Somebody please tell me what to do!

clanmcculloch

expert on dietary needs and disney dining
I feel as though I might be letting some of my anxiety about traveling to new places get the better of me and of course DH is enabling that anxiety at the moment. Here's the deal.

We've been planning for a while to head out to LA this summer. DH's oldest DD and her husband live in LA and we haven't seen them since we took them to WDW a couple years ago and it had been a couple years before that so we really want to visit with them. Obviously while we're out there we'll go to DL and also check out some sights in LA. We're also considering San Diego though over the past week or two we've been realizing that there's just so much to do in LA maybe we should just focus on LA and leave SD for another trip. We don't have dates figured out because flights are expensive and I figured we'd revolve the trip around flight prices. We're looking at approximately 2 weeks for the trip. DSD and DSil won't be able to get that much time off work; I'm figuring we'll get maybe weekends and 4-5 weekdays with them so maybe 8 or 9 days plus some dinners though they get off work pretty late. Sooooo...... DH and started thinking that maybe we should just fly them out to WDW again and spend a week there with them and then we could do another week just the 4 of us. Last time we flew them to WDW we had a lot of fun with them. It would be a lot easier on me for planning which for this LA trip has my anxiety skyrocketing because of all of our food allergies plus with DD15's autism a whole 2 weeks of all brand new stuff is overwhelming to narrow down so that she can handle it. My head is spinning trying to even figure out where to start with this trip.

I need help from all of you to either help me by either telling me how to even get started on planning our LA trip or else tell me that it makes sense to go to WDW. Just tell me what to do. Please!
 

pfalcioni

does anybody know how to change this?
I vote for California.

I think any time you can push your comfort zone it's a good thing, and I'll bet you can find ways to make things work well for all of you. You could rent a house or condo for the entire 2 weeks and then if you have trouble finding allergy-safe foods, or experience hassles working with chefs, you can always cook your own.

You know your own daughter, and I suspect that you'll be able to work out ways to keep her from getting too stressed, I'd say it'll be more important than ever to plan long afternoon breaks and plenty of "off" days so she doesn't get overwhelmed.

I know you are a smart person, and that you'll make the right choice for your family, but won't it be great to explore new places and find new favorite things to do?
 

marlaine

New member
Familiar is always good and easier. New places can be exciting! Whenever I go to a new place, I try to get my hands on as many touring books as possible. I love to read about and research new things. Kind of like a hobby, I guess. If something new is stressing you out too much to enjoy the build-up and the actually trip, maybe WDW would be a better fit. It sounds like you'd be able to spend more time with them there. If you had fun with them at WDW before, you'll have a great time again!
 

Peggy

New member
I have a lot of stress when I plan a trip to a new place. However, when it is all said and done, I find that it is worth it, and that my ability (and my kids') to try new things and visit new places is enhanced.

As previously mentioned, only you know what is right for your family.... but I would encourage you to give it a shot!
 

clanmcculloch

expert on dietary needs and disney dining
I was thinking of renting a house for 1 week of the time in LA, a few nights near WDW and then originally we were going to do the rest of the second week in SD but the more I think about it the more I realize I'm just adding to my anxiety by adding a second city to a single trip. I mentioned the house idea to DH and every time I start showing him houses he finds something wrong with them. I think he's just not comfortable with the idea of renting from an individual vs a large company but he really isn't one to really look at why he feels the way he does about things so I can't seem to get an answer from him about it.

In addition to the dates not being set I'm also up in the air about even what part of town to look in for the full week accomodations. DSD and DSil are putting offers in on houses as we speak. We'd like to be near them but we don't know for sure where they'll be. I need to learn more about the area in general. I think we're probably looking at somewhere not too far from Universal but I'm just not sure.

I know, I know, pushing my comfort zone really would be good. I know that if I can keep my own anxiety under control then DD15 will handle it a lot better but I'm just really struggling with my own because of so much being uncertain still. I'm too OCD for this. I suppose that if I could just get the dates figured out I could get started. With WDW even if I don't have dates, there so much other stuff that I already know and don't have to think about deciding.

The problem with touring books is that there are just SO many options. It would easier if there wasn't nearly as much to do out there. I don't know how to even begin narrowing things down. Other than we want to spend a few days at DL and spend time with DSD and DSil.

