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Pre-Trip Not our typical Disney trip (and a bonus very typical Disney trip!)

Discussion in 'WDW Trip Reports' started by bee, Mar 24, 2017.

  1. bee

    bee Well-Known Member

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    Hi friends! For those who don't know the cast of my TRs, here we are:

    M (my wife)
    28
    Writer/academic administrator

    B (me)
    28
    Opera singer/voice teacher

    We've been together for ten years and married for 2.5 years. We both grew up in Florida and went to WDW frequently as kids and teenagers. Then we discovered park-going as adults and realized...it's even more fun! We now live in NJ just outside of NYC and although we can't go to Disney as often as we'd like we still visit the Mouse when we visit M's family in Florida (and sometimes without visiting them...shhhh!).

    Now about the title: we've been talking about doing a different kind of Disney trip for awhile now, and recently we finally picked some dates and started diving into trip planning. What makes this trip so different? We're going back to where it all began. We're going to Disney...LAND!!!

    Now of course it would be silly for two East Coast girls to fly all the way to California without seeing more of what the state has to offer. So we're starting in northern CA and working our way down, and Disneyland will be at the end of the trip.

    Dates: August 4-14, 2017
    Flights: Southwest (we're quite loyal by this point!)
    Lodging: various throughout the state

    I'll post our plans a few days at a time in the following posts. Any tips for WDW veterans/first-time DLR visitors are more than welcome! We've been doing our research but the whole concept of not pre-planning very much is a little daunting. If this were a WDW trip we'd have all our ADRs planned by now, haha! We're very much looking forward to the different vibe of DLR.

    Stay tuned for more!
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2017
  2. amjt660

    amjt660 Well-Known Member

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    Love the idea of a DLR trip
    We (family of 4 ) have gone 9(?)times since the 50th in 2005
    The recent upgrade to DCA is amazing - you will love Carsland
    I am looking forward to the pretrip and the TR
    If you have any questions feel free to ask

    We did a 2 week start in San Fran and end up in San Diego trip in 2012.

    A little warning on weather though
    So Cal is awesome in August.
    Warm/Hot with little rain but not humid like Florida

    San Francisco is another story
    As Mark Twain wrote (or people falsely claim he said it) I have never suffered through a worst winter than a summer in San Francisco.
    The August weather feels like Fall and the Sept weather feels like summer
    It has to do with the Bay and the wind and other stuff

    So when we went in August of 2012 we actually had to pack Fall like clothes (think hoodies, pants, rain jackets) for the first week and then pack Summer clothes (tshirts, shorts, bathing suits, flippy floppies, etc) for Anaheim and San Diego

    Max
     
  3. bee

    bee Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Thank you so much for this! We'll be spending two days in San Fran so we'll definitely pack for a Mark Twain situation. :)
     
  4. amjt660

    amjt660 Well-Known Member

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    The aquarium at Monterey is world class.
    They had a great sea otter exhibit (think Finding Dory in terms of cute factor)
    The seven mile drive just south of Monterey is very scenic - we were able to watch a sunset there

    The drive path to LA can be a challenge if you try to go on Pacific Coast Hwy #1
    When the sign says 25mph on the next bend you have to believe it and do it!!!

    We did a section of the PCH and then cut across to the Interstate for the rest of the way

    It depends on your timetable

    My friends have visited the Hearst Castle and loved it - we passed and have it on our list for our next adventure.

    So excited for you!!

    Max
     
  5. bee

    bee Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Day 1: Friday, August 4-mostly a travel day
    Early flight EWR-MDW, then MDW-SMF
    Land around 11:00, which will feel like 2:00 to us (or later, since we're flying early! o_O)
    Pick up rental car from SMF
    Lunch somewhere
    Explore Sacramento (or really, do anything to avoid falling asleep and making our bodies even more confused)
    Dinner somewhere
    Overnight in a SMF-area hotel

    Day 2: Saturday, August 5-WINE DAY!!! (you didn't think WE could go to California without some winery tours, did you???)
    Check out of airport hotel
    Drive to Napa Valley
    11:00 Grgich Hills tour/tasting
    Lunch in area
    3:00 Robert Mondavi tour/tasting
    Drive to San Francisco area
    Dinner somewhere/explore/again try not to fall asleep too early, haha
    Overnight in Oakland
     
