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USA Travel thread #19

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#26 MY 3 SONS X

Posted 13 April 2012 - 12:44 PM

Hi all well I've finally finalised my dates and destinations for our US trip in July. Jo_P could you please add us to the list.  We arrive LA 5th July 4 nights at Disneyland Hotel and 4 nights in Santa Monica. Depart LA 13th July for NYC staying 7 nights Then heading off on 20th July to Hawaii for 7 nights staying at Ko Olina (Kapolei) then home 27th July.

Hope everyone elses planning is going well and for those of you jetting off soon happy and safe travels biggrin.gif

#27 snugglybug

Posted 13 April 2012 - 03:39 PM

OOH Thanks for that website Hunter4 thats great! it has a trip calculator. I just punched in all my stops, what kind of car we're getting and it's telling me around the $300 mark!? that seems chea, will add more of course into the budget for incidental driving. It even shows you where to fill up!! defintely going in my favourites.Will be interesting to see how accurate it is.

#28 Jo_P

Posted 13 April 2012 - 04:00 PM

Woohoo coffeegirl, not long now!! Which Universal hotel are you staying at? We stayed at Lowes Royal Pacific and really loved it there original.gif

Snugglybug, we find the fuel costs really good over there compared to here even in the big Suburban’s that we rent, it uses less fuel then my dh’s Patrol!!

Jupiter123, When we finally go to Hawaii we’re looking at staying at Ohana Waikiki West. It’s highly recommended by Kee on here and it is really well priced and in a good position.

Off to update the list, sorry to those that I lost or messed up, not sure what happened there!
Oh and we booked grand Canyon this morning. We have a room in the Bright Angel Lodge, it has 3 double beds for $154, pretty good price for in the park we thought wink.gif

Edited by Jo_P, 13 April 2012 - 04:01 PM.

#29 Peanut

Posted 13 April 2012 - 04:34 PM

TraceyBrown, thanks so much for your suggestions!  The Biodome is now firmly on our list, have you also been up the Tower?  Just wondering if we should purchase the Biodome and Olympic Tower tickets or just do the Biodome.  At the moment I'm not too sure how long we'll spend in Montreal, but thanks for the mention of the Residence Inn, I'll take a look.  My SIL is a confirmed Francophile, so I'll have to hit her up for some French words to get me by!  

Hunter4, thanks also for your suggestions and your comments regarding driving in Boston!  I was just reading up on Beacon Hill just now and it looks lovely.  Have you been to Salem, worth a stopoff?  

I have no idea what car to hire while we are in the USA.  We don't need anything massive, its just the 4 of us, but I don't want to go too small.  Any suggestions from people who have hired there?  Snugglybug, what car will you be driving?

Jupiter123, I was thinking of having a go driving while we are over there, but I'll probably chicken out unles DH is really tired!  I don't know if I could get my head around driving on the opposite side of the road!   biggrin.gif

#30 Jo_P

Posted 13 April 2012 - 04:46 PM

Peanut, for hire cars they have ones like the Ford Escape, my sister and I rented one that size when we went together, because I had to do all of the driving and I was used to driving a Pajero so didn't want to go to a little hatch back or anything, as if there's not enough to get used to when driving over there!! I think something like that is good for families with 2 kids and luggage.

kabailz, I'll type up a little list for you original.gif

Edited by Jo_P, 13 April 2012 - 04:46 PM.

#31 Jo_P

Posted 13 April 2012 - 05:06 PM

Kabailz, here is a list of places we've stayed at, staying at this year or looked into staying at wink.gif
Anaheim: Residence Inn Maingate, Camelot Inn & Suites, del Sol Inn.
San Diego: Grand Pacific Palisades Carlsbad (next to Legoland, 20 min drive into SD)
San Francisco: Holiday Inn Fishermans Warf, Argonaut hotel
Las Vegas: Desert Rose Las Vegas Resort
Grand Canyon: Bright Angel Lodge
New York: Affina Eastgate Tower Hotel
Orlando: (Universal Studios)-Loews Royal Pacific, (DisneyWorld)-All Star Music family suite, and  Nickelodeon Hotel.

