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Florida nil - California 5

Discussion in 'Non Disney Trips and Travels' started by Claire, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. Claire
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    Claire She lost the crayons!

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    Our trip to Florida for next August had turned into a trip to California inc. Anaheim.

    Sadly the views of a very, very small no of people on another website miles from this one has made my husband a teeny tiny bit cross and he's decided to take their advice and see more of the US than just Orlando. Has anyone any recommendations on where to stay. We would be looking at a villa but is there an area we should try for?

    Apart from The Disneyland Resort, what else is worth a visit?

    Thank you lots!
     
  2. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    Hmmmm, California is a huge state. There are loads of things to see and do. What sort of things does your family like? Indoor, outdoor, beach, forest? California really does have it all.
     
  3. Dawn
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    Dawn carpe diem-ing Forum Host

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    San Diego rules! :D
     
  4. Claire
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    Claire She lost the crayons!

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    Probably beach, not too far from where ever we would be staying. I'm guessing we need to pinpoint a base first then?

    San Diego? Tell me about San Diego!
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2008
  5. Johnie
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    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

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    WE just visited CA for the first time this past August. We stayed at the Doubletree Hotel on City Drive. It was quite nice and they had a private, free shuttle to DL. Many of the other hotels have the ART which costs and shares with many other hotels.

    We looked at getting a timeshare but there just aren't many out there.

    We did the OC Beach tour and it took us to Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. It was quite nice.

    We also went cemetary hunting but I understand that is not everyone's cup of tea.

    We also went to Grauman's Chinese Theater and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was fun. It was cleaner than Times Square in NYC.

    Apparently we should have visited San Diego. Many locals were upset that we didn't make a trip there. Oh well, next time!
     
  6. Dawn
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    Dawn carpe diem-ing Forum Host

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    Sea World. :D

    Awesome zoo. Loads of museums. Very scary bridge over to Coronado. Get the trolley to La Jolla and eat burritos. Go shopping. Eat food on the street full of restaurants who's name escapes me. And take the harbour tour. Sit down by the marina and watch hummingbirds. Get the train to Tijuana and get tequila.

    They may have a beach. I never got round to looking for it. :D
     
  7. Taja
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    Taja Earning my ears

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    You'll need to rent a car in California, Claire. Everything is spread out. No one area is really developed as a tourist destination.

    I recommend skipping Las Vegas (in Nevada, but about 1.5 hours from LAX by plane) if your holiday includes children. It's gone from family-friendly to adult playground again. Really not much for children to do there.

    If you don't need the information immediately, I'll poke around and look for some websites for you.

    Some areas to consider (besides Disneyland):

    Santa Barbara
    San Diego
    Drive up the coast to San Francisco (plan about 4 days)
    Universal Studios (not one of my favourites, but it's apparently improved from many years ago)
    Knott's Berry Farm--in the vicinity of Disneyland
    Magic Mountain--maybe. Have to ask Shelly (Leu's DD) if she knows anyone who has been there recently. She had a very bad experience there a few years ago.
    Los Angeles in general--museums, shopping, Olvera Street, China Town, Little Italy, American Girl (have to ask Leu about that one--never been there, but it's one of Lexie's favourites).
    Hollywood Bowl--concerts late spring through early fall. Wonderful experience--horrible parking!

    Remember, Disneyland/CA is very different experience than WDW. A bit like comparing DLRP and WDW--some things are better at one place than the other. And prepare yourself--there's a Build-A-Bear at DTD!

    If you're interested in spending some time in the San Francisco area, one possibility would be to book flights into Los Angeles and out of San Francisco, or vice versa. Not sure if that's practical, but it's possible! :)
     
  8. Claire
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    Claire She lost the crayons!

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    Thanks for the advice everyone. We have chosen San Diego as our base and plan to visit San Diego Zoo, Sea World, Disneyland, Legoland, Petersen Automotive Museum, Universal, the usual shopping destinations and some of the gorgeous beaches including Laguna Beach. I'd like to stay here but DH isn't so keen. Ideally we'd have a villa with pool but what's available is much more expensive than Florida.

    Anyone else Know anywhere we might like?

    Taja - How many days should we allow for Disneyland?
     
  9. Taja
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    Taja Earning my ears

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    Are you visiting during summer or other popular holiday time?

    If so, I'd say four days to see everything, including the evening parades and fireworks. Otherwise, you probably could see most of what you want in each park in a day, with a third day for favourites. These parks are much smaller than WDW parks and tend to be packed during summer and other holidays.

    Remember, it's about a 1.5 to 2 hour drive from San Diego to Anaheim, depending on traffic. Ditto to Universal, which isn't far from where Leu & Grandpa Sweetie live. You'll probably want to plan to stay in that area for several nights while visiting those parks.

