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jakecallan
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Hey everyone

 

So me and my family are setting off to California for the first time next week, we will be there from the 23rd October to the 3rd November and I just had a few questions that if you guys could help me with, would be really great.

 

So first off the dates, we chose the dates based on our trip to Florida a couple of years ago, we found that the the October half term (in England) was an extremely quite time and the whole time we were there we pretty much experienced no queuing. I was just wondering if it was likely to be the case in LA too?

 

Secondly we want to do the main 5 theme parks (being DL, CA, NF, US and SFMM) I hadn't realized till recently that Six Flags will only be open on the weekends so my question is what day would be best for it and would flash pass be the best option? For the rest of the parks we were just going to do them midweek from Monday to Thursday again is this the best way to go?

 

Now for cars, our original plan had been to just get taxis everywhere as me and my dad don't really want to drive, my dad hates driving on holiday, I'm not sure how comfortable I would be driving on a foreign road as I have only driven for a year. However if a car really is the best option I would much rather rent one.

 

Lastly, I really don't know too much about the place. Were staying in the Universal Hilton but other then the theme parks if any of you guys know of places that shouldn't be missed or any hidden gems it would be great to hear them.

 

Any of your advice is much appreciated!

 

Jake

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Now for cars, our original plan had been to just get taxis everywhere as me and my dad don't really want to drive, my dad hates driving on holiday, I'm not sure how comfortable I would be driving on a foreign road as I have only driven for a year. However if a car really is the best option I would much rather rent one.

 

You'll definitely, definitely want a car. As someone who's also used to driving on the left, it's not too hard to get used to driving on the opposite side of the road. For my last few trips I've booked cars via rentalcars.com - they're just an agent but include all the insurances in their quote, so no haggling at the rental counter.

 

Also doesn't matter which day you visit, always get at least a Gold Flash Pass at SFMM. Always worth it.

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Now for cars, our original plan had been to just get taxis everywhere as me and my dad don't really want to drive, my dad hates driving on holiday, I'm not sure how comfortable I would be driving on a foreign road as I have only driven for a year. However if a car really is the best option I would much rather rent one.

LA is not a "taxi city" like New York, Las Vegas or London. Everyone has cars and you can't just go get a taxi on the street. They would all have to be called in advance and usually take a long time to arrive almost 100% of the will be late. They are also VERY expensive since LA isn't a taxi city.

 

As far as public transportation goes, or transportation for tourists, Los Angeles is one of the worst cities in the world. You pretty much either HAVE to rent a car or expect to pay a TON of money to get around.

 

You're probably looking at a $200 taxi ride to go from Magic Mountain to Knott's, just to give you an idea.

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I was surprised at how cheap it was to rent a car in L.A. (compared to renting one in New York at least). It's definitely the way to go. Getting a cab in L.A. (especially going to Magic Mountain) would be insanely expensive like Robb said, especially because L.A. traffic is legendary and I could absolutely see you sitting on the 405 for hours throughout the course of this vacation just watching the meter run up when you're not even going anywhere.

 

If you rent a car though your dad should drive. Since you're under 25 the price of renting the car will go way up... I was a week away from turning 25 and they still doubled the price on me (which I expected, but it was still annoying). Also... if you get a chance go to the Santa Monica Pier. They have a coaster credit and it's a nice place to spend an evening by the ocean and get something to eat.

 

Edit: Some of the parks will be very crowded since it's near Halloween. I highly suggest skip the line programs and at Magic Mountain a gold or even Platinum Flash pass might be recommended (if you want the re-rides).

Edited by coasterbill
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Go to SFMM on Sunday if you can. Someone posted this past Saturday there was 34,000 people at SFMM!

 

Also, if you can't rent a car...Uber is probably you best/cheapest form of transportation. As Robb said, public transportation is limited in LA.

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Let's see if I can offer you some advice...

 

So first off the dates, we chose the dates based on our trip to Florida a couple of years ago, we found that the the October half term (in England) was an extremely quite time and the whole time we were there we pretty much experienced no queuing. I was just wondering if it was likely to be the case in LA too?

 

This depends on the park and when you're visiting. The Disney parks are always busy, so expect crowds there. SFMM tends to vary since their Halloween event is not a separate ticket, so since you're visiting close to Halloween it may be busy and will absolutely be packed on Saturdays (definitely plan on a Flash Pass, but don't buy until you arrive). If you're visiting as a day guest, USH and KBF shouldn't be too bad, but if you're planning to go to their nighttime haunt events expect crowds.

 

Secondly we want to do the main 5 theme parks (being DL, CA, NF, US and SFMM) I hadn't realized till recently that Six Flags will only be open on the weekends so my question is what day would be best for it and would flash pass be the best option? For the rest of the parks we were just going to do them midweek from Monday to Thursday again is this the best way to go?

 

For SFMM, go either Friday, October 24th or one of the two Sundays you are here. I doubt it will be dead, but it shouldn't be unreasonably busy. Avoid both Saturdays and Halloween (Friday, October 31st) as the park may get close to capacity on those days. Since you are coming from out of the country, I would recommend purchasing a Flash Pass unless you discover lines are only 10-15 minutes. I recommend Gold as Platinum is outrageously expensive and will make everyone in line mad at you with double rides. Full Throttle is not available with Gold, so definitely ride this first (even before picking up the pass) and X2 is an upcharge, so if you don't want to pay ride it mid-afternoon (3-5 P.M.) for the shortest waits.

 

For the other parks, visiting Monday through Thursday would definitely be the best option. Disneyland won't be dead, but probably won't be too busy (aka 30 minutes for headliners). If you use Fastpass effectively and have a touring plan, it shouldn't be too difficult to do everything of note at both parks in two days. USH is small enough that even on a crowded day it's easy to do everything, but I wouldn't expect it to be too busy for day visitors. In the event that it is crowded, all three lower lot rides have single rider lines that will save a lot of time. For Knott's, unless there is an event going on it will probably be completely dead on a weekday (you probably won't have more than a 3 train wait for anything). Also, if you decide to spend a third day at Disney and have to do a park on Halloween, Knott's is probably your safest bet.

 

Now for cars, our original plan had been to just get taxis everywhere as me and my dad don't really want to drive, my dad hates driving on holiday, I'm not sure how comfortable I would be driving on a foreign road as I have only driven for a year. However if a car really is the best option I would much rather rent one.

 

As everyone else has said, you need a car for effective travel in Southern California. If you rely on public transportation, expect travel times to be doubled or tripled, and if you use taxis you could end up paying a week's worth of rental costs for one day's worth of taxi service. You'll need your dad to drive the rental car as the prices for drivers under 25 are sky high, and don't forget to factor in traffic when traveling on weekdays (I usually double the estimated time or add an hour, whichever is less). Fortunately, all of Southern California's major parks are easy to get to.

 

Lastly, I really don't know too much about the place. Were staying in the Universal Hilton but other then the theme parks if any of you guys know of places that shouldn't be missed or any hidden gems it would be great to hear them.

 

As coasterbill suggested, if you want to go to the beach head out to Santa Monica (you could even do this after USH). Other than that, I just know of the typical tourist stuff in the LA area (Walk of Fame, Getty Center, La Brea Tar Pits, etc.) so you may want to do a search on TripAdvisor or similar and see what might be interesting to do on non-park days.

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I haven't got the time to respond to you all individually but thank you all very much for your advice it is very much appreciated, I have taken it all on board and hopefully it will lead to a smother trip and ill keep you all updated on how it goes. Once again thanks a lot!

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