Will be in LA for a two night layover on the way back from Europe in November. I've NEVER driven in LA before, but will be staying at the Fairfield Inn Anaheim (Disneyland) for 1 night and the Renaissance LAX the 2nd night. We plan on going about shopping and/or sightseeing the first day and spending the day at Disneyland the 2nd day. Not sure if we'll cram in any activities on the last day. So... with that, would it be better to rent a car or take a cab where ever we need to go?
Even considering the cost of gas and parking with the rental, it's a far better deal than a cab. A cab would be pretty pricey, especially since you want to do some shopping and perhaps other sightseeing. The FFI at Disneyland had free parking last time I stayed there. You could then turn your car in and catch a shuttle to the LAX Ren from the car rental to avoid parking fees at the Ren., although you may have to take the car rental shuttle to the airport terminal, get off and then get on the hotel shuttle (to me, not a big deal, and in fact, you could drop your luggage off at the LAX Ren. on your way to dropping the car off, so that you don't have to schlep luggage on the shuttle.) I would rent a car and google directions to/from LAX to Anaheim. Car or cab, try to avoid the freeways during rush hour on week days. Mornings until about 9am going toward the airport are backed up, afternoons (3-6pm) going away from the airport you will experience heavy traffic.)
I did some calculations, and it is indeed cheaper. I am, however, apprehensive of driving in LA! I've never driven anywhere besides Hawaii
3PM is afternoon rush hour? That stinks! Our flight arrives in at 3:30PM haha oh well... That's a good point about the Ren though. The added shuttle trips would be worth avoiding the fees and dropping the bags off first is definitely a great idea! Unfortunately, FFI now charges $11/day for parking according to their page, but that isn't too bad!
Thanks for the info!
Weekday, right? Well, you probably won't avoid it then, since you'll have to catch a shuttle to the rental car agency and all of that. Just try to relax and not be in a hurry. I can't imagine that driving in LA is much different than Honolulu with traffic and all. People do drive aggressively on the freeways, but it's definitely not compulsory. Just don't match their driving. It's nothing like European cities. You will be fine. People drive insane here in Fresno. If you leave a safe distance (or even an unsafe distance) between your car and the one in front of you, someone will inevitably slip into that spot, cutting you off. It's like they're racing to win (win what? ) or something. A lot of people tailgate just to prevent rude drivers from cutting in, but that behavior is rude in and of itself, as well as unsafe. In LA, people tend to drive fast AND tailgate. Just don't tailgate or be in a hurry (or a race) or neglect your blinker and you'll be just fine. If someone cuts you off, just let them and back off. It's really not that bad. Common sense is the order of the day. They have carpool lanes. Take advantage of them.
That sounds EXACTLY like Honolulu. I think it just seems more daunting because of the sheer size of the freeways and volume of cars in LA as opposed to Honolulu. That and my not knowing where I'm going. I'll have to rely on my fiancee and Google maps to help me navigate!
I hear you though, tailgating and failure to signal are BIG pet peeves of mine and are all too common here. There is no Aloha on the roads... cab drivers, luxury car drivers, and people that drive pickup trucks/SUV tend to be the worst here, with exceptions of course!
Yup, I don't mean to offend anyone (except those offenders where I live), but you nailed it, K. "I'm the King of the World!" And by default, the road. MY road. They don't even have the decency to even pretend to stop at stop signs. Just cruise right on through, baby. My dad has a bumper sticker on his car: Caution: I stop for stop signs. I love it.
Don't let the 12 lane freeways intimidate you. The driving is the same, just more lanes and cars. The signage is very good. You'll be fine.
I was on Oahu and found drivers as or more aggressive than in LA. It is hard driving in an area that you are not familiar with and the chance of an accident is greater. I would suggest getting a car with GPS. You will be so much more comfortable having it give you directions.
My suggestion: rent a Hertz car with GPS at LAX. Drive to hotel, do your shopping and sightseeing. Return it to the Hertz in Anaheim at the Marriott which has a 24 hour drop box (you need to let the attendants know you are returning a Hertz car). This is a little less than a mile from the FFI which is walkable or a short cab ride.
The next morning leave luggage at FFI and you can walk to Disneyland (5-7 min walk) and when done return to FFI and take Super Shuttle back to LAX for $16 each. Make reservations in advance.
With this, you have a one day rental of the car and pay no parking fees. The shuttle will drop you off at the Ren.
They have good prices to/from Disneyland and the hotels in area because there are so many pickup/dropoffs and they can fill the vans.
