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Disney California?

(31 Posts)
ihearttc Wed 05-Aug-15 15:51:35

Looking to book Disney for some time next year. We have done Paris and although it was fab I don't think I could cope with lots of parks for 2 weeks.

I was wondering whether to do 5/6 nights in NY then fly to California and do beach/Disney there?

We went on Honeymoon to NY in the middle of winter so would ideally like to go Easter time...would that time of year work for California as well?

newpup Wed 05-Aug-15 16:17:33

We went to California the year before last. We flew to San Francisco and had 4 days there, then flew down to LA, we stayed in Anaheim and went to Disney while we were there. We had car hire and after 5 days drove down to San Diego for 5 days. We flew back from LA. Our DDs were 14 and 11. It was fantastic. It was hot but not overbearing, although LA was the hottest place. It was also not too busy, we went the first 2 weeks in July. I am sure Easter would be good, we went to NY just after Easter a few years ago and it was quite hot but I think it is usually a bit cooler. Hope that helps.

ihearttc Wed 05-Aug-15 17:41:12

Thank you thats really helpful. If we are going we are going to have to do NY (very long standing promise to DS1 who has always wanted to go)...DS1 would be 11 and DS2 would be 5.

So we could do NY, California Disney and then drive to San Diego? That could work. Don't think I could cope with DS2 on another flight!!

EachandEveryone Wed 05-Aug-15 17:50:35

I don't think I would do it that way. Would it not be easier to do NYC and Florida?

ihearttc Wed 05-Aug-15 17:57:34

I don't think I could cope with Florida tbh but open to suggestions. I basically want to do 5/6 days in New York and then something Disney but with a beach as well?

It seems daft to go to Florida and literally spend 1/2 days at Disney which is about all I could manage. Unless we did NY then Disney and just did Harry Potter?

Can you tell I have absolutely no clue what Im talking about! Florida scares me...too many parks and too much choice (and yes I realise that sounds stupid!)

lastnightiwenttomanderley Wed 05-Aug-15 18:00:03

Could you not just get a villa with a pool somewhere nice in Florida and then do Disney as a day trip?

I agree that NY pairs better with Florida than CA.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Wed 05-Aug-15 18:03:15

I think NY goes better with Florida too. What about Clearwater and St Petes beach in Florida as well as Disney, Epcot, universal.

RoadRunner123 Wed 05-Aug-15 18:04:37

I'm only saying this because you're saying you don't know what you're talking do know how far California is from New York don't you?! It is a huge trip to make as a 'tag on' to the NY holiday.

But that point aside, we've been to California Disney at Easter, and to San Diego, Palm Springs and the weather has been great. Pretty perfect actually.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 05-Aug-15 19:18:55

You mentioned Harry Potter. He has nothing to do with Disney. He is part of Universal Studios (they are currently building this attraction at Universal Studios in Hollywood).

NYC to LA will entail a flight of around 3 - 3.5 hours in the air and with you also setting your watch back 3 hours as well on arrival.

RoadRunner123 Wed 05-Aug-15 19:43:49

I think it's more like a 5-6 hr flight.

EachandEveryone Wed 05-Aug-15 20:35:03

The jet lag will be horrific don't forget the amount of time you will be hanging around airports too. Much as I love California Universal in Floeida has a much more WoW factor than LA. There's great beaches and fab villas. NYC is my favourite city ever I just could not contemplate doing both coasts in one trip it will be exhausting.

ihearttc Thu 06-Aug-15 18:25:17

Lol roadrunner...nope not a clue!! I figured it was a long way (thought it was about a 4 hour flight) but we are unlikely to ever go to the US again so we need to do NY and Ive promised them a beach and Disney so I just figured it was the best option. Harry Potter not in Florida then? See told you I haven't got a clue thats why Florida seems so bloody daunting!

