6 Days in California - Advice Needed for first timer!

Discussion in 'California & the West' started by Nikki21, Jun 27, 2017.

  1. Nikki21

    Nikki21 Mouseketeer

    Apr 7, 2004
    Hi everyone,

    My husband and i will be travelling to California for 6 days during the first week of October 2017. We both have never been before, and are looking for some expert advice to ensure we hit all the right spots! Here are the facts that I hope will help -

    - Flying in Sunday morning from NYC (can fly into either LAX or SAN) and flying home on Friday afternoon (can fly out of either LAX or SAN).
    - We will be renting a car
    - We are more than willing to change lodging throughout our stay as well as doing Air BnB
    - We do not require much down time at all
    - We 100% want to see San Diego Zoo
    - We 100% want to spend 2 days at Disney Land

    I hope some of these points help! Any and all ideas, game plans and itineraries are welcome!!!

    thank you everyone.
  2. oakleycat

    oakleycat DIS Veteran

    Jan 19, 2017
    I think more guidance is needed on what you want to get out of CA before an itinerary can be suggested, as there is such a variety of things to do. Are you interested in the beach, hiking, other theme parks, other animal experiences, city touring, Hollywood, etc? If it's just DL and the zoo, the most relaxing way to do it would be to fly into Santa Ana, stay near or onsite at DL, do 2-3 days there, then rent a car and drive down to SD for the second half of your trip and fly out of San Diego. In SD you could also do the Balboa Park museums, tour the city, hit the beach, etc. If you're really into animals you could hit the Safari Park (the other park operated by the Zoological Society of San Diego, which I personally prefer) on the drive down.
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  4. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

    Jul 23, 2012
    If you do 3 days or more at DLR and buy your tickets ahead of time, you will receive one Magic Morning (one hour early entry at DL on Tues., Thur., or Sat.). If you stay on site, you will receive one hour early entry (EMH) to both parks (alternating on different days) for each day of your stay. Definitely get park hopper tickets for DLR -- the parks are so close together that it's very easy to go back and forth all day. Mickey's Halloween Party should have started by then (usually by the last week of September). The parties are lots of fun and tickets give you 8 full hours in DL. The Gay Days convention (unofficial) is always the first weekend in October. That weekend will be crowded, so maybe that would be the better time to do SD.

    It looks like you're a WDW vet, so this thread will have lots of good info (most of which is up to date) for you: A DLR Guide for WDW Vets.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017
  5. GenGen22

    GenGen22 DIS Veteran

    Aug 12, 2011
    I agree with Oakleycat LAX is really far from SD and at least 45 minutes or even longer 1-2 hrs. in traffic from Anaheim. Hotels are cheaper and more of a variety in SD and Anaheim than Hollywood or near LAX.
  6. SteveMP

    SteveMP DIS Veteran

    Jun 13, 2017

    I've driven from Downtown Disney to LAX several times off peak traffic hours, like 10 or 11 AM, and on average is probably about 1 hour 30 min, even when my map app says 45 mins. You never know what the 91 will be like. Then from 91 to 405 its anybodys guess. Throw an accident in there and All bets are off
  7. bdiddy

    bdiddy DIS Veteran

    Mar 12, 2008
    What you want on your trip sounds similar to ours that is coming up in a few weeks. We fly in on a Tuesday. We are getting in early but not sure how the kids will be with the time change but we place on maybe doing something later that day. The next day we want to do some sight-seeing, then Thursday we are going to Universal. Friday we head to San Diego and will be there until Monday. While there we are going to the Zoo for sure, not sure yet on the rest. We kind of get a bunch of ideas and then just wing it! But then on Monday drive back up to Anaheim and are doing DL/DCA on Tues and Wed then flying home on Thursday. We are also staying at Airbnb's in North Hollywood and San Diego and then a hotel across the street from DL.
  8. ktlm

    ktlm DIS Veteran

    Jun 20, 2008
    SNA is a much easier airport than LAX. The security lines are rarely overly long, it is not that big, the rental car counters are all on property. We really like that airport. It is closer to DL and if you are heading to San Diego definitely much closer. We usually go for a week. We fly in to SNA, spend 1/2 the week at Disneyland, drive down and stay in the San Diego area for the rest of the trip and then drive back to SNA on departure day.
  9. Amw1064

    Amw1064 DIS Veteran

    Jan 29, 2012
    We have a LA/Disneyland trip planned for June 2018. Just bought our tickets last night. How was your airbnb in North Hollwood? We were looking to stay in the Highland/Hollywood area.
  10. DieHardJoe

    DieHardJoe Mouseketeer

    Jun 24, 2009
    About 5 years ago we flew into SD (non-stop from Boston) and stayed 3 nights on Coronado at the Glorietta Bay Inn. We absolutely loved it there. If you read the TA reviews you will see great reviews. And it is right across the street from the Hotel Del Coronado and the beach which was nice to just take in the hotel and walk the beach. We then drove to DL and stayed at the Grand Californian for 5 nights. You can't put a price on the convenience of having an entrance into DL by simply walking out of your hotel. And we loved the hotel itself. If 6 days is all you have, then I would either split it 3/3 between SD or Coronado and a DL resort. Or stay just 2 nights in SD/Coronado and 4 at DL.
  11. bdiddy

    bdiddy DIS Veteran

    Mar 12, 2008
    It was nice! We were staying in someone’s garage they converted into a studio apartment. It’s called “Bobby’s House” if you want to look it up in Airbnb. It had a bed, pull out couch, bathroom with shower and a basic kitchen. Fridge, sink, toaster - no stove. There’s a huge security gate at the end of the driveway which was nice. He gave us a remote for it. So we parked on the street (which was a completely safe quiet neighborhood) and then you just come in and out the gate and walk down the driveway straight back to the garage/apartment.

    It was small but perfect for our family of 4 because it was in a great area. And we couldn’t beat the price! I think we paid like $127 or something like that? I couldn’t even find a basic Holiday Inn type hotel in the area for under $200 so this really helped us save money.

    Anyway it was right by the highway and wasn’t too far at all from all the Hollywood attractions. We also went to the Griffith Observatory, Universal and Venice Beach.

    I would definitely stay at an airbnb again for sure!
    Amw1064 likes this.
  12. usnuzuloose

    usnuzuloose Loosing Boo Boo

    Sep 20, 2009
    You can use these sites to see if there is anything for stuff to do for discounts just put in the city.


    Depends on the kinds of things you want to do. Traffic in can be very bad so leave yourself plenty of time for driving. San Diego is about a 2 hour drive from Anaheim to San Diego.
    You have the beach. There can be whale watching. You can go to Catalina.

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