Vacation Time: Disneyland on the cheap: Suggestions needed

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael D. Bunting, Apr 24, 2002.

  1. Michael D. Bunting

    Michael D. Bunting Screenwriter

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    I want to suprise the wife with a quick trip to Disneyland during the first week of June (1st - 9th).
    Is June an okay time to visit Disneyland?
    I will be driving...yes driving (Chevy Chase style) from Seattle to Anaheim on this trip. The Family Truckster is a 2001 Nissan Pathfinder (and no, it's not Metallic Pee - It's Sierra Silver [​IMG] )
    How's the drive down I-5 from Seattle to Anaheim?
    I will not have alot of extra cash - so I don't want to spend what I have staying at any of the Disneyland hotels/resorts that are actually on Disneyland property.
    I'll need to find a nearby (walking distance preferred - or shuttle?) hotel/motel for under $70 per night (if possible).
    Any suggestions on where to stay, nearby?
    I'm probably looking at 2 or 3 nights at the hotel, with 3 days at Disneyland and Disneyland California Adventure -using the 3-Day Park Hopper Ticket (on sale now for $90 each BTW)
    I'll also probably try to hit Universal Studios Hollywood before heading back towards Seattle. So I may need to spend one night at a hotel near Universal Studios as well - depending on how much time/days I need to set aside for Universal Studios
    Do I need to spend more than 1 day at Universal Studios Hollywood? Or will one day suffice?
    I'm in the military and I will be deploying for 90-120 days (to an unknown location - but I'm sure you can guess what region of the world I'll be heading off to) - shortly after returning home from this trip. So we (my wife and I) want to be able to have fun - as cheap as possible. [​IMG]
    Any recommendations/suggestions for me?
    Any feedback is aprecciated! Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    I'm not sure how cheap you think you'll get off hitting both Disney and Universal. The cost of admission to both parks is pretty steep compared to the national average of other theme parks. That said, both parks kick ass. [​IMG]
    Haven't been to either in five years, but the last time I went, we stayed at a Days Inn just down the street from Disneyland on Harbor Blvd. Nice clean accomodations with an outdoor pool and a free continental breakfast. I think room rates there can be had for under 70 bucks. They have a shuttle now, but at the time we went there wasn't one. We had a rental car and just drove back and forth between the hotel and the park. We left in the middle of the day because of the crush of people and went out for lunch. We didn't have to pay again for parking when we returned, which was cool.
    Can't really give cheap advice on Universal. When we went, we stayed just down the hill at the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn in North Hollywood. A quick check of the rates showed rooms in the $100-$110 range. Probably more than you want to spend, but the location can't be beat. I think the HTF had their national meet or whatever there last year. And yes, they have a shuttle to the park.
    Universal can be done in one day. The key (as with all these theme parks) is to arrive before the gates open. Then you can hit the most popular attractions before the largest crush of people gets in.
     
  3. Jeff Braddock

    Jeff Braddock Second Unit

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    Michael D. Bunting,
    Me and the misses are going to Fl. in May to Disney world,MGM, and the like. She (my wife) had a fellow student bring back some brochures and cupons etc when he came back from Fl. There are some good deals on hotels, but they are for certain dates so I don't know if they'd work for you or not. If your interested, just email me. Also, you might want to search for discounted hotels on the web, I think you'd find quite a bit.
    Edit:I seen this site right after I posted. I thought it might be helpful. Hope you find some good deals.
     
  4. Michael D. Bunting

    Michael D. Bunting Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the help/recommendations fellas!
    I have today off - so I'll be researching things a bit more as well today.
    Jeff: Please note that I'm headed to Disneyland in Anaheim, California - and not to Disneyworld in Orlando, FL. I do apprciate your kind help though.
    It's good to know that Universal can be done in one day - as this will probably be all the time we have anyway. I could probably swing $100~ for a hotel nearby - since it's just for one night.
    One more question: How far of a drive (minutes) is it from Disneyland to Universal Studios? I assume I would just get back on I-5 and take the exit to Universal Studios Park?
    Maybe I can just find one hotel close to Disneyland - and then drive to Universal Studios on the last day. This would cut down on my hotel costs as well.
    Thanks again for any and all help! You guys are life savers!
     
