Going solo to the mother ship (long need lots of help).

eye R.N.

<font color=660000>Many TF's like pins ;-)</font><
Feb 11, 2000
I can traverse WDW in my sleep, know every bathroom shady spot great pin trading place, you name it.

Now, by the grace of my bosses who are sending me to San Diego for a convention, I have the opportunity to spend a couple of days at DL (may 2-3) and discover I don't have the foggiest notion of where to start. I know there won't be any night parades since it's the middle of the week. But I still have lots of questions

First of all getting there. Is there any way to get from San Diego to DL without renting a car? If not will I get hopelessly lost and incite a road riot as a stupid tourist?

Second I had ressies at Paradise Pier but just couldn't justify the $$$ for myself alone. Now I'm at Howard Johnsons Plaza, have I made a big mistake? Can I really walk to the park from there and will I want to walk home alone after dark.

I arrive tues night may 1, is there anything I can do that doesn't involve a park pass but does feel like Disney that evening?

Wednesday is a full touring day DL or DCA? Thurday I have a 9PM flight out of LAX so when will I need to leave accounting for traffic?

My DL don't miss list includes Mattherhorn Indy (if it's done rehab) toontown spin, pirates what am I missing?

I am studing a DCA map to make a list but could use some advice.

Next,. . . food. .. what's too good to pass up?

Finally, pins, where do I get them and where do the honest traders hang out.

Believe it or not I am actually losing sleep over this. I haven't been on a solo trip since my single days (around the disco era). Any advice will be most welcomed.


Let's see what we can do to help you out :D

Yes, there is another way to get from San Diego to LA -- train. I did that when I had a conference in SD and wanted to go to LA. Wasn't bad, though it took a while. Biggest question on that is how you get from the train station to your hotel, and that I'm not sure of. Cab is the only thing that comes to mind, but maybe someone local has a better idea.

Don't know anything about HoJo's other than that it's gotten pretty good reviews here on the DIS. I *think* it's within a decent walking distance, though.

Yep, there's a Downtown Disney :D That doesn't require any ticket or anything like that, and what little I saw of it definitely had a Disney feel :D

If you're only going to have one full day to spend in the parks, I strongly recommend having that day be a Disneyland day. There's so much to do at DL, you could spend the entire time you have in just that one park and still not get bored. It's also the first, and for that reason alone makes it worth a stop :D Leaving at 9, I would recommend leaving sometime between 6:30 and 7, depending on your method of getting to the airport.

DL don't miss: Anything!! ;) Seriously, there's nothing at DL that is the same as WDW with the possible exception of Honey I Shrunk the Audience. All others, even those attractions that are duplicates, are different in some way, shape, or form. Going around the route, though:
*Tiki Room -- it's the original, and if you want a nice relaxing attraction, this is the place
*Indy. Best attraction ever made. Nuff said ;)
*Tarzan's Treehouse -- quick to go through, but worth a walk through
*Pirates -- better than WDW
*Haunted Mansion -- similar, but IMHO more detailed and thus better than WDW
*Thunder Mountain -- IMHO better than WDW, located on the opposite side of the Rivers of America as it is at WDW, so don't get lost ;)
*Everything in Fantasyland -- just make it easy. It's all great. It's all different. It's all better IMHO than WDW ;)
*Toontown -- faded though it might be, it's still worth a look-around whether you can go on any of the attractions or not. Roger Rabbit may or may not be open by the time you get there. If it is, it's worth a spin (excuse the pun), if not, Toon Town is still worth walking through. And both houses are really cute.
*Space Mountain -- better IMHO than WDW

That's my "don't miss" list. And if you have time, both Animazement and the show in the Golden Horseshoe (Billy Hill and the Hillbillies specificially) are great.

Can't help you on anything at DCA as I've never been ;)

For food, I highly recommend breakfast at the River Belle Terrace, and lunch (or dinner, but dinner is more expensive) at the Blue Bayou. Head there right away first thing in the morning to get reservations for the day, or you'll be waiting in line. ;)

Don't know on Pins, though.

