Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
DianeB1

Is staying at Disney Pre Cruise out of the question?

Recommended Posts

We are flying from NJ on 11-29 (Friday)to Lax arriving at 11:15am.  The Joy leaves on Sunday out of San Pedro .  This is also the weekend after Thanksgiving so expecting crowds everywhere. Is Anaheim a good choice for 2 nights pre cruise? We have never been to California so we are looking for some ideas.  2 adults no kids coming on this trip.  Then after the cruise we leave at 10:15p. Do they have Day rooms near lax ? Was thinking about taking a tour to see LA? All suggestions welcomed! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, DianeB1 said:

We are flying from NJ on 11-29 (Friday)to Lax arriving at 11:15am.  The Joy leaves on Sunday out of San Pedro .  This is also the weekend after Thanksgiving so expecting crowds everywhere. Is Anaheim a good choice for 2 nights pre cruise? We have never been to California so we are looking for some ideas.  2 adults no kids coming on this trip.  Then after the cruise we leave at 10:15p. Do they have Day rooms near lax ? Was thinking about taking a tour to see LA? All suggestions welcomed! 

Well...not completely out of the question...

First, it's about 35 miles from LAX to Disney...but, on a Friday afternoon (and it likely will be the afternoon by the time your flight actually lands, taxis to the terminal, unloads everyone, you wait for and actually get your luggage and you find some sort of ground transportation--be it a rental car, a shuttle, an Uber or whatever), it could take you a while with LA traffic to get there...

 

It's now $149 per day for a ticket on a Friday or Saturday.  Multiple day tickets decrease that per day price slightly...but, with when you are arriving, you're not really getting full value out of that Friday.  And, yes, the park will be crowded.

 

Other than Disney, there may be little reason to stay in Anaheim.

 

And, Sunday morning, it's another 35 mile drive to the pier in San Pedro.

 

So, you've got to REALLY want to visit Disney for that...

 

With it just being adults, you may want to ask yourselves if there's some other way you'd like to spend your time here.

 

And, yes, with a 10:15 pm post-cruise flight, you CAN take a tour of LA on disembarkation day (I'd recommend you try Sunseeker Tours as they'll pick you up at the ship and drop you off at LAX after the tour).

 

But, you do have some options: 

You could stay pre-cruise in Santa Monica...and have a more relaxing time hanging out there--Third Street Promenade, Palisades Park, Santa Monica Pier, Venice Boardwalk...maybe a side trip to the Getty...You could even tour Hollywood and the typical LA tourist sites from there on Saturday...Then, post-cruise, you could always spend the day in Long Beach (Aquarium of the Pacific, Queen Mary) before heading off to the airport...

 

Another option is to just relax and stay in Long Beach pre-cruise...kick back, relax a little...and have an easy morning (and short Uber ride) getting to the ship on Sunday...then do the LA tour with Sunseeker on the way out...

 

Or you could pick some other local attraction for the pre-cruise.  If you like amusement parks, Knott's Berry Farm and Universal Studios are alternatives to Disney.  There are also Studio tours--mostly in the Burbank/Universal area.

 

You could split the time--spend Friday night near some attraction, have them hold your luggage after checkout, then grab an Uber down to San Pedro and stay there Saturday night to make embarkation morning easier...

 

It all really comes down to what YOU want to do with your time...(also, think about how you want to get around--rental car or Uber/Lyft--I wouldn't use taxis or public transportation in LA)...

Edited by Bruin Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for taking the time to answer . What great ideas.  My husband wants to rent a car but I have read returning the car on Sunday is a no go as they are closed and only opened till 1 on Saturday.  We just don’t want to be stuck in a hotel with nothing nearby for 2 days . Then the flight going home not till 10 is tricky.  After a tour we will be dropped off at the airport around 2-3 p and will sit at the airport for 7-8 hrs.  Maybe we will rent a room near the airport coming home and use a pool .  Any hotels you suggest in either Long Beach or Santa Monica ?iI like the idea tour LA on Saturday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, DianeB1 said:

My husband wants to rent a car but I have read returning the car on Sunday is a no go as they are closed and only opened till 1 on Saturday.  We just don’t want to be stuck in a hotel with nothing nearby for 2 days

It used to be that you sort of had to rent a car in LA to see anything as most things are fairly spread out. To be honest, the last few times Ive been out there Ive just used Uber and when you factor in the rental, fuel, and parking, unless you are constantly on the move or covering long distances, its actually equal or maybe a bit less in what you would spend. 

