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Old 01-21-2013, 12:46 PM   #1
elaine amj
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4 days at DLR - enough for a relaxed trip (Or stay 5 days and skip Yosemite?)

We are planning a California trip for the week of July 4th and need help deciding whether to spend 4 or 5 days at DLR. Our plan is to arrive at night on Thursday June 27th. That would give us Friday June 28th to Monday July 1st at the parks. We are tour all day long folks with a possible one to two afternoons for a break at the hotel if we feel like it. (We plan on staying right near the main gates so planning on a 5-10 min walk back to the hotel).

We typically like longer trips to WDW - our last trip was 12 days and the trip before that was 10 days as we like lots of re-rides on our favorites. We would definitely want to catch all the shows and would like to do "everything" - but don't want to rush.

I was originally planning on 5 days at DLR but wondering if it will be worth cutting to 4 days to fit in a day at Yosemite.

My current plan is:

Fri June 28 - Monday July 1: 4 days at DLR
Tuesday, July 2 - Thursday July 4: 2 days at Hume Lake in Sequoia/Kings Canyon
Thursday, July 4 - Saturday July 6: 1 day at Yosemite, staying at Yosemite Bug (arrive in the evening and driving 3 hours Saturday morning to catch a flight out of Sacramento at 2pm).

I understand Yosemite will be crazy busy and with my planning being so late, there's no chance of lodging within the park. So not sure if it's worth all the effort and extra driving to fit in the 1 short day at Yosemite just to basically see the place and do 1-2 hikes. A lot of internet reviews says its absolutely worth it. I was at Yosemite when I was 10, but have absolutely no memories of the place. My kids are around that age - so wondering if its just as well to save Yosemite for another trip 2-5 years in the future. But we're only 3-4 hours away since we'll be at Seqouia...... (LOL - and this is how my trip planning goes!!)

If we skip Yosemite, it will be a more relaxed trip and our plan would be:
Fri June 28 - Tuesday July 2: 5 days at DLR
Wednesday July 3 - Friday July 5: 2.5 days at Hume Lake in Sequoia/Kings Canyon. Leave after dinner Friday to drive 2-3 hours, staying in Tulare/Bakersfield at a cheap place just to start the drive back to LAX.
Saturday July 6th: Drive the rest of the way to catch our 2pm flight out of LAX.

Thoughts on whether Yosemite is worth it? Particularly at this crazy busy time of year? My DH is in favor of skipping Yosemite to cut down on all the driving.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:52 PM   #2
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I have not been everywhere in the world but I have been to every continent excluding Antartica. I have been to Hawaii and numerous US and Canadian National Parks. I have been on safaris in Africa. I have been to the Great Wall of China. I have seen the Taj Majal. Italy, Spain, Germany, France, England and Ireland.

IMO, Yosemite National Park is the most beautiful place in the world. Period. Do not miss it. Take two days if you can. See the valley one day and drive up towards Tuolumne or all the way thru to the east side of Yosemite if you can. It is all just breathtaking. Go for a short hike somewhere.

With that said, your four days at DLR will likely be enough for you. If you want it to be relaxed then a fifth day will help. Four days at DLR will feel a lot like 7 at WDW. Enough to see everything at a relaxing pace? Not really. Enough to see most everything most folks will want to see and not kill yourself? Sure.

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Old 01-21-2013, 12:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elaine amj View Post
We are planning a California trip for the week of July 4th and need help deciding whether to spend 4 or 5 days at DLR. Our plan is to arrive at night on Thursday June 27th. That would give us Friday June 28th to Monday July 1st at the parks. We are tour all day long folks with a possible one to two afternoons for a break at the hotel if we feel like it. (We plan on staying right near the main gates so planning on a 5-10 min walk back to the hotel).

We typically like longer trips to WDW - our last trip was 12 days and the trip before that was 10 days as we like lots of re-rides on our favorites. We would definitely want to catch all the shows and would like to do "everything" - but don't want to rush.

I was originally planning on 5 days at DLR but wondering if it will be worth cutting to 4 days to fit in a day at Yosemite.

My current plan is:

Fri June 28 - Monday July 1: 4 days at DLR
Tuesday, July 2 - Thursday July 4: 2 days at Hume Lake in Sequoia/Kings Canyon
Thursday, July 4 - Saturday July 6: 1 day at Yosemite, staying at Yosemite Bug (arrive in the evening and driving 3 hours Saturday morning to catch a flight out of Sacramento at 2pm).

I understand Yosemite will be crazy busy and with my planning being so late, there's no chance of lodging within the park. So not sure if it's worth all the effort and extra driving to fit in the 1 short day at Yosemite just to basically see the place and do 1-2 hikes. A lot of internet reviews says its absolutely worth it. I was at Yosemite when I was 10, but have absolutely no memories of the place. My kids are around that age - so wondering if its just as well to save Yosemite for another trip 2-5 years in the future. But we're only 3-4 hours away since we'll be at Seqouia...... (LOL - and this is how my trip planning goes!!)

If we skip Yosemite, it will be a more relaxed trip and our plan would be:
Fri June 28 - Tuesday July 2: 5 days at DLR
Wednesday July 3 - Friday July 5: 2.5 days at Hume Lake in Sequoia/Kings Canyon. Leave after dinner Friday to drive 2-3 hours, staying in Tulare/Bakersfield at a cheap place just to start the drive back to LAX.
Saturday July 6th: Drive the rest of the way to catch our 2pm flight out of LAX.

Thoughts on whether Yosemite is worth it? Particularly at this crazy busy time of year? My DH is in favor of skipping Yosemite to cut down on all the driving.
You have an ambitious trip...Yosemite is well worth seeing but in my opinion not the way you are doing it.

Jack
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:16 PM   #4
danaesacto
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IMO, Yosemite is not to be missed- anytime EXCEPT 4th of July. Yosemite is down in a bowl- once the crowds get in there you can't even move or breath without running into someone. You will stand in line to take that hike. You can no longer drive to many trailheads, the buses will be full, you will have to wait to get on... etc etc. Come back to visit us when you have the time to enjoy it. You can ride the horses, raft down the river and really get to enjoy and see everything...
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:23 PM   #5
elaine amj
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Originally Posted by blackjackdelta View Post
You have an ambitious trip...Yosemite is well worth seeing but in my opinion not the way you are doing it.

Jack
That's what I'm worried about. I'm trying to figure out how to fit Yosemite in and it just doesn't seem to fit in well. It looks like it will be a massive amount of driving - several hours to get to the park and then at least 3-4 hours each day IN the park as its highly unlikely we'll get any kind of in-park lodging at this late date (We can't camp as we're flying and we won't have our gear). On top of that, my DH will drive, but isn't a fan of too much driving on vacation (hence why we like to stay onsite at WDW - he loves not having to drive!)

I'm also worried that it will be crazy busy in Yosemite and that will really deter from our enjoyment of it. To be honest, driving 2 hours from hotel to point of interest, then 1 hr to the next point of interest, then 2 hours back to the hotel on busy roads that are likely to be jammed doesn't sound hugely appealing to me either. Every trip report I read makes me shudder a little when I think of all the driving we would have to do every day in Yosemite. That's why I'm thinking if we do it, it's just as well to give it only 1-2 days and spend the rest of the time in Hume Lake where we can relax a bit more.

On the other hand....to miss seeing one of the world's most beautiful places is killing me! Decisions, decisions!
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:28 PM   #6
danaesacto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elaine amj View Post
That's what I'm worried about. I'm trying to figure out how to fit Yosemite in and it just doesn't seem to fit in well. It looks like it will be a massive amount of driving - several hours to get to the park and then at least 3-4 hours each day IN the park as its highly unlikely we'll get any kind of in-park lodging at this late date (We can't camp as we're flying and we won't have our gear). On top of that, my DH will drive, but isn't a fan of too much driving on vacation (hence why we like to stay onsite at WDW - he loves not having to drive!)

I'm also worried that it will be crazy busy in Yosemite and that will really deter from our enjoyment of it. To be honest, driving 2 hours from hotel to point of interest, then 1 hr to the next point of interest, then 2 hours back to the hotel on busy roads that are likely to be jammed doesn't sound hugely appealing to me either. Every trip report I read makes me shudder a little when I think of all the driving we would have to do every day in Yosemite. That's why I'm thinking if we do it, it's just as well to give it only 1-2 days and spend the rest of the time in Hume Lake where we can relax a bit more.

On the other hand....to miss seeing one of the world's most beautiful places is killing me! Decisions, decisions!
Driving in Yosemite is restricted, they have closed roads and especially during busy times you can't just drive where you want. You have to park and take the clean air buses. The buses drop you off at the old parking lots and from there you can get up to trails... even on a slow day it can be a frustrating system, you need time and patience
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:10 PM   #7
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Driving in Yosemite is restricted, they have closed roads and especially during busy times you can't just drive where you want. You have to park and take the clean air buses. The buses drop you off at the old parking lots and from there you can get up to trails... even on a slow day it can be a frustrating system, you need time and patience
There are actually no driving restrictions per se in Yosemite Valley. There is road work from time to time. The things you'll see have more to do with the sheer amount of people trying to get in and out at peak times. I've been stuck for almost an hour because an RV turned over. During peak times it can take up to three hours to get out. If you need to catch a flight, I wouldn't recommend pushing it.

Also - 4th of July isn't the ideal time to come if you want waterfalls. The waterfalls tend to be full in May and maybe early June. If it's a good water year the falls may be full until the middle of July, but that's rare. Yosemite Falls looks somewhat unimpressive when there's only a trickle. If it run completely dry, there are some people who even try climbing it, although a sudden rainstorm can make things interesting. Vernal Fall is good in most conditions, since it gets a more steady source of water.
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:08 PM   #8
elaine amj
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What if I skip Hume Lake and just focus on Yosemite? (A bit of a bummer since we were looking at Hume Lake family summer camp - which has a nice range of activities, comfy accommodations, and reasonable price considering all we will get.)

I was eyeing a tent cabin in White Wolf Lodge ($150/night) - so up higher where its cooler, less buggy, and not so crowded. The other option is a tent cabin in Curry Village - which is also $150 a night.

We would stay 4 nights from July 2 - July 6th, with the following itinerary:

July 2 - drive all day from Anaheim (6-7hrs), stop at Mariposa Grove on the way to see the sequoias
July 3 - Explore Yosemite Valley, including some hiking, sunset at Glacier Point
July 4 - Hike somewhere quiet in the High Sierras
July 5 - More hiking and exploring, maybe horseback riding or river tubing?
July 6 - Leave by 9am to drive 3-4 hrs to Sacramento for a 2pm flight.

Is this manageable considering it is a crazy busy time to go? Will the traffic situation drive us nuts?

It's EXPENSIVE - $150/night for very basic accommodations, food is pricey - ranging from $10 - $25 pp per meal (so I'm looking at close to $100 per day for food for the 4 of us). I'm guessing it will cost us about $600 - $700 more to do Yosemite instead of Hume Lake and the Seqouias. Plus we're roughing it in a tent cabin instead of a much more comfortable cabin with real carpets in Hume Lake.

We do like hiking and plan to do moderate 2-3 hr hikes each day. I love canoeing/kayaking and hope to fit this in as well if it works out. I can do without big waterfalls - but I guess the main reason we would choose to do the more expensive Yosemite is because the scenery is much more beautiful.

So is it worth it? Especially considering it IS the 4th? If we skip it this time, we would likely come back in 2-5 yrs and do it.

Thanks for being my sounding board! All the prespectives here are really helping as we figure the ins and outs of this decision.
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:15 PM   #9
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Another thing to consider. You are probably going to DLR at it's busiest week of the year. DLR is NOT like WDW and has limited capacity to absorb huge crowds. EXPECT that you may have days they actually close the park to additional guests at some point.

So, your plan for a "leisurely" trip to Disneyland might not turn out that way. The lines will be huge all week for everything.

Not trying to scare you out of your trip, but these parks are very different when it comes to busy times.
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:33 PM   #10
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What if I skip Hume Lake and just focus on Yosemite? (A bit of a bummer since we were looking at Hume Lake family summer camp - which has a nice range of activities, comfy accommodations, and reasonable price considering all we will get.)
Hume Lake is alright, but you would need to go in knowing that the nice price comes with accepting "The Word of the Lord" with it. It's a Christian camp, and staying there comes with the whole package. The Forest Service campground on the other end of the lake is not part of that camp.

I've been through there a few times. Once I thought of getting gas, but they don't have premium and in any case it didn't look like anyone was actually working the pumps. I thought of even having a bite to eat there, but couldn't figure out where to park.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:23 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bcla

Hume Lake is alright, but you would need to go in knowing that the nice price comes with accepting "The Word of the Lord" with it. It's a Christian camp, and staying there comes with the whole package. The Forest Service campground on the other end of the lake is not part of that camp.

I've been through there a few times. Once I thought of getting gas, but they don't have premium and in any case it didn't look like anyone was actually working the pumps. I thought of even having a bite to eat there, but couldn't figure out where to park.
The Christian daycamp they have is part of the appeal of Hume Lake for us The cost of food and activitiea and all the amenities aound really reasonable.

And yes, I'm prepared for it to be crazy busy in DLR. But all accounts say buay times at DLR is more manageable than WDW? We always plan carefully and will use every touring strategy carefully so hopefully it will be manageable.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:26 PM   #12
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There are actually no driving restrictions per se in Yosemite Valley. .
They have closed several roads and you may only walk, bike or take the buses there. Sounds like restricted driving to me. BTW OP- if you have a handicap placard or tag, you can still drive there.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:39 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mr Snappy View Post
Another thing to consider. You are probably going to DLR at it's busiest week of the year. DLR is NOT like WDW and has limited capacity to absorb huge crowds. EXPECT that you may have days they actually close the park to additional guests at some point.

So, your plan for a "leisurely" trip to Disneyland might not turn out that way. The lines will be huge all week for everything.

Not trying to scare you out of your trip, but these parks are very different when it comes to busy times.
The OP accidentally posted as January when they meant July. In July it is pretty unheard of to have the parks close to capacity. In January (well between Dec 25 and Jan 1) it happens.
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:13 PM   #14
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They have closed several roads and you may only walk, bike or take the buses there. Sounds like restricted driving to me. BTW OP- if you have a handicap placard or tag, you can still drive there.
The loop around Upper Pines Campground is closed to normal vehicle traffic, as is the the road/trail to Mirror Lake. However, it's that way year round, and it's not anything that changes because it's crowded. You gave the impression that roads are closed based on reaching capacity. There's certainly no road that closes down like (let's say) DL cuts off entry because the park is too crowded.
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:18 PM   #15
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The Christian daycamp they have is part of the appeal of Hume Lake for us The cost of food and activitiea and all the amenities aound really reasonable.
Just wanted to put that out. It might be OK with some people, while others will find it annoying. During the summer the camp itself is very crowded. There can be hundreds of (mostly) kids there among some families, and as with all kids without (or even with) their parents there can be varying levels of behavior.
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