#32 Peanut

Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:09 PM

Quick question for those of you with experience, do you take any food supplies with you?  I don't mean the kitchen sink  biggrin.gif , but maybe a small tube of Vegemite etc?  Any problems taking things like that into the States?

#33 Princess Leila

Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:26 PM

Peanut that is an excellent question.. my 8yr old wont eat anything but Nutella on his bread and compared to my other kids is a real pain to feed.

#34 Jo_P

Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:40 PM

QUOTE (Peanut @ 13/04/2012, 06:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Quick question for those of you with experience, do you take any food supplies with you?  I don't mean the kitchen sink  biggrin.gif , but maybe a small tube of Vegemite etc?  Any problems taking things like that into the States?

Yep we always take a tube of Vegemite with us and have never had an issue. Pack it in your checked luggage though as it is counted as a liquid. I also take instant coffee, tea bags (enough for the whole trip as their tea and coffee is blergh) sugar sachets, snacks like Shapes and Tiny Teddies just for the first day or so then we head to a grocery store to pick up a few more supplies.
I end up bringing home more food then we take though as they have the best grocery stores with absolutely everything!!!
The only thing we have had confiscated at Aus customs is Beef Jerkey as it is a non cooked meat product.
Oh and we take a travel kettle and travel coffee cups as there are no kettles in any hotels, they only have coffee machines and they usually only supply 2 paper cups!

Edited by Jo_P, 13 April 2012 - 06:42 PM.

#35 ~cake~

Posted 13 April 2012 - 07:13 PM

Hi everyone. No changes to our plans, so nothing to update! Still need to renew passports and book car hire, but no rush yet.

When the list is next updated, please can my dates be added?
Sept 6th - 25th. Honolulu, LA, central coast California, then Anaheim. We are at HoJos 20th - 23rd Sept.


#36 Coffeegirl

Posted 13 April 2012 - 08:14 PM

Jo_P. we're staying at the Lowes in Universal too. Any tips?   How far is it from Disney World if we were to go there for a day?  Are there shuttles?  

14 hours til we head to the airport.  Kids and I are packed. DH has just gotren home and he's finishing his now.

I drop Mum off at 7am for her flight, heas home and we're grabbing a cab.  

#37 Princess Leila

Posted 13 April 2012 - 08:24 PM

Coffeegirl hope you have a great trip.

I have finally applied for our passports just about did my head in getting all the relevent certificates etc for myself.

Jo_P where did you get your travel kettle from. I am a complete tea freak and would die if I couldn't have one as soon as I arrived at the hotel..

#38 whipmix

Posted 13 April 2012 - 08:32 PM

Jupiter123 - in Hawaii, we have stayed at the Marriot Beach Resort. This trip we are staying at the Ohana West and then then on the way home we are staying at the Aston Waikiki Beach Resort.

#39 rob6712col

Posted 13 April 2012 - 08:44 PM

Just been booking all our character dining at Disneyworld for Sep/Oct. I can't believe I have to book 180 days out and I am still not getting into some places. So far I have booked
Breakfast at Chef Mickey
Lunch at Cinderellas Table
3 DD's booked into Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Magic Kingdom
The Garden Grill dinner with Chip and Dale
Tusker House breakfast with Donald and Daisy.

Tonight I am hoping to book Mickeys Backyard BBQ and the Wonderland Tea Party for my 3 DD's.

Can anyone recommend any others that are must do??

Even though it is still so far away this is exciting booking all this!!

Love reading everyones info, thank you!!

#40 snugglybug

Posted 13 April 2012 - 08:47 PM

Peanut, We are looking at getting a car exactly like Jo-P said, a ford escape. I don't think we'll need any bigger. Also I might drive some parts so I want some thing I can handle too.

On travel jigsaw I think it's equivalent to the Saturn Vue? Is that about right Jo?

