My son is travelling to California (from Jersey, Channel Islands) in April 2015 to attend the Star Wars Convention. He and his friends are arriving into LAX around 4 April and leaving the day after the convention on 20 April - the convention runs from 16-19 April.
Looking for suggestions of places to stay in LA, preferably with a pool, rather than being stuck out at the convention centre, however, it seems that it takes 2 hours and many changes on public transport to get to convention centre area from Long Beach which is too long. Due to ages of travellers (16-22) hiring a car is probably going to be a no no!
Could maybe consider staying in LA for the first part and moving to a hotel near the convention centre for the 2nd part. I'm sure a trip to Disneyland will be on the cards too.
My son is blind and has some mobility issues so its useful to bear that in mind.
Any info on places/areas to stay and getting around would be very appreciated.
Emma, this is a great/challenging/interesting question to answer considering your son's age and the fact he is blind. So I'll try to help out, but I hope others weigh in too.
I don't have any specific hotel tips on being around the convention center, but I can speak more broadly to the area.
Anaheim is a long way from LA (even with a car), so your instincts are right that they should stay somewhere prior to the convention, definitely. The other issue you'll be dealing with is that LA is not public transportation friendly... yes we have it, but it's not great. LA is just too spread out so you need to pick your spots especially if he has some mobility issues.
Here are some of the main areas that have some walkable things to do nearby. They should stay in one of these areas prior to the convention and then near the convention center during.
Long Beach - there is a newer hotel I saw down there last weekend, the Hyatt The Pike Long Beach and it's very central and walkable to all the attractions like the Aquarium of the Pacific. There are a lot of other things to do around there too. I normally don't recommend long beach, but considering the mobility issues, this might make sense.
The transportation issues they will have is going to make getting from one place to another pretty pricey because they will need to take public transportation (difficult) or cabs/shuttles (could be pricey). So why doesn't mom get to come along on this trip? You could rent a car from LAX and play chauffeur a bit. Then you could even get them to experience some more of LA's awesome places like Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Laguna Beach and many more. Just saying... mama bear might want to tag along on this adventure :))
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Probably the best answer to your hotel question is the Anabella Hotel. It is a great hotel within a safe, 5-minute walk of the convention center; it's also within walking distance of the Disneyland Resort and it does have a pool. With regard to getting around, there are a few reputable shuttle services that run from LAX to Orange County, including Karmel, SuperShuttle and Mickey's Space Ship Shuttle . Here is a link to more information about accessibility options at several Anaheim/Orange County area attractions.
Going around the greater LA area is going to be complicated by transportation. I would assume that if they are focused on the convention at Anaheim Convention Center and Disneyland, they could somewhat shuttle themselves to Anaheim or fly John Wayne Airport (SNA) or Long Beach Airport (LGB) to get closer, than LAX Los Angeles International. I would look up boutique hotel on Tripadvisor or Yelp or rent on Airbnb close by :)
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It takes between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours to travel from Los Angeles International Airportto the Anaheim Convention Center center by car, depending on the time of day. I checked one of the shuttle services (primetimeshuttle.com) and the website indicated that to costs $60 each way for four people to travel from LAX to the Anabella Hotel in a shared van with luggage. The price is probably similar with other shuttle services and from a hotel in the area of LAX. I would check the prices and ratings of several shuttle services. The Annabella is a nice hotel and a perfect location for the convention and to see Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. There are a number of hotels in the same area that would also be good. I suggest you go to Google Maps and check the hotels in that area to find one your son an his friend would like. Most, if not all, of the hotels in the area will have pools. There are a number of other attractions in the Anaheim area as others have indicated and if they do a little research they will see everything available, from Pro Hockey Honda Centerto bowling to Knott's Berry Farm. If they are first time visitors, I would say they will want to spend one day at Disneyland and one day at California Adventure, so they probably want to be in Anaheim by 4/13/15 or so at the latest. As others have said, Los Angeles is a very spread out place and getting around without a car is inconvenient if not difficult. The average high temperature in April in LA is about 68 degrees, and although the water is cold, your son and his friends may find the beach would be fun. From LAX, there are a number of great beaches close by, from Santa Monica down to Redondo Beach. I think I would explore a hotel near the beach in that area for the days after arrival. A lot of the choice has to do with budget and what your son is looking for. Even though it is off-season, hotels in Santa Monica are mostly expensive and they can get less expensive as you go south. I would recommend going to one of the booking sites such as Priceline, Hotels.com, etc. and checking out the places to stay in that area. You might get deals on Priceline by naming the price in the area or on Hotwire. I would also check out airbnb, where you can get places like this for everyone, Hostelling International Santa Monica see http://www.hilosangeles.org/, and other hostels in the area. Once they figure out where they want to stay, they can figure out what they want to see. Good luck.
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I dont drive so use the blue van to get me from LAX to Anaheim and then the ART is great for getting around once you're there. The Anabella is a good location. If you go too far South from the junction of Harbour/Katella you run out of eating places in walking distance. I stay at the Candy Cane but the Anabella is closer to the CC.
I admit I havent yet mastered getting into LA proper without a car yet though.