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Unread 3 Dec 18, 11:33 PM  
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4 go La La in La La Land - Day 17: The Long and Winding Road

Friday August 17th 2018

So, here it was, the day no-one ever wants to arrive. Travelling home day. We woke up to something we hadnt seen at all during the previous 16 days - cloudy, overcast skies, which barely cleared all day. California obviously didnt want us to go. There is not a huge amount of detail in todays report as there wasnt really much to report!

After showering and coffee, we packed the last few bits, did a last sweep of the suite to check for anything we had missed, and checked out of Hotel Indigo. This had been a great base for our Anaheim stay, so handy for Disneyland, with plenty of food options nearby and plenty of space.

It was now around 7.30am, and our flight home was at 3.30pm. We had planned to visit Santa Monica Beach and Pier en route, but first it was time for breakfast. There was only one option really... a final trip to Panera Bread. Ive failed here as I didnt make notes of what we all had - well, apart from me, obviously. As the Beautiful South once sung Give me one last Bear Claw (note: this may not be strictly true, but I think my version scans better). Ah, what Id give to be eating one now.

Breakfast eaten, we jumped back in the car to head across town, and immediately hit traffic. All in all the roughly 45 mile journey took about 1hr 45 mins. Actually, not bad by LA standards.

Around about 9.45am we were pulling up in a parking lot by the pier - the skies were still grey and there were a few interesting characters around.

I commented to Melissa that I didnt feel entirely comfortable with the area - wed seen it so much on tv and in films and had been really excited about coming here, but to be totally honest... it was really disappointing - the pier itself felt very seedy and like a very rundown and tired British seaside town. Southend felt like Buckingham Palace! The final straw for me was when we stopped to use the loos - I was followed in by one of the many homeless people in the area, who started hassling me for money, hed positioned himself across the doorway, but there was enough room for me to force myself past him. I took Melissa and the girls and we headed back to the car - wed been there less than 10 minutes. We must be in the minority as all the research said it is a must do iconic landmark and everyone seems to love it, but hey ho! Ticked off the list.

We had also originally discussed driving round to see some of the houses featured in Modern Family, but they were a little way apart, and I was concerned about the traffic. So we decided to head back to the airport straightaway, stopping to fill the car up on the way. It was now about 10.15am and Melissa did comment that the airport was only around the corner (it was about 6 miles away) and we promptly hit traffic! In fact it was really bad traffic - it took about 90 minutes to do the final mile or so to the airport, and loads of people were getting out of their cabs etc with cases as they were running late.

This was our view for a while...

There were a lot of police vehicles around and we later discovered that the airport had been locked down after a vehicle was found with weapons in the boot and a guy had been arrested trying to take guns through security - apparently he worked in the film industry and it turned out they were all props - obviously the police/security services werent to know this though and had reacted accordingly - what a complete tool!

We did manage to catch a very quick glimpse of the LAX sign. This reminded us of one of our favourite Christmas films - "Nativity"

By the time we got back to the rental return area it was absolute chaos - there was obviously a backlog from the delays, and the process of checking the cars back in had descended into some kind of post-zombie apocalyptic anarchy. I was ignored by one Avis rep who checked the car in front of me, walked past me and then started to check in the one behind, I complained to another who told me just to leave the car, and then got shouted at by another for trying to walk away from the car before it had been checked in!

It then took about three attempts to get on one of the buses back to the terminal. Once that bit had been dealt with, it was around 12.30pm and we were all a bit peckish - we got through check-in, which was a breeze as we were about the only people at the BA desk and decided to eat before we went through security as we had discovered there was an Earl of Sandwich. Melissa, E and I all had a Holiday Sandwich, which made everything right with the world, and M had Tuna. It was so so good and as we enjoyed our last Californian meal, we reminisced about our experiences of the last two and a bit weeks.

Once wed finished we headed through security with no drama, found some seats near the gate, grabbed a Starbucks and set about passing the relatively short time before our flight home.

We settled into our seats near the back in a row of 4 with no problems.

The flight itself was uneventful, other than a surprising addition to one of the meals! Yuck. The air steward was very apologetic.

We landed on time and met up with Paul again in the terminal at Heathrow and he drove us home, albeit with a few delays on the M25. We got back to find that Melissas Mum and Dad had done some shopping for us to make sure we had some basic supplies. It meant Melissa could have a cup of tea and start on her Coconut Patties!

My new mug was unpacked!

And the girls new pins, along with lots of other shopping!

And that was that. After all the planning and excitement it seemed unreal to think it was all over. Sitting here now and looking back it seems like a long while ago! We had an absolute blast.

Our highlights were as follows:

Me - San Diego
E - Warner Brothers Studio Tour
M - Knotts Berry Farm
Melissa (apparently gets to pick more than the rest of us!) - Joshua Tree, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and her birthday in California Adventure!

Weve all said that we LOVED every moment and so glad we ticked everything off we wanted to do.

And so the report comes to an end - thanks so much for reading along, I hope youve enjoyed it.

Future Plans

As for future plans, well..we have a little trip to Disneyland Paris coming up at New Year, including New Years Eve.

And beyond that, a return to Florida next summer - well be travelling with friends who are going for the first time and flights are already booked. BA again, this time into Tampa - rough plans are for a couple of nights at St Pete Beach, a couple onsite at Universal, and then a villa for 10 nights. Well be doing Universal, possibly KSC, but unlikely any Disney parks will be involved.

Thanks for reading all!

Edited at 08:10 AM.
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Unread 3 Dec 18, 11:48 PM  
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Twilight Nerd
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Ive really enjoyed reading your reports. Thanks for taking the time to do them and happy planning for next year.
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Cali here we come
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Unread 4 Dec 18, 08:52 PM  
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I'm sad this is the end. We will have to make it over to the west coast one day. I went as a teenager back in 1994! I stayed with friends in San Diego and we managed to go to Seaworld and also to Disneyland and universal...anyway it's been fun reading along. My kids would have loved to have seen the houses from modern family! Also, we're clearly on the same tv schedule as we watched Nativity on Saturday afternoon! It's a movie we watch every year!

I hope you have fun in DLP and you enjoy your holiday next summer with your friends. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed for future trip reports.

Currently writing
Yo Ho, A Disney Life for Me - Summer 2020 pre trip
The Bare Necessities Summer 2019

Now complete Washington DC October 2019

All my old trip reports are here in one place
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POFQ been and gone, back to CBR
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Unread 4 Dec 18, 08:54 PM  
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i love jack
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Such a fantastic trip thank you, Ive really enjoyed reading your report.
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Time to start planning
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Unread 5 Dec 18, 07:44 AM  
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Thanks for a great report. Bought back lots of memories of our SoCal trip last Christmas!

Enjoy DLP!
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Unread 5 Dec 18, 02:18 PM  
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slow.jo's Reviews
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Shame about Santa Monica - from your experience it's not our cup of tea either!

Such a fantastic report, thanks so much for writing it up!

Jo xx
IG: joannesear

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California - Disneyland & Disney Wonder!
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Unread 6 Dec 18, 09:23 AM  
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Great trippie, thanks for sharing 😀
Still quietly saving so we can return to see Star Wars land...
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Unread 9 Dec 18, 07:43 AM  
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Its been a great trippie. Ive really enjoyed your holiday. I must try a bear claw.
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