Travel | Video

Planning our USA family holiday – itinerary

Jul 7, 2018 | Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s official, our family has caught the travel bug and this year we are realising our long-held dream of visiting the West Coast of America. The boys have inherited my love…ok obsession …  with Disney, so our first stop is Anaheim; home to Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park.

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Planning a once in a lifetime family holiday like this takes serious research and expert advice, so I have turned to Phil Hoffmann Travel to help us out.


  • International airfares have become so competitive between the major carriers, so we kept our eye out for sale fares and took advantage of Air New Zealand’s Explore North America sale. Our fares were $1080 per person + a surcharge for Economy Skycouch™.
  • Air New Zealand is a great option. They are regularly ranked amongst the world’s best airlines thanks to their excellent service, with inflight meals that are designed to reflect the vibrant cuisine of New Zealand and an on-demand entertainment system that starts from the moment you take your seat.
  • For us, what really sets Air New Zealand apart is their amazing Economy Skycouch™. In economy class, families or couples can upgrade to the Skycouch™, where a bank of three economy seats are transformed into a flat couch area after take-off. Passengers are given lovely bedding and pillows, making the sky couch the perfect place to stretch out on a long flight.
  • Their flight departure and arrival times for Adelaide are also good – leaving at the civilised time of 11.55am and flying back in at 10.40am.
  • We are really happy that we will go through immigration formalities here in Adelaide, allowing for a seamless experience at Auckland Airport – giving us time to stretch our legs and have a look around duty free!


  • We’ve opted to stay at Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Theme Park Entrance for four nights
  • This budget and family friendly hotel is located just a short stroll from the Disney parks entrances, allowing us to come and go with ease if we need to recharge out batteries.
  • Both parks are open until 10:30pm, so we opted to save on the cost of accommodation here as we will be spending most of our time out and about, although we certainly won’t be doing it tough at the Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim – the spacious, well-appointed guest rooms offer bunk beds and two showers in the large bathrooms. The hotel is also home to a Starbucks, a restaurant and its very own 20,000 square foot waterpark!
  • If your budget stretches (ours didn’t) you might like to investigate Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa for a total Disney immersion.
  • Will get a three-day park hopper pass that will let us make the most of our visit and see all that both Disney Park and Disney California Adventure Park has to offer.
  • Anaheim offers great family dining attractions, with a choice of live entertainment dinner shows. If we’re still standing after each long day of Disney adventures, we’re going to head to the Rainforest Café for tropical fun with the kids.

Mexico – Cabo San Lucas

  • Next on our itinerary is the Mexican resort city of Cabo San Lucas, located on Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. Boasting stunning white beaches, arching stone cliffs, luxury resorts and excellent dining; we can’t wait to indulge our love of snorkelling and feasting upon Mexican cuisine.
  • We’re option to get there from John Wayne Airport in Orange County – it’s an easy 15-minute taxi ride from our hotel in Anaheim. Plus, the flight time to Cabo is only 2 hours 15 minutes.
  • Cabo is going to be the perfect place to unwind in the sun. We we’re deciding between the all-inclusive Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos and Villa La Estancia. We decided on the former, the all-inclusive package and kids club activities were too good to refuse!

Santa Monica

  • Our final stop on this US adventure is Santa Monica, a gorgeous coastal city west of downtown Los Angeles. We’ll take a short flight from Cabo to LA’s LAX Airport, and then a 20-minute transfer to our accommodation.
  • We can’t wait to hit the wide, golden-sand beach with the famous pier – we’ll be sure to take a spin on the world’s only solar-powered ferris wheel, followed by a bike or Segway ride along The Strand – the iconic pathway that winds itself along LA’s beaches. You know the one – it’s in all the movies!  Santa Monica is home to a brilliant range of eateries; from sunshiney, healthy cafes to fine dining.  The shopping scene is not to be missed either, with a mix of all of the major US chains and quirky boutiques.
  • We’ve chosen classic accommodation at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bugalows, with guest rooms overlooking the pier. It will be the perfect place to take in the stunning Californian sunsets.
  • From Santa Monica we take in the sights of LA, including the hop on hop off bus tour and a day trip to Universal Studios, where my boys will be in their element at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

You may be wondering about the order of our itinerary.  The flights from Cabo to Los Angeles don’t connect perfectly for our return flight to Australia, meaning that we would need to spend an extra night in a hotel near LAX Airport.  By placing the stay in Cabo at the centre of our trip, we can avoid a wasted evening and keep our trip flowing nicely.  Our last day will instead be spent enjoying Santa Monica before taking our airport transfer in the afternoon.

Booking with Phil Hoffmann Travel has been fantastic! With 25 years of delivering inspiring travel experiences and outstanding customer service, it’s no surprises Phil Hoffmann Travel has helped us to create the perfect itinerary.

You might be interested to learn you no longer need to wait to take the holiday that you have always dreamed of.  When purchasing your holiday from Phil Hoffmann Travel you can choose from 3, 6, 9 or 12-month interest free options.  Speak with a Phil Hoffmann Travel & Cruise consultant today about your ideal holiday and for all the terms and conditions. Interested? Enquire HERE.

The Cornes Family are departing in November – we’ll be taking you with us – sharing all our tips, tricks and favourite experiences! In the meantime if you have tread this holiday path before us, we’d love to hear your advice.






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