As I mentioned in my last post, we flew out to Los Angeles, California on a spontaneous family trip last week! With the kids off from school Thursday and Friday, it made sense to take off one extra day (Wednesday). This allowed us more time to enjoy our vacation.
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Day 1 – Los Angeles Trip
At the crack of dawn Wednesday morning, we headed to the airport from our home in New Jersey…(after my husband and I had stayed up almost all night watching election coverage the night before).
We arrived in Los Angeles before noon. Quickly, (well, as quickly as one can drive in LA), we headed to our hotel downtown.
Warner Bros Studio Tour
Luckily, we arrived just in time to grab a quick lunch at the Warner Bros. Cafe before our 3:00 scheduled tour. Since I knew we might be cutting it close with the last tour of the day starting at 3:30, I waited until we left the hotel to book the tour. Yeah, I was really living on the edge…
Thankfully, it all worked out and we were excited to explore the back-lots and soundstages…and were also kind of hoping to run into an actor or two!
The Warner Bros studio tour was a great way to begin our time in Los Angeles. Each tour guide drives small groups around in these tram vehicles and tries to customize each tour to the interests of the group. We made sure we expressed that we were big fans of The Big Bang Theory in hopes that we might catch some of the cast roaming around the lots.
Well, we didn’t see any of the Big Bang Theory actors but a golf cart driven by a few Pretty Little Liars cast members drove by. Too bad I had no idea who they were though because I don’t watch the show…
Even though we missed seeing the Big Bang Theory cast, we were lucky enough to get a tour of their soundstage! Unfortunately, they wouldn’t allow pictures inside but we got to sit up where the audience sits and view each of the sets used on the show. Loved it! My kids were excited to see the elevator and Sheldon’s apartment even though they have only seen bits and pieces of the show. Such a fun experience!
Throughout the tour, we were able to get on and off the tram to check out various outdoor sets, city streets and exhibits. The prop department was an exciting stop and we all had a chance to sit in the “Oval Office”!
At the end of the tour, we enjoyed exploring the Friends set…
Along with Two and a Half Men…
The kids loved all the interactive exhibits and my younger son even got to “star” in a movie where they filmed him riding a motorcycle in a car chase.
By the time we left, it was basically dinner time so we battled the LA traffic back downtown and headed straight for the restaurant. We didn’t even have time to freshen up at our hotel before dinner…which was fine since we were exhausted. After our long travel day, my son fell asleep at the table!
Luckily, I chose Rosa Mexicano – a casual dinner for our first night. I knew we would be tired and not up for anything elaborate. Previously, I had been to their NYC location so I expected the food to be pretty good…and I think LA is known for having good Mexican food. We figured we couldn’t really go wrong there. Needless to say, we crashed into bed the second we got back to the hotel!
Day 2 – Los Angeles Trip
Being on east coast time, we were up bright and early our first morning. That worked out well since we had to drive to Anaheim for a day at Disneyland! Of course we hit traffic…and apparently all of California decided to go to Disney that day because it was very crowded!
Surprisingly, the Christmas decorations were already up so everything was as festive as it could be!
Luckily, we didn’t have too long of a wait the first few rides. Unfortunately, things got backed up when Splash Mountain had a problem and people were stuck at the top for awhile. Not fun…
By then, we had to wait in long lines for everything. The kids loved the Indiana Jones ride and luckily we were able to stand in the shade the whole time in line. Oh, did I mention it was around 90 degrees that day? Luckily, it was not a humid 90 degrees like we east coasters are used to…it was actually bearable. I guess that whole dry-heat thing is true…
Anyway, we eventually made it to Splash Mountain and must have caught it at a good time because the line wasn’t too ridiculous…
What was ridiculous was the wait for Hyperspace Mountain! They said the wait was around 90 minutes and I just couldn’t stand in that so my younger son and I walked around while my husband and the big kid waited.
Lucky for them, it only ended up being about an hour. Still that’s too much for me…plus I was afraid to go on that ride anyway! I guess we should have utilized the Fastpasses…oh well.
Basically, we spent the whole day at Disney. Thankfully, we didn’t purchase the park-hopper tickets to visit the California Adventure Park because we just didn’t have time to do both parks…next time!
Shockingly, the traffic wasn’t too horrible getting back into the city…only the last few miles seemed to take forever. Luckily, that night we hadn’t committed to any reservations, mainly because we weren’t sure what time we’d be back. Our only plan that night was meeting my husband’s college friend for drinks at our hotel at 8:30. It made the most sense to just eat at the hotel so we headed upstairs to the revolving restaurant. The kids were thrilled!
Dinner at the Bonaventure Revolving Lounge
Such amazing views of the city and the boys stayed occupied observing the changing scenery. The place was more of a “lounge” than a restaurant so the menu was somewhat limited. It didn’t matter too much for us because for convenience, it couldn’t be beat! The perfect way to end a long day!
Of course, we didn’t go directly to sleep when we got back to our room. We kept hearing sirens and when we looked out our window, all we could see were police cars and news vans. Apparently, we were right in the middle of all the election protesters! Fortunately, the “excitement” didn’t last too long and we were too tired to care…
I will stop there with the end of Day 2. Be sure to stop back to read about Day 3 and 4 of our spontaneous California vacation!
What are your favorite places to visit in Los Angeles?
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