  6. bee

    bee Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Day 3: Sunday, August 6-San Francisco and REDWOODS!
    Take BART from Oakland to San Francisco
    9:00 Tour bus to see the Muir Woods and Sausalito
    Lunch on tour
    Un-scheduled sightseeing in San Francisco
    Dinner somewhere
    Overnight in Oakland

    Day 4: Monday, August 7-San Francisco, more travel
    Walt Disney Family Museum!
    Lunch somewhere
    More un-scheduled sightseeing in SF
    Dinner somewhere
    Begin the drive south toward LA
    Overnight in Tulare
     
  7. bee

    bee Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Day 5: Tuesday, August 8-Travel/rest day and SEQUOIAS!!!
    Visit Sequoia National Forest!!!
    Lunch/dinner somewhere. We're keeping this day open for exploring and rest
    Drive to LA, do some tourist stuff probably
    Overnight in downtown LA

    Day 6: Wednesday, August 9-LA tourist day
    LA tours! Tourist stuff! Yay!
    Lunch/dinner somewhere
    Overnight in downtown LA

    The next post will include actual Disney plans! YAY!!!
     
  8. amjt660

    amjt660 Well-Known Member

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    Loving the agenda
    Almost the same as what we did
    If you get a chance when you go to the Walt Disney Family museum try to find the Yoda statute (if it is still there) outside of the Lucas Films office.
    Back in 2012 this location was doing all the video game development
    You cannot tour but if you go mid week you can quietly go inside the small lobby and look at the memorabilia
    You have to be quiet and polite - the person on duty just smiled at us as we walk around.
    If you cannot find it look for a Starbucks - it was just around the corner in that section of the Presidio


    Muir woods is awesome - short ride to see the big trees
    And the Sausilito view of the Golden Gate can be stunning if you get a clear day
    Be fore warned though
    We went in August and did not see the top of the Golden gate bridge once in 3 attempts
    Too much fog

    Max
     
  9. Tiggerish

    Tiggerish Resident Redhead Premium Member

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    Oooh, I'm going to use this as a template!

    I get a companion ticket every year, and being frugal-natured (I have no problem with the term "cheapskate"), I figure that the further you travel, the better the value of the free ticket! I've wanted to do a trip exactly like this for a few years now, but have trouble getting my hubby to leave his comfort zone of WDW. Hopefully, 2018 will be my year for California!
     
  10. MomofPrincessGrace

    MomofPrincessGrace Active Member

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    Have you though about getting a City Pass for San Francisco? They also have one for Southern California. http://www.citypass.com/san-francisco . We bought one when we drove to Atlanta and it was really convenient to already have some type of plan in place of things to do that is pre-paid. You dont have to do all the attractions on the same day, which is nice. You also wont have to stand in line to purchase tickets, as you can usually walk right up to the gate. We will most likely purchase one again next time we travel somewhere that participates in the program just for the sake of convenience and savings.
     
  11. amjt660

    amjt660 Well-Known Member

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    I used the SoCal one in the past

    3 days at Disney, plus some combination of Universal , San Diego Zoo , SeaWorld and Wild Animal Park (at the time)

    Did not use one in San fran though - not sure what is on it

    Max
     
  12. bee

    bee Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Crossing my fingers for you! In our case I'm the one who had to be pried away from WDW to start planning for DLR etc., haha. But I'm so excited to be seeing Walt's park.

    Ooh, I had not considered this. Thanks for the recommendation! I'll definitely look into it.

    Great to know! We won't be going to San Diego so I will see what all is available for LA.
     
  13. MySmallWorldof4

    MySmallWorldof4 Well-Known Member

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    Love your plans. They are similar to a trip I did as a kid " " years ago with my parents. My pay dirt day was the day we arrived at Disneyland. :)
     
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  14. samantha788

    samantha788 Well-Known Member

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    This sounds like such a fun trip! I want to explore northern CA, one day :)
    You will love Disneyland! I'm excited for you!
    If you're looking for off-site hotel recommendations, my mom and I stayed at the Holiday Inn Anaheim-Resort Area last year and loved it. Would stay there again in a heartbeat, its new and close with easy bus transportation from your hotel, plus the view of Disneyland from our room was pretty awesome!
     
