I hadn't thought of that, WITron - thanks for the tip. Once I settle on a particular rental company, I'll be sure to sign up for their program first.
It depends on the company, but for the most part you go to the website and sign up. Some companies may require that you have a Credit Card on file.
I don't know and I don't care if It's a Small World. It's a nice day when you wake up in Disneyland.
Just a thought for your second day (the one that includes the Getty and Hollywood): if you will have a car that day, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is not far from Hollywood and Highland. You can drive west on Hollywood Blvd. from Highland to La Brea (about 2 blocks or so), then go south on La Brea until Wilshire. There is a complex of several museums there that your daughter might enjoy. Maybe it's because we live in L.A., but we find that the whole Hollywood Blvd. thing (Chinese Theater, Walk of Fame, etc.) doesn't take very long to see; so if you have extra time, LACMA might be possible. Also, the El Capitan Theatre (next door to Disney's Soda Fountain) usually shows something fun starting at Thanksgiving. There will be a movie (this last year it was "The Muppets") and a little pre-show with characters (last year it was a carols sing-a-long with Kermit and Miss Piggy). You can leave the car at the Hollywood & Highland complex, then just go across the street. (The El Capitan validates.)
Here is the link: http://www.lacma.org/ -- there are 6 or 7 buildings, focusing on modern, Islamic, Japanese, traveling exhibits, costumes, etc. Your visit might be early enough in December for the live jazz on Friday evenings, in the courtyard by the Resnick pavilion. We love the Page museum (not part of the LACMA complex, but right next door to the east), aka the tar pits -- so interesting to see the fossilized remains of the creatures that used to roam the area. If anyone in your party is into cars, the Peterson Automotive Museum is just across the street (south) from LACMA. And the Crafts and Folk Art Museum (pretty small) is across the street. Also, the Los Angeles Farmers Market and the Grove shopping center are just a few minutes north of LACMA (at Fairfax and Third) -- lots of food stalls/restaurants and a fun shopping environment. (Do you have any food/restaurant questions about the non-Disney part of your trip? Just ask, and we'll see if we can help!)
Depending on how your visit to the MOT goes, you might be able to fit the Getty into your schedule later that day. We love that museum (and the Villa, too) and hope that you can see it (if not this trip, then on your next one!).
You have so much wonderful information! I showed my daughter and she really wants to see the museums @ LACMA. We're going to make it a priority for day 2. I absolutely want food suggestions! We both have dietary issues, so we try to only eat really healthy foods (if available). Do you know of any organic restaurants in that area? How about sushi?
Thanks so much for following this PTR! You've really helped shape our trip!
I totally understand your food issues. I have a lot of sensitivities/allergies, plus an esophageal disorder, all of which add up to some pretty tricky food juggling at times. High quality/organic ingredients really make a difference for me, too, so we always try to look for the best food we can afford. That being said, I'm sure you already know that organic doesn't mean inexpensive, but the extra cost is so worth the peace of mind it brings. (At DLR, your best bet for good quality food is Napa Rose, but we've had good luck with several other places in the parks.)
In the general Hollywood and mid-city area (which includes LACMA -- and we often get sandwiches or something to go so we can eat outside at LACMA):
The Golden State (on Fairfax)-- technically a burger place, but really high quality ingredients, good salads, and Scoops ice cream (an L.A. phenomenon -- house made, artisan ice cream in unique flavors, with emphasis on fresh, high quality ingredients). I have problems eating most burgers, but never have had trouble here.
Across the street from Golden State is Animal (dinner only, reservations recommended) -- check the menu to see if this style food is for you. We love it, but have heard of other people being turned off by the "guy food" aspect. The chefs/owners here care a lot about the quality of the food and source lots of produce and meat from the Farmers Market. Note that there is a no substitutions policy here.
BLD on Beverly (north and east of the Grove and Farmers Market) -- serves, as expected, breakfast, lunch, and dinner -- a bit like a very nice quality diner.
