How Does this Itinerary Look

PlutoTheDog89

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
We used to always do WDW for Christmas. My dad passed in January, and although we decided to skip the next few years...we can't bring ourselves to go back right now anyway. We decided to do a bucket list trip for Christmas, instead: heading to Cali for Christmas week and driving down the coast. How does this itinerary sound? Am I missing anything? Is it too ambitious? Would love to hear some opinions. Cali is very new to me, being from NY.

December 23rd: Arrive in San Francisco, evening
December 24th: San Francisco
- Golden Gate Bridge
- Alcatraz
- Burritos in Mission

December 25th: San Francisco
- Painted Ladies
- Lomard Street
- Coit Tower
- Chinatown

December 26th: Head to Monterey
- Aquarium
- Cannery Row
- Old Fisherman's Wharf

December 27th: Big Sur/Point Lobos

December 28th: Head to Anaheim
- Stop in Santa Barbara
- See el matador/Morro Bay in Malibu

December 29th: Anaheim
- Disneyland: rides, Café Orleans or Plaza Inn, Holiday Magic, Fantasmic

December 30th: Anaheim
- California Adventure - dinner at Napa Rose, Lamplight, or Trader Sam's

December 31st: Los Angeles
- Warner Bros Studios tour
- Hollywood sign (Hollywood Resevoir)
- Chinese Theater
- Rodeo Drive/Farmers Market, Marina del Ray

January 1st: Drive to San Diego
- Stop at Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna, Los Rios, La Jolla
- Arrive at SD
- Dinner in Coronado

January 2nd: San Diego
- San Diego Zoo or explore

January 3rd: San Diego
- Beach/Exploring
 

Disney Dad ADL

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 17, 2015
Looks good! I think it all looks reasonable and doable in terms of time, although the one thing that might be difficult is the drive from Monterey to Anaheim. It looks like you are going to do that in 1 day via Highway 1? If you could split it up into 2 days, it might be more enjoyable. The issue is that driving is very slow along highway 1 due to the fact that you are driving on curvy roads right next to a huge cliff. I get nervous driving more than 30 miles per hour over a lot of it, especially around Big Sur, even in good weather. Visibility/road conditions may be bad in the winter due to fog/rain. Also, you can take your time and enjoy the sites more. It takes about 6-7 hours to drive from Monterey to Anaheim going the fast way (I-5), so driving along the coast will probably take 8-9 hours or so would be my guess.

One option would be to leave Monterey on 12/27 AM, visit Big Sur, then continue driving south and then spend the night somewhere between San Simeon (Hearst Castle Area) and Morro Bay (I've spent the night in Morro Bay, it's nice there). If you want to spend more time in Big Sur, it is possible to find hotels there, but there are only a few. Then on 12/28, you can drive the rest of the way to Anaheim.

Alternately you could spend 1 day less in San Diego and dedicate 1 more day for the actual drive down the coast.

Also slight correction/typo. Morro Bay is nowhere near Malibu, it's a bit north of San Luis Obispo. It would be maybe an hour or two before Santa Barbara.
 

Fred M

DIS Dad #860
Joined
Jul 1, 2019
It looks like you are going to do that in 1 day via Highway 1? If you could split it up into 2 days, it might be more enjoyable. The issue is that driving is very slow along highway 1 due to the fact that you are driving on curvy roads right next to a huge cliff. I get nervous driving more than 30 miles per hour over a lot of it, especially around Big Sur, even in good weather.
When I read the itinerary I couldn't tell if it was drive to Point Lobos and Big Sur and then camp or stay near Big Sur on the night of the 27th or if it was to backtrack to Monterey and stay there on the 27th. If it's the latter, then I think they're covered because they can just take the 101.
 