Kharada has been so helpful to so many that I thought it was worth the hour or so it took me to make the calls to plan his transportation. If he decides to take my suggestions, I think it would be the least expensive and he would not have to drive more than necessary.
The other thought was to use super shuttle in both directions and just get a car or cab for the few hours in the evening. kharada46 Even less stress with this.
Sorry my response is so late! It has been a very busy day!
Thank you so much for taking all that time to help me out!
I've always wondered how drivers here compare to elsewhere... I seriously think we have some of the worst drivers around and some of the worst traffic in the nation when considering drive time in comparison to distance travelled. Your plan sounds like an excellent idea though!
Our plan for day 2 is to (if possible) stay at the park from opening till close, which is midnight I believe. Don't know how feasible this will be with all the traveling we need to do. On day 1, though, I'm really not sure what we'll be doing. We arrive in at 3:30PM from LHR. I know my fiancee would like to get Trader Joe's out of the way that day, but as to where to get dinner or where else to shop/see, I have no idea.
I tried looking up Super Shuttle, and it says it requires the flight information to make a booking? We have an ambitious schedule, so please let me know if what we're trying to do isn't possible!
Thanks again so much for your help californian! I love to help others on here, and I know others such as yourself feel the same. That's why I love this community so much!
My experience with Super Shuttle is that they are flexible on time. I make a reservation and even change flights to come in early or late and it is not a problem. They have so many vans. International flights are hard to predict. Super Shuttle runs 24 hr a day and the pickup time from FFI at Disney has to be fixed.
With traffic, it is hard to tell how long it will take to get from the airport to the FFI. You will also have to deal with customs and such which is unpredictable. Your arrival time could change. Time arriving at FFI could vary by 3 hours or more.
There is a Cheesecake Factory and other restaurants about 0.8 mi from the FFI.
At Anaheim Garden Walk
300 AnaheimBar LouieBubba Gump Shrimp Co.California Pizza KitchenCinemaFusion The Movie Experience at The GardenWalk of AnaheimFire & IceFresh ProduceG StageHarley-Davidson MotorClothes of AnaheimHeat Ultra LoungeHollister CoJohnny RocketsLux Aveda Salon/SpaMcCormick & Schmick'sP.F. Chang's China BistroRocky Mountain Chocolate FactoryRoy'sThe Body ShopThe Cheesecake FactoryTommy Bahama
More at Anaheim Garden Walk (29) Parking in this area is expensive even with validation so walking or a cab would be best.
The Trader Joe's is 5.6 mi and will need a car or taxi. If she wants to go to TJ to save money, that might be off set by the transportation cost. I am not sure why she wants to go to TJs but if you need to cut something, I think this is it. That would make the rest more leisurely.
Get in, freshen up, go eat and shop a little and get to bed for the big day at Disney. There is shopping through the park and Downtown Disney right outside the gate for the next day.
If you do take the shuttle, you could check in and then take a walk to eat (unless you are too tired). I find walking in a new place helps me become familiar. If you do still want to go, take a taxi from the restaurant to TJs and then a taxi back to FFI. Spending a whole day at Disney can be tiring but you can sit and rest as needed.
WOW! That's a lot of information! Thanks!!
That's what I kind of feared... I wish American's flight time was at better times... Noon might be a convenient departure time from LHR, but I'd rather leave at 10AM and arrive at LAX earlier. Anyhow, funny story! My fiancee and her friend both worked at CPK for YEARS! Needless to say, they avoid that place... and now my fiancee works for the corporate office of Pizza Hut Hawaii (ironic huh?) and her friend works at Cheesecake Factory!
Her friend's mother actually works for Disney, so, her friend will likely be coming with us to Disney to get us free park tickets. My fiancee wants to go to TJ, though, to buy a TON of snacks! She LOVES the Maple Leaf Cookie, freeze dried kimchee, etc. Whether or not she'll have room to bring all this stuff back, I don't know. If she gets really crazy, I imagine she'll just ship the stuff back via USPS or UPS.
Is there a certain restaurant that you'd recommend in Anaheim?
As for the shuttle, is there a way to book it without a flight for when we're going to the Ren? Or is the flight time only for reference? Ideally we'd leave the FFI around 12:30-1AM for the Ren, check-in super late, sleep. Our flight departs at 6PM on the 3rd day. Despite having business class tickets, all availability was gone on the LAX-HNL leg! Crossing our fingers space will open up!!
I have used a shuttle to go to a LAX hotel the night before an early flight. I think that I had to call because of them wanting a flight number. The Ren is so close that it should not be a problem to a driver. All that worry about driving and you will probably not have too.
