California dreamin’

We just spent a week in SoCal, headquartered in Anaheim, maybe 2km from the Magic Kingdom.   It was a family holiday, highlighted by my niece and nephew Charlotte and Oliver, and we had  great times, lots of laughs and some fun bombing around Legoland, Disney, California Adventure and Universal Studios and a ridiculously low-priced NHL game.  The kids seemed to have a wonderful, if perhaps a little overwhelming, time visiting the theme parks.  A few impressions:

  • If you can avoid it, don’t visit the above noted theme parks at Christmas unless you enjoy sharing your personal space with seven other people.  Disney was especially bad – crowded beyond belief.  We even heard a rumour that the gates were closed at one point due to numbers of people inside.
  • Legoland was good but not worth the admission.  I preferred the one in Denmark, although admittedly I visited that twenty years ago so it may have changed significantly.
  • At the risk of making a sweeping generalization, I was very surprised by the overall lack of recycling.
  • Take advantage of the fast pass options at the Disney parks; you can reduce your wait time from interminable to tolerable.  California Adventure had less wait times overall.
  • Definitely visit the California Screamin Roller Coaster – amazing.
  • The house we rented was great for a family and close to I5  and Disney (five minute drive).  Buzz me for info.
  • We had to fly in to LAX due to subsequent itineraries but consider John Wayne as it is closer – LAX was 45 minutes from our house.
  • The CityPass from Costco gave us 5 days admission to various parks and was a bit of a reduced price.
  • Overall, the theme parks were fun (I’d been to Disney a couple times, Legoland in Denmark and Universal in Orlando) but busy.  The days were long (the kids did a magnificent job and I was very impressed with them), crowded and very noisy but for a short visit – very fun.  I was very glad we did LA-Hawaii and not the other way around as it is sure nice to have a quiet getaway after the hustle and bustle.

We had a really fun trip although it was so busy we didn’t actually get much time to socialize with each other!  Days were frenetic and then we were in bed early due to theme-park exhaustion!

Next update – Big Island Hawaii.  Have a great 2014!

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