The Watson's Go West - May 2015 A Pre-Trip

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RobynPrincess's picture
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The Watson's Go West - May 2015 A Pre-Trip

A Pre-Trip.

Okay, okay. I know I should be busy writing up my trip report from the last trip but the blues have hit hard Sad as everyone knows, the only known way to cure them is to get on with planning the next trip! As you can see from the title, the next will be something a little different from anything before. Different in that of course we are heading to the West Coast - a complete first for us both!

I'll be honest right from the start here, I feel a little out of my depth. Actually that's an understatement, I feel completely out of my depth and totally overwhelmed. I know Walt Disney World like the back of my hand so this is all new to me - its a scary concept not to know pretty much exactly where I want to go/what I want to eat etc. LOL

This report will be a little different to most as it will only feature 5 nights at Disneyland, the rest I fear might not be as interesting to my Disney friends. I thought I would still post a TR though as I love reading all sorts of TR's, hopefully it will be an interesting read, and you never know - someone might like a part of our trip and see something that they would wanna try in the future Smile

How did the trip come about?

There was a flight glitch online in the run up to our last WDW holiday. Sy was out when I saw it online, I quickly did a little more research and found that they would be perfect for our much talked about West Coast adventure. The flights were with Virgin Atlantic flying direct from London to San Francisco and flying direct home again to London from Los Angeles. Sy came home and knew from the moment he walked in the door something was up! First thing he said to me was 'What have you done?' Moi?! Nothing yet dear Wink You might find this hard to believe (or you may not) but I am actually the sensible one when it comes to money, Sy would spend like there's no tomorrow whereas I reign him back in. So I think you can probably guess how long it took to get those flights booked... 5 mins later we were bouncing round the living room at finally getting our long awaited West Coast trip!

We have been planning and dreaming about our West Coast trip for many years, one of the things that put us off was the huge flight prices, with this glitch we paid in total less than what 1 flight would have cost us. It would have been silly not to book those flights really Wink at least that's what I keep telling myself when I look at hotel prices and can't sleep at night...

We knew the West Coast was more expensive than Florida so we decided to go for 2 & 1/2 weeks, flying out on the 6th May and getting home on the 25th. We would have loved more but we were worried about affording all the hotels and spending money and thought much less we wouldn't be able to fit in all of the things we wanted to see and do. As it happens we still underestimated just how much more the West coast will be :-\ at the moment we are looking at Super 8 hotels and fast food dinners lol hopefully that could change though before we get there.

The itinerary has changed *so* many times since we booked those flights. We had a list of places we knew we wanted to visit but kinda not enough time to see them all, still there's always next time Wink

The list began like this;
San Fran
Napa Valley
Yosemite
Last Vegas
Grand Canyon
Area 51
Palm Springs
Malibu
Anehiem
San Diego
L.A.

Napa was the first casualty, Sy wasn't that bothered about going there and it was in the opposite direction to Yosemite. As I knew we had so much to try and fit in, I caved pretty quick.

Next was San Diego. We wanted to go for the Zoo and Seaworld but we decided that there's only so much time to fit stuff in and Zoo's are worldwide and we can visit Seaworld in Orlando (obviously they aren't the same but close enough for us to not feel they were a 'must do' on our first trip west).

Then came Palm Springs, we're still planning to visit for the day (at the moment) but I'm still not sure we have the time. Sy is really pushing for Palm Springs but I'm less bothered.

Then came a huge change, Yosemite. First it went from 2 nights to 1 night, to give us 4 nights in Las Vegas. Then we decided it seemed a bit silly to drive for hours from San Fran to Yosemite, get there and sleep, and then get up early for another gruelling drive the next day. The hotels in Yosemite were expensive which helped sway our decision if we were only gonna get there, crash and get up early again. Plus I'm not the best in the car for hours on end. S we have decided to fly from SF to Las Vegas.

Grand Canyon and Area 51, I think we will play these by ear at the moment, we only have 4 nights planned Las Vegas so there's only so much we can do. There's no way I'm getting in a helicopter to see the Grand Canyon so we will drive there and back in 1 day if we decide to go there, we may just decide to leave it for next time. Sy is really into Sci-Fi so he would love to go to Area 51 to the tacky cafe's. Again we may just play this by ear and see how much we get done around Las Vegas and see if we would rather spend the day there instead. We were planning on stopping at one of the cafe's for lunch on the drive from Yosemite but a we are now no longer going there, it changes things.

The plan as it stands now looks like;

6th May flight, stay somewhere near Fisherman Wharf for 4 nights. Visit Alcatraz, Golden gate bridge, Walt Disney Museum, Sea Lions at Pier 39.

10th fly to Las Vegas for 4 nights. Pick up car hire here. Would like to see a show or 2, Bellagio fountains, play a few slot machines, I'd love a gondola ride at the Venetian however it looks really pricey! Will see...

