Anyone from the UK been to California?

Discussion in 'UK Trip Planning Forum' started by Disbabe, May 4, 2010.

  1. Disbabe

    Disbabe DIS Veteran

    Apr 9, 2001
    We're thinking of visiting California for next years holiday in August. It looks like we'll need seperate hotels for the Hollywood and Anaheim portion - so our plan is 3 nights in Hollywood to visit the general area and Universal Studios, then 4 nights in Anaheim to visit Disneyland. We're then thinking of 7 nights in Del Mar, San Diego to visit Seaworld/Beach and surrounding areas (ie. relax) before coming home.
    We've never been so any advice would be greatly received. We're planning of doing this holiday ourselves. Was thinking of Best western Hollywood Hills Hotel, Staybridge Suites, Anaheim and Homewood Suites San Diego.
    Has anyone stayed at any of these - anything good/bad to say?
    Thanks for any info :thumbsup2
  2. wayneg

    wayneg Moderator Moderator

    Jul 24, 2003
    I have Googled Staybridge suites, not one I am familiar with around Disneyland, doesn't look within walking distance of Disney, if it isn't you will have parking charges or a shuttle bus if they do them.
    Unless you are getting a great rate there I would look at a hotel across the road from Disney, we stayed at HoJo 5-10 mins walk (10-15 when tired end of day) from the gate. but there are plenty more. Don't know what current rates are, we paid about £35-40/night, look on Stayed there both times we have been.
    We used here for a base and drove to Universal, LA, Seaworld & San Diego Zoo.
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  4. Pooh's-Honey-Pot

    Pooh's-Honey-Pot Secretly prefers Tangled to Frozen...

    May 31, 2007
    We stayed for 7 nights in Anaheim in 2007, and used that as a base to visit Hollywood, Universal etc, as well as three days in Disney. We LOVED it there, and are planning a re-visit next year instead of Florida! We stayed at the Sheraton Anaheim, which looks really close but isn't walkable to the parks due to the massive freeway in the way!! I have been on the Disneyland boards on the DIS a lot lately - have a look, there are some really current threads recommending loads of hotels in walking distance; from memory the Howard Johnson and the Candy Cane are both popular!

    We are going to go DIY next June, in combination with SanFran and Las Vegas - am dying for the flights to come out so I can get booking!!
  5. Rosie

    Rosie Doughnut researcher

    Jan 17, 2005
    My family holidayed in California last August.
    We did 4 nights San Francisco, 3 nights Yosemite and 8 nights at the Staybridge Suites in Anaheim.
    The Staybridge suites were excellent but not walking distance to Disneyland (or anywhere else!). We had a wonderful time and loved the beaches of Southern California.
    Next time we will do 4 nights at Newport Beach, 7 nights in San Diego and 4 nights onsite at Disneyland or walking distance to the parks.
    We did LA/Hollywood as a one day guided tour and it was interesting but not the greatest place in our opinion.
    Unless you love shopping I would say 3 nights in Hollywood might be too many but every family is different :goodvibes.
    California is beautiful and we found the people very friendly and helpful. I would definitely recommend it to anyone as a great holiday destination.
  6. heatherbelle

    heatherbelle DIS Veteran

    Jan 15, 2005
    We went to CA last August, but I made the mistake of staying in Anaheim for 1 week.

    If I were to go again and do the same things, I would stay at Santa Monica for 3 nights, from here you are about 15 mins in a car to the centre of Hoolywood and Vine where you can see the sign, same amount of time to the farmers market, which I recommend you go see, and around 30 to 40mins to Universal. Santa Monica was lovley and the hop on hop off tour buses go here too. It's next to venice beach, and you can hire bikes there.

    For your Disney part, we stayed at the Staybridge Suites close to the I5. I really liked it, breakfast was a bit hectic, but the food was good. The rooms were fine and the pool area lovely and clean. There is a shuttle to Disney, but we drove the car, a sat nav is a must in LA. I don't use one in Orlando.
    There is a nice restuarant at the hotel next door, and you can order food from here to take to your room or eat by the pool or eat in. It was a good base for getting out and about on, but wasted time when visiting Disney, as we had to drive and park.

    If you want to be very near Disney, then loads of people recommend the Howard Johnson, which is over the road from Disney and Wayne has stayed here. There is a Mimi's near by and we ate here. A good place for burgers is called in n out, best burger I have ever had. We wondered why there were long queues for a burger and when we tasted it we understood why.