Now that I know more, I would have her friend take you to TJs before going to Disney in the morning and take the stuff back to the hotel and pack it or whatever!
As for restaurants, I don't eat in Anaheim often. In the park area, there are mostly chains since a lot of people like something familiar. Many of my friends like Cheesecake Factory because the menu has a large variety but you have one on Oahu. I have eaten at McCormick & Schmick and had some good and some bad experiences so that would be taking your chances. A lot of people like Fire & Ice where you take a bowl and pick the food that you want to eat and take it to the grill area where they cook it for you. You might want to check out the Garden Walk website. Anaheim GardenWalk | Shopping, Dining, Entertainment in Orange County
While at Disneyland, I don't think they have any good food in the park so I go to the Rainforest Cafe in DTD. There are a few other restaurants in the shopping center as well.
Ah, I see. I'll have to give them a call then. I think I'll chance the car on the first day for the flexibility, but will return it once we're done with it that same day.
Thanks for the recommendations! They sound interesting! I'll have to look them up
Yeah, the problem/irony here is that California & Hawaii are near identical in chain restaurant offerings now. Well, except for In-N-Out Burger!
Any suggestions for day 3 when we're at the Ren? I assume we won't need to check-in for our flight till about 4PM? Or is LAX crazy enough to need to check-in 3 hours prior to departure?
The car for the first day, my original suggestion, will give you more opportunity for food. You will need a Hertz car to be able to drop off at the Marriott at Disneyland. Again, the GPS will be worth it. If something happens and your flight is really late or if you are just too tired to do much, you can cancel the car and you can always go outside and catch a Super Shuttle without reservations.
Trader Joe's closes at 9m so you will probably need to go on way to eat. Many restaurants are open till 10pm but I would check when you decide where you want to eat. If at SCP, I would make reservations.
If you are too tired, I would suggest a 20 min drive to South Coast Plaza for dinner. It is an upscale shopping center with many great restaurants. Newport Beach would be farther to drive for a setting much like Hawaii, right on water for many.
At LAX, AA has a separate premium check in area which you will be able to use since you have business class tickets (you might want to check if you are still in coach). Being able to use this, 2 hours would be good otherwise, I would say 3.
The area around LAX is bad however Marina Del Rey is fairly close and is very nice. There are many restaurants and you probably could take a taxi there.
You've really offered up some great stuff. Really quite invaluable, and I too enjoyed reading and learning, as even though I was born and raised in LA/Orange County, I've been gone half my life now (although I do return 3/4 times/year, but with the specific target of visiting family - this weekend folks in Cbad-by-the-Sea), so of course a lot is new. I didn't even know about the Anaheim Garden Walk.
Leaving Ren for LAX;
AA is terminal 5 and traffic at LAX is horrible. So when enter airport must pass term 1, term 2, ,, to term 5. The Ren shuttle is not run by Marriott. The last time I stayed there, I waited for over 45 min and a man was there 20 min before I got there. He may have missed his flight. It was so close driving through the traffic that he got off before his stop with his luggage and ran. I had allowed enough time so that I was OK but it was closer than I would have liked.
When Marriott ran the shuttles, if this happened they would have brought another out and sent us off. Now Marriott has no control so if you go back in to complain, they can't help you.
It is luck as to when the shuttle will come.
Thanks Californian! That's really good to know about the shuttle! That's just awful... Another cost cutting measure by Marriott I presume...
anyhow, thanks for the great recommendations! I think we'll have to go to SCP by default just to get some bread from Boudin! I LOVE sourdough and getting good ones in Hawaii isn't easy! So I eat it whenever I see it!
I do have a car booked with Hertz right now under the Marriott rate, but I'll need to modify the reservation for a 1-2 day reservation only. Given that I have someone else with me, do you think an iPhone with Google Maps & turn-by-turn voice directions is sufficient?
As for AA, I've been checking every day. Currently, F to HNL has 4 seats booked, but only 1 MilesAAver seat available. Neither the fiancée air I are willing to sit in first and allow the other to languish in coach should we not be able to both get upgrade e. I'm crossing my fingers AA will release more inventory down the line. I find it silly that we're flying business for 2 international legs, but can't get business first on our final domestic leg! Oh well... It's just 5 hours... Just gotta make sure to eat before we board!
I think the chances are good that the pair of you may be wiped out from the flight back from "Roma." By the time you get out of LAX, you may just decide that you want to just get dinner, get to the hotel and get checked in, and "chillax." (There's another word for anadyr ) Marina Del Rey might just be the ticket. Stop in for dinner while letting the traffic thin, then head to Anaheim for a restful evening prior to a big day at Dland.