  • Disney Dad ADL

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 17, 2015
    When I read the itinerary I couldn't tell if it was drive to Point Lobos and Big Sur and then camp or stay near Big Sur on the night of the 27th or if it was to backtrack to Monterey and stay there on the 27th. If it's the latter, then I think they're covered because they can just take the 101.
    Yes, using US_101 or I-5 would be an option (a faster option for sure), but my preference would be to drive down Highway 1 if possible, rather than bypassing the drive. I love the drive down the coast, it's really beautiful, and having extra time to take random stops and look around is worth it if you can swing it. I spent 3 days driving along the coast and making stops along the way, one of the best trips I've taken.
     

    Plasticletters

    Ride a Bike
    Joined
    Jun 8, 2009
    Hi!
    San Diego resident here with a lot of drives up and down the coast under my belt. Here's a few suggestions...

    SAN FRANCISCO:
    Are you just going to drive over Golden Gate Bridge or head to the Presidio to get some views?
    If you're driving over it, add Muir Woods (redwood trees) to your itinerary. You won't regret it - you can spend as little as 15 minutes or as long as several hours and it's worth it no matter what.

    If you just want some views from the Presidio, add the Walt Disney Family Museum to your itinerary. The museum is in the Presidio as well as all the best views of the bridge. This is something else you can spend a little or a lot of time on. You'll love it.

    Since you have the Monterrey Bay Aquarium on your itinerary, I'm going to assume you like Nature/Science stuff...which means you should also check out the California Academy of Sciences while you are in SFO. It's one of the best Natural History Museums I've ever been to, and it's in Golden Gate Park - which is beautiful on its own to visit.
    Driving down from San Francisco, the Winchester Mystery House is in San Jose. This place is totally weird (in all the best ways) and worth a visit.

    Your Monterrey Itinerary hits pretty much everything there is to do there, but head's up - the aquarium is massive. It easilly be an "all day" thing.

    You may consider hitting the Hearst castle on the 27th. It's totally weird and worth a visit. It will also be all decked out for the holidays, so it will look awesome.

    Depending on your money situation, you might consider staying here on your way from Monterrey to SoCal
    It's another weird, but totally charming California institution.

    I want to echo that Morro Bay is nowhere near Malibu.
    Santa Barbara is a good stop for food heading down to LA - lots of good places to eat.
    Some really fun things to do in Malibu are -
    Paramount Ranch (they used to shoot old cowboy movies there - now you can just walk through it)
    Getty Villa (a recreated Roman villa complete with real ancient Roman/Etruscan artwork, free to visit but you need to get a timed ticket to enter)

    Disneyland is going to be crazy busy for the holidays. If parkhoppers are possible, consider them - and instead of planning a full day at DL and a full day at DCA, maximize your time and cross back and forth (the two parks are only about 100 yards from each other). Disneyland still uses paper fastpasses - so if you're up for some walking you can really cut down on wait times by doing this (especially during the busy holiday season).

    The Warner Bros tour is probably the best studio tour in LA (well, it's not in LA - it's in Burbank - so you'll drive a bit to get there), so good choice.
    I think you're packing a lot in to your LA day. The tour is lengthy. If you plan on walking up to the Hollywood sign, then you have a long walk ahead of you as well. That's gonna be most of your day right there (between the two). If you just want to SEE the Hollywood sign, seriously just look up more or less anywhere in Hollywood. You'll see it.
    The entire area around the Chinese Theater is disappointing to most tourists (and full of scammers 24 hours a day). If you only have one day in LA, there are a lot more interesting things to see. Just drive past the Chinese Theater and consider....
    The La Brea Tarpits (a prehistoric dig site right in the middle of downtown - directly next to LACMA which is a fantastic art museum)
    Griffith Observatory (which is right by the Hollywood sign in Griffith Park!) where you can look through a giant telescope.
    Both of those things are free by the way.