Tube of vegemite!? I'll be taking a big jar, a tube won't go very far! laughing2.gif I'll definitely be taking a travel jug and tea bags too though.

Jo_P odd about the beef jerky, when you can buy American beef jerky here at Costco!?

#41 Jo_P

Posted 13 April 2012 - 09:40 PM

QUOTE (snugglybug @ 13/04/2012, 08:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Jo_P odd about the beef jerky, when you can buy American beef jerky here at Costco!?

sad.gif I don't know, sadly very behind the times here on the Sunshine Coast, no Costco in QLD at all I don't think!! They sell beef jerky in woolies and coles but only one brand and it's not the same, apparently, I don't eat it but dh and 3 of the kids do!
The Saturn Vue is like a Holden Captiva I think.
LOL at the big jar of vegemite biggrin.gif

rob6712col, We did the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage, it was really good, and had it not been pouring rain and windy it would have been the best thing ever!! Also the Fireworks Dessert Party (can't recall the name, wishes dessrt party maybe), is supposed to be really good and you get an amazing view of the fireworks, tinkerbell flies straight towards you so they say!

CTCT, I got the kettle from Myer, it's a Korjo one, you can probably order them online or get them from other stores also. So worth the money, I tried to use the coffee maker once for hot water for my tea (as they say to do in the hotel compendiums)  and I swear I nearlly spat it across the room it was that bad!!!

Coffeegirl, I'm not sure about the shuttles to WDW from Loews as we moved to a Disney hotel after Universal but I do know it was only a 15 minute drive between the two places. I would say being a Universal property that they wouldn't probably offer free shuttles to WDW as they want you to spend all of your time at US and IOA. A taxi would be pretty cheap or you could organise a private van etc.

Potato Will update the list for you original.gif

#42 ~*Marti*~

Posted 13 April 2012 - 11:19 PM

QUOTE (~CTCT~ @ 13/04/2012, 08:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Coffeegirl hope you have a great trip.

I have finally applied for our passports just about did my head in getting all the relevent certificates etc for myself.

Jo_P where did you get your travel kettle from. I am a complete tea freak and would die if I couldn't have one as soon as I arrived at the hotel..

CTCT Look here

Edited by ~*Marti*~, 13 April 2012 - 11:20 PM.

#43 Princess Leila

Posted 13 April 2012 - 11:38 PM

Just ordered our first lot of USD from travelex.. had to order in my friends name and get her to pick it up in Perth for me though.  

Jo_P thanks for the tip on the kettle.. might get my friend to have a look around Perth for me..can't find much in town here and really hate the 6hr drive to the city.

The other very exciting thing to happen today with our trip planning is my eldest two were successful in the Half Dome lottery and have been granted a permit to climb on 5th September.  Need to organise equipment for them now.. The hiking shoes will be a priority so they can be worn in before we go.

Reading about everyone's planning is inspiring and I am always checking out the things you all mention. Thanks

Thanks ~*Marti*~ for the link..

Edited by ~CTCT~, 13 April 2012 - 11:44 PM.

#44 hunter4

Posted 14 April 2012 - 12:43 AM

Peanut - I think Salems definitely worth a stop over if you're driving through. The official tourism people are trying to play down the whole witch thing but it's really not working very well (i don't know why as it's really interesting).  There are a tonne of tours that lead you through the whole witch trial scene, we've tried a couple of different ones and they all seem to be the same, though I think some of the haunted dungeon ones may be a bit more gruesome and not as suiteable for kids.  They also have a pirate museum which was fun with the kids. Some old houses that are set up from the times of the witch trials are also interesting. (and plenty of witchy stores to browse if your interested).

#45 ~Kee~In~Hawaii~

Posted 14 April 2012 - 03:22 AM

Hi everyone!