The key is to be flexible and go with what feels right. No need to feel disappointed that you can't do it all. It's so nice to have so many options though!
Perhaps LA or Newport Beach (south coast) might be a nice next vacay for you guys. So, so many great places to go and things to do in wonderful So. Cal.
I'm really hoping that won't be the case! I booked business class's seats, so hopefully we'll be we'll rested or at least somewhat tested after our LHR-LAX flight. But I agree, flexibility is key! I want this whole trip to be more a loof and have little in the way of scheduling as possible, unless there's something we MUSdo I, like a day at Disneyland in LA
chillax huh?? Is that for anadyr's discussion on slang? Do you know Hawaii's pigeon English? Drives a lot of people nuts!
YOu know, we'd love to do a CA vacay, but our Nader save goal is to do a European country with NYC. Provided AAdvantagLe doesn't change too much, the mileage redemption is less than flying from Hawaii to the mainland alone! And gym fiancée head never been to NYC and really wants to go. We shall see though! That's a fee years off at least!
Actually we can't blame Marriott. I think it is airport authorities who want to reduce traffic. The concept is good but now the shuttle driver is not accountable to any hotel and the hotels can't control the shuttle schedule. They are supposed to run every 20 min but if late then they are late. Before when it was a Marriott shuttle, if it was late the driver had to account to Marriott and they usually had a second bus that they would use when the first was late and they would get people to their flights. These people are their guests and they might not return if they miss their flights.
Ah, I see. That makes sense... It's sad but true that service would be what it is now.
On another Note, I had modified my reservation to do a return in Anaheim after 1 day and... Apparently the Hertz in the Marriott is now open during specific hours, and they wanted to charge me thaw for that one day than they would for the 2 nights! Crazy!
There is more than one Hertz location in Anaheim. You might have gotten a different one. I called them directly yesterday and was told about this. The one with the 24 hr drop is in the Marriott The other thing you could do is call the Marriott and ask about the night drop.
I have learned that I must check and re-check. You can call a number and get info and then call again and get another person and the info is different. Then, who is right, so you call again and hope to clarify.
The question that you need to ask, do they have a drop box and when would they re-open after your return.
I have rented a Hertz from locations with a drop box. It works. What they do is process returns the first thing in the morning. What could be a problem is if they are not open the next day, then you pay till they return. I have done this in Seattle and Philly that I remember.
That is very true, and for many, many things unfortunately! I shall check it out. In your experiences, though, does is it normally cost just as much to rent a car with a different drop off location as it does to rent a car for two days with the same and pickup and drop off location?
It all depends on where they need cars. I have gotten a one way for a lot less than returning to same location and the reverse. This will likely change as it gets closer to the time.
I would price the car for 2 days - picking up and returning to LAX. Add to that the parking for whatever hotel you stay at.
Then price a one way rental and the cost of the shuttle back to LAX.
Which is best?
I assume that parking at the Marriott is more expensive than $11.
In case you do decide on the Marriott, there is a shuttle system; Anaheim Resort Transportation. Route 5 stops in front of the Marriott. Cost is $5/day/person. It runs about every 5 min till after park closing.
If you decided to do this, you could go back to your room for a rest mid day if you choose. It is cheaper than the $15 Disney charges to park.
Well Californian, looks like luck (sorta) was on my side! I was able to secure First on the final leg (LAX-HNL) for my flight! But, that also means we're now leaving on Sunday, rather than on Saturday as previously planned. So, now we have 2 nights at FFI Anaheim (tentatively anyway) and 1 night at Ren LAX. 1 full day at Disney, 1 full day that's now free, and the two partial days with a 3:3PM arrival from LHR and a 5PM departure to HNL.
Yes it was! I think we're going to just grab check-in and grab dinner at one of your recommended sites on day 1. Day 2 will be full day at Disney. Day 3 we have no idea what to do yet. Disney again, Knots Berry Farm, sightsee? Any recommendations? That day we'll also be checking out of the FFI and checking into the Ren LAX. Day 4 is departure day, so we might be able to squeeze a couple things in prior to heading over to LAX. All I know is the Mrs. wants to go to Trader Joe's one of those days.
I am not sure of your interests but you could see the Space Shuttle at the California Science Center (after you do TJs)
If this doesn't interest you, I will think more.
That's a terrific idea. While the "Mrs." may not be keen on the Science Museum or the Space Shuttle there, I'm sure she's keen on seeing her man happy, especially since it's quite obvious how much her happiness means to him. And who knows, maybe she'll get her (perhaps yet undiscovered ) inner "geek" on.