Pizzeria Mozza (at Highland and Melrose) -- very popular, lots of celeb sightings, a reservation really helps but isn't absolutely necessary at off times -- we don't care about the hype, just about the food. Great food, high quality, not cheap, but the food here is delicious and causes me no trouble. They are quite flexible with substitutions. There is a take-away store around the corner on Melrose (Mozza2go) which has lots of pizzas, sandwiches, salads, desserts, etc. -- maybe you can take somethings back to the hotel for dinner.
Mendocino Farms (La Brea and Santa Monica Blvd.) -- great sandwiches, salads, soups with high quality and organic ingredients.
La Brea Bakery (the original) (La Brea, north of Wilshire) -- this location is still owned by Nancy Silverton (as far as I know) -- good sandwiches, pastries, charcuterie, breads, etc. Parking is free for 20 minutes if you say you are going to the bakery.
All the above restaurants should have websites so you can see menus and exact locations.
As for sushi, your hotel in Culver City is not far from "Little Osaka" (on Sawtelle Blvd.). You can google for restaurants in the area -- there are many and the variety is great! Keeping in mind that good quality sushi is pricey, Kiyokawa (on Robertson, in Beverly Hills) serves organic food.
Near-ish (north) of the MOT is Clementine (north of Santa Monica Blvd., across from the Century Square Shopping Mall) -- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner -- great sandwiches, salads, soups, and desserts!
Sorry to inundate you with all these places -- hope this info isn't too overwhelming! Let me know if any of this is what you are looking for, and we'll go from there.
Last edited by tea4two; 04-03-2012 at 10:45 PM.
There is a Whole Foods Market across from the Farmers Market on Third. You could pick up some fresh, organic items from their deli section.
Surgery is over, and recovery is going nicely, so I figured I'd get back to something much more fun....planning for our happy adventure!
MORE ON FOOD...
Thank you so much for the restaurant suggestions! I'll be spending the next few days looking at the menus of the places you've mentioned (if they're posted online) to see what will work for our specific needs. That's why I love MP - so much valuable information to be found
Our main food issues:
- ME: No beef, fried foods, high fat foods, carrots, broccoli, or raw leafy greens. (I know, odd selection, but there's no explaining reason to a malfunctioning immune system)
- DD: No beef, fried foods, high fat foods
- Both of us need to be careful not to have too many processed foods as well.
We already know that at DLR this will be hard to stick to, so we're trying to be sure the rest of the trip is pretty strict. The more we vary from these restrictions, the worse we feel. No use starting a trip feeling awful!
We have our favorite places at DLR where we're able to eat relatively healthy. In the past we've stuck with table-service locations which were pretty accomodating when we needed to make substitutions, but the plan this time is to integrate some of the counter service locations. Any suggestions for healthier CS locations?
AH, THE FAMILY...
I never realized what a Disney nut I was until I started planning this trip with extended family. While DD and I are excitedly discussing restaurants, touring plans, and other details, the rest of the family seems to roll their eyes and sigh with exasperation. They think we're odd to be putting this much effort into a 'vacation'. Here are a few things we've heard over the last couple of weeks:
- Why do we need to commit now? Because prices are going up soon, and buying now can save you some money.
- Do we REALLY need to know where we want to eat before we get there? If you'd like to eat something other than theme park hamburgers, it's a good idea to plan.
- Why can't we wing it - just wander around the parks until something looks interesting? You won't get nearly as much ride-time as you would with a little simple planning.
- Do we really need to be there that many days? We like to take breaks and enjoy all of the little nuances in the park. We're staying for 6 days. If that seems to long for you, you are welcome to shorten your trip.
I'm having a hard time explaining to them that a lack of planning can make for a very frustrating day at DL - especially during the holidays. How do I explain that wandering aimlessly will just put them in long lines? Or that neglecting to know where you're going to eat can lead to long waits for food and grumpy people? Sigh - I guess I just need to plan for us and let the wandering hungry people learn on their own....
