Way Too Early Planning Advice - OKC to DLR - Traffic Concerns, Hotel Recs in AZ, etc.

Discussion in 'Disneyland (California)' started by Xenorye, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. Xenorye

    Xenorye DIS Veteran

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    Good morning everyone! The wife and I are planners (to explain the way too early obsessing) and originally we were thinking about making the trip from OKC to DLR in one shot. This will be the weekend after Thanksgiving (checking in to Courtyard Marriott Anaheim Theme Park Entrance on Sunday the 25th). I'm starting to warm to the idea of leaving earlier and stopping probably somewhere in Arizona for the night. So:

    1. Any traffic concerns and any advice on the route?
    2. Better to go farther on the first day to Kingman or stop in Flagstaff and get an earlier start the next day?
    3. Any hotel recommendations in Flagstaff or Kingman?
    4. Any other advice for this time of year, etc?
    5. I've read that Mickey appears for dinner only at Goofy's Kitchen -- a lot can change between now and November, but is this still accurate?

    Random info dump: 5-day PH, checking out Sunday 12/2. Priority 1 is low crowds as far as which days we go, so we're thinking M-F. Will me me (4th trip recently, went a bunch as a kid), wife (4th trip), daughter (will be 9, her 3rd trip), son (will be 4, his first trip and he has some sensory issues - might be looking into DAS), and my mom (been a thousand times but it's her first trip in probably 12-15 years - never done DCA for instance). Thinking about Goofy's Kitchen on arrival day and Minnie & Friends at some point during the week. Also planning on a F! Package at BB.
     
  2. StormyCA

    StormyCA Chief Troublemaker

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    Assuming you're planning on taking I40? We did that in reverse when we went to WDW, although we cut southeast in Amarillo. The road is fine but it's a very boring drive with not much to look at! We were also pulling a trailer, stayed at truck stops, AND we left from Sacramento so I can't help you much on timing or hotels.

    When we took road trips with our kids we found that the earlier we left the better as they usually just fell back asleep in the car.

    OKC to Kingman is about a 15 hour drive. That's a pretty long day for kids. If I were you I'd see if I could leave a day earlier and have two nights on the road. You don't want to get to Anaheim with two exhausted kids. Maybe your kids are better road trippers than mine, but it would have taken mine a day or two to recuperate from a 15 hour day on the road!
     
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  4. Skyegirl1999

    Skyegirl1999 1st pickle of the day!

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    So, just to warn you, this past year the first week of December had a significant bump in crowds versus the weeks before and after - it seemed like a lot of people had read that the “first week in December” is a good time to go... so they all went then! Of course, that certainly doesn’t mean the same thing will be true this year, but it was a noticeable phenomenon in 2017.

    Just wanted to make sure you have your expectations in check because I chatted with a number of people who were quite surprised by the crowds. It’s still a lovely time to visit with all the Christmas stuff up!
     
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  5. keywis25

    keywis25 Earning My Ears

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    I would stay in Flagstaff and then start a little earlier. I have been to both and Flagstaff and Kingman and just an opinion that Flagstaff is a bit better to stay overnight.
     
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  6. HydroGuy

    HydroGuy DIS Veteran

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    I was not 100% sure when you would be driving into SoCal but Sundays can be a real issue for traffic. It is worse coming on I-15 from Las Vegas on Sundays - stop and go traffic on the Interstate is common. On a holiday weekend (Sunday after Thanksgiving?) it will be even worse if that is even possible.

    When driving on I-40 it merges onto I-15 and that can be a real bottleneck backup. Once you are onto I-15 things move well. I have not done this personally for a number of years from I-40 but I have experienced horrendous backups at the I-15 and I-40 merge point. On Sundays typically. Other days of the week are not usually any problem.

    Bottom line is if it has to be a Sunday, I would make it as early in the day as possible. :teacher:

    :wizard:

    ETA: to some degree the same is true heading out of SoCal on Fridays but it is really only an issue on I-15 headed to Las Vegas. If you go back on I-40 I think you will be fine any day of the week.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
  7. Xenorye

    Xenorye DIS Veteran

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    Indeed, Sunday would be when we'd be getting into California. This is good to know, thanks. We are early risers in Central Time, so it'll likely be an early to bed early to rise thing for us if/when we stay at the hotel in AZ.

    I kind of want to play it by ear and not make a reservation in advance and just see if we can push through to Kingman without the kiddos (or us) going crazy on the first day, but not having that reservation will drive my wife completely bonkers.
     
  8. chickapin parterre

    chickapin parterre DIS Veteran

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    I am with Hydroguy on this one, interstate coming out of vegas on a four day weekend is going to be very difficult. Even now as i travel down into Bakersfield this month, I have found Vegas traffic really bad on the weekends, Victorville always bunched up.

    As for the week, it is one of three good choices for 2018 and is a manner of the luck of the draw. Thanksgiving is at its earliest, the 22nd and will take a another decade before that date arrives, so the extra days are going to make for great visiting time. But there are other factors in play, so no matter how you prioritized your choice, you could run into crowding, that is just how it is now.

    and if you are truly planners and become upset at roadblocks.....I would really Tweak you OKC departure to be earlier.
     
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  9. momof2n2

    momof2n2 DIS Veteran

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    We are leaving western NY on a Wednesday evening (June 6) through Memphis and over to Fort Smith in West Arkansas for the Thursday night.

    On 40 through Amarillo to Albuquerque for Friday night.

    Saturday we go to Bandero Valcano and 4 Corners before stopping in Williams AZ.

    All day Sunday at Grand Canyon, then overnight in Kingman.

    Stop at Oatman then into Anaheim on Monday.

