RED SOX NATION!!
Join Date: Aug 2002
Concierge Level: 7
Final Thoughts: Well, the weather couldn’t have cooperated more for us in Southern California. Vegas, not so much! While it was cooler than normal, it made it much more comfortable to tour with it being 65-70, versus 85-90. Of course, 105+ in Vegas was not conducive to touring! Disneyland: This was the kids and my first trip to DL. Matt had been back in the 70s, I think, so that really doesn’t count. I know I’ll probably get flamed for this, but while DL was nice, it was just okay for us. I think since we’ve experienced WDW so many times (and are used to much more open spaces) that we just had a different feeling toward it. However, there were many things that we did enjoy! Highlights: Space Mountain is so much better at DL. So is Pirates, Jungle Cruise, Tiki Room, Autopia, IASW. Haunted Mansion was great as well. Indiana Jones was much more scary that I would have thought! The Nemo subs were great as well. The kids loved Roger Rabbit, although I didn’t see why. And they rode Gadget’s Go Coaster over and over again one morning. It was strange to see aspects of 3 different parks inside one (Star Tours from DHS and Innoventions from Epcot). But it didn’t detract. We had a great meal at Blue Bayou. I chalk this up to CRT at WDW. It needs to be done once. I’m glad we did. As for the negatives, first would be the crowds. We avoided the weekends, but the crowds were still heavy. Most rides had 45+ minute waits. Yes it was mid-July so I guess it was to be expected. The queues need some serious work. There’s just no theming in a lot of them. I found it strange to be waiting outside, as we’re used to WDW where you are usually inside or at least under cover. And line jumpers! I’ve never seen anything to this extent at WDW, so not sure why it is such a problem here. Maybe because of all the outside queues? It became very annoying. We didn’t stop for any characters, except in Toon Town when no one else was around. I think that would have really eaten up more touring time, and there were still many things that we didn’t get to see (Sleeping Beauty Castle, Buzz was down for refurb, Colin wouldn’t do Splash). And Fantastmic. There has got to be a better way! All in all, I’m glad we came, but I wish the crowds had been lower so that we could have done a few more things. California Adventure: We really enjoyed our time at CA. I think because it was more spread out, it didn’t feel as crowded (other than WoC). We loved the Aladdin show (the kids still tell Genie jokes today), the Monsters ride, California Screamin’, and the Redwood Creek area. TSMM was a great ride, but the queue is a complete letdown after having been to DHS (other than Mr. Potato Head). The kids also loved A Bug’s Land, and while Alexa was probably a bit old for the area, she had a great time on the Drive ‘em Buggies. We loved the music they piped into the Sunshine Plaza area, and I actually found the track list and made a CD for Matt for his birthday! I don’t have any real complaints about CA, other than the WoC setup (we did the picnic dinner). Plus, being there a few weeks after it started, I think they were probably still working out kinks. It didn’t wow us though, and seemed very similar to Fantasmic without the Mickey plot. We didn’t do any TS meals here, only counter service. All of which was very good, except maybe the Lucky Fortune Cookery (loved the Boudin Bakery). DTD: We didn’t spend a whole lot of time here, mainly as it was the other direction from our hotel. The one afternoon we did spend was nice. It seemed deserted. Nice blend of shops and restaurants! LEGOland: I think from all the pictures I took, you can see that we loved LEGOland. We opened the park, and closed it down. If you have LEGO lovers in your house, this is a don’t miss park! Wild Animal Park: This was another favorite for us. While the terrain can be a bit challenging (very hilly), it was amazing to see the animals in a more natural habitat, and the wild open areas that they have are just amazing. I’d highly recommend this park. San Diego Zoo: We were a bit disappointed in the zoo. We couldn’t figure out the map for one, and had horrible food. The animals were good (the panda bears and polar bears especially) but we thought it very similar to the National Zoo in Washington DC, which we go to every year. LA/Hollywood/Santa Monica: Loved our time here. It was so cool to see Grumman’s Chinese Theater, all the stars on the walkway. Just driving thru Beverly Hills and West Hollywood was great. I just wish I had left time to do the Warner Brothers tour, as that was on my list. I guess something to do for next time. Loved the Griffith Observatory and seeing the Hollywood sign. The pier at Santa Monica was great as well! Vegas: We weren’t big fans of Vegas. First, it was HOT. Second, we were tired after all the touring we had been doing. Loved the KA show, but that was about it. Found it to be dirty. Our feet were black every night as I’m assuming since there is no rain, there is nothing to wash all the dirt away. And all the smoke didn’t help. Next time I won’t be a miser and will spend more money to have better accommodations. And the pool closing at 7 PM? When it’s still 95 degrees out? Crazy. I wish we had kept the rental car here, instead of turning it in the first night. I think it would have been easier to get down the strip and see more things, especially in the heat. The strip is very deceiving. It’s HUGE and quite a walk, no matter what the temperature (especially with two kids). Hotels: Howard Johnson at DL – I found this hotel to be quite reasonable. We had a first floor room, in the back building, so it was very convenient to walk to the parks (about 10 minutes). The room was clean and good size. I’d stay here again without issue. Best Western Island Palms in San Diego (Shelter Island) – Beautiful resort. Reminded me of the Polynesian. Room was good size, pools were great. A tad pricey. Not sure if that was due to Comic Con weekend (everything in downtown San Diego was pretty much sold out). Away from the hustle and bustle. I’d definitely stay here again. Excalibur at Vegas – Won’t be staying here again. I really can’t complain, as I think I only paid $35 or $40 a night, but I got what I paid for. Location was good, since we were doing KA at MGM Grand. Now we know, but I don’t thing we’ll be heading back to Vegas anytime soon (other than as a hub for a Southwest flight). It was a great trip, and I’m glad we did it. It was a lot of on the go, which made it a bit tiring. Eating restaurant food after two weeks gets very old. As does moving from hotel to hotel. I’m glad Matt’s Aunt was so gracious to us, letting us stay there for a few days, as well as giving us the use of a car in California. I’m looking forward to getting back to LA one day, and seeing the things we missed. We keep talking about going out for the Rose Parade. I guess we’ll have to see if that comes to fruition or not! Thanks for reading along! I have a few more pictures to scan in will try to do that later today or this weekend. Stay tuned to hear about our planning and adventures to Alaska this June!
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My Previous TripsAPR '12 - POFQ, JUL '10 - DL, AUG '09 - DCL Western, AUG '08 - POFQ/BC, AUG '06 - AKL/BC/DisneyWonder/Poly, DEC '05 - AKL, APR '05 - AKL/BC, DEC '04 - AKL, MAY '04 - AKL/BC, MAY '03 - WL/BC, MAY '98 -offsite, MAY '94 - BC, AUG '85 - Poly, AUG '83 - Poly, AUG '81 - Poly, JUL '79 - World Inn, JUL '76 - World Inn