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Help with 2 week Itinerary for Family after Disneyland pls??

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Victoria, Australia
Level Contributor
763 posts
15 reviews
Help with 2 week Itinerary for Family after Disneyland pls??

Hi there!

I am trying to plan our first family trip to the USA at the start of April next year.

We will be 2 Mums, 1 Grandmother (pretty fit) and 3 kids ages 8 to 12.

We will be travelling for a total of 2 weeks coming from Australia and flying in & out of Los Angeles.

We want to do a mix of kids activities, visit beaches, see beautiful scenery, eat nice food and see some nightlife.......

Our first thing on the "to do list" is of course take the kids to Disneyland! Thinking we will get a 3 or 4 day hopper pass and maybe do this over a period of 6 or 7 days....

We would be needing a full day to get over the jet lag and then thought might visit Disney on alternate days & do something else on the days inbetween?

Thinking probably a total of 7 nights staying in Anaheim?

Then maybe flying to Las Vegas and visit the Grand Canyon for maybe 4 nights?

Not sure if this is enough time or too much time in Vegas - what else is there to do there with kids?

Then fly to San Diego and maybe stay there for 3 nights - see the Zoo and not sure what else?

Then I am assuming that we can get a transfer from San Diego to LAX to fly back home?

As this is our first time, we are not really sure what we should do to best use our time. So any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks :)

West Hollywood...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
Level Contributor
26,878 posts
61 reviews
1. Re: Help with 2 week Itinerary for Family after Disneyland pls??

I'll just say that you've skipped over the entire city of Los Angeles (the second-largest city in the U.S.) -- well, except for the part about flying in and out of LAX (LAX is in Los Angeles). Are you saying that you planned to transfer in and out of Los Angeles from Anaheim on the days that you weren't going to be visiting DL?

I'm assuming that you won't have a car. Is that right? If so, taking public transit in and out of the city of L.A. from Anaheim on alternating days is going to get tiring. Why not spend 3 nights in Anaheim and 3 or 4 nights in L.A. and then you can walk (in Anaheim) to DL and use public transit (in L.A.) to see the sights.

Here's a map of the various cities and the Grand Canyon that might be helpful:


Okay, let's look at the map:

1. The circles that are all piled up at the 9 o'clock position on the map are common tourist attractions in and around the CITY of Los Angeles. (The legend for the map -- which identifies each point -- is in the upper left corner of the page)

2. Point "F" (below and to the right of L.A.) is Disneyland in Anaheim

3. Point "G" (below and to the right of Disneyland) is San Diego.

4. Las Vegas is in the upper center of the map and Grand Canyon National Park is to its right (a 4-1/2 hour ride from Las Vegas). You can do 'day trips' to the GC from LV but that's 9 hours in a bus -- not recommended. So that means, 2 of your "Las Vegas" days will be spent exploring the GC and that's fine because 2 days in LV is plenty -- especially with children (who can't drink or gamble or go to many of the 'evening activities').

So, let's look at Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Diego. By train, it's a 45 minute train ride from L.A. to Anaheim and a 2 hour train ride from Anaheim to San Diego. This would suggest that it might make sense to use the train to transfer between the three cities so that you can stay put in L.A. for 3 or 4 days then transfer to Anaheim and stay put for 3 or 4 days and then transfer to San Diego. Of course, you can do this in either direction.

One option that might work for you would be to visit Los Angeles first (it's the closest to LAX), then fly to Las Vegas (and do your excursion to the GC) then fly from LV to San Diego, stay there for a few days, take the train to Anaheim (visit DL for 3 days) and then take the Disneyland Express bus to LAX for your return.

Our TOP QUESTIONS box at the right side of this page talks extensively about the CITY of Los Angeles and its immediate neighbors (Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, etc) including 'neighborhood overviews', 'itinerary ideas' and 'public transit tips'. The best way to plan your vacation is to select the attractions you want to visit and then decide how many days you'll spend in each area in order to see these attractions. You seem to be doing it the opposite way: deciding on the number of days to spend in each area and then finding things to do in those areas during those days.

Take a look at the TOP QUESTIONS and get a feel for Los Angeles and its neighbors and then check back with us with your more focused questions.

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
Level Contributor
15,164 posts
58 reviews
2. Re: Help with 2 week Itinerary for Family after Disneyland pls??

When you say Vegas and the Grand Canyon for four nights, do you mean Vegas for four nights with a day trip to the Grand Canyon? Be advised that Vegas is pretty oriented towards adults, I'm not sure your kids would be happy there for that much time.

As for San Diego - there's plenty to do there - the Zoo, the other museums in Balboa Park, Sea World and possibly the Safari Park, for starters.

