Re: I had the same experience with 123-reg.
--- You could transfer the domains to another registrar with no downtime, and it would probably take an hour max. ---
Not if they are indeed part of GoDaddy. It took several hours (and chat, email, voice calls) when I moved off them a decade or so ago. And they still send me email once a year or so about how my (nonexistent) account has been suspended because they were unable to charge my (expired) CC.
Just say NoDaddy.
I'm now using DreamHost for domain registration and (light use) hosting. I have no idea if they are best, but they seem adequate, and not being GoDaddy feels like a major benefit.