14th Drive to Disneyland where we stay at the Grand Californian for 5 nights (it will be from here we travel to Palm Springs if we do go). Probably get a 4 day Disney Ticket as I'm not sure I'm gonna take my scooter so will only be able to do a few hours at a time most probably.

19th Drive to Malibu where we stay 2 nights. Found a beautiful hotel on the beach that I've fallen in love with, be great to spend a day or 2 just chilling out by the beautiful sea. I've always wanted to visit Malibu.

21st drive to Hollywood and stay somewhere nearby for the last 3 nights, do Universal, Warner Bros tour, Walk of Fame and other touristy stuff!

24th Fly home.

Thus far, no hotels are booked. Well apart from the DVC - which we got at 7 months no problems. The 7 month mark fell while we were in Florida so that was weird booking the next holiday while on the current one. We have annual dues to pay in Feb first before we can book any hotels (though I might book the Malibu hotel come Christmas as we will probably get some monetary presents).

I think that's all to report for now, as I said before - I'm completely out of my depth so if anyone wants to part with some wisdom about any aspect of our trip I would be *most* grateful!

I'm half willing the trip to hurry up and get here and half willing it to be far away so we can save up!

__________________

Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

Spook's picture
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Sounds busy and fun awesome I'm really excited to hear about it all (non-Disney included!).
We are thinking about heading out there (just to Disney though) in January 2016. I know what you mean about being out of your depth. It's all totally new. Every time I think about it, I get nervous about going to an unfamiliar airport and no Magical Express. It's hard to think too much about it right now though since I've got January 2015, February and September to plan first Wink

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Sounds like a great trip. I have a couple of suggestions....

San Fran:
Meet up with Jeff and Joe (that is if they are still living there - you never know they move again by that time Smile )
Drive down Lombard Street

Las Vegas:
Neon Graveyard
Freemont Street Experience
Red Rock Canyon
Check out tours being offered (Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, etc - they usually pick you up at your hotel)

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I love Las Vegas
I love Disneyland
I left my heart in San Francisco
I'm a little jealous. Maybe you can hire me to carry your bags.

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Magic Mirror's picture
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Sounds fun! I have been to Vegas....and unless you are big gamblers....I would give up a day for one of the tours.
Our friends did a HooverDam tour which included a stop at a chocolate factory and a ride on a ferry boat.
They loved it! I would totally do an Area 51 tour! I would recommend a tour and not renting a car though.
The desert is unforgiving and dangerous to the inexperienced!

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I just posted a similar plea, Robyn!! Orlando/WDW have become so familiar that they're barely even like traveling anymore. I'm a fish out of water anywhere else!! laugh I think the last time I traveled somewhere completely "new" (other than regionally for gymnastics competitions) and had to navigate on the fly was Nassau in 2011.

The cruise portion of our trip stops in San Francisco and that's definitely my most anticipated stop after DL! Did you happen to see that they do Alcatraz tours both during the day and late in the evening? I think we're going to do the night tour because we'll be with my parents and they've already done the day tour. (I could skip Alcatraz and spend more time at the Walt Disney Family Museum, but my dad is obsessed with Alcatraz, so it stays on the list.) Also, a friend told me about a spy museum in SF that sounded kind of cool, but we only have one day, so I don't think we're going to make that a priority. (Although if I can swing it, I'm so stopping at Ghiradelli's for chocolate!)

We don't have any other destinations in common besides DL. (We'll hit Santa Barabara, San Diego, and Ensenada, MX, too.) Are you planning to do a park hopper? I'm kind of torn. The parks are so close together that it seems silly not to have it just in case, but we're usually pretty methodical in our touring and we don't spend a lot of time bouncing around. We've got three nights, so we can see World of Color, Fantasmic, and fireworks all on different nights, so I'm not sure that it's necessary as long as you plan dining accordingly. What do you think?

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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I've been to Las Vegas, and I agree with JoAnn about Fremont Street. It's my favorite part of Vegas! I could've gone there every day, and we did go there twice. Even if you aren't into gambling, find some penny slot machines and play a dollar for as long as you can in each casino, then you can say you gambled at every casino on Fremont Street. This is really easy to do because the casinos are small and all along a roughly three or four-block part of the street. And if you'd like to spend more time gambling, drive to one of the casinos on the outskirts of town. They cater more to locals so the odds of winning are a little higher. We had a lot of fun at South Point Casino, which is south of the airport. South Point also has a hotel which I think has pretty reasonable rates. The only disadvantage to staying there is that you'd have to drive a bit to get to the Strip or Fremont Street.

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JoAnn C wrote:
Sounds like a great trip. I have a couple of suggestions....

