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Old 24 Nov 23, 07:09 PM  
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HEMANCLOFTY
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Huxwolds California Dreaming (Aug 23) - Summary, Final Thoughts & Future Plans

Huxwolds California Dreaming (Aug 23)
Summary, Final Thoughts & Future Plans


Index
Day 14: A Very Sad Travel Home Day

It’s now almost 3 months since we got home from our trip, and reliving it all through this trip report over the last few months has been brilliant.

Going to California has been on our wish list for many years, and it definitely lived up to our expectations. We didn’t quite get to do everything on our Things to Do and Food A-Lists (which were very ambitious), but I think we got the pacing right, with a good mix of Theme park and Other activities. Having 3 different hotels worked really well and getting around using Uber was very convenient and good value for money.

I think the best way to summarise our highs and lows is to break it down into the 3 parts / hotels…

Part 1: Anaheim, Disneyland Resort & Clarion Inn…

Anaheim definitely exceeded our expectations. It was clean and pretty and we always felt safe walking up and down S Harbour Boulevard to Disneyland, and the times we walked to Target and Anaheim Garden Walk. We said it lots of times whilst we were there, but it was like a nicer version of International Drive.

The Clarion was perfectly located, only 15 mins walk from the lobby to the Disneyland entrance sign. This made it really easy to pop back to the hotel for an afternoon rest and recharge before heading back for the evening…





We really liked the hotel too - whilst it wasn’t the most modern of our 3 choices, it was clean and fantastic value for money. Our room / suite was really big, the staff were friendly and the free morning coffee was a nice bonus. We’d definitely return here and would recommend it as a great base for a Disneyland trip.

We could’ve easily spent a full week in the Anaheim / Disneyland bubble, with no need for a car or Ubers, but we did enjoy our couple of days out of it.

Puente Hills Mall (aka Twin Pines Mall) was very cool, and it worked out well that this fell on the Hurricane day so the weather didn’t spoil our park plans. It’s a shame that the mall owners are planning to develop the carpark, but the mall definitely needs some investment as it’s very run down and almost empty, so I hope they can find a way to upgrade whilst making the most of being such an iconic filming location…





The Outlets at Orange were good too, and it was definitely worth the Ubers to Dave’s Hot Chicken and Anaheim Packing House…





Knott’s Berry Farm didn’t quite live up to our expectations (mainly due to 3 of the 7 big coasters being down for maintenance), but it was still a lovely park with lots of history and we got lots done in our 5 hours there. It worth visiting for the Boysenberry food and merch alone…







Disneyland Resort exceeded our expectations, and has reignited our love for Disney. It’s better than Disney World! We loved how accessible everything was, and whilst we didn’t have Park Hopper Tickets this time, we did make the most of having Downtown Disney so close to the Parks…



Disneyland is far superior to Magic Kingdom (which is our least favourite of the 4 in Disney World). It felt charming and easier to get around, and we got loads done without needing Genie+ during our 2 days / 4 visits. In hindsight, we probably would’ve bought Genie+ for the Monday, which did get busy, but we don’t feel like we missed out on anything. We aren’t Star Wars fans, but Galaxy’s Edge is superb and Rise of The Resistance is up there as one of the best dark rides (possibly #1). I loved the Castle, and even without Fireworks, Wanderous Journeys is a brilliant nighttime show…



















Disney’s California Adventure is a real gem of a park. We loved the vibe, and I particularly loved Pixar Pier. Cars Land and Avengers Campus were fab too. Using Genie+ on our Saturday visit enabled us to ride almost everything, and at $25 each it’s good value for money compared to the cost of Flash Passes in other parks around the world. We enjoyed seeing characters just wandering around, and really liked Incredicoaster and Guardians of The Galaxy Mission Breakout. World of Colour: One was stunning, and a perfect way to end our Disney / Anaheim experience…



















Part 2: Hollywood North / Hilton Los Angeles Universal City

The Hilton was the nicest of the 3 hotels we stayed at. It was a huge room, with loads of drawer space and a really lovely bathroom with a huge walk in shower…









The location was brilliant for Universal - around a 6 minute walk from the lobby to the Security scanners. Although we only did one of our Universal days from here, it was great to be able to quickly pop over to City Walk in the evenings…









From here we also did the Warner Bros Studios Tour, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Griffith Observatory, Downtown LA and Burbank shopping…



Warner Bros was good, albeit a little bit overpriced, given that it cost the same for a couple of hours as a full day in a Theme Park. We enjoyed the tour, although it would’ve been nice to have a few more opportunities to get off the tram and take some better photos, and the indoor sections were cool. The DC / Batman section was definitely the highlight as Tom is a huge fan…





Six Flags was really good, and about what we expected. We’d originally planned to spend a couple of nights in Valencia to that we could do 2 days in the park, but had a change of plan when we found out it was closing for a few days, this actually turned out for the best as one (week) day was plenty and we were lucky with low queue times in the morning so didn’t need to pay extra for Flash Passes. It was a shame quite a few coasters were down for maintenance (especially Goliath) but given how hot it was on this day, we probably would’ve still left at 3:30…









Our first day at Universal Studios was very good - about on par with US Orlando, but IOA remains the ultimate park for us. It was worth paying the $25 each for early Entry to Super Nintendo World, as Bowser’s Challenge is really good, but it’s a very small area with not a lot to do other than Bowser and collecting coins. We loved the Studios Tour (it was better than Warner Bros) and Water World is is fantastic show…





















