caverns is great.
- So are indian reservations near Alb.
- As is Durango / Mesa Verde. (all better than Vegas imo)

- Regarding tickets/hotel.....best to buy them seperately for the best offering.
- Buying 3+ days park hoppers gets you MM. (even if you don't stay "on site"). Buying them from some agencies at this time (Getawaytoday.com for example) can get you 2 MMs for your stay....which is even better! (note: Read DLR 29's excellent MM tip tread in Hydroguy's tip thread collection for all you need to know about MM).

Remember DLR is different than WDW.....in alot of ways, so some recommendations might seem odd (no need for 12 meal reservations/not HAVING to stay on-site/DTD next door/DCA next door/no stinkin' busses).....but with a year to plan, it'll start making sense a month from now if you keep posting & reading.

Have fun planning a trip to Walt's park.


Edit - Looks like HG & i were commenting on some of the same items...at the same time.
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Old 08-28-2008, 03:58 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Hound 109 View Post
Remember DLR is different than WDW.....in alot of ways, so some recommendations might seem odd (no need for 12 meal reservations/not HAVING to stay on-site/DTD next door/DCA next door/no stinkin' busses).....but with a year to plan, it'll start making sense a month from now if you keep posting & reading.

Have fun planning a trip to Walt's park.

Just reading this gives me the shakes.....no ADR's, how will I survive, where would we eat ? NOT stay on-site? What?

I think I have to do baby steps in the DLR planning.
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2012 - Off Site
2012 - On and Off Site
2011 - Coronado Springs
2010 - Easter Week: ASMo
2009 - WL
2008 - Yacht Club
2007 - WL (summer)
2007 - CBR (spring)
2006 - POP
2005 - POR
2004 - Nick Hotel

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Old 08-28-2008, 10:24 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cindy's Mom View Post
Just reading this gives me the shakes.....no ADR's, how will I survive, where would we eat ? NOT stay on-site? What?

I think I have to do baby steps in the DLR planning.
We need a WDW to DLR "support group". Everything we've known all these years is irrelevent to planning a DLR vacation. I honestly didn't think it would be that different. But, it is. The Disneyland section of the DISboards is going to be my friend this upcoming year. I haven't even scratched the surface to this section.

Jennifer
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2004: CBR; 2006: BC ~ DCL(Wonder); 2007: BCV,YC,BC,SSR,ASMU ~ MVMCP ~ DCL(Magic); 2008: VWL,BCV,SSR,BC,POR Trip Report ,FW(cabin) ~ DCG, PPP,MNSSHP & MVMCP ~ DCL(Wonder); 2009: DLH (DLR) Trip Report, POR Trip Report , SSR Trip Report, BWV Trip Report , POFQ ~ DAP; 2010:BWV(2xs), ABD CA ~ GC (DLR) Trip Report ~ Napa Rose Review, AKV ~ DCL(Wonder) Trip Report; 2011:BCV(2xs), AKV (2xs) ~ F&W, MNSSHP, MVMCP, 1st 5K Race! ~ DCL(Dream);2012: AKV, BWV, BLT ~ F&W, MNSSHP ~ DCL(Fantasy) ~ CC5K;2013: 04/AKV, 05/AKV ~ EEC & F&G, 10/Pop ~ F&W, 12/DLH (DLR), 12/PPH (DLR); 2014: 06/DCL ~ Wonder (Alaska), 11/DLR ~ Avengers 1/2 Marathon Weekend (1st 1/2 Marathon!), 11/AKV ~ Annual Thanksgiving Trip; 2015: 01/DLR ~ Star Wars 1/2 Marathon Weekend (5K & 1/2 Marathon), 11/BCV ~ Wine & Dine 1/2 Marathon, 12/AKV & DCL ~ Christmas Trip; 2016: 09/Hawaii ~ Aulani or Disneyland Paris (20th Anniversary Trip)

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Old 08-28-2008, 10:37 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTXTaylors5 View Post
We need a WDW to DLR "support group". Everything we've known all these years is irrelevent to planning a DLR vacation. I honestly didn't think it would be that different. But, it is. The Disneyland section of the DISboards is going to be my friend this upcoming year. I haven't even scratched the surface to this section.