  5. Jeff Braddock

    Jeff Braddock Second Unit

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    Sorry, I had a dummy attatck. I looked at what you wrote and seen something else.
     
  6. Scott Dautel

    Scott Dautel Second Unit

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    Just a few quick comments ...
    I was in Anaheim last Oct. I booked 2 nights at the Hyatt Regency on hotwire for $83./nt. Hotwire is great, but you don't get to see the actual Hotel name until after you purchase & you can't cancel. However, ***+ hotels are always nice.
    There's no way around the fact that Disney is expensive, but my best suggestions are:
    1. Stay at an off-property moderate hotel with breakfast included & eat well. There are many to choose from.
    2. Eat lunch late (~3 PM) and skip big restaurant dinners.
    3. Avoid Disney souveniers/clothing - they add up fast. Around Anaheim, you'll find lots of generic souvenier/t-shirt shops.
    4. Try to visit mid-week for MUCH shorter lines.
    5. sound like you have a good deal on the park-hoppers
    You can really see the 2 Disney parks in 2 full days. Check park hours now.
    Universal is big and I would guess 1.5 days on avg. to see. The backlot tour takes time. Get there before park opens, and go deep when they open the gates.
     
  7. Michael D. Bunting

    Michael D. Bunting Screenwriter

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    Scott: Thanks for your comments/insight!
    Thanks for suggesting "hotwire" - I'll check the link out now.
    I do need to be able to cancel my hotel reservations - simply because I'm in the military and I don't even know for sure that my leave/vacation time will be approved...and probably won't know until about a week or so before going.
    I had planned on visting Disneyland - on a Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday anyway - so I think traffic in the park shouldn't be as bad as on the weekends hopefully.
    If we can do Disneyland in 2 days versus my planned 3 - I can probably get a 2 day Park Hopper ticket for a few bucks cheaper than my planned 3 day - so that will help out as well.
    So - 2 days or 3 days at Disney's 2 parks?
    Suggestions/comments?
    Too bad I can't make it there before the end of this month...Disney is offering free tickets to military members and 50% off for friends/family members. Just can't take the vacation time this month - we have too many gone from work at this time.
     
  8. Graeme Clark

    Graeme Clark Cinematographer

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    The number of days needed really depends on the hours of the park at that time of year, and how busy it is. Summer is usually the worst time for Dland because of the long lines, but you might hit it at a good time just before the big summer crowds and after spring break.

    It also depends on what you're there to do. If you're there to look around, tinker around in shops, and take pictures of every last corner, then it will take a bit longer. If you're there for rides, rides, rides, then it can take a lot less time.

    Last time I was there, it was in May (not this year, 96). At that time you could walk onto rides with little to no waiting (Pirates with no line? Impossible!), so with that we really got onto just about every ride we could want in 1 day. The 2nd day was a little more about looking around and seeing everything, plus doing the good rides again and again. Unfortunatly the park was only open till 6PM so we didn't get to spend as much time there as we'd like.

    On the other hand, I've been there in the middle of summer, and just about every ride has an 1-2.5 hour line (Yes, I waited 2 and a half hours for Space mountain). But the park was open until some crazy hour (like 2AM) so we got to see just about everything then too.

    If it's busy, get there early and scope out the popular ride lines. If something you really want to get on is super long, keep any eye on it, as the lines go up and down all day (after we walked on to Pirates, there was a half hour line when we got off). And finally, during one of those busy summers with the 2.5 hour lines.... we got onto Space Mountain 6 times during a Parade.

    Do not be deceived by the "outside line". Just about every big ride there has a line roped off outside the "building" that it's housed in, and then a lot more line once you get inside. Usually after waiting in line for awhile, you're almost "in" and you think to yourself "well, almost there" only to find out your got another 30 minutes to hour to go. Now once you get inside it's usually a bit more enjoyable as there are things to look at (at the atmosphere and "production values" of DLand are it's best features), but you still are waiting in line.

    If you have no kids, skip toontown, except for maybe (big maybe) Roger Rabbit's cartoon spin. You can do the same to some of the other kidde rides too, although your wife might like them (my Mom loves the Peter Pan ride).

    Indiana Jones is the best ride in the park! Try and do that early cause you just might want to skip the spinning tea cups and do that one 2 or 3 more times. But it has the most decieving "outside line" ever! If that line is anywhere near the back and forth grid, just skip it and try again later. I swear that ride is actually in LA. The line just seems to go on forever.