City Walk was really good, with lots more shops than Orlando…

















We really enjoyed our shopping morning in Burbank too…





Griffith Observatory was cool, but probably a one and done for us. It was cool to do the hike, but far too hot to be walking too far…











Downtown LA was cool, and our little self designed tour was a good way to see lots of different things, and Howlin’ Rays at the end made all the walking worthwhile…











Part 3: Hollywood Boulevard / Loews Hollywood / Venice & Santa Monica

This was another fantastic hotel location - we were so close to the Boulevard, but having Ovation in between made it feel a bit safer. The hotel was very nice, but the bathroom needed a bit of a refresh, with a bit of faded woodwork on the sink area and door…







Hollywood Boulevard was even more bizarre than we expected it to be. We wee prepared for the Unhoused population, but the human 💩 in some parts and seeing a man with his bits out was very weird.

Funko was definitely worth a visit, and we has some great meals at Trejos and California Pizza Kitchen. It was fab to be able to walk to the Elm Street House, and to see so many iconic sights like the Dolby and Chinese Theatres…













Our day at Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier was lovely. Again, we knew what to expect, and we were glad of the research / VLOGs we’d watched to prepare ourselves…















It was quick and easy to Uber back to Universal for our 2nd visit. We only spent the morning in the park, but it was enough to box off the rides we’d missed on day 1, and getting to see Water World again was great…













Our last night, just chilling at Ovation and taking pictures of the views of the Boulevard with Downtown LA in the distance was a lovely highlight - yes we missed out on a couple of things from the A-List to do this, but it was definitely a good call after such a full-on 2 weeks…











Other bits to mention…

Of course, the sad news on our last day wasn’t great, but I like to think that she waiting for all of us to have our holidays before she left us.

Flying from Heathrow for the first time was ok, and this was also our first non-Virgin long haul flight. American Airlines was fine, but we definitely prefer Virgin. We didn’t like LaX - mainly because of the limited food options in T4.







The extra couple of hours time difference really made a difference with the Jet lag, and it took us much longer to get back to normal this year.

So what’s next for the Huxwolds…?

We currently have 2 plans on the go…

In February, we are doing a cheeky 3 nights / 2 days in Disneyland Paris, and Tom’s girlfriend Lola is coming too. So far we have 2 rooms at the a hotel Cheyenne booked and we should be sorting the flights this weekend. We’ve also got a dining reservation for Chez Remi, given how much Tom loves Ratatouille.

The flight times mean we have a few hours spare on Sunday, so we’re planning to have some time in Paris before heading to the airport

Then at the end of June, Rich, Tom and I are heading to New York for a week. Rich is currently in the final stages of choosing a hotel (in Times Square), but it looks like we’ll be booking a package deal with BA. It’s 4th July while we are there, and we’ll definitely be doing Six Flags Great America and Coney Island / Lunar Park, as well as lots of the usual touristy bits.

I’ve made a start on a Huxwolds New York New York Pre Trippie

Rich and I will probably do at least one more trip later in the year, but Tom’s working now and needs to save his holiday entitlement as he has lots planned. He and Lola are currently in Malta for 2 nights celebrating Lola’s birthday, and they are going to Amsterdam in December for Tom’s birthday. They are also going to Tenerife for a week in April with Lola’s family.

Thank you so much to everyone who has read along with our Huxwolds California Adventures. As always, I’ve really enjoyed looking through all my notes and photos to pull it all together.

Till the next time…

Edited at 09:52 PM.
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Old 25 Nov 23, 09:28 PM  
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Ils
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Your thoughts on Anaheim are very much aligned with my family's. We spent 5 nights there and could have spent longer.

I see so many people mention you only require two days in the Disney parks. We spent 4 and half days there and could have spent longer.

We're going back to Orlando in Feb and both my son's have said they have no interest in going back to MK as Disneyland park is on another level. DCA was my wife's favourite park and we all loved it.

Knotts again was probably the biggest disappointment for us. I don't think it helped that it was hotter than the sun that day but we tried the famous chicken dinner at the restaurant and was probably the poorest meal we had on our trip.

Anyway I loved reading your reports and brought back many good memories of our own holiday.

Edited at 09:31 PM.
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Old 26 Nov 23, 12:40 AM  
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It all looks amazing definitely on our bucket list 😍
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Old 22 Dec 23, 03:45 PM  
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Great report, appreciate the time it takes to put these together.

We're off to Anaheim then San Diego in May, can't wait!
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Old 22 Dec 23, 04:31 PM  
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I am no longer into theme parks, but greatly enjoyed your trip report.

Thankyou for taking the considerable time required to write it!

The west coast (and inland) are amazing vacation destinations.
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2005 onwards.. lots of times!

Index of all my Trip and Pretrip reports..https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...6#post15662196

Edited at 04:35 PM.
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Old 30 Dec 23, 06:17 PM  
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Thanks for sharing your trip.
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Old 31 Dec 23, 04:58 PM  
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hilz22
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Thank you for sharing your trip. I have really enjoyed reading it. We are spending a week in LA before going on a cruise and it has helped me with some great ideas. Universal is now firmly on the list as is the Funko shop.
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