The main attraction in the LA area was, of course, Disneyland. We waiting to tell the kids about it until the night before we left on our trip so we wouldn’t have to hear about it for weeks. Katrina was real excited because some kids at school had told her about it. Aly was real excited because Katrina was.
It wasn’t until about a day before we left I remembered hearing horror stories about people waiting in line all day and only going on 3 rides and I started to panic. Did some quick research and found we were going during the busiest two week period of the year. I didn’t have time to really plan things out like I’ve heard you should, but I did download a few iPhone apps that were suppose to help.
The only tip I knew was to go left when you first enter the park and go clockwise to avoid the crowds, which makes a surprisingly big difference. We’ve been doing this everywhere for years. I guess people are genetically mispositioned to go right. Otherwise we had no plan other than being opportunist and going with whatever wasn’t busy at the time. It worked out well, we did pretty much everything in both parks and with one exception didn’t really have to wait long. I think if we had a plan we would have felt obligated to stick to it and wouldn’t have worked out as well. I’m sure it would have also sucked all the fun out of it.
We all had a really good time and the girls got to meet all their favorite characters. The weather was real nice too. Much better than Disney World I’m sure.
We spent 3 1/2 days in the L.A. area, two of those at Disneyland and took a ton of pics so I’m going to separate out the Disneyland stuff in another post. We arrived in LA mid-afternoon on Saturday, checked into our hotel and headed down to the beach. I left the camera behind so it didn’t get stolen or sand in it, so no pics. It was mid 60′s outside and cloudy which made kind of cold to swim plus the waves were way to big for the girls so we didn’t do much besides wade out a few times and build sand castles. The girls were happy though.
That night we headed down to Santa Monica to check out the pier and 3rd street promenade. It was pretty and made for some good people watching. We didn’t stay out too late because we wanted to make it to Disney first thing in the morning.
On Monday we went to Hollywood. Ate lunch at a place called uWink where you order and pay on computer kiosks at the table rather than dealing with a waiter (totally my idea from 5 years ago, though I’m told Ma Bell’s was similar but with phones). It was fun and the food was quite good. We played trivia games with all the other people at the restaurant while we waited. Afterward we checked out the Kodak and Chinese theaters and the walk of fame then cheesed it up at the wax museum.
Next we went to the Griffith Observatory which took way longer than it should have to get to. TomTom insisted it was at the top of a nearby hilltop neighborhood. After driving around an extremely tight twisting road for 20 minutes we finally asked a guy walking his dog who pointed us the right way. He said we were the 3rd car to ask him on this walk. It was a nice view from up there, but unfortunately the observatory itself is closed on Mondays so we didn’t get to go in. We could barely make out the Hollywood sign from there through the smog. We headed over to the Universal Citywalk for dinner which was a great place to end the night.
After Phoenix we headed to San Diego. There wasn’t much to see along the way other than the occasional dust tornado. We had to stop at two border patrol check points along the way even though we never crossed the border. I could have sworn the 4th amendment specifically prohibits the government from detaining me (even momentarily) or searching my vehicle without cause, but thankfully they seem to be using the honor system here. “Is everyone in the car a US citizen?” “Yeah..” “OK, carry on.”
We arrived around dinner time, and after scoring some free Sea World passes for the kids ($140 off) at McDonald’s we decided to go swimming, which turned out to be a bad idea considering it was 66° and the sun was setting.
The next day we went to Sea World which was AWESOME! The weather was perfect, the shows were great, the crowds weren’t too bad, they had souvenir cups that you could get $1 refills with all day and we had time to see everything. Definitely one of the better parts of the trip. The only down side is the spray on sunscreen we had didn’t work at all so we all got burned pretty bad. We bought some lotion the next day.
The last day in San Diego we went to the zoo which is overhyped IMO. It was big and they had panda bears, but otherwise just your average zoo but with more hills and five times the price. After the awesome shows the Albuquerque zoo put on we decided to check out the cat acrobats show here, which turned out to be two guys and two girls jumping on a trampoline in cat suites rather than tigers doing some tricks. It was quite disturbing. The rest of the shows were similar. At one point they took a wolf by me on a walk through the zoo. They yelled at me “Sir, we’re coming through with our Alaskan wolf.” to which I replied “Ok.. So should I take a picture with it or run for my life?”. Turns out they just wanted me to take a few steps out of the way.