LA / San Diego visit in June 2006

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Jan 4th, 2006, 05:51 AM
  #1
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LA / San Diego visit in June 2006

We (family of 4 with 2 boys age 9 & 4) will travel to LA/San Diego for approx 7 days at the end of June 2006. We will be staying at the Anaheim Orange county Disneyland area. I have the following questions:
1) How long does it take to drive to San Diego attractions area like legoland, Seaworld, & SD zoo from Orange county? is traffic really bad?
2) Any must visit nice beach area that we should visit while we are there in LA/SD? Please be kid friendly.
3) My wife also wants to visit LA famous landmark. Do you suggest we should drive or take a tour?
4) How does the LA disneyland compare to orlando disneyworld?
I appreciate any comment you can provide.
Thanks
glin930 is offline  
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Jan 4th, 2006, 06:24 AM
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I think the drive is about an hour and traffic depends on time of day/day of week. L.A. can be a nice family drive but do it on Saturday or Sunday rather than a weekday. The Getty Center is great and has kids room open on Saturdays, LA Zoo and the Gene Autry museum is also a nice day.

Your kids would probably enjoy Knotts Berry Farm which is near Disneyland...and also the San Diego Wild Animal Park which is affiliated with the SD Zoo but is a more parklike-open habitat setting. For beaches, Laguna and Newport Beach are an easy drive from Anaheim...or spend a night down near Legoland and then visit Carlsbad Beach or Del Mar.
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Jan 4th, 2006, 07:15 AM
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tracy has given you some great ideas. I'll add my two cents here as well.

I think your family would best enjoy this trip if you split it 4 days greater LA area, 3 days San Diego. And although Anaheim is relatively central to most of the LA basin, it's like Orlando: There's no There There. It's suburban Generica beyond the Disneyland/Convention Center area. I think you'd have more fun staying in a nice beach community like, say, Huntington Beach. Or Newport Beach. Or Laguna Beach. Or up in LA County, Santa Monica. Or Manhattan Beach. Or Hermosa Beach. Or a nice inland LA County city like Beverly Hills. Lots more to do, better restaurants, etc. in the immediate area.

Now, as to your specific questions:

1. From Anaheim, on empty freeways, it is a little over an hour to Legoland in Carlsbad (a separate city). San Diego attractions are all another half hour to the south. And traffic can be light or horrifically heavy; it all depends on the time of day. And the day of the week. I remember one Friday afternoon drive starting at 5 PM from Santa Monica to San Diego that took four and a half hours; if I had left at 2 PM, it would have taken two and a half, max.

2. Just about all beaches in southern California are kid-friendly. Some are more swimmable than others, although the water is always pretty cool.

3. Los Angeles isn't a theme park-- the famous and historic landmarks within the greater LA area number in the thousands and are spread over the entire 4,000+ square miles of LA County. Which ones interest your wife? You will end up driving somewhere-- but once you're there, a tour might be fun.

4. Disneyland was the first Disney theme park. Disneyworld is bigger and somewhat more spectacular (almost every theme park in Orlando is simply a bigger version of a California theme park)-- but Disneyland is still fun and charming. And once you're done at Disneyland/Disney California Adventure, you have all of southern California to enjoy-- which consists of so much more than a bunch of theme parks and chain restaurants.
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Jan 4th, 2006, 07:27 AM
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It takes about an hour and a half to get to Sea World and the San Diego Zoo from Disneyland if the traffic is flowing smoothly. Many people recommend driving down on weekend days, but,in my experience, the traffic is often worse and certainly is no better on weekends.

For beaches, most are kid friendly. We don't have topless beaches as in Europe. Many beaches have dangerous rip currents, so do not swim at a beach where there is no lifeguard on duty.

The Wild Animal Park is part of the Zoo, not merely affiliated with it.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo, Sea World and Legoland will take two days, at least. If you're planning to visit all three, then I suggest staying in San Diego for at least one night so that you're not spending hours and hours driving back and forth.
Barbara is online now  
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Jan 4th, 2006, 07:34 AM
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rjw, Hi! how are you?
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Jan 4th, 2006, 07:55 AM
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I agree with the others that spending a couple nights in San Diego would be better than driving back and forth from LA a couple times. San Diego is a lot of fun. I also think that if you want to spend time at the beach, stay at the beach and drive to Disneyland the day you go.
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Jan 4th, 2006, 08:30 AM
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Barbara, hi!! I'm OK-- swamped, going through family trauma-- but 2006 is going to be better, dammit! Hope all is well with you, and have a wonderful 2006!

