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Old 06-09-2008, 12:21 AM   #1
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CA - Los Angeles, San Diego ... need SoCal help

We are finally going to have our first (real) family vacation! Yeah! haha

Anyway, plan is to go to So. California. Our children range in age 2,9,11.

We have been talking Disneyland, none of us have ever been there except my wife when she was a child. So... I am not to sure about what to do which is why I need the help!!

Here is my plan (again I HAVE NEVER BEEN)
Spend 1 day at Disneyland (reason is I think with a 2 yo we wont be able to go on a lot of the rides and some of us will be checking out other stuff during the time the other are going on rides?) and just try to see some of the shows?.... I dont know how bout some of you tell me what its like since I have no idea and PLEASE give me ideas!! Thanks

Then (head to San Diego) probably go to the beach and hang out the next day, maybe La Jolla or Catalinna island. If we feel a need go to Tijuana just so the kids can say they been to Mexico, get a fruit bowl and come back.

Next day go to SeaWorld then come home and of course go to work. haha

Let me know what you all think. I have only been to San Diego (Seaworld, Tj, etc.) So I know that area but not L.A. or what kind of time fram I should really have.

Thanks

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Old 06-09-2008, 12:52 AM   #2
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I went to South Carolina when I was in 6th grade with my grandpa. He grew up their and we went back for a family reunion.

I still tell my kids stories from when I went.

Stopped by my grandpas old school, which was surprisingly still standing in front of the brand new school. I think they house the cleaning supplies in the old school at this time. It looked like the school on "Little House on the Praire"

We went and picked beans at a farm, visited a tabacco farm he used to work at. It was a total eye opener for me. We just dont see ANYTHING like that here on the west coast!

I think I will talk to my grandpa and see if we can plan something for next year. I am glad you mentioned it because I would really like my kids to experience it as well.

Thanks for the reply!
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Old 06-09-2008, 01:48 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by NAchef View Post
We are finally going to have our first (real) family vacation! Yeah! haha

Anyway, plan is to go to So. California. Our children range in age 2,9,11.

We have been talking Disneyland, none of us have ever been there except my wife when she was a child. So... I am not to sure about what to do which is why I need the help!!

Here is my plan (again I HAVE NEVER BEEN)
Spend 1 day at Disneyland (reason is I think with a 2 yo we wont be able to go on a lot of the rides and some of us will be checking out other stuff during the time the other are going on rides?) and just try to see some of the shows?.... I dont know how bout some of you tell me what its like since I have no idea and PLEASE give me ideas!! Thanks

Then (head to San Diego) probably go to the beach and hang out the next day, maybe La Jolla or Catalinna island. If we feel a need go to Tijuana just so the kids can say they been to Mexico, get a fruit bowl and come back.

Next day go to SeaWorld then come home and of course go to work. haha

Let me know what you all think. I have only been to San Diego (Seaworld, Tj, etc.) So I know that area but not L.A. or what kind of time fram I should really have.

Thanks
This sounds like a good plan. You mentioned Catalina in the same part as San Diego and La Jolla. Catalina is closer to L.A. than San Diego. I've been to all the places you mentioned, and they were all great. I could live at Disneyland!

Barbara
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Old 06-09-2008, 11:41 AM   #4
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How much time do you have/how long are you staying in so ca or Los Angeles? There's lots & lots of places to go & things to see, & everything is spread out. Rent a car, if you are not driving. When are you going? It's very hot from about July thru approx sept - & sometimes beyond. Bring flip-flops and sneakers, mostly T-shirts, shorts & jeans - a few good clothes if you're going to some fancy restaurants etc. Definitely bring a camera.

Haven't gone to most of the tourist attractions in years... so call ahead & check the location/addresses etc. First, here's an overall idea of where to go & map:

Los Angeles Attractions | Frommers.com

http://www.frommers.com/images/desti...nthreedays.jpg

Follow the red lines. Will try to group places together by location, but again everything is spread out.

Allow a day for Disneyland. (It's in Anaheim - way out there - away from Los Angeles.) Start early in the morning.

Some points of interest:

Mann's Chinese Theatre (formerly Graumann's) on Hollywood Blvd. (Cement handprints & footprints of the 'stars'.) Lots of inecpensive restaurants/stands, & Musso & Frank's has been around for years. If CC Brown's is still there - fun mom & pop ice cream parlour for you & the kids.

You might want to see the Kodak Theatre (Acadmey awards), the Roosevelt Hotel & Pantages Theatre (original home of academy awards -Very old Hollywood lots of history).

