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Travel Blog

Anaheim, USA - Part 1

16 April 2011


On April 16 my husband Eugene and I and our three teenage children boarded an Air New Zealand flight to Los Angeles for what was to become a two week trip of a lifetime. Based in Anaheim for our entire stay, we arrived to scorching summer heat on a Saturday afternoon – weather that proved typical for the duration of our trip, despite the fact it was meant to be early spring. Our home for the next two weeks was at the lovely Residence Inn by Marriott Motel, a two bedroom unit on the 8th floor overlooking the sights and sounds of Harbour Boulevard, Anaheim, and a direct 25 minute stroll to the gates of Disneyland. This being our first time in the USA, the common theme was rising early and we’d hit the ground running. We had purchased a 14 day pass for Disneyland so we could come and go as many times as we liked on whatever days we liked. Disneyland is a little overwhelming initially and I’m sure we looked like typical kiwi tourists not knowing where to start. However we were soon getting our heads around the maps provided and advice on offer. It’s a good idea to study beforehand where various rides/shows etc are so you are not always floundering and wasting time figuring out where you are. Disneyland is a very busy place with constant crowds of people….. Eugene likened it to going to an All Blacks/Springboks test match all day, every day! The fun and excitement hit us pretty quickly, so much to do and so little time! Part and parcel of Disneyland can, unfortunately, be standing in queues waiting for your ride or show. But there is an alternative and that’s called Fastpass – it is definitely the way to go; it simply means finding a Fastpass booth for a particular ride or show you want to go to, swiping your entry ticket which then produces the time to go back to that ride later in the day. You are then ushered straight in, slipping past and smiling sweetly to all those people who are lined up waiting their turn! We used the Fastpast option often as we figured we could do other things rather than wait in line for so long. The fireworks display on our first night there was one to remember. We could actually see and hear the fireworks from our motel room each night, but that was nothing compared to being at Disney and standing underneath it all …. Set behind Sleeping Beauty’s castle and a beautiful storyline, (the voice-over being Julie Andrews) and with Tinkerbell dancing across the skyline, it truly is magical. Alongside Disneyland is Disney California Adventure Park, and a not-to-be-missed show here is World of Colour – a dazzling water spectacular intertwined with lazer lights and fire, throwing out mass arrays of colour under the night sky. Also at California Adventure Park is a ride I will never forget – Soaring over California; something that has to be done to be believed! Imagine you're flying in a hang glider and picture yourself soaring from one end of California to the other with the wind in your face!  It is an exhilirating birds-eye view in 3D with your feet dangling above spectacular sights, finishing off over the Disneyland resort with fireworks going off.  I had to do this twice to believe it!  Simply unreal.  When we were planning our holiday we booked various day tours with Southern California Gray Line who are based in Anaheim.  This proved a great way to go and certainly recommended. We were picked up from our motel at 8.25am in the morning and dropped off at the doorstep at the end of the day.  The tour guides were always amusing, each with the gift of the gab, both entertaining and interesting, always giving you an insight into historical places and people.  Our first taste of a day tour was to Sea World in San Diego, an hour and a half drive from Anaheim. ...continued in Part 2 

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