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Old 10-01-2012, 03:17 AM   #1
nzer
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PTR: First family holiday to the U.S.A-loving the tiny queues!!!!

Hi all,
I first found these boards earlier this year when we decided we were going to travel to California for 3 weeks this coming Christmas. Since then, I've checked in most days and even commented and asked questions on some posts.
However, I've now decided that since I am on school holidays at the moment, and now that our trip is now less than 3 months away, that I should start a PTR. I know how much I enjoy reading everyone else's reports, and how much information I have gathered from them, so I figure that if I can help anyone in any small way, then that'd be great!

So, here goes....

We are a family of 4...myself, DH and 2 DD's (10 & 7) from New Zealand. Before husband, I did the typical OE and lived in both London and San Francisco for a year...and have never quite lost the travelling bug. While in London I made it over to EuroDisney (only a year after it opened) and then Disneyland while I was living in San Francisco. I've never made it back...until now!
We have travelled to Queensland a few times, most recently last year.

For this trip my Mum will be joining us. Like the others, she has never been to the USA.

What started out as a 3 week road trip from San Francisco to LA has increased slightly to a 5 week road trip, also taking in the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Palm Springs and San Diego. We figure that since we are spending so much on airfares, we might as well make the most of it.

Here's the 'almost set in concrete' itinerary...

Day 1- arrive SFO from Auckland
2- San Francisco
3- San Francisco/ Marin County
4- San Francisco- "Alcatraz" booked
5- San Francisco
6- Travel to Cambria, via Monterey and Carmel (We have several long driving days ahead of us, but DH more than happy with that- gets us to places we otherwise wouldn't visit. Kids are also used to long days in the car)
7- Maybe Hearst Castle, then drive to Barstow
8- If no snow, drive to Williams on Route 66.
9- Grand Canyon, then drive to Las Vegas
10-Las Vegas- staying off the strip, but will definitely be taking in the nightlife...remember, we have a built in babysitter with us
11-Las Vegas
12-Las Vegas
13-Las Vegas- husband has mountain bike tour organised, so SHOPPING for the girls!!
14-Las Vegas
15- Las Vegas
16-Drive to Palm Springs- Cable Car
17-Drive to San Diego-visit Coronado, Gaslamp Quarters
18-San diego- we have a Go-San Diego card, so will be busy! Seaworld, Old Town
19-San Diego-Legoland, USS Midway
20-San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park and then drive to Anaheim
Days 21- 32...Anaheim/LA/OC etc

We have purchased 14 Disney passes and plan on spending lots of time at the parks. Being off-season, the hours will obviously be reduced, but we're fine with that. We'll have access over 2 weekends, so will do the night shows then.

We'll head into LA several days to do Universal Studios, Santa Monica, Hollywood etc.

Now that we (I!!!) have organised most of what I can from this end, it's time to sit and wait..and plan, plan, plan! I don't want to have each and every day organised, but definitely need a rough outline of what we want to do so that every thing gets covered. That's where this board comes in so handy...so many great ideas.

Can't wait!!
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Last edited by nzer; 01-11-2013 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:28 AM   #2
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Hi NZer, I've noticed a few posts from you already (hard to miss with your "name") but it's great that you posted a PTR so that we can all see what you are doing. What a great trip you have planned! I too previously lived in the U.S. but it was in L.A., first when I was a child aged 8-10, again when I was aged 12-16 and then back again after uni for six months. So I know how living in the U.S. makes the joys of America rub off on you and it must have been very hard on you to have had to wait this long to get back. I'm VERY happy for you and you must be so excited!
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:21 AM   #3
PrincessInOz
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Another travel Bugger.


Pulling up my chair for this ride. It sounds like a fantastic trip!

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Old 10-01-2012, 07:29 AM   #4
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Sounds like a fabulous trip you have planned!!!
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Old 10-01-2012, 05:37 PM   #5
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Sounds like a fantastic trip - cant wait to hear all about it!
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:37 PM   #6
alicia1506
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sounds like a great trip - can't wait to hear more
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:18 PM   #7
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good plan. similiar to ours for april next year. Can you still get the 14 day disney passes??
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:15 PM   #8
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Can I come???
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:40 AM   #9
Caroline NZ
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Your trip sounds awesome. We are visiting some of the same places as you on our road trip next year.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:47 AM   #10
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Sounds like a wonderful trip, you will have a great time. And such a good idea to take a loving grandma with you, she will have such a good time seeing it all with your kids

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Old 10-02-2012, 06:53 PM   #11
nzer
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Thanks for the warm welcome everyone

Marvel, yes, you can still get 14 day passes. We bought ours from Flight Centre 3 weeks ago. It's going to make our whole Disney time so much more relaxed, knowing we don't have to do everything as quickly as possible.

Hmmm, what aspect of our trip can I plan today?
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:47 AM   #12
nzer
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Wow! Very impressed. The Go-San Diego cards which I ordered last weekend only took 5 days to get here. It was really exciting to get a "Fed-Ex" package.
The little book that came with it is great too. Now, how many things can we fit into 3 days??
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:01 AM   #13
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:00 PM   #14
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you've got a great trip planned! I would have loved to do San Fransisco & Las Vegas but just couldn't swing it time wise for this trip. I am already vaguely planning our next trip lol which will be san fran, DC, nyc, vegas and fly out of LA. That'll be another couple of years away I think! So I will take in all your tips and must sees from your trip
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Old 11-03-2012, 05:56 PM   #15
nzer
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Just checking in to say hi

Two very excited girls woke up in our house on November 1st and ran around the house shouting "We're going to America next month! We're going to America next month!" What are they going to be like the day we leave?

Almost had enough of mice at the moment (thankfully, not the 'big' one!) I'm a teacher and 4 of the classrooms in our block have had an infestation of them this week. LOTS of cleaning and throwing out has been going on. Now I definitely have to buy mouse-ears for my colleagues, as we have been dubbed the 'Mouseketeers" by the rest of the staff. Roll on the holidays!
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