Travels #4 Part 3

So just a little more than 2 weeks till we are off on our trip to California. Lots of planning and decisions and waiting - and now it’s almost time!

The first two parts of our trip will take us to Santa Monica, Malibu, Venice, the Reagan Library, Hollywood, Universal Studios, Warner Bros Studio, Griffith Park, etc. Part 3 is all Disney.

The third part of our Cali adventure will take us to 5 nights in Disneyland. Now it would be great to spend that whole time at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels, but - it’s way too expensive. Their hotels are priced at the deluxe level of Disney World - and we always go for one of the moderate resorts. We wanted to experience one of these hotels, though, so we are compromising. The first 3 nights we are staying at a good neighbor hotel - the Sheraton Park Anaheim - with a Disneyland view. The last two nights we are staying at the Disneyland Hotel - with a premium view. It’s gonna be so epic. We plan on going to the parks 4 of the 5 days. All three days at the Sheraton we are going to the parks. The plan as of now is to go Disneyland the first day. We have reservations at the Blue Bayou on this day for dinner. The second day will be for California Adventure. The third day is back to Disneyland. We have a tour booked for this day called “Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour”. We walk around Disneyland hearing stories about Walt - we get to go in his private apartment overlooking Main St - check out the lobby of Club 33, go on a couple rides that were there when the park opened, and have a private lunch with our group. There are also some surprises. Our main goal is to see Walt’s apartment, Club 33 and put the stories to the place. It’s going to be great. The fourth day we are checking into the Disneyland Hotel and are just staying by the pool all day. We have a Character Meal planned at the hotel that night. The last day we will split between California Adventure and Disneyland. 

We took our daughter to Disneyland 4 years ago - when she was 8. It was our first time there and it was a little jarring. We are so used to Disney World that Disneyland just seemed so small. After a few days we started to get it and really fell in love with it. It’s the place Walt was at. The detail is amazing - the little touches. It’s got a totally different feel to it from Disney World. It’s meant as more of a local park than one visitors go to for an extended vacation. There is a lot of entertainment and events there. We didn’t get to spend enough time there the first time and didn’t get to stay a the Disneyland Hotel. This gives us our chance to really enjoy Disneyland while my daughter is at a perfect age. Plus, California adventure is a lot different now with Cars Land and all the other new stuff there. 

Well - that about does it for our big trip to California. Next up is Travels #5 at the end of the year. Another Disney extravaganza - coming soon…

Man - summer has begun - and it’s 97 degrees outside - third straight day like this - we would all have so much better lives if we could figure out how to swap 10 degrees in the summer for 10 degrees in the winter - or we could just move to California…

Travels #4 Part 2

So part 1 of our California adventure was the beach - hanging in Santa Monica and Malibu for 3 nights.

Part 2 is heading to Hollywood. We are staying for 3 nights at the Hilton Universal City - right next to Universal Studios.

The first day we are going to be geeky tourist and do all the geeky tourist Hollywood stuff. Walk Hollywood Blvd, see the stars on the ground, the Hollywood Museum, the Chinese Theater, The Hollywood sign, Pinks Hot Dogs, In & Out Burger, maybe a cheesy tour, The Crossroads of the World, Beverly Hills - what ever we have time for. There is a big list. We may go back to the hotel to the pool before going out in the evening - hopefully to a movie at either El Capitan or the Chinese Theater.

On day two we are headed to Universal Studios - in walking distance from our hotel. We are splurging and getting VIP passes, so we will be treated to breakfast, a big buffet lunch, a guided studio tour in a small group that is hours longer than the normal one. We get to walk on sets and go through prop and costume rooms and all kinds of other surprises. We also get front of the line access to all the rides and shows and a guide to plan out everything we are doing. It’s rather expensive, but it is going to be epic. It’s our first time there and probably our only time while our daughter is still a kid - and it will be a good time of the trip to be pampered and not have to have the hassles of lines and people and planning.

On day three we are headed to the Warner Bros Studio for another tour. On this one we are supposed to be going on the Friends set - we get to sit on the couch in Central Perk! - and there is a good chance we will also go on the Big Bang Theory set! This tour is 2 1/2 hours of behind the scenes Hollywood fun! After that we are going to drive past the Walt Disney Studios to see what we can see and then head over to Griffith Park to take a look at Walt’s Barn and the carousel that Walt Disney used to take his daughters to & where he got the idea for Disneyland. For the rest of the day we may go for a hike in the hills or back to the city to wander. For that last night in Hollywood we may hang by the pool and/or check out City Walk.

Part 3 - On to Disneyland - coming soon…

Travels #4 - Part 1

Well, we’ve now come to our big travel excursion for the year. In August we are headed for Cali - Southern California to be exact. 11 nights playing tourist! We’ve been to California before. My wife and I went there before our daughter was born - on an LA to Catalina Island to San Diego tour. We went back 4 years ago with our daughter and did a San Fran to Monterey to Big Sur to Disneyland to Santa Monica/LA grand tour. All of it was great - but kinda rushed. We really want to slow it down this time - spend some time hanging out and getting the feel for everything. We also wanted to spend more time at Disneyland before our daughter becomes a teenager and do a lot of Hollywood stuff like studio tours and such. We are breaking the trip into 3 segments - The Beach, Hollywood, and Disneyland. On to the beach!

Part 1 - The Beach

So, the other times we were in LA we stayed in Santa Monica at the Georgian Hotel - seen below.

We are doing the same this time. The first three nights of our trip will be spent at this really pretty 80 year old hotel overlooking the Santa Monica Pier. It’s a wonderful building, very lush, and in a great location. Plus they have a cool veranda to hang out on - with drinks. We plan on walking down to Venice on the first day, letting our daughter play on the pier and heading over to the Third Street Promenade for dinner and shopping. On day two we want to take a drive through Malibu and Topanga Canyon to explore on the way to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. We’ve been wanting to go to the library for a long time and will finally get our chance. They’ve got Air Force One to tour, a chunk of the Berlin Wall, a replica of the Oval Office, and, of course, tons of history. Ok - we’re nerds - but also big Reagan fans. When Reagan laid in state in the Capital after his death, we made the trip up to DC - stood in line for over 3 hours with our 2 year old daughter in her stroller - and paid our respects. We’ll have the opportunity to pay our respects again at this fascinating place. Anyway - on day three we plan on hitting some beaches. Surfrider beach in Malibu is high on the list. Tons of surfing history comes from this spot. It’s also where they filmed a lot of Big Wednesday. The movie is based on the surfing culture that came from surfing the point at Surfrider. We are also going to check out El Matador and Leo Carrillo where lots of movies have been filmed. They are rocky beaches with caves, tide pools and lots to explore. 

Well, that’s part 1 of our planned adventure. Part 2 will take us to Hollywood and the movies - coming soon…