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  15. WDWDarling

    WDWDarling Well-Known Member

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    Your plans sound amazing! So many awesome things in one trip - can't wait to read all about it! I've always wanted to see Napa Valley and the Redwoods and Disneyland is of course on the bucket list. DH swears he's never getting on a plane again though and I don't think driving from GA is going to work lol so we're going to have to work on the flying thing first I guess :rolleyes:;).
     
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  16. ajrwdwgirl

    ajrwdwgirl Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a fantastic trip. One year husband and I drove from Wisconsin to California and it was a blast. San Francisco was lovely and just plan your route carefully, we got a little lost and ended up walking up some huge hills! I'm usually very good with directions even in a city I haven't been to before so he never lets me forget it. Anyway, the sourdough bread from Boudin is amazing, we even ate at their restaurant on the Wharf (the pizza was yummy). And you will love the Walt Disney Family Museum. If you are a AAA member there is (or at least was) a discount on admission.

    My advice for Disneyland, it relates to food....try to go to Cafe Orleans and Carthay Circle. The Carnation Cafe is a favorite sit down. For quick service the Plaza, French Market and Flo's Diner are good choices in the parks. I also think that the World of Color dinner package through the Carthay Circle is a decent deal. If you like stage type shows, Mickey and the Magical Map is fun. And of course for stage shows if you like the movie Frozen, the Frozen show at DCA is good. I was in awe of how they did Elsa's dress change in front of the audience. I just can't figure out how it was done! So I'm just going to say it is magic! Anyway, have fun, I'm looking forward to your report!
     
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  17. bee

    bee Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Thanks!

    Thanks! I loved your photos of the view from your room in your recent DLR report. We got a great package rate at a Good Neighbor hotel which will be in my next post.

    Thanks! Good luck with convincing him to fly. Maybe @imahistorygeek can help you out? :)

    Thank you for all your suggestions! Our town (North Bergen) has the second most hills per square mile in the US-after San Francisco. When we first moved here we learned the hard way that Google maps doesn't always give the best walking directions!

    We're so excited for Disneyland food and definitely looking forward to the unique shows, especially World of Color! Thanks for the restaurant suggestions.
     
  18. bee

    bee Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Day 7: Thursday, August 10-DISNEYLAND!!!!
    Return rental car to SNA (closest airport to Disneyland)
    Taxi/Lyft to Best Western Plus Anaheim Inn
    Check in or at least drop luggage if check in is not available
    DISNEYLAND!!!!!
    No specific plans for food, shows, etc. for any of the park days yet. Disneyland doesn't release park hours nearly as far in advance as WDW does.
    Overnight BWPAI

    Day 8: Friday, August 11-CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE!!!!
    Hopefully rope drop and get right to Radiator Springs Racers (or right to a FP at least)!!
    Overnight BWPAI

    Day 9: Saturday, August 12-DISNEYLAND!!!!
    Catch up on the stuff we missed in Disneyland. We're hoping Thursday will be a little less crowded (yeah yeah we're going in August so there's no such thing) and we can ride most attractions, and then be able to hit specific favorites on Saturday even if we ride fewer things.
    Overnight BWPAI
     
  19. imahistorygeek

    imahistorygeek Well-Known Member

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    If he has a fear of flying, I highly suggest he read this book.

    "It's for work, I swear!"

    I read it before we flew to Orlando. I was scared to death to fly. It prevents me from traveling to laces that are just too far to drive. I've chronicled my progress in my trip report. It's amazing how well it worked. That's not to say all my fear is gone, but it decreased dramatically. I think the book is less than $15 on Amazon. One day we will fly out to DL. We also live in GA.
     
  20. ajrwdwgirl

    ajrwdwgirl Well-Known Member

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    I've stayed at the Anaheim Inn a couple times, it is a decent choice for a close by hotel. Our rooms have always been really clean. The pool on the other hand was always disgusting.
     

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