13 May, 2013

USA Adventure: Part 7 - Hollywood!

After stopping in at Pomona, we hit the Interstate 10 headed for LA and were a little nervous about those famous traffic jams we’d heard about. Luckily, we made great time and the traffic was pretty good really. We dropped the car off at the airport and got the shuttle to our hotel out in Hollywood, trying to steal glimpses of the sign between all the buildings. It had been a big day, and the next day was sure to be even bigger so we grabbed some beers and headed next door for dinner at Palms Thai Restaurant, the best Thai restaurant in LA.

The next day we were up early and headed to Disneyland!!! I was so excited and it was a wonderful day, although we were a little disappointed that the hotel shuttle returned so early as it meant we’d miss out on the parade and fireworks. Still, we had a great day and enjoyed spotting all the tiny little details that make Disneyland so magical. We also had lots of fun going on all the rides, particularly the Indiana Jones ride and Space Mountain. There’s a very funny picture of me riding Space Mountain that I promise to share once we get it off the camera. It’s HILARIOUS!

We also lined up for 2 hours!!! to go on the main ride in Cars Land, which was a rather long time but it was at the beginning of the day so once that was over and done with we were pretty lucky with waiting times for the rest of the day, particularly thanks to the FastPass. We also met up with Mark and Dyanne, the couple we met at Don the Beachcombers. We had lunch with them at Trader Sam’s tiki bar and restaurant at Disneyland. A very fun place, the food was yummy and the drinks were even yummier! We spent hours there with them, not wanting to leave. I can also recommend riding the attractions after a number of cocktails, VERY fun! Haha

Friday we headed back to Disneyland, this time to check out California Adventure Park. We had an awesome day, with this park having more of the ‘adult’ rides. Our favourite was the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – SO fun! We also went on the rollercoaster Screamin’ Over California which was very fun and not scary at all. There were so many great rides, we had such a fun day! We also managed to find a later hotel shuttle which meant we could head back over to Disneyland for the fireworks. It was completely magical and I’m not ashamed to say I had a bit of a cry as I stood in the crowd with my mouse ears on, tinkerbell flying over the iconic castle and Julie Andrews on the soundtrack telling me that anything is possible and dreams really can come true. A totally magic moment for me.

Saturday we did a tour of the city and visited the Hollywood sign, Beverley Hills, Rodeo Drive and scoped out plenty of celebrity homes. We also got to check out more stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and visited the Chinese Theatre where we got to check out all the celebrity hand and foot prints. It was fun discovering all the different famous people, especially when you found someone you love – like Marilyn Monroe! We also visiting Madame Tussaud’s which was really fun and it’s amazing how realistic they look!! We finished up a great day with an even better night when our friends from Vegas, Kristy and Justin came and picked us up from our hotel and took us to a Big Sandy gig out at a Mexican cantina at Burbank. It was a great night with even greater people and I even took part in a marathon stroll. I also got to meet Doris Mayday which was pretty exciting as I think she is gorgeous and it was so great to know that she is a nice person in real life.

The next day we caught up with Justin and Kristy again, this time they took us sightseeing in parts of downtown LA. We visited lots of great spots, but the main attractions were stunning Union Station and colourful Olvera Street. Union Station is LA’s main railway station and is soooo beautiful! It’s quite old and is filled with stunning art deco architecture and décor. It’s been used in lots of movies, most recently in Gangster Squad. If you’ve seen that you’d recognise its marble floors, lovely architraves, elegant arches and rich furnishings. Right across the road from the station is Olvera Street, the oldest part of LA and home to a number of historic monuments, old buildings and an entire street that looks like little TJ, with heaps of stalls and shops selling authentic Mexican clothing, souvenirs, hand tooled leather goods and of course, churros, burritos and other amazing food. We finished the day with dinner and drinks at Trader Vic’s and we were so sad to say goodbye to these two. It looks like we’ll be going back next September for their wedding though, yay!

Our last day in the US was spent at Universal Studios and although it looked like it might rain the day stayed fine and we had a great time. We started with the studio tour which was lots of fun and gave us an insight into lots of the movie magic that takes place. We got to see a bunch of famous movie cars as well as lots of familiar movie sets. The King Kong 360 3D experience is AMAZING!!! We also took in plenty of the shows including WaterWorld which was pretty impressive and my favourite, the Animal Actors show. Those animals are so clever and cute!! I even got to meet the beautiful guy who played Marley in Marley and Me! We also loved the Simpsons Ride and the Transformers 3D Ride but the Revenge of The Mummy Ride was probably our favourite. It was a great day and we were so sad to leave. I shed a few tears on the plane. I can’t wait to go back!

Phew! So, that was my month-long adventure of the US! If you missed all the other bits, you can go back and read all about my adventures in Vegas including my Vegas tattoo, the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender as well as all the fun of Arizona, San Diego, Tijuana, Long Beach and Palm Springs

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