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  1. #1

    • aka the scorpion eater!
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    Planning a Birthday trip to SoCal the weekend of 1/23

    Obviously this is all tentative but again, just like my last Haunt trip I am in the month before planning stage like I was... The problem is I dont know what to plan and I dont know what to really visit or do this time.

    Obviously my sister wants to hit Disneyland and with the What Will You Celebrate promotion we might as well do that since its free admission on that Friday of my Birthday 1/23 so if all goes as planned we more than likely have friday planned already [I told her to suck it up about missing out on Screamin, Soarin, and Tower of Terror because we will doing Disneyland only since I do like DCA but the 4 Disney mountains are more important... plus its going to be my Birthday]

    This brings me to Saturdays plans... I want to go do and visit something else hopefully theme park related... but I dont really know which one I want to go visit not to mention which ones are the most cost effective and hopefully least crowded being that January is usually the off season for theme parks as far as I know out there [anyone living in cali want to give some advice]

    Anyhow.... I have a bit of a question regarding Knotts and crowds for 01/23/08... I know they are running the food drive in January with the admission for $22.95 with donation which is far better than the discounted tickets I can get for $29.95 through my savings program... Knowing Knotts and their Discount days usually getting packed... does anyone know about how busy they would be during the month of January with the discounted admission and food drive that I have read about on Darkbeers blog?

    I know they usually get crowded whenever they run discounted admission but taking off season into account... what do people predict... do you think its going to be a madhouse like the Toys for Tots days... or is it going to be just fairly crowded, maybe manageable, or will it be omg insane dont even try going type of crowds... I just want some input as I might be debating on doing Knotts since I still love it and will always love Knotts [despite them being owned by Cedar Fair I actually love some of the rides there, I just wish they didnt take out so much to put the amazing and awesome roller coasters in]

    Anyhow I am debating on going to Knotts around the time of my Birthday... possibly shooting for Saturday 1/24; however I would hate to choose a day thats OMG Packed to the brim with 2 hour waits for Xcelerator, Ghost Rider, Silver Bullet, and while I dont touch Supreme Scream with a 10 foot pole I know my sister will want to ride it and probably drag me on... and I know that one gets a long wait.

    My other train of thought was going and visiting Universal Studios Hollywood since the last time I went there was when I was 16 years old [I will be turning 22... so thats been a good 6 years since I have been there]... Does anyone know if Backdraft has shut its doors yet or will it be open to do it one last time? Same with the Special Effects stages? Also... Knowing January they usually run the buy a day get a year free but the last time we went in January the park was not too crowded and wait times were very manageable... the only downside I see to Universal is the short hours the park has and the small amount of attractions... Also I know they can be pretty pricey when you compare the cost to Knotts... not to mention no more King Kong on the Backlot tour... but still there is probably Jaws, Earthquake, The Mummys Tomb, The Broken Bridge, and the Flash Flood still on the tour which is a plus!

    Plus i have never been able to experience The Simpsons Ride, Revenge of the Mummy, House of Horrors, and Shrek 4D yet so there could be some new stuff to experience plus the thought of an all you can eat pass for 24.99 extra seems like it would be some type of savings on their overpriced park food! Does anyone have any tips or suggestions in regards to Universal on the Saturday of 1/24... have things changed dramatically since 6 years ago [other than the new attractions] or is it mostly the same.

    and Third train of thought... For that saturday I was thinking of hitting Six Flags because I love Roller Coasters and theres 15 or more of them there. The problem... my sister hates six flags and to some degree I also am not too keen on it... Their ride selection is awesome... they are fun if you love roller coasters but on overall theme and attitude of the park... it just doesnt stack anywhere in comparison to the other SoCal parks... plus they are very far... like all the way up the interstate 5 and farther out of the way... still I do save almost 25.00 on tickets and can get Tickets for 31.00 which is almost as cheap as what I can get for Knotts. And with them being only open on weekends I would assume that January would be the off season for them and crowds may be very light!

    Then we would check out of the hotel on Sunday and head back to Phoenix... but obviously before driving back to Phoenix we would make a stop at the Beach and Rubys on the pier before driving back... gotta hit up the pier and Rubys again... My sister and I already agreed we would do that again.

    So I guess my only question is about that saturday 1/24... since I am in the planning stages... does anyone have any good advice... keep in mind with the economy as it is we are trying to go as Cost effective as possible but still want to just take a weekend and what better way than my Birthday finally falling on a semi weekend... I have hotel and gas already paid for no matter where I go with some perks I have so that keeps costs down... really the only costs we will incur is any admission tickets, shopping, and meals when we are out but we are looking at ways to splurge on some things, take advatage of discounts on others, and cut back costs or eliminate them on others.... any advice would definitely be helpful

  2. #2

    • we jumped out a window
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    Re: Planning a Birthday trip to SoCal the weekend of 1/23

    I was just at USH this past Saturday. I stayed only an hour (went to see Bolt at Citywalk) but according to the map, Backdraft and the Special Effects Stages are indeed open. Most people seem to hit either the Simpsons or the Tour first thing so if you do go, you can factor that into your scheduling for that day. Simpsons can become as much as a 45 min. wait.

