A 2019 Double PTR: California & HHN 29 Trips Updated 4/13-Cali Itinerary/2nd HHN House

Discussion in 'Universal Studios Trip Reports' started by Raeven, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. xlsm

    xlsm Snow White

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    I have a meeting this morning, but I will be texting you later making sure the order is correct for when we want things!! I have Hacienda on two days, and I know we picked one specific day, so I forgot to delete it from one spot :rolleyes::rolleyes: and now I am doubting everything :rotfl:

    Yes, Stormtroopers will be right in our face and we'll be looking everywhere else, totally not even registering they're there...ultimate denial

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  2. amalone1013

    amalone1013 DIS Veteran

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    I think the biggest enjoyment from the WB tour might be if there is a show filmed there you're set on seeing sets for. I wanted to see what was left from Gilmore Girls :) Which I really enjoyed. Have you been to USH and done their studio tour? It's a bit like that honestly. You get to see a good chunk of backlots, hear some interesting things, walk through the prop shop, sit on the Central Perk set. We got to go into an interior set from Pretty Little Liars. And saw Raj from Big Bang Theory drive by lol. Apparently if you want to see more actors around you go during the week and not on a holiday. The HP stuff is fine, but I wouldn't book based on that since it's not very much stuff overall. They had a Batman exhibit (I think instead of DC) which was more interesting, probably even more so if you are big into Batman and then the Batmobile collection too. This was back in 2015 when we went. I think dry is an honest way to describe it. A bit dry, but informative/interesting on how a studio works and you may recognize some of the backlots from various things. We didn't have any kids on our tour personally, and I can't think of anything that I would have been interested in at 9 :)
     
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  4. keishashadow

    keishashadow Proud Redhead...yes, I have some bananas!

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    I enjoyed the USH tour, first trip out it had burnt down partially so we missed it lol.

    Lol would’ve loved to see raj roll past lol. Thanks for hint to book WB during the week, never thought of that. Would think there would be active filming end of august since new seasons gearing up.

    Thanks for being honest, last thing i’d Want to have is eye rolling from the kiddo for hours.
     
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  5. amalone1013

    amalone1013 DIS Veteran

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    That's what they told us on the tour, sounded like it was a fluke we saw him according to our guide. It was mid Feb which apparently was not the best time for that. Who knew?
     
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  6. xlsm

    xlsm Snow White

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    :dogdance::dogdance: Got all of our ADRs:dogdance::dogdance:
     
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  7. KathyM2

    KathyM2 DIS Veteran

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    I love all your ADR's!!! So much good food!!
     
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  8. Raeven

    Raeven DIS Veteran

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    What Stormtroopers? I don't see any Stormtroopers...

    tumblr_nz00kvKzgS1tqh2yyo1_500.gif

    :jumping1:
     
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  9. amazingact21

    amazingact21 Upendi

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    I think a lot of people planned to visit the parks in September to avoid the opening of Galaxy's Edge, and now everyone's plans are thrown off! I know I was planning on running the Wine and Dine Half in November but told my DH that if GE was close to opening I'd probably skip it. Now I've had to step back and reevaluate my plans!

    You have lots of great dining choices! Toothsome and Cowfish will be great, I'm sure. And Trader Sam's is bound to be a fun time.
     
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  10. Raeven

    Raeven DIS Veteran

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    Yeah it just seemed like they wouldn’t have it ready in time for Sep (and they don’t since only half of it’s really opening) so I thought that would be a good time to go, but that wasn’t the only reason we were going then so it doesn’t really change our plans. Sorry about your trip though!

    Yeah those are some of my favorites! We go to Cowfish almost every trip but their both new to @xlsm so I’m excited to bring her.
     
  11. Raeven

    Raeven DIS Veteran

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    Cali Trip-4 weeks
    HHN/Disney Trip-24 weeks

    April/May Trip News:

    Since we're a little less than a month out now I think I have our final plan ready!

    [​IMG]

    I have to make a few more decisions about places to eat, and I may switch what parks we're going to on what days but that's about it. I've been working on nailing down times so I can make dining reservations since last weekend, and the more I thought about it the less crazy I was about the LA portion. I added it in at the last minute, and could never really work out everything the way I wanted so we decided to cut it down and add more time in San Diego, and just do a day in LA to get in the things we're the most excited for.

    So I made some changes to our flights. We're coming into San Diego on 4/26, but a little closer to the evening so we don't have to get up super early. We'll probably just do dinner that night before going to bed. On the 27th we're heading to Seaworld. I wasn't planning to do Seaworld again so soon after we went to the one in Orlando in Dec, but @Lesley Wake mentioned they were having the Seven Seas Food Festival there (which we always miss in Orlando) so I decided we'll go there for the day. Since we really enjoyed our last Seaworld tour and they have different tours here, I booked an up close seal/sea lion tour.

