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The Official "Explore Southern California!" Thread

Discussion in 'Disneyland Resort' started by Cosmic Commando, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. raven24

    raven24 Well-Known Member

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    The drive to San Francisco can be a beautiful one, but I would rather fly there. Takes less than an hour.
     
  2. raven24

    raven24 Well-Known Member

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    What?: The Nightmare Before Christmas 4D

    Where?: El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood and Highland

    How far from Disneyland?: Maybe 40+ minutes away

    How much?: Varies

    Every year, usually during the last week of October, the El Capitan in Hollywood screens The Nightmare Before Christmas in 4D. There are all sorts of really cool special effects and extra activities/offerings either before or after the screening. Danny Elfman sometimes makes an appearance, too, as well as other special guests. The screenings unsurprisingly attract lots of Nightmare fans, Disney fans and the general public. Something to consider if you're visiting in late October.

    This year's ad:

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    Danny Elfman introduces Amy Lee, performing "Sally's Song" in 2008:

     
  3. GiveMeTheMusic

    GiveMeTheMusic Well-Known Member

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    I'd like to say thanks to @TP2000 for his Palm Springs tramway recommendation! Met some friends from out of town in Palm Springs a few weeks ago and after a yummy brunch decided we needed to something to do. I flashed back to this thread and remembered the aerial tramway - we rode it and it was AWESOME! A great side trip and the tram itself is a blast. A bit Fun Wheel-esque at moments when you pass the towers. :)
     
    TP2000, Cosmic Commando and raven24 like this.
  4. choco choco

    choco choco Well-Known Member

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    It's too far to make it. I'm intrigued as to why you are choosing to go to Lompoc. It's a military town purposely designed to be remote and inaccessible, so that the Air Force can conduct their experiments far from any prying eyes. There's really nothing to recommend there, and it isn't particularly by the ocean.

    Additionally, there isn't much to see on that road once past Santa Barbara. Yes, Highway 1 rides along the coast for a period of time, but it's actually pretty barren. It's almost a straight shot highway. There are very few "scenic stops" along the way, the highway is separated from the beach by a busy train track, and there is absolutely no roadside services, shops or attractions anywhere.

    I would suggest you get up to Santa Barbara and call it good, hang around and then turn back. It certainly will be a full day, winding along the coast takes a long time.
     
    mishel635 likes this.
  5. DznyGrlSD

    DznyGrlSD Well-Known Member

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    Bumping this for my own use. We're spending 2 weeks in California in October and I need lots of ideas!
     
    raven24 and PacNWTigger like this.
  6. Figments Friend

    Figments Friend Well-Known Member

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    This is a excellent thread to do just that, DznyGrlSD.
    LOTS of great info here from folks who would know.
    :)
     
  7. raven24

    raven24 Well-Known Member

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    What?: The Last Bookstore (best bookstore ever)

    Where?: 453 S Spring ST (Downtown Los Angeles)

    How far from Disneyland?: 35+ minutes away

    How much?: It's free admission, but bring money to buy books and other goodies

    The Last Bookstore is an amazing bookstore located in the historical section of Downtown Los Angeles, specifically the Old Bank District. The store indeed used to be an early 1900's bank, but now it's a gem of a store located in the heart of LA. They sell both used and new books, for great prices, too! There's a steampunk vibe to it that's really cool. On the second floor, there is a labyrinth that leads to even more books(!), a tunnel made of books (every book lover's obsession), and individual shops, including art galleries, a jewelry shop, a yarn/stitching store, and a seriously awesome vintage store (I got an old wallet, key holder, and a pair of sunglasses straight from the 1970's there!). These shops are all owned by individual sellers. The bookstore also sells used DVDs, vinyls, records, and CDs. It doesn't get better than that. I love books and I'm currently one semester from receiving my B.A. in English, so it's no surprise The Last Bookstore is one of my favorite places, but I'd still recommend the store to anyone. It's truly amazing.

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    Most amazing tunnel:

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    Even the checkout counter is made of books!

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    One of the art galleries on the second floor:

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    Here's the vintage store I love so much (the woman in the photo is the owner and she's very kind):

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    This is obviously the yarn store:

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    Mummum, eastvillage, gsrjedi and 3 others like this.
  8. Cosmic Commando

    Cosmic Commando Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Gosh darn, that's cool.
     
    raven24 likes this.
  9. TP2000

    TP2000 Well-Known Member

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    Oh, I'm so glad you did that! It really is a SoCal exclusive delight, since 1963. The revolving cabins they added a decade or so ago make it even more fun.

    A fun day trip from Disneyland with dinner to follow in Palm Springs, or just a good way to spend the afternoon in Palm Springs, post-brunch or pre-dinner.
     
  10. raven24

    raven24 Well-Known Member

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    The next time you're in California, let's all go.
     