San Fran:
Meet up with Jeff and Joe (that is if they are still living there - you never know they move again by that time Smile )
Drive down Lombard Street

Las Vegas:
Neon Graveyard
Freemont Street Experience
Red Rock Canyon
Check out tours being offered (Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, etc - they usually pick you up at your hotel)

I thought Jeff and Joe were in Minnesota now. Did they move back?

Anyway, I'm super jealous of all the Disneyland trips that are happening this year! I'm anxiously awaiting all your trip reports! muchlove

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If you decide you are looking for a hotel in Vegas on or near the strip, check out the Platinum. We stayed there a couple of years ago - got a beautiful 1 bed suite with full kitchen for just over $100 a night. (plus the stupid resort fee!). It was about 2 blocks from the Bellagio. I will admit that after a long day on our feet, those 2 blocks seemed a very long way, but we had a great view of the strip at night, so it was worth it.

Watch the cab drivers at the airport in Vegas. The trip to our hotel should have taken about 3 minutes and cost around $10 - he tried to drive us all over town and run up the bill. I had checked the maps, etc. beforehand, so set him straight in short order!

I don't if I would be brave enough to drive down Lombard St. in SF. laugh We walked there from our hotel (Hilton Fisherman's Wharf), and watched other people navigate it. It was fun to see though. We did one of the cruises that goes out in the bay, under the Golden Gate, and back close to Alcatraz. If it's a nice day, it's a fun trip. We didn't actually go into Alcatraz though - it was creepy enough just seeing it from outside.

I am looking forward to your trip report - I hope you include all the non-Disney stuff too. We didn't get to see everything we wanted last time, so hope to go back someday. Disneyland was one of the things that got cut - eek - and I intend to rectify that someday!

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I thought Jeff and Joe were in Minnesota now. Did they move back?

banana banana banana

Yup! They sold the farm and moved back to Cali!

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Hey Robyn!! Ohhh you are going to love it!!! We haven't been to Disneyland yet but close. We have been to Cali 3 times driving cross-country. We always stay in Springdale, Utah in the Zion National Park. Then, we take day trips around. This trip we did go to Las Vegas. We ended up staying at the Paris which was the nicest and most expensive place we have ever stayed. But, it was worth it! Absolutely gorgeous! We also went to the Hoover Dam but it was very windy and rainy. It is pretty amazing!
We drove all the way to Cali our first trip to Ventura and spent the night. We drove up the PCH all the way to Monterey and cut over and made it down to Yosemite Natl Park. This is my favorite of the parks! Even like it better than Grand Canyon. I think I like the forests best.
Can't wait to hear your thoughts on Disneyland. We haven't been but would like too.
Your trip sounds like a blast!!

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Magic Mirror wrote:
I thought Jeff and Joe were in Minnesota now. Did they move back?

banana banana banana

Yup! They sold the farm and moved back to Cali!

How did I miss this!?

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RobynPrincess wrote:

I'm gonna take my scooter so will only be able to do a few hours at a time most probably.

I know that you're a little more mobile than I am, but really think about it before leaving your scooter at home.

I still use one when we're at Disneyland, yes the hotel is closer to get back to but if you start feeling dodgy it's still quite a hike back. The same goes for Vegas.

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alicemouse wrote:

The cruise portion of our trip stops in San Francisco and that's definitely my most anticipated stop after DL! Did you happen to see that they do Alcatraz tours both during the day and late in the evening? I think we're going to do the night tour because we'll be with my parents and they've already done the day tour. (I could skip Alcatraz and spend more time at the Walt Disney Family Museum, but my dad is obsessed with Alcatraz, so it stays on the list.) Also, a friend told me about a spy museum in SF that sounded kind of cool, but we only have one day, so I don't think we're going to make that a priority. (Although if I can swing it, I'm so stopping at Ghiradelli's for chocolate!)

The original Ghiradelli's is just a short walk from where the Ferry's leave for Alcatraz and Pier 39, plus it's right off the Cable Car stop. You should totally be able to fit it in!

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alicemouse wrote:

The cruise portion of our trip stops in San Francisco and that's definitely my most anticipated stop after DL! Did you happen to see that they do Alcatraz tours both during the day and late in the evening? I think we're going to do the night tour because we'll be with my parents and they've already done the day tour. (I could skip Alcatraz and spend more time at the Walt Disney Family Museum, but my dad is obsessed with Alcatraz, so it stays on the list.) Also, a friend told me about a spy museum in SF that sounded kind of cool, but we only have one day, so I don't think we're going to make that a priority. (Although if I can swing it, I'm so stopping at Ghiradelli's for chocolate!)

The original Ghiradelli's is just a short walk from where the Ferry's leave for Alcatraz and Pier 39, plus it's right off the Cable Car stop. You should totally be able to fit it in!

