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Old 02-05-2013, 11:13 AM   #16
BunnyMacaroni
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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I just checked back for the first time in a week or two, and was surprised to see even more responses. (I had assumed that my original post had fallen off the radar by now.) Thank you to everyone for all the helpful information and tips. Our trip is just a couple of weeks away now, and we are really excited.
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:22 PM   #17
GrumpyGoat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BunnyMacaroni View Post
My daughter and I will be visiting California in February and are hoping to spend a few days in San Diego and then 1 or 2 days in Disneyland. I am terrible at trip-planning, and have been reading and researching obsessively about the simplest details. I was hoping someone who knows the area could help me with a few very basic questions.

First, does it make sense to try to do an open-jaw ticket (e.g., fly into San Diego and out of John Wayne)? Or would it make more sense to fly in and out of one airport (and if so, which one)? I'm leaning toward doing 2 different airports, only because that would allow me to avoid adding a 2-hour drive to one of our travel days. (My daughter, 6, is usually a good traveler, but I've never done a 6-hour flight with her before.)

Second, if we're arriving on the weekend, does it make sense to do San Diego first (on the weekend) and then Disneyland during the week? Does that make any difference in terms of crowds?

And finally, is there any general advice that I should know? Things not to miss in San Diego, and so on? I've been reading and talking to friends and trying to educate myself, but I still imagine getting to California and hearing something like, "Didn't anyone tell you this is the two days of the year when Disneyland is closed?" or "February is the worst time to visit southern California, what with the killer bees and zombies and whatnot."
We don't have killer bees in San Diego and the zombies are all mellow and laid back. After all, this is Southern California...

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Originally Posted by Plaid Princess View Post
If you're not into driving from SD to OC, the Amtrak train is super handy and pretty well priced. I live in Huntington Beach (Orange County) and take the train to visit my best friend in SD quite often. Its a beautiful line, it runs right along the ocean most of the way. You could potentially save vehicle one way fees this way.
The Amtrak stop closest to DL is at Anaheim Stadium. It's 2.5 miles from the park. It's possible to walk it or take a bus. In San Diego, you're going to have to take a cab from the downtown Santa Fe Depot up to Balboa Park where the zoo is located.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:02 AM   #18
BunnyMacaroni
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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We returned from our trip last Friday, and I wanted to post back a quick summary of what we ended up doing, where we ended up staying, etc., in case it's helpful to anyone else.

We flew into Long Beach with Jet Blue because that was the best deal we got on airfare. We arrived in the evening, and a friend picked us up and drove us to San Diego. Our friend was nice enough to do all the driving while we were there -- she drove us to San Diego, then back to Anaheim a few days later, then to the airport for our flight home.

In San Diego, we stayed at the Inn at the Park, which is right on Balboa Park. We loved this hotel and would highly recommend it. We had a huge 2-bedroom suite with a large living room and a nice kitchen. It was immaculately clean and very nicely decorated -- every bit as nice as the photos on the website suggest. (In terms of comfort and decor, I actually liked it better than the 5-star hotels that my job used to send me to, back when I traveled a lot for work.) The food was good and the staff was very pleasant.

We spent one day at the zoo, one day at La Jolla (thanks to the suggestions here), and one day just poking around Balboa Park and going into some of the museums. All of it was great. My daughter loved the zoo (especially the baby panda and the petting zoo), and we had a wonderful time at La Jolla. My daughter couldn't get enough of the sea lions, or of the waves crashing around her feet. I really, really envy everyone who gets to live in such a beautiful place all year round.

We drove to Anaheim Tuesday evening. Our hotel there (Embassy Suites) was such a letdown after the Inn at the Park. The suite was small, and the ugly brownish decor made everything look old and faintly dirty. (It's the kind of hotel decor that must have looked shabby even when it was brand new -- where everything is selected not for its aesthetic appeal, but for how well it'll hide dirt.)

We were on the second floor, so the noise from the atrium (including the roaring animatronic lion) was very loud in the living room. The noise level is fine in the bedroom, but is a problem if you have someone sleeping on the sofa bed in the living room. The elevators were not great (as you can see from any of the online reviews), but taking the stairs is not really an option -- we tried it once and ended up in the parking lot behind the hotel, where bins of laundry were being wheeled out.

Room service was adequate but not great. However, the free breakfast is decent, and the shuttle service to Disneyland was convenient. And, in the end, the suite was perfectly fine as a place to rest up before and after Disneyland.

Thanks for everyone's suggestions and advice!
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