I want to do LA. I know that we can have a good time and it'll be good for us to go elsewhere. I can't seem to get out of my own way. I know we can have a good time at WDW and LA is so unknown. AAAGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!! I need to stop looking at WDW options, don't I? Maybe it's time for me to just start making lists of things like all of the various attractions we could take in and restaurants that can meet out needs and start narrowing down the rest from there, other than the dates because I'm still hoping for an airfare deal that'll help with that.
 

Lcsmolcha

New member
I vote LA. Yes, there is a ton to do there, but for someone also from New England, just "being" in Southern California is a good thing. We went a number of years ago to visit friends who had relocated, and, like your family out there, they didn't have a ton of time off. We spent some of our time while they were at work just enjoying pool and sunshine. We didn't go to SD, but did do a day trip to Santa Barbara, as they lived north of LA. That was very pleasant - rented a surrey bicycle and just enjoyed seeing the Pacific. Since we didn't do public transportation, we focused on car-accessible day trips like that. It's different from WDW because it's not self contained, but it was something I'm glad we did.
 

NorahS

New member
I find myself agreeing with those that are suggesting that you make the trip to the west coast. At the end of the day, family is very important.

Also, these relatives are blood relatives to your DH and your DDs and every opportunity should be presented to them to strengthen and nurture those relationships. This would include your DDs seeing where and how their half-siblings live, so that it becomes real to them and once they are back in their home they are able to visualize their half-siblings in their home environment.

I would also start by not thinking of it as going to "LA". John Wayne Airport (SNA) is actually the closest airport (Orange County) to Disneyland and is served by some major airlines - including Southwest, AirTran, Delta, American, etc. There are plenty of Residence Inns and similar long-stay accommodation in Orange County that are near enough to Disneyland (15 minutes) yet also near enough to freeways (avoiding rush hour, of course) to perhaps get to the relatives homes in a timely manner, or even have a day at the beach with your family.

I'd start with Google maps and spend some time seeing if you can't locate yourself in one place for the duration of your west coast trip. Someplace near enough to Disneyland, etc. - yet within a reasonable distance (an hour?) to see the relatives.

While your family would be stretching their boundaries - it would give your DDs some comfort to travel daily in the same car, and have the same "home" to come every night - with kitchen and a separate bed for your oldest DD (I know that's important for her). It satisfies your DHs request not to stay in a rental home, but even more importantly, it will enhance and strengthen your family's relationships with other family.
 

MichaelColey

Real Name: Charcoal Grills
A must read:

A DLR Guide for WDW Vets

Once you've read that, Disneyland won't be so daunting, and I bet you'll actually want to go experience it.

With two weeks, I would probably suggest the Southern California CityPass, then upgrading your DL tickets from 3 days up to the max (5? 6?). That'll let you throw Universal and SeaWorld (San Diego) into the mix for very little extra (about $50/person).

I would also second the recommendation of renting a house or condo for the 2 weeks.
 

pfalcioni

does anybody know how to change this?
Since your husband isn't comfortable renting from an individual, and you seem ambivalent about it also, I'd check into condo options since then you'd be working with a management company. I know there are quite a few that are in park-like settings with really nice pools and other amenities.

Another option to think about is to rent a place at the beach. You could stay at Huntington Beach and be only about a half hour from DL. Spending time just wandering the beach is so relaxing, I think. It might be a good way for you all to decompress after a day of doing touristy stuff. Here's one I found on Travelocity that might fit the bill: http://travel.travelocity.com/hotel/HotelDetail.do?propertyId=136150&tab=features&hotelQKey=-4793603197593369879&tsHotelQKey=-4793603197593369879&resetReview=true&locLink=HOTEL.HOTELAVAILABILITYLIST1|NAT2&dr=51675A289Z136150A149Z7329A63Z168908A212Z36594A99Z3282A425Z32485A90Z5724A88Z46173A82Z147045A179Z1710A169Z39445AZ26132AZ57760AZ26365AZ67776AZ88588AZ88837A
 

clanmcculloch

expert on dietary needs and disney dining
I saw the CityPass which is what got me thinking of San Diego in the first place. If we don't go to San Diego then it doesn't make much sense and I might even try to see if I can fit in a YES class out at DL and get our tickets through them. The one part of the trip that's not stressing me out a lot is the DL portion because I already have the decision made to go there and I've already narrowed down the hotel options for that part of the stay as well though I've only done a very preliminary look at the restaurants. Thanks for the guide though; that'll be very helpful.

