I went to one a loooong time ago, it was at some fairgrounds was apparently much smaller than it is today. That said it was nice, I think there was a $5 coupon in free reef magazine. That said I'd hardly call Anaheim "driving distance" unless you wanted to do stuff in that area beyond the show. As a single guy, before I had a job.. yeah I'd probably make that drive and figure out other stuff to do down there on the fly, as a married guy I parlayed that into a Disneyland trip (again ages ago) so my wife had something to look forward to, as a married guy with children the trip needs to be primarily about the family and if I'm lucky I can squeeze it into a side destination.
Ultimately though as a teacher these reef shows whether it's Reefapalooza or MACNA happening near the beginning of the school year is for the most part not a good thing for me, even with Mondays off which I normally have any long distance trips means a vacation and that time of year no vacation is possible for me, went to San Diego MACNA which was a 4 day trip so all was good and I have family there, Orlando MACNA I would NEED to play an amusement park vacation trip for the wife and kid which means 1 week plus and I don't have that luxury, Vegas MACNA was ok, I made a day trip out of it, flight cost like $80 round trip, saw what I wanted to see and came home.
That said if you never been absolutely go at least once, 100%, those shows do it in different ways for different people, some people live for the vendors and seeing what fancy, pretty, and overpriced corals they have for sale, for me I live for see what the latest and greatest aquarium goods exist out there while many stores have Kessils for instance they're more often than not going to be the older ones, go there to the Kessil booth where there's the latest 360x, there's the little mini puck, maybe they have the freshwater version too, or the refugium light, etc, maybe you see other products that you didn't know existed too, for instance did you know of other controllers other than the Apex!? Yeah you wouldn't know given all the advertising done at stores or even online places like BRS when you get a package but yup they exist Basically I'm a tech nerd, I like to see everything that's out there whether good or bad.
I sometimes go there and back in the same day with some folks sharing the driving duties. Don't forget we have our own mini show in Sept in Santa Clara - Corals Farmers market, but not to many equipment vendors show for that, only the local ones.
i want to go to at least one. guess im lucky my kid is already in high school and is not interested in going to the show, its too bad though wish he was excited about it as i am. 6 hours aint bad. i can do 8 on my motorcycle in a day. might try and leave sat early morning and come back that night. well see. excited about the one sept