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Short trip to Disneyland with day tour of LA-workable?

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Maidstone, United...
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Short trip to Disneyland with day tour of LA-workable?

Hi everyone

My family and I are coming the States in early Aug for a 5week trip to celebrate me beating cancer. Our first leg is two weeks with friends in Northern California near San Jose. Because we might not be back in America for a long time, I'm trying to squeeze in a short trip from there to Disneyland as a surprise for our children (aged 5 and 9). And if we do that I would love to just get a quick look at some of the LA sights too. But I can see that Anaheim is not near to Hollywood. I have this plan, but am not sure if it would work in practice - can anyone advise me?

Plan is as follows:

Fly with Southwest from San Jose to LAX early morning

Do 'A day in LA tours' based in Santa Monica (recommended on this site) (Santa Monica looks close to LAX but how early would we need to arrive at LAX to be sure of getting to the tour safely for 9.45 and how would we get there? taxi? this is the bit I'm concerned about)

At end of tour, return to LAX (??can we??) and catch airport shuttle over to Anaheim.

Stay 3 nights at Candy Cane Inn near Disneyland. Buy 2 day Disney tickets.

Return to LAX on morning of 4th day.

I have already checked that there is availability on the flights and hotel. In theory my idea about the tour seems good to avoid long driving times, but I wonder if it's just too risky/complicated after a flight.

Any comments greatly welcomed, thank you!

Las Vegas, Nevada
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1. Re: Short trip to Disneyland with day tour of LA-workable?

What would you do with your luggage while you are on a Tour?

Im also not sure a Tour after a flight would be either fun for all of your or very interesting for your children.

If you must do a day tour, you can easily do that from the Anaheim area.

So i would consider flying into Orange County Airport early in the morning, which is close to Disneyland (about 13 miles away) and taking a short taxi ride or shuttle from there to Disneyland, dropping your baggage ect and then taking a tour from the Anaheim area which would be much more convenient for you.

Grayline Anaheim offers tours to the LA area from Anaheim.

The Candy Cane inn is a very well rated small standard Motel about a 10 min walk to the turnstiles that go into Disneyland and has thier own free shuttle to Disneyland.

You could also stay closer and just walk across the street, plenty of good standard well rated Motels there such as the Best Western Park Place Inn, a 5 min walk, Camelot Inn, ect. and a few Hotels in a little farther walking distance such as the Fairfield Inn, about an 8 min walk, and the Howard Johnsons about an 11 min walk with Art shuttle.

Here is a Map of Hotels in the Disneyland area so you can see where things are located, the Disneyland Main Entrance is off of Harbor Blvd near where it says "East shuttle Area" on the Map"


Early Aug will likely be hot and quite busy at Disneyland, if you would like more info or help finding somewhere to stay for Disneyland you can also post in the Anaheim forum where Disneyland is located

Here is a good thread with ways to keep cool at Disneyland see reply #7


Rancho Santa...
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2. Re: Short trip to Disneyland with day tour of LA-workable?

Look, you know your family and kids better than anybody. I agree wth hap. Keep it simple. Less is more. Just focus on the kids and Disneyland this time. L.A. can wait.


Perth, Australia
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3. Re: Short trip to Disneyland with day tour of LA-workable?

Hap's idea is great ... you don't want to spend too much time wasting time by driving ... LA is so spread out.

Flying into and out of Orange County is good .. LAX is so far away.

I also like the idea of taking a tour from Anaheim to see the sites of LA that you want, ie Hollywood, Santa Monica .. and then return to your Anaheim hotel. No need to worry about luggage, driving and the kids will so so excited.

Glad to hear you are well again.

West Hollywood...
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4. Re: Short trip to Disneyland with day tour of LA-workable?

In order to use Anaheim as a base, you'd need to get up before the sun in order to make it to the airport in SJ, fly to LAX, shuttle to Anaheim and transfer to your hotel (the last part could take 90 minutes. Since the morning 'tours of L.A.' depart Anaheim around 9:30 a.m., you can see how early you'd need to get up to accomplish this and, to me, this wouldn't be a very relaxing experience.

While Disneyland is the 'happiest place on earth', I think it's SO IMPORTANT that your children get a balanced exposure to L.A. -- there are 100s of attractions, here and none of them is a theme park.

Here are 2 possibilities (you'll need to check the schedules to see how this would work):

POSSIBILITY #1: Fly from SJ to Bob Hope Airport in Burbank (airport code: BUR). The flight will be a little shorter than flying into LAX and the de-planing will be swift since southwest utilizes both the forward and aft doors to board/unboard at BUR. The airport is tiny (just 2 small terminals) so you'd be 'on your way in no time.

Transfer to an airport hotel and check your luggage with the bellman/porter. Join a tour of L.A. (starline tours picks up at some hotels in Burbank).

After the tour, walk to the rail station adjacent to BUR and take the train to downtown L.A.'s Union Station (25 minutes or so). Transfer there to a train to Anaheim (40-50 minutes).

Or, hire a car at BUR, drive to Anaheim and drop it there.


Similar to above but after arriving at BUR, walk to the rail station, take a train to Union Station and check your luggage there. Take a starline tour from Union Station. After the tour, take a train to Anaheim.

Have fun!

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5. Re: Short trip to Disneyland with day tour of LA-workable?

I think what you should do is fly down the night before you want to start your tour/Disney stay. You are taking many chances by flying down in the AM and trying to make a tour. If the flight is late, you will miss the tour. If you check luggage in, you that can take a long time at LAX.

Southwest has lots of flights from SJC to Southern CA and if you are set on flying in on day 1 and taking the tour the same day, you need to be on the earliest flight. The problem is to make a 6:55 AM flight you need to be at SJC around 5:30 AM, leaving your friend's house at the pre-crack of dawn. I think this sounds like a bad idea with kids, they will be exhausted and probably not enjoy the tour. Fly down the night before.

A good option is fly into SNA on a flight later in the day, transfer to Candy Cane Inn. DL/DCA on your first full day, tour of LA from Anaheim on day 2, day 3 DL/DCA, day 4 return to SNA for flight. I think it is better not to do an amusement park 2 days in a row so you can give you legs a rest.

If you are set on the fly and tour the same day, LA tours also pick up from LAX area hotels and that would be a better option than one in Santa Monica because you can take the hotel shuttle and leave bags with bellman and go on the tour.

Maidstone, United...
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6. Re: Short trip to Disneyland with day tour of LA-workable?

Just to say thank you to everyone for your help. I couldn't see the wood for the trees, and think you have suggested a much better idea. We've now booked to fly in the evening to Orange County then have 3 full days and fly back to San Jose late evening - same number of nights and although the children will be tired at the end, that doesn't matter because they can sleep on the plane. We'll probably do as Jennifer suggests and do a tour on the middle day to break things up. Thanks again!

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7. Re: Short trip to Disneyland with day tour of LA-workable?

Congratulations on beating cancer! When our kids were younger and we took them to Disneyland we found that getting to the park first thing in the morning, spending about 4-5 hours there, then going back to the hotel for a swim and a rest before heading back to Disney for the night time events was a good strategy. And whatever you do, don't miss the Fantasmic show at night! I haven't been there for many years, but I remember thinking that show alone was worth the price of admission.

Yucaipa, California
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8. Re: Short trip to Disneyland with day tour of LA-workable?

Congratulations on beating cancer! Have a great time at Disneyland.

Edited: 10 July 2012, 06:19
9. Re: Short trip to Disneyland with day tour of LA-workable?

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