Saturday, March 14, 2009

Flying Trip to Disneyland

Our next small plane flying trip will be a trip to Disneyland for our son and a photo opportunity of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River. I found out that Disneyland is offering some cheap tickets right now, there are hotels near Disneyland for a reasonable price, and trips to California have been fun for us in the past.

For the 2009 year, Disneyland kids 4-day ticket is $164 down from $194 and till April 30th, 2009, adults get in for the price of kids ($164 instead of the normal $224). I am not sure if this is all due to the economy or if part of it is a typical spring discount. But it looks like a great deal we want to take advantage of.

I glanced at some of the hotels near the entrance other than the Disney branded ones and found that they were around $110. Maybe not fancy hotels, but will do the trick.

Time to start planning...


What Airport

So it looks like there are two airpots close to Disneyland: Fullerton (KFUL) and Orange County (KSNA). After glancing at Airnav for fuel prices and feedback from customers, it looks like the decision is Fullerton (KFUL). I also look at availability of rental cars, but I will cover that later. Then it is good to check what FBO after determining which airport. Aviation Facilities Inc seems to get plenty of good reviews on KFUL pages of Airnav.


What Route

I usually start with lookup up the direct path on Flyagogo On-line Charts. Then I compare that with looking for stops for fuel/hotel, good paths through mountains and MOAs, and the victor airways. Sometimes the victor airway are decent routes around MOAs and they also good for getting the IFR Minimum Enroute Alitutudes.

One past trip to California, there was clouds for a whole week, and I was very glad I had an IFR rating. It was just a thin layer of clouds flowing in from the coast, so it was not too difficult, but definitely not VFR. So it is definitely time to refresh my IFR rating and practice and look at my past IFR refresher blog notes.

So my first path if weather is good is: klmo-allan-rlg-kege-kril-jnc-kpga

Which is effectively one of the routes I describe in my blog post about VFR paths over the Rockies. It is also an incredible route along Colorado River, Arches, Canyonlands, and Lake Powell; a great photo opportunity. That puts a nice fuel stop and lunch break at a nice place at the edge of Lake Powell with a good price on fuel. For checking fuel prices near where I think a stop would be good, I usually use Airnav local fuel price checker.

The next path for the day is: kpga-kifp

This takes you over the beautiful Grand Canyon. Be careful to cross the Grand Canyon air spaces according to the Grand Canyon VFR chart; so you can't quite do the direct route mentioned. This path takes you approximately over Fossil Canyon Cooridor which should be flown at 10,500 or 12,500 southbound and maintaining proper altitudes over the north area. Skyvector.com has the Grand Canyon chart online.

That places at Laughlin/Bullhead (KIFP) which has been a good place for us to stop in the past. It is a casino town at the Arizona/Nevada border and also very close to California. They have a free shuttle between the airport and hotels and every time we have been able to get a hotel room which cost something like $40. Lake Havasu City (KHII) looks like an interesting possibility too.

The last bit to Disneyland: kifp-zelma-jotnu-tnp-psp-V388-pdz-wisup-kful

There is an arrival for KFUL, but I will try to avoid it if I can. The MEA for a portion of it is 13,000 and if an alternate path is taken that is slightly different, the MEA is 9500.


What Hotel

Google has a good method for checking for hotels near a location such as Disneyland. This is a also good for looking at reviews. Google also has a good method for checking for restaurants near a location.

From this it looks like there are number of restaurants right near the entrance. The kids favorite McDonalds, as well as IHOP, Mimi's, Denny's, Tony Roma's, Quiznos, and Millies (which seems to have a number of good reviews).

Expedia easier to check prices near Disneyland than Travelocity since you can select "near an attraction". You can then filter it for things like free breakfast, free parking, and free wireless internet. This and the price then narrowed my thoughts down to 3 options: Tropicana, Del Sol, and Ramada Main Gate. Around $110/day. It looks like sometimes you can get a cheaper rate by contacting the main hotel web site, so it is good to try that as well as Expedia. All have a heated pool, restaurants nearby, walking distance to Disneyland, and web site that looks pretty decent. We'll see....


Renting A Car

So with planning on being walking distance from Disneyland, I figure on just getting a taxi from the airport to start with. I found a taxi fare checker to hopefully not have surprises on the fare.
It looks like it is about $25-30 each way between the airport (4119 W. Commonwealth Fullerton CA) and the hotels (1540 S Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, CA).

For rental car starters, I checked what Enterprise has at the KFUL airport. Hmmm.. $59/day. Well that makes the taxi really make sense. So I figure there must be a better way so I kept looking.

I then discovered that Enterprise has much better deals from the local offices. I found that the Fullerton Enterprise office has rental rates of $25/day and the Anaheim Enterprise office has rates of $37/day. They also have free pickup/dropoff if you use the closest office. That won't get the cheapest Fullerton rate, but should get the Anaheim rate. I could also get a taxi to the Fullerton office and get the cheap rate if it makes sense. It will probably depend on how many days I plan to rent for. It is nice to see some nicer priced options that are also pretty convenient.


Summary

Well I think that wraps up the important details other than packing and going. We'll see how it goes. Anybody have suggestions??

/Brian

4 comments:

Ray said...

sounds like a nice idea

Coupon Fan said...

i wish enterprise would give out coupons!

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Brian said...

I went on the trip and had a great time! Check out my follow up report in my disneyland flying trip report

Minako said...

Hi... just happen to cross your site...

Im planning to go to Tokyo or Hong Kong Disney this Christmas. Hoho and I found some stuffs from Hong Kong Disneyland here as well:
disneycloth.cwahi.net

I will definitely take tones of photos there!!!