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    (Not this kind of seal, but this one was too cute to resist).

    The 28th will be the zoo and Coronado Island,

    [​IMG]

    and the 29th is the fox encounter (we'll probably also do a couple of other things on this day). 3 of the last 4 days will be at Disneyland/DCA (one night is the Marvel event), and the other day will be spent in LA hitting the spots we were most excited about (Universal Hollywood, melrose ave, and Josh wants to do the Comedy Store). I also wanted to do the new pop up Disney photo event in Downtown Disney one night. We'll be flying out of Ontario airport on the last day which is one of the closer airports to Anaheim so we won't have to change hotels or get up in the middle of the night.

    We're also now only staying at 2 hotels, the first few days in San Diego will be at the Hotel Republic.

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    I had wanted to stay at the Loews Coronado, but with the new plans we don't have to rent a car the whole time, and it'll be easier to get around in San Diego (and we won't have to pay parking) if we use Uber/Lyft. The Loews Coronado is really out of the way of everything so I didn't think that would work so well, so I went back to looking at hotels in Gaslamp (where I had been looking when I first started planning), and decided on this hotel because it had been one of my top choices in that area. (I almost booked the Hard Rock, but read a lot of reviews about how the rooftop bar is super loud all night).

    After that the rest of the trip will be at the Ayres Hotel Orange still. The hotel is a really good deal price-wise, and it's got incredibly good reviews. I think the price is possibly because it's not walking distance to Disneyland, but I'm okay using Uber/Lyft. I did look at almost every hotel in walking distance and didn't find any that were overly impressive, and most were double or triple the price of this hotel which didn't seem worth it to me. (There were some nice ones that were really expensive or sold out, but mostly the hotels I looked at had enough bad reviews/consistently the same problems in the reviews that I didn't look further).

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    I did also finalize my Disneyland ADRs (well as long as I don't switch the days around). We're dining at Cafe Orleans (dinner), Carnation Cafe (lunch), Steakhouse 55 (dinner), and Goofy's Kitchen (breakfast/brunch). I watched a lot of reviews for the character meals and the one at Goofy's Kitchen looked the most fun, and seemed to have the most food choices (and the most interesting food choices).

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    It's also possible we might have one opening for a dinner in the schedule too, and I'm not sure if that'll be in the parks or in Downtown Disney.

    September Trip News:

    This was a couple weeks ago, but we did get all the ADR's we wanted for September thanks to @xlsm :hyper: The only change we made since I posted our plans was to add a Wine Bar George Brunch in instead of lunch, but for right now we haven't changed the lunch to anything new. (@xlsm I read a really good review of the brunch especially the Dole Whip mimosas the other day).

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    They've also finally announced the first HHN house is Stranger Things seasons 2 & 3! This is about what I expected for the first house to be so I kind of hope they announce something else soon, but it's still pretty exciting.

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    Also since my last post we've watched Captain Marvel (I liked it a lot), and Antman (I think Paul Rudd is a weird choice for the character, but found the movie to be enjoyable enough). Now we only have to watch Antman and the Wasp before Endgame comes out. (And we'll probably re-watch Infinity War).

     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  12. Tracy161

    Tracy161 DIS Veteran

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    I am so happy you're doing this!!! :goodvibes

    Oooh, this sounds amazing.

    Your Cali trip is getting so close :thumbsup2
     
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  13. missangelalexis

    missangelalexis DIS Veteran

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    Your Cali trip is so close! The plans sound great :)
     
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  14. amyrose26

    amyrose26 Earning My Ears

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    Your trip plans sound awesome so far. The San Diego Zoo is so beautiful. You and josh will have a great time. We had lunch at the carnation cafe and It was delicious. They are good about allergies just like wdw. I love Paul Rudd more than anything in this world! I do think he is an odd choice but after watching antman I was like strangely this works. Haha
     
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  15. Raeven

    Raeven DIS Veteran

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    I've heard really good reviews of the brunch too, I'm excited to try it.

    Yes! Getting close to 3 weeks!

    Yeah, I figured DL would be fine with allergies too. For other restaurants I have to look around for GF menus or reviews but for the DL ones I didn't really think about it, just marked the allergy on the ADR. He seems like a weird choice for a burglar (he seems too nice to steal anything :rotfl:), but I do agree he works as Antman! I liked the Antman movies a lot more than I thought I would, but I do enjoy the Marvel movies that have some humor in them the most.
     
