December 27, 2017: Today we depart by luxury motor coach (pick up locations in Salt Lake and Utah Counties) toward Southern California. Our lunch stop is in Cedar City. We then continue on to the Las Vegas area where we will spend the night at a non-gaming hotel. We have included a welcome buffet dinner tonight. Dinner included.
December 28: After breakfast today, we make our way to southern California. We’ll make a rest stop in Barstow and continue to the Riverside area for lunch. By 3:30, we’ll check into our San Diego hotel which is the Doubletree Resort. We’ll check in and enjoy a rest. At 5, we’ll drive to the Escondido area for a wonderful evening of great food and entertainment. We’ll have a delicious buffet dinner at the Canyon Café followed by a holiday classic at the intimate Welk Theater (400 seats). It’s a musical adaptation of an old favorite: A Christmas Carol, Welk Resort style – back by popular demand. It’s a delightful evening. Breakfast, dinner and show included.
December 29: After breakfast, YOU HAVE A CHOICE: Option 1: We’ll spend a 90 minutes enjoying an interesting visit on board the USS Midway, which is rated as the number one visitor attraction in San Diego. There are over 60 exhibits, 27 restored aircraft and a very interesting tour, with audio headsets included. We will then enjoy a one hour San Diego Harbor Cruise, sailing out to view the sea lions. It’s nice to get out on the water briefly. Option 2: Visit the world famous San Diego Zoo for about 3 hours. Those who choose the zoo will have lunch at the zoo. Those who choose Harbor Cruise/Midway will have lunch at Seaport Village which is a fun waterfront collection of restaurants and shops. After a rest, we’ll take you into Old Town for some free time followed by an included dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. On the way back to the hotel, we will take you to the San Diego LDS Temple. This isn’t a religious stop – we visit because of the incredible Christmas lights and holiday decorations that adorn the property. It is a favorite of all San Diego locals. Breakfast, dinner, cruise/Midway Museum OR San Diego Zoo included.
December 30: After breakfast this morning, we depart San Diego and drive up to the Pasadena area. We go directly to the Irwindale Pavilion which is a warehouse where the floats are being assembled. There is a flurry of activity as the live flowers are scattered over the floats. You can walk within a few feet of about 1/4 of the parade floats and have a chance to really appreciate the detail that goes into every float. After lunch, we have reserved seats to enjoy BANDFEST which is very enjoyable. During the parade, you only get a chance to see these talented bands briefly. At Bandfest, we can enjoy more of their talents – as these are the best bands in the country. After leaving Bandfest, we’ll drive up to the famous Griffith Park Observatory (near the Hollywood sign) for spectacular views of the city. On our way to the hotel, we’ll have dinner at the Farmer’s Market which is a fun Los Angeles tradition. It’s also festively decorated for Christmas and you can stroll down to the giant Christmas Tree. Our hotel is the Holiday Inn Express in Van Nuys. Breakfast, float assembly and Bandfest are included.
December 31: Happy New Year (but the parade is tomorrow). This morning we will spend some time at the delightful Huntington Gardens and Library. This 207 acre complex is home to an exquisite hundred year old mansion, a world class art collection and 120 acres of landscaped gardens featuring 14,000 different types of plants from deserts to jungles. It is an oasis in the middle of Los Angeles county and a must see if you’ve never been. You’ll have time for lunch in the one of the nice cafes on site which are in delightful settings. After a rest, we’ll drive down to Long Beach and enjoy a fun and unique activity called Gondola Getaway. Authentic Venetian gondolas gently cruise us through the enchanting canals and waterways of Naples Island. It’s as close as you get to Venice in the USA. A delicious dinner at The Reef Restaurant. We have a private room overlooking Long Beach Harbor and the Queen Mary. Breakfast, gardens, dinner and Gondolas are included.
January 1: This morning we will arise early and head for Pasadena for the 129th Annual Tournament of Roses Parade. The parade continues to get better year after year. You'll be among the first to see the spectacle as our excellent reserved seats are at the beginning of the parade route (near the network television booths). We have an unobstructed view in both directions and the sun is at our backs. In addition, the bus parks right behind our seats which is very convenient. It is often chilly until the sun comes up so it’s nice to have the bus close by just in case. It is the BEST POSSIBLE scenario for Rose Parade seats (we’ve had these seats for over 30 years). After the parade, we will travel east as we begin our journey home. We stay in Mesquite. Breakfast and parade seats included today.
January 2: Today we continue our journey back to Salt Lake arriving around 3:00. Breakfast included today.
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