Critique my Trip? EDIT 6/11: Post-trip Update Post 24

Discussion in 'California & the West' started by dkdaisy, Apr 26, 2018.

  1. oakleycat

    oakleycat DIS Veteran

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    The new itinerary looks much more relaxing and enjoyable! I agree with spending the day at DL and leaving around 7:00 to drive down to Carlsbad, that's the best way to avoid traffic and get the most out of your DL day.
     
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  2. martikus

    martikus Mouseketeer

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    Agreed much better! Especially now knowing two kids in tow! Our 9 year old LOVED USs midaway. Your 3 year old may find it exhausting. It’s A LOT of walking.

    Legoland is amazing for your age kids. But an idea instead of safari - especially if you have zoos at home. We did a week in just San Diego. We were underwhelmed by the zoo after all the hype it gets.

    Highlights were Legoland and uss midway. Oh and random seals on the La Jolla beach.

    Historic san Diego is fun for a hour two. Visit the jail, see a school house etc.
     
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  4. Purrkins

    Purrkins Mouseketeer

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    If you are staying over in Coronado, be sure to take the ferry to the Midway. By far the easiest way to get to those places. The ferry pulls up next to the Midway. Also decent eats at Carnitas Snack Shack and the Fishmarket Sushi Bar (in my top 5 of sushi bars in San Diego). The rest of the restaurant is kinda crappy though.
     
  5. dkdaisy

    dkdaisy Disney4Life!

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    So, quick post-trip update/mini trip report.

    Overall, our trip went mostly as planned and was tiring, but was a lot of fun. We all had a great time and really enjoyed seeing the Central and Southern California coasts.

    Sat, June 2: Fly into San Francisco, staying that night in San Jose/Morgan Hill - after we landed, we got our rental car (a Dodge Caravan that my kids LOVED! they obsessed with our mini-van all week!), and drove up to Fort Mason so we could see Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. They were actually preparing for the Escape from Alcatraz Triathalon that was held on 6/3 and food trucks were out so we had dinner from a food truck and walked around a bit. Then we went to our hotel in Morgan Hill, after a stop at Wal-mart for some road trip snacks and essentials. We had a great time looking out over the bay and got our first taste of California traffic. We were also surprised by the temperature change from the Bay to Morgan Hill (it was 70 at the Bay and 92 in Morgan Hill). I'd say we spent about 40 minutes driving from the airport to Fort Mason and then about an hour and 45 minutes to Wal-Mart/hotel.

    Sun, June 3: Drive to Monterrey, stopping at Big Basin Redwood State Park (maybe Henry Cowell instead) for little bit, visit the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, staying that night in Monterrey - We ended up doing the Redwood Loop at Henry Cowell and we all loved it. The redwoods are amazing, the trail was just the right length for us with the kids and we saw several deer right off the trail. My kids found a couple of banana slugs as well and thought they were the coolest thing. We stopped at the Nature Center there too. Then we drove down to Monterey, stopping along the way at a Farmer's market for some fresh fruit (which was amazing). Checked into our hotel (right next to In-n-Out - guess where dinner was?) and headed over to Cannery Row, which was very busy. The Aquarium was busy, but was amazing. My kids loved the exhibits, particularly the large aquariums. Then back for to In-n-Out for dinner and an evening swim at the hotel pool (which was a little chilly, but the kids had fun). The drive from our hotel to Henry Cowell was an easy hour and then from there to Monterey was just over an hour, with some traffic.