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  16. amyrose26

    amyrose26 Earning My Ears

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    Yeah, I figured DL would be fine with allergies too. For other restaurants I have to look around for GF menus or reviews but for the DL ones I didn't really think about it, just marked the allergy on the ADR. He seems like a weird choice for a burglar (he seems too nice to steal anything :rotfl:), but I do agree he works as Antman! I liked the Antman movies a lot more than I thought I would, but I do enjoy the Marvel movies that have some humor in them the most.
    [/QUOTE]

    I think the only place I had an issue with gluten free in LA was Pinks Hot Dogs. When we were in CA we had no issues with allergies. Know I am think about all the places we went and I am hungry. Hahaha. I typed in gluten free to open table and that’s how I made most of our dinning choices while we were in California.
     
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  17. Raeven

    Raeven DIS Veteran

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    I usually find the places by going through Tripadvisor lists, I also look at the Eater site or Instagram (there's ones for each area like Eater LA etc or I look at lists looking for a certain type of food). I know most places do have GF options, but I don't usually pick the place unless it's explicitly stated on the menu, they have a separate GF menu online, or there's reviews indicating they have GF options because I don't want any surprises. I'd also assume any restaurant that is good with doing GF options would take the time to indicate them on their website.
     
  18. Raeven

    Raeven DIS Veteran

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    Cali Trip-13 days
    HHN/Disney Trip-22 weeks

    We're getting close to our California trip!

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    Here's the itinerary so far:

    4/26
    We'll be leaving for the airport this morning a little later than usual because our flight is at 11:25 am, we're flying into SAN because we'll be staying in San Diego first. We have one stop in BWI, and then we'll arrive in SAN around 4:50 pm.
    Dining: Airport, Bencotto
    Check In: Hotel Republic

    4/27
    Dining: Seven Seas Food Festival, Eclipse Chocolate Bar
    Attractions: Seaworld
    Tour: Up close seal and sea lion tour
    (We had so much fun on the penguin tour,
    I wanted to do another; and this is different than the ones they offer in Orlando).

    4/28
    Dining: Breakfast Republic, Blind Burro
    Attractions: San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Coronado Island

    [​IMG]

    4/29
    We'll be picking up the first rental car today (which we return in the morning)
    so we can get to the fox encounter which is in Santa Ysabel.
    Dining: Farmer's Table, Stacked
    Snacks: Sauced Up (poutine restaurant), Donut Bar
    Attractions: Fox encounter, La Jolla Cove, Fashion Valley mall
    Check in: Ayres Orange

    4/30
    Dining: Storyteller's Cafe, Uva Bar
    Snacks: Cozy Cone, Jack Jack's Cookies, event snacks
    Attractions: DCA, Marvel After Dark Event from 9-1
    Night show: World of Color

    5/1
    Dining: Cafe Orleans, Carnation Cafe
    Snacks: Jolly Holiday Bakery, Salt & Straw
    Attractions: Disneyland
    Night show: Mickey's Magical Mix

    5/2
    Our second car rental will be this day,
    which we'll return in the morning.
    Dining: Urth Caffe, In N Out, Hugo's
    Snacks: Milk Jar Cookies, stuff at USH
    Attractions: Universal Hollywood, Griffith Observatory,
    I Like Scary Movies pop up, Comedy Store

    The I Like Scary Movies pop up is one of those pop up Instagram/photo spot locations. (I'm not sure if everyone knows what those are, but they often have them in bigger cities. Their typically called "art installations" or "pop up museums" and basically are full of backdrops or props to take pictures with). Disney actually has one too which we're going to later in the week. The Disney one opens that week so I'm not sure what to expect but the scary movie one is already open and it's really elaborate/cool. There's rooms decorated to scenes from The Shining, It, Lost Boys, Beetlejuice, and Nightmare on Elm St in it.

    5/3
    Dining: Goofy's Kitchen, Steakhouse 55
    Snacks: Red Wagon
    Attractions: Disneyland, Downtown Disney pop up-A Celebration of Mickey
    Night show: Not sure
    We have an early flight so I'm not sure if we'll go back to the parks at night.

    5/4
    Our flight leaves at 7 am out of the ONT airport.

    Last weekend I bought our tickets for Seaworld, the tour, our festival sampler pass, and the I Like Scary Movies pop up. So I only have to get our tickets for Universal Hollywood, the Disney pop up (still nailing down the time for that), and The Comedy Store (tickets aren't available for May yet).
    I also got sent a Lyft promo code this week for $5 off your next 20 rides for $14.99. This should save us about $100 since outside of our two rental cars we'll mostly be using Lyft. Because parking can be so high in the cities/parks/hotels it just made the most sense to walk or use Lyft unless we have to drive for 1 hour or so.

    September


    I don't have much new news on the Sep front. Universal announced it was opening a new restaurant by then so I think we'll try it out, and the second HHN house was announced today!

    [​IMG]

    It sounds really cool, (although I was a little disappointed it wasn't Hill House). Josh loves ancient Rome and Spartacus is one of his favorite shows so he really likes the theme of this one.

