For spring break this year, we decided to take a week-long trip, something we’d never done before on spring break, despite the fact that pretty much all of Atlanta does this. L.A. seemed like a good use of a couple companion passes that were about to expire, so westward we flew on Monday afternoon before checking into Disney’s Grand Californian hotel. The next morning, we had breakfast with chipmunks (and a few of their friends) before walking a few blocks down the sidewalk into Disneyland.
We rode rides I loved as a kid, like Space Mountain, Star Tours, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and we enjoyed newer ones like Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and the Indiana Jones Adventure. Sometimes we stopped for pictures with characters, too.
The next morning (Wednesday), we got up early and walked over to Disney California Adventure, a park none of us had visited before, as I’m pretty sure it wasn’t around in the ’80s. Thanks to some good intel from my friend Whit, we knew to go right to Toy Story Midway Mania whilst my bride got fast passes for the Radiator Springs Racers during the initial “magic hour” before the park opened to non-resort-property-hotel-patrons. We even had time for California Screamin’, my 8yo boy’s first upside-down roller coaster, and his favorite ride in both parks, during that magic hour with no lines. Then we enjoyed Soarin,’ which featured a giant screen and hang-gliding all over the world, including several places we’ve visited (or will visit this year) together as a family (like Monument Valley)! We enjoyed lunch with a mermaid and a live Frozen show that afternoon before seeing the “world of color” light show that evening. It was a long, but awesome, day for everyone.
The following morning (Thursday), we used the “magic hour” to return to Disneyland before we had to check out at 11am (which we made by 2 minutes). We enjoyed a new version of Star Tours and hit favorites like Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones, and Big Thunder Mountain once again, and we added It’s a Small World.
After we checked out, we headed into Los Angeles to check out the La Brea Tar Pits and the LA County Museum of Art; the kids loved both (especially my aspiring paleontologist son). Here they are with the largest section of the Berlin Wall this side of Germany:
And here we all are in front of a gooey, oily crypt full of once powerful mammals:
We enjoyed some bronze nudity from Rodin in the outdoor sculpture garden and then headed up toward Ventura by way of Rodeo Drive, Mulholland, and the 101 during rush hour to meet Whit and his sons at The Stonehaus in Westlake Village for some Mediterranean food by a fire pit.
We got to the Ventura Beach Marriott about 10pm Thursday night, ready to start the second phase of our trip–national parks!
To be continued…