 

You would easily be able to do Disneyland (and see a decent amount of it, its TINY compared to Walt Disney World in Florida) but you would be fully committed to just seeing Disney. If you do that they have their own hotels on site (Grand Californian is my personal fave but it can be very pricey) but there area a bunch of other within walking distance of the gate. Its not like Florida where you have to stay on property. 

 

As the other poster said there are a bunch of other areas of town you can stay in that are central enough to see things-- Santa Monica for the beach vibe, Hollywood for a bit more of a party scene (think a giant Times Square type of environment), and my personal fave is staying in Beverly Hills. Any of those would be central enough to let you Uber around to things you want to see. If you stay in one of these you can pick up a bus or van tour to take you around to the major sights as well. The studios all have tours-- my personal favorite is the one that Warner Brothers does-- its very small and on golf carts-- much more in depth. 

 

Unless you really want to have a room on the day you are going back most nice hotels around town will check your luggage for a few hours. For example if you don't go to Santa Monica when you arrive you could go have breakfast at one of the major hotels, check your bags there and come back for them when you are ready for the short ride over to the airport. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let me add a few more notes here:

 

Just a note on Disneyland:  It's actually NOT really tiny compared to the Florida version...maybe in land area, but there's a story on that.  First, the Magic Kingdom section is really the same in both places--pretty much the same rides...The difference is that, in SoCal, they are more dense--more crowded together more compact....OTOH, many of them are LONGER...They took the lessons they learned on the original, then designed the Florida copy to move more people through faster...So, some rides that take three minutes in SoCal take only two in Florida...And, yes, there are lots of hotels just off the property.  Walt Disney never envisioned Disneyland as a complete destination resort.  He was just building an amusement park--with, originally, one small hotel...Of course, everyone else started buying up property adjacent to the park and building hotels--an it steamed Disney--Everyone else cashing in on his attraction.  So, when they decided to build a copy in Florida, Disney made sure to find a large enough property that no one else could build a hotel remotely close to his park!  Hence, the configuration in Orlando.

 

As to rental cars--the common answer to the Saturday afternoon/Sunday closure is to arrange a return in Downtown Long Beach or Torrance--where most of the car rental agencies have weekend hours--then return the car there and Uber back to port.  Renting a car CAN be the best way to do things for a lot of people...It gives you the freedom to go on your own schedule to wherever you want to go...and even to stay somewhere other than a typical tourist destination hotel.  OTOH, you get to deal with traffic...and parking.  Parking can get both difficult and expensive in LA.

 

One of the reasons to use Santa Monica as a base--aside from the great climate and the beauty--is that is is very convenient if you are there without a car.  There are lots of things to see and do within walking distance...and all of the tour companies will pick up in the Santa Monica hotels--plus the HOHO bus tours use it as a hub.  The negative for some with Santa Monica is that it can be a bit pricey.  There are several VERY nice hotels--Loews, Marriott LeMerigot, Fairmont Miramar, Shutters on the Beach top the list...but, also copnveniently located are the Huntley, Wyndham, Hampton Inn, Marriott Courtyard, Georgian and Shangri La.  The Doubletree and LeMeridien Delfina are a little less conveniently located...Even the budget CarMar is in a great location.  If you are "stuck" without a car for two days, this is a good area to be stuck in...

 

In Long Beach, I have a standard "A" list and "B" list I recommend.  Basically, the A list is the Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Centric at the Pike, Renaissance and Westin.  B list is the Maya Doubletree, Residence Inn Downtown and the Hilton.  A list are all very nice and very convenient to the Long Beach attractions by foot.

 

There are two hotels in San Pedro I recommend for a one-night pre-cruise stay for convenience sake:  The Crowne Plaza and the Doubletree.  I am actually staying at the Doubletree for one night upcoming prior to my Royal Princess cruise in January.