If we take Disney out of the equation where would be good for a relaxing beach holiday in the US (appreciate no where is going to be very relaxing but it would be after NY) that we could get to relatively easy from NY.

The situation is going to be slightly more complicated in that DH will be travelling out from Saudi to meet us there as well. So he'd meet us in NY have 5/6 days there and then fly to wherever we decide on with us then stay there and fly back. The travelling will make no difference to him as he spends most of his life flying back and forth to the Middle East (which is where we usually spend our holidays and the reason why I have no knowledge really of the US!)

AcrossthePond55 Thu 06-Aug-15 19:31:10

I do have to preface this by saying that Disneyland (CA) is the park that 'Walt walked in' and is very special to true Disney fans <looks at self in the mirror>. I grew up in So Cal (now live elsewhere in CA), am an Annual Pass holder, and have been over 200 times. I'm a bit biased, I suppose.

GO! Yes, it's a 4-5 hour flight, but there is magic there that's not in WDW. WDW is great, but it's much more 'tourist-oriented'. DL is smaller and feels more 'personal'. If at all possible, stay onsite, it's worth the extra cost.

Easter season (indeed from mid March through late April) can be crowded as our school holidays are no longer right before or after Easter. The weather is usually very good for being in the parks. Most of us would consider it 'cool' for hanging out at the beach, but someone used to cooler weather will be fine and there are some great beaches nearby.

PowderMum Thu 06-Aug-15 20:14:40

OP this is not a boast but hopefully helpful advice, I have been to all the Disney and Universal parks worldwide and holidayed in the US too many times to mention.
NYC is wonderful and I loved it there at Easter, especially if the sun is shining and you can get to see the Easter parade. NYC in the hot summer is dire (went pregnant once and will never go again at that time) Flight time from London approx 8 hours.
In Florida there are 4 Disney parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios) plus 2 water parks and a downtown (shopping and eating area). Universal has 2 parks (Studio and Islands of Adventure). Then there is the Kennedy Space Centre, Seaworld, Busch Gardens and Legoland, plus many other lesser attractions. Easter weekend is very busy but the weather will be pleasant.

If you spend 5 days in NYC, fly down to Florida (2.5 hour flight) stay at a Universal hotel and do there 2 parks only (to get Harry Potter), then you could drive out to the Gulf Coast for rest and relaxation on the wonderful white sand beaches (and go to Busch Gardens, great rides and animals). All on the same time zone approx GMT-5

Or you could go to NYC, then fly across country to LA (approx 5.5 hours) spend a few days in Anaheim doing the 2 Disney Parks (no Harry Potter), then drive down to San Diego (approx 2 hours easy drive) for beach and SeaWorld, although it won't be particularly hot unless you are really lucky.

I prefer the Disney Parks in LA to Florida, but for the full experience it is Florida all the way for me. In 2 weeks you just wouldn't have the time to do it all and NYC (IMHO)

Happy to answer any questions

PowderMum Thu 06-Aug-15 20:16:23

AcrossthePond55* completely agree the 2 parks in Anaheim are better and more true to Walt's vision.

ihearttc Thu 06-Aug-15 20:57:18

Wow that's really helpful thank you so much...and thank you for not laughing at me as well for not knowing about it all.
acrossthepond that was part of my reasoning for wanting to do California over than Florida. It seemed smaller and that appealed to me.

What other time of year apart from Easter would be good to do both NYC and either Florida or California then? I'd gone for Easter as figured summer would be unbearable. I'm quite tied to school holidays as DS1 will be in Y6 next year and Easter is obviously the only one apart from Christmas with 2 weeks.

I'm coming round to investigating the possibility of Florida-it just seems so confusing! I only mentioned HP as DS1 wants to go...He is a very grown up 10 year old and doesn't do theme parks-but he loves HP!! We did DLP last year and he hated every minute of it (and yes I realise that makes him sound like a spoilt brat but he really isn't)...but DS2 (he would be 5 by then!) loves Disney and rides so this bit is for him really and NY is for DS1 (and the shopping is for me!!)
If did a week in a Disney hotel in Florida could we do HP, a day or 2 in Disney then go to Kennedy space centre? I'm struggling to grasp how far everything is apart!!

