Advice on California Trip Plans

MrsSLF

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 26, 2017
Hi!

We're currently planning a summer vacation to California (the first for my dh and dd) and was wondering if anyone would like to offer advice/suggestions to the current plan?

A little about us:
-Me, 37, former SoCal resident but have not lived there in over 20 years; we currently reside on the east coast and I'm a WDW aficionado
-DH, 37, has never ventured to California before in his life; has always lived in the same general area that we reside in now
-DD, 7 (will be 8), loves all the things

Current Plan:
August 5
-fly into LAX, nonstop from BWI, arrive at 9:00 am
-pick up rental car and head to Santa Monica (my SoCal hometown)
-spend the day in Santa Monica
-check into SM hotel (pre-paid so not changing)
August 6
-Universal Studios
August 7
-Griffith Park
-California Science Center
August 8
-La Brea Tar Pits
-Natural History Museum (?)
-Tour (for my family)???
August 9
-Leave L.A. and head to DLR
-check in to DLH
-pool day
August 10
-DLR
August 11
-DLR
August 12
-DLR
August 13
-check out of DLH
-head to San Diego
-relaxed touring of SD
August 14
-San Diego Zoo
August 15
-Balboa Park
August 16
-Beach/Relaxing
August 17
-fly home midday out of SAN

Thoughts? TIA for your help and suggestions!
 
Last edited:

VandVsmama

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 28, 2011
I think on Aug 8, you should skip the tour thing and just do La Brea Tar Pits and the Natural History Museum.
OR...

Do Natural History Museum and CA Science Center on the same day because....they are basically right next to each other. I mean, walking distance across the rose garden. You'll already be paying for parking there anyway. So just kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

Also, I think that you should consider adding a 4th day to your DL ticket in case you want to head into the parks in the evening of your DLH arrival day.
 


cruisehopeful

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 25, 2015
August 9
-Leave L.A. and head to DLR
-check in to DLH
-pool day
I agree with above that adding on a park day for this day could be a good choice. Price out adding a day and even if you only go for a few hours, it will probably be worth it.

I'd also look into visiting Legoland while in San Diego. You may be able to combine Balboa Park and the Zoo into the same day, depending on what all you want to do in Balboa Park.

Another thought for your relaxed touring San Diego day is to visit La Jolla. Go to the Stephen Birch Aquarium and then visit the Cove and the Children's Pool areas where the seals and sea lions hang out. You can enter a sea cave by really old carved out stairs via the the Cave Store next to La Jolla Cove.
 
  • MrsSLF

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2017
    I think on Aug 8, you should skip the tour thing and just do La Brea Tar Pits and the Natural History Museum.
    OR...

    Do Natural History Museum and CA Science Center on the same day because....they are basically right next to each other. I mean, walking distance across the rose garden. You'll already be paying for parking there anyway. So just kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

    Also, I think that you should consider adding a 4th day to your DL ticket in case you want to head into the parks in the evening of your DLH arrival day.
    Thanks for the advice! Do you think it would be too much to do the Natural History Museum, Griffith Park, and the Science Center on the same day?

    Also, I purchased my tickets through UT (at the lower price, right before the increase), would I have to add on the day once I'm there? I wouldn't be able to call and do that beforehand, would I?
     

    MrsSLF

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2017
    I agree with above that adding on a park day for this day could be a good choice. Price out adding a day and even if you only go for a few hours, it will probably be worth it.

    I'd also look into visiting Legoland while in San Diego. You may be able to combine Balboa Park and the Zoo into the same day, depending on what all you want to do in Balboa Park.

    Another thought for your relaxed touring San Diego day is to visit La Jolla. Go to the Stephen Birch Aquarium and then visit the Cove and the Children's Pool areas where the seals and sea lions hang out. You can enter a sea cave by really old carved out stairs via the the Cave Store next to La Jolla Cove.
    We're actually staying, tentatively, in La Jolla (I've booked a vrbo but also found a hotel in Mission Beach) and so I figured we would spend time exploring. We will definitely explore La Jolla, whether we stay there or not.