I'm killing some time in Miami Airport while we wait to board our flight to New York. I'm already exhausted but very excited to be going to the Big Apple today! original.gif

This is just a quick note to pop in and say hi. Have a great trip Coffeegirl! waves.gif

Las Vegas was amazing, I really enjoyed myself there and the Flamingo is a great hotel. We were already upgraded to their newly renovated rooms for the first stop there and have just recieved an email for an upgrade to the really sw**ky rooms for the second stop there on the way back to Hawaii (after NYC). So yeah, they get my vote for best hotel so far this trip just for all the extras they have been throwing at us!

The cruise was a flop. The ship is dated and has a terrible floor plan. The bar staff run a mile if you look like you might want them to actually get you a drink and lots of little incidents happened that made it a less than perfect cruise. On top of that, the Bahamas are terrible and we never felt safe wandering around. On tours it wasn't as bad but they didn't have any information about the history of the islands or any cultural aspects to any of the tours so we left feeling like we'd learnt more about the place on Google than from any of the locals or the tour "guides". There are abandoned, derelect buildings and cars everywhere and it was just depressing. The so-called "stunning" beach wasn't anything we couldn't have seen in Qld (and even some parts of South Australia) for a lot less money. Absolutely everything was considered an extra and cost us more and more. What is provided on the Pride of America Hawaiian cruise and this cruise of the Bahamas are so different that it was quite a shock. When you break the cost of the cruise down, it's the same daily rate so you'd think that there would be more consistency in inclusions and levels of service since it's the same company. Anyway, I don't want to be too negative so I'll save the full details for my blog when I get back. You should see my note book, it's COVERED in scribbled notes and angry faces! lol

Ok, we're being called to board so I'm off to New York to hopefully have a better time than in the Bahamas!

Hope you are all well and keeping safe original.gif

#46 Isadora

Posted 14 April 2012 - 07:53 AM

Have a great trip Coffeegirl  biggrin.gif biggrin.gif biggrin.gif  

Kee - sorry to hear the cruise wasn't so good but yay for the upgrade in Vegas.  original.gif
Can't wait to hear about New York, hope you can post before we get there

CTCT - what is the Half Dome lottery?

I can't believe this time next week we will be in Disneyland!  ddance.gif

Picked up my travellers cheques no problems there, NAB wanted $27 fee to order but Australia Post were no commission.  Think I'm covered for every contingency lol cash, travel cards, travellers cheques and credit card  smile1.gif  think I've gone a bit OTT  blush.gif

I signed up for Mimi's cafe in Anaheim and they have sent me a welcome voucher and a birthday voucher already

#47 Peanut

Posted 14 April 2012 - 09:09 AM

Jo_P, DH just put the kybosh on a travel kettle.  Oh well, I have a few months to "find one on special" and sneak it into the suitcase!   biggrin.gif

Hunter4, I'm not so interested in the witches as the history of the place (of any place), so if there are old buildings then I'll stop!  My DS would be interested in the Pirate Museum though.  

Sicily/Kee, another one looking forward to hearing about your NY trip!  This will be our first stop and the one I'm most anxious about at the moment.

#48 whipmix

Posted 14 April 2012 - 09:17 AM

Kee i'm so sorry your cruise was crappy. I really hope you have a wonderful time in New York!

Coffeegirl travel safe and have an amazing time!

#49 ~*Marti*~

Posted 14 April 2012 - 10:12 AM

A quick question. A friend just went to NYC at Christmas for 6 weeks. She stayed in a brownstone apartment, Central Park West Brownstone. I'm considering changing and staying there, kind of for more of a NYC experience! It's cheaper than where we are booked, and I feel like I would feel like a real New Yorker! Lol. Some girls said staying in apartments is illegal in NYC?

#50 snugglybug

Posted 14 April 2012 - 10:29 AM

Bbyyyyeeeeee Coffegirl!!

Kee, oh no! Bummer about the cruise sad.gif I'm sure you'll have a fabulous time in NY. Lol at the note book!

Is it worth getting a travel kettle or just get a small cheap one over there? I'm sure it would be cheaper than getting it here? Either way I'm getting a kettle, need my cup of tea!

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