 

If you do take a tour on disembarkation day, with your late flight, don't take it through the cruise line.  Call Sunseeker Tours and see what they can offer you in a FULL-DAY tour with a much later drop off at LAX.

 

Good luck...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, DianeB1 said:

We are flying from NJ on 11-29 (Friday)to Lax arriving at 11:15am.  The Joy leaves on Sunday out of San Pedro .  This is also the weekend after Thanksgiving so expecting crowds everywhere. Is Anaheim a good choice for 2 nights pre cruise? We have never been to California so we are looking for some ideas.  2 adults no kids coming on this trip.  Then after the cruise we leave at 10:15p. Do they have Day rooms near lax ? Was thinking about taking a tour to see LA? All suggestions welcomed! 

We did a trip to Disney last September, post cruise. Grabbed a cab at the Long Beach pier and stayed right outside the Magic Kingdom. While we did not do Disneyland, we went to the Marketplace and had a really nice time.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's no problem getting to San Pedro from Anaheim, but I wouldn't do it. That Saturday of Thanksgiving is probably the 3rd or 4th busiest Saturday of the year at Disney (the Saturdays around Christmas Day and New Years Day being 1 & 2, unless July 4th falls on or close to Saturday).

 

If you stay in Downtown Long Beach you have the Aquarium of the Pacific, Belmont Shore, the Queen Mary and the USS Iowa in San Pedro. Downtown is a pleasant area with enough to do for a day and a half.

 

I would not rent a car.

 

PS Disneyland is much smaller than the Magic Kingdom, but it actually has more rides and attractions, substantially more, which actually is more reason NOT to try and jam it in in one day.

 

Here is a cool website comparison; Magic Kingdom vs Disneyland

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m blown away with the responses and valuable information. Thank you all for the info and suggestions and the time taken to help .  We cruise often but definitely a fish out of water for the west coast.  Definitely have some more homework now 😄 but more informed as well. I’m gonna start googling these hotel suggestions!

Edited by DianeB1
Error in last sentence

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have been given a lot of good advice.

 

In the perfect world it would be good to spend three nights at Disneyland so you could have two full days there.  You can go both parks in the two days fairly well.

 

I love Disneyland and while we hadn't gone since the early 1990's we ended up going there three times in 2016, 2017 and 2018.  The last two times 2017 and 2018 were pre-cruise stays before we boarded cruises and 2018 was just my wife and myself.  

 

If you do this consider staying at Disneyland.  There are three hotels to choose from.  It's a lot of fun.  I actually enjoy the park more than Disney World because it is more intimate.

 

We arranged cars with Execucar to get from LAX to Disneyland and from Disneyland to San Pedro.  

 

If I wasn't doing Disneyland I would consider Beverly Hills which my wife and I did earlier this year.  There were things to do there and we also used Uber to get to Hollywood.  

 

Another option is Long Beach where there are some things to see and do.  That is the closest of the three options.  In Long Beach I like both Hyatt Hotels.

 

In fact, the more I think of this take a good look at Disney.  If all goes well you would be at the Hotel at 1:30 PM and even if room is not ready at a Disney Property they hold your luggage (they would at other hotels too) and you could walk from Hotel into one of the two parks.  Book it through Disneyland which you can do on their website or by calling them.  You can include your park tickets and whatever else you want.  On Saturday you will be able to enter the park earlier than most by staying at the hotel and during that one hour you can get on several popular rides before it gets crowded.  I would recommend Disneyland Hotel or Disney's Grand California Hotel  of the three properties on site.  I would pick the Grand California as my first choice but either one will be fun.  There are many hotels within a mile or so of the park.  I just really like the convenience of staying at the parks.  The Grand California was redone in 2017 and we stayed there in 2018.  We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel in 2016 and 2017 and back in the late and early 1990's.  