    For our second week we went to SD, this is the best place I have ever been to. I want to go and live there. We stayed at Humphries half moon and Inn, fab location overlooking the marina. If you have cash to splash, then check out the Coronado. We went to visit one evening, another beautiful location.
    Loads to do in SD, have a look at the go SD card on line. We had one and saved a bomb. One of the best fun places to eat was at Red Corvett Diner, old fashioned America in the 50's reservations are a must, and a good place for pizza was called Sami's this is a chain, so plenty of them around. One day we will go back to SD, but I don't really fancy going back to the other parts of LA that we saw. I wasn't really taken with LA Disney at all, but I think in fairness, that was probably because it was megga busy and we were pushed for time, trying to cram everything in.

    Another fab trip was Warner Bros Studio tour, worth every penny, just to see the Harry Potter Museum and see my DS's face, when the sorting said I was in Slytherine!!!! We also loved Universal, I wasn't too sure on whether to do this, as I don't care for Universal in Orlando, but it was like both Orlando partks put together and we had a great day there.

    If you have any more questions please feel free to PM.

    Edit, have a look on the DIBB, there is a whole section dedicated to California, and that's where I did a lot of my research for our trips and choosing hotels.
  7. janiebubble

    janiebubble DIS Veteran

    Jan 26, 2010
    I've been to California three times ... in many ways I prefer it to Florida (I just don't like the flight - having to change at Heathrow and then 12 hours on a plane!)

    We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn on Harbour Boulevard twice then at the Hyatt almost next door. Liked both, Hyatt slightly smarter .. and from my mum's room you could watch the fireworks at Disneyland ... I loved looking out of the window and seeing the mountains with snow on them in the distance!!
  8. torsie24

    torsie24 Mummy to a perfect princess.

    May 14, 2008
    I went to University in LA for a while, and would definitely recommend you split your stay between Anaheim and Hollywood/Santa Monica.

    I think if it were me, I would stay at Hollywood and Highland because then from there you can ride the Metro straight to Universal City in a few minutes, and you have an easy drive/bus to get to Westwood (where I lived, amazing town!) and Santa Monica (also great!)

    Disneyland there is about the size of DLRP, so I'd say 3 nights Anaheim, 4 nights Hollywood as that way you'll have time to do the WB tour and Universal, you could also drive up to Six Flags magic Mountain for a day if you're a coaster fan. :) My tip - don't ride X2 first thing in the morning when you've not eaten or had a drink!

    You could visit everything from Anaheim but I know whenever I went down there it felt a looong ride!
  9. igk

    igk DIS Veteran

    Aug 25, 2003
    We ended up at Disneyland as a result of being stranded in LA for 6 days by the volcano. DD's birthday was coming up and I said to her "if we're still here on your birthday I'll take you to Disneyland". She had a great time and wore her birthday pin all day.
    My advice for accommodation is the most important thing is the location. It's much better to be able to walk to DL rather than drive or rely on shuttles.
    We stayed at the Best Western Park Place Inn, which is right opposite the main entrance on Harbor Blvd. You really couldn't get closer unless you stayed at the Grand Californian. It wasn't fancy - not the sort of place for a once-in-a-lifetime trip but it was clean, friendly and comfortable, and I hadn't budgeted for an extra 6 days and DL tickets!
  10. orlandothebeagle

    orlandothebeagle Gotta love the beagles.

    Feb 2, 2008
    La was my least fav place, san fran was amazing as was monteray, we went for moto gp to laguna seca:cool1:

    Did I mention I LOVED san fran!!
  11. All Star Paul

    All Star Paul Mouseketeer

    Sep 12, 2008
    We did 17 nights in 2008. Had a great time. We flew into LAX and stayed the first three nights at the Sportsman's Lodge, which we thought was a good, slightly retro US hotel. The location was good for Universal, Hollywood, Beverley Hill etc. One tip; if you are going up to the Griffiths Observatory (great views of LA and the closest to the Hollywood sign) time it to get there 30 mins before sundown. You get the best of both worlds, you see LA before and after the sun goes down and the sunset is really nice, assuming the weather is good. The we went North and did the giant redwoods (fantastic but a long drive), Yosemite (truely awesone, need to go bakc), SF (great lots here including Alcatraz, another top tip, get the first boat in the morning and ignore the guide on the dock, go straight to the jail, get the audio tour and get in there as quickly as you can, the place is really creepy and atmoshperic before the crowds appear), after 3 days in SF we did Monterey/Carmel (fantasitic whale watching trip). We then came back to Anahiem and stayed at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel. We could probably have stayed a little cheaper at one of the nearby hotel but it was nice to stay "on-site" even though on-site does mean as much in Californiana as it does in Florida. PP is the cheapest of the Disney hotels and it is nice. The pool is on a terrace and they pipe in the Wishes music as you watch from there. It you get a theme park view, CA looks great at night. We had 4 nights and that was just right, there is a lot of extra entertainment in the Disneyland Park in particular, make sure you have enough to really soak that up. Disneyland has a really good feel about it, its not just about the rides. Top tip - make sure you see Billy Hill and the Hill Billys and the Alladin show.:)
  12. Pooh's-Honey-Pot

