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Advice on travelling to LA and Vegas...

posted 27-10-2012 @ 09:30 PM www
Advice on travelling to LA and Vegas...

Hi All
Well we are finally going to do it and take the kids to Disneyland. While we are there I want to see as many things as possible, seeing as though I have never been before I was wondering if anyone who has been to the US can offer any tips or advice etc on best places to see, stay, eat, visit etc.
We definately will do Disneyland, universal studios & legoland then thinking about heading out to Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Planning on spending 3 or so weeks there.
Also if we can get enough time away we wanted to fly over to see Niagra falls.

I know I know its alot to squeeze in thats why I am asking for any hints or tips etc

Thinking of getting a hire car too but have no idea where to start.

Any help would be muchly appreciated.

Thanks in advance
posted 27-10-2012 @ 09:43 PM www


Hi, I just went to LA and Vegas in July. It was fantastic.

I did a VIP tour of Universal studios, it was expensive but I thought it was worth it because we got a private tour, and went straight onto rides without waiting at all. We also got reserved seating for a show and lunch. It was the highlight of my trip and I though well worth the money. At Disneyland I had to wait up to an hour just to go on one ride.

In LA I also did the hop on hop off tours which I thought was good value for money. Make sure you stay in a nice area as I found LA really scary. My hotel was in downtown LA and there were homeless people everywhere and my cab driver said dont walk out of the hotel!
posted 27-10-2012 @ 09:53 PM www


Hi Emily,

I did see the VIP tour for universal and was wondering if it was worth it or not, sounds fabulous.

I meant to ask if there were any particular areas we should avoid while over there.

How does the hop on hop off tour work?? Would it be suitable for kids?
posted 27-10-2012 @ 09:54 PM www


We also did the VIP of Universal Studios...well worth every cent!
We stayed at the Hyatt, in West Hollywood, fantastic, very safe suburb
Enjoy planning our trip!
posted 27-10-2012 @ 09:54 PM www


Niagara Falls is an awful long way from the West Coast - it's a bit like going to Sydney and taking a side trip to the back of bourke.

I did Niagara Falls years ago - not so far from New York so if you build that into your trip it would work - New York is amazing. Niagara Falls I wasn't so fussed with at the time although it's a stand out in my memory now. It is quite spectacular and when I did it there was a boat called maid of the mist which goes out towards the falls and you get soaked.

If you stick to the West Coast maybe Yosemite which is amazing scenery. San Francisco is very beautiful and I loved it too.

We're planning a trip with our kids (I've given up trying to win one) and we were thinking maybe we'll fly to into Dallas instead of LA and do Texas. On the way home we'll have to go via LA for Disneyland although we're rethinking that as it lands us in America's school holidays. We're planning on doing New York, Washington DC then flying to Colorado, hiring a car and driving back to LA via the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. Open to any suggestions.

Our neighbours are going for six weeks soon and they're planning on buying a car when they get there and selling it when they leave. He's very handy with cars though and could fix almost anything.

Universal Studios is a lot of fun emily87 but I just looked up the price of a VIP ticket - $250 each - that's $1000 for the day - eeek! I get why you did it though.
posted 27-10-2012 @ 10:01 PM www


Quote:
Originally posted by parker_street_mum
Niagara Falls is an awful long way from the West Coast - it's a bit like going to Sydney and taking a side trip to the back of bourke.

I did Niagara Falls years ago - not so far from New York so if you build that into your trip it would work - New York is amazing. Niagara Falls I wasn't so fussed with at the time although it's a stand out in my memory now. It is quite spectacular and when I did it there was a boat called maid of the mist which goes out towards the falls and you get soaked.

If you stick to the West Coast maybe Yosemite which is amazing scenery. San Francisco is very beautiful and I loved it too.

We're planning a trip with our kids (I've given up trying to win one) and we were thinking maybe we'll fly to into Dallas instead of LA and do Texas. On the way home we'll have to go via LA for Disneyland although we're rethinking that as it lands us in America's school holidays. We're planning on doing New York, Washington DC then flying to Colorado, hiring a car and driving back to LA via the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. Open to any suggestions.

Our neighbours are going for six weeks soon and they're planning on buying a car when they get there and selling it when they leave. He's very handy with cars though and could fix almost anything.

Universal Studios is a lot of fun emily87 but I just looked up the price of a VIP ticket - $250 each - that's $1000 for the day - eeek! I get why you did it though.


Are you planning and organising your trip yourself or getting a travel agent to do it??

I was thinking of using a travel agent but my hubby thinks they just rip you off lol But I figured if I tell them all the places I want to visit then maybe then can squeeze it all in and make it work
posted 27-10-2012 @ 10:15 PM www


We're planning on doing it ourselves. My past experience with travel agents is you pay a lot more and often you end up doing all the leg work anyhow. Also we're using points for the flights. Plus I'm an organisational queen and wouldn't miss the opportunity of spending weeks researching. I'm a bit unsure about the internal flights in the states though - I think it's cheaper to book them from here. How long all up are you planning on going for?

