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Disneyland, New Years Eve, Honeymoon.


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Ok, I have been doing some research but I thought I would get some help from some of my fellow theme park nerds. My wife-to-be and I are planning our honeymoon in Southern California from Dec. 30th through Jan. 7th. We are driving down on the 30th, and doing Disneyland on NYE, and doing a 3,4,or 5 day park hopper, not quite sure yet [i don't think 3 is enough, she thinks 5 is way too much, it'll probably end up being 4]. We also want to spend the day at Universal Hollywood, and hopefully we have enough to splurge on their VIP package. Neither of us have been there in years so it'll be fun. We also want to do the Pirate Adventure Dinner near Knott's one night.

 

Ok on to the questions/requested advice:

 

1) can anyone give us any other great ideas for a Socal Honeymoon in the winter?

2) I need tips/advice/help on how to plan for and handle DL on NYE. I hear it's crazy. I know we need to be there by 10am latest, preferably 8 or 9, because the park reaches capacity early. Is there a prime spot to "occupy" for the countdown celebration? I know there will be fireworks and music, is that viewable/audible all over the park? Also, I want to make some dinner reservations for NYE, and was thinking of trying to pick a restaurant somewhere near the same general area we want to be for the NYE countown, and basically stay around there from after dinner till midnight. I think I also heard somehow there may be some kind of reservations that include priority seating for a show? anyone know more about that.

3) Does anyone have any insider info/ advice/ experience with the USH VIP tickets? Anything we should know [are they totally not worth it?]

 

Mainly it's the Disneyland stuff I'm looking for help on... but thanks for any and all advice I can get!!!

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I went last year for New Years Eve.

 

Pre book your tickets, I arrived at 3.00pm with no issues

 

I got on every ride I wanted to by using the single rider and fast pass system.

 

Do world of color at midnight instead of the Disneyland fireworks, see the 10.00pm firework with the snow.

 

The place is insane, but I had a great night. Enjoy

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We do Disneyland for NYE every year ... or we have for the past 5 or 6 years.

 

Well, I should say we do DCA. We've never done "Disneyland" at Midnight as it's just too crazy.

 

The Midnight WoC last year was AMAZING. They did the fireworks at midnight that included some fire and the WoC fountains, and then did the regular WoC show.

 

They do Fastpass tickets for the midnight show, so make sure if you go that route you get them. We got ours around noon last year and it was fine.

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I have done Disneyland on NYE multiple times and I am planning to do it again this year (DCA though). The crowds have always been crazy, but the level of insanity has been largely dependent on the weather that day. If it is rainy, there will be less crowds. The first year we did Disneyland in front of the castle and it was crazy but fun! We were near the hub around 10 and pretty much were stuck there for 2 hours. Everyone was literally on top of each other. Each year since then we have done DCA, which even without WOC, has been awesome! You can drink there, walk around freely and the atmosphere is more like a party. It is still crowded over there but not nearly as bad. I hear the WOC on NYE is great!

 

I totally agree about buying your tickets early, preferably before you leave. Twice they had stopped selling tickets to DL and only had DCA left from about 4-9. As far as eating, there are not really any places near the castle that you can eat with a reservation. The seating at the casual places will be taken up quickly as people park there for the night. You could shoot for Blue Bayou or Cafe Orleans in the early evening and then head over to the castle to wait out the midnight show. The best view is in the hub around the castle or down Main Street, I personally don't think the fireworks are that viewable anywhere else and the "midnight show" will be at the castle. After midnight, a lot of people leave and you can enjoy a few short lines before the park closes.

 

They say the weeks around Christmas and New Year's are the busiest, but I am sure if you get to the parks early and are smart about using FastPass, you will get most everything in during your 3 or 4 days.

 

Elissa is right about Big Bear, it is nice and romantic. You could also do a beach. It may be cold but it is still romantic to stay at the beach.

 

I have not done the VIP tour at Universal but I have heard really good things about it.

 

One more thing, Goldstar sometimes has cheap tickets for the Pirate thing. I would keep an eye on that site.

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If our tickets aren't gifted to us for the wedding [our registry is honeyfund which is basically money for the honeymoon, or tickets etc.], we will definitely pre-book for sure.

 

One thing I forgot to mention, is because I work for Hilton, I get to stay virtually for free at the Hilton Anaheim [there was no comp rate available for the first 2 nights because of NYE, so we have to pay a little bit for those nights]. So we are locked in on where we are staying, and are basically looking for things driving distance from Disneyland.

 

Not that I don't appreciate the suggestion Elissa, thanks.

 

Things on the list so far: Hollywood walk of fame [neither of us have ever been there, or down hollywood blvd in general]

The Getty Museum, that really famous theater in hollywood [i forgot the name], Venice Beach/Canals, and Rodeo Drive maybe.

