Pre-Trip Reports
Me And My Boy: West Coast And Hawaii Adventure Oct-Nov 2017

  • #1
    19 Oct 17, 07:02 PM
    Relaxing at the Grand Floridian
    meandmyboy is offline Girl Mouse Add Member to Ignore List
  • Hey there Dibbers! I haven’t been around much since our last trip to Florida back in 2015 but I have an epic trip to the West Coast and beyond coming up (next week!) that I thought would make an interesting report to share on here. I’m also doing it to make sure I have a personal record of our holiday because I always keep better notes and take more images on our travels when I’ve been doing trip reports!

    Also, since I’m a single parent I thought it might help anyone else thinking of or planning a trip West.

    The cast:

    Me: Caroline, 40, self employed marketing consultant and coach working from home
    My Boy: Jacob, 6.5, loves animals and dinosaurs. When he grows up he wants to be a paleontologist, an animal rescuer and a dad!

    I love to travel and have been to lots of places around the world over the past 15 years or so, many of them solo travel trips as unfortunately not many of my friends share my love of travel and I’ve been single for a long time! One of my favourite past times has always been planning trips to various destinations that capture my fancy...sometimes I’m lucky enough to actually take the trip...other times not!

    After discovering the delights of Disneyworld and Florida in 2013 when Jacob was 2 years old, we went back the next two years in a row because we loved it so much, and because it made for a really easy trip as a single parent with a young child.

    I’ve always wanted to take Jacob to Disneyland in California, because I knew he would love Carsland in particular. I was lucky enough to visit California with a friend in April 2001 where we did a 9 night trip staying in San Francisco, Yosemite and LA, and during that trip I visited Disneyland (and Universal Studios), but obviously a lot has changed since then and I’ve never been to California Adventure.

    I had a trip to Southern California booked for early 2015 and even did a pre-trip report on here for it, but I ended up having to cancel it due to personal circumstances at the time. It wasn’t so bad as we went to Florida in the November still, but I was determined we’d get to do that trip one day.

    This year I turned 40 so it seemed fitting to start planning! And then right after booking our flights I got the opportunity to attend an amazing business event taking place in Hawaii (on the island of Kauai) that I really wanted to go to. The timing of the event meant that I would be flying back out just two days after getting home from our California trip! Ouch.

    So after a bit of back-and-forth I decided to cancel our original flights and rebook new ones, shifting the trip slightly later so we could incorporate a trip to Kauai in the middle. So now we have an epic 3.5 week adventure starting next Friday!

    So here’s the plan: Four flights, three rental cars and 7 different accommodations over 3.5 weeks….

    Fri 27th Oct - We are flying premium economy from Heathrow to San Diego. This will be Jacob’s longest flight, but his more recent flights to/from Florida were fine (let's just not talk about that first nightmare flight in 2013 which I still try to keep blocked from my memory!). I’m looking forward to flying PE and having a bit more leg room. We arrive in San Diego at 6.45pm local time so we’ll just collect our luggage, pick up the rental car and drive to the hotel. It’s not far...we’re staying at Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn on Shelter Island, so should be a breeze.

    Sat 28th Oct - We have 4 full days in San Diego so the first day we’re just going to take it fairly easy by heading over to Coronado Island. For the past year I’ve had the picture below as my screen background image and I plan on celebrating the realisation of this trip and the start of our epic holiday by standing in this exact spot!

    The plans for today, after breakfast, are to hang out on the beach in front of the Hotel Del Coronado, enjoy ice cream from MooTime Creamery, perhaps bike around the island a bit, and then eat lunch or dinner (depending on how long we last before the jet lag kicks in) at Village Pizzeria, with views of the city across the bay.

    Sun 29th Oct - Today we’ll head to La Jolla to explore the beach, see the seals and visit the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. May also do a bit of shopping too - I need to a new pair of Ugg boots and some new Skechers Go Walks. Dinner tonight is going to be at the Corvette Diner which looks lots of fun!

    Mon 30th Oct - San Diego Zoo is our destination for today! Really looking forward to seeing the pandas and this is probably going to be one of Jacob’s favourite days as he just loves animals.

    Tue 31st Oct - After a leisurely breakfast we’ll head over to Old Town to visit some of the museums and experience some Mexican food at Cafe Coyote. Today is Halloween so we’ll probably do the events that are planned for the Old Town State Historic Park, so at least we won’t miss out on trick or treating!