Drive down Sunset blvd. You can stop on Rodeo drive in Beverly hills - just to walk around - or take Sunset Blvd all the way down to the beach - Pacific Coast Hwy. Beautiful drive. You'll come out in Malibu. Go left on PCH to Santa Monica. Go to SM pier & must go to Venice beach & see the 'sites'. Or go right on PCH to Malibu & see the pier and/or eat at restaurants on the beach, i.e. Alice's, Chart House, Gladstone's, etc.

Downtown - Chinatown & shopping/garment district (Cooper Bldg).

The 'Valley' - Universal City Walk & Universal City tour. There was a huge fire on the studio lot recently, & some sets burned down. Call ahead.

NBC - Tour and/or see a taping of Leno. Used to be the line started at 5:00 pm for 6:00 PM taping. They're at 3000 w. alameda street in Burbank.

Well, there's lots more. Will try to pick up the thread when I have more time. Have a great trip.

ETA: Griffith Park - See the Observatory & planetarium. There's a zoo, Gene autry museum & train ride for the kiddos. Nice family outing.
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Old 06-09-2008, 02:22 PM   #5
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Barb - Sorry, I ment Coronado island not Catalina. At least I think so. haha



amy - Thanks for the links! That will be a lot of help. I didnt even think of some of those suggestions that is a BIG help!!

We are keeping it from the kids, so it will be a big surprise.

We are leaving on July 23rd and coming home on the 27th
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Old 06-09-2008, 03:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NAchef View Post
We are finally going to have our first (real) family vacation! Yeah! haha

Anyway, plan is to go to So. California. Our children range in age 2,9,11.

We have been talking Disneyland, none of us have ever been there except my wife when she was a child. So... I am not to sure about what to do which is why I need the help!!

Here is my plan (again I HAVE NEVER BEEN)
Spend 1 day at Disneyland (reason is I think with a 2 yo we wont be able to go on a lot of the rides and some of us will be checking out other stuff during the time the other are going on rides?) and just try to see some of the shows?.... I dont know how bout some of you tell me what its like since I have no idea and PLEASE give me ideas!! Thanks

Then (head to San Diego) probably go to the beach and hang out the next day, maybe La Jolla or Catalinna island. If we feel a need go to Tijuana just so the kids can say they been to Mexico, get a fruit bowl and come back.

Next day go to SeaWorld then come home and of course go to work. haha

Let me know what you all think. I have only been to San Diego (Seaworld, Tj, etc.) So I know that area but not L.A. or what kind of time fram I should really have.

Thanks
In San Diego, Balboa Park has lots to do and see, including the San Diego Zoo.

About Tijuana, according to the State Dept., here is current info regarding documentation needed to visit Mexico:

Quote:
U.S. citizens need to present either (a) a passport, passport card (available in spring 2008), or WHTI-compliant document; or (b) a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, along with proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate.
You might want to check on requirements for the children.

My sister lives in SoCal and has advised that American visitors to Mexico shouldn't drink the water or eat raw vegetables, as you would find at a street vendor. Bring your own bottled water and try to time it so you can eat before or after going to Tijuana. Better safe than sorry
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Old 06-09-2008, 03:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NAchef View Post
We are finally going to have our first (real) family vacation! Yeah! haha

Anyway, plan is to go to So. California. Our children range in age 2,9,11.

We have been talking Disneyland, none of us have ever been there except my wife when she was a child. So... I am not to sure about what to do which is why I need the help!!

Here is my plan (again I HAVE NEVER BEEN)
Spend 1 day at Disneyland (reason is I think with a 2 yo we wont be able to go on a lot of the rides and some of us will be checking out other stuff during the time the other are going on rides?) and just try to see some of the shows?.... I dont know how bout some of you tell me what its like since I have no idea and PLEASE give me ideas!! Thanks

Then (head to San Diego) probably go to the beach and hang out the next day, maybe La Jolla or Catalinna island. If we feel a need go to Tijuana just so the kids can say they been to Mexico, get a fruit bowl and come back.

Next day go to SeaWorld then come home and of course go to work. haha

Let me know what you all think. I have only been to San Diego (Seaworld, Tj, etc.) So I know that area but not L.A. or what kind of time fram I should really have.

Thanks
you really should spend at least two days at each place , if at all possible.

i love disneyland. most fun visit. my grandson and i went on the train . we stayed at disneyland hotel. it was the least stressful and most fun way to see it all.

just think you have a better time when you are not so rushed.

babe
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Old 06-09-2008, 03:36 PM   #8
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I didn't think I would ever advise someone NOT to come to Mexico, but I think I would avoid Tijuana right now because of all the drug cartel violence going on in the border towns. Although innocent bystanders are rarely affected, it does not seem worth the risk. Too many other fun things to do in SoCal.
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Old 06-09-2008, 03:42 PM   #9
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La Jolla has got to be one of the greatest places in the world - IMHO.

