Earlier in the week (Monday 17th Aug) we left New York behind us (sad to leave but we have to move on), and flew across the country to Los Angeles.
We weren't actually staying in L.A. but just south in Anaheim as we planed to take Archie to Disneyland.
We arrived into our hotel in the early evening and checked in. We had a large suite on the top floor which was quite big compared to all the places we had stayed at on the trip - the only downside was, while being two rooms, it was actually only a single bed room with two queen sized beds - we got over that pretty quickly though.
After settling in for a bit we headed down to the restaurant in the hotel to get Archie fed. The restaurant wasn't anything to write home about, but it provided a reasonable range of food and drinks and was adequate.
After dinner we booked our tickets to Disneyland and headed off to bed - tired after the long day and still operating on New York time.
We woke early the next morning (Tuesday 18th Aug), as the plan was to get to the park at opening time (8am) to maximise our time inside.
We caught the local ART bus from the hotel ($5 for a day ticket) and in under 10 min we were pulling into the Disneyland bus hub.
Off the bus, we cleared security and then entered the park. Coincidentally it's currently Disneyland's 60th (Diamond) anniversary - and additional festivities were occurring to celebrate.
We wandered through Disneyland main street and up toward the castle taking it all it.
Everything was perfect and clean - quite unbelievable considering the number of people they have through the gates on a daily basis.
We decided to take Archie on his first ride - the Snow White ride - it looked harmless enough. We waited in line and then boarded out 4-seater trolley car and off we went. About 10 seconds into the trip we quickly realised that the story of Snow White is actually quite dark - and this was well represented in the ride - very dark with lots of loud scary noises - witches and things jumping out at you... Archie was not a fan - in fact he was bloody terrified! Oops...
Luckily the ride wasn't long - but the poor little guy was not very happy at the end of it. We took a breather and then decided to try our luck again - Pinocchio.
Oops... Another luck out... Much the same as Snow White, there is also a dark side to the Pinocchio story - which again was well emphasised in the ride. Archie was not a happy camper again!
Looking to recover from the past two terrifying experiences we had just submitted out son to - we saw the Dumbo ride - much like a carousel, but you can control the up and down motion - thankfully he loved this and all was good in the world once again.
From then on we selected Archie friendly rides - the animal train, Its A Small World, the Disneyland train, Whiney the Poo, etc.
We wandered our way through the park with no real plan. We manage to bump into Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and Woody and snagged some happy snaps with these characters.
By about 2pm we decided to head back to the hotel to put Archie down for a sleep. We all took some time out, either catching up on some sleep ourselves or having a dip in the pool.
We headed back to the park at about 4pm - just in time to watch the parade down Main Street - before continuing to explore the areas of the park we had yet to visit.
Later in the evening we managed to find a 'reasonable' place to sit and watch the evening light show parade which was then followed by the fireworks show - a great end to a great (and very long) day.
At this time Archie was doing incredibly well to still be awake - so we headed home to hit the hay.
The Outlets at Orange
Wednesday (19th Aug) we decided to head out shopping at the local Outlets in Orange. This turned out to be quite a big day out. While I don't have anything else to compare it to - the outlets served out 'needs' well... We walked away all burdened down with bags containing new clothes, shoes and other bits and pieces. While the exchange rate isn't as good as it was a few years ago - there were still some good bargains to be had - and we did!
Thursday (20th Aug) was our last day in Anaheim, and also the last day of our trip. We had a late flight back to Australia so didn't need to be back to LAX until later in the evening - which meant we had pretty much a full day to do what we wanted.
Carmen decided to head out to do some more shopping and sightseeing on the ART buses. Laura, Jo, Archie and I decided to lay low and chill out at the hotel - although that lasted about an hour.
Laura and I decided to head out for a walk - and it was while walking that we discovered an alternate route to Disneyland... only 10 min walk away... oh well. We also discovered Downtown Disneyland - a restaurant and shopping precinct right next to the Disneyland Parks. Had we realised this was here we would likely have walked up each evening for a few drinks and dinner - there was a lot of choice, and while it was more expensive than the hotel (it is part of Disneyland after all), it would have provided a bit more atmosphere and variety. Oh-well... we know for next time.
Basically the remainder of our day ended up being spent at Disneyland Downtown. You would have thought that by now we would have had out fill of shopping... It appears there was room for a few additional items (like my new Collectors Edition Star Wars Lego Tie Fighter - which only just fit in my suit case).
In the early afternoon we all headed back to the hotel and met up before jumping into our transfer back to LAX.
We arrived fairly early to LAX - the freeway flowed fairly well - which allowed us to check in and pass through security fairly quickly.
We waited out time out in duty free shops and food outlets before boarding our Qantas flight back home.
The holiday was over - only 15hrs to go and we will be home - leaving behind the perfect Californian weather.
I wonder how long it will take for our tans to fade in the cooler Melbourne weather. I am looking forward to a great coffee however.
Once the dust settles, I will probably put together a bit of a retrospective of the trip to highlight our favourite parts - and any pictures which didn't make it into the original posts.