    If you can hold off on making a decision for a few more weeks, I'm going to Six Flags on either 1/10 or 1/17 and can let you know how the crowds are. I do know that they don't actually have 15 roller coasters. Well technically they do but I think 2 of the kiddie coasters are counted in that 15. As it is a weekend, you might need to pay for the Flash Passes in order to go on more rides. When I went on 12/13, each coaster had at least an hour's wait for standby though that was a Toys for Tots promotion day. Btw, Flashpasses cost $20 for 4 of them and you can split them with everyone in your party. Since cost is a consideration for you, that $31 ticket price would end up becoming $51 were you to get some FP's.

  3. #3

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    Re: Planning a Birthday trip to SoCal the weekend of 1/23

    Quote Originally Posted by tamasurvivor View Post

    Then we would check out of the hotel on Sunday and head back to Phoenix... but obviously before driving back to Phoenix we would make a stop at the Beach and Rubys on the pier before driving back... gotta hit up the pier and Rubys again... My sister and I already agreed we would do that again.


    .... any advice would definitely be helpful
    Not sure which Ruby's Diner you are referring too - but they do have one on the Huntington Beach Pier and then the ORIGINAL on the Balboa Pier in Newport Beach - that one is always my favorite, just because it is the original. As well, there is a Ruby's in Laguna Beach/Dana Point area.....on Pacific Coast Highway......

    Anyway, just thought I'd toss that info out to you. I personally love Ruby's Diner - a favorite place of mine.

  4. #4

    • aka the scorpion eater!
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    Re: Planning a Birthday trip to SoCal the weekend of 1/23

    We just discovered Ruby's on our last Haunt trip and my sister now said it was a new tradition anytime we go out to California... sadly we lived in SoCal for most of our lives and never even ventured onto the actual piers whenever we went out to the beach... its amazing how much you can take for granted when you actually grow up somewhere and have a beach, Disneyland, and other attractions within less than an hours driving distance... now that we see our Cali trips through the eyes of a Tourist its different that we actually go onto the pier now, walk on the sand, and see the sights differently than we used to by having it there and within an hour or less drive every weekend when we got out from school [even though Phoenix to LA area is only 365 miles... I think it still counts as tourist enough]

    Anyhow... my sister and I talked today and yeah she is not too keen on driving from the Disneyland area to Six Flags so I guess that leaves the decision between Knotts and Universal... and thats where the hard part comes in... I really want to go do Universal because it has been 6 years and I would love to see Backdraft one last time before they close it out... but Knotts seems to be more cost effective and closer to where we are getting the hotel [I found BW Park Place available for the dates but we have stayed there before and honestly prefer BW Stovalls over them since Katella has less traffic and easier access in an out of the hotel... plus the walk to DLR from the backside is the best part]

    So being so close to Disney, it would seem Knotts would be wiser and cost effective; but my qualm is really on how crowded people think it might get... hour waits for Coasters are expected... its when the waits get to anything longer than 60 minutes that I have to put my foot down and say Universal might be sounding better... but even then Universal does have shorter hours!

    I did check knotts and their schedule did say they were open later on that Saturday so having more time in the park might be a good thing... but also might be an indicator of huge crowds!

    And to benefit choosing Universal... thats good to know that The Simpsons Ride carries about the same if not similar wait time that Back to the Future had which was long but overall managable!

    Also, Happy New year! to everyone!

  5. #5

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    Re: Planning a Birthday trip to SoCal the weekend of 1/23

    Ok so an update on everything... I have finalized the plans and now have a basic outline of what we are all doing... I am actually kinda happy about my choices since its pretty cost effective and I can even hopefully bring up to two other people along from Phoenix with us since it should not run anyone over 150.00 per person including admission tickets and food

    anyhow... this is the breakdown [feel free to add advice, tips, secrets you might know, etc]

    __________________________________________________ ________


    So we are leaving Phoenix Thursday night after work and driving across the desert in the middle of the night [we always do this since its not only easier on the car being cooler but there is less traffic until you reach the 91 and we oftentimes reach Cali around 6 to 7am]

    We should arrive in Anaheim around the early morning on my Birthday 1/23 which would be perfect time to go get some breakfast at a Dennys, Ihop, a Drive thru somewhere, or just somewhere with good breakfast that is open.

    Then we will arrive at Disneyland and get there at 9am for the opening time... and then just enjoy the day before getting some lunch either in the park or at Downtown Disney [I have not decided on where to eat yet but I want to do something special... suggestions are welcome]... after lunch we would check into our hotel on the backside of the resort then return to the park to finish up the night at Disneyland

    And then since our car will more than likely be parked in the structure we might go do a late dinner and get something to eat off property after park closing since it would be less expensive and some places might have a reverse happy hour being that its Friday [suggestions are also welcome on good places for food open late night on friday in the orange county area]

    Then for Saturday we finally decided... I really should say that I had decided and come to the conclusion that while Knotts may be a Mad House on saturday 1/24 they are at least open until 10pm which is later than Universal is and Six Flags is quite a distance from the resort that I dont really want to take.... So braving the mass insane amounts of crowds will be the price I have to pay for a more cost effective option.