    Mon, June 4: Drive the PCH down the coast to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and stop there for a bit, then cut over to 101 using Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd (or go back up to Monterrey and take the 101 down, depending on how we feel about the drive), staying that night in San Luis Obispo - The first part of our drive had amazing views - the sun was up and there was no fog and it was beautiful! We stopped and did a short walk at Pfeiffer Big Sur and then also stopped later at Julia Pfeiffer and saw McWay Falls and had a picnic lunch. Between the two stops, a fog came up and we couldn't see the ocean anymore, but the fog itself along the cliffs was beautiful. We did take the Nacimiento-Fergussun pass and holy, crap was that terrifying in some places! But we made it through and to our hotel in San Luis Obispo in the mid-afternoon. We intended to swim and do laundry and relax, but when we arrived we were told their pool was closed for updating and there was construction all around so no parking and lots of noise. So we went out to dinner and then went down to Pismo Beach. We played at Dinosaur Park for a little bit and then went to Pismo State Beach and stuck our feet in the ocean! My oldest son, my fish, my boy of waves and water LOVED it so much, even though the water was around 62 degrees and the air was about 70. He had so much fun! My youngest hated the cold water and the waves, but loved the sand! They both ended up sandy and a little wet, but we had fun. Then back to the hotel for laundry and bed. We were on the road from Monterey to SLO from around 8 am to 3:30 pm, but we stopped several times to walk around, take pictures, check out views, etc.

    Tuesday, June 5: Drive to Anaheim to avoid LA traffic as best as possible (leave around 8-9 and aim for Anaheim around 2ish? Does that seem reasonable - I'm not sure on LA traffic?), relax in Anaheim for the evening (pool, dinner, early-to-bed) - Here's where went went off the rails a little bit. We left earlier enough and arrived at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Anaheim about 1 pm (left around 8:30, so about 4.5 hours on the road from SLO to Anaheim). Our hotel took our bags and valeted our car (same price as self parking) and told us they'd text us when the room was ready and take our bags up, but that it wouldn't be ready until 4, so we went to Disneyland. We were there from around 2 - 6, then my oldest and I went back from 7:3-10. We knew we wouldn't be able to get a lot of desirable fastpasses, but wanted to get the lay of the land. We did some fantasyland and tomorrowland rides (Buzz Lightyear was a big hit with the little one and Star Tours is my oldest,s favorite ride). Around 6 we went back to our hotel, got settled in there and had dinner and then my oldest and I went back and did Haunted Mansion (twice), Jungle Cruise, Star Tours, and a lot of checking things out.

    Wednesday, June 6: Disneyland and/or DCA, staying in Anaheim for the night (hotel is 10-15 minute walk from DL/DCA gates, so we're good with going back for a nap/chill time in the afternoon for a bit if we need to) - More Disneyland and California Adventure. Couldn't get my family going, so we didn't make rope drop, but got into DCA around 8:30. Did some poor MaxPass planning at first, but finally got it down and rode Grizzly Peak, Soarin', checked out A Bug's Land and made our way to Radiator Springs - which both boys loved. Had lunch at Cozy Cone, then I took the oldest on RSR and DH took the youngest to Luigi's. RSR was a big hit and a new favorite ride for my son. Then he and I went and rode Mission Breakout (which I was expecting to hate and merely tolerated, but my son was surprisingly scared by). When we came out, the other two were in line to meet Groot, so the boys did that and then we hopped to DL, where we did Space, Star Tours, Big Thunder, etc. Ended up deciding to have an early evening and went to IHOP for dinner and in bed by 8 for all of us.

    Thursday, June 7: Disneyland and/or DCA, then driving to Carlsbad (still not sure if we'll leave to drive down in the afternoon or wait until late evening to try to avoid traffic), staying in Carlsbad (and I just found out this week that my family there has to decided to take an international job opportunity that came up and they're moving in two weeks, so we won't get to see them :( ) - My youngest and I were up early for MM, got there around 6:45, in at 7 and did everything in Fantasyland except Peter Pan (long line right away). We were the first and only people on Dumbo and the Magic Teacups. The little one had a blast! Then we went over to Tomorrowland and did Buzz twice. My DH and oldest showed up, so oldest and I went to Star Tours and DH took youngest on Buzz again. Then we went over and FP Indy (with child swap). My oldest LOVED it! Jungle Cruise, Tarzan's Treehouse, Haunted Mansion again. Then we hopped over to DCA and did Soarin, Mission Breakout, some shopping. Were going to do RSR again, but couldn't get the right time FP and the single rider line was 40 minutes, so we skipped it. Back to DL for Toontown (Roger Rabbit went down, so we missed that) and Small World. We headed out about 6 pm - all exhausted and hot and got to Carlsbad about 7:15, so traffic wasn't too bad.