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Nobody has mentioned Cirque du Soleil! I have been to LaNouba in Downtown Disney West Side and it was amazing! I didn't know that it was physically possible for some of the performers to do what they do with their bodies!! Contortionism at its best! eek Las Vegas has quite a few of them but I would love to see The Beatles Love. There is also Michael Jackson ONE.

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Robyn, this trip sounds so amazing! You will have a blast and great memories for a lifetime yay

And yes, we are back in San Francsico, Allie! My Mom used to tell everyone she had one address book for normal people and one specifically for me.....

Crissy Field is located right at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge and offers some great views. Pics below. We also recently walked across the bridge and back. That took a little over 2 hours.

Boudin Bakery has a huge bread facility near the Piers that offers up lunch, and you can buy brewed in the shape of a crab. Ha!

I'm with Kristen, Ghirardellis is not too far away if you can swing it. Or you can ride the carousel at Fishemans Wharf. Last time we were there, a couple was getting married on the carousel. It was pretty cool.

If you are looking for some shopping, Union Square might be worth looking into.

There will be no lack of fun things to see and do! I would also advise to be prepared to dress in layers. Temps can be all over the place, especially if the marine layer sets in. You can go from warm to cold in a heartbeat!!

If you have any specific questions on anything as you research, feel free to let us know and we can give you our best advice and info!

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Oh my goodness! So much wonderful help! Thank you so so much, will try to reply individually now...

__________________

Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

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Posts: 2859

Spook wrote:
Sounds busy and fun awesome I'm really excited to hear about it all (non-Disney included!).
We are thinking about heading out there (just to Disney though) in January 2016. I know what you mean about being out of your depth. It's all totally new. Every time I think about it, I get nervous about going to an unfamiliar airport and no Magical Express. It's hard to think too much about it right now though since I've got January 2015, February and September to plan first Wink

Yep, i'm totally out of my depth. Must be a nice distraction for you though having three trips to plan first Wink i'm not jealous.... (Yes I am)

JoAnn C wrote:
Sounds like a great trip. I have a couple of suggestions....

San Fran:
Meet up with Jeff and Joe (that is if they are still living there - you never know they move again by that time Smile )
Drive down Lombard Street

Las Vegas:
Neon Graveyard
Freemont Street Experience
Red Rock Canyon
Check out tours being offered (Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, etc - they usually pick you up at your hotel)

Thanks JoAnn! Totally want to meet up with Jeff and Joe (if you'll have us guys?)
We aren't planning on having a call in San Fran so we might just have to walk down Lombard Street Wink
I've not heard of neon graveyard or Fremont Street experience, Will go check them out now. Really want to go to red Rock Canyon. I'm not sure about tours, I certainly don't want to do one that involves a helicopter, not because I'm scared of heights But I am very scared that I would be sick as I've read lots of people are :-/ hoover dam looks good though, Sy would enjoy it very much.

__________________

Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

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Posts: 2859

The Colonel wrote:
I love Las Vegas
I love Disneyland
I left my heart in San Francisco
I'm a little jealous. Maybe you can hire me to carry your bags.

Maybe you need to treat the Mrs to a nice west coast tour.... I've heard that may is a good time of year to go... Wink

Magic Mirror wrote:
Sounds fun! I have been to Vegas....and unless you are big gamblers....I would give up a day for one of the tours.
Our friends did a HooverDam tour which included a stop at a chocolate factory and a ride on a ferry boat.
They loved it! I would totally do an Area 51 tour! I would recommend a tour and not renting a car though.
The desert is unforgiving and dangerous to the inexperienced!

We are definitely not big gamblers, I intend to have a little go on some cheap slots but that is about it. I read about the hoover dam tour and the chocolate factory, it looks really good! I'm definitely renting a car however that doesn't mean I wouldn't take a tour, I want the car for getting around Smile The desert does have me a little scared :-/

__________________

Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

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alicemouse wrote:
I just posted a similar plea, Robyn!! Orlando/WDW have become so familiar that they're barely even like traveling anymore. I'm a fish out of water anywhere else!! laugh I think the last time I traveled somewhere completely "new" (other than regionally for gymnastics competitions) and had to navigate on the fly was Nassau in 2011.

The cruise portion of our trip stops in San Francisco and that's definitely my most anticipated stop after DL! Did you happen to see that they do Alcatraz tours both during the day and late in the evening? I think we're going to do the night tour because we'll be with my parents and they've already done the day tour. (I could skip Alcatraz and spend more time at the Walt Disney Family Museum, but my dad is obsessed with Alcatraz, so it stays on the list.) Also, a friend told me about a spy museum in SF that sounded kind of cool, but we only have one day, so I don't think we're going to make that a priority. (Although if I can swing it, I'm so stopping at Ghiradelli's for chocolate!)