    Regarding Legoland, is it worthwhile with an 8-year-old?
     

    cruisehopeful

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2015
    Regarding Legoland, is it worthwhile with an 8-year-old?
    I think it is. My kids are adults now, but my youngest was a big fan of Legoland, enjoyed it more than Disneyland. There are some rides for toddlers, yes, but the many rides are good for older kids. Some of the other stuff is really interesting, too, like miniland where cities are recreated with legos. The roller coasters are much shorter than those at Disneyland, so if your daughter likes big roller coasters, they might be way too tame for her.
     

    MrsSLF

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2017
    I think it is. My kids are adults now, but my youngest was a big fan of Legoland, enjoyed it more than Disneyland. There are some rides for toddlers, yes, but the many rides are good for older kids. Some of the other stuff is really interesting, too, like miniland where cities are recreated with legos. The roller coasters are much shorter than those at Disneyland, so if your daughter likes big roller coasters, they might be way too tame for her.
    Yeah, so my daughter tends to be a daredevil (though, she's worried about the loop on the Incredicoaster but she is going to ride it anyway) and from what I'd read about Legoland I feared it might not be her thing. I'll have to check it out and ask her what she thinks.

    I also thought about adding Knotts Berry Farm somewhere but I don't know where to add it, lol.
     
  • VandVsmama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2011
    We're actually staying, tentatively, in La Jolla (I've booked a vrbo but also found a hotel in Mission Beach) and so I figured we would spend time exploring. We will definitely explore La Jolla, whether we stay there or not.

    Regarding Legoland, is it worthwhile with an 8-year-old?
    I think it depends on the 8 yr old. If you'd be doing Legoland before DL, then give it a try. But if doing Legoland after DL, then forget it. Go to the San Diego Zoo or an aquarium or the safari park instead.
     

    VandVsmama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2011
    Thanks for the advice! Do you think it would be too much to do the Natural History Museum, Griffith Park, and the Science Center on the same day?

    Also, I purchased my tickets through UT (at the lower price, right before the increase), would I have to add on the day once I'm there? I wouldn't be able to call and do that beforehand, would I?
    It depends on what you want to do at Griffith Park.

    Re: adding a 4th day to your tickets - if you got at the lower price, then adding a 4th day would likely mean paying the difference...so, as a result, you'd pay the higher price. Therefore, it might not be worth it. And you have a lot of other activities planned in your trip. So having a "down day" that's just pool time is probably a better idea since the following 3 days, you'll be playing hard all day.

    Your DLH check in day would be a good day to do a character meal. My kids loved that when they were your child's age.
     

    MrsSLF

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2017
    It depends on what you want to do at Griffith Park.

    Re: adding a 4th day to your tickets - if you got at the lower price, then adding a 4th day would likely mean paying the difference...so, as a result, you'd pay the higher price. Therefore, it might not be worth it. And you have a lot of other activities planned in your trip. So having a "down day" that's just pool time is probably a better idea since the following 3 days, you'll be playing hard all day.

    Your DLH check in day would be a good day to do a character meal. My kids loved that when they were your child's age.
    Yeah, my dh might have a conniption if I mess with our pool day. Maybe I'll look into renting a cabana on that day at DLH. And that's a great idea to schedule a character meal that day, thank you!
     

    Lumpy1106

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2010
    Aug 8 - La Brea tarpits are good, but you'll be there all of about an hour. LACMA next door though, that's a different story. I know, "art", boring. One of my kids had to do a project that involved taking notes on one of the exhibits - we loved it, especially Metroplis II. Definitely recommend.
     
  • MrsSLF

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2017
    Aug 8 - La Brea tarpits are good, but you'll be there all of about an hour. LACMA next door though, that's a different story. I know, "art", boring. One of my kids had to do a project that involved taking notes on one of the exhibits - we loved it, especially Metroplis II. Definitely recommend.
    Thanks for the recommendation! I'll check out the website to see if she would be interested in the exhibits. I thought about the Getty but then remembered I went there for a 6th grade field trip and even I was overwhelmed (and I'm a history teacher now).
     

    PHXscuba

    Mouseketeer since birth!
    Joined
    Jul 7, 2008
    I think your plan looks very do-able. It's good to plan some time relaxing. And having several days in LA and SD allows for sleeping in or re-arranging if weather or illness interfere ,or interests change. You can always add to your plans, but I think it's mentally harder to stuff the plan super-full and then feel disappointed that you didn't heck something off.

    Have a great trip!

    PHXscuba
     

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