I'd really like to stay at one of the good neighbour hotels that's walking distance from DL for that portion of the stay just because we're already so limited in how long of a day we can do so being able to walk vs spend time in traffic will be very helpful. I'm going to look more into the condos. DH might agree to a condo because it's still a complex type of situation, either that or a suite hotel. A kitchen would make things easier overall.

I like the idea of the kids seeing where their DSis and DBil live though my guess is they'll still be in their current apartment while still house hunting. They're having a lot of trouble finding a place where they don't get outbid even when they're offering full price because investors from around the world are buying up the properties for cash while they have a mortgage (yes pre-approved but still a mortgage). So, the girls likely won't see their DSis' and DBil's permanent house. If we go to WDW we'll definitely pay their way to join us.

JetBlue has some nonstop flights from Boston into Long Beach airport for about the same price as flying into LAX. It's cheaper to fly SWA into LAX compared to the JB flights and the flights into the other 3 airports are more expensive than the JB flights but there aren't any nonstops with SWA from any of the airports in my area to any of the 4 airports in the LA area.

I need to start making lists. That'll help me feel more in control I think.
 

clanmcculloch

expert on dietary needs and disney dining
Pam, that place looks nice. I think that's the type of place we'll be looking for. I just need to choose a location. I need to ask my DSD about Huntington beach but I think there was something about it that she told me back when she was in school in Long Beach. Maybe it was that it was the best beach on that end of Pacific Coast Highway but I don't think that was it. I'll have to check. That is a good thought about being by the beach.
 

toodles

Member
Mousesavers.com highly recommends Huntington beach. When I was debating whether to do WDW again or go out to DLR/LA, I remember reading that on their site. I also think a suite hotel with a kitchen would be easy. Staybridge Suites through Hilton are nice. DH and I stayed at one in NOLA.
 

clanmcculloch

expert on dietary needs and disney dining
We've stayed at Staybridge Suites before and I agree that they're nice. I remember one time we were trying to decide on nightly stopping points when driving between Ottawa ON and Kansas City MO and we ended up choosing stopping points based on where there was a Staybridge Suites. We're such goofs.
 

bnoble

he's right
Two thoughts.

One: go to California. It's neat. Worth the trip.

Two: Plan to do less, not more, while you are there. If you are bored, you can find more things to do. But, you won't be bored. So, cut San Diego. Heck, you could even cut Disneyland. Just go and hang by the beach. No worries.
 

clanmcculloch

expert on dietary needs and disney dining
Brian, I know you're right. I know I HAVE to plan for not doing a lot. Even at WDW where it's so familiar we can only go to parks 2 days in a row before we have to do a full resort day and even our park days are only half days. I was pointing this out to DH last week when he was talking about all the things we can do. I do think we'll do DL but we're definitely cutting SD. After talking with the kids, they don't even want to do Universal or really any other theme park I don't think. I still think I need to come up with a list of activities but I do think we'll be scheduling a lot of down time just relaxing.
 

bnoble

he's right
FWIW, we spent a full week in Anaheim, and only did DL, DCA, and a short half-day at KBF. That's without any complications. Don't worry, just hang out with one another away from your daily lives.
 

nolarookie

Well-known member
You'll have a great time. Go ahead and plan your heart out. You know that'll make you more comfortable about the the whole thing. I had very good experiences renting condos on vrbo, and a lot of the listings have local management companies.
 

DisneyMom

Nice grab; this username is going to be worth more
I feel your pain. Trying to plan the same trip, but 10 days. Stressing about whether to book air out of Manchester or wait to see if a better sale shows up from a closer airport. And feeling I can't plan anything else if I don't have air booked. I keep saying I'm going to wait one more day, but at some point, I think that will be too late and I'll have to come up with a different vacation...
 

BlountFam5

New member
So glad you are going to stick with the trip to LA! It will be great to see DH's DD and you will get to explore and tell about DL. I agree wth Brian, there is so much to do that if you plan minimally and add on if you need to, you will be fine.

Now, good luck calmingyour own anxieties about what to do while there.
 
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