She said we can go! But there's also a million and one other things too. I know she wants to get to Knotts because she is a BIG Snoopy fan... I wouldn't mind going their either to get my railroad "geek" on and see the former Rio Grande's C-19 Consolidations there! So much to do and see, and so little time!
I think some of that stuff was still there in it's original form when I went in the mid 90's. I remember panning for gold, the mine ride, and they even had a bullet catching thing where one cowboy would shoot a gun and a second would help you catch the bullet. I should have tried it but I was too scared! I remember remote controlled boats, but don't recall seal feeding, burro rides, or even snow cones! I do remember the train ride with the robbers though
If you're a Snoopy fan like my fiancee is, when in Tokyo, check out Snoopy Town! Not Knotts Berry Farm, but lots of stuff to buy!
Oh ya, there is nothing like KBF's Ghost Town and Calico Railway. I wish you could've visited there back in "my" little kid days in the 60's. It was much more authentic and original before they sold out to the modern six flags type of amusement park scene. There is nothing like the Calico Mine Ride when you're just a "little", or the Stagecoach ride or Calico Railway with the robbers. When I was a kid, there also used to be burro rides and seals that you could buy fish for and feed. Panning for gold, and the chicken pie shop and bakery with all things - berry, and the original Fiesta Village. This was all before they turned it into a modern amusement park. Some of it is still there in an ultra evolved form, but nothing like it was in it's original form. I hope they still have boysenberry snow cones. Those were the absolute best.
Nonetheless, long live Snoopy.
Do you have any desire to see any part of Beverly Hills/Hollywood?
My buddy, a magician, will show you around for only the cost of gas! He can get you into The Magic Castle, and is a great guy?
Not pushing anything, but it really helps to have a "Local" that you can trust.
Thanks for the offer! I'll have to discuss with the fiancee. She has a good friend that lives in Garden Grove, CA, and I'm not sure if she's going to be taking us around a little or not. I know they both want to hang out. I'll let you know!
I know what you mean, though. Local insight is always the best!
Here is another suggestion that you may want to consider. Since you are nervous about driving around in LA you could also take the Amtrak train down from LA Union Station to Anaheim. There is a shuttle bus service (FlyAwayBus) from the LAX Airport to Union Station for $7 which takes approx 30-50 min depending on traffic. Then once at Union Station you can take the Amtrak train down to Anaheim which will cost you as little as $14 one way and take about 38min. The Fairfield Inn is less than 2 miles from the Anaheim train station and there are rental car options near the train station in Anaheim in addition to cabs.
If you do decide to rent a car at LAX you may want to choose Budget, Avis or Hertz. All three locations are within walking distance of the Renaissance LAX. Budget is the closest and is directly across the street. This may save you time so that you don't have to take an extra shuttle ride when you return the car.
Have a safe and fun trip!
thanks for the tip! I'll keep that in mind for another time
we'll be at LA after nearly 3 weeks in Europe and will have a few suitcases, so we'd like to avoid having the transfer too much.
we already have a car with Hertz because of the Marriott discounts, but it's good to know they're close to the Ren.
Good thought, Vaboy. I've heard of this (flyawaybus) and have been dragging my feet on getting down to the brass tax of sorting it all out and actually doing it some time. Other than Germany (where Lufthansa wonderfully plucks me right out of Fresno via partner carrier), I usually have to fly out of LAX (4 hours from home) when headed overseas. I am very familiar with Amtrak as I often take it (as a way to be green) down south to visit the fam, but have always wanted to figure out a way of getting to/from Union Station to LAX. The cost would actually be less than the gas to get there and back, and I don't have to pay for long term parking. I also wouldn't have to drive back home with jetlag.
If I remember right, the Fairfield Inn is right next to Disneyland and you could spend the whole day just in that area with Disneyland, California Adventure and Downtown Disney (all next to each other and within walking distance).
In terms of LA sightseeing, you might not need a rental car since you are only going to be there a day and are not planning to cram in many activities. If you stay in LA for an extended trip, you should get a rental car. LA is very spread out and there is not much in terms of public transportation. Trying to get from Downtown LA to Beverly Hills to Hollywood to West Hollywood to Santa Monica to Malibu to Manhattan Beach without a car would be difficult.
If you know the city, it is pretty easy to avoid traffic on Saturday and Sunday. On weekdays though, most freeways are jammed from 7:00am - 9:30am and 4:00pm - 7:00pm.
Enjoy your trip.