We don't have any other destinations in common besides DL. (We'll hit Santa Barabara, San Diego, and Ensenada, MX, too.) Are you planning to do a park hopper? I'm kind of torn. The parks are so close together that it seems silly not to have it just in case, but we're usually pretty methodical in our touring and we don't spend a lot of time bouncing around. We've got three nights, so we can see World of Color, Fantasmic, and fireworks all on different nights, so I'm not sure that it's necessary as long as you plan dining accordingly. What do you think?

Ive read your thread as well! Some really good questions and answers on there, they have really helped me!

I'm torn between the day and night tour at Alcatraz, I think the night tour would be better however I'm very aware of how jetlagged we are going to be and I think we will probably be crashing really early in the evening those first few nights and my health is always worse when I'm tired Sad

I'm unsure about the Park hopper, I think the price will be the deciding factor honestly. It would be great to have them however this trip is costing us a bomb so it may be one of those added luxuries that we end up not going for. We are there for five nights however the first day went to get there until late so no parks that day, our checkout day we can quite happily stay until later in the day so we may make that a park day and skip one day in the middle to go to palm springs. We'll see.

__________________

Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

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crazycatperson wrote:
I've been to Las Vegas, and I agree with JoAnn about Fremont Street. It's my favorite part of Vegas! I could've gone there every day, and we did go there twice. Even if you aren't into gambling, find some penny slot machines and play a dollar for as long as you can in each casino, then you can say you gambled at every casino on Fremont Street. This is really easy to do because the casinos are small and all along a roughly three or four-block part of the street. And if you'd like to spend more time gambling, drive to one of the casinos on the outskirts of town. They cater more to locals so the odds of winning are a little higher. We had a lot of fun at South Point Casino, which is south of the airport. South Point also has a hotel which I think has pretty reasonable rates. The only disadvantage to staying there is that you'd have to drive a bit to get to the Strip or Fremont Street.

The Southpoint hotel is actually a hotel that has been recommended to us by another friend who loves Vegas and goes all the time so we will have to check that one out. The only thing that put me off is I kind of want to stay in one of the famous hotels along the strip as its our first time. I'm definitely gonna find some penny slot machines that's my sort of gambling Wink i'm not really a gambler, nor is Sy. Xxx

Allie wrote:
JoAnn C wrote:
Sounds like a great trip. I have a couple of suggestions....

San Fran:
Meet up with Jeff and Joe (that is if they are still living there - you never know they move again by that time Smile )
Drive down Lombard Street

Las Vegas:
Neon Graveyard
Freemont Street Experience
Red Rock Canyon
Check out tours being offered (Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, etc - they usually pick you up at your hotel)

I thought Jeff and Joe were in Minnesota now. Did they move back?

Anyway, I'm super jealous of all the Disneyland trips that are happening this year! I'm anxiously awaiting all your trip reports! muchlove

Jeff has already come back to answer that, yes they moved back a little while ago I remember Jeff posting about it Smile once you have read all the trip reports you'll know all the things to do and not to do when you come to plan your very own trip to Disneyland!

__________________

Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

RobynPrincess's picture
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finngirl wrote:
If you decide you are looking for a hotel in Vegas on or near the strip, check out the Platinum. We stayed there a couple of years ago - got a beautiful 1 bed suite with full kitchen for just over $100 a night. (plus the stupid resort fee!). It was about 2 blocks from the Bellagio. I will admit that after a long day on our feet, those 2 blocks seemed a very long way, but we had a great view of the strip at night, so it was worth it.

Watch the cab drivers at the airport in Vegas. The trip to our hotel should have taken about 3 minutes and cost around $10 - he tried to drive us all over town and run up the bill. I had checked the maps, etc. beforehand, so set him straight in short order!

I don't if I would be brave enough to drive down Lombard St. in SF. laugh We walked there from our hotel (Hilton Fisherman's Wharf), and watched other people navigate it. It was fun to see though. We did one of the cruises that goes out in the bay, under the Golden Gate, and back close to Alcatraz. If it's a nice day, it's a fun trip. We didn't actually go into Alcatraz though - it was creepy enough just seeing it from outside.

I am looking forward to your trip report - I hope you include all the non-Disney stuff too. We didn't get to see everything we wanted last time, so hope to go back someday. Disneyland was one of the things that got cut - eek - and I intend to rectify that someday!

Thanks for the hotel recommendation, will go check that out in a moment! We don't plan on getting any taxis in Vegas as we will have hired a car, and as I can't drink I will be driving most of the time so that Sy can enjoy the odd beverage Wink
I'm really interested to do a nice boat trip out on the Bay, I love boats and I love being out on the water (as long as the sea is calm!!) so this is definitely something that's going on my list.

Hold on, you cut out Disneyland??!!