I think we're on the same page about actually having the OP stay down in San Diego. I'm not a huge fan of Hotel Circle, but do you have an opinion on a good place there? Or anywhere else kind of centrally-located? Maybe that Summerset Suites facility next to the Scripps hospital in Hillcrest-- it's cheap and actually pretty good for families....
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Jan 4th, 2006, 09:37 AM
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Mission Valley or Old Town would be pretty centrally located for the Zoo and Sea World. The OP could hit Legoland either on the way to San Diego or the way back to Orange County.

The following get reasonably good reviews:

Best Western Hacienda Old Town (suites)
Doubltree Club Hotel, Hotel Circle
Residence Inn Mission Valley
Holiday Inn Express Old Town
Sheraton Suites-downtown on A Street (even though it's downtown, it's at the northern end of downtown and is very convenient for Balboa park and the Zoo)
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Jan 4th, 2006, 09:40 AM
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I forgot to mention the Summerset Suites. They do seem quite nice, BUT the location is right next to two of the busiest trauma centers in San Diego-Scripps Mercy and UCSD Medical Center. Great if you have someone in the hospital you want to stay close to, but for a vacation...no thanks.
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Jan 4th, 2006, 09:59 AM
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Do you have a good zoo where you live? We have a very good zoo in our area, so although the San Diego zoo is marvelous and famous, I wished I had used my time elsewhere. We do not have a big aquarium in my area, so I loved my visit to Sea World. I think if you have a decent zoo, your time might be better spent at the Wild Animal Park or at Sea World.
Having been to Disneyworld several times, I was surprised how much more condensed Disneyland is. I think you can feel like you did it justice in one day. California Adventure has a few great rides but many of the rides are much like any amusement park; (more like roller coasters and less like a "Pirates of the Carribbean" theme ride.) I think teens would like California Adventure for the thrills but with your younger kids, Disneyland is best IMHO.
California beaches are gorgeous and easily accessible.
For LA landmarks I might suggest the Hollywood sign, the Beverly Hills Hotel and a drive or stroll down Rodeo Drive. All of these are fairly close to one another.
California is one of my fav destinations....Have a great time with your family!!
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Jan 4th, 2006, 11:32 PM
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We went last May with our kids(20,13, and 9 at the time) We are Disneyworld lovers and have had many happy trips there. We really wanted to see Disneyland though. We rented a car and I drove all over LA. We are from a small town although I don't have a problem driving in Atlanta,etc. I loved the freedom it gave us.
We stayed on property which is always nice. (Their hotels are so good at welcoming families.) It is smaller,more condensed, and LITERALLY smaller. It's neat how Disney had everything built to scale to make the minds eye see it in the perspective he imagined. Mainstreet buildings are actually smaller than Mainstreet in FL. Pirates may be better. The Bayou restaurant was fun and good for theme park dining. Make reservations. The Matterhorn was fun, but go before lines get long. We,all, loved California Adventure. Perhaps because it had nothing to compare to at the other park. Soaring California was great. The ride in the Orange was fun for all of us. It has lots of older rides though for your 4 yr old. Check height requirements.
We did the VIP tour at Universal and though more expensive, it was worth it. We saw twice as much as we could have fit in one day as well as things some people couldn't see.
We did the typical Hollywood homes tour --I'm not sure why--just one of those things you want to do as a tourist,saw Rodeo Drive,the Chinese Theatre,Walk of Fame, etc. My 9 yr old son loved the LaBrea Tar Pits.
We also drove down the beaches as far as the OC (which my oldest daughter loved) It is pretty. We stayed in Santa Monica also..probably not the most family oriented place! --expensive, but beautiful area--walked to Venice Beach which could be compared to The Quarter in New Orleans for its street entertainers. It was fun,but we were only there in the afternoon. It became crowded. Probably not good for the younger child. The ocean was not great for swimming if you're used to FL. The water was cold and there was alot of seaweed at the Santa Monica beach. It was a great trip though. I hope you have a wonderful time!
Driving time varied alot based on time of the day. Ask locals when you are going on a trip from your hotel. The concierge can usually help you alot with time to allow.
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Jan 5th, 2006, 01:35 AM
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While this is not located on Hotel Circle, may I throw in the suggestion of the Doubletree Hotel Del Mar?
It is right on the junction of I-5 and I-8 and therefore easily accessible from downtown. It is also only a short drive to La Jolla and the beautiful beach at Del Mar.
The hotel itself is pretty nice, too and usually offers rather competitive rates. They also offer free parking. The only downside is that there is some freeway noise in their pool area, which apart from that is really nice. No noise issue with the rooms.
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Jan 5th, 2006, 01:40 AM
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Sorry. Junction of I-5 and I-8 was incorrect. It is rather the merge of I-805 and I-5.
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