These exchanges reinforced my original plan; DD and I need to plan as we normally do. We can let everyone in on the plan and encourage them to make suggestions and changes. Instead of expecting everyone to stay together the whole trip, we can just meet up at meals or for certain activities.
Don't get me wrong - I am thrilled that my family will be coming along for this trip! I can't wait to share our love of DLR with the people we love the most. I do realize, however, that I'll need to try to avoid the looming trap of codependency. I can't make everyone happy. If I try, I'll just be miserable - LOL! I have to strike a balance between family needs and our needs.
PLANNING WITH ALL OF THE DCA CHANGES
I'll be interested to read about how the new additions to DCA will change how people tour the parks. Will the crowds be better dispersed between the two parks? Will Toy Story have shorter lines when Carsland opens? Will the nighttime shows have more manageable crowds? Only time will tell. You better believe we're going to be reading every trip report from June 15th on!
That's it for now - time for a much needed nap. Stay tuned for more obsessive planning in the near future...
I enjoyed the salads at the new place at the Back of DCA. Back where Pizza Oom mowmow was. I had the raviollis too I think and they were tasty. The whole area from PizzaOMM was to where McD's was is a walk up stand and a cafeteria type restaurant, like, Pizza Port or Rancho Zocalo, so you choose what you want and pay on the way out to the seating area.
Glad to hear that your recovery is going well!
We also like the Paradise Gardens area for dining -- the Garden Grill has good choices for us (e.g. Greek Salad with dressing on the side, Grilled Chicken skewer with sauce on the side, etc.). Have you tried Pacific Wharf for the soup in a bread bowl? Sometimes we stop by the lounge at the Napa Rose for something simple, like the pizzette or rabbit meat loaf and a roasted vegetable side dish. (This can be done without breaking the bank.)
Here are some more restaurants that might work for you (they should have websites):
M Cafe de Chaya (La Brea and Melrose) -- organic, macrobiotic, very yummy! Many people don't even know the food is macrobiotic because it tastes so good.
In Culver City:
Akasha, Tender Greens, Annapurna (Southern Indian), and Cafe Surfas (if you like to cook, Surfas has been described as the Disneyland of cooking supply stores).
Since your mother will have a car at DLR, will you be able to eat off the resort property? There is a very good Thai restaurant (Thai Nakorn) in Garden Grove (not the one in Stanton) -- it is generally acknowledged to be one of the best Thai places in the L.A. area (the Southern Thai specials are quite good). There is a small take-out place for very good Vietnamese chicken sandwiches (O.C. Rotisserie Chicken on Ball and State College). "Little Gaza" is on Ball Rd. just a few minutes east of DLR. We like Zankhou Chicken (Armenian rotisserie chicken with fabulous garlic sauce, falafel, etc.) and Sarkis bakery (baklava!). Do you like pancakes? The Original Pancake House on Lincoln (west of State College) is one of our favorite places near DLR. (They close early -- 1 or 2 PM.) If you like Chinese food, we enjoy eating at Ma's Islamic Chinese Restaurant on Orangethorpe (about 2 or 3 lights east of Harbor, and conveniently close to the Character Warehouse, if you want to get some discounted Disney gifts.) Since the food is Islamic, there is no pork on the menu. We love their sesame bread! (DH like thin, I like thick.)
Don't worry about your relatives not understanding your planning enthusiasm. Some people just do well winging it (and these usually are the people who have no eating problems or restrictions -- lucky them!). Others have to learn by experience. Either way, just enjoy planning the best trip you can for you and your daughter. That way, you know you'll enjoy every minute of your trip!
Last edited by tea4two; 04-06-2012 at 11:08 PM.
If you like Mexican food, Loteria Grill at the Farmers Market has yummy Mexico City style Mexican food.