In La Jolla - check out the Scripps Institution of Oceanography ... the Birch Aquarium has lots of interesting programs.

SeaWorld is a given must do!

While the San Diego zoo is one of the best in the country - you really should check out their Wild Animal Park just north of town.

And, if you're not too tired in the evening - check out San Diego's Old Town.
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Old 06-09-2008, 04:23 PM   #10
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That is SO cool you are surprising the kids with a trip to Disneyland!!!!!
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Old 06-09-2008, 04:33 PM   #11
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I lived in Coronado and San Diego for 13 years, and SD deserves the name "America's Finest City." Too bad you can't see the Zoo and Balboa park. It will take you all day to see the zoo and with a small child a stroller is definitely needed. Wild Animal Park is another place to see animals in natural habitat. You travel the huge compound by train. Worth seeing.

. The Birch Aquarium is worth seeing as is Coronado. You can take the bridge or better yet, ferry over to Coronado. If you want a fantastic dinner, one that you'll remember for a long time, go to Tomaso's in Coronado. BTW, Coronado is not an island, it's a peninsula. The drive along the Strand back into San Diego (Imperial Beach) is gorgeous.

Seaport Village in Downtown San Diego is filled with one- of- a kind shops and restaurants and is considered a tourist attraction in itself since the merchandise is unique. It is also located on fabulous San Diego Bay. Get a picnic lunch together and eat on the lawn there. The huge carousel in Seaport Village is also unique and everyone, but everyone rides it.

Sea World of course is a must see. Try to see it at night. The fireworks are spectacular.

Get into the San Diego Convention and Visitor's site on the internet for a lot more things to see and do. The beaches in La Jolly are wonderful.

I went to Mexico once - ONCE - and that was more than enough for me. None of us enjoyed it because we were bombarded with little kids and women begging for money. The city of Tijuana is one to stay away from. The food sanitation there is questionable at best.

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Old 06-09-2008, 06:09 PM   #12
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I've a SoCal native, and it would behoove you to take a good, solid 2 days for Disney - really. Our family went through a dozen years of annual passes till our kids got a little too old for the old mouse. First, Disneyland needs to be seen, experienced, etc, in all it's glory. You just can't rush it. That said, keep in mind the lines will be tremendously long. There is one good part, which is the "fastpass". Those things will keep your sanity. You can put your entrance ticket into a fastpass machine, which is located in front of the ride (not all rides, but the most-ridden ones) and it will spit you out a pass to come back at a later time (it says it on the ticket). This pass will allow you to go through the fast lane of the ride. Usually, it'll take anywhere from 20-60 minutes off of your wait. Also, Disney really has the best parades, and they're worth watching, especially for your little one. Also helpful, is that in the last 5 years or so, Disney got smart and put on their maps where and when certain characters can be seen for photo ops.

Keep in mind, there's also Disney's California Adventure, right next door. It's another full theme park, and it shows all the wonders of living in this great state. You can stroll through "Hollywood", where your little one can see a NickJr type stage show, followed by Muppets 3-D, and your older kids may want to check out the "Tower of Terror". You can also find out what character you are in the Beast's Library. Those are just a few items in Hollywood, and California Adventure also has areas like the north's Fishermans wharf (where you can get a sourdough bowl of clam chowder and watch the ocean waves), the redwoods (a GREAT place for the kids to get their wiggles out!), the Boardwalk and many other areas. If you do go, make sure to go on (what I consider) the greatest ride of both parks, combined: Soaring over California. Hard to describe, but truly amazing and beautiful.
Another reminder: between the parking garage and the parks is "Downtown Disney" - lots of stores, including quite possibly the biggest Disney store you've ever seen.
I noticed at Costco that they have 4-day Disney tickets for a really great price.

Other California ideas: Knott's Berry Farm - another theme park, with a special Camp Snoopy section for smaller children. It also has a water park next door.

I wouldn't bother with Six Flags Magic Mountain, due to your kids' ages - better for older teens.

YES to Sea World! They've changed in the last few years, and now it's even better.

The Wild Animal Park is also great, and it's in Escondido.

San Diego Zoo is nicer than LA Zoo, especially since it has better animals, and more shade (and it will be super hot!)

I don't think I'd take the kids anywhere near Hollywood. It's pretty run-down, and the dregs of society hang out there.

