We’ve been back from LA for about a week now but I finally found the time to finish this post. I really want to share the amazing but waaaay too short holiday we had in Los Angeles. So here we go…
Day 1: LA here we come!
After a short flight of 2h20 we arrived in LA around 1PM. I was so happy; OMG I’m finally in Los Angeles! I never knew if I was going back to America after our holiday in Florida about 6 years ago.
The first thing we had to do after getting our luggage was finding the van that would take us to the Midway Car Rental parking because that’s where we would get our car. We had to wait a while before it was our turn to get a car but everything was as what we asked for; we had a gps and a carseat for Lily. We were lucky that it wasn’t too busy on the road (since LA is known to have lots of traffic jams) so we got to our hotel after a 30 minute drive.
Our plan was to go and visit the Aquarium in the afternoon, but since it was already around 4PM we decided to just hang out by the pool as it was really hot and we could use some rest.
As the evening arrived, we decided to have dinner in our hotel restaurant Fuego. I wasn’t sure if I was going to find something to eat that I like since I am a really picky eater and the food was all Mexican-styled, but I got lucky! Virgin Pina Colada’s, cheese quesadillas and grilled chicken with white rice! The setting of the restaurant (just as the rest of the hotel) was really beautiful. While eating your dinner you have a beautiful panoramic view of downtown Long Beach and the historic Queen Mary.
Day 2: Outlet shopping & Knott’s Farm Soak City
On our second morning in LA we decided to go to the Citadel Outlets. When I first looked on their site I thought that it was an indoor shopping center but it turned out not to be; but it looked amazing! The weather was great (maybe a bit too hot even) and while you’re strolling between the shops there’s some great music playing to get you totally in the shopping mood. This is probably my favorite outlet that I’ve ever visited! The variety of shops is huge. These are only a couple of shops you’ll find: Disney Store, Gap, Guess, H&M, Nike and many more.
After a couple of hours shopping it was time to drive to the Knott’s Farm Soak City. What a disappointment! First of all, we had to pay 27$ (you read that right!) for the parking. The entrance ticket costed us 50$ per adult. Online it would have been 10$ cheaper but we didn’t know the price difference would be that big. Just as when we entered the park, we could see that it was quite busy. But we decided to just go put our bikini’s and swim shorts on and go explore the rest of the park. OMG, so busy, you wouldn’t believe! We were looking for the baby pool and its was F-U-L-L. Adults were all standing in there with their kids, I’m guessing there were about 30/40 people in the small pool. No way we would even find some space or some chairs to put our belongings on. So, we turned around and went back to the hotel where we enjoyed a couple more hours of splash fun in our own pool.
Day 3: Disney Maddness
WHOOHOOW, it was finally time to visit Disneyland and Disney’s Adventure Park!
As you can see, we started in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Have to admit the castle is quite a disappointment when you compare it to the one in Paris. Thanks to one of my good Canadian friends I learned that there are a couple of photographers in the park who take your pictures at the best spots, like right in front of the castle. All you have to do is download the Disneyland App and when you purchase your tickets, add the “maxpass” feature. It will cost you 10$ extra per person but it’s so worth it! For this amount you will get multiple fastpasses which you can download through the day, get as many pictures as you want from these special photographers throughout the park, check the waiting time for every attraction, …
We ended up using 2 fastpasses per person and we had many lovely pictures taking of the three of us. For those who have little children, you understand how hard it is to get a picture where you’re all in.
We finished the Magic Kingdom somewhere around 3PM. I know that’s quite early, but since it was super busy we only did the most important rides for Lily. That’s when we exited the park and crossed the street to enter Disney’s Adventure Park. To me, this park was a mix of the Disney’s Movie Park in Paris and in Orlando.
It’s a bit smaller than the Magic Kingdom but it’s full of fun rides as well. We noticed that it became more calm than in the morning but since we were already exhausted, we just did 2 rides. But hey, we got the chance to introduce Lily to her first Disney character: Daisy Duck. I was afraid that she was going to be shy but she did really well!
As you might have noticed in some of the previous pictures, Lily is wearing a harness. I know that it’s not that common yet in Europe but in the US it is used quite often. Since Lily sometimes prefers to walk alone and not sit in the stroller, I decided to do some research on these harnesses for toddlers. I came across this cute harness from Mickie Mouse on Amazon. After reading all the reviews I decided to give it a try and I ordered it, it was a bargain, only $ 16,99! I didn’t know if Lily was going to like it but it turned out she’s totally fine with it.
If you’re child loves walking alone but you’re afraid that he/she might run away, just buy one of these harnesses yourself. It’s totally worth it and you’ll thank me for it.
Day 4: Hollywood
On our fourth day in LA we planned to go to Hollywood. We only left the hotel about 11.30 since we were still tired for the day before. We found a great underground parking right on the Walk Of Fame. The first thing we noticed was that it was super busy as expected. Characters who want you to take a picture with them for money, beginning artists trying to push their CD in your hands,… But hey, I did find the start of Mickie Mouse!
To escape this busyness we booked a hop-on-hop-off sightseeing tour through Hollywood (the red tour). During this two-hour tour we passed some famous areas and buildings like Beverly Hills for example. We were thinking to go to the Santa Monica pier after the tour but it was already getting late so we just went back to the hotel and had a short swim before dinner.
To be honest, I expected more from Hollywood. I know we didn’t get to see that much but I felt like: nice area, bad area, nice area, bad area, … Lots of homeless people and drug addicts made me see the big gap between the rich and the poor.
Day 5: Our last day in LA
Time flies when you’re having fun, unfortunately! We asked for a late check out (12AM) to enjoy our last day a little bit more. Our flight back to Vancouver was scheduled at 7.05 PM so we still had lots of time to spend. After spending 1h at the pool it was time for us to go check out and finally discover a part of Long Beach.
The plan was to visit the aquarium first, but we postponed our plans since Lily decided it was time for a nap. So we walked along the little harbor and we discovered the beautiful pier/shoreline village.
After Lily woke up from her nap we made it to the ‘Aquarium Of The Pacific’. Yes, we are that kind of family that likes going to zoo’s and aquariums on holiday in stead of always exploring the city and learning about culture. The first thing you see while entering the aquarium is this huge fish tank as you can see on the picture below. It was the first time that Lily was really interested in all the fish; we took her to the aquarium in Vancouver twice but I think she was just too little to really understand what she saw. The thing that probably was the most fun for her were the small ponds outside with baby sharks and stingrays who you could ‘pet’.
And that’s where our holiday came to an end. It was time to return our rental car and go to the airport. When we booked our flights with Air Canada we might sure we had a return flight (for 2 adults and a baby on lap). So when we arrived at the airport we were searching for our 7.05PM flight but we could not find it. STRESS STRESS STRESS. Then we tried to check in at the desk and the woman there told us that our flight would be operated by United Airlines so we had to go check in there. While trying the self check-in at United, an error kept occurring. Stress again! Then another employee helped us and he found out that Lily did not have a ticket. SAY WHAT? Even though we booked a return flight for all 3 of us, they did not have one for Lily. Believe me, for a stress chicken (as we would say in Dutch) this was not good. But luckily after about 20 minutes it was solved and we could finally go to our gate. Our flight was on time and everything went well until about 10 minutes before landing. I woke up (yes I was napping) with a horrible pain going from my ears to my neck. I only had that once before when I flew while having a cold, ugh! And then, also Lily woke up, crying and crying and crying. She cried until we landed and then slept all the way home.
Well, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed reading about our little family getaway. If you’d like to get more info about the things we did in LA, just contact me and I’ll get back to you asap!