Disneyland!

Disneyland!

Disneyland is a must when you go to Los Angeles! These past to weekends we went twice and it was so worth it! The first day we spent the whole day in Disneyland and the second weekend we park hopped. So my big tip of the day is: buy a park hopper! It is definitely worth it, both parks are great and offer a lot to do! I haven’t been to a Disney park since 2006, when I went to Disneyland Paris, so I was so excited to go in LA!

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Disneyland

Disneyland is magical, like you would expect. The castle is small though, much smaller than I expected, but it was still really pretty. So when we entered we stopped and took pictures with Walt Disney and the castle. Then we headed to Tomorrowland. TIP #2: get Fast Passes every time you can! It will save you lots of time throughout the day and help you plan out where you will be throughout your time at Disney. Some of the big rides I suggest you get Fast Passes for are: Hyperspace Mountain, Star Wars Tours, Splash Mountain and Indiana Jones. These rides usually get packed and have around an hour long way at the very least.

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We got the fast passes for Hyperspace Mountain first, because it’s one of the more popular rides and the wait would be insane later in the day. Hyperspace Mountain is now Star Wars themed, making the ride even more fun. As you fly through space, the enemy starts shooting at you! Which made us extremely excited throughout the ride.

We headed to Star Wars Tours in the morning, because the wait wasn’t long at the time and we knew it would get long. This was such an awesome ride! If you love Star Wars as much as we do, this will be so much fun for you, since you sit in a ship simulator and fly with C3P0! They have different simulations, so chances are if you go again, the ride will be different.

Astro Blasters was next, with quite a short wait, which was perfect! We hopped on and competed for who got more points. We ended up riding Astro Blasters two more times, so we could all compete with each other.

We headed to Adventureland, where Dole Whip makes for a great mid morning snack. We walked through Tarzan’s tree house, which is so adorable and we wanted to move in. Next up was Pirates of the Caribbean! My personal favorite! It’s such a fun ride, but warning there are some bigger splashes so if you sit on the edge, you might get a little wet. The scenes you go through look very very real and Jack Sparrow really does look like Johnny Depp, it was almost scary.

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Speaking of scary, we went to the Haunted Mansion next, again one of my favorites. I loved the movie when I was little and so it was always a ride I would go back to again and again last time I was in Disney. The mansion looks gorgeous from the outside, something that is different from the Paris Disneyland. One of the things that make this ride so great, are the details. Notice the gravestones as you are waiting in line and look at all the paintings inside. It’s truly amazing.

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For lunch we just grabbed quick service to save time, so we could fit in more rides! We got very lucky because Big Thunder Mountain was closed during lunch and we managed to catch it right as they opened, with just a 20 minute wait. Big Thunder Mountain is fun rollercoaster through the old west and mines.

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Fantasyland is an adorable area through the castle. A lot of the little kid rides are there, some of which are a must. Peter Pan is one of my favorite rides, because it is so magical. You have to catch this at a good time, because a lot of the times we walked by it was a 120 minute wait. We managed to catch it with a 30 minute day on our second weekend, making it a must. On the second weekend we ended up eating dinner in Fantasyland at the Red Rose Tavern that has all sorts of foods, anything from flatbreads to burgers. Most importantly you can get Grey Stuff (it’s delicious :P)! The atmosphere is great in the tavern so I definitely recommend if you like Beauty and the Beast!
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Splash Mountain is a great ride! Prepare to get really wet, especially if you are sitting in the first three seats. It was  my first time on Splash Mountain and though I was a little nervous about the 50 foot drop, I was super excited! Definitely a must and definitely get a fast pass if you can! Also I suggest you get there earlier in the day, so that you have time to dry off before the sun goes down. We decided to dry off on another ride.

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Indiana Jones was next on our fast pass list. None of us knew what this ride was going to be. As we got into the car, we were excited to see what will happen. The ride was inside, recreating some of the most popular scenes from the movies in a thrilling way. It was very reminiscent of The Mummy ride in Universal, with it’s ups and downs and quick stops.

On the first day we went for dinner  to River Belle Terrace. Such an adorable place with really good food! I definitely recommend if you get the chance. We ended that day with an hour long way for Hyperspace Mountain, Astro Blasters and a run across the park at 11:30 for Big Thunder Mountain. We closed the park, which is the best way to do Disney! Come back to read about California Adventure!


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San Diego Road Trip

Los Angeles -> San Francisco Road Trip

 

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

A couple of weekends ago we went back to San Diego, this time to spend the entire time at the zoo! The San Diego zoo is known for their pandas, so we were really excited to see those. So, we got into our car and drove two hours from Los Angeles to the iconic zoo.

