We hit the theme parks hard this week and boy, were we impressed!
The 4D simulated rides and studio tour at Universal blew our minds. Harry Potters Castle was incredible and we actually felt like we were playing Quiditch and souring around Hogwarts on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. That along with the Studio Tour (including a trip down Wisteria Lane, the set from Jaws and an earthquake with a flood and crashing subway trains simulatation!), Jurassic World and Transformers were highlights for us all.
With one day off between parks we cruised along Pacific Highway 1 and took in Muscle Beach and Venice Beach. It was buzzing and the boardwalk was packed with cyclists, skateboarders and inline skaters. We saw an incredible young girl on a skateboard ripping up the skatepark while older boys looked on open-mouthed!
Our Disney experience began with a brilliant (basic but clean!) hotel called the Portofino suites which was less of a walk to Disney than our usual 15 minute walk to school. Best field trip ever!!
Disney was all the children expected and more than we'd hoped it would be. Americans really go to town dressing up for their visit, having t-shirts printed and really getting into the spirit of their day and their enthusiasm was infectious.
As Dave said, this is their heritage and is to them what the Royal Family is to many British people back home.
We loved all the different lands - tomorrowland with Star Tours and Jedi training was Jakes highlight.
We also really enjoyed Pirates of the Carribean and splash mountain (although Sophia wasn't so keen on the dark sections!). As the sun set and the lights came on we were as spellbound as all the Disney fans who surrounded us.
Day 2 of Disney was spent at Californian Adventureland, in the 39 degree heat again which with humidity was 41 degrees Celsius! This side of Disney used to be the Parking lot and was completed in 2001 so was completely new to us.
You really have to plan these days and we had been on forums which gave us detailed plans for the best ways to get around everything in one day. Disney the previous day had gone exactly to plan and we squeezed so much in. Californian adventures was a slower start, with the fastpass for the first ride we checked into having a 2 hour wait. The fastpass system is brilliant - you go and check into a ride with your passes and it gives you a time to come back when you can walk straight in and bypass the queues. However you can't check in for the next ride until you've done the ride you're currently waiting for. We went to 3 other rides and they were being tested or closed - the river rafting ride had 3 boats stuck on the incline! Anyway what was a slow start turned out to be maybe our best theme park day. The California screamin' roller coaster on Paradise Pier we all agreed was the best roller coaster ever and we had to go again!
Luigis rollicking roadsters in Cars Land were just brilliant - we took a trip through the Cars 3 movie in cars, which then speed out on a life size scalextric track around a set of the canyon. So much fun - videos are on my Facebook page.
Other highlights were the Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout (used to be the Tower of Terror) which we all came out shaking from, and Sourin' , which was a flight simulator tour around the world. As we flew into Sydney Harbour I had a lump in my throat as I thought about the adventures in real life we have to look forward to together on this trip.
The heat led us to take a time out mid afternoon when we headed back to the hotel for a cool
Off in the pool and an early dinner. We were then set to head back to the park for a couple more rides and to watch the unbelievably spectacular World of Colour show, which was projected images and scenes from Disney movies shown on the spray from fountains of water in the lake. With Paradise Pier as the backdrop and favourite Disney theme tunes playing Dave summed it up. Disney really knows how to do spectacular. We finished up watching the fireworks from the Disney Park before heading back to the car and arriving at The Lunney's just before midnight. It was a very quiet drive!
Our time in LA is drawing to a close and we have so enjoyed spending time with Kevin and Jen, Naya, Eliza, Marin and Charlie, plus the 2 dogs Amber and Rosie. We spent the labour day weekend playing ultimate on the beach (Chedgy's hamstring went), jumping in the waves on the beach at the nearby Navy base (we felt like VIP's) and just hanging out with these lovely people. Anyone who takes Bloody Marys in a cooler to the beach are certainly lifelong friends of ours! We hope to see them all in England someday soon