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Old 11 Jan 20, 02:40 PM  
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Vertigo
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The "OMG I'm 50, Start the bucket list" trip to LA (Updated 19th may 2020)

I wasn't going to write a pre trippie as the Dibb is really a Florida site. But i felt it will help me as we are new to California and all input is welcome.

So I turn 50 two days before we go. Mid life crisis you say? Yeah, probably.

After 7 trips to Florida and as the kids are a little older now, we decided to change it up last year and we did Canada and New York. It was utterly magnificent.

When we were there, the girls said they really missed disney but also wanted to see more of the USA. I have always wanted to do the hollywood thing, so a plan was hatched to have this years holiday in California.

The girls will be 17 and 14 when we go. One in 6th form and one in year 10. They get two weeks holiday in October from their school which really helps with avoiding the USA during peak.

So background done...what are we planning?

Dates are fixed. 24th October to 4th November. We won't do the full two weeks for a number of reasons like jet lag, homework but in truth its also cost. Most places are £200+ per night and our budget is fixed.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at the cost of flights. Being used to the thick end of £1000 each for direct to Orlando, to price up direct flights at around £450 was lovely. In fact, it was so good in the BA sale I have already booked them.

Managed to get on the early American out and late BA back from Heathrow - with an SUV hire car for £1790 from the BA holidays site. Very pleased with that.Plus added bonus of it being a package, we have the extra protection. Only down side is that BA want £560 to book seats in advance. I will wait I think.

Now to fill the time.

Younger daughter insisted on Disney being at the end. When in Canada, we did Canada's wonderland on day one and she said she had forgotten all about it by the time we got to New York!

Looking at tickets, a 4 day non hopping pass is cheaper the a 3 day hop. so we will probably do that.

We plan to have the first 5 days in an LA apartment which we will use as our base for Universal (already have tickets as ATD had a two day for the price of one deal which seemed too good to miss), WB, other studios, Hollywood itself and full LA tour etc.

We will break this with 2 days in a luxury beachside property in Malibu. It is already booked and seen as my treat for being 50. It is over £500 a night! So i hope it doesnt rain! But it is astonishing. Literally walk down the steps to the beach.

from there we will drive to Anaheim to have 4 days at Disney.

We chatted lots about seeing more of California, especially the north and the PCH as there is so much to see and do. But we are there for 11 days and i don't want to live in my car as wonderful as the drive seems to be.

We can always come back and do that part. I dont want to cram. S only Southern California this time.

So one final thing for now is accomodation. Having two teenage girls, we do prefer apartmets with kitchens. They will all have their own beds instead of sharing a double in a hotel room and it also keeps the costs down as we are not really culinary people we dont need to eat out.

We are more than happy going to a supermarket and knocking up a home made spaghetti bolognese instead of $150 in a resturant. PLus we will do a packed lunch. Not only is this cost effective, it is actually a preference.

We have found plenty in annaheimd, but struggling a bit to find something well located in LA - especially as we know that some of the areas in LA are a bit dodgy.

Free parking is important too as that adds up.

so there we are - a long (intended to be brief, but once i start i cant stop) winded summary of our plans so far.

I have plenty more to say, but i will be surprised if many of you get to this bit so i will write more as time goes on.

feedback and opinions 100% welcome!

Dan.
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Edited at 03:54 PM.
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Old 11 Jan 20, 03:19 PM  
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Sandraoh40
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Sounds brilliant.
We love California. I am getting to go to Disneyland for my 50th this year as well. Iím 50 in December and am flying out the day before my birthday, spending 2 nights in Anaheim so just doing Disneyland then 9 nights Palm Springs ( maybe our favourable place in the world) , finishing off with 2 nights in Vegas and flying home on Boxing Day.
We will venture out and about in Palm Springs revisiting our favourable places, but lots of R and R and golf will be involved.
I canít comment on L.A. as such, as only ever stayed 1 night in marina del Rey before as not that fussed on LA. But we loved going down to Venice beach the night we arrived that time and walking through the canals.
We have rented an Airbnb while in Palm Springs as we like having the extra space and washing facilities. Plus it does work out cheaper as we find we have to balance out our accommodation so we can stay in some really nice places as well, like you are doing.
The PCH is just stunning, so Iím pretty sure after you have been once you will want to come back.
Happy Planning...
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Old 11 Jan 20, 05:34 PM  
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KayLouise
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Sounds brilliant! Especially the place in Malibu, I'm sure that will be fab.
We are planning for next year, just focussing on LA, Palm Springs and ending with 4 days at Disneyland.
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Old 12 Jan 20, 11:32 AM  
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Edie ray
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Sounds great, we are returning for the 3rd time in the Summer and canít wait

We have done most of the stuff you are planning to do

In Hollywood we stayed at The Magic Castle hotel but it was a apartment so you got 2 double beds plus a sofa bed and also a kitchen, it was by no means fancy but it was clean , you also got free breakfast and snacks all day for free, not sure if they still do it

When in Anaheim we also rented a 3 bed condo with shared swimming pool, it was great

