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Old 26 Jun 19, 11:53 AM  
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Disney Den
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Advice for a West Coast Novice

My DH is desperate to go to Disneyland next year in August and I just don't really know where to start. We are a family of 4 (me, DH, DS age 15 and DD age 13). We will probably book 14 nights. How many days will allow us to do Disney to death ( bearing in mind we are going to WDW in August for 3 weeks and intend to spend every day in a Disney park on what will be our 10th visit)? DH is very much into the history and likes to take everything in without racing across the parks from one attraction to another so I would want to allocate sufficient days to do this comfortably.
I'm assuming it is best to stay as close to Disney as possible within our budget and then to move on to somewhere else for the rest of the trip. I have heard LA is not so great but having never been before I would like to see some of the iconic sights.
Some guidance on how I should plan my trip and what to do would be gratefully received as I'm feeling out of my depth.
Many thanks
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Old 26 Jun 19, 12:08 PM  
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KymmieAKiss
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Originally Posted by Disney Den View Post
My DH is desperate to go to Disneyland next year in August and I just don't really know where to start. We are a family of 4 (me, DH, DS age 15 and DD age 13). We will probably book 14 nights. How many days will allow us to do Disney to death ( bearing in mind we are going to WDW in August for 3 weeks and intend to spend every day in a Disney park on what will be our 10th visit)? DH is very much into the history and likes to take everything in without racing across the parks from one attraction to another so I would want to allocate sufficient days to do this comfortably.
I'm assuming it is best to stay as close to Disney as possible within our budget and then to move on to somewhere else for the rest of the trip. I have heard LA is not so great but having never been before I would like to see some of the iconic sights.
Some guidance on how I should plan my trip and what to do would be gratefully received as I'm feeling out of my depth.
Many thanks
Hay!
DL is great but tbh you dont need long at the parks. We spent 4 days in Anaheim and that was enough for us. You can find good deals on hotels that do a bus to and from the parks aswell

We headed to Six Flags aswell when we were staying there as well as Universal.
The universal studios in Hollywood is AMAZING. So much better than the Orlando one.
You can do some tours of the actual film lots as well in LA.
But you're correct, LA isnt exactly the most fun place to go.
If you can san fran is amazing, aswell as las vegas
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Old 26 Jun 19, 12:16 PM  
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Rabel
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Have a look at https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho... php?t=1128258 trip report! I cannot remember when she did this but it was a lovely read.

We did the West Coast a couple of times. I would suggest doing a bit of a road trip as there are some lovely things to see on the route to San Francisco including the Walt Disney Museum (we only spent an afternoon there but could have easily gone back to revisit - lots of info on how the parks and studios were developed). The drive between LA and San Fran was easy but there are also train, plane and bus options. You can also do studio tours (we did Warner Brothers and enjoyed it) and there are vineyards to visit as well up there. Alcatraz is worth a visit if you are in San Fran, but we didn't find the city itself very interesting (or clean).

We have stayed at the Grand Californian and Paradise Pier, both of which were lovely and very close to the parks. I think that the longest we stayed there was 4 days and we felt we had plenty of time to experience everything (although this was before Galaxy's Edge).

The travel between LAX and Disneyland was a pain. We booked the bus and wished that we had taken a taxi given the length of time we waited and the difficulties in finding the bus stop. Found driving around the area pretty easy but we are used to London traffic.

If your husband is into history consider also staying on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Supposedly haunted, the ship is very interesting and it is great to look around. There are also free tours available in the Grand Californian talking about the art and architecture. We also did the morning exercise walk around Californian Adventure (sign up in Grand Californian for a 6am start I think) which was great but you weren't allowed to take photos on it (and there isn't any history, you are just fast walking around the park before it is open). I think that there are a couple of more free tours around the Hyperion and Napa Rose which would be worth checking out.

Check the scheduled closures this year for bookings next year to see if the rides will be open when you visit. I have a feeling that you may get the start of the Halloween Preparations so things like Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion may be closed to allow for the decorations to go up.

We also did Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Disneyland Paris in the same year. I have to say that Disneyland was my favourite and I would love to go back.
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Old 26 Jun 19, 12:20 PM  
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400ixl
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Disney can be done in 2 days, 3 days at a relaxed pace, 4 or more is very leisurely.

Anaheim has lots of good neighbour hotels within walking distance to the parks, the Disney hotels are pretty expensive. There isn't much else around Anaheim as it is south of LA and around an hour from most other things (all in traffic). There is Knotts Berry Farm theme park 20 minutes away that you can also do in a day. Personally our DD was around the age of your youngest and found it to be a bit young but others seem to enjoy it. You could take a drive across to Long Beach from Anaheim which is about 45 minutes on a good day and go and see the Queen Mary etc.

Most people do a dual location in LA, moving to the northern side to do Hollywood, Universal Studios, Warner Bros studio tour, Griffith observatory, Santa Monica, Venice Beach etc. Usually 3-4 days is enough for this side. Maybe add a day if you want to go to Six Flags Magic Mountain which has some of the bigger coasters.

2 hours south of Anaheim is San Diego and you could easily spend a few nights there. You have a bit of history (as much as the US has) there with places like Old Town and Theme parks like Sea World.

So something like 5 nights Anaheim, 4 nights LA and then 4 nights San Diego may suit your family. Not necessarily in that order and will leave a night you can allocate to one of those locations of maybe one of the Beach towns like Redondo beach for the final night to be near the airport for the flight home.
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Old 26 Jun 19, 12:55 PM  
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red cuillen
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Good advice from 400ixl.
We did San F to LA. Had a 5 day park ticket for Disney which allowed us to over indulge to hearts content! Arrived in the afternoon, left late morning so 3 full days and 2 part days. Loads of single rider trips on Radiator Springs Racers - the best ride ever imo! Did the Walk in Walts Footstep tour too.

You'd probably want to do Warner Bro Studio tour, (half a day), and Universal (one full day), after that it's up to you!

trip report index is a good place to start, and the index make it easier to trawl though all the separate reports. We have one there which details disney, and the San F disney family museum etc.
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Old 26 Jun 19, 03:15 PM  
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Disney Den
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Thank you everyone, I'm off to read the trip reports but you've all given me some great advice to point me in the right direction
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Old 26 Jun 19, 04:10 PM  
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Itís personal preference. I absolutely love Los Angeles and didnít get to see it all in two trips. Would go back in the morning. San Francisco I could take or leave and I didnít like Las Vegas much. San Diego is a beautiful city too and is smaller and less intimidating for someone who doesnít like cities so that could be a possibility for you. The beach towns south of LA are lovely as is Santa Barbara to the north.

I think 14 days is way too long to spend at Disneyland no matter how much of a Disney fan you are.
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Old 26 Jun 19, 04:30 PM  
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Disney Den
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Thank you, it's good to hear something positive about LA and I agree 14 days at Disney would be a bit excessive.
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Old 26 Jun 19, 06:56 PM  
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400ixl
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We could easily spend 14 days in LA without touching Disney. There is loads to do if you really want to.

For a first trip though I would as I put earlier do a bit of a taster for LA and do Disney plus San Diego.

Then you can do more of LA next year when you return as part of a San Fran / Yosemite trip or a Las Vegas / Grand Canyon trip
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Old 26 Jun 19, 07:16 PM  
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Following with interest ☺️☺️☺️
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