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Unread 9 Jul 17, 05:53 AM  
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Alien
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West Coast - Disney, LA, San Diego trip report *complete*

Part 1

LA

Santa Monica Pier & beach & shopping. Loved it! I wish we had another half day for it. Best place to leave my husband for an hour breakfast and enjoy some shopping too, particularly if you are yoga active wear as Lululemon, athelta, alo yoga

there are so many movie scenes under the pier, I had to get a photo!

DH and DS


tasty egg white omelette



and little less healthy option


great spot for brunch at boulevard (st monica)




Venice Beach - we loved it. I always enjoy taking a walk around there and people watching. There was body building competition at Muscle beach and the boys loved watching the skaters and street dancers. People complain that is old looking and we didn't actually go for sun tanning or swimming - just walk around but I love how lively and colorful it is



Hollywood - I don't feel the need to visit again but as it was DS first time we did it. So busy around there. I don't find it as interesting location to be honest.

Hollywood sign behind DS, visible from the Chinese theater where the Oscars are held. Look for the spot if you don't plan to head to closer location for photo op. If you buy something, even if it's just cup of coffee you can get your parking ticket validated and pay much lower rate for few hours



Science museum - really good! With ticket for one of the short IMAX movies you get access to the space shuttle and most of the areas are free access, very reasonable day. All areas are very interactive and there many happy kids around exploring! We were sad we didn't have second day or at least the full day there and is highlight of the trip for my son

Getty Center - great view of LA and again one location we wished we had more time for. Well worth spending few hours

Other notes on LA

Traffic is so bad and it seem to be bad at any time of the day. Carpool lanes help little. It felt that even driving to something 3 miles away takes forever

Heat wave was not fun

Food was good or very good everywhere we ate. I felt even the supermarket trip to get fruit was much more reasonable and better quality compared to our last Orlando trip. We had one special meal only - 15 course Chef's menu at Scratch Bar & Kitchen in Encino. We paid 500 usd for 3 adults with few drinks each and it was interesting experience but wouldn't travel to there if I am not staying in the area. I had better meals in LA but as we were with kids the rest of our meals were all family suitable locations and I found both prices and quality of food to be good. Most bills with tip and one or two drinks for adult and 1 child were about 80 usd, and about 40 for QS type of locations. At the other end of the price range we also did quick visit to PINKS hot dogs for first time, huge portions good for sharing.

Pinks is famous hot dog chain in LA. I don't think I will be doing it every trip but glad i tried it



Parking cost add up a lot and most locations charge per day even if you only spend 30 minutes there. We parked at venice beach for 20 usd early in the morning. We came back to pick up the car few hours later and they were asking for 40 usd for same parking spot, same daily fee. It was ok as I had reasonable daily budget but something to plan for

We always love our time in LA! We were invited on 4th of July bbq with about 20 kid and they had water fights, movie outdoors and so much fun.

My husband asked for a trip to Camarillo outlets. Much quieter and easier to get around compared to the outlets in Orlando, however I am just not big fan of outlet shopping. I find going to regular stores, they always seem to have some offers without the hour drive each way and it's much quicker and more enjoyable to find things. We only spend about an hour there and my son liked it best.

I will write another post on San Diego in few days

Edited at 02:15 PM.
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Unread 9 Jul 17, 07:31 AM  
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Sounds like you had a great time.

Many thanks for posting this.

Looking forward to the next part on San Diego.
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Unread 9 Jul 17, 08:00 AM  
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healthy breakfast at I-Hop. Not the best to be honest but the pancakes aren't that good at that location either and it's good to have the option



love adding chilli flakes and lime on my fruit and buying huge box of fruit is tradition for me at Venice Beach



DS watching the skaters. He was not keen on leaving Venice Beach at all!



chilling out watching the street dancers at Venice Beach



at the Science Museum. I can't speak of this place highly enought. The movie theater is Real IMAX and huge screen. Even the quick service pizza was so good and spending some time to let kids explore - a must do. I regret not allocating more time to it. The simulator ride can make you feel little nauseous. They also had various hurricane and other simulators. Seeing real space shuttle is cool too





view from Getty. Parking is paid (15 before 3, 10 after). The train up to the center free, and the exhibitions free. There are nice gardens, outdoor music and place to get some food & coffee and also interactive kids area. Smaller but fun for under 10s




Edited at 08:48 AM.
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Unread 9 Jul 17, 08:12 AM  
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LA Traffic. It is insane!



the 15 course meal at Scratch Bar LA




a mexican meal or two are must for us in south california trip

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Unread 9 Jul 17, 08:29 AM  
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Originally Posted by tocpe321 View Post
Sounds like you had a great time.

Many thanks for posting this.

Looking forward to the next part on San Diego.

Thanks for reading. The big surprise was definitely the Science museum. There is nothing of this scale I have seen in other similar museums we have been to! There is Colosseum and nice garden near by and as far as I know the natural history museum is near too.
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Unread 9 Jul 17, 08:54 AM  
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Loving this. Sounds like it was fun , hot and wowsers some gorgeous looking food. We were not huge fans of LA but seeing it again reminded me we did enjoy a lot more than I realised. I love your beach pics .
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Unread 9 Jul 17, 09:40 AM  
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San Diego - day 1

This part of the trip could have been better to be honest. 1st DH insisted we travel all in one car, meaning we had to drop part of the group to