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JB

US Trip - where should we go?

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Ok, well, we're going to the US in March next year, and I was wondering how best to divide our time? Any suggestions on how many days to spend at each park, which parks are a must, and which parks to avoid would be really helpful. Also, any 'must do' rides would be appreciated. Here's the itenerary: Honolulu - 3 days LA - 7 days Phoenix - 3 days Las Vegas - 3 days San Francisco - 3 days Thanks! JB

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If you're a fan of coasters then while in LA you need to do Six Flags Magic Mountain (X, Goliath, DejaVu and Riddler are my favs) and Knott's Berry Farm (Xcellerator (sp)). In Vegas you have the New York New York coaster (can't remember the name) which is always a bit of fun. Have a great time!

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Your trip sounds a lot like my upcoming US trip in late February/March! We'll be doing SFMM, KBF, The DLR and DCA. I'd say don't bother doing USH since it's apparently a lot like Movie World.. just without the coasters (according to my dad). In Las Vegas, the stratosphere just added the new "X-Scream" ride.. a must ride! Enjoy your trip.. maybe I'll seeyou there! :) ~Liam

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Thanks guys. The plan has always been Disneyland, Disneyland California Adventure, Knotts Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Universal Studios. I thought USH had rides, so we might have to rethink that one, as the emphasis is on rides in LA... I am looking forward to the Riddler - it looks awesome! Any ideas how long we need to spend at each park? We'll be in LA between 1st and 8th March, so I dont expect the queues to be too long. Liam, if you see a couple of Aussies with manic grins on their faces and video camera in hand, then you've probably found us!! Cheers JB

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In Vegas you have the New York New York coaster (can't remember the name) which is always a bit of fun.  
dont waist your money instead go down the strip on the brand new monorail to the sahara hotel and ride speed the ride it is one of the better coasters in the world and unlike manhatten express at NYNY hotel which is $10 a ride and its a slow togo coaster. Speed is only $6 a ride or $12 for a day pass. in San Francisco you have PGA and SFMW go to SFMW if you have time its has some great coasters

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Universal Studios does have a few rides. They're mostly Movie World stlye things - more emphasis on the movie theme than thrills, but they do have things like the Jurassic Park - a lot like Wild West Falls, Back to the Future, like Batmant on sterioids. Look at their attraction listing for more information. I'd say, as Flea suggested, it's a lot like our Movie World, though I'd have to say it looks slightly better. If you're after hardcore rides, it's certainly not the place to be, but if you've got a spare day in LA (you can't forget some of the touristy stuff around Hollywood etc.). Check out Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk while in San Fran. It's home to one of California's two classic boardwalk Giant Dipper coasters. The other's in San Diego (south of LA) at Belmont Park, which coupled with SeaWorld would full another day - again not necessarily thrill packed, but I know it's on my itinerary for my trip which starts in under two weeks. Get yourself a three day hopper pass which gets you into Disneyland and DCA. A day at Knott's is sufficient. I'm doing thee days at SFMM, but that's only to increase my chances of getting onto rides like X and Deja Vu. I'd say to do what you need to at SFMM would probably only be a day at the most. Vegas is just a matter of walking down the strip, stopping at any casino that has a coaster. There's Adventuredome, New York New York, Nascar Cafe, and Buffalo Bill's about an hour out of town, with Desperado.

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As for how long to spend at each park, well, I've only been to the DLR, as my intense 4 day park stopover in LA turned into a 3 day vomiting experiment with only one day to do the parks. In my experience, I say one day at each park is enough. When I went, I got a 1-day hopper pass for both parks, and was able to see just about everything that interested me in one single day. The only thing I missed was Soarin', which was my fault as I got a fastpass for Mulholland Madness instead for some unknown reason. As for must do attractions at the parks, well, just about everything at DL and most of DCA is worth a look. Indiana Jones is a must, along with all the 'classic' disney attractions (Splash Mountain, Pirates, Jungle Cruise etc.). If your short on time, I'd probably reccomend missing Innoventions, HIStA, and pretty much the whole of Tomorrowland. At DCA, make sure you check out Cali Screamin', Soarin' (from all reports) and Grizzly River Rapids.

