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  1. #1

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    Sad I5 To Disneyland, - What Mistake am I making?

    I've been driving to the park since the 70's. Now the past 2 times I have gotten myself in the wrong lane somewhere in Los Angeles, forcing me to head right, to the west and towards some industrial area. 2 trips in row !!! Took us almost 30 minutes to find our way back. Scary, confused, lost, kids mad, I was mad, you name it. I wish I was able to tell what part of LA this has happened in. Maybe 30 or so minutes from the park?
    All I can guess is that i need to stay on the far left of I5 all the time. I had just seconds to make a decision and took the wrong fork. What I think was the correct lane, taking the left fork, looked so small and old, it just did not seem like that could be the correct lane, but I think it was.

    I'm seriously thinking of flying next time, dang the cost, just to not have this thing facing the family again.

    Does any of this make sense? I sure could use some suggestions as to what I can do to figure this out.

    Thx - Craig

  2. #2

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    Re: I5 To Disneyland, - What Mistake am I making?

    LOL. I totally understand. LA's freeways are laid out like spaghetti.

    I live not too far from Disneyland but work well north of LA. The drive each way is a killer. BUT, I also use a navigation system with traffic alert built in. From one trip to the next I almost always take a different route. And you can get to Disneyland dozens of different ways.

    If a new nav system isn't in the cards for you, check out Google maps and take a good look at the areas where you end up getting side tracked. There are some aweful poorly marked merges and exits on the 5 fwy. Don't blame yourself. But you might want to seek some map guidance before your next trip.

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  3. #3

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    Re: I5 To Disneyland, - What Mistake am I making?

    I5 at downtown is a killer. About 1-2 miles after Dodger Stadium it splits into the 10 East, the 10 West and two lanes sort of merge with the 10 West right where the 10 turns into the 60. There's no way to spin it, that part of the drive stinks. It's one of the few freeways I can think of where you have to take what looks like an off-ramp to stay on the same freeway.

    Even when you do make it in the correct lanes I5 can get HORRIBLY backed up right there. As with all things practice makes perfect.

    When I used to live in Simi Valley with annual passes I got a LOT of practivce at this route and came up with an alternate that sounds complicated but was guaranteed to have less traffic and be faster 95% of the time. Of course this was in pre-iPhone Apps days when you couldn't really check real-time traffic reports on a moving map display.

    If you have a GPS, iPhone, or other SmartPhone you can use Google Maps to check real-time traffic and adjust your route as you drive. (Of course having a co-pilot for these gadgets is also important since we don't want any accidents.)

    That being said here is my satnd-by route to make sure I spend as little time on I5 as possible when coming from anywhere near The SF Valley:

    Take I-5 South and take the 10 East
    Take the 10 East to the 710 South
    Take the 710 South to the 105 East
    Take the 105 East to the 605 South
    Take the 605 South to the 91 East
    Take the 91 East to I5 South.
    After ~4 miles follow the signs to Disneyland and have fun parking at the Mickey & Friends structure.

    It does add approximately 8 miles since you are going in a stair-step pattern instead of a straight line but you'll usually save yourself a LOT of grief and tears on I5 between the 710 and the 91.
    Last edited by Darth Mickey; 08-10-2010 at 07:25 PM.
    Disneyland Trips: 76, 77, 78, 80, 81, 83, 84, 86, 90, 98, 99, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 09, 10, 11

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  4. #4

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    Re: I5 To Disneyland, - What Mistake am I making?

    I know exactly where you were! I've done the same thing you did. It's the Soto St. exit, which drops you off in a rather dodgy looking industrial area. Reminded me of the scene in "Mary Poppins" where Jane and Michael run away from the bank.
    Just before that point, the 5 south has three lanes. Two of them exit, leaving the 5 down to one, yes, one lane. The whole freeway. As long as you know it's coming and keep on your toes, you'll be fine.
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    Red Face Re: I5 To Disneyland, - What Mistake am I making?