93boomer wrote:
Hey Robyn!! Ohhh you are going to love it!!! We haven't been to Disneyland yet but close. We have been to Cali 3 times driving cross-country. We always stay in Springdale, Utah in the Zion National Park. Then, we take day trips around. This trip we did go to Las Vegas. We ended up staying at the Paris which was the nicest and most expensive place we have ever stayed. But, it was worth it! Absolutely gorgeous! We also went to the Hoover Dam but it was very windy and rainy. It is pretty amazing!
We drove all the way to Cali our first trip to Ventura and spent the night. We drove up the PCH all the way to Monterey and cut over and made it down to Yosemite Natl Park. This is my favorite of the parks! Even like it better than Grand Canyon. I think I like the forests best.
Can't wait to hear your thoughts on Disneyland. We haven't been but would like too.
Your trip sounds like a blast!!

Paris is definitely on my list of nice hotels on the strip, glad to know you enjoyed it! I think I would enjoy Yosemite more than Grand Canyon as well, not sure either will get done at the moment :-/

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Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

RobynPrincess's picture
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Kristen K. wrote:
RobynPrincess wrote:

I'm gonna take my scooter so will only be able to do a few hours at a time most probably.

I know that you're a little more mobile than I am, but really think about it before leaving your scooter at home.

I still use one when we're at Disneyland, yes the hotel is closer to get back to but if you start feeling dodgy it's still quite a hike back. The same goes for Vegas.

Honestly Kristen, I am worried about how I'm going to cope. But then if I do take my scooter I'm worried how I will get about with it. Disney I know everything is catered for, buses have ramps, pavements have lots of ramps that are easy to navigate. I know I would struggle getting around London in my scooter and I guess I'm just worried about how I would get about in other cities. I could ride it down to the Alcatraz tour and then not be able to get on the boat with it, that's the sort of thing I'm worrying about. Plus there is the added stress of the internal flight with it. And the taxis to and from the airport in San Francisco. I still haven't made up my mind however, I doubt I will know until a few weeks before we go if I am well enough. If you were to ask me today I would say I am definitely taking it as my health has been poor for weeks now, but I am ever hopeful Wink

oHIo wrote:
Nobody has mentioned Cirque du Soleil! I have been to LaNouba in Downtown Disney West Side and it was amazing! I didn't know that it was physically possible for some of the performers to do what they do with their bodies!! Contortionism at its best! eek Las Vegas has quite a few of them but I would love to see The Beatles Love. There is also Michael Jackson ONE.

We definitely want to see Cirque du Soleil show, we are thinking Michael Jackson one will be the one we see! I would love to see Britney however I have read she mimes a lot and doesn't really perform much either and I don't want to go and have one of my idols ruined Sad

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Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

RobynPrincess's picture
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JeffC wrote:
Robyn, this trip sounds so amazing! You will have a blast and great memories for a lifetime yay

And yes, we are back in San Francsico, Allie! My Mom used to tell everyone she had one address book for normal people and one specifically for me.....

Crissy Field is located right at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge and offers some great views. Pics below. We also recently walked across the bridge and back. That took a little over 2 hours.

Boudin Bakery has a huge bread facility near the Piers that offers up lunch, and you can buy brewed in the shape of a crab. Ha!

I'm with Kristen, Ghirardellis is not too far away if you can swing it. Or you can ride the carousel at Fishemans Wharf. Last time we were there, a couple was getting married on the carousel. It was pretty cool.

If you are looking for some shopping, Union Square might be worth looking into.

There will be no lack of fun things to see and do! I would also advise to be prepared to dress in layers. Temps can be all over the place, especially if the marine layer sets in. You can go from warm to cold in a heartbeat!!

If you have any specific questions on anything as you research, feel free to let us know and we can give you our best advice and info!

Your mum definitely knows you well having a separate address book Wink not sure I could cope with so many moves lol but then that's what keeps life interesting Laughing out loud

I'm not quite sure I'm up to walking two hours over the bridge *yikes* I did look at the bikes option but again that looks like too much hard work lol will definitely take a trip over to Crissy field though! Thank you for that info.

Boudins is already on my list of places to get yummy food!!

Thank you so much for the info about wearing layers, will definitely plan to wear them plus sunscreen as our pasty British skin burns very easily Wink

Would also of course love to meet up with you guys for dinner/lunch/coffee/Drinks if you can squeeze it in!!

__________________

Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

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We did the bike ride across the bridge a few years ago - never again!! Getting to the bridge from Fishermans Wharf is really really hilly. I think the views of the bridge from Crissy Field are spectacular. But if you want to go up to the bridge from there, it's step hell. I hate steps.

I also just remembered there is a tour of Boudins at DisneyLand video-hosted by Colin Mochrie and Rosie O'Donnell, so if you want to kill 2 birds with 1 stone, you can catch it there vs. San Fran. Or hit up both!