    The drive to San Diego from LA is decieving. It's longer than it looks because you're likely to hit extremely thick traffic at almost any time of day somewhere in between. You mention stopping at a bunch of beaches, but you are headed to San Diego which has more beautiful and unique beaches all on its own than you'll be able to see in a week (let alone one day). I would skip the stops and just prioritize getting down here. You mention La Jolla, which is actually IN San Diego (it's a San Diego neighborhood - not its own city) - so stop there. I suggest La Jolla Cove if you're just going to sightsee at a beach (seals! pelicans! tidepools!), but if you want to get in the water La Jolla Shores is fantastic, and if you want to surf I'd suggest Windansea or Tourmaline. If you're up for a hike, there is a nude beach (Black's Beach) north of the shores (down a cliffside).
    Hit La Jolla on the way down for sure, because you won't want to drive back up there while you're in San Diego. There's only a few ways in and out of La Jolla and traffic can get really backed up really quickly.
    The beach in Coronado is a lot different than the beach in La Jolla (it's in San Diego Bay, so no real waves to speak of. Really relaxing). Check out the Del (it really does look just like the Grand Floridian at Disney World!) and watch the sun set.

    The zoo is an all day experience if you want to see everything. "Jungle Bells" should be happening during your visit - which will allow you to see the animals at night. If you DON'T want to see everything then consider spending a good chunk of the rest of your day in Balboa Park (where the zoo is located). There are over a dozen museums in Balboa Park and a lot of beautiful places to just hang out and rest. It's where the 1916 World's Fair was held (they just kept a ton of the infrastructure) and my favorite place in San Diego.

    Here's a quick overview of San Diego beaches so you know what to expect -

    La Jolla - "The Beverly Hills of San Diego". Extremely wealthy neighborhood with boutique shops and multiple beautiful beaches (see above)
    Pacific Beach - Just south of La Jolla. Lots of bars. Can be a bit touristy and has a "frat boy/spring break" vibe to it. Lots of bars.
    Mission Beach - Just south of PB. This is THE tourist beach, complete with its own tiny amusement park. Lots of sand volleyball opportunities. LOTS AND LOTS of tourists. Mission Bay is literally across the street, which is a manmade body of water dug out for watersports.
    Ocean Beach - Across the I-8 freeway from Mission Beach. This is the hippie beach, and that culture dominates here. There is also a fantastic dog beach at the north end of OB.
    Point Loma - Just south of OB. Most of the beachfront here is cliffs - and it's home to "Sunset Cliffs", which is a beautiful place to watch the sun go down at night. The "point" of Point Loma is government property, complete with a lighthouse and military cemetery.
    Downtown/Embarcadero - Not really a beach so much as a bayfront docking area. Beautiful historic ships (and an aircraft carrier!) are there to see.
    Coronado - Take the bridge (from downtown) for a quick drive, or the silver strand (a tiny slip of land that connect Coronado to the mainland of San Diego) for a long scenic drive. Really beautiful, but also dominated by the Navy (SEALS!) on a lot of its oceanfront.
    Imperial Beach - South of (most of) San Diego headed towards Mexico. Less touristy than most other beaches and decent for surfing.

    There are other beaches, but those are the big ones near the city.

    I would also suggest you check out...
    Old Town (a little historic park - this is where the first European settlement in California was situated). If you're into haunted stuff, the Whaley House (in Old Town) is considered one of the most haunted places in America.
    Get Mexican food literally every day. I can suggest about a million fantastic Mexican places in San Diego that will spoil you for life (Ranchos in North Park, Hugos in Ocean Beach, Lucha Libre by the highway, El Tianguis in North Park, Don Carlos in La Jolla...there are so many).
    If you like chocolate you'll also want to check out Nibble (also in Old Town) where they make their own chocolate and show you the process (and let you sample cocoa beans from around the world).
    If you like hiking, I can suggest several that will take your breath away (Torrey Pines State Reserve, Potato Chip Rock, and Cowles Mountain just to name a few).
    Seriously, just let me know what you enjoy. You'll find it here.
     

    PlutoTheDog89

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 19, 2011
    Appreciate all the replies. I'll try and respond to them all.

    First off...
    One option would be to leave Monterey on 12/27 AM, visit Big Sur, then continue driving south and then spend the night somewhere between San Simeon (Hearst Castle Area) and Morro Bay (I've spent the night in Morro Bay, it's nice there). If you want to spend more time in Big Sur, it is possible to find hotels there, but there are only a few. Then on 12/28, you can drive the rest of the way to Anaheim.
    That's a good callout. How long do you think we'd need at Big Sur? We're not really hiking people - my mom would probably just want to see it and explore a little. Is it doable in a few hours, then we keep moving on?
     

