Title: Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood Family Trip with the Itinerary, Los Angeles, California
Preparation: Address: Disneyland: 1313 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802 Universal Studios Hollywood: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608 Itinerary: Family: 2 Adults, 2 Kids - one teen, one elementary student. Disneyland Tickets: bought 2-day Park Hopper ticket with Disney MaxPass, about $300/person; in total $1250 from getawaytoday.com website. Universal Studios Hollywood Tickets: bought the CA residents ticket from its website. about $125/person. total for 4: around $500 This ticket does not come with Fastpass. Upgrade to have express access, it might cost you extra $110 - 170 / ticket 5 days: Disneyland 2 days. Hotel: Majestic Garden Hotel. 3 nights, $665 (include $18 parking/night), queen double beds, no free breakfast, booked from booking.com, about 0.5 mile walking distance to the Disneyland entrance. Universal Studio 1 day. Hotel: Holiday Inn Express North Hollywood. Queen double beds, $250 (include $9 parking /night), including free breakfast, booked from priceline. Called the hotel and confirmed 2 adults and 2 kids were OK. If a kid is older than 17, then he / she needs to have a separate room. day 1: Drove to Anaheim Los Angeles from the Bay Area, 7.5 hours, checked in at Majestic Garden Hotel ==> day 2: To Disneyland by taking Majestic Garden Hotel's shuttle (free, about 3 minutes driving) in the morning ==> took the shuttle back to the hotel at night day 3: To Disneyland by taking hotel shuttle in the morning ==> took the shuttle back to the hotel at night day 4: Checked out from the hotel early in the morning, drove 36 miles to Universal Studios, put General Parking as the GPS destination. When your car enters, you can ask for "Preferred Parking" (Frankenstein Garage). It only takes you a couple of minutes to reach the entrance. $40 / day day 5: Drove home. If you check out early, you can visit some other interest places in the morning. It took about 7.5 hours to drive back home.
General opinion: Install the "Disneyland' app which has the white castle logo on your phone and create an account in advance. If you have bought the Park hopper Maxpass ticket, once you check-in in the entrance and get the printed out tickets, link the ticket's barcode numbers with your app. As long as one of your family members can install the app and link the tickets numbers, then you will be OK. Be aware, not all activities accept Fastpass. You can only book one Fastpass at a time on your phone.
Attractions and activities: In Disneyland, there are 9 sections: 1. Main Street: from the entrance to the front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle 2. Adventureland Indiana Jones' adventure: this is a great one. It has sound, music, lights and the scene together to make the 3 minutes journey wonderful. It's not a dramatic rollercoaster. It's tolerable for minimum height kids (46'' / 117cm) or the elders. ***** 3. New Orleans Square Pirates of the Caribbean: this is the best ride in this section. I enjoyed it very much although it was a 75 minutes wait in the line, some of the waiting was not in the shaded area, quite hot and sweat but along the waiting line there are drinking fountains available. Along the 5 minutes journey, you can see all different kinds of pirates shows and scenes that look like real people talking, singing, moving. It is really fun. The building architecture is very special. Although it is underground, it makes you feel that you were really sailing the boat in the wild sea and the ceiling looks like the night sky. ***** 4. Critter Country: Splash Mountain, Winnie the Pooh adventure, etc. 5. Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Not completed the construction yet. But Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is open. It simulates you fly the Millennium Falcon on a thrilling interactive smuggling mission. The ride of the VR in the Millennium Falcon is awesome. When you are onboarding, you will be asked for playing the role of pilot, engineers, etc. The experience was really great for us. Although it is VR, it does not cause your motion sick. see https://disneyland.disney.go.com/attractions/disneyland/millennium-falcon-smugglers-run/. It is quite popular. The waiting line was about 75 minutes, and it does not accept Fastpass. 38'' or taller Kids, Teens, Adults can play. ***** 6. Frontierland: Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia, etc. We did not get time to try these. (to be continued in Lodge section)
Dining: Both Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood allow you to bring snacks, sandwiches, fruits, water. Having fruits is important. The food cost can be varied and it really depends on how you plan for your meal. If you know the hotel does not provide free breakfast, you could buy breads, other pastries, juice, cereals, sausages, etc in advance thus you will save money. Lunch and dinner at Disneyland, we bought icecreams ($5 - $7), Burgers or turkey legs ( about $12 / each), but also brought our own sandwiches, snacks, fruits. In Universal Studios Hollywood, we ate at Harry Potter section, the "Three Brooms stick" restaurant, cost about $20 / person, bought popular rootbeers, about $9 / cup. The decoration style is similar to the style we've seen in the Harry Potter movie. Very special. Food is the England traditional food. They tasted good.
Lodge: Cont. 7. Fantasyland "It's a small world": really lovely place. With wonderful music, the moving audio-animatronic dolls are dressed in traditional costumes from cultures around the world, which makes you feel the peaceful, wonderful small world. The inside, outside design and the architecture are so beautiful with the white, golden color and the moving mini characters. This is definitely a must-see. The standby line was just 20 minutes. ***** Peter Pan's Flight: it is the best and most beautiful ride although the waiting line is also the longest in this section. The ride is an electric cart 2 or 3 persons can ride. The electric line is above your head and makes you feel you are flying over a very beautiful land, the neverland where all the impossible things happen. It has all the beautiful stars in the night sky. I would go for this ride again if I get a chance next time. A must-see. ***** Fantasyland Theatre: worth to spend 20 minutes to see the show. Fantasyland is a good place to experience if you have never been to Disneyland before. Rides such as Snow White, Pinocchio's Daring Journey, Peter Pan, Alice in the Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, etc. All rides are good for young age kids. Teenage might enjoy too if they have never been here. 8. Mickey's Toontown: for toddlers or babies. There are Mickey's house, Minnie's house where usually has long waiting lines to see Mickey, Minnie. 9. Tomorrowland Space Mountain, warning, if you are not used to the intensive thrilling rollercoaster, do not go. This ride has dramatic turns, shakes. It has music, light scene. Teenage boys say this is a good one. Universal Studios Hollywood part: http://www.youishare.com/search/yanz/Universal_Studios_Hollywood_with_Itinerary__Los_Angeles__California/MTQ1OnlhbnotMTA2 We booked the Majestic Garden hotel. My family liked it. It is very spacious and decorated well. The hotel Holiday Inn Express North Hollywood is also spacious. It is good. It provides good free breakfast.
Things I wish I had known before: 1. Install the Disneyland App, Univeral Studios Hollywood App in advance. 2. Go early if you could. The earliest time can be 8 am in Disneyland. The earlier, the shorter of the waiting line. 3. With the MaxPass ticket, you can reserve FastPass for some popular activities or rides on your phone. You can also free download pictures if you or your kids have taken pictures with some lovely Cartoon Figures there. 4. Although we bought the MaxPass we were not able to book many FastPasses we wished. Some activities do not take FastPass such as Star Wars. Some of the lines are around 20 minutes. It was OK for us. 5. The fireworks show is around Sleeping Beauty Castle. Start at 9:30 pm, last about 20 minutes. Before 8:30 pm, you need to go to the grass area in front of the Castle to find a good place to watch the show.