Jennifer
Cindy's Mom and Jennifer -
You two crack me up!
Believe me - planning a DLR trip is A LOT simpler than planning a WDW vacation! Just think about how overwhelming planning a WDW vacation is to us DLR vets! I have been to WDW a few times and I still feel like I know so little.
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Old 08-28-2008, 11:42 PM   #28
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I am going back through the thread and posting what I have to add. Sorry if it is a little jumbled, that's just pretty much how my brain works!

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Originally Posted by TheTXTaylors5 View Post
Also, we are a family of five and since DS3 just turned 3 (last weekend), we can't squeeze into a room of 4 anymore.
I would like to recommend the Anaheim Desert Inn. We have stayed there on all of our trips. They are nothing fancy but they do offer plenty of space for a reasonable rate. We stay in their largest room which is basically 2 connected rooms with 4 beds and 2 baths. Now if you prefer a luxury hotel I will have to work up some other sales pitch! Wherever you stay BOOK IN ADVANCE as soon as you have your dates. I have found this to be my best strategy for saving money.

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Originally Posted by TheTXTaylors5 View Post
We have been warned traffic going in and out of LA can be horrendous. Is it better on the weekends like mentioned in "The Guide"? We live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas. Traffic can get pretty bad around here during rush-hour. It has been compared to NY and LA regarding the amount of time it takes to go from point A to point B.
Aaah, CA traffic. I do think they drive faster than we do in Texas but my DH said they were also much more polite. Coming from him that is a HUGE compliment! Their rush hour is pretty bad. Personally, I wouldn't want to drive in it and I prefer a cab driver to my DH, simply because he doesn't know his way around... which makes me nervous!

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Originally Posted by TheTXTaylors5 View Post
We have the DLR Samantha Brown show saved on our DVR. That is what initially got us interested in DLR for December (next year). We've been to WDW during the holidays. But, they don't change The Haunted Mansion and IASW like at DL. We really want to see DLR during the holidays. Do they have a special party at DL like at MK (Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party - Which we are going to in December! )??????
The holiday season in the park is magical and beautiful! Of course, Small World and Haunted Mansion decked out for the holidays are a must see! They do not have the MVMC party. They do offer the Candlelight Processional or a Holiday Tour for something special. They also have the Reindeer Roundup where you can see Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the reindeer, or you can decorate cookies and take in a show. They, of course, have the Christmas parade and SNOW!

Quote:
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Hi Fellow Texan!

We live in the DFW area (near Denton). How many times did you drive from TX to CA? What month were you at the GC when there was snow? Then again being from TX, we might like the snow but not the bad visibility. We took a roadtrip while I was pregnant with DD5 from TX to Las Vegas. So, DS8 has seen the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Las Vegas. He always tells his sister he wants to take her to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. LV by the way was such a great trip with our then 2 year old. We visited all the resorts, shopped, ate and DH even won some money while we passed through the casino at The Venetian. While there, I didn't drink one bit (8 months pregnant) or gamble and still had fun!

We may fly my Mom out from VA to LV to go on the trip with us from LV to CA (I don't think I could make the whole trip with her in the car. ) Also, she has a brother that live in CA (Tehachapi). So, we'd have to visit him and his family too. I forgot about that, guess I need to work that into the itinerary.

The more I think about this trip. The more excited I am getting.

Jennifer
We are practically NEIGHBORS! We live south of Decatur. And guess what... we homeschool too! How cool is that?
We have been to CA by almost every means possible! Our first 3 trips were via Amtrak train. Then the next 2 years we took the train out there and rented a car for the drive back home. Once we took the I-40 route and the next time we took I-10 so we got 2 completely different trips. (not that there is a lot in between CA and Texas to see besides wide open road.) 2 years ago we took the train there and flew back. Finally we have tired of those transportations taking so long so we finally flew last year. We are opting for that again this year.