If you are here on a Satruday, there's a really nice farmers market at the Ferry Plaza Building just down the Embarcadero from Pier 39 and Fishermans Wharf. There are also lots of shops inside the ferry plaza building to explore. And it's a great place to grab breakfast or lunch.

Let us know once you get all your plans finalized - we'd love to meet up at some point if we can!

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Try The Stratosphere for gambling, it is cheaper. I know you say you will have your own car and tour but I would strongly recommend doing one for Death Valley. I used Pink Jeep for mine and it was fab. It is just safer.

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A few months have past now and loads of the trip has been rearranged and updated - in the best way of course!

The first and biggest change is that we will be kidnapping a friend and bringing her with us for part of the trip Laughing out loud It took a lot of convincing, not because she didn't want to come but she was worried about being the 3rd wheel (silly girl!). She was planning to come with us to WDW later this year along with the now ex-friend who cancelled our ADR's last year, but when things went crazy she decided she didn't want to be the 3rd wheel on that trip. I think it helped to convince her to come to the West Coast was that she has always wanted to visit there so took less convincing (she doesn't yet completely 'get' Disney, I'll win her over though hehe).

When we first started planning this trip we mentioned it to her and invited her along, in fact at a party at her house last September we and all of her other friends were trying to convince her to come but she wouldn't be budged. It was a few weeks ago now she went to spend the weekend with one of those friends who was trying to convince her along with us, and I told her to ask her friend what she would do, Saturday I got a text saying she would come! Woooo! She said she text me right away before she could change her mind lol.

So who is this friend? Her name is Jane Laughing out loud She's the same age as me (well a month and a bit younger to be exact), we met at ballroom dancing class and bonded over the fact we were the only people in the class not retired hehe. We became friends and discovered we have a lot in common; The Little Mermaid was our first Disney love, we both have awesome taste in music, we love dancing, love cooking and eating Wink . We spend a lot of time together the 3 of us too, as I can't really drink, Sy and Jane are drinking buddies. We also live round the corner from each other so at weekends I often go out with Jane to walk her dog who is soooooo cute Laughing out loud

I gave Jane the choice of which pic to upload and this is her choice...

Pahahahahahaha! That was taken Christmas eve at her house.

I was probably doing Jane a disservice before saying she doesn't 'get' Disney. Her favourite Disney character is Fidget, a bit of an off the wall one there! She likes Disney movies and went to Disneyland Paris once but she doesn't yet see what Disney theme parks have to offer grown ups (a common mistake I think), plus you can't exactly judge other Disney parks based on Paris. She has an open mind though as she will be heading to Disneyland for the day with us and staying at the Grand California for 2 nights before she flies home.

Which brings me onto her dates. She will be flying out with us and staying 10 nights, visiting San Fran, Vegas and LA/Disney.

Our itinerary has changed slightly after the revealing of the 60th Anniversary Celebrations. Or original plan had us spending the last 3 nights in LA doing touristy things and Universal Studios but that fell over May 22nd - the day the 60th Anniversay Celebrations start. So instead we have booked into a hotel nearby and plan to head back to Disney on the 22nd, god help us with how busy its gonna be...

It was killing me that we had our flights booked and have had for months but no hotels! Unfortunately we had to make sure the DVC annual dues were paid first (I hate being sensible sometimes), dues were paid in January so this past month I have been going hotel crazy! We now have all hotels booked Laughing out loud

Sadly we had to drop Malibu out of the plan, the hotel I was in love with jumped up to over 300 pounds per night (roughly $460) so it was just out of our budget Sad Instead we have put Palm Springs back on the table. I've found a nice hotel in the centre for 65 ($100 ish) per night, much better price and I am really looking forward to going there. We will still visit Malibu but just for the day.

Which brings me onto the hotels...

As I have already mentioned we booked the Grand California for 5 nights using our DVC points so that was the only hotel we had booked until about 3 weeks ago. Can't wait to stay here. We have a studio room that Jane will be sleeping on the sofa in for her last 2 nights.

The first hotel after the DVC to get booked was our Vegas hotel, the Trump. Someone on a facebook group for holidaying in the West Coast pointed me to a website to help me book the hotel. It's a bit complicated but basically the website works along side priceline so you can work out exactly which hotels you can get in their 'bid for your hotel' deals. I clicked on the area of Vegas I wanted, what star rating and then put in a price I was willing to pay. I knew the hotel would be 1 of 3 hotels, all of which were on our shortlist so we were willing to take the risk. We ended up with a 5* hotel for 60 pounds a night! The cheapest I could find the Trump elsewhere was 80 pounds per night so dead happy with it. There will be a resort fee to pay once we arrive but that's to be expected in Las Vegas.