 

Thanks for the info so far though. Sounds like we really need to make a decision between DL and the Castle for the countdown, or DCA and WoC... anyone else want to try and sway our decision, or just have experiences/info about the 2?

 

I DEFINITELY want to make dinner reservations for that night somewhere in one of the parks, and even if it's not near where we want to be for the evening, it should probably be in the same park [hmm... maybe I'll make a reservation in both parks and pick which one to cancel a few days before...]

 

Anyway, hoping there's a little more input, maybe bumping this up the list will help... thanks alot!!

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Hollywood:

The Walk of Fame stretches 1 mile on both sides of Hollywood Blvd, and is largely populated by people you have never heard of. There is even a Michael Jackson that isn't 'Michael Jackson' (which was interesting the day the real MJ passed; the OTHER MJ was getting flowers too!).

"Famous Theater:" The Chinese Theater? The El Capitan? Either way, they are across the street from each other and ON the walk of fame! 2 birds, 1 stone!

Truth be told, Hollywood is kind of crappy and usually is a letdown to most guests (especially if you are staying in the Disney bubble). Plan on spending really no more than 2 hours in the Hollywood area. That will be more than enough.

 

The Getty Museum: You can easily spend a half day up there, it depends on your love for art. It has amazing views of the city, as well.

 

Rodeo Drive: Cool to see to 'say you saw' but once again it is only a 1 or 2 hour trip. Most of the stores that were once considered exclusive to the area can be found at any high-end mall nation wide. The stores are small by todays standards and the attitude is HUGE!

 

Venice Beach Canals: The canals are not the draw they once were, but are nonetheless nice. The beach itself is pretty interesting too. Definitely a unique feel that you can't find elsewhere. Lately, the focus is on pot doctors and bong stores. It's cool, but looses its steam within a good hour of your visit. A good alternative would be to visit the Naples area of Long Beach. It's more upscale and quite a bit more romantic. The Newport Beach Amusement Zone is close by to fill out a trip to that area as well.

 

So in short, you can plan to have the Hollywood attractions, Beverly Hills, Getty Museum, and Venice Beach last ONE DAY. It will be a pretty packed day though as the drives between the attractions average about 30 minutes. I would recommend Venice Beach -> Getty -> Hollywood Blvd. The first two attractions require daytime, Hollywood does not.

 

Regarding Elissas recommendation to go to Big Bear...if you are Skiers and are looking for something different, this is still an easy choice. No joke, parking lot to parking lot is just about 2 hours. Friends and visitors that have done this have really left their vacations with an 'epic' feel. Where else can you do a beach, Disney, and skiing in ONE trip?

 

If you would like to take any Culinary adventures, by all means please post your tastes here as well!

 

If you have any other q's please ask! Directing people to fun in LA is part of my job, and I enjoy it!

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Thank you so much Chris, that's alot of very good info for us! And yeah I beleive I meant the Chineese theater.

 

You know, I would love some suggestions on inexpensive yet good restaurants around the Disneyland area, say Chineese, Japanese, and mexican. We just really aren't quite sure of our budget yet though.

 

Thanks again! Too all of youthat have posted so far.

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I have done all of these mentioned, they are all amazing things things to do. If your a huge fan of Walt Disney, maybe take a drive by his studio in Burbank, just to say you have seen the studio, you can find the address online. I also like to go get lost in the Hollywood hills and see if I can figure out how to find my way back out, plus there are some breathtaking views from up in the hills, and if your one of those people that are interested in like celebrity homes.

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well my TPR friends, we are here and ready for a long and crazy day tomorrow at disney. We didn't get a chance to pre-book tickets, but I am at Hilton Anaheim and am going down to the front desk FIRST thing in the morning [7:15 am] to get 3 day park-hoppers. There's a rumor they might have the Just Married buttons at the disneyland desk here at the hotel. The plan is to head straight to DCA before they open so we can get fast passes for the WoC midnight show. Not sure if we are going to try and park-hop tomorrow or just stay in DCA the whole day... I have reservations for dinner at 5:30 [i think] at the Wine Country Trattoria. We are planning on sticking around that end of the park from then on for the midnight show.

 

It looks like we will be around SoCal until next Friday, but we have a pretty good plan on stuff to do... anyone with more advice is welcome to chime in though... thanks!

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I would NOT recommend the Pirates Dinner show. We have the same one here in Orlando, and the food is VERY sub par and the show is also not that great. I would say find a nice restaurant to enjoy a really good meal. I'm not from the area, but I am sure lots of So Cal people can recommend a good place to dine.

 

Happy 2012!

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