    We are doing Homewood Suites first two hotels, then a Knights Inn and a Best Western.

    We are a family of 8 so hotels are based on ability to sleep 8 with our goal of $200 or less a night average.

    We are used to road tripping and the kids are good at it. We also tech out the van.

    I’ll share our experiences when we get back!
     
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  10. chickapin parterre

    chickapin parterre DIS Veteran

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    great observation about summer driving vs winter daylight driving. I left Highland Falls, NY on a Saturday weekend before Thanksgiving week and it took me two nights(Akron and Springfield) and half day to make it to Hannibal, MO. I was early riser driver, but the only driver and night falls quickly in November.
     
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  11. azdisneylover

    azdisneylover DIS Veteran

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    There are many hotels in Kingman so, I doubt they would all be booked. I do know a couple of the hotels are being renovated in Kingman. You can always drive into Phoenix instead, then head to Disneyland taking the I10.
     
  12. Xenorye

    Xenorye DIS Veteran

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    Hmm. Now, this is an interesting concept to me. This would avoid most if not all of the Vegas traffic the Sunday after thanksgiving, right? OKC to Phoenix is about the same as OKC to Kingman, and Phoenix to DLR is about the same as Kingman to DLR time-wise.
     
  13. azdisneylover

    azdisneylover DIS Veteran

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    You would miss a good chunk, if not all. The traffic from Vegas (I15) hits around Rancho Cucomunga area, and by then, you are about an hour from Disneyland. Plus, if you get on the road early, you could miss all of those gamblers heading home! LOL If nothing else, the valley has better winter weather than the north (AZ).
     
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  14. HydroGuy

    HydroGuy DIS Veteran

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    On a Sunday or final day of a holiday weekend (e.g., Memorial Day or Labor Day Monday), I agree with this completely. Otherwise I think the PP and all of us would agree it does not matter very much if at all.

    :wizard:
     
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  15. fromans

    fromans Earning My Ears

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    I've made the trip from Tulsa to California many, many times. The wife and I like to take turns driving to go straight through without a hotel if we can help it. We decided to stop at a hotel in Gallup one summer and it was awful! The hotels were all full and it was over 104 at 10:00 PM. The room never did cool down past 90 all night despite the air being on full blast!

    The Thanksgiving before this last one (2016) was the first time we've made the trek in Winter though. Watch for bad weather, especially when you're up around Flagstaff! We didn't have any major issues but there were some areas of slow going. It was also bitterly cold! I must admit I miscounted the hours and we left way too soon :(. We left Tulsa around 5 AM and completely missed the OKC traffic, and were in Amarillo by 10:30. We had enough time to stop at the Cadillac Ranch for a spur of the moment photo op, but it was very cold and windy! We ate dinner that night in Flagstaff, and as we pushed on we realized we were going to get to Anaheim in the wee hours of the morning (I really didn't time it right). We decided to take a nap at a Love's in Kingman, and we then arrived at the hotel in Anaheim by about 9 AM the next day. Even then we had to wait a few hours to check in.

    We were in the parks the week before Thanksgiving so it was already getting busy, but CM's assured us that was nothing compared to what they were expecting for the week of Thanksgiving itself. We've done Goofy's Kitchen for dinner before and we definitely met Mickey there. I don't think that is likely to change. Hopefully all this helps!
     
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  16. Xenorye

    Xenorye DIS Veteran

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    Thanks to all for your input. I really appreciate it.
     
  17. mom2elal

    mom2elal Mouseketeer

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    I haven't stayed there for about 20 years, but the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, AZ was super cute, and ties into the theme of Cars Land.
     
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  18. Jason2015

    Jason2015 Mouseketeer

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    Dropping down to Phoenix and I10 takes you down some two lane highways through the mountains. If there is any snow it can be slow going. Looks like 20hours of drive time. I’d do I40 and stay in Flagstaff or look at the cost difference of flying. You’re looking at at least $700 in travel cost if you drive. If you don’t need a car and can get a reasonable rate into Santa Anna might be a more relaxing trip for only a couple hundred more.
     
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  19. Xenorye

    Xenorye DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the heads-up on the two lane highways -- I assume you mean two lanes on each side, not one lane per side -- I grew up in SoCal and every now and then we'd go visit my aunt and uncle who lived near Big Bear (I think) -- at first I was picturing those one-lane roads that weave and turn like crazy through the mountains, but from google street view it looks like that's not the case from Flagstaff to Phoenix.

    You're right -- with parking at the hotel on Harbor, gas, and the overnight hotel in PHX we're looking at about $700 ($800-$850 if we stay somewhere on the way back), but flying out of OKC is problematic for a couple reasons. First, it's OKC, we don't get cheap flights to anywhere but Dallas on occasion. Second, we're 5 people, so even with a Southwest sale we'd be lucky to stay under $1,500 round trip. Also, my son will be 4 and he has some sensory issues and limited communication abilities, so it'd be a crap shoot to know how he'd respond to a flight right now.
     
  20. Jason2015

    Jason2015 Mouseketeer

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    Sorry one lane each direction.
     
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  21. Nevada Jen

    Nevada Jen DIS Veteran

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    What you really want to avoid is the Vegas to SoCal traffic on Sunday. You really can't conceive how bad it will be till you hit it wrong. It could easily take 4 hours to go 50 miles. My guess is that is anytime after 10 Sunday. Maybe even 9:30. For that reason only, I would push to Kingman and leave Kingman early Sunday. Very early. The are plenty of places to stay there (nothing fancy and lots of full on skeevy places). Personally, I would try to find another way to break it up so that you end up in Barstow Saturday night. (but not by stopping in gallup!) Or even in primm on the nv/ca border. Seriously, get past Vegas.
     
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