    Friday, June 8: San Diego Zoo or San Diego Wildlife Safari, leaning towards Safari, staying in Carlsbad - completely threw the plans out the window for Friday. We decided we'd had enough theme parks/walking in lines and sun. Instead we slept in, had breakfast, then drove down to La Jolla, got some In-n-Out and went over to the Children's Pool and tide pools for a few hours. The kids loved seeing the harbor seals (there was a baby one on the beach!) and the little rock crabs. Then we went back to the hotel in the worst traffic we'd seen all trip. It took us almost 2 hours instead of 45 minutes. Did laundry, had dinner, relaxed.

    Saturday, June 9: Some adventures around San Diego (USS Midway seems to be where we're leaning, plus wandering around town/Coronado Beach), staying that night at the Hotel del Coronado, having dinner there at the hotel - Packed up and went into downtown and toured the USS Midway. We only stayed about 2 hours, but my oldest and DH could have done more. My youngest was done. Then we went over to Coronado and checked our bags will bell services. It was about 1 and our room wouldn't be ready until 4, but they gave us pool keys, so we went swimming at the pool (nice and warm) and then cleaned up, had ice cream, checked out the shops and went down to the beach. By that time our room was ready, so we went up, settled in, showered, changed and went to dinner at the Bluewater Boathouse, which was really good. We all tried octopus (oldest hated it, youngest actually liked it) and ate way to much! Then back to the Del for a little shopping and up to bed. We went to bed around 9 since we had an early flight.

    Sunday, June 10: relatively early flight from San Diego back home. - up at 3 to return rental car and get checked in for our 6:30 am flight. Too early of a day, but we got home relatively early too!

    Overall impressions:
    we had a great time and loved the whole trip. It was hotter, especially at DLR, than we thought it'd be for early June, but its been hotter than usual this spring/summer everywhere, I think. We loved the state parks and the redwoods and the beautiful scenery. Didn't love the traffic, but it wasn't as bad as we'd been mentally preparing for. DLR was awesome - DH likes it better than WDW. I liked it a lot, especially being able to park hop so easily and walk everywhere (no BUSSES!), but we missed some of the WDW experiences - Typhoon Lagoon, Pandora/Animal Kingdom, Spaceship Earth and other parts of Epcot. Overall, we'd definitely go back though.

    I'd highly recommend the Holiday Inn Express & Suites at Anaheim - they did a great job of making it feel like a "Disney" experience and took care of everything with a smile. Actually, everyone was really nice.

    We got home very tired, but we all had a great time and made some really nice memories. Thanks for your help with planning, everyone!
     
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  6. oakleycat

    oakleycat DIS Veteran

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    Sounds like a great trip! Thanks for reporting back.
     
  7. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

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    For a waterpark type experience at DLR, look into the Courtyard Marriott (relatively new with a great pool area with waterslides and Great Wolf Lodge (farther from the parks, but lots of indoor waterslides). Also, there is a water park by Knott's in Buena Park, so you could plan a day there for your next trip.
    Glad you all had a great trip!
     
  8. Ava

    Ava DIS Veteran

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    Sounds like a great trip! I’m glad to hear that you liked the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, we are staying there for our DLR trip in 3 weeks. I was back & forth between that and the Hotel Indigo on Katella, but the included breakfast at HIE won out. My kids love their pancake machine, lol.
     
  9. dkdaisy

    dkdaisy Disney4Life!

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    the HIE&S was definitely worth it. Valet parking was the same price as self-parking, they allow you to pay for an extra day of parking and leave your vehicle there all day on day of check-out, breakfast was good, rooms were nice. Small pool, but we didn't even use it. The people there were all great, always had a smile on their face. We love HIE in general (pancake machine is a big hit with our kids too!), but we had a couple of bummers on this trip and Anaheim was not one of them.

    Have fun!
     
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