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(Links will return when I find a new place to host the sites)
First of all, get some sleep. Your trip will be fun and easy!

Getting there - Check and see if the SD airport has some type of a shuttle bus (I know that there's one from LAX.) If you do rent a car just head north from San Diego to the 5 freeway. Stay on the 5 and exit onto Harbor Blvd. The only rough thing about this if if you will be travelling it during the evening ride home. There may be a lot of traffic. My husband travels this route a lot and it can take him up to 2 hours. So hang in there!

HoJo's - Sorry, I can't help you there.

Evening arrival - Downtown Disney is free and there's a bunch of different things to do there, dinner, movie theaters and the ESPN sports bar. I'm sure you'll be kept busy!

Flight to LAX - As I mentioned there is a bus that goes from the hotels around DL to LAX. It's called the Airporter and I'm sure that they pick up at the HoJo's. Leaving 2 1/2 hours before your flight should give you plenty of time since they take carpool lanes to get up there.

DL - Splash mountain (if it's warm out) and space mountain are my favorites. There also may be parades (just check w/ disneyland.com and put in the day you're traveling).

Food - I like Blue Bayou at DL, but you need to make a reservation in the morning for lunch or dinner. (Warning - It's pricey!)

Pins - Your best luck will be trading pins with castmemebers. There's another place that a lot of people trade pins but I forgot the name of the store so I'll try to describe the location. . . When you enter DL, go to the right under the train tracks and you'll pass the Bank and some stores on your right. Then right in front of you is a store that has a ton of pins to buy. On the side area some people trade and show off their pins. Those people are ususally very serious traders but occasionally there are some nice, easy going traders too. Also, the castmemeber in the store wears a vest with many pins to trade.

I know that you'll have a great time!

I've stayed there several times and have been very happy with it. DL is not like WDW, so staying "on site" is not a must, it's more of a luxury.

I just want to make sure, the HoJo you're staying at, is it on Harbor Blvd, advertised as being across DL? I don't know of any other ones, but some of the other chains have many locations. It is walking distance, maybe about 15 minutes at a leisurely pace. They also have a shuttle. It's a safe area, but at night there are some people handing out flyers, asking for food, etc. As far as HoJo itself, it's a pretty nice room, clean, and safe. It's more like a "hotel" than other motels in the area. They also have a restaurant, I can't recall the name offhand. There is also a good Mexican restaurant across the street, Acapulco.

I agree with the information on the other posts in terms of time to the airport etc. I would personally rent a car, to save time, and it's not a very complicated drive. Most of it is freeway.

Blue Bayou is kind of like DL's "signature" restaurant. I would make a ressie for the first lunch seating available, I think 11 a.m. then maybe you can sit by the water. I like the food there, and lunch is much more reasonably priced than dinner. I think www.mouseplanet.com has a menu. DCA's supposed to have some good restaurants too, but I haven't been there yet!

As far as DL rides go, I always head for Indy first, then you can go again later if you enjoy it. The Matterhorn and Space Mountain are also "must rides." The train ride that circles the park is pretty different from WDW, I would do it if you have time.

Have a great time! If you have more specific questions about HoJo, feel free to ask!

We have also taken the Amtrak train and really enjoyed it. It is an attraction in itself.
I would also just spend your time at DL. Since you will love it, you can plan a longer trip in the future to include DCA.

For the great advice. Blue Bayou has made the list.

You all are the best!



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If you decide on taking the train, you can take a shuttle to the hotel. The train stations is probably 5-10 minutes away from Disneyland. Call Howard Johnson Hotel and they'll send a shuttle to pick you up. (I called Amtrack - they had no info - so I called HoJo, and they were able to give me the info) You don't need to call ahead, just when you get there.

<font face="Comic Sans MS"><font color=#FF0066>Mary Jo

Disneyland & Techie Boards Co-Moderator

My DL Site
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