    Disney Dad ADL

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 17, 2015
    Appreciate all the replies. I'll try and respond to them all.

    First off...


    That's a good callout. How long do you think we'd need at Big Sur? We're not really hiking people - my mom would probably just want to see it and explore a little. Is it doable in a few hours, then we keep moving on?
    Yes, I think so.

    One of the most famous sites at Big Sur is actually accessible by wheelchair. McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. You may have seen pictures of it, where there's a waterfall that falls onto a beach. It's maybe a half a mile walk from the parking lot, pretty flat. If you go other direction from the parking lot (toward inland) you can walk around in the redwoods before the trail starts to get steep.

    Also, as you drive along the Big Sur coast on highway 1, there are areas where you can pull off the side of the road and also places labelled "Vista Points" where you can get out and take in the view, take some photos etc. Just the views from the side of highway 1 are quite beautiful. Take your time, stop frequently when it looks like there is somewhere safe/easy to stop. That's a good experience by itself.

    Consider eating at Nepenthe. Food is nothing to write home about, but the view is great. Some of the table are basically just sitting on the side of a cliff, and you sit and look out to the ocean while you eat.
     
  • sndral

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 3, 2008
    ...
    December 23rd: Arrive in San Francisco, evening
    December 24th: San Francisco
    - Golden Gate Bridge
    - Alcatraz
    - Burritos in Mission

    December 25th: San Francisco
    - Painted Ladies
    - Lomard Street
    - Coit Tower
    - Chinatown

    December 26th: Head to Monterey
    - Aquarium
    - Cannery Row
    - Old Fisherman's Wharf

    December 27th: Big Sur/Point Lobos

    December 28th: Head to Anaheim
    - Stop in Santa Barbara
    - See el matador/Morro Bay in Malibu
    ...
    I can’t help with Southern California, but I have some thoughts about the Northern part of your visit.
    At Christmas in SF I personally would add an evening at Union square and I like Pier 39 as well. I also like the idea of spending some time in Golden Gate Park, either the Academy of Science, the DeYoung, and/or the Japanese garden. Here’s a link with info. https://www.sftourismtips.com/christmas-in-san-francisco.html
    I’m more familiar with Monterey, the aquarium will open at 9:30 on 12/26 (it’s closed 12/25) and the earlier you arrive the less crowded it will be. I’d first visit the aquarium and spend time there, leave for lunch & a stroll down cannery row to shop/eat lunch (I like Fish Hopper and First Awakenings.) After lunch either return to the aquarium or collect you car and drive over to Fisherman’s wharf (10 min.s drive max) & stroll around the wharf. Return to your car and backtrack to cannery row, keep heading south driving along the ocean on Ocean View Blvd., pulling off at one or two of the turnouts to watch the waves or walk on one of the beaches or do a bit of tide pooling.
    Ocean View Blvd. dead ends into Hwy 68. It’s maybe a 15 minute drive from the aquarium along the ocean to Hwy. 68. I’d then head up 68, if you wanted to do the 17 mike drive through Pebble Beach the 17 mile gate is off 68. If you want to visit Carmel you can actually exit Pebble Beach via the Carmel gate, but you’ll want GPS to navigate that. If you aren’t interested in the 17 mile drive you can just head up 68 to Hwy 1 (about 10 minutes) then head south to Carmel (15 minutes, depending on traffic.) Lots of restaurants in Carmel for dinner and interesting shops & galleries to browse.
    Regarding your Pt. Lobos/Big Sur day, Pt. Lobos is just a few miles south of Carmel, if the weather’s nice at that time of year you may see grey whales from the shore at Pt. Lobos. You may also see otters, sea lions, and harbor seals. I tend to think of Pt. Lobos as more of a walking/hiking park. https://www.pointlobos.org/plan-your-visit/suggested-routes
    Further down the coast, I also like Nepenthe, and on nice days prefer the more reasonably priced Cafe Kevah’s outdoor patio over the restaurant. The gift shop at Nepenthe is nice as well. How long you spend in the Big Sur area is up to you, I camp a week there every year, but just driving through with an occasional stop is ok too. Hwy. 1 hugs the coast then swings inland a bit through the redwoods before swinging back to the coast.
    If you’re heading south via Hwy. 1 you could spend the night in Morro Bay which takes you past San Simeon (stop to check out the elephant seals.) You’ll also drive by Hearst Castle, but likely won’t have time to visit unless you skip Pt. Lobos. The drive from Carmel to Morrow Bay is around 120 miles - but best to arrive before dark as it’s a beautiful and dramatic but curvy drive.
     