    Plus at $22.95 the price is totally right with getting in for the kids price and less than our little ghetto mini golf park called Castles and Coasters down the street from my apartment. And most importantly the canned food donations do go to a good cause. So we will again get a cheap breakfast and use the hotels continental to fill up, get to Knotts early so we can rush to Ghostrider first thing [if its going to be crowded I find this one coaster gets the longest line in the park]

    We would then enjoy the park and go do Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner Restaurant for lunch since I compared prices and it seems this is a better value ad the food inside of Knotts is expensive, but if you compare prices you are bound to pay the same inside the park as the chicken dinners so why not enjoy something nice... Plus a day at "The Berry Farm" is not a day at "The Berry Farm" without a chicken dinner, boysenberry pie, and Boysenberry punch! Oh and the funnel cake

    After Knotts I planned to go hit up Chilis for dinner down the street since I have gift cards and this would be free then to just enjoy a nice late meal!

    Sunday we would have to head back to Phoenix since my sister and I have work on Monday [and I would assume any guests we bring along also would too] but we did have to do our new "tradition" of going to the pier [either Huntington Beach or Newport] and going to Ruby's Diner out on the pier... we have to go see the ocean on each trip


    __________________________________________________ ________


    Obviously I will get around to posting TR's and stuff after the trip since I have a working computer again... Yay

    Now for questions... the educational part... LOL!!!

    Does anyone have any suggestions about some places in Anaheim or the orange county area open early with good breakfast or any places that might specialize in breakfast? I usually love to hit those hidden hole in the wall type of places that offer good breakfast and hopefully big portions for a good price [we have a few independent breakfast restaurants in Phoenix that make some amazing breakfast]... any suggestions would be helpful

    Also... in reverse does anyone know of good places open late that offer good food, drink specials, and would be all ages [my sister is still 20... on the flipside I will be turning 22 and want to indulge responsibly just a little]... I know the usuals like Chilis, Fridays, Applebees, etc are usually open later on weekends and have the usual.

    Any suggestions on a place to eat inside of Disneyland or Downtown Disney... as I said I am looking to save on the bigger things by eating off property whenever possible but then splurge on some others [Blue Bayou is way too expensive though... I just about died when I saw their prices]... but is there any good ideas on what would be good to splurge on inside either Disneyland or at Downtown Disney? Being its my Birthday and its lunch the cost isnt an option on this meal and I know Downtown Disney does have some good options available for Lunch.

  6. #6

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    Re: Planning a Birthday trip to SoCal the weekend of 1/23

    If you are interested in going to Ruby's I suggest the Balboa Pier in Newport Beach.

    Even though the Huntington Beach Pier is physically closer to the DLR it takes just as much time to get there as it does to the Balboa Pier. Plus imo there is more to do in Newport, and the beach there is cleaner.

    Just my $.02.

  7. #7

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    Re: Planning a Birthday trip to SoCal the weekend of 1/23

    You should be okay with Knott's. The only times it get's REALLY busy is during Haunt and Toys for Tots. They run so many other discounts throughout the year, no one discount really makes it that busy.


  8. #8

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    Re: Planning a Birthday trip to SoCal the weekend of 1/23

    Quote Originally Posted by sir clinksalot View Post
    You should be okay with Knott's. The only times it get's REALLY busy is during Haunt and Toys for Tots. They run so many other discounts throughout the year, no one discount really makes it that busy.
    That was one train of thought I had... but more or less... I am a Knotts fan anyways and have wanted to go to the Farm again for some regular Knotts being that our last time was for Haunt.

    I know January is usually off season for most parks and shouldnt be too bad... but it was the discount thing which made me second guess it!

    Although a TR will come after the trip obviously and I am betting and hoping its going to be less crowded or at the most just as crowded than my last Knotts trip which was a saturday 2 days after Thanksgiving in 2006. I did wait 90 minutes for Ghostrider but for the most part the park was manageable

  9. #9

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    Re: Planning a Birthday trip to SoCal the weekend of 1/23

    I know I should not revive this but oh well... time to get all giddy and hop up and down like a little girl by celebrating in all caps... LESS THAN ONE WEEK UNTIL I REACH DISNEYLAND AND KNOTTS!!!! AND I HAVE A KNOTTS VIRGIN TO SACRIFICE ON THIS TRIP... SHE HAS NEVER BEEN... LOL!!! Sadly i thought she was a Disneyland Virgin too but she went once as a young child with a church group so technically since she has been once she cant celebrate her first visit... I dont know what she could celebrate then... Oh well... well I will be celebrating my Birthday and she can probably Celebrate her second trip I guess!

    So we have decided and everything is finally set in stone, Disneyland 1/23, Knotts 1/24, Beach and Rubys 1/25 before the drive back to Phoenix!

    but yeah... what will you celebrate... LOL! Apparently for me this coming weekend its going to be celebrating someone in our group losing their Knotts virginity to the power of the Boysenberry punch and pie... Yay for the farm!!!

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