My hubby said we saw the GC in the snow in November. I was thinking it was October. My mind ain't what it used to be so all the trips sorta run together but every one of them is priceless. Anyway, I'm going to look back at some of the things we did and see if I have anything to share. I do know at first we thought about going to see the redwoods too but settled on going to Sequoia National Park because it was so much closer. And believe me those trees will be huge enough to impress you! We then cut across to the ocean and drove down the 101. Beautiful drive! We stayed in the coolest place overlooking some cliffs just outside of Pismo beach. We did Hollywood and Universal which were okay to see once but honestly, I would choose something else.

While we had a rental car we did go over to Vegas. We saw the Smothers Brothers, the Star Trek Experience, a magic show and The Tournament of Kings. Lots of fun stuff to do with families without ever gambling. We didn't end up seeing a lot of things I had planned simply because we just ran out of time.

We went to San Diego for Legoland, which your littles ones will love. We also went to the Wild Animal Park. I thought it was cool but my guys thought it was a bit too long and got bored. We have also went to Long Beach and saw the Queen Mary and took a boat and stayed over night on Catalina Island.

We have never been to WDW simply because we love DL so much I can't imagine it being any better. I also think we are just happier with the more intimate feel of DL and it not being so spread out, does that make sense? We love the fact that every time we goes it feels like we are back at "our park" and we feel like we know every nook and cranny. I hope you love it as much as we do.
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:48 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cindy's Mom View Post
Just reading this gives me the shakes.....no ADR's, how will I survive, where would we eat ? NOT stay on-site? What?

I think I have to do baby steps in the DLR planning.


You're on the right track if you're posting here & reading all the tip threads above (like HG's).

DLR has similar "magic" (...or more ) as WDW....but planning a DLR visit has different factors to consider:

- Staying on-site is great at DLR....but not essential like it is at WDW.
- The DDP is great (preferred) at WDW....it's a waste at DLR.
- Since SO many visitors at are locals, reservations for restaurants aren't as essential & visiting during the week is preferable.
- DTD is next to DL as is DCA. One uses their feet as opposed to stinkin' busses.

Have a great time planning a visit to Walt's park.
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Old 09-01-2008, 01:30 PM   #30
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Oops! I didnt realize you were in Texas, I guess I wouldnt bother with SeaWorld then!!! But DEF look into the Meritime Museum and the Navy ship tours. It really did look awesome! They are all on Harbour Blvd, down by the pier, within walking distance of each other. Also, eat at Anthony's....Mmmmm! Fish and Chips! Right next door. I second Scrippts Aquarium, too, especially if you arent going to SeaWorld.

If you are going to be spending more time in AZ, Williams (small town right outside of Flagstaff) has the Lava Tubes, you can go in and explore (its cold, bring a jacket!) and also The Grand Canyon Deer Farm which is pretty fun, but I am partial b/c I've been going there since I was a kid! There is also Meteor Crater nearby. You can take the Grand Canyon Railroad, it goes from the GC directly to Williams! If you go in December, they have the Polar Express ride, which sounds fun, but is a bit pricey.

Oh, and Flagstaff has Lowell Observatory which is AWESOME! You can even go up and look through the telescope at night and they'll point out all the stars, planets, etc. It was really neat when we did it. And if your kids truly love scenic driving, then you can't beat the drive down Oak Creek Canyon!!!

It might not be worth going out of your way for, but you can drive through Flagstaff to get to LA/San Diego, there are two ways, the 89, I think, or down to Phoenix then take the I-10 (which is what we usually do). You could loop around back that way on the way back home!

Sedona is also awesome...that could be a whole trip in and of itself. A Pink Jeep tour of the Indian Cave paintings are worth it alone! Plus its gorgeous!!! Also Montezuma Castle and Tonto Natural Bridge are cool. There are a LOT of neat sites to see that would make good "school trips" And there are a lot of caves in the Tucson area, Kartchner Caves and Colossal Caves (which Ive been too, it was really neat!)

Anyway, good luck!
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