The tickets are $52 for a day visit, which is a little overpriced, but the zoo is beautiful, so you can tell they use the money in a good way. First we saw the orangutans, one of our favorites. They are huge and look pretty friendly! We then made our way to the tigers, one of which looked very impatient and hungry, definitely waiting for his lunch to get there.

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We then made our way to the hippos and monkeys. We walked through the area where they keep the leopards, wondering what it would be like to cuddle with the white leopards. Finally we reached the Panda trek and walked along it, seeing various bears. Panda Canyon was under construction, so the pandas were relocated to a new enclosure. This didn’t much matter, because the two pandas were asleep when we got there, so, sadly, we couldn’t see them. We knew we wanted to see them better, so we decided to circle around later.

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Then we went to the Urban Jungle, where we saw giraffes, that absolutely loved us (at least we like to think so). They followed us wherever we went and posed for pictures! The rhinos seemed very cuddly, so when one of the caretakers came up to the fence, the rhinos came over, waiting for her to pet her. What we found interesting was the zebra and the donkey in one enclosure, with a sign saying they are best friends! What was even weirder, in another enclosure they had cheetahs and dogs, which are best friends. The dogs are called animal ambassadors, helping the zoo domesticate the cheetahs and make them friendlier towards humans. It’s such an odd concept and I’m not sure where it came from, but it seems to work.

Next we saw koalas, which are adorable! Most of them were sleeping and when they were sleeping, they were chewing or leaves. We moved on to meerkats (my personal favorites) and elephants. We paused at the Sabertooth Grill for lunch. I had the “incredible nachos” which were good and a refillable soda, which came in handy throughout our walk around the zoo. We then walked up to the lions, which were shockingly sleeping and then up to the arctic to see the polar bears. The polar bears were one of my favorite to see, because they were so active! They were splashing around in the water, cooling down from the warm weather!DSC_6337

We finally walked around to the gorillas, which we had been circling the entire day, but haven’t actually seen them. They were also very active and we ended up sitting there for a while, watching as the youngest one taunted the older males.

DSC_6403We decided to go around to the tigers and the pandas again before calling it a day. The tigers had obviously moved to a new spot to sleep, but continued to nap through the afternoon. The pandas were awake though, so we finally saw them at their most active time: meal time. They sat there, chewing on bamboo and leaves. We found out that when pandas are 18 months old, they have to be separated, because they start seeing each other as competition and start getting aggressive. A good time to see them is around 4:30pm, when they get fed, so plan around that!

DSC_6457Before leaving, we stopped by the giant turtles and the alligators. At the end of the day we had walked about 10km (6.5 miles) around the zoo, spending about 5-6 hours there. I definitely recommend this zoo, it is a beautiful zoo!


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San Diego Road Trip

Los Angeles -> San Francisco Road Trip

 

San Diego Road Trip

One weekend we decided to drive from Los Angeles, down to San Diego. Usually the drive about two hours long, making it the perfect day trip. The city is beautiful and it is a lot of fun to just walk around.

DSC_6171The ride down took a little longer than expected. We hit a couple of car accidents along the way, so it took us more than three hours to drive down. Except for a foggy/smoggy part of the highway, the drive was really nice, right along the coastline. On a warm, pretty day, it must be even more gorgeous.

By the time we got to San Diego, we were starving, so we popped into Las Hadas, for a quick lunch. I definitely recommend this place for lunch and sit outside if the weather is nice! We got carne asada fries, which were fantastic! It made a good appetizer when we shared it between three people. For the main meal, I got enchiladas, which I also recommend!

After lunch we walked around, down to the marina and around the convention center. I have always wanted to go to Comic Con in San Diego, so even being near the convention center felt awesome :). The marina is beautiful, with a little seaside village, that has different stores and places to eat.

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We also walked around the Gaslamp Quarter, which is beautiful! It is a cute little area, with lots of stores, restaurants and pubs. Definitely spend your time walking around and pop into one of these places to eat! Get Mexican food, if you like it, you will not regret it!

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Originally we planned to go to Mission Beach for the sunset, but when we got there, it was so smoggy that we did not want to even get out of the car. I am sure it is a beautiful area, with the aquarium and a theme park, but we were disappointed by the amount of smog. We even tried driving further up north to get away from the grossness, but without luck. We didn’t see the sunset, but it was already dark anyway. It is a really nice area and I would love to explore it on a day when the smog is not so heavy. There are lots of restaurants along the coast and nice houses. If I get the chance, I will go back and explore a little more.

We went back to San Diego to see the zoo, it was a great trip so check back in for another article!

That is all I have for you about San Diego, for now, check it out the city and spend a little more time exploring it! 


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Los Angeles -> San Francisco Road Trip