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Itinerary for family - first time visitors to LA

ontario canada
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Itinerary for family - first time visitors to LA

we are planning a first visit to LA....possibly October or November 2014. We are ages 6-60 and the main focus would be Disneyland and Universal Studios but also want to see the most we can of LA and area. Would appreciate any help with a weeks itinerary......hotel budget max $300/night....would likely opt for hotels on park sites with easy access to parks for older family members. Also would like hotel ideas if staying any nights near sightseeing tours etc.

-would we need 2 days for each of the parks?

-any suggestions for some sort of sightseeing tour of LA/Hollywood

-any side trips recommended?....San Diego e.g.

thank you

Edited: 29 September 2013, 20:33
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1. Re: Itinerary for family - first time visitors to LA

What to do and where to stay are frequent questions asked on this Forum and there is no simple answer since everyone is different.

You might want to look over the TOP QUESTIONS BOX at the right side of this page to get acquainted with our metro area. If you're using a tablet or 'smart phone', the TOP QUESTIONS BOX won't be visible so here's a shortcut to similar content:

Link and SCROLL DOWN for the content:


This content will provide lots of useful info as well as help you to post questions effectively on our Forum. The L.A. metro area is complex so the more that you can tell us about yourself and your plans, the better. In addition, you'll learn how to look up previous discussions about topics like yours.

In these prior discussions, you'll see posters being asked to provide various types of information. Here is some of the info that has been requested; you might provide this in order to save time:

a. Your SPECIFIC travel dates. Hotel prices vary from month to month and between weekends and weekdays. Discounts are offered based upon the number of nights you stay at a hotel and there might be special pricing on certain national holidays.

b. The number of people you are traveling with and the number of beds (and the size of the beds) that you'll need. Standard hotel rooms can accommodate 4 persons. Some hotels offer rooms or suites (2-rooms connected together) that can accommodate more. Our beds come in many sizes:

i. Twin (for one person)

ii. Double or 'full size' (for two persons -- this is the SMALLEST 2-person bed available. If you're big or tall, you won't fit comfortably into a double bed).

iii. Queen -- the most common 2-person bed

iv. King -- extra large 2-person bed.

c. Will you have a car? It sounds like 'no' but please confirm. If you have a large family, having a car can be helpful -- at least for part of the trip. For example, Disneyland is in the city of Anaheim which is outside of the city of L.A. as well as L.A.'s county. By car, it's a 45-minute drive WITHOUT TRAFFIC between central L.A. and Anaheim. It can be twice as long during 'rush hours'. Public transit/tours take longer than driving since there is a lot of waiting and queuing up. With small children, this can be stressful.

There is SO MUCH MORE to the city of L.A. than theme parks (which, btw, are not IN the city of L.A.) and Hollywood. If that's all you're planning on visiting, no worries but if you want to have a broad view of the second-largest city in the U.S.. and its neighboring municipalities, look beyond these things). Again, our TOP QUESTIONS BOX will expose you to some of the wonderful attractions that our city has to offer from the beaches to the hills to the kid-friendly museums, etc, etc, etc.

The number of days you spend at a theme park is a personal preference. To me, spending more than a day at Disneyland is not of interest to me. (At the other extreme, some visitors from Australia have been know to buy multi-day passes of 10 days or more!). There is a second theme park adjacent to DL called Disney's California Adventure which also can be seen in a day, imo -- but by no means, MUST you visit both of these parks (especially if you plan to visit Universal) unless, of course, you LOVE theme parks.

Universal, by most peoples' accounts, can be seen in 1 day; I'd spend 4 to 5 hours there.

For hotel rec's near Disneyland, I'd post in the Anaheim Forum, (You and I are in the Los Angeles Forum). There are dozens of hotels within walking distance (or a short shuttle ride) to Disneyland. For Universal, there are only 2 hotels within walking distance (the Sheraton and the Hilton -- both in Universal City) but I wouldn't stay at these to be close to the Parks when staying in nearby Hollywood (10 minutes by taxi -- $12) will expose you to a much more interesting environment. (Universal and these 2 hotels are at the top of a hill -- just north of Hollywood -- in an isolated area. There IS Universal City Walk (a mall that is adjacent to Universal with restaurants, bars, clubs and an 18-screen movie theater) but much of what's there is 'chain restaurants' that you can see at any mall in the U.S. and you'll miss out on the flavor of Hollywood (the Chinese Theater, Walk of Fame, Disney's flagship movie theater, the El Capitan along with its ice cream shop, the celebrity impersonators (Batman, Spiderman, etc) who pose in front of the Hollywood & Highland Center Mall, etc, etc. There's also ALOT more to walk to and more variety as far as dining in Hollywood than if you stay at one of the two hotels next to Universal.

For tours, look at starline (they're the biggest tour provider in Hollywood). They have 2 types of tours: escorted and Hop On, Hop Off (HoHo) tours, The type that's right for you depends on your temperament and what, exactly you're interested in seeing. The HoHo, for example stops at 100+ attractions. Here's some info about Starline's offerings: http://www.starlinetours.com/

L.A. is HUGE! (Think "Toronto but with vastly inferior public transit").

So, that should get you started.

Edited: 30 September 2013, 00:14
2. Re: Itinerary for family - first time visitors to LA

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