PowderMum Thu 06-Aug-15 23:01:31

Disney Florida is a vast sprawl everything is a drive or bus ride apart, it is roughly in the south west of Orlando (many people will tell me that this is not accurate but I'm just trying to give you an idea). One park per day is more than enough. Harry Potter is at universal again quite a large area at the North end or Orlando, the 2 parks can be done in one day and you can walk between them. As well as HP there are some big thrill rides which your DS1 may like.
Kennedy Space Centre is on the Atlantic Coast about an hours drive from Disney. I think it is a great place and both my DC enjoyed it at around the age your DS1 is. However they also have always enjoyed Disney (now 16 & 18) so that may not be the best recommendation.

Other times to go, I like California at the end of August, when some of the U.S. schools are back in session.

For Florida my favourite time is October, followed by February, but this is no help if you have to stick to school holidays.

Can I recommend for all things Disney

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 07-Aug-15 07:32:10

"If did a week in a Disney hotel in Florida could we do HP, a day or 2 in Disney then go to Kennedy space centre?"

That will probably be easier to achieve if you actually stay off Disney property.

HP and all these rides have strict height requirements; I would carefully check these well in advance on their websites.

It would be very difficult to do both Universal parks in a single day; there is too much in both to see both effectively in just one day (lines can be very long for rides also particularly in the afternoon). A day set aside for each park would be better.

ihearttc Fri 07-Aug-15 08:58:52

I realise Ive not painted a very nice picture of DS1...he is a funny, clever, gorgeous 10 year old! He does like rides but a couple of days would be enough for him. He is desperate to go to NY to visit Ellis Island and the WTC musuem (which I know by some is considered disrespectful but he really wants to go) so NY is going to be mainly for him. He would love Kennedy Space Centre as well but Mickey, Minnie etc hold absolutely no appeal for him. He's had a tough couple of years with DH working away and DS2 has been ill a lot so I wanted to make sure there were things especially for him. DS2 will be happy no matter what we do.

Ok will look at staying off Disney...would a Villa be better or just a non Disney hotel?

And are the height restrictions for the rides on their websites? DS1 is nearly 5ft (he probably will be by the time we go) so I hope he'd be ok.

Once again cannot thank you all enough-will look at DIBB as well. I did check it before DLP but didn't check the Florida bit.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 07-Aug-15 13:05:30

Height requirements for rides are indeed on their websites. They are enforced.

HelpMeGetOutOfHere Fri 07-Aug-15 13:26:16

don't stay in a Disney or universal hotel. You get to experience much more if you stay outside. When we go to Orlando we stay at a hotel on International Drive and I don't hire a car, we use public transport, much more of an adventure. International drive has an itrolley bus that goes the length of international drive, with seaworld at one end, universal kind of in the middle and wet n wild.

Most hotels have free transport to the attractions on international drive, so you can easily get to universal and sea world nd a few of the water parks. If you wanted to go to Disney (epcot is our favourite and that's not too in your face Disney) Easter was comfortable in orlando, it was busy but not as busy as june july august and also those months are more humid, its kind of gross sensation at first to feel damp all the time.

We've been to orlando and the parks at easter many times and its great. there is a lot to see and I think you could still cover a lot in a week. We've not had a problem with accommodation so far every room/apartment has been large, clean and tidy and nice pool etc.

If theme parks really aren't your thing you can buy passes for the day so that you an say you've done it and keep the dc happy and spend more relaxing time at the water parks or by the pool.

I say all this but haven't actually visited California dl since I was about 12/13 so over 20 years ago (eek) but I think the shorter transfer would be preferable especially with dc with me. Busch gardens is doable in a day from orlando and there were bookable trips to beach resorts for the day, just can mean a long day with early start and late back to hotel.

