San Diego, Anaheim, Hollywood-August

Jul 10th, 2005, 02:07 PM
  #1  
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San Diego, Anaheim, Hollywood-August

We are travelling to CA in early August with our 3 kids, ages 18, 12, and 8. We are flying round trip San Diego, renting a car and driving to Anaheim for 5 days of Disney and a 1 day side trip to Universal-Hollywood. Any comments about best days of the week (i.e. slowest) to visit Universal, traffic issues out of SanDiego (we would be leaving at about 5pm on a Friday), and best San Diego beaches for our family to visit would be much appreciated. We already have hotels booked. Candy Cane Inn-Anaheim and the Comfort Inn-Seaworld Area, San Diego. We feel relatively confident with our hotel choices. We have stayed in many dumps over the years and I am becoming less and less tolerant the older I get. ;-)

Thanks for any comments or suggestions.
cynlouhoo is offline  
Jul 10th, 2005, 03:27 PM
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cynlouhoo - I have a couple of questions. You say you are flying into San Diego but then going to Anaheim for 5 days of Disney. How many days are you staying in San Diego? Are you really planning on going to Disney for 5 days or are you just staying in the area? I can not imagine spending 5 days at Disney - 1 day at Disney and 1 day at California Adventure. You could probably stretch it to 3 days if you throw in Downtown Disney, etc. By that time, you will be ready to leave!!

I would suggest spending maybe 3 nights in Anaheim and then 2 nights closer to Hollywood. I am sure your kids would enjoy seeing Venice Beach, Hollywood Blvd, Santa Monica and of course Universal. It could take you several hours to get to Universal from Anaheim and several to get back unless you return home late in the evening.

As far as leaving San Diego around 5 pm on a Friday to head north, there is probably no worse day or time to be doing that. It could take you an hour just to get to North County San Diego (which is about 35 miles). Traffic will then pick up a little as you drive through Camp Pendelton on I-5. Once you reach So.Orange County, you could get lucky and the traffic might be a little lighter heading north but it can also be heavy. Interstate 5 from about Irvine all the way into Anaheim will be one big parking lot!! I would suggest having dinner in San Diego and then do your drive north.

As far as beaches to visit, Pacific Beach is very good and not too far from Sea World. You should also go down to Coronado, walk around, have lunch and go to the beach around the Del Coronado Hotel or a little further south (Silver Strand).
paula1470 is offline  
Jul 10th, 2005, 03:43 PM
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Thanks for the quick reply, Paula. We are staying at a Disney area hotel for 5 nights, but we are only spending 3 and a half days at Disney/Calif Ad. We find it a bit of a hassle to pack up and change hotels unless we have to, so that's why we've opted for just a day trip (open to close) to Universal via our rental car. We'd check out of our Anaheim hotel right after breakfast on the 10th and then head out to San Diego for two nights. We plan one beach day and one Sea World day.
BTW, we've been to Disney before. I really love it and actually feel that 4 or 5 days is not too long. In fact, I am feeling a little ripped off that we only have 3 and a half days, but will make the most of it.
cynlouhoo is offline  
Jul 10th, 2005, 03:58 PM
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So it sounds like you are arriving in San Diego, driving that night to Anaheim, staying 5 days and then going back to San Diego for two days before flying home. If you are arriving in San Diego on Friday late afternoon, I still would think about waiting a while before heading to Anaheim. You COULD sit through the traffic in San Diego County and stop around 6:30 at San Clemente or San Juan Capistrano for dinner. After dinner you shouldn't have much trouble with traffic to Anaheim.

As far as going to Universal from Anaheim, you should count on it taking a couple of hours in the morning to get there. Not sure what time Universal opens, but there is no way to miss morning rush hour traffic. If you stay until it closes, then getting home should take about an hour. Mondays and Tuesdays are usually less crowded days but that's the same at Disneyland. Monday morning traffic is usually worse so Tuesday might be a better day to go to Universal. If you went to Universal on a Saturday or Sunday you wouldn't have to fight the freeway traffic but it would be very crowded. Of course you are going to get the crowds no matter where you go.