    Wed 1st Nov - It’s going to have to be a super early start today as we need to be on the road by 6/6.30am latest because we’re driving to Anaheim to check into the HoJo and be at Disneyland for opening. This is a last minute change of plan as we were going to do Disney at the end of our entire trip, but it would have fallen on a Sat/Sun and looked like it would be super busy. So moved things around to take advantage of some quiet mid-week days. Looking forward to a long-overdue Disney fix!

    Thu 2nd Nov - Another early start today to get to California Adventure for opening and head straight for Carsland. I’m really hoping that Jacob isn’t going to chicken out of going on any rides this time. It made our last visit to Disney a bit rubbish as he was too scared to go on much other than Dumbo and Goofy’s Barnstormer.

    Fri 3rd Nov - I’ve booked us a character breakfast at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel this morning, then we’ll pack up and check out of our hotel and head to the airport for our afternoon flight to Kauai. We arrive in Lihue at 8.30pm local time, so we’ll pick up our rental car and drive to our holiday rental in Poipu, in the south of the island to settle in.

    Sat 4th Nov - Other than a quick food shop today will just be a relaxing beach day in Poipu.

    Sun 5th Nov - The plan for today is to drive to Waimea Canyon and Salt Pond Park.

    Mon 6th Nov - Another beach day this morning and then in the afternoon I’ve booked the Fern Grotto Tour on the Waika River, followed by the Smith’s Family Luau.

    Tue 7th Nov - Today we’ll leave our holiday rental in Poipu and move to the North shore of Kauai. We’ll be checking in the St Regis in Princeville because that’s where my business event is being held. On the way there I’m planning a detour to the airport so we can do a helicopter tour of the island. This is pushing me outside of my comfort zone because I don’t like the idea of being up in the air any more than I have to, but I’ve never done a helicopter tour before and I’ve been told that if there is one place to do it, it’s in Hawaii!

    Wed 8th Nov - Most of today will be spent enjoying the hotel’s pool and nearby beach, and then in the evening there will be a welcome reception for my event.

    Thu 9th Nov - Today I’ll be my business event all day so Jacob will be going to the hotel’s kids club facilities.

    Fri 10th Nov - Day 2 of the event, so Jacob will be in the kids club again.

    Sat 11th Nov - The event will wrap up just after lunch, so I’ll pick up Jacob from the kids club and then we’ll check out of the hotel. We will be moving to a holiday rental in Princeville but we can’t check in until 6pm so we’ll kill a bit of time by doing a food shop.

    Sun 12th Nov - A nice relaxing beach day is all I have planned for today, so we can spend some time together after the event. There are supposed to be some lovely beaches in the area so we’ll go explore those.

    Mon 13th Nov - Today I’m planning for us to go on a morning tour of a local Chocolate Farm, the rest of the day we’ll just chill out.

    Tue 14th Nov - A lazy morning followed by the Family Tour at Na’ Aina Kai Botanical Gardens. They have an amazing children’s gardens so I’ll probably take along a book to read as I imagine it will take a while for Jacob to get want to leave.

    Wed 15th Nov - Our flight back to Los Angeles is this afternoon so the morning will just be spent packing up and relaxing. We’ll probably make a stop at Lydgate Park beach and playground on the way to the airport. We’ll arrive in LA at 11pm local time, so again we’ll just pick up our rental car and drive to our hotel, The Residence Inn LAX/El Segundo. It’s a short drive so hopefully will be a breeze.

    Thu 16th Nov - Today will be all about prehistoric beasts as we’ll be visiting La Brea Tar Pits and the National History Museum to give Jacob his dinosaur and Ice Age creatures fix.

    Fri 17th Nov - We’ll pack up and leave LA today and drive down to Orange County to have a yummy breakfast at the Beachcomber Cafe at Crystal Cove, followed by whale watching off Dana Point. I’ve been lucky enough to watch wild whales a couple of times on my previous travels and would love to give Jacob the chance to see them too. We should also get to see lots of wild dolphins too which will be fantastic as we both really enjoyed seeing these at Clearwater Beach on Little Toot, during our first holiday in Florida. Then we’ll drive down to Carlsbad to check into the Best Western Plus Beach View Lodge.

