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Driving to parks in California?


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^^ Rush "Hour" in LA during the week is from about 5:30am to probably 9:00pm.

 

I was going to say that I think rush "hour" is more like 3-9pm...but then I realize you said 5:30am and not 5:30pm. ...and I have to agree!

 

The 5 freeway, which is pretty much what most of the parks are off of, is a disaster during all day light hours and evenings with the exception of Sunday morning.

 

Anaheim is a nice hub for a "So Cal Parks" trip if you'd like to stay in 1 hotel for the whole trip.

 

I'd plan at least 2 hours to get to Sea World. And about 2.5 hours to get to Magic if your visiting during the week. 2 hours on the weekend. (And I definitely recommend the 710N/10W/5N detour...will cut 10 minutes easily out of traffic). I'd even plan 30 minute travel time for the 6 mile journey to Knott's from Disneyland area.

 

Whoops forgot about Universal...About 1.5-2 hours should be decent enough time.

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^^^ I guess it depends on which qualities you value more in your fellow drivers.

 

In my experience, California drivers are more aggressive, but they're also (for the most part) more alert. (Which is also describes how I drive. Guess where I'm from.)

 

California driving is different than most other places, but which you prefer probably says more about you than about the actual place.

 

For example, my personal driving hell is North Carolina, where you might actually have to run into someone else's car two or three times to get them to realize that someone else is sharing the road with them.

 

/First in Flight

//Last in Driving

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All I can say for L.A. driving is this: get a rental with good acceleration and keep up! Then once you're on the highway, pay attention and try to look several cars ahead to see what's going on because the traffic can come to a halt in a hurry.

 

Quite a few entry points to the highway require you to get up to speed and get over in a short period of time. (The short clover leaf-style entries aren't cute). The drivers won't be gracious enough to let you in if you're driving like a turtle, so you need to be at a speed to merge with traffic.

 

Driving in the Orlando-tampa area is a lot better than driving in L.A.... it's not until you get to South Florida (esp Miami) where they start driving like fools and then it's like driving in L.A. The big difference is the speed and stopping without warning. In South florida, you could pretty much fly up and down the highway and the only thing you need to worry about is other drivers that don't pay attention and slowly move towards the fast lane not paying attention or people jumping three lanes across the highway to make an exit. Florida is notorious for people not paying attention to anything on the road... including construction signs to move over because the lane will end. L.A. gets so condensed, you better off not trying to drive fast because traffic will abruptly stop and you'll easily ram someone if you're not careful.

 

Also I found that staying at different hotels closer to where you want to be helps out a lot. I usually end up staying at 2 or three different hotels mainly to avoid driving in heavy traffic when I'm trying to get to the park. That way, I can drive to another hotel after a park closes (after 9pm) and miss some of the heavy traffic; then my next hotel will be near the other park I want to visit.

 

Terry

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I also want to point out that in Window's original post about driving in So Cal that he specifically asked "Is it as easy as in Florida?" and some of my initial responses have been about that, but others have drifted off to taking about driving in parts of the use where THEY live, but not actually contributing any help to which the original poster was requesting.

 

I think Terrance's post was right on the money. Miami drivers are the closest thing I've seen to LA Drivers. But if you're comparing Orlando to Los Angeles, it's a VERY different world out there.

 

I find Orlando (and most of Florida outside of Miami for that matter) drivers to be courteous, laid back, and respectful of others on the road. If that is what your experience is driving in the US, then be prepared for driving in So Cal to be very different because I don't feel that most Los Angeles drivers display any of those traits.

 

--Robb

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^^^True, though Miami drivers can't seem to figure out what they want to do, hence the drivers jumping lanes. I think we have so many cultures where English is the second language compounds the problem on the roads. Just take it easy when going through the construction zones in Florida... some of these people can't read or won't get over until it's too late.

 

I think the worst exits are near Hollywood... could be wrong though.

 

For either city, just give yourself enough time to get over to the exit and when you get on the highway move out of the right lane to avoid the merging/exiting problems. Also when an emergency vehicle has its lights one you are supposed to, by law, slow down and move to the right. If you can't get over slow down to at least 20 miles under the speed limit so the vehicle can pass.

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Not a driving tip, but a sightseeing one. Depending on how much time you've scheduled for LA, you might consider getting a Go Los Angeles Card. The 3-day cards and up include SFMM, KBF, and multi-day admission to USH. They're not cheap (though they're often on sale, like now), but if you use them well, they can be great, because they also include admission to LOTS of cool tourist stuff, like an excellent walking tour of Hollywood, really worthwhile studio tours at Warner's and Paramount, and a bus tour of stars' homes. I did a week-long card last summer and it more than paid for itself, but required careful scheduling and - yes! - loads of driving.

 

Anyway, you might want to have a look.

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The transit system is lackluster... There are many different branches (city by city... but aren't they all that way? )

A lot of them stop nowhere NEAR park closing hours in a lot of cases, renting a car could be a good idea. Be advised, though. A lot of streets and highways in the SO CAL area (mostly hollywood and downtown LA, due to being older) are horrendous. Vekoma rides might be a bit less rough.

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^ I'm not sure what part of California you've been driving in, but that's not the norm and not what I would tell someone who is looking for advice for driving in California.

 

I've driven literally over 1 million miles in my driving career all over the world and California is where I call my driving "home" and I can tell you that people almost never use the turn signals, they almost never let you over when you do signal, and they are some of the rudest most inconsiderate drivers I've experienced.

 

The only part I have really been on is San Diego to SFMM which is about all that I imagine he will encounter.

 

I guess my opinions are just a contrast to what I am used to. While I find WV drivers to be very good, we are sandwiched in between Western PA and Ohio and both have some of the worst drivers I have ever seen this side of Texas. Throw in a handful of years in Tampa, and I find California drivers refreshing (has that ever been used to describe them before).

 

For pure hell, I highly recommend the experience of driving in Columbus, OH.

 

Anyway, I don't want to mislead the poster into thinking that driving in California is the same as Florida. It is not. But, it doesn't have to be a horror show either. As a park goer, I would imagine that the worst times to be out will be the same that he is in the park. Maybe that is why my view is skewed as well.

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