You might surprise yourself as well, as I wasn't overly keen on going to orlando and the parks before we went with the dc, I had been as a child/teen and to other parts of America as an adult but the thought of theme parks had lost the appeal to me, but I loved it, seeing the dc so excited and they never complain of boredom when we are there. They are now 18, 13 and 9 and we've been going since eldest was about 6. They are flying back from orlando today, they have been there for the last week with grandparents. I still feel even after lots of visits that there is so much more to see. DS2 (13) loves the airboat rides and the trip to the alligator park. There is so much to see and do in international drive, every cuisine you could think of. The top end (closer to seaworld) is nicer, the bottom end (past wet n wild) looks a bit ropey and dodgy, but (touch wood blush) we've never had an issue.

New York at easter was very busy, this was 2 years ago now, but hen ive not been to new York when its not packed, even in school erm time wihout dc, its still heaving with people everywhere. Its not a city to go to I you don't like crowds. You can find a quiet spot in central park but to see everything you'll be in crowded spaces.

I'm sure whatever you decide you will still have a fabulous time and the dc will remember it forever. Have fun planning, ut don't forget to schedule in a rest day each week, perhaps hotel spa in NY and a water park/pool day in orlando/California.

HelpMeGetOutOfHere Fri 07-Aug-15 13:31:23

I'd say non Disney hotel, I found villas too far out of everything. nice if you have time to relax and use the pool and just lounge around at home, but if you have a packed schedule its easier and better to be in a central location. International drive is easy, as lots of public transport/hotel transport and also car parks for the rental car if you decide to use one. Just remember all the theme parks charge for parking $15-20 ish a day.

PosterEh Fri 07-Aug-15 13:40:00

I love California but it seems silly to go all that extra way if you want beach/Disney. I'd have thought it would be almost the same distance again as UK-NY. It's a long way to fly for just a week.

FortyCoats Fri 07-Aug-15 13:54:59

Definitely Orlando for me. I've never been to CA but the travel would put me right off.

You can fly or overnight on Amtrack (private bedrooms) from NYC to Orlando. The Amtrak is an adventure in itself but it will take a day from your holiday.

The villas are quite far out but you could still manage without a car. A hotel doesn't offer as much freedom as a villa (home cooking, private pool, washing clothes to reduce the job when you get home) but there is a compromise by getting a suite in somewhere like Floridays. There are loads of places like it and I'm sure you'd find one closer to Universal Studios (for HP)

If theme parks and ride are not ds1 thing then perhaps just a day to see HP and check out all the other things to see and do in Orlando.

Here's a few suggestions you could look up for yourself:

1) ifly Orlando
2) water parks -
Wet N Wild
Discovery cove (dolphin encounter and aviary)
Blizzard beach (wdw)
Typhoon Lagoon (wdw)
3) cocoa beach
St Petes
Tampa (Busch Gardens)
4) Titanic museum
5) gatorland
6) wonder works
7) disneyquest

There's lots more to do in Orlando than the main parks. Disney boardwalk in the evening has street entertainment, magicians, funfair games, mini disco and downtown Disney is awash with exciting shops and Lego statues. You can take a boat or ballon ride here.

If there's a day you fancy just chilling out, the suite are ideal as your not stuck in a hotel room with no amenities. They have full kitchens, separate bedrooms, lounge area and dining area. On site, most will have restaurants, pool bars for snack food and a shop.

Give it go! There's something for everyone smile

FortyCoats Fri 07-Aug-15 13:58:35

Also, you don't have to go on every ride in the parks. Do your research (or tell me everything you want to do and I'll plan it for you because I'm a planning freak and Orlando is my favourite place in the world! grin), find out height restrictions, most popular rides (queue times) print out the park maps, hit everything you want to do and then take in the sights or leave early so you don't burn out from a looooong day.

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