Next was Palm Springs, I went to book Malibu but when I saw that the hotel I really wanted had gone up to much in price we started to have a look around at other places to visit. We did originally have Palm Springs in the plan but bumped it off cause well, we only have so much time! But after a bit of research we decided to go for it and I booked the 7 Springs Inn for 65 per night with free parking and no resort fee.

Then Disney released the official dates for the start of their 60th anniversary celebrations and so we decided to go for a hotel near Disneyland instead of LA. I did another priceline deal using the website to figure out which hotel it would be (this time it was a choice of 2, both of which looked nice). We ended up with the Hyatt Regency for 82 pounds per night. There's a car parking fee and no free wifi, both of which are annoying but we will deal with it, it a 4* hotel for less than 100 pounds a night. We were looking at a Super8 in LA for the same price as we got the Hyatt so I still take it as a win. I've since looked at the price for this hotel for these dates and its 140 pounds a night now, I assume that is something to do with the Disney 60th Celebrations.

Last to be booked was SF, we decided to go for a 2 bedroom condo instead of 2 hotel rooms as it was cheaper, plus we went for one a little bit further out of the centre so we could get one with parking. We are 10-15 mins drive to Fisherman's Wharf in Richmond now, right by the sea and Golden Gate Park. I don't really have any pics of this place so I took some screen grabs of the place from HomeAway (or VRBO, both the same company).

So the itinerary now looks something like;

6th fly to San Fran, arrive at 2:30pm and pick up hire car.

7th Walt Disney Museum, part of the 49 mile drive, cable car trip.

8th Whale watching boat trip, Sausalito

9th Alcatraz, Golden Gate park, rest of 49 mile drive

10th fly to Vegas arrive 2:30pm. Pick up car hire and drive to the Trump. Sight seeing on the strip, Bellagio fountains.

11th possibly visit Grand Canyon

12th Jean-Philippe patisserie in the Bellagio to get cake and see chocolate fountain. More strip exploring. Place some bets somewhere. Cirque One

13th Venetian gondola ride maybe?

14th Drive to Disneyland! Check into Grand California. Chill at the resort and visit Downtown Disney for dinner and some drinks.

15th Disney!!!!!

16th Jane leaves today. Visit LA, Walk of fame, Chinese theatre, Rodeo Drive, Venice Beach. Jane's flight is at 10.50pm so we have the full day to explore.

17th Disney again!

18th Warner bros tour in LA. Visit massive Disney store. Malibu beach in the afternoon.

19th Disney during the day, drive to Palm Spring in the early evening. Check into 7 Springs Inn.

20th Palm Springs. Cable car.

21st Drive to Disney morning. Check into Hyatt regency. Disney afternoon & evening.

22nd Disney 60th celebrations

23rd Universal Studios

24th Not sure what to do during the day, fly home at 10pm.

25th Arrive home early afternoon.

The itinerary is very fluid, we can move stuff around in each place which no doubt we will do.

We are still working on what we want to do in Vegas, haven't researched it enough yet. I do kinda want to see Britney Spears but she gets such awful reviews Sad If we get offered a cheap deal while we are there we might do it, Jane quite fancies seeing her too.

__________________

Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

RobynPrincess's picture
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JeffC wrote:
We did the bike ride across the bridge a few years ago - never again!! Getting to the bridge from Fishermans Wharf is really really hilly. I think the views of the bridge from Crissy Field are spectacular. But if you want to go up to the bridge from there, it's step hell. I hate steps.

I also just remembered there is a tour of Boudins at DisneyLand video-hosted by Colin Mochrie and Rosie O'Donnell, so if you want to kill 2 birds with 1 stone, you can catch it there vs. San Fran. Or hit up both!

If you are here on a Satruday, there's a really nice farmers market at the Ferry Plaza Building just down the Embarcadero from Pier 39 and Fishermans Wharf. There are also lots of shops inside the ferry plaza building to explore. And it's a great place to grab breakfast or lunch.

Let us know once you get all your plans finalized - we'd love to meet up at some point if we can!

Jeff we ARE there over a Saturday! So I will definitely put that in the plan! As the time gets nearer you will have to let me know if you guys are free on of the evenings we are there (though doesn't have to be evening, more thinking of you working). Our plans can be moved around so you let me know what time you're free and ill make sure we are too.

__________________

Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

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When you say cable car in Palm Springs, do you mean the one that goes up the side of a mountain - San Jacinto, I think? That's a great ride and the views up there are amazing.

RobynPrincess's picture
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crazycatperson wrote:
When you say cable car in Palm Springs, do you mean the one that goes up the side of a mountain - San Jacinto, I think? That's a great ride and the views up there are amazing.

Yes that's the one I think! The in laws went up there a few years ago, said its a must do!

__________________

Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa