Disney/Universal etc...

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#1
Vancouver, BC
1,111 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Hoping some locals or those with experience can help me out (or tell me I'm insane...)

My family (2 adults/2 kids) are booked on a back to back over Christmas that goes Vancouver-LA and then roundtrip LA-Hawaii. We would love to take in a trip to Disney and Universal, but the logistics are making my head spin (not to mention the cost!). Anyways, her are a couple of possible scenarios - could someone please tell me how feasible they are?

1. On turn around day, take a "day trip" to Universal Studios. We would be docked at San Pedro and depart at 4pm. If we were off the ship by 9am and had a pre-booked private shuttle both ways, would we have enough time to get to Universal, see everything, and get back without stressing?

2. After finishing the cruise, stay in Anaheim near Disneyland for 3 nights and spend 2 days at Disney then the 3rd day take a shuttle to Universal for the day and return to Anaheim. The following day we would then need to take a shuttle to LAX for flights home. I'm not 100% sure of the areas so have no idea if we are doubling back to Anaheim only to go back in the same direction next day for the airport. Problem is, if we decide to spend a night in the Hollywood (ish) area then it would mean having to drag luggage,etc to the hotel prior to going to Universal. We could also do this scenario in reverse - spend first night near Universal and then shuttle to Anaheim for 2 nights prior to heading back to LAX.

Any opinions/thoughts? Any recommendations for transportation? Renting a car is not an option, and with 2 kids we don't want to do public transport....

Thanks in advance!
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#2
Ontario, CA (The one WITH the Palm Trees!)
22,813 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Assuming San Pedro?
As a local I wouldn't chance Universal on a turn around day. Not worth it for three or four hours you'll have in the park. Baring traffic (and there's always traffic) timeline would look like this 9am catching your ride, 10 am arrival, leave at two to make it back onboard by three.
A better idea would to check out the Battleship Iowa docked next to the Princess piers or go over to the Long Beach Aquarium, 7 miles away.
About Anaheim...You're right, backtracking to Anaheim makes no sense. Disney and Universal are about an hour apart, baring traffic. A few options, could either stay that last night near Universal or near LAX, depending on your flight.

Your transportation options are shuttles/taxis/Uber etc. There is no easy, quick public transportation between these places.
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#3
Vancouver, BC
1,111 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Originally posted by SadieN
Assuming San Pedro?
As a local I wouldn't chance Universal on a turn around day. Not worth it for three or four hours you'll have in the park. Baring traffic (and there's always traffic) timeline would look like this 9am catching your ride, 10 am arrival, leave at two to make it back onboard by three.
A better idea would to check out the Battleship Iowa docked next to the Princess piers or go over to the Long Beach Aquarium, 7 miles away.
About Anaheim...You're right, backtracking to Anaheim makes no sense. Disney and Universal are about an hour apart, baring traffic. A few options, could either stay that last night near Universal or near LAX, depending on your flight.

Your transportation options are shuttles/taxis/Uber etc. There is no easy, quick public transportation between these places.
Thanks for the input and confirming the back and forth craziness! I did feel the turnaround day idea was a little crazy but figured I would check! We have done Long Beach and San Pedro a bunch of times and seen pretty much everything there, but I guess another visit to the aquarium is always fun!

May have to rethink trying to do both Disney and Universal and leave one for another trip!
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#4
Central Valley, California
56 Posts
Joined Dec 2013
Don't live in SoCal but travel there a lot (2-3 times a month!) but can give you some advice about Disneyland/Universal. I would stay in Anaheim and take a bus to Universal Studios on one of your days. There are many, many companies that offer transportation from Anaheim to Universal. You will find that you can do everything at Universal in one day. In fact, you can buy front of the line passes to maximize your time. Stay one day at Disney, go to Universal, then next day at Disney.

I agree that it would be hard to visit Universal in one short day--not to mentioned very stressful! Keep in mind that the period between Christmas and New Years is peak time--hotels are very expensive! If you will be visiting after January 3 (or thereabouts) prices drop considerably. Christmas decorations are usually still up (usually until Kings Day) and crowds are minimal.


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#5
Vancouver, BC
1,111 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Originally posted by disneyochem
Don't live in SoCal but travel there a lot (2-3 times a month!) but can give you some advice about Disneyland/Universal. I would stay in Anaheim and take a bus to Universal Studios on one of your days. There are many, many companies that offer transportation from Anaheim to Universal. You will find that you can do everything at Universal in one day. In fact, you can buy front of the line passes to maximize your time. Stay one day at Disney, go to Universal, then next day at Disney.

I agree that it would be hard to visit Universal in one short day--not to mentioned very stressful! Keep in mind that the period between Christmas and New Years is peak time--hotels are very expensive! If you will be visiting after January 3 (or thereabouts) prices drop considerably. Christmas decorations are usually still up (usually until Kings Day) and crowds are minimal.


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Thanks - we will be there from Jan 3d to 6th so hoping it's not TOO busy! We have decided to save Universal for another trip rather than try to squeeze it all in this time. Plan is to head from San Pedro to Anaheim, stay 3 nights at Desert Inn across the street from the park. We will get 3 day park hoppers and just take our time without feeling stressed or rushed to get it all in. Then we will get a shuttle to LAX to fly home on the 6th - that's the bit I'm dreading as our flight to YVR is at 7am so we will need to be there around 4am I am guessing....yuck!
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#6
89,951 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
That's a great decision.

We just were in Disneyland before a recent cruise.

Many years ago we used to go to Disney right after New Years for a few days. We found that it was a good time to visit the park. Downside was it could get a little chilly but upside was it was a lot less crowded.

Lots to do there between both themed parks.

Keith
#7
Central Valley, California
56 Posts
Joined Dec 2013
Glad to hear that you've decided to focus on Disneyland! ( I am not a fan of Universal Studios! Once every 5 years is enough for me....)

Desert Inn is a great location if you don't have a car! Crowds will certainly be smaller the further away from the first. Keep in mind that the park hours will reflect the off-season. Usually opens at 9 and closes at 8 pm. That's okay since the crowds are very low. Kings Day (which I do believe is January 6) does get busy since the region has a large Hispanic population.

Enjoy!
#8
Alberta
2,416 Posts
Joined May 2004
maybe spend 2 nights in Anaheim and 3rd closer to the airport...could still spend all of the 3rd day at Disney then shuttle to airport area hotel in the evening....likely still have to get up at 4 to make it to the airport to deal with security etc for your flight
also removes traffic being an issue getting from Anaheim
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#9
Oak Park, CA
5,904 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
I live in SoCal and can't for the life of me figure out what Kings Day is. What is it?

OP, on turn around day another option might be Knotts Berry Farm. It is near Disneyland. I too would not suggest Universal. Universal is north of the pier, airport and Disneyland and will cause a lot of backtracking. Not worth the risk. Depending on the age of your children, the younger ones will like Disney Grand California better as there is more for "short" people. There is still a lot for the older people too.
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#10
Washington
2,170 Posts
Joined May 2008
Originally posted by notentirelynormal
I live in SoCal and can't for the life of me figure out what Kings Day is. What is it?
It is actually Three Kings Day, and it is a Christian Celebration. I don't know how it relates to Disneyland though.
#11
In the Valley, CA
23,023 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
I wouldn't try to do Universal on a partial day, starting from San Pedro and then returning there in time to catch the next cruise.

The various amusement parks will be quite busy the last couple of weeks of December and the first week of January (many schools around here might resume on the 8th).
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#12
Vancouver, BC
1,111 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Thanks so much everyone! We are staying 3 nights in Anaheim - currently have a hold on both Desert Inn and Hilton Anaheim. Both seem to have pros and cons but I am leaning more toward Desert Inn for its proximity to park! We will probably do the aquarium on turn around day - we have done it a few times previously but we all enjoy it, along with a visit to Outback Steakhouse and Cold Stone Creamery (hey, we don't get those chains here in Canada...lol)!
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#13
Coronado, CA & Corona del Mar, CA, USA
678 Posts
Joined Oct 2001
No way should you do Universal on the turnaround day, but it would be easy enough to visit Universal for the day on your three nights in Anaheim; people do it all the time and you have multiple choices in how to get to Universal from Anaheim. One day is plenty of time for Universal.

Not sure what rates you are getting from the hotels, but neither one would be my pick in Anaheim for Disneyland with all the new hotels in the area. The SpringHill Suites Anaheim Resort Convention Center and Hyatt House Anaheim Resort Convention Center both have Family Suites, include breakfast and are walkable to Disney. The Residence Inn Anaheim Resort Convention Center also has Family Suites, is walkable and includes breakfast. Not as easily walkable to the parks, but easily walkable to the Toy Story Parking Lot Shuttle is the Homewood Suites Anaheim Resort Convention Center.

I'd choose any of those new hotels over the Desert Inn (an older hotel) or the Anaheim Hilton (a very business oriented hotel).

I would not change hotels on a three night stay. It is easy enough to shuttle from Anaheim to LAX without the hassle of check- out, check-in and transporting luggage.
#14
Vancouver, BC
1,111 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Originally posted by scottca075
No way should you do Universal on the turnaround day, but it would be easy enough to visit Universal for the day on your three nights in Anaheim; people do it all the time and you have multiple choices in how to get to Universal from Anaheim. One day is plenty of time for Universal.

Not sure what rates you are getting from the hotels, but neither one would be my pick in Anaheim for Disneyland with all the new hotels in the area. The SpringHill Suites Anaheim Resort Convention Center and Hyatt House Anaheim Resort Convention Center both have Family Suites, include breakfast and are walkable to Disney. The Residence Inn Anaheim Resort Convention Center also has Family Suites, is walkable and includes breakfast. Not as easily walkable to the parks, but easily walkable to the Toy Story Parking Lot Shuttle is the Homewood Suites Anaheim Resort Convention Center.

I'd choose any of those new hotels over the Desert Inn (an older hotel) or the Anaheim Hilton (a very business oriented hotel).

I would not change hotels on a three night stay. It is easy enough to shuttle from Anaheim to LAX without the hassle of check- out, check-in and transporting luggage.
Thanks - I'm going to check out these hotels right now!
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#15
Irvine, CA
8,891 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by disneyochem
Glad to hear that you've decided to focus on Disneyland! ( I am not a fan of Universal Studios! Once every 5 years is enough for me....)

Desert Inn is a great location if you don't have a car! Crowds will certainly be smaller the further away from the first. Keep in mind that the park hours will reflect the off-season. Usually opens at 9 and closes at 8 pm. That's okay since the crowds are very low. Kings Day (which I do believe is January 6) does get busy since the region has a large Hispanic population.

Enjoy!
Ha! Once every 10 or more years is fine with me for Universal Studios. There are so many more options in Southern California.
#16
Central Valley, California
56 Posts
Joined Dec 2013
Originally posted by ceilidh1
Thanks - I'm going to check out these hotels right now!


I would encourage you to check out Candy Cane Inn. It is one of my favorites. It's within walking distance but they also have a free shuttle. Free breakfast, free wifi and free parking.

When I'm trying to save money I also like the Del Sol Inn (free breakfast, pay for parking), Eden Roc (walkable but no breakfast) and Castle Inn and Suites (kids loved staying there!).

If you get a hotel near the convention center, as mentioned in an earlier post, you can hope on the Toy Story shuttle. It is a clean, free shuttle operated by Disney. You can walk into the parking lot and jumped on. No cost to you! The Red Lion Inn is next door and they have some pretty deals every once in a while.

Parks will be closing early during your dates so you might want to stay close to things to do afterwards. Downtown Disney has movie theaters, a new bowling alley (if it's completed on time!), and great restaurants. Garden Walk (which has a number of good hotels nearby) also has bowling, a movie theater and great restaurants. My favorite is Roy's--can't go wrong with pineapple martinis!

Have fun planning! That's half the fun! (And, yes I go to DL a lot! At least once a month! )


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#17
Central Valley, California
56 Posts
Joined Dec 2013
Originally posted by lovevacadays
Ha! Once every 10 or more years is fine with me for Universal Studios. There are so many more options in Southern California.


So true! Glad my kids are old enough to go on their own!


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#18
Stockton CA
3,078 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
Looks like you made a good choice. Personally, I would shuttle over to a hotel near LAX the night before your flight. Your Anaheim hotel should store your luggage while you do Disney/CA Adventure. You will have a fairly easy ride over later in the evening rather than fight the unknown commute traffic in the AM. Even though the 6th is a Saturday there is no predicting LA traffic. Then you can sleep in a little later before heading to LAX, much less stress.