We will skip Hollywood on our next trip and probably go to Palm Springs and San Diego but not sure yet, really wanted to go to San Francisco but just too expensive for us at the moment

Our budget is tight as son is now at Uni and that costs us a fortune haha

Happy planning
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Old 12 Jan 20, 12:43 PM  
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Vertigo
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Originally Posted by Edie ray View Post
Sounds great, we are returning for the 3rd time in the Summer and canít wait

We have done most of the stuff you are planning to do

In Hollywood we stayed at The Magic Castle hotel but it was a apartment so you got 2 double beds plus a sofa bed and also a kitchen, it was by no means fancy but it was clean , you also got free breakfast and snacks all day for free, not sure if they still do it

When in Anaheim we also rented a 3 bed condo with shared swimming pool, it was great

We will skip Hollywood on our next trip and probably go to Palm Springs and San Diego but not sure yet, really wanted to go to San Francisco but just too expensive for us at the moment

Our budget is tight as son is now at Uni and that costs us a fortune haha

Happy planning
Can i ask how you found the location of the Magic Castle? Was it walkable to any attraction? Or is it close to a Metro?

I will do my own research in to it as it has not come up in any search i have done so far. But it's best to get first hand experienced info!

Oh - and the UNi thing... oh yes... thats looming. I hear that loud and clear.
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Old 12 Jan 20, 01:56 PM  
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Edie ray
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The location was pretty good for what we wanted to do, you can walk to the Walk of Fame in about 5 mins and this is where they pick up for the Celebrity homes tours so that was easy

We drove to Universal and Warner Bros tour and also Griffith Observatory from the hotel but I have to say that the traffic is shocking all over this area

We didnít use the metro so not sure if it is near or not

The rooms are definitely very basic and quite old fashioned have a look at some pics on tripadvisor and see what you think, my kids loved it though
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Old 13 Jan 20, 06:08 PM  
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Vertigo
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Thanks - found it and had a good look and its not quite what we want.

I think we want to be nearer universal and the metro so we can get that in to the touristy spots of Hollywood form there rather than drive for exactly the reasons you say.

Also, while it looks fab and the extras really seem nice, i think its more aimed at slightly younger kids than ours.

so we will keep looking near north Hollywood for an apartment/condo.

Thanks though.
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Old 15 Jan 20, 08:41 AM  
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Edie ray
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Originally Posted by Vertigo View Post
Thanks - found it and had a good look and its not quite what we want.

I think we want to be nearer universal and the metro so we can get that in to the touristy spots of Hollywood form there rather than drive for exactly the reasons you say.

Also, while it looks fab and the extras really seem nice, i think its more aimed at slightly younger kids than ours.

so we will keep looking near north Hollywood for an apartment/condo.


Thanks though.

No worries, sure you will find something suitable
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Old 16 Jan 20, 12:26 PM  
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Vertigo
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16th Jan Update:

And its a major update as now all fights and accommodation is booked. With still 9 months to go, it feels real when you start laying out deposits.

So the itinerary is now:

23rd Oct - Heathrow Hotel (still to be booked)
24th Oct - the 10:05 American Airlines to LAX
24th Oct - Car collect from Budget (part of flydrive with BA)
24th Oct - Airbnb booked just outside of Universal Studios
29th Oct - Homeaway booked 2 nights a beach house in malibu. Literally in the beach.
31st Oct - Expedia condo next door to disneyland
4th- Nov - 21:05 BA Home to heathrow

Costs thus far (4 adults effectively, now)
Flydrive with a F group car £1792 (very happy with that - but no seats booked)
5 Nights AirBnb in LA - £1377. Its 2 bed 2 bath place with full kitchen facilities and free parking and its only 15 mins walk to Universal Studios.
2 Nights Homeaway in Malibu - £1195 for two nights through homeaway (I know I know...but it is my 50th) The place is stunning.
4 nights Expedia in Anneheim - £993 again full kitchen facilities, pools, free parking and separate beds for the girls.

So that's a total of £5,357

Obviously Disney tickets will be in the region of £900, I have booked universal at £316 on the two days for one deal and we will definitely do warner bros and some LA tour so thats probably another £500 or so on tickets for things. So i have a budget for all those.

So a running total in the region of £7000

It's expensive and can be done a lot cheaper, but we really value our space and the girls now at their ages just cannot sleep in a double together. Also, we will save a huge amount by not eating out much. We will do packed lunches and will cook most nights and drink wine rather then go out and spend so there is a balance there when you can easily spend $150+ a day on food with a family of 4.

Our spending bill will be comparatively low.

so there you have it. The plan thus far. All that is not set in stone now is what we will do in LA apart from two days in Universal and the WB Tour. The rest is flexible and i daresay we will do the Observatory, WOF and the sign.

be rude not to...although my theme park mad family keep talking about six flags...

To be continued.
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Old 7 Feb 20, 04:08 PM  
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Tinkermom
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I donít think your costs are to high, California is always much more expensive we find than Florida especially when it comes to food costs and eating out.

Looking good will definitely be following along 😊
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