My husband is going to the Jazz Festival in New Orleans at the end of our trip - i.e. we're leaving him there. A week in LA should be plenty, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas only take a few days - New Orleans is one of the most amazing cities I've ever visited - maybe you should consider that - lots of French, Spanish, Creole, Cajun, and Voodooism influences.
posted 27-10-2012 @ 10:24 PM www


We are planning on 3-4 weeks just depending on what we end up wanting to see and what is more important. Most things are either on the west coast or the east coast. Hubby and I definately want to see Niagara but like you said its complete opposites lol
posted 27-10-2012 @ 10:41 PM www


Amster,

There are 3 different routes on the Hop on Hop off tours, I did two of the loops, they have audio playing while you are driving pointing out landmarks etc and telling you interesting things. I went to Santa Monica pier which I think kids would like there is a theme park on the pier and there is the beach there too, and you can hire roller blades or a bike and ride along the beach. I went to Venice beach which is 40 min walk from Santa monica on the same day but that is not so child friendly. Although there is a big skate park there depending on how old your kids are? The other loop I did took me to the main Hollywood blvd where the walk of fame is. I think everyone would enjoy seeing that and you can see the Hollywood sign there too. Also you can go to Ripleys believe it or not which is across the road and so is a theatre (El capitan?) which only plays disney movies.

I went to Yosemite it was the most beautiful place I've ever been.

In San fran I went to the Science museum which I think kids would love. It had an earthquake simulator and lots of cool hands on stuff.
posted 27-10-2012 @ 10:43 PM www


Have fun over there.

We went earlier this year, we stayed at the Renaissance at Hollywood and Highland, and could see the Hollywood sign from our room.

I too recommend the hop on off bus, we even travelled to Santa Monica Pier on one of the lines of the hop on hop off bus.

Universal studios is excellent and we are kicking ourselves for not doing the VIP tour.

Madam tussards was really good too.

There are lots of homeless people, but they tend to leave you alone, there are some whack jobs over there too, we seemed to attract a few like magnets! But still harmless.

From LA we arranged a white van personal shuttle to Anaheim, we loved Disney Land, it was good to feel like a kid again! We stayed at Homewood Hilton Suites Maingate, which was a perfect location, and is a popular stay for aussies - check trip advisor.

From Anaheim we did a tour to San Diego Sea World, which was my fav of the trip, we were doing an Alaska cruise also, and I was convinced I wouldn't see a killer whale, and really wanted to, they are amazing....in the end we did see
posted 27-10-2012 @ 10:47 PM www


I recommend doing the research yourself but using an agent. Flight centre will match online aus prices. The benefit of an agent is that if something goes wrong, they will assist in rebooking flights, sorting out issues with accomm etc.. If you do it yourself, you are on your own.

I normally walk in armed with what I want and the best prices I've gotten.

I would look at driving to Vegas. Takes about 5 he's to drive, by the time you go through the process of getting s shuttled to the airport, getting there with plenty of time for security... You need to leave heaps of time there, the actual flying, landing and baggage claim, works out s our the same time. if there are a few of you, you may find that it's a fair bit cheaper.

Check out www.driveaway.com.au for info. The benefit of thus website is that they have inclusive rates that include all fees, taxes, charges and a suitable level of insurance that removes issues with upselling insurance etc.

From my understanding, you don't stay in downtown LA, but Hollywood or Anaheim and do yours from there. It increases the traveling time by staying in anaheim but it probably safer and more family friendly.

Def agree in the universal VIP tour, saves waiting times etc do you can see and do as much as possible.
posted 27-10-2012 @ 10:51 PM www


Continued...(sorry on ipad, and I can't arrow down to the bottom of my post)
Some orcas in the wild which was amazing.
This was through greyline, and only cost the entry fee to Seaworld, and they take you hrough the gate, and then pick u up at the park closure.

We wanted to see the change in scenery from Anaheim to Vegas, so we decided to travel on the Lux bus instead of flying. It was a good ride, you get drinks and nibblies, they have a loo on board and also show movies.

There is a unique stop half way through at Barnstow Station (I think that is what it is called).

Again have fun over there - we're going back in 2014 to Alaska and Canada (we'll see Niagara Falls from Canada side), and we'll stay back at Anaheim and do Disneyland again.
posted 27-10-2012 @ 10:52 PM www


Quote:
Originally posted by amster79
Hi Emily,

I did see the VIP tour for universal and was wondering if it was worth it or not, sounds fabulous.

I meant to ask if there were any particular areas we should avoid while over there.

How does the hop on hop off tour work?? Would it be suitable for kids?