    I also finally finished all the Marvel movies! :cheer2: I watched Antman and the Wasp last week, and bought Endgame tickets for 7pm on the 25th. It's the day before we leave, but we aren't getting up that early and the movie doesn't run that late so I think it should be fine. People keep telling me it'll be very crowded the first night, but the theater down the street from us is in a dying mall and it's the best place to go for things like this because I've never seen it it get too packed even for opening night showings.

    I think I forgot to post pictures of this, but my sister was also an ancestor in the Addam's Family play a few weeks ago. It was an interesting play, it definitely seemed more fun than the ones they had us put on when I was in theater. Her costume reminded me of the Haunted Mansion ghosts.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm actually taking her to a local comic con
    tomorrow. I've never been to one, so I'm not sure what to expect but I think it'll be fun and it's not a very big one so it won't be too crowded. She has a huge crush on the kid that plays a young Batman on Gotham (I call him L'il Batman) so she really wanted to go and meet him. I got her a photo op for her birthday present :rotfl: We're also going to get brunch beforehand, & I know there's quite a few photo ops around, as well as a panel for Gotham so we'll have a few things to do.

    220px-Bruce_Wayne_(David_Mazouz).png
    (That's him)

    I'm also thinking of doing "week in my life" type vlog while we're getting ready for the trip, but I'm not sure if that's too overly ambitious yet. I watch a few vloggers who use that style when vlogging, I just don't know if I'd have enough footage or remember to record because I'll be at work 4 of the days that week, and most of the vloggers I watch who do those don't have regular jobs or they work from home unlike me :rotfl:
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  19. Lesley Wake

    Lesley Wake May the force be with you!

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    I love Stacked! A few years ago I was doing some work down in San Diego and stayed in Mission Valley. Stacked was my Thursday night place! (I’d watch Thursday Night Football on the big screen and got to know the bartender and another patron...who happened to be a NFL player!) I haven’t been in years but I loved their tablets where you customize everything. Cookie Butter shakes were my favorite!
     
  20. KathyM2

    KathyM2 DIS Veteran

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    Love all your plans! I hope you don't mind, as I may have mentioned I'm going to DLR and San Diego and LA in July and haven't been for like 20 years and don't know much about how things work there, so following your plans closely :))

    This looks really fun! I may look into this too!

    I'm glad you are talking about this - I was really trying to decide if a rental car was needed for San Diego and now I'm leaning towards not.

    Awesome!! Looks like a bit different experience too!

    I wanted to do all those things too...do you think it's doable in one day?

    Are these in San Diego?? Yum!!
     
  21. Raeven

    Raeven DIS Veteran

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    The burgers and mac and cheese look good!

    Thank you! No, I don’t mind at all! Feel free to ask me anything, although it’s all just based on research now, so I’ll have to let you know if certain things work out once we get there :rotfl:

    We ended up cutting that out because we’re doing the scary movie one, but it does look fun! There’s other ones that come and go especially on Hollywood Blvd,
    but that one is a permanent location so it might be a good idea for your trip.

    The rental car thing was a bit of a struggle. The price for a whole week seemed a bit much considering all the theme parks have $22 a day parking, and most hotels (aside from our DL) one do not offer free parking (in SD it’s 30-50 a night at a lot of the hotels especially if you want to be closer to Gaslamp where we’re staying). Depending on where you stay in San Diego, I don’t think you’d need one unless you plan to travel 45 mins-1 hour away.

    We picked Gaslamp because it was pretty central to what we wanted to do and had some nice hotels. It is more of a bars/late night district from what I understand which isn’t really our style but it’s also close to a lot of the tourist attractions. We also looked at Coronado Island but that was a bit further out, the Mission Bay area (wasn’t crazy about the hotels in our price range but that’s not too far out either), and La Jolla (I liked that area too but Gaslamp was more central). I don’t think it would be much more to Uber around from any of those areas, but I picked our hotel for being walking distance to a few eateries that looked good and for being a short ride away from our other plans.

    We also don’t really need the car in Anaheim. (We’re a couple min Uber ride from the parks), and if we were staying in LA I wouldn’t have rented one either because with parking it’d end up not being worth it but since we’re coming from outside LA it made sense to get it for that day (and the fox encounter but that’s in the middle of nowhere and we drive from SD to Anaheim that day too).

    It does! We’re also looking at Storyteller’s Cafe too.

    Realistically no, not fully. We wanted to see some of the gardens in the park, and those close earlier than the zoo so depending on what we want to do at the zoo we might miss that. The park is huge and if you want to see the museums, etc it probably needs it’s own day or half day (just because they close when the zoo does). For Coronado Island I think that depends too. I really just want to walk around the Del, maybe grab a snack, and see the beach that night after dinner. But if you want to shop, eat there etc you might need more time.

    Donut Bar is! Sauced Up is in Los Cerritos, a little ways from Anaheim.
     

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