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Rides or no rides, Universal is a great day out. Having been there, i must say that every single show is e"X"cellent. PS: Back to the future is absolutely unreal. Best Simulator in its category.

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If you're anything like me JB you'll HAVE to get on any coaster you see. I quite enjoyed Manhattan Express (don't remember it costing a tenner tho), it offers another perspective on the strip and does contain one fairly unusual element. Unfortunately I can't comment on the merits of Speed as it was down the entire time we were in Vegas. The tower sure does look pretty though. Besides, the $10 spent on Manhattan Express would have to be better than the 5 mins that would buy you at one of the 700,000 poker machines scattered around the place.......

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Thanks so much for this info. Ok, the plan so far is: LA: Disneyland (both parks) - 3 days Knotts Berry Farm - 1 day Six Flags - 1 or 2 days Universal Studios - 1 day and maybe have a day left over for other stuff like Venice Beach, Rodeo Drive etc etc This is great! I am ready to pack my bags now!! JB

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Okay well your trip is a lot like mine was too earlier this year just not quite as long in LA... As for USH yes you should visit. It does have rides and new stuff opening too. Jurassic park is awesome for the final drop, I'd say better than WWF. Backdraft is great and the Terminator 4D attraction is the best you'll ever see. Also be sure to catch the Waterworld show, and get down early, the pre-show entertainment is as good as the show! I spent two days at SFMM and that was always the plan...first day X was closed (I didn't know about the Wed thing) and second DJV was closed so at least I managed to get on both. 1 day is probably enough but 2 is better :-) We spent 3 hours lining for X where as the rest of the park was walk ons. Knotts has got to be the most underestimated park ever! And for me it was the cheapest too as a lovely lady have me a voucher just as I was going in for only $25 entry. You coudl easily spend two days here too (see if you can beat my 50 rides on Xcel for one day) but 1 is adequate. Be sure to visit DL AND DCA, no matter what anyone says DCA IS A GOOD PARK with some great attractions, and don't miss Jungle Cruise at DL. We stayed at NYNY in vegas and let me assure you the coaser (Manhattan Express) is worth riding. Its not a slow coaster and in the front at night is great on the first drop...The dive loop is to die for and the restraints are a very cool and comfortable design. Yes get up to the Sahara to ride Speed, another great ride but after 12 back to backs you can start to feel a little ill :-p Also if you can stand the smell of the casino the Arrow in Circus is worth one ride just because its there :-p As for the rest of Vegas be sure to check out all the free entertainment, You can easily spend hours outside Belagio watching those fountains, easily the most impressive thing I've ever seen. Finaly I can't stress this enough...shell out the money and go and get tickets to BLUE MAN GROUP at the Luxor, the most amazing show you'll ver see and I GUARANTEEE you'll love it. Well thats all from me...can anyone tell I can't wait to get back over there??

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One thing I forgot to mention, don't get food from Jack in the Box. The food I got was under cooked you could tell by the edgesof the burger pattie), and I'm 99% sure I got food poisening from there. Since I've been back someone bought this little incident to my attention, which makes not eating there part of my travel advice.

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Hi Guys, thanks so much for the info. One more question: can you suggest any good places to stay? Should we stay at one hotel for the entire time, or should we move away from Disneyland after our 3 days there and move closer to KBF or SFMM? Thanks JB

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Probably a better bet to stay closer to SFMM for the time your visiting there. DLR and KBF, are pretty close to each other, so one place close to the DLR would probably be ok. When I was there, I stayed at the Best Western Raffles. Not a bad place, clean and reasonably priced. I'd reccomend it, but I don't think I'll stay there again though. There's allot of places closer to the DLR and the bus stop to go to KBF.

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Yeah, your best bet would be a hotel for SFMM - it's an hour or so out of LA. There's a Best Western a few minutes' walk from the park. I know that's where we're staying. One hotel should do well for both Disney and Knotts. If they don't offer shuttle buses from the hotel to both parks, then public transport isn't too difficult, particularly for these touristy things (expensive though). Remember if you rent a car (we're not - it's just not cost effective unless you have 4+ people to split the costs), you'll be paying for parking at most parks, which makes public transport even more enticing.