We had the VIP Tour as well - fantastic!




posted 28-10-2012 @ 12:34 AM www


Just got home on Thursday and had a fabulous time. Drove to Vegas, then to Yosemite and San Fran. So glad we paid the tiny bit extra for the GPS :)

I'm not sure I could pick a favourite place or activity because I loved it all but there is something very special about Yosemite. As much as I would love to go to New York and Niagra, I'd be tempted to save that for a separate trip and focus on the west coast this time.




posted 28-10-2012 @ 07:23 AM www


When we were there several years ago now, I went to Walmart and bought a Tomtom. Ive used it a couple of times since in Hawaii. Think it was about $120 (but that was when they were about $300+ here.) I figure they charge you $10-15 a day, so a couple of days it pays for itself.
posted 28-10-2012 @ 07:41 AM www


Can you take a Tomtom from here?
posted 28-10-2012 @ 07:58 AM www


we went last year and used argus Car hire to book a car for the month. cost us $1700 and we got a minivan, included all insurance, extra drivers and you can choose the level of insurance you want plus if you want to you can add an option where you dont need to worry about filling up the tank before you drop it off.
And its totally pre-paid, so we got to the airport in Dallas, picked up the van and didnt have to pay anything at the counter or when we dropped it off.. LOVED IT.. hehe
posted 28-10-2012 @ 07:58 AM www


Thank you all so much for the extra info and tips, lots of things I hadnt even thought of

Is there a better time of year to visit the US for going to places like Disneyland etc and the good weather periods??
posted 28-10-2012 @ 08:54 AM www


We went to Disneyland in late November, it was okay weather (about 17-20) and one of the quietest times to go (March I believe is too). Stayed at the Marriott right across the road, was one of the few places that could fit 2 adults and three kids in the same room. We bought a pass from here which included an early entry to Disneyland, 5 days there (which was probably a day too many), went to San Diego Seaworld (good) Universal Studios (really good) and Tijuana (not sure whether that's really worth it).
Vegas is more a place for adults. There are some things there for kids but obviously it is more a party town with gambling drinks, but the shows are good and so is the shopping.
We had three or four hours between our flight arriving and going to Vegas, and even though the terminal was right next to our arrival one, we still had to be fast tracked to make our flight. I would definitely consider some options there (like the driving and going by bus). Driving on the other side of the road is a trick though, especially those left turns that feel so weird). There are different laws too, i.e. in most you can turn right on a red light. Toronto for Niagara Falls is 5 hours flight from LA, expensive and probably should be done at another time (together with New York etc).
Oh yes loved Knotts Berry Farm, great rides, sort of like a Disneyland with more but a little rougher around the edges, but the kids really loved that, probably more than they did Universal or San Diego.
To see native wildlife Yosemite would be the ideal. There are hills behind LA though that we saw a few squirrels and chipmunks.
You can hire a car in Anaheim, there is so much advertising for them around and they are so plentiful you won't have any problems finding somewhere to hire from.
Oh yes while at the Marriott we caught a local bus to a supermarket and stocked up on drinks, snacks etc for the kids. Right out the front of it on the road was a diner which had great kids (and adults) meals that they were happy to split (my girls don't eat much).
The Grand Canyon we took a plane out to and helicopter over but I think it would have been perfect to drive around the area/canyon for a better experience. That's just my personal thoughts though.
Good luck and have fun planning!!!
posted 28-10-2012 @ 01:53 PM www


we went to Disney late Sept/early Oct and the queues were only 10 - 15 mins mostly with the exception of one day which was a public holiday (horrible). am told queues in June/July are really long due to their summer hols
posted 28-10-2012 @ 03:23 PM www


I'm also planning a trip there next year when do there holidays finish? we were thinking of going end august/september time.

Thinking of doing Vegas
La and Hawai on the way back anyone been to Hawai whats it like there? and how loong would you reccomend spending in each location? depending on how much time i can get off from work probably looking at 16 days.

Also not sure how much money to save anyone have any estimates it would cost roughly i kno vegas is fairly cheap but then theres the gambling lol, not sure about La and Hawai.
posted 28-10-2012 @ 03:59 PM www


For anyone travelling between Disneyland and Las Vegas and is planning to fly I would recommend arriving/departing at Orange County Airport which is much closer to Anaheim- really convenient -its just about a 20-25 minute taxi ride away from Disney. From LAX airport to Disney it's much further and more expensive
The airport is also known as John Wayne airport and the airport code is SNA. We flew with Southwest who include baggage with their prices. You can only book their flights through the Soutwest website www.southwest.com
posted 28-10-2012 @ 05:27 PM www


If you stayed at Homewood Hilton Suites, they are right opposite Target ( which is lime Coles and Target over here - so very handy to pick up food), they also are opp a few take away or eateries, Red Robin was nice, and so busy.

Theynalso have free breaky and dinner most days, I think not on Fri, Sat though.

They have a shuttle bus to and from Disneyland, goes every 15mins I think.

I bought our park pass whilst in Aus, and just a simple print the vouchers out.

I pretty much bought and paid for all my tours and entry before leaving Oz, including Madam Tussards!

Not sure if you like discount shopping, but there are some outlets at both Orange County and Vegas which are popular.

Check our starline tours for the hop/off bus.

Oh and the Homewood Suites are self contained units, so kitchen facilities avail, they didn't have a laundry in the room, but there was a coin machine and dryer on the ground floor - think it was about $3 or so in quarters!
They had 2 double beds and also a sofa bed in the lounge room.
posted 28-10-2012 @ 07:35 PM www


Depending on how many days you are spending on Disneyland, I would recommend staying in one of the ultra-cheap motels close by and walking there each day. Then you can enjoy their fireworks from your room too.
posted 28-10-2012 @ 08:14 PM www


What's ultra cheap?
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