    Pooh's-Honey-Pot Secretly prefers Tangled to Frozen...

    May 31, 2007
    Oh, this sounds like what we want to do. We are thinking 4 nights SanFran, 4 nights Vegas, 6 nights LA (split between Anaheim and somewhere near Hollywood) and then a night or two Yesomite. What order did you visit in - our original plan was SanFran - LA - Vegas, but now we need to fit Yesomite in and i have no idea where it actually is! :rotfl2:
  13. Samuell

    Samuell Earning My Ears

    May 5, 2010
    My friend is going to get married this week and i plan for them a honeymoon package as their wedding gift, what will be the best place for honeymoon in California.
    please suggest me some ideas.
  14. orlandothebeagle

    orlandothebeagle Gotta love the beagles.

    Feb 2, 2008
    San fran is pretty expensive, we stayed at a great clean cheaper hotel right on the edge of china town( 2 mins from macys;)
    It was a fellow disser from san fran that recommended it.

    Baldwin hotel.
    why dont you drive from san fran to LA?

    It is an amazing trip, you will love it
  15. All Star Paul

    All Star Paul Mouseketeer

    Sep 12, 2008
    We flew into LAX, did 3 nights in the Sportsmans Lodge (Visited Hollywood / Rodeo Drive / Beverley Hills / Venice Beach / Universal / Griffiths / Hollywood sign).

    Drove North to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. This was a long drive but the trees are amazing and there is a great but slightly scary hike up to Munroe Point (great views) :scared1: However we then had a another couple of hours to get to Fresnao for the night. I just underestimated how winding and climbing the roads were. If you have the time and are going to Yosemite anyway then it may be worth it but we left Universal City about 9am and did not get to the trees till mid afternoon. if we drove straight to Fresno we would have saved quite a few hours. We did not see anything in Fresno we just used it as a stop over.

    Next day we drove to Yosemite and stayed 2 nights in the valley at the Yosemite Lodge. It is basic but a fantastic location. If you like a bit more luxury stay at the Ahwahnee. You need to book these early.
    Yosemite is fantastic, could easily have stayed for longer. Apparently the best time is spring/early summer as the waterfalls are flowing but we still though it was great.

    We then drove to SF and stayed 4 nights at the Argonaut. It is a really nice hotel in a great location. You have 2 basic choices; Downtown or the Fishermans Wharf area. This hotel is right on Fishermans Wharf. You have to pay for parking but you don't really need a car in SF. We should probably saved some money by returning our car and picking it up again at the end of our SF stay. There is a parking garage right behind the hotel, and you can hire bikes, get the trolley, get the boats to Alcatraz etc, all right outside. We visited/Alcatraz / Little Italy / Chinatown / took trollies to Union Square / hired bikes and cycled across the Golden Gate bridge to Sacramento (lovely little town good restaurants/cafes and got the ferry back across with the bikes - great fun. If you go to Union Square have a dessert at the Cheescake factory on top of Macy's :cloud9:

    We then drove to Monterey for two nights and stayed at the La Quinta Monterey - basic but ok and close to stuff. Did not really think that much of Monterey but we used it a base to do a fantastic whale watching trip (saw Orcas and Humpbacks / Dolphins / Otters) we also visited Carmel where Clint Eastwood was mayor, very nice and very affluent, saw more dolphins playing in the surf by the beach and took a look at Peeble Beach Golf course.

    Then we drove South and did some of the PCH Pacific Coast Highway - beautiful scenery, you could spend a couple of days just driving back to LA if you stopped at Hearst Castle etc, but we did not have the time. We moved inland and stopped for the night at Santa Barbara (Inn by the Harbour) which was a nice town with a pier and nice beachfront.