 

Whatever you do have a great time.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in NY, when we fly to Disneyland we always fly into Long Beach Airport (JetBlue).  The airport is smaller and less crowded, no issue in renting a car and the drive to Anaheim is easy and usually no traffic.   We then stay on property at one of the 3 Disney hotels(usually Grand Californian)  for convenience and Disney Perks. If you are a Disney fan, Disneyland is a must see.  I would take advantage of the opportunity.

Edited by disneylover89

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can afford it stay at the Grand Californian.  They have their own private gate into CA Adventure with early entry.  We also stay at the Hilton Embassy Suites down the street and book a fireworks view room.  It's walking distance to Disney or take the free shuttle.  My #1 tip for driving in LA is to have a paper street map.  If the freeway is a parking lot there are many four lane surface streets that will get you to your destination.  A GPS is nice but being able to look at a wider view for perspective is better.  Also, Downtown Disney has The Void, which is a MUST do.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, ATSEAMYLIFE said:

If you can afford it stay at the Grand Californian.  They have their own private gate into CA Adventure with early entry.

I agree with the hotel recommendation but the dirty little secret is that it isn't private. If you aren't staying at the hotel but show them a receipt from breakfast at the hotel or even for a coffee at the little kiosk there they will let you use the entrance. And thats only in the morning when they police it. In the afternoon anyone can use it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m a big Disney fan (annual passholder) but I wouldn’t recommend DL on Thanksgiving weekend.  It will be crowded, very crowded.  Unbearably crowded.  Did I mention that it will be crowded?  I would follow the advice to stay in Santa Monica or Long Beach.  Both places will give you a great SoCal vibe.

 

If going to Disneyland is a must for you, I would suggest to stay off property.  There are a number of super nice hotels within a mile of the parks.  But keep in mind,it is a holiday weekend so prices are a little high even for the little dives.  Right now, the Grand California has rooms but they are $764/ night during that weekend.  Disneyland Hotel is $485/night.  Not worth it.

 

Enjoy your time in Southern California whatever you decide to do.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, princeton123211 said:

I agree with the hotel recommendation but the dirty little secret is that it isn't private. If you aren't staying at the hotel but show them a receipt from breakfast at the hotel or even for a coffee at the little kiosk there they will let you use the entrance. And thats only in the morning when they police it. In the afternoon anyone can use it. 

Shhhhh!

 

Yep, buy a coffee from White Water Snacks.  It will get you in through the hotel’s entrance bypassing those front gate lines!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, ATSEAMYLIFE said:

If you can afford it stay at the Grand Californian.  They have their own private gate into CA Adventure with early entry. 

 

Extra Magic Hours alternate between parks, it isn't in both parks every day.

 

Disneyland it is Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, one hour prior to park open and DCA is Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, one hour prior to park open, so the back entrance wouldn't help the OP for EMH.

 

There is no one in these forums who loves Disney more than me. I've been a shareholder since I was 10, I was a cast member for 10 years and an annual pass holder since then.....  but I am telling you, the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend would be a colossal mistake. The tickets would be at their most expensive possible (a 1 Day, Weekend, Peak Ticket), you'd have to buy Max Pass (extra $15 peer ticket, assuming you have a Smart Phone) and even at that the parks are packed to the gills. It is not a fun time in the parks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/13/2019 at 2:23 PM, disneyochem said:

Shhhhh!

 

Yep, buy a coffee from White Water Snacks.  It will get you in through the hotel’s entrance bypassing those front gate lines!

Loved the White Water Snack bar.  Really decent food for a very reasonable price.  Last time we were there we spent a full day just out by the pool and eating/drinking from White Water.  Even did dinner there one night.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most other weekends I'd say that with some planning and use of MaxPass (which lets you get Fastpasses from  the mobile app, and also lets you get them more often than you can from the kiosks) you could do it.  On Thanksgiving weekend I'd be hesitant.  In general, any time when schools are on holiday will be more crowded at Disneyland, but Thanksgiving weekend and the week after Christmas are typically the most crowded, to the point that the parks can often reach capacity and stop admitting guests.  