    Quote Originally Posted by Broadway Guru View Post
    I know exactly where you were! I've done the same thing you did. It's the Soto St. exit, which drops you off in a rather dodgy looking industrial area. Reminded me of the scene in "Mary Poppins" where Jane and Michael run away from the bank.
    Just before that point, the 5 south has three lanes. Two of them exit, leaving the 5 down to one, yes, one lane. The whole freeway. As long as you know it's coming and keep on your toes, you'll be fine.

    Wow, that's amazing. Never realized that I5 is a war zone in that area. So I think I should have stayed to the far left. That is the I5 lane I should have stayed in? The signs there are useless to people who only drive down every 3-5 years. All I remember seeing were I5 south signs. No indication that you could be sent off to twilight zone if you don't understand how the lanes work.
    For what its worth, I may just write to Disneyland as suggest that they consider adding some road signs in the LA area.

    Maybe AAA has a LA freeway map so I can check this out better. Google maps might work too. Is this Soto street area in Los Angeles?

    thx for the help.

    Craig

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    Re: I5 To Disneyland, - What Mistake am I making?

    Quote Originally Posted by Broadway Guru View Post
    I know exactly where you were! I've done the same thing you did. It's the Soto St. exit, which drops you off in a rather dodgy looking industrial area. Reminded me of the scene in "Mary Poppins" where Jane and Michael run away from the bank.
    Just before that point, the 5 south has three lanes. Two of them exit, leaving the 5 down to one, yes, one lane. The whole freeway. As long as you know it's coming and keep on your toes, you'll be fine.

    Am looking at google maps now. looks like I was in the wrong lane and got off onto either the 710 heading towards Compton or the 605. they both branch off I5 around where I probably got lost. Also confusing is that I5 is also called the Santa Ana Freeway? Is that correct? Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

    Craig

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    Re: I5 To Disneyland, - What Mistake am I making?

    Certainly stay in Lane #1 or #2.
    Lane #1 puts you on The 60 East. Not a major problem: just get on The 710 South (right lane). AND THEN ONCE ON THE 710 GET INTO THE LEFT LANE YET AGAIN! you have about 2 miles to complete this task!

    But, lane #2 is the one you want for The 5.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

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    Re: I5 To Disneyland, - What Mistake am I making?

    Quote Originally Posted by patton45 View Post
    Maybe AAA has a LA freeway map so I can check this out better. Google maps might work too. Is this Soto street area in Los Angeles?
    Soto St. is in Boyle Heights, which is a neighborhood of east LA. Sediment's directions can help you if you get into the wrong lane in that area. The 5, 60, and 710 freeways form a little triangle right there.

    I mention Soto because that's where I went wrong. I don't know if you took that exact exit, but I'm sure you were in that little patch.
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    Re: I5 To Disneyland, - What Mistake am I making?

    What I always do is once I hit the L.A. area is get into the second lane from the left side of the road and stay there only changing lanes to stay the second from the left until I get to the area where I know I'm near Anaheim.
    Matthew

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    Re: I5 To Disneyland, - What Mistake am I making?

    It's funny, I have done this same thing heading southbound toward Disneyland thru LA. You really have to keep an eye on both the possible stopped traffic ahead of you and the overhead signs dictating what lanes you should be in. One of the first times I got a bit too distracted and went onto the W 10 on-ramp leading me into what looked like a shading part of town. I quickly took an off-ramp, made a few lefts, and got my tail right back on a E 10 on-ramp as soon as my car could get me there!

  11. #11

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    Re: I5 To Disneyland, - What Mistake am I making?

    Quote Originally Posted by Broadway Guru View Post
    I know exactly where you were! I've done the same thing you did. It's the Soto St. exit, which drops you off in a rather dodgy looking industrial area. Reminded me of the scene in "Mary Poppins" where Jane and Michael run away from the bank.
    Just before that point, the 5 south has three lanes. Two of them exit, leaving the 5 down to one, yes, one lane. The whole freeway. As long as you know it's coming and keep on your toes, you'll be fine.
    This is very intriguing to me. I love maps and I love driving, so I'm trying to figure out where this one lane I5 is. I believe you, but I don't believe it, if you know what I mean.