Just to add that Cirque du Soleil has a show ("Iris") at the Hollywood & Highland Center (in what was previously known as the Kodak Theater). We saw it last year and thought the visuals were stunning. Tickets are rather pricey, but if you are interested, there is plenty of time to look for discount tickets. Here is the link: http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/sho...s/default.aspx
WOW! I have a lot of 'food homework' to do now! Thank you so much for the list of restaurants. As I looked through the list, I realized how much I missed the food options available in California. I decided to get a little 'EPCOT' into our trip by infusing some international flavor into the first few days of the trip. You've inspired me!
I checked out the Cirque show, but they only book through September. We'll keep checking back to see if we can fit it into our budget.
NO PLANNING TO DO, SO IT'S TIME TO DREAM
I've planned and paid for everything I can at this point, which is good and bad. GOOD: With so many details already set, I KNOW we're actually going to GO on this trip! BAD: I can't do anything right now, which makes me a bit sad. I love planning for these trips, so having a lull in the details can be a bit of a downer.
What to do? What to do? ...
I figured it would be a good time to indulge in the random Disney thoughts floating through my brain!
Here are just a few things taking up real estate in my brain...
- I started the day by looking at older Disney blog postings related to the DCA expansion. I am REALLY excited about the entertainment options that are going to be available on Buena Vista Street! With street performances and other unique offerings, it seems that it'll be a totally immersive experience. I can't wait to see all of the final changes to DCA. I'm especially looking forward to the thousands of trees that have been planted in that park. FINALLY, a little shade in the cement park!!
- I'm happy to see that Carnation Cafe will have some indoor seating available soon. This is a must-do restaurant for us, but I tend to get cold very quickly. It'll be nice to eat there without freezing my tail off!
- I was looking at DLR menus, and I'm seeing a nice trend....more healthy options at the restaurants. I'm hoping that trend continues with even more flavorful natural options. I know, we're strange - fried foods hold no interest in our household.
- I don't normally shop at Walmart, but they just had some adorable Disney-themed snuggies on sale! I bought one for me and one for DD. If you see a 40-something lady in a scooter wrapped in a red Mickey snuggie, holding the leash of a beautiful black service dog, that'd be me! Be sure to say hi! It's a good thing I don't mind looking silly @ Disney!
- We don't tend to hang out for the dance party, but I have to say I think switching from TRON to ALICE themes is a smart move. I might be in the minority here, but I think the TRON theme was a little forced and really changed the landscape of the Hollywood backlot. I hope the introduction of ALICE will be a little less of a big sore thumb! Time will tell...
- WAYYY back in 2007, we went to DLR the week of Thanksgiving. It was so much fun to have our traditional holiday meal at Goofy's Kitchen and to see all of the holiday decor. There's something so magical about the snow on the castle, the characters dressed in holiday fashion, and visiting Santa in the middle of the happiest place on earth. I LOVED the holiday parade and hope it's the same one this year.
- The past 2 trips have been in September. This is a great time for crowds, but LOUSY when it comes to ride availability. We haven't seen HM for almost 5 years because of the timing of our trips! I'll be happy to roll into the elevator once again on this trip. Hopefully there will be no rides down for refirbishment on these dates. We'll be fine if there are some rides down, but it doesn't hurt to dream...
- We're not terribly fond of fireworks. My DD has had issues with loud noises (though is much more tolerant now than she was in years past), and my SD REALLY hates the firework booms. We're all a little squirly with large, compacted crowds. Since they do a special version for Christmas, we might leave him in the hotel for an evening to catch the show from the train station at the front of the park. If we don't do that, we might watch from the roof of our hotel across the street.
How's THAT for random thoughts of a Disney obsessed mind??
Back to recooperating and napping now....
Hope your recovery is going quickly and well!
To add some more Epcot flavor to your trip, DLR is a short drive from Westminster, home of Little Saigon. Here is a link with pretty good descriptions of places to go there: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/341312
Hope this is helpful!