I hope you enjoy your trip to Disneyland. Maybe spreading it out over several days is the way to do it. I know that for both myself and my kids, one day is about all we can take.
paula1470 is offline  
Jul 10th, 2005, 04:58 PM
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I completely agree with Paula about driving to Anaheim. You could drive along Harbor Drive from the airport to the Fish Market, have an early, unhurried dinner, even stroll along the bayfront for a while or visit the Midway museum, then take off for Anaheim. All of you will be much happier.
Barbara is offline  
Jul 10th, 2005, 05:14 PM
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Barbara - Great idea about the Midway Museum. I went there recently with my Dad (80 yrs old) who was in the Navy. I think I liked it as much as he did. If any of cynlouhoo's kids are boys, they will love it but I think it is interesting for the whole family.
paula1470 is offline  
Jul 10th, 2005, 05:14 PM
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Thanks for the wonderful responses so far. I will share the info with my hubby (the driver, thank goodness) and we will discuss pros and cons of the different plans. At least Disney is open late the evening we get there, so we can enjoy at least a few hours the first night of our trip. The kids will be so excited to get there. I wish our flight was earlier into San Diego, but I think the time of it is why the fare was so good. Being on a tight budget, we had to take the best fare. I'm sure everything will work out and I am starting to get really excited. I love theme parks!
cynlouhoo is offline  
Jul 10th, 2005, 05:20 PM
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cynlouhoo: I don't blame you for wanting to spend a bit of time at Disney (there are a LOT of anti-Disney fodorites - but once in a while a longer, leisurely visit is a treat)

But DO NOT leave SD at 5 p.m. on a Friday. Hang around until 6:30 or 7 p.m. or even later. I'd have dinner in SD and take my time hitting the road. You will be very glad you did.
janis is offline  
Jul 10th, 2005, 05:38 PM
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Just a thought, but I might take a break from Disney and go to an Angels game. They are home the entire first week of August. They've been losing the past four games but still lead the division and you can usually get cheap tickets on weeknights. Your older kids might like this.
sfamylou is offline  
Jul 10th, 2005, 05:46 PM
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aggiemom
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Hi Cynlouhoo - I lived in Anaheim (Hills) for almost 20 years. Daughter just went to Disneyland last week. With the 50th anniv. celebrations expect bigger crowds.

She said there were almost 70,000 people the day she went. (At about 30,000 people you usually get some long lines.) She got to go on only four rides the whole day. (Our best friend's daughter is a Disney cast member so she got my daughter in free (instead of $65), and I would trust her information on crowds.) So it probably is a good thing if you buy a multi-day pass and spend a few days there.
 
Jul 10th, 2005, 05:54 PM
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I'm interested in all the replies to this post. My kids and I are flying to Anaheim this week to meet my husband who is out there for a soccer tournament. We'll spend a few days there, go to Disney, then drive to San Diego for 5 days. Then we're up in the LA area for 2 days before going home. We've purchased the Southern California City Pass which was an incredible deal considering it gives us a 3 day hopper pass to Disney, admission to Sea World and the San Diego Zoo. In San Diego we're staying at the Marriott Coronado Island and would love some restaurant recommendations (family friendly - kids are 3 and 6).
ilisa is offline  
Jul 10th, 2005, 06:06 PM
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If you have not already bought your tickets for Disneyland, CA Adventure and Universal Studios, you may want to check out the passes available through Costco. It may save you a bit of cash.
enjoylife is offline  
Jul 10th, 2005, 06:12 PM
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Costco is where we bought our City Passes, and the savings was great. We saved a bundle. I highly recommend checking them out for any passes first.
ilisa is offline  
Jul 11th, 2005, 08:09 AM
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Yes it is true that quite a few people on this forum are anti-Disney. I actually am not and was just thinking that it had been a long time since I had been. (Not that I will be going anytime soon based on those crowd numbers from aggiemom!) However, since there are so many other sights to see in So. California I am a little amazed that someone would spend 3-5 days at Disneyland. Based on the summer crowds, though, it's probably a good way to see the park.

Cynlouhoo - I would still try to convince your husband to hang around San Diego for awhile that Friday you arrive. You can have dinner first and have a much quicker drive to Anaheim or you can sit in traffic and then eat when you get to your hotel. Either way you'll probably end up at DL about the same time that evening. The first option will be much less stressful.
paula1470 is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 01:20 PM
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I'm kinda embarrassed to say that I couldn't figure out how to find my original post again! I've been a net junkie since the early 90s too! ;-) Anyway, glad to see there are some new posts and really appreciate the input. Looks like unless we can change our incoming flight (probably not done for cheap), we ought to take the advice of hanging around the SD area for an hour or so after picking up the rental car.
Finding this wonderful forum has been very useful and in future, I think I will check here BEFORE impulsively buying any air tickets! Since we had no real reason to start our trip on the Friday, we could have flown out over the weekend. That MAY have alleviated a bit of the traffic problem (or not). But, knowing the traffic patterns in a particular area is certainly useful when considering a trip.
As for crowds at Disney.....we're not too worried. However, that is why I would have liked 4-5 days there. We know about fast pass and early entry, etc. Will make use of all the "tricks". Can't wait to ride Space Mountain! I was so thrilled when I found out it was opening back up in July.
cynlouhoo is offline  
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