    I've looked on both Bing Maps and Google Maps and I see the one lane southbound exit to Soto St, but the left two lanes continue on as I5. So I must be looking at the wrong place?

    Anyhow, I believe this is roughly the crazy location I've had problems when coming east on the 10 from Santa Monica, trying to get on southbound 5. You briefly get on the 60 and then right onto the 5. BUT if you are in the right hand of the two lanes, be prepared for an immediate and abrupt merge with the 5's left most lane. You end up in the middle of 3 lanes. But it rattles the nerves if you aren't prepared for the merge!

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    Re: I5 To Disneyland, - What Mistake am I making?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mojave View Post
    This is very intriguing to me. I love maps and I love driving, so I'm trying to figure out where this one lane I5 is. I believe you, but I don't believe it, if you know what I mean.

    I've looked on both Bing Maps and Google Maps and I see the one lane southbound exit to Soto St, but the left two lanes continue on as I5. So I must be looking at the wrong place?
    No, that's it. I think the other lane becomes I10.
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    Re: I5 To Disneyland, - What Mistake am I making?

    Quote Originally Posted by patton45 View Post
    Am looking at google maps now. looks like I was in the wrong lane and got off onto either the 710 heading towards Compton or the 605. they both branch off I5 around where I probably got lost. Also confusing is that I5 is also called the Santa Ana Freeway? Is that correct? Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

    Craig
    To add to the confusion, I5 has two names! It is the Santa Ana Freeway if you are south of downtown LA. North of downtown LA it is called the Golden State Freeway.

    Got that?

  14. #14

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    Re: I5 To Disneyland, - What Mistake am I making?

    The three names of the I-5 in SoCal:

    North of the 5/110 interchange: Golden State Freeway
    South of 5/110 but North of 5/405 Y(in Orange County): Santa Ana Freeway
    South of 5/405 Y (in Orange County): San Diego Freeway

    Yeah...gotta love SoCal freeway names. Sadly, I know all of them, and it's totally useless knowledge.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________

    patton45 - READ THIS VERY CAREFULLY. I will forever remove you from your mess, but the following steps must be followed in order to be able to do that. Here goes:

    When you're heading south on I-5, watch for the 110 exits. When you see them, raise your alert level. You will be exiting I-5 very shortly. When you pass the 110 exits, immediately begin merging to your right. There will most likely be trucks in your way, but that's ok, because you can be either all the way in the far right lane, or the lane immediately to its left. Just be sure to bypass 110 completely. DO NOT EXIT ON 110.

    Once 110 is passed, you should see mention of I-10. You want to exit onto I-10. Yes I-10. Make sure it's the FIRST I-10 exit off I-5 heading towards San Bernardino. (It doesn't say west or east, don't worry about that.) If you see signs saying I-10 San Bernardino, you're going the right way. Follow the transition road over a bridge, around a rather sharp left curve, through a merge point, and onto I-10.

    Once on I-10, you'll need to exit in about 2-3 miles, so don't stray too far away from the right lanes. You'll be next looking for I-710 South towards Long Beach. Fortunately this exit is well marked. Follow the signs directing you onto the far right lane to exit, and you'll be fine. Follow the transition road down a hill, around a sharp curve to the right, and onto I-710 South.

    Once on I-710 South, relax. You've got a good 6 miles until your next exit. Don't even worry about it until you've passed the junction with the 60 freeway. Once you have though, be sure to be in the far left lane. At one point, a new lane will open on the left. Get in it ASAP.

    Why? Because you're about to rejoin I-5 south of the horrific East LA interchange, and the exit is a LEFT exit. But, it's no real biggie. Just be in the left lane, and you'll be fine. You'll rejoin the I-5 with no problems, and then you'll just head the rest of the way down I-5 never having to exit it again until you're taking the Disneyland Drive exit towards the Happiest Place on Earth.