 

That said, I think 1 1/2 days in the parks could be doable when it's not Thanksgiving weekend, but you'd need to be careful not to overdo it, especially since it would likely involve staying as late as you can the first day (after the fireworks a lot of the guests leave the park and the lines can be much shorter)  and trying to make rope drop the second.  You'd likely need a vacation from your vacation after doing that (fortunately you've got one planned) but as long as you aren't too worried about trying to hit every ride and show you could still have a good time. More realistically, I tend to plan for at least three days for a Disneyland trip, and if possible try to make at least two of those weekdays to avoid crowds.  Just keep in mind that Disneyland is NOT a place you go for a relaxing vacation, and you need to be careful not to wear yourself out or end up with something like a blister, as that will make the rest of the trip considerably less enjoyable...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Diane,  if you are flying into LAX and renting a car, beware of the DROP OFF fee that most of the car rental agencies are now charging and it is not cheap $50 bucks extra per day in addition to the daily rate if you are dropping off anywhere else but the LAX airport.    It used to be pretty easy, rent from Enterprise at LAX and then drop off at San Pedro Enterprise location (right beside the Crown Plaza) and take Enterprise complimentary shuttle to the pier, but NOW that nasty drop off fee.    It has really soured things for us.  I checked AVIS, HERTZ, etc.  and they are all doing the same thing.  Obviously a money maker for them!!.    We too are arriving early and have decided to stay close to LAX the night before - loads of hotels near LAX (we are actually arriving three days earlier but will stay up in Ventura for the first two nights), and do some driving up around there and on the #1, and go to the outlet mall in Camarillo ( I love to shop) and then drop car back at LAX in the morning of the cruise and take the Princess Transfer to the Port (we will be on their manifest and I know we will definitely make the ship as they will hold the ship (worst comes to worst with LA traffic for those of us who have purchased the transfers) last flights arriving for all concerned is 12:30 pm to purchase the transfer on Princess anyhow.  So if one's flight arrives at 12:30 pm, Princess will be waiting for you and will get you to the port no issue there.   Cost for us is $44 per person Canadian. Transfers start at approximately 9:30 am so that is where we will be at the luggage retrieval looking for the Princess representatives with their placards.  Simple simple and worth the cost and much cheaper than staying in a pricey San Pedro hotel (Yes, do have loads of Hilton points (so will not stay at the San Pedro Doubletree) as those Hilton points are much more point worthy in Australia or Europe or Japan than using them in the US.   I never use my points in the US.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, pink845 said:

Diane,  if you are flying into LAX and renting a car, beware of the DROP OFF fee that most of the car rental agencies are now charging and it is not cheap $50 bucks extra per day in addition to the daily rate if you are dropping off anywhere else but the LAX airport.   

Not sure what channel you are booking through but I rent from Avis at LAX frequently and often drop off elsewhere (Palm Springs, LAS, and SFO) and the drop off fee is no where near $50 per day. Taxes and fees on my last Avis rental from LAX with a drop off at LAS 7 days later was $145 total in addition to the rental fare. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, pink845 said:

Diane,  if you are flying into LAX and renting a car, beware of the DROP OFF fee that most of the car rental agencies are now charging..... I checked AVIS, HERTZ, etc.  and they are all doing the same thing.

 

I just did dummy bookings on both Enterprise Canada and Enterprise USA for a 3 day rental, LAX pick up, San Pedro drop off and there was no drop off charge on either.

 

Did the same for Avis, no drop off fee.

 

5 hours ago, pink845 said:

We too are arriving early and have decided to stay close to LAX the night before - loads of hotels near LAX

 

Loads of hotels in a miserable area with few places to eat.

 

5 hours ago, pink845 said:

drop car back at LAX in the morning of the cruise and take the Princess Transfer to the Port (Cost for us is $44 per person Canadian.

 

$44 CAD is about what you'd pay for TWO people on SuperShuttle or for a private Uber.

 

5 hours ago, pink845 said:

Simple simple and worth the cost and much cheaper than staying in a pricey San Pedro hotel

 

The hotels in San Pedro aren't what I'd call "pricey", they are about the same price for the same level hotel at LAX. I checked on a November rate and the same room, same amenities, DoubleTree LAX was $179+ taxes, DoubleTree San Pedro was $170+ taxes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...