    I don't think Universal is really close enough to Anaheim to make it worthwhile driving there. I'm sure someone can let you know for sure.

    And Universal can be done in one day easy. You may not see everything, but there's no real need to. Some of the shows that they have just aren't worth it really. The backlot tour is the main thing, Back to the Future is good, Backdraft is good, Jurrasic Park I'm sure is fine, and pick a few of the shows that interest you and plan to see those. 2 days is too much.

    For saving money... on my last trip I also drove, and Denny's was the big money saver. Ate breakfast there every morning for like $2.00. But the Denny's near Anaheim is "not a participating Denny's" so you don't get the grand slam deals.

    There are plenty of motels surrounding Dland within walking distance, or that will have a shuttle. We stayed at a campground across the street, but I think it was as much as the motel next to it. Damn ripoff.

    Do not, I repeat, do not try to live off of Churos while you're in the park. It's tempting, but far too expensive.

    Can I come?
     
  9. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Lots of good advice already.

    Two remarks:

    - Most waiting lines have a sign outside giving the aprox. waiting time. To my experience, it's rather accurate.

    - Driving time from Anaheim to Universal: generally at least 1 hour. Don't underestimate that one.

    Have a great time (I'm sure you will)!

    Cees
     
  10. Michael D. Bunting

    Michael D. Bunting Screenwriter

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    Graeme
    Thanks so much for your in-depth post [​IMG]
    Cees - Thanks for the driving tip (Anaheim to Universal) [​IMG]
    AFter living in Seattle - I know a 30 mile drive can take more than what's considered normal for other areas of the world - unfortunately [​IMG]
    We booked a hotel tonight for 5 nights (June 2nd - June 7th) at the Super 8 Motel I know...I know...I'm a cheap bastard [​IMG] - but I couldn't pass up the $49.00 rate quote. It's 1 block from Disneyland Park. Should be "good enough" for us. I'm pretty picky though...so we'll see...
    http://www.super8.com/Super8/control...d=SE&pid=08053
    Looks like we'll now spend 3 days at Disneyland/California Adventure (via (2) $90 3-day park hopper tickets) and then 1 day at Universal Studios Hollywood (via 1-day tickets at $38 each (discount).
    Trip Breakdown: 2 Adults
    Fuel: (Seattle - Anaheim - Seattle): $~250 (little extra to be safe)
    Hotel: (Super 8) ~$285
    Disney Tickets (3 day hopper): $180.00
    Universal Tickets: $76.00
    Parking at Universal: $8.00
    Total: $799.00
    Not too awful bad I guess...of course I don't have food or souveniers (we don't buy many souveniers though) figured into that $799 yet either !
    We plan to brown bag it/ bring a cooler on the way there also - and just eat whenever or wherever we want while at Disney and Universal.
    Thanks again for all the tips and suggestions...please keep them coming if you have them.
     
  11. Graeme Clark

    Graeme Clark Cinematographer

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    So how was the trip?
     
  12. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Maybe Mike already went of on his deployment. [​IMG]
    Edit: I guess he already IS on deployment after seeing this thread. Good luck to him. [​IMG]
     
  13. Michael D. Bunting

    Michael D. Bunting Screenwriter

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    Hello guys!

    I am indeed currently on day 16 of my 90 day deployment.

    Yes, the Air Force doesn't go anywhere without having internet access!

    We do still plan on hitting Disneyland after I get back....probably in November though.

    It was 115 F where I'm at today.... WOWSERS!

    Take care all! I'll try to do the same!~
     
  14. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    Most all major rides offer the "fast pass" system. Use your ticket at the atm type machines for those rides. It spits out a ticket to come back at a later time (usually 1-2 hours later) and you just about walk right on, no waiting in line. Works great. Get a fast pass then go wait in line for another ride. Make sure if you want to ride the Indiana Jones Adventure you get a fast pass early in the day, this one runs out by the afternoon.
    A great, great place to view the fireworks. Across from the Matterhorn (North side) where you board the ride. Follow the monorail track that goes out over a concrete dock, there are tables and chairs on it also. Go to the very end of the dock and look out towards Small World. Best spot in the park to watch'em.
    Avoid the weekends.
    Peace Out~[​IMG]
     

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