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  1. Default Kansas City to Disneyland

    My son and I are taking a road trip from Kansas City to Disneyland, CA. We have three days to get out there but I am also a photographer and would love to see some great scenic areas if at all possible. We plan to drive I70 West through Denver and then to Las Vegas but I was considering possibly driving to Monument Valley if its doable. We have to pick up my wife and daughter from Orange County airport around 2pm on the third day. I was going to head out on Monday Memorial day but could leave after work on late Sunday evening if needed.

    The whole family is driving back home from Disneyland and plan to visit the Grand Canyon South Rim(first time seeing in person!) so any helpful hints there would be great especially hotels or place to stay (thinking two nights). A friend told me that after visiting Grand Canyon to head back to I70 to go home because the southern route home is not very scenic.

    This is my first thread on this site.
    I'd appreciate any help with driving tips, locations, or suggestions.
    We normally fly into LAX but wanted to see some natural wonders (Grand Canyon, etc) and this would probably be our last time with some quality time with my son and youngest daughter as they are graduating High School this year.

    Thanks,

    Mike
    Last edited by KCmike; 04-17-2016 at 01:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    As one who regularly makes a trip between San Diego and central MO (Columbia area), I know you are going to be doing three very long days in the vehicle between KC and Anaheim. It's 1600+ miles, so you're looking at 3 days of 500+ miles. That's without detouring over to Monument Valley. Frankly, I-70 through Colorado (west of Denver) and through Utah is about the most scenic stretch of freeway. You'll want to take time to stop in the Glenwood Canyon area, then in the San Rafael Swell area (between Green River UT and Salina UT). These are both a photographers' delight. Oh, btw, the only way you are going to get to that airport by 2 pm on the third day is if you leave EARLY in the morning, or get on the road and do a few hours on Sunday evening -- perhaps stay in Hays or Goodland, KS. LA traffic is twice as bad at KC's....I've experienced both.

    Grand Canyon -- if staying at the El Tovar at the national park itself is booked or over your budget, you have the choices of Tusayan (right next to the Canyon southern kiosk), Williams (an hour south of the kiosk), Cameron (out the eastern kiosk) or Flagstaff (1-1/2 hours from the Canyon. Start getting those reservations NOW.

    I-40 to I-35 not scenic? Well, not as scenic as I-70, that's true. However, here is where you could go through Monument Valley, up the Million Dollar Highway and see that section of Colorado: IF you have the time to do so. If you are going to try to do that in 3 days, though, it's not going to happen.

    I hope your family is aware that there is a lot of construction going on in Disneyland this year. Also that they have made reservations for a hotel already, or will do so asap. There are quite a few good places to stay, but over Memorial Day weekend, they will fill FAST.


    Donna in San Diego County

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    You've got a pretty big problem right now. Not only do you not have time to take any scenic detours, you haven't given yourself enough time to safely make this drive on the most direct possible route. At 1600 miles, you need 3 full days to make the trip safely, and you're giving yourself just 2.5, with no margin of error at all. Mind you 3 full days is the fastest a professional driver can make this trip because of safety laws, and they don't also have to consider the needs of traveling with children.

    On your way there, you need to leave earlier. On the way home, you need to plan for at least 4 days if you want to stop at the grand canyon,c and if you can add a 5th, then you could also think about adding some time at monument valley.

  4. Default

    Thanks Donna. We already have the hotel in Anaheim on Harbor. We are Disneyland Vets and know about all the refurbishments. I would be embarrassed to tell you how many times I've been. I should be an annual pass holder but I just can't pull the trigger. I appreciate the areas on i70 you've mentioned and will look both of them up and research them. Are they fairly close off the highway for areas of interest? I've map quested the hours to DL and they suggest 24 hrs so I was hoping that if I get further than Denver I would cut into that time on the first day. I was hoping to do like 12 hours on the first stretch unless I start off on Sunday. I kind of worry about hotel vacancies on the road as I've never not had something planned like this while traveling to a main destination. I have also driven several times through LA traffic but I was kind of hoping that West of Anaheim might be better?

    We have two full nights planned for Grand Canyon and then another two days of driving home from there. I would love to do Monument valley but I don't want to have to add a another complete night somewhere. I was thinking of staying in Tusayan but was shocked to see the hotels in the upper $200's. I don't mind paying good dollars for a hotel but these were subpar Best Western's. Should i just stay one night there and then head to monument valley or is the Grand Canyon worth two days? The first day there would be driving from anaheim and seeing it in the evening and then one full day.

    Vegas to Disneyland only shows 4.25 hrs. Should I plan for around 6 hours or more on a Wednesday morning?