    We then drove to Anahiem and stayed at the Paradise Pier for 4 nights. This was a smart move as we finished the holiday on a guarenteed high. The rest of the holiday was fantastic but with these road trips there is always the chance that something will not be as good as expected or the weather will be poor etc. We would have liked to visit Santa Diego but did not have the time. You have watch your driving time, it is easy to drive thousands of miles on these trips. We will definitely go back. Next time we will probably do Vegas / Zion / G.Canyon North Rim / L.A and San Diego. Hope this helps, have fun and let me know if you need any more info.:thumbsup2 Paul
  16. gh015c4116

    gh015c4116 Earning My Ears

    Apr 6, 2007
    We have done cali 5 times now usually in april may.
    we love it ,:cool1:
    The only problem we have is that everying is so far away from each other,
    If you have kids when staying in hollywood i would sugest you stay at
    The Magic Castle Hotel , its right behind the chinese state theather and the walk of fame ect,
    but not only is the position great the service cant be beat,
    they have an open mini bar down in the lobby (its all free) coke/fizzy drinks
    popcorn candy,snack ect also they will let you have movies for the night, book anything that needs booking ,bring the kids free ice lollys by the pool,
    they have a great free continental brekie in the morning , leave fruit out in the afternoon,
    They even supplied us with a great takeaway menu on the nights we were to tiered after a long day at the park to go out.
    When we went to the beach they made us snack bags up while waiting for a taxi and gave the kids buckets and spades.
    If staying in Anaheim try and get the ent book and check the ho jo website they do lots of fates from about $50 a night.
    any more info needed just ask
  17. LoodlesNoodles

    LoodlesNoodles DIS Veteran

    Jan 28, 2010
    I've just recently begun to start making preliminary plans to do California in 2011 when my friend graduates from Uni. We're thinking of doing the ABD tour and adding a couple of nights on beforehand for Disney and then renting a car and driving over to San Fran (after John and Kevin's report on the podcast :rotfl: )
    It'll be a once in a lifetime trip so I'm willing to spend as much as I have to to get the best experience.
  18. Zeebs

    Zeebs DIS Veteran

    Oct 8, 2007
    June 2009 our family (me, hubby, Cullen 3 and Seth 18 months) did a 3 week road trip from LA to Vancouver - back to Seattle where we flew back to LA for 5 nights in Anaheim.

    We had a fantastic time, we had our first night at the Sheraton Gateway near the airport (which I got through Hotwire for under $100.00) We hired a rental car through US rental car.

    We headed up the coast road which was amazing stayed in Morrow Bay 1 night. Then 2 nights Big Sur (which was really expensive as we hired a cabin)

    San Fran - we didn't organise accommodation until arriving and ended up staying in a La Quinta near the airport, it didn't have very good reviews which I read afterwards, but we really liked it, it was clean staff were helpful and included parking all at a fraction of the price that inner city San Fran places. It only took 20 mins to get into San Fran.

    Then we headed to Lake Tahoe (which was nice but we wouldn't recommend as it was off season so not a lot was open, it was cold and a long way out of the way, we then headed up through Oregon.

    It was an excellent road trip and we would love to do another one on the East Coast next time.

    Back in Anaheim, as we aren't fussy with our accommodation we stayed at the Jolly Roger for a great rate, the room was clean but small, pool was nice and it was in walking distance. At the end of the day you can also take the tram to the Lion King ????? carpark and walk through to the hotel. It takes about the same amount of time but less time on your feet.

    One of the hotel chains we stayed in was Oxford Suites which were great, they had a seperate room for kids and us to sleep in, drinks and munchies in the evening and included breakfast we found them very reasonable, you don't find them everywhere but if you find one they are well worth it.

  19. Soprano

    Soprano Not a Disney geek

    Jun 20, 2005
    We were there last in '08 and stayed at the Radisson Maingate in Anaheim, a few minutes from Disney and loved every minute of it. More so than Florida in many ways.

    I dont like split holidays staying in a few places as I like being settled. Felt the location was perfect. Disneyland was the main attraction for us. The beach is a short drive, which was a nice change. Also the Anaheim Angels baseball ground was very close by and we took in a few games. This was a real highlight. Not really into baseball, but its a great way to spend a few hours seeing how Americans live. What was most surprising was the total mix of people at a baseball game. White, black, latino, young, old, goths, jocks, teens, grandparents... it was really interesting.

    I wasn't too impressed with Hollywood as a lot if it is run down.

    Here are some of my pros and cons if it helps

    Doesn't feel like a holiday destination
    Very few Brits!
    Great shopping
    Grand Canyon and even Vegas possible to visit

    Attractions far from each other
    Driving a MUST and a little daunting
    longer flight from UK

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