    Sat 18th Nov - Today will be a visit to the San Diego Safari Park - another animal-filled day that should keep Jacob happy!

    Sun 19th Nov - Legoland is the destination for today. This will be both our first visit to a Legoland, and it’s good timing as Jacob is really into Lego right now (in fact we went to see the Lego Ninjago movie just this afternoon!).

    Mon 20th Nov - The last day! Today we’ll have a leisurely breakfast and check out of our hotel. We’ve got a fair bit of time to kill before our flight home from LAX at 9pm so the plan is to go to the Sea Life Aquarium for a few hours.

    Tue 21st Nov - Arrive back in Heathrow at 3.15pm this afternoon. Then we will have one more day off school/work to recover before everything goes back to normal by Thursday (hopefully our bodies will agree!).

    So that’s the plans right now! I’m getting pretty excited about it all. I still have a few bits to sort out, including printing out all tickets, paperwork, etc. I also need to get some dollars. And start planning what to take with us.

    We’ll be travelling as light as possible (as usual) because I have to be able to carry everything myself through the airport/up to our rooms. So it will be a small rucksack each for carry on, one large lightweight suitcase and Jacob’s car seat.

    Edited at 07:11 PM..
    SoCal and Hawaii Adventure!
  • #2
    19 Oct 17, 07:27 PM
    Melbatb is offline Girl Mouse Add Member to Ignore List
  • It sounds fabulous!

    We are off to San Diego at Christmas so I will be looking forward to hearing all about it!

    Bon voyage!
    Visiting my boy in Hong Kong:
  • #3
    19 Oct 17, 07:30 PM
    Mary A
    Mary A is offline Girl Mouse Add Member to Ignore List
  • Sounds wonderful! Hope you enjoy Humphries, we have on both our stays there
  • #4
    21 Oct 17, 09:51 AM
    Vinniecat is offline Girl Mouse Add Member to Ignore List
  • Sounds fabulous you must be very excited.
    Canada and Alaska
  • #5
    22 Oct 17, 10:20 PM
    Relaxing at the Grand Floridian
    meandmyboy is offline Girl Mouse Add Member to Ignore List Thread Starter
  • Thanks everyone - yes I'm getting very excited now! Also, slightly stressed as it's time to think about packing...not my favourite thing to do.

    After reading a couple of threads on here I had the idea to order some packing cubes from Ebay. All a bit last minute but I got an email this morning saying they were despatched so fingers crossed they'll turn up on time!

    On Saturday I popped to Tesco to pick up a padded case for my laptop and a travel charger for my phone/ipad/etc. I also got $300 dollars from the travel money kiosk while I was at it.

    Today I filled out our API with BA, for our flights, and started to pull together a packing list.

    I've booked most of our tickets for things so far, apart from a couple of the later Kauai days. I'm also still waiting to hear back from the helicopter tour people I sent a request to. May have to follow up or approach a different company if they don't respond.

    Only 4 days left to get everything sorted now, before we go on Friday. I've still got some work to do tomorrow and Tuesday, then Wednesday is my day to go to the salon to have a massage and my hair coloured. The dog is also going to the groomers at the same time!

    Then Thursday will be packing and dropping the dog off for his own extended holiday!
    SoCal and Hawaii Adventure!
  • #6
    30 Oct 17, 01:25 PM
    Deck 4, Disney Wonder
    margyloveswdw is offline Girl Mouse Add Member to Ignore List ✓Premium Member
  • Sounds like an amazing trip! I hope you are having a fab time in San Diego so far
  • #7
    31 Oct 17, 04:29 PM
    Relaxing at the Grand Floridian
    meandmyboy is offline Girl Mouse Add Member to Ignore List Thread Starter
  • We are thank you! I'm just about to start our trip report - planning to do as much of it as I'm out here and then add pictures when we get back. Here's the link to the Index:

    Edited at 05:29 PM..
    SoCal and Hawaii Adventure!
  • #8
    3 Nov 17, 09:06 PM
    marypoppins38 is offline Girl Mouse Add Member to Ignore List
  • I just commented on your San Diego day of your TR. Sounds like an amazing trip! I took a picture last week from that very spot. It had our hotel, Marriott Marquis, just right of centre. We had the view from our balcony the other way looking out over the bay and Coronado Island. I hope you loved San Diego as much as we did xx
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