There are so many gorgeous beach areas too - La Jolla is a good one, but we also like "touristing" at Laguna Beach too.
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:44 PM   #13
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I went to Mexico once - ONCE - and that was more than enough for me. None of us enjoyed it because we were bombarded with little kids and women begging for money. The city of Tijuana is one to stay away from. The food sanitation there is questionable at best.
I agree with you about Tijuana - but please don't judge all of Mexico by the border towns...that is NOT Mexico. There is so much beauty and color and warmth here to enjoy.
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Old 06-09-2008, 07:37 PM   #14
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Now, jkath - how could you possibly want to miss getting caught in the middle of Rodeo Drive at 5pm on a Friday afternoon? The slow traffic rate gives you plenty of time to "rubber neck" without getting honked at for being a slow driving tourist!
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Old 06-10-2008, 02:38 PM   #15
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...While the San Diego zoo is one of the best in the country - you really should check out their Wild Animal Park just north of town...
This is definitely a wonderful place to go! Bring your own lunches and lots of bottled water, as the food and drinks there cost a fortune. Make sure you take the tram. You can see things you can't see just walking, and the guides are full of great information (and some of them are funny as all get-out). I got to go there in March. That was my first time taking the tram. The last time I had been there they still had the old monorail. I loved the monorail, but the tram is really great too. Go early and take your time to really see things. Check the show schedule (they are really good, and not very long) and choose the shows you want to see, then you can plan what you want to see around that. It is designed so that you can relax and not feel rushed to get somewhere. There are lots of nice picnic areas where you can eat in the shade.

Barbara
P.S. If you do choose to buy your food and drinks there, one good thing to know is that even though they cost a lot, the profits all go to benefit the animals.
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Old 06-10-2008, 03:28 PM   #16
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Don't forget Legoland in San Diego. It's in Carlsbad, north San Diego County.
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Old 06-10-2008, 04:09 PM   #17
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As a veteran Disneyland goer (once or twice a year for 27 years) I would agree that you should probably plan on 2 days there, especially if you or your kids are going to be heartbroken if you don't ride "all the rides". A couple of general tips. 1. get there early, spend the night before you want to go in Anaheim or very nearby and get to the park at least 15-20 minutes before open. 2. When the park opens make your way into the park, you can always come back later in the day to see main street but if you make your way directly to a ride at open you can practically walk right on. 3. Take advantage of FastPass. Most of the big attractions let you scan the ticket of each person in your party and print out a "FastPass" for later in the day. This pass lets you wait in reduced line. 4. If you want to watch one of the Parades stake out a spot early this also applies to the Fantasmic and the fireworks in the evening. Once it is about to happen crowds just stop in place to watch and your ability to maneuver to a better vantage point will be greatly reduced. If you do not want to see the parades/etc. stay away from the areas they are in and the lines will shorten up while everyone else watches.
Our typical Attack Plan:
Fastpass Space Mountain
Ride Space mountain (just open short line)
Ride the rest of the tomorrowland rides till our fastpass time comes around.
Ride Space mountain with fastpass
Change lands
Fast pass longest line ride in area
ride the rest of the area
Go back and take advantage of Fastpass
Repeat.
If you have more questions I would be happy to help.
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Old 06-10-2008, 04:20 PM   #18
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Oh and unless you have a change of clothes/shoes stay away from splash mountain. I went on it the week before my wedding and spent the rest of the day soaked including socks and shoes and had blisters on my feet for my wedding and honeymoon :(

Sorry Jkath, I was typing while you posted, but we agree for the most part. However, with the exception of "Soaring over California", I do not know any Californians who like California Adventure. That said, since you aren't Californians you might enjoy it.

-Josh
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Old 06-10-2008, 07:34 PM   #19
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That's okay Josh - keep in mind I'm a 41 year old Mom ;)

We've always had the same plan of attack on Splash Mountain - we get the fastpasses early on (since they're usually gone for the rest of the day around 2pm) and ride it early.
We love it, and when he was really young, my older boy would call it the Zippity Do Dah ride (for those who aren't familiar with it, Brer Rabbit and the gang sing it over and over)

Make sure you don't miss the Jungle Cruise, as their jokes and puns are as good as the ride. But don't go at night - it's really hard to see the animals!

Foodwise, there are actually healthy options (!). For example, at Red Rocket's Pizza Port (in tomorrowland), there are really pretty salads, along with the typical pizza/pasta fare. Also, you'll see about four wagons throughout the park that have fresh fruit and water to purchase.

Make sure to grab a locker as soon as you get in the gates. They do go fast! As you walk through Main Street, you'll see a fruit cart on your right. Turn right, just before and it will lead you to the lockers.
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Old 06-11-2008, 04:53 AM   #20
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Things you need to EAT:

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Tommy's: Chili Burger with Chili-Cheese Fries

Pink's: Bacon Chili-Cheese Dog

Jerry's Famous Deli: Fried Kreplachs and Tongue Sandwich
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