I believe the seating near the train station is slotted for those on a tour. I remember trying to sit there a few visits ago, and was told they were reserved.
Most evenings we'll likely be back at the hotel well before the fireworks begin. For health reasons, I really cap out at about 3-4 hours in the park at a time. We're planning on going early, taking a long break in the afternoon, and then going back for a few hours in the evening. This is a far cry from our commando days, but that's why we make the trip so long. We still get to see everything without compromising my health. We'll likely stay late twice - once for fireworks (if we don't watch from the hotel), and once for premiere seating for Fantasmic!
Thanks for the suggestion to download the music! I didn't know that was possible. Is it on ITUNES or YouTube?
Good to hear that you have your DL/Fireworks plan in place. Knowing what works best for you (and your SD!) is such an important part of planning/enjoying a DLR trip.
I'm a planner too and have gone with big family groups. In my experience it is very hard to make every one happy so if they are willing to go off on their own I would encourage that. My family stuck to my DD and I like glue and when it was time to eat we got the I'm hungry, okay what do you want? I don't care , okay what about .... no I don't want that. Ugh it got exghausting. I agree with Tea4two and try not to worry about planning for every one, if they want to join you great but if not that is good too.
KEEPING TRACK OF THE DETAILS
I woke up with a wild idea about how to make a planning book for the trip. Before I went to the doctor, I decided to stop by Staples to buy the supplies. The book is a work in progress, so I'll wait to post pictures. So far it's got a pocket for tickets, a pocket for documents (my service dog's records, etc.); sections for budget, transportation (plane reservations, rental car, rental scooter, etc.), important numbers, day-to-day itinerary, and notes. I think this little book will help me keep organized without fear of losing anything.
I found out that my mom will be joining us for 3-4 days, not the full 6. Though we'd love to have her there the whole time, she can't really be away from home that long right now because of other obligations. To help her decide on dates, I talked to her about which shows typically play on which dates, explained the potential dates for cast parties, and showed her crowd predictions. She'll likely be there Monday - Thursday. I convinced her to decide before October so that I would know how many people would be with us for dining and ticketed events.
Still no word from DSIS and DBIL. They won't know for sure until sometime this summer.
TO DECORATE OR NOT TO DECORATE...
DD and were talking about Christmas decorations. Since we will be away from home almost 2 weeks during December, we've decided not to get a Christmas tree this year at home. I don't want to set it up before we leave and have a fire hazard. Setting up when we get home seems like a lot of work for a couple of weeks of enjoyment. It will be odd to have a decoration-free Christmas though. If you travel during December, how do you handle this?
That's it for now! Thanks for reading
I like your idea about making an organizer book for your trip. If you have a smart phone or a handheld device, you might want to scan/upload all documents, reservations, tickets, etc. so that you have a back-up copy of everything, just in case.
Mal ships everything ahead to the hotel. Others who go to WDW do as well.
I normally have everything in a folder as it is not a lot for our DL trips. But when we went to NY and DC for a 10 day trip, I used a binder with sheet prtectors and had everything in order of when it would be needed. I typed up an itinerary as well, with confirmation numbers on it and emailed it to my DH, who is able to access his email on his phone. I also emailed it to both of our mothers so they would know where we were supposed to be and when, and to the mother of the other young lady in our traveling party. Your book sounds great, and will really make you more comfortable about losing things. I also create a new folder in my email to store emails from the hotel/rental car/plane so I have them all together if I need to access something.
Speaking of that, the tickets arrived last week!!!
I do the same thing with email folders. It makes it much easier to find confirmation emails and other reservation information while planning.
I was thinking about shipping some stuff to the hotel, but was a little concerned about timing. I'd be easier to navigate the airport, but could be a problem if things didn't arrive on schedule. Has anyone ever shipped to a Good Neighbor Hotel?