    Thanks again for everything. BTW I wish we were staying at the Hotel Del this time around but the budget won't allow it.

    Mike

  5. Default

    Thank you for the warm welcome!

    I was hoping to drive about 12 hrs the first day and then about 8 the second day. Keeping in mind I get the advantage of the time difference as I head West. I like the though of margin of error though in case of something happening. I definitely think I will head out Sunday evening and stop around Ft Hayes, KS. I'm only traveling with my son on the way out. I do like your idea also of adding more time coming home.

    Coming home we will drive from Anaheim to Grand Canyon South Rim and stay for two nights. Then from there I've given myself two days to get home without going to Monument Valley. I do have an extra day to get home in case of something happening. I really need to map quest have far monument valley is from Grand Canyon South rim. As always, I trying to add more to my itinerary than I can bite off. Is the Grand Canyon worth two nights? I'm just worried that it might be I've seen it for half the day and won't want to drive back into the park from Tusayan the next day. Is Tusayan my best bet if I can't stay in the park?

    Thanks so much!

    Mike

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Computer mapping times are fantasy. They do not allow for any stops for anything and assume speed limit all the way with no delays. Add at least 20%. If you need to make it to OC by 2pm on the 3rd day, you need to drive a few hours on Sunday.

    2 days from the GC to KC? That's also fantasy.

    If Tusayan is too rich for you, stay in Williams or Flagstaff.

  7. Default

    May I ask why its a fantasy to drive two days to KC from the south rim? We easily drive to Walt Disney World from KC in a day and a half? Is the drive very strenuous?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KCmike View Post
    I was hoping to drive about 12 hrs the first day and then about 8 the second day. Keeping in mind I get the advantage of the time difference as I head West.
    The problem is that you are underestimating how far that will get you. As GLC mentioned, online mapping programs are just fantasy.

    20 hours on the road will get you to roughly Cedar City, Utah - and that's a reasonable place to shoot for your second night. The problem is that Cedar City is still more than 400 miles away - or at least 7-8 hours from Anaheim, making it very difficult to get there in time for an early afternoon flight, especially when you'll also have SoCal traffic to fight through, potentially pushing up your travel times significantly.

    If you can make it to Hayes the first night, then you'd be set up well to make it to Grand Junction, and then Vegas the second night. However, yes, any program that tells you that you can make it from Vegas to Anaheim in 4.25 hours is flat out lying to you. Making it in 5 would be typical, but I'd give yourself 6 to make sure you're at the airport on time.

    As always, I trying to add more to my itinerary than I can bite off. Is the Grand Canyon worth two nights? I'm just worried that it might be I've seen it for half the day and won't want to drive back into the park from Tusayan the next day. Is Tusayan my best bet if I can't stay in the park?
    Again, you're overestimating how far you can get in a day. Yes, you can get from Anaheim to GC in a day, but that's going to take up nearly the entire day (9-10 hours). You certainly won't be spending half the day at the canyon. If you get a place very near the Canyon, maybe you would be to take a quick look at the sunset, but anything you see would just be a small taste.

    While you could easily spend all of the day at the Grand Canyon, considering all the miles you need to get back home, I would recommend you still cover some miles that day. At the very least, you'll need to head back down to Flagstaff - which will give you much cheaper rooms - to put you at the maximum distance you should be looking at for a 2 day drive to KC (1200+ miles via the Interstate). Getting to Winslow or Holbrook would make your drive home more pleasant, especially with kids. Amarillo is really the place you'll need to target for the overnight stop if you start out from Flagstaff or Winslow.

  9. Default

    Thanks so much for this information. It has become very clear that I need to reconsider my time tables. I'm so happy I stumbled up on this website. Thank you all very very much.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KCmike View Post
    May I ask why its a fantasy to drive two days to KC from the south rim? We easily drive to Walt Disney World from KC in a day and a half? Is the drive very strenuous?
    You can do whatever you want, but we'll tell you that driving from KC to Orlando is also a drive that we'd strongly recommend you give yourself a minimum of 2 full days for. The simple fact is that doing the drive in less time requires you to push yourself beyond the limits that any human can safely do - even if you have multiple drivers. After about 10 hours in a car (even as a passenger) the effects of fatigue become very similar to that of someone who has had too much to drink - even if you don't "feel" tired. Of course, the longer you go past that, the worse it becomes, and the problems multiply as you are on the road for multiple days in a row.

    That is why professional drivers are limited, by law, to covering about 600 miles in a day, and that's why we recommend people not attempt to do more than that on a multi-day trip. When talking about a family trip, with kids involved, even that really is pushing it, because it means you simply don't have time to do anything other than cover miles, without any stops for kids to have some time to have fun and be kids.

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