    Got it? It's actually relatively easy, as long as you don't screw up. Just remember 5 -> 10 -> 710 -> 5.

    Heading back north works the same way, just backwards. From I-5, take the LEFT exit onto I-710 North. From there, take the I-10's LEFT fork. From there, follow the signs directing you onto I-5 North from I-10.

    This bypass is simple, painless, and a perfect way to avoid the insanity that is the East LA interchange and aforementioned horrendous narrowing/merging/traffic. Hope it helps!

    "Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom." -- James 3:13

  15. #15

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    Re: I5 To Disneyland, - What Mistake am I making?

    If you only do that drive once a year or less, it's a disaster waiting to happen. The roads are sixty to eighty years old and were originally planned for 45 MPH max and wrapped around and over and under existing city streets rather than doing a proper (and expensive) rework.

    Hence the little gems like "The Rabbit Hole" tunnel on the 101 North at the 10 that has a big curve-and-dip and no sightlines to traffic ahead. When they say 35 MPH They Mean It - if there's an accident or stopped traffic in the tunnel and you go in at 55-plus, you're dead. (And even at 35, it could get ugly.) Go ahead and honk at me for slowing down, I intend to come out the other side alive.

    And as you've found, the signing and routing are a disaster.

    Once you've done the drive a few hundred times, it's easy. A few thousand times, and you know every alternative and you DON'T GO NEAR THE I-5 AT ALL unless you already know that the other alternatives are all worse. And with all the accidents, sometimes you're just plain outta luck today.

    My record is 4-1/2 Hours from West Hollywood to the Parking Structure, starting at 2:30 PM on a Friday afternoon. Allegedly before the worst of Rush Hour.

    Listen to the radio for traffic reports KNX 1070 AM, or use a GPS that has the traffic receiver, or Google Maps or Sigalert.com on a net-connected iPhone/Droid/Blackberry and you'll see all the yellow and red roads.

    I like the stair-step going around, but slightly different starting from the West Valley. The long way around is East 101, South 405, North 110 for ONE RAMP and right onto the 91 East, and all the way across to 5 South and the park.

    (If you know the 405 goes bad in the South Bay Curve approaching the 110, bail out and take the Artesia Blvd East exit, also marked 91 East - the 3.5 mile surface street section is 4 to 6 lanes and will dump you right into the 91 Freeway on-ramp as you go under the 110.)

    The mid-ground to stay off the I-5 is the Ventura 101 South to the Hollywood 101 South, then cut 10 East, 710 South, 91 East, 5 South.

    (Note that the 91 and 105 have HOV (Carpool) Lanes both directions, the 405 is getting them. And better yet, the 91 East HOV lane has a direct transition to the 5 South HOV Lane, and Disneyland Drive has a HOV Lane exit, so it all works out. Same thing with the 5 North HOV Lane direct transition to the 91 West HOV Lane.)

    The other long way around works some days, when the entire Downtown LA Grid is a total battlefield - All the way east on the 210 South or {101 East to 134 East} to the 605 South. Then the 91 West to 5 South.

    It's way Way WAY longer to go all the way around downtown than through it, sometimes a good 20 to 30-plus miles - but you're still moving at 60 to 70 going around rather than crawling at 5 to 10 to go "the shortest route", So Who Cares? You still get there faster - and your Clutch Pedal Leg isn't ready to fall off.

    AAA Auto Club of Southern California has a great "Los Angeles Area Freeway System" map that's about the size of a Disneyland map that has just the essentials. Tuck it into the visor band (or use a big binder clip) and hand it to your Designated Navigator when you sense an Imminent "We're Lost".

    That's the hazard of calling "Shotgun!", now you're the Navigator. No napping! And the Driver has rights of refusal, if they are the "directionally challenged" member of the family don't let them sit there.

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