How Does this Itinerary Look

nkereina

Last chance to lose your keys.
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
December 27th: Big Sur/Point Lobos

December 28th: Head to Anaheim
- Stop in Santa Barbara
- See el matador/Morro Bay in Malibu
I assume your plan is to stop in Santa Barbara, then Malibu, then head to Anaheim. That's a lot of driving in one day, and depending on what time you're going from Malibu to Anaheim, you may hit LA rush hour traffic. I would plan to arrive in Anaheim later on, driving in the dark, to avoid the traffic and give yourself enough rest time during your stops. It will also help to break the driving up.

December 31st: Los Angeles
- Warner Bros Studios tour
- Hollywood sign (Hollywood Resevoir)
- Chinese Theater
- Rodeo Drive/Farmers Market, Marina del Ray
I agree with PPs that this is a lot in one day, based on my own experience. We did Rodeo Drive, Farmer's Market, and Hollywood in one day on a double decker hop-on hop-off bus tour. It worked out well, and we had the flexibility to spend as much or as little time as we wanted at each of the stops. Marina del Rey was also a stop on the bus tour (you had to transfer lines), but we were advised it would have taken a solid 45 mins to an hour in traffic from Beverly Hills (the transfer point) to get there. We did the Warner Bros Studio Tour on a different day. We did the 8:30am tour and were done by about 10:30-11 as I recall. You could probably go out to the coast after this and spend the evening/afternoon there. Also, we did all of this over a holiday weekend (Memorial Day), so traffic was difficult to predict. I would guess it would be similar on New Year's Eve.
 

PlutoTheDog89

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
I agree with PPs that this is a lot in one day, based on my own experience. We did Rodeo Drive, Farmer's Market, and Hollywood in one day on a double decker hop-on hop-off bus tour. It worked out well, and we had the flexibility to spend as much or as little time as we wanted at each of the stops. Marina del Rey was also a stop on the bus tour (you had to transfer lines), but we were advised it would have taken a solid 45 mins to an hour in traffic from Beverly Hills (the transfer point) to get there. We did the Warner Bros Studio Tour on a different day. We did the 8:30am tour and were done by about 10:30-11 as I recall. You could probably go out to the coast after this and spend the evening/afternoon there. Also, we did all of this over a holiday weekend (Memorial Day), so traffic was difficult to predict. I would guess it would be similar on New Year's Eve.
I'm in the midst of updating my itinerary. My biggest thing right now is doing Anaheim....then going back up to LA. My thinking was that DLand will be insanely crowded on NYE BUT.. if it's as crowded or close to as crowded on 12/28 or 12/29, may as well save us the trouble of going south, then north, then south again and just bite the bullet and do NYE in Disneyland. Thoughts?

I'll re-post my new itinerary soon for more opinions.
 
  • Becca1007

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 1, 2016
    I'm in the midst of updating my itinerary. My biggest thing right now is doing Anaheim....then going back up to LA. My thinking was that DLand will be insanely crowded on NYE BUT.. if it's as crowded or close to as crowded on 12/28 or 12/29, may as well save us the trouble of going south, then north, then south again and just bite the bullet and do NYE in Disneyland. Thoughts?

    I'll re-post my new itinerary soon for more opinions.
    Good call on Monterey Fish House if they are open. Ask what the catch of the day is... generally they will have a great option that is truly just off the boats.

    All of those days will be CRAZY busy in disneyland. The upside to NYE in disneyland is that they are generally open till 2am (so you get an extra long time to do things) but there will be a gate closure at some point so once you are in you need to plan to stay in the park and not go back to the hotel.
     

    PlutoTheDog89

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 19, 2011
    Good call on Monterey Fish House if they are open. Ask what the catch of the day is... generally they will have a great option that is truly just off the boats.

    All of those days will be CRAZY busy in disneyland. The upside to NYE in disneyland is that they are generally open till 2am (so you get an extra long time to do things) but there will be a gate closure at some point so once you are in you need to plan to stay in the park and not go back to the hotel.
    Is park hopping not an option?
     

    theluckyrabbit

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2012
    Is park hopping not an option?
    Park hopping is an option, but can be risky if there is a possibility of a gate closure. For example, if you leave DL and hop to DCA, and DL closes the gates in the meantime, you will not be allowed back into DL until the gates reopen. So if you don't want to risk being kept out of DL on a certain day, don't leave the park for any reason until you are ready to leave for the day.
     

    Arden01

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 23, 2014
    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?
    Hi there, I just got back from a similar trip. I kind of understand your reasoning of trying to avoid DL on NYE, but it's a lot of driving to go up to LA from Anaheim and then back down to San Diego. Plus, you've done all that driving coming down from SF. The traffic to and from LA and Anaheim can be intense. Even San Diego country traffic is a heavy at times on the I-5.I just experienced it and did the drive from Santa Barbara to Anaheim. It took about 5-ish hours because of heavy traffic in LA and on the I-5 heading towards Anaheim. If it were me, I would just brave the crowds at DL on NYE to just drive CA in one direction without the back and forth to LA. Or you could reverse your trip and start in San Diego, hit DL, then LA and end up in SF? Just food for thought...
     
  • PlutoTheDog89

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 19, 2011
    Hi there, I just got back from a similar trip. I kind of understand your reasoning of trying to avoid DL on NYE, but it's a lot of driving to go up to LA from Anaheim and then back down to San Diego. Plus, you've done all that driving coming down from SF. The traffic to and from LA and Anaheim can be intense. Even San Diego country traffic is a heavy at times on the I-5.I just experienced it and did the drive from Santa Barbara to Anaheim. It took about 5-ish hours because of heavy traffic in LA and on the I-5 heading towards Anaheim. If it were me, I would just brave the crowds at DL on NYE to just drive CA in one direction without the back and forth to LA. Or you could reverse your trip and start in San Diego, hit DL, then LA and end up in SF? Just food for thought...
    Appreciate your feedback. The more I think about it, the more I'm like "what are we gonna do on NYE in LA??" We're gonna be with my mom and we're not the party type.. so DL could be nice. Would be cool to say we've celebrated NYE at DL and WDW. My only concern is that NYE may be a bit emotional for us with my dad having passed.
     

    disneyholic family

    disney on my mind....
    Joined
    Jan 31, 2002
    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.
    thanks for all the info....i'm busy planning our trip next year
    this is very helpful!!
     

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