    Last edited:

    Neon Cactus

    Old Run Disney Addict
    Joined
    Feb 10, 2016
    I second Union Square at night in SF and the Boudin bakery in Fisherman's Wharf has uniquely shaped loaves of bread (we were there around Thanksgiving and they had turkey shaped bread). Also, if you have enough time, renting bicycles and riding across the Golden Gate Bridge is amazing. If you're going to Hollywood and the Chinese Theater and have time for a movie, the El Capitan Theater is right across the street and is a true movie palace. They'll likely be showing the new Star Wars movie at that time. I think your trip sounds awesome!
     

    Disney Dad ADL

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 17, 2015
    I second Union Square at night in SF and the Boudin bakery in Fisherman's Wharf has uniquely shaped loaves of bread (we were there around Thanksgiving and they had turkey shaped bread). Also, if you have enough time, renting bicycles and riding across the Golden Gate Bridge is amazing. If you're going to Hollywood and the Chinese Theater and have time for a movie, the El Capitan Theater is right across the street and is a true movie palace. They'll likely be showing the new Star Wars movie at that time. I think your trip sounds awesome!
    Yeah, going across the Golden Gate bridge is pretty cool. It actually doesn't sound all that interesting, but it's different once you're up there. Walking across is also nice (or walking part way and then walking back if you don't think you can make it all the way). You can also bike one way and take the Ferry across the other direction (between Sausalito and the Ferry Building), though I don't really know the mechanics of where to pick up/drop off bikes. The ferry does hold bikes though, there are always people with their bikes on that Ferry.
     

    PlutoTheDog89

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 19, 2011
    Alright, sorry I couldn't get to all the replies. I tinkered with the itinerary a bit...

    12/23: Arrive in San Fran
    12/24: San Fran
    12/25: Depart San Fran/Monterey
    12/26: Stop in Santa Cruz, Big Sur, Head to Santa Barbara
    12/27: Santa Barbara to Anaheim
    12/28: Disneyland
    12/29: Disneyland
    12/30: LA
    12/31: LA
    1/1: San Diego
    1/2: San Diego
    1/3: San Diego, Back to NY

    We took a day off San Fran, but I think we can see most of what we wanna see in this time. Also, based on a recommendation here, we'll spend one less night in Monterey and use that day to get closer to Anaheim.

    The thing is, I see a lot of conflicting reviews for Santa Barbara hotels. It's either $900/night or $150 and looks nice, but has poor reviews. Is it worth staying overnight in SB? Maybe there's a cheaper/just-as-nice stop along the way?
     
  • Neon Cactus

    Old Run Disney Addict
    Joined
    Feb 10, 2016
    I grew up in Simi Valley and it's been a while since I've been in that stretch, but I never stayed in Santa Barbara, mostly because of the cost. It's beautiful, no question. You might look at places like Carpinteria or Ventura, which aren't a whole lot further, or stop sooner in San Luis Obispo as alternatives.

    A couple of things on the itinerary. You mention stopping in Santa Cruz the day after Monterey. I do like Santa Cruz, especially the Boardwalk, but it's about an hour north of Monterey, so you'd be backtracking. I'd stop there before you get to Monterey. And you also have Disneyland, then LA, then San Diego. It would be easier to do LA first, then Disneyland and San Diego.
     

    PlutoTheDog89

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 19, 2011
    A couple of things on the itinerary. You mention stopping in Santa Cruz the day after Monterey.

    Ah yes, I messed that up. I meant stopping in Santa Cruz on the way to Monterey.

    I think we're gonna do Monterey, then SLO... then make our way down to Anaheim, stopping in SB for lunch.
     

    Disney Dad ADL

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 17, 2015
    Alright, sorry I couldn't get to all the replies. I tinkered with the itinerary a bit...

    12/23: Arrive in San Fran
    12/24: San Fran
    12/25: Depart San Fran/Monterey
    12/26: Stop in Santa Cruz, Big Sur, Head to Santa Barbara
    12/27: Santa Barbara to Anaheim
    12/28: Disneyland
    12/29: Disneyland
    12/30: LA
    12/31: LA
    1/1: San Diego
    1/2: San Diego
    1/3: San Diego, Back to NY

    We took a day off San Fran, but I think we can see most of what we wanna see in this time. Also, based on a recommendation here, we'll spend one less night in Monterey and use that day to get closer to Anaheim.

    The thing is, I see a lot of conflicting reviews for Santa Barbara hotels. It's either $900/night or $150 and looks nice, but has poor reviews. Is it worth staying overnight in SB? Maybe there's a cheaper/just-as-nice stop along the way?
    Santa Barbara is nice, as is San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay. I think probably the most unique would be Morro Bay. It's a little seaside town with a small downtown type area, several inns on the water. We stayed at the Inn at Morro Bay, which used to have good reviews on TripAdvisor but seems to have slipped a bit. We had a nice stay there though. Our room had a balcony overlooking the bay with a hot tub on it. I loved just sitting in the hot tub and looking out into the bay. (but it looks like they got rid of the hot tubs). Though it's probably been more than 10 years now since we were there.

    I'm not sure there's anything special about Santa Barbara specifically, but it's certainly a nice place, similar to the other beach towns in SoCal. You'll get the typical Southern California beach town experience there. I remember we rented a surrey carriage and pedaled around near one of the beaches, which was fun. We stayed at the Montecito Inn, which my wife did not like at all, lol. It has a lot of history to it as it was owned by Charlie Chaplain I think, but it was definitely old (which appeals to lots of people but not my wife I think). It looks like they refurbished the rooms though just peeking at the website.

    I am not familiar with the cost differential between the 3 places unfortunately, so I can't guide you there.
     

    PlutoTheDog89

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 19, 2011
    I'm not sure there's anything special about Santa Barbara specifically, but it's certainly a nice place, similar to the other beach towns in SoCal. You'll get the typical Southern California beach town experience there. I remember we rented a surrey carriage and pedaled around near one of the beaches, which was fun. We stayed at the Montecito Inn, which my wife did not like at all, lol. It has a lot of history to it as it was owned by Charlie Chaplain I think, but it was definitely old (which appeals to lots of people but not my wife I think). It looks like they refurbished the rooms though just peeking at the website.
    Thanks for all the help. One more question - is it crazy to stay in Anaheim throughout the LA leg of our trip? Just figured after playing hot potato and only staying at hotels for one or 2 nights at a time, it'd be a nice change of pace to just stay like... Hyatt in Anaheim for 4 nights.
     

    Neon Cactus

    Old Run Disney Addict
    Joined
    Feb 10, 2016
    I wouldn't recommend it. It's about 30 miles or so from Anaheim, but when there is traffic, it can take longer than an hour to drive to LA, and then you could be looking at the same drive going back, depending on when you're driving. One thing that might be in your favor is that it's the holidays, so traffic might not be as horrible as usual. So I'd say it really depends on your tolerance for traffic.
     