    In the San Diego area, check into Carlsbad for lodging. It's about 20 miles or so north of San Diego--in the vicinity of the Wild Animal Park, if I remember correctly. The last time I was there was about 12 years ago and I didn't drive, so my concept of distance is a bit funky. :lol: I was staying with friends who lived there at the time.
     
  10. Jazmine
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    Jazmine Dancing Queen!

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    If you decide to visit Tijuana be very careful, we went a few years ago and my disabled DS had a chain pulled off his neck by 2 local teenagers, DH shouted after them but some of the locals shouted back at us, it was very scary, lots of little kids begging in the street too, which was very upsetting we only stayed a couple of hours and wouldn`t go back
    Jacqui xxx
     
  11. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    Yes, TJ is not a great place to visit. :( I'd not recommend anyone going there. :sorry:
     
  12. Taja
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    Taja Earning my ears

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    Definitely second Tink on that!

    I know a number of people who visit various border towns (Tijuana is not one of them) several times a year for items that are a fraction of the cost across the border and they never have problems. However, they do confine their visits to specific areas and always travel in groups (usually at least two adult couples).

    And there are wonderful resort areas in Mexico. I'm just not sure I would drive to any of them--it's too easy to land on the wrong side of the law. :(
     
  13. Claire
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    Claire She lost the crayons!

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    We are beginning to struggle with the planning of this trip. How can we stop ourselves comparing it to Florida? Already DH seems to be waning.
     
  14. Taja
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    Taja Earning my ears

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    The biggest issue tends to be that WDW is self-contained, as is US/IOA to a certain extent. And Orlando has grown up around the parks, rather than the parks being inserted into a fairly mature metropolitan area, as happened in the Los Angeles/Orange County areas. Granted, Anaheim was pretty small when Knott's Berry Farm opened and not a lot larger when Disneyland opened, but nearly all of the other attractions were added to mature cities. Universal Studios in California is built on an actual working movie/television lot, rather than built as an attraction.

    So, distance tends to be a factor, as well as all the bits and bobs of information needed to make reservations for lodging, dining, etc.

    Basically, you can't compare the experiences. They are different. You do have to make more of an effort to have a good experience in southern California, as it's so spread out. But it can be a wonderful experience!

    Do you subscribe to the MouseSavers newsletter, Claire? The person who publishes it moved to the western US (I'm thinking Colorado) a year or two ago, so it now contains more information for Disneyland/CA than it used to.

    Also, check into the--hmmmmm....trying to remember what it's called. It's a pass that includes two or three days at Disneyland/CA, a day each at San Diego Zoo and Sea World, and possibly a day at Knott's Berry Farm. I'm adding it to my research list! :lol:
     
  15. Johnie
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    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

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    I think your talking about a City Pass Taja. www.citypass.com we used this for NYC.


    5 Famous
    Southern California Attractions $247.00
    a $356.00 value
    $199 for kids
    (click for price details)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    The Southern California CityPass concept is simple: A booklet contains admission to world-famous theme parks at combined savings of 30%. That’s right, you pay only $247 (for a $356 value)!

    The Southern California CityPass is different from all other CityPass programs. Rather than a single city, Southern California CityPass includes the most famous theme parks in the Southern California region, from Hollywood to San Diego. You will have 14 days to take full advantage of your access to six days of fun with these tickets:

    3-Day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Bonus Ticket: valid for back-and-forth admission to both Disneyland Park and Disney's California Adventure Park; also includes one Magic Morning early Disneyland park entry (on Sat, Sun, Tues, or Thurs)
    Universal Studios Hollywood: one-day general admission
    SeaWorld: one-day general admission including all shows
    Option Ticket: Choose to visit either the San Diego Zoo: one-day Best Value admission package including unlimited use of Guided Bus Tour
    OR San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park: one-day Best Value admission package which includes the Journey into Africa Tour, Conservation Carousel, and all shows and exhibits

    Inside each booklet are directions, hours, insider tips and theme park information. Also, you'll find helpful information about Anaheim Resort Transit’s easy and convenient connections between Anaheim Hotels and Resorts, and Southern California Gray Line with daily service to Universal Studios, SeaWorld and The San Diego Zoo.

    CityPass is available for purchase here on CityPass.com. We will ship booklets to your door. CityPass is also available for the same low price at the box office of each of the attractions included in the program.

    More than four million people have used CityPass to visit attractions throughout North Americain 2007. Surveys report 99% of CityPass users would recommend them to their friends and family. Read customer reviews to see what CityPass users have to say about their Southern California CityPass experience.

    Southern California CityPass is the ultimate sunny California vacation experience. There are thrill rides, wild animals, cartoon creatures, castles, whales, movie sets, television sound stages, entertainment, restaurants and shopping for all ages to enjoy. Consider pairing a Southern California CityPass with the Hollywood Walk of Fame CityPass to add celebrity star power to your theme park vacation. Click to purchase your Southern California CityPass.
     

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