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from 8 years of yearly visits to california. stay at a anaheim hotel as all the hotels in that area offer tours to sfmm Also knotts is only 10mins away from disney and there is a shuttle from the hotels. plus staying in anaheim is good as you wont need a car as all the parks are close plus Down town Disney and The Block (awesome shopping/entertainment area if you need anymore advice just PM me Ian

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Hi guys, well, we're back from the States and we had an awesome time! We stayed at the Annabella hotel at Anaheim, which was a short walk from Disneyland. We went to DL for 2 days, then went to Knotts via shuttle. Then we moved to Hollywood and took the Metro to Universal, and hired a car and drove out to SFMM for 2 days. Let me tell you, driving on those freeways with no real map and bad directions used almost as much adrenaline as the coasters did!! Our first day at DL was overcast. This was the best thing that could happen because we walked onto practically every ride without a wait. I love the Matterhorn at night! Knotts was ok, but Xcelerator was shut, and I was pretty annoyed at that. Actually, half of the park seemed to be shut. The outstanding rides here were 'Perilous Plunge' - an insane boat ride with a serious drop; and 'Le Reveloution' - a pendulous, spinning ride with 4 g's. Very cool. USH was better than I expected. The Jurrasic Park ride was very cool. SFMM was very very cool. The first ride we did was 'Riddlers Revenge'. This was my first time in a stand-up coaster, and it was fun! We waiting about 1.5 hours for 'X' and it was worth the wait. Man, that is an awesome ride. Freaked me out when we did that first back-flip!! 'Goliath' was about a 3 hour wait, and we couldnt be bothered with that, so we did everything else. We came back the next day and did Goliath twice first thing in the morning before most people were in the park. It was a good ride, but not worth a 3 hour wait. At Las Vegas we had done so many rides, and we had so little time, that we didnt feel the need to do the coasters there. They did look good, but when they were open you had to wait a long time to get on them, and we just didnt have the time.... Anyway, I wanted to thank you guys for all the info you provided me with. You really helped me out. If anyone is going to Anaheim I can definitely recommend the Annabella Hotel. It's across the road from DCA, and only a 10min walk from Downtown Disney. The hotel room we had was huge and really nice. Anyway, thanks again. I hope you all get over there soon! Cheers JB

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Depends really on what you want to do. My trip cost around $200 a day for two of us. That includes most expenses - accommodation, food, transportation and entertainment. A family will probably have different needs from two guys with backpacks and no qualms about walking a good few kilometres through less-than-desirable areas at odd hours. Then again, a family will only really do Anaheim or Orlando which are pretty well geared out for tourists. For a big trip (over a month), you'd be looking at about $5,000 each if you go with a mate.

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It cost us about $5000 for 3 weeks (not including plane fares). But then that included things like VIP tickets to a show in Las Vegas, hiring a car in LA, some sightseeing tours, eating at some fairly expensive restaurants etc. That was for 2 people. We could have done it cheaper if we'd stayed in cheaper hotels or in hostels and eaten at cheaper places... Cheers JB

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Ive been to california, two years running now, I took a friend so that it was cheaper twin share. we had return air-fare qantas, 17 nights accom villager lodge, airport transfers, 14 day disney hopper, knotts berry+transfers,universal+transfers, sixflags+transfers,LA city tour 7 hours, it cost $2467,per person form qld. Then we did extra while we were there. but i didnt manage to spend my $1000 usd either, and i didnt miss out on anything i wanted to buy.

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14 day Park Hoppers for Disneyland?!? A bit much don't you think - I thought it only went up to like 5 days or so at Disneyland? I love the place, but there's seriously only two or three days at the most entertainment at both parks. How'd you fill 14 days there?

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yeah they only go up to 5 richard. but last year when we went, they had a promo with air newzeland holidays, it was called an australian vac pass. you paid for a standard 3 or 4 day pass(i cant remeber what one it was,) then you got upgraded so that you could use the hopper pass for up to 14 days. ( we didnt go to disney and use it 14 days, we did other stuff within are 17 days, but when we got back from places we had been, we went to disneyland at night , as you know they trade late till midnight on weekends and 8-00 weeknights. we spent propably 6-7 full days at the two parks, then it was just night time or early morning visits b4 we went out. The 14 day pass was really good cause it gave u something to do for a few hours in the morning or night.:)

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