    Disney Dad ADL

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 17, 2015
    Thanks for all the help. One more question - is it crazy to stay in Anaheim throughout the LA leg of our trip? Just figured after playing hot potato and only staying at hotels for one or 2 nights at a time, it'd be a nice change of pace to just stay like... Hyatt in Anaheim for 4 nights.
    Only 1 day in LA? I would probably be OK with it, but as @Neon Cactus mentions it depends on your tolerance for traffic, or willingness to drive at odd hours. Like if you can leave Anaheim maybe 6:30 AM (or maybe around 9:30 AM-10AM) and then come back around 7:30 PM or 8PM (or 2 PM), I think that would be OK. Do not under any circumstances drive at 7:30-9 AM or ~3:30-6:30 PM. The farther away you can get from those times, the better.

    I used to live in Long Beach and Orange and would drive into LA at times. Rush hour is painful (and is much longer than regular rush hour), and sometimes traffic is randomly bad due to accidents or construction.
     

    PlutoTheDog89

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 19, 2011
    Only 1 day in LA? I would probably be OK with it, but as @Neon Cactus mentions it depends on your tolerance for traffic, or willingness to drive at odd hours. Like if you can leave Anaheim maybe 6:30 AM (or maybe around 9:30 AM-10AM) and then come back around 7:30 PM or 8PM (or 2 PM), I think that would be OK. Do not under any circumstances drive at 7:30-9 AM or ~3:30-6:30 PM. The farther away you can get from those times, the better.

    I used to live in Long Beach and Orange and would drive into LA at times. Rush hour is painful (and is much longer than regular rush hour), and sometimes traffic is randomly bad due to accidents or construction.
    So I moved some stuff around. New itinerary looks like this:

    12/23: Stay in San Fran
    12/24: Stay in San Fran
    12/25: Santa Cruz; Stay in Monterey
    12/26: Big Sur in AM; Drive & Stay to Santa Barbara
    12/27: Santa Barbara/Drive & Stay in Anaheim
    12/28: Disneyland
    12/29: Disneyland
    12/30: LA*
    12/31: LA*

    1/1: Drive to/Stay in SD
    1/2: San Diego
    1/3: San Diego/Late flight home

    *My main thing with LA - let's say we check out of Anaheim on 12/30, I'd rather not have a rental car full of luggage as we go to our next destination. Check-in most likely won't be until 3pm, so then we're driving around/sightseeing in LA with a stocked car. The only thing I'm thinking is that maybe the LA hotel will let us stow our bags while we go sightseeing... Someone else recommended staying in Studio City (?) or Universal area during the LA leg of our trip...which may work b/c it looks like it's near Griffith and the things we'd be interested in doing.
     

    Disney Dad ADL

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 17, 2015
    So I moved some stuff around. New itinerary looks like this:

    12/23: Stay in San Fran
    12/24: Stay in San Fran
    12/25: Santa Cruz; Stay in Monterey
    12/26: Big Sur in AM; Drive & Stay to Santa Barbara
    12/27: Santa Barbara/Drive & Stay in Anaheim
    12/28: Disneyland
    12/29: Disneyland
    12/30: LA*
    12/31: LA*

    1/1: Drive to/Stay in SD
    1/2: San Diego
    1/3: San Diego/Late flight home

    *My main thing with LA - let's say we check out of Anaheim on 12/30, I'd rather not have a rental car full of luggage as we go to our next destination. Check-in most likely won't be until 3pm, so then we're driving around/sightseeing in LA with a stocked car. The only thing I'm thinking is that maybe the LA hotel will let us stow our bags while we go sightseeing... Someone else recommended staying in Studio City (?) or Universal area during the LA leg of our trip...which may work b/c it looks like it's near Griffith and the things we'd be interested in doing.
    I'm not as familiar with the LA area, but I would imagine the hotel would watch your bags for you. Most of them allow you to check in early, it just that you don't have a room. Any full service hotel will for sure, but if it's a smaller hotel or motel they might not. you should probably call and ask if they can hold your luggage before you book if it's important.

    Also in an ideal world you would go to LA first before Anaheim because LA is north of Anaheim, but not a big deal if you can't.
     

    Becca1007

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 1, 2016
    For Monterey, you need to book a dinner reservation ASAP as there are a lot of things closed there on Christmas day.
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Get Daily Email Updates


    Top