    Cosmic Commando likes this.
  11. raven24

    raven24 Well-Known Member

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    What?: The oldest standing McDonald's

    Where?: Downey, California

    How far from Disneyland?: Roughly 15 miles away (20 minutes away)

    How much?: Free, if you don't plan on buying food

    The most popular and well-known fast food chain is located pretty much everywhere around the world, but the mega chain got its start in good ole' California, specifically in San Bernardino in 1940. Back then, burgers and fries were cooked fresh, unlike now, and as one could naturally assume, the menu was much smaller. Speedee was McDonald's original mascot, a little man dressed with a chef hat, before Ronald McDonald (who is creepy) eventually took over. The original location is now gone, along with the second location, but the third location is still standing, thus making it the oldest (opened in 1953). Almost everything is left in tact and the menu is kept small here. Some of the employees where vintage uniforms, including paper hats and there's a small museum guests can check out. One of the best things about this location is the fact that they still sell fried apple pies! McDonald's is not what it used to be and it's name has somewhat been tarnished (I don't even really eat McDonald's anymore), but I sincerely believe this is a nice piece of California/American history to check out. If you don't care about this kind of stuff, just go for the fried apple pies.

    Original location, which is now gone, with the exception of a sign:

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    Still standing (Downey location):

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    Some of the items in the museum:

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    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015
  12. eastvillage

    eastvillage Active Member

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    Really excited to read your comment. I'm attending a friend's wedding in SF next week and decided to fly into LAX (and maybe spend a day at DLR) for a few days and then spend two nights driving up the PCH. I booked hotel/motels in Morro Bay and Monterey! Really excited. I have a question...I'd like to stay on 1 as much as possible, but when looking at the map, 1 seems to wrap through AF bases around Lompoc. Is it best to switch over to 101 until San Luis Obispo and then hop back on 1? Or will I be missing much?

    Thanks! Can't wait!
     
    Figments Friend likes this.
  13. Travel Junkie

    Travel Junkie Well-Known Member

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    I would stay on the 101. It eats up a lot of time and there isn’t a whole lot to see. The AF base takes up most of the good stuff and is off limits.

    I would recommend from LA, to take the 1 north through Santa Monica and Malibu. At Point Mugu I would then take Las Posas road to connect back to the 101 if you are concerned with time. You can continue on the 1, but it mostly farmland and city streets before it runs into the 101. Once back on the 101 I would take it all the way up to San Luis Obispo and take the 1 from there all the way up the coast.
     
    eastvillage likes this.
  14. Figments Friend

    Figments Friend Well-Known Member

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    Hope you have a great time!
    :)
     
    eastvillage likes this.
  15. eastvillage

    eastvillage Active Member

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    Thank you @Virtual Insanity and @Figments Friend !!!

    Have any of you visited Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills? Or gone on the Santa Monica Pier free historical walking tour? Any thoughts on these?
     
  16. Figments Friend

    Figments Friend Well-Known Member

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    I have not visited either of those to date....but came close to visiting the Pier twice when i did massive road trips with friends a few years ago.
    When i was looking into it at the time, the impression i had was Santa Monica Pier was worth checking out if you are in the area some afternoon.
     
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  17. BigDave

    BigDave Member

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    This is exactly the post I was looking for. Going to LA with the family this summer. Any suggestions on family hotels near hollywood or near disneyland? Also was thinking about going up to big bear lake to get away for a few days...is it worth it?
     
  18. Figments Friend

    Figments Friend Well-Known Member

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    Big Bear Lake was highly recommended to me a few years ago before i took my first trip to California.
    Have yet to have visited, but it looks pretty spectacular from a scenic standpoint.
    It was not a high priority for me however to see at the time, as it looked very similar to Maine and New Hampshire settings i have experienced many times in my past.
    I have done a lot of camping in the mountains in those areas...so..it seemed too similar.
    When i came to California, i wanted 'new' experiences that i could not 'get back home'.

    There are a lot of inexpensive hotels around the Disneyland area. A quick search on Travelocity or Expedia should pull several choices up.
    Beware however that a LOT of hotels like to place the title 'at the Park' or 'at the Maingate' into their title when many are not as close as they would like you to think!
    The only hotels that are truly 'at the Park' or directly across from the main entrance are hotel lined up on Harbor Blvd.
    Be sure to view a map before booking if you are concerned about distances.

    You likely won't find any 'bargins' on Harbor Blvd at those close locations...but sometimes you can score a deal.
    Katella Ave also has a selection of hotels, some much more reasonable price wise.
     
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  19. PacNWTigger

    PacNWTigger Well-Known Member

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    I wholeheartedly agree with @Figments Friend about the hotels on Katella! I have had wonderful luck at the Annabella Hotel...even got an upgraded room and free breakfast the last time we stayed there.
     
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  20. daisyduck16

    daisyduck16 Well-Known Member

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    My husband and I are planning a trip to Disneyland next year. Can anyone tell me the name of a good tour to San Diego for the day? Two years ago we took a tour bus to Universal. It was Valentines and people on the bus had plans. Instead of taking us back to our hotels in the Disneyland area we sat on the bus by the Roosevelt Hotel for a long time waiting for 2 people. Yes, we were able to get off the bus for a short while, but people missed reservations and our plans were ruined. I don't want to get tied up with an organization like this again.
     

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