You can transfer from San Diego to LAX, the easiest way is to take the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train from one of the two stations in San Diego to Union Station in downtown LA (www.amtrak.com), and then from Union Station you can take the FlyAway bus to LAX.

Victoria, Australia
Level Contributor
763 posts
15 reviews
3. Re: Help with 2 week Itinerary for Family after Disneyland pls??

Thanks for your quick replies, much appreciated :)

Re getting back to you when I have more "focused" questions............. well as I mentioned, we have never been to California and we are asking for advice on how to best utilise our time and what to do & see in our 2 week stay. We are only in the very first stages of planning so we still have a lot to learn about the place before we can decide, that is why I am on here asking questions!!

The one thing that I definately know for sure is that the 1st thing we want to do is take the kids to Disneyland!! So our first stop for accommodation will be Anaheim.

Thinking we will need at least 3 days at Disneyland and 1 full day at the start to get over the jet lag - so based on your info that the distance from Anaheim to other sightseeing places in LA is at least a 45 minute train ride, then maybe 4 nights in Anaheim would be more appropriate??

The other places on our "draft" "to see & do list" are as follows:


Beverley Hills

Santa Monica

Venice Beach

Catalina Island

San Diego

San Diego Zoo

Seaworld at San Diego

Las Vegas - want to see all the glitz and lights & maybe a show or 2 (we have 3 adults so we can share the babysitting so adults can have some "adult time"!!!

Grand Canyon


leave off Vegas & Grand Canyon & go to San Francisco instead?

Golden Gate Bridge


Ride in a Cable Car

So no idea how much of this is possible to do in 2 weeks in a leisurely fashion, or whether some of these places are not worth going to??!!

We don't want to be on the road busily sightseeing all the time, we want to be able to relax and take in the surrounds for all of us to enjoy......

Thanks again!

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
465 posts
8 reviews
4. Re: Help with 2 week Itinerary for Family after Disneyland pls??

For 2 weeks I would concentrate on Southern California only. Anaheim, San Diego and Los Angeles. LA is a fantastic city with so much to see and do but it does take some planning to use your time effectively.

Are you willing to rent a car? With 6 of you I would highly recommend you do.

I would suggest 5 days Anaheim, 5 Days San Diego & 4 days LA.

Victoria, Australia
Level Contributor
763 posts
15 reviews
5. Re: Help with 2 week Itinerary for Family after Disneyland pls??

Possibly would rent a car - bit unsure about the driving on the wrong side of the road and all the traffic tho!!! We live in a small country town LOL!!!

I guess it would be more cost effective to hire a car?

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
465 posts
8 reviews
6. Re: Help with 2 week Itinerary for Family after Disneyland pls??

You get used to the car think really quickly - honestly. Aussies, Kiwis & Brits do it all the time. Get a GPS, or take you own (download USA maps of course).

Public transport times 6 will certainly add up and eats into your time as well. You could easily manage the Anaheim stay without a car though.

If you look at www.traveljigsaw.com.au or www.carhire3000.com they provide quotes that include ALL necessary insurances and no one way drop off fees. Your standard travel insurance or Credit Card insurance is not sufficient for renting Cardin the USA.

Anaheim, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
Level Contributor
24,253 posts
13 reviews
7. Re: Help with 2 week Itinerary for Family after Disneyland pls??

Visit Catalina Island during your Anaheim segment, as that would be the closest to the main docks (Newport Beach/Balboa Pier and Long Beach) that go to Avalon.

Level Contributor
5,123 posts
9 reviews
8. Re: Help with 2 week Itinerary for Family after Disneyland pls??

You do have a lot on the agenda!

SF and LV are both top tourist destinations so you just need to decide what you prefer. We always loved going to SF as kids and riding the cable cars, etc. but your kids can have lots of fun in LV as well.

Please read through a recent thread where we get into the pros and cons of LV and how it can best be visited with kids. It also gets into where to visit in the Grand Canyon. I make my main suggestions in posts 12 and 24 and provide a pretty comprehensive list of things to do safely with kids. Two main points I have that maybe that poster did not get is DO NOT WALK YOUR KIDS AROUND ON THE STRIP and DO NOT TAKE THEM TO SEE SIRENS. There are other good comments from others as well so I encourage you to read all the posts. tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g32780-i445-k62073…

Level Contributor
5,123 posts
9 reviews
9. Re: Help with 2 week Itinerary for Family after Disneyland pls??

I would also rethink a visit to Venice Beach with kids. Most posters on TA agree it is not a place to take children. Please read reviews, the negative and some positive are very telling as to why many do not want to take their children there. Then you can make an informed decision as to whether you really want to take your kids to Venice Beach. tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g32655-d10…

10. Re: Help with 2 week Itinerary for Family after Disneyland pls??

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