8 Days 8 People

September 12, 2013

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8 excited people – Keely, James, Kathleen, Ally, Carly, Sanya, Ashlea and Ellen –  met at Tullamarine on August 21st and headed for 8 amazing days in California.  Most had never travelled this far before nor been away from home for this amount of time.

We left at 9.30am on Wednesday 21st and arrived at LAX 9.30 am on Wednesday 21st. Experiencing 2 days twice was a bit of a spin out for some of us!

Around midday we arrived at our hotel in Annaheim, the Annabella. While some had a bit of a rest, a couple of us went off to explore the area. We checked out Coco’s Diner down the road, where the meals were huge and there were free drink refills –  a bonus especially given the 30+ degree temperatures.

From where we were staying we could see the Big Mickey Mouse ferris wheel and when the fireworks lit up the sky that night, everyone was excited to get to Disneyland the next morning.

After breakfast we set off on foot to Disneyland … just across the road but a good 45 minute walk to the entrance. It is huge and there were people everywhere. We went to the castle, saw Mickey,  stopped off for some rides and  got front row seats for the Disney Parade, where Sanya said a personal hello to almost every character. By mid afternoon the heat was slowing the troops so we headed back through Downtown Disney to the hotel for a quick dip in the hotel pool. It was back to Disneyland for the evening, where we had dinner, watched the spectacular fireworks followed by more rides and, of course, some shopping. In the excitement we actually missed the last shuttle, but luckily, a kind bus driver offered to drop us back on his way home.

For the next 2 days it was California Park and Disneyland again. Rides, shopping, parades, fried food and lots of drinks. It was just impossible to fit everything in, but we sure gave it our best shot! The evening show on the water at California Park was really spectacular.

Day 5 we headed to San Diego, where we were treated to a history of California by a Mexican guide. We went to Sea World, where the killer whales were definitely a highlight. On return to Annaheim we transferred to Hollywood, almost missing another bus!

The following day it was Universal Studios. We went through the sets, saw how the clever filmmakers create what looks real in the movies, saw the King Kong set and even had King Kong attack our cart! Lots of fun. There were just so many characters to chat to and sets and props to see.  Again a very hot day!  Naturally we couldn’t let a shopping opportunity pass us by, so we headed to City Walk to the biggest sweet shop we’d ever seen, Bubba Gum, and many more iconic stores. One of James’ favourites being Starbucks Café, always nice for a late afternoon iced coffee. Back to the hotel eventually for a late dinner with plenty of laughs.

Last day in LA we decided to ride the subway to Hollywood Boulevard and do the Walk of Fame. Hollywood Blvd was amazingly crazy! So many people – budding actors dressed in various costumes, everyone had something to sell you, it was manic. Of course there were the 2,500 stars in the pavement and we all looked for our favourites. James in particular enjoyed meeting an ‘American comedian’ and had a great chat with him. Later in the day it was time to get out of the heat so Hollywood’s Hard Rock Café looked like the place to be.

Back to the hotel, collected baggage and off to LAX for the early morning flight home …. It was a long one but everyone was glad to be greeted by their families in Melbourne.

It was a great trip. Everyone had a ball, we learned and experienced new things, made new friends and most importantly had plenty of laughs!  Ashlea and I absolutely loved seeing the reactions of each person in response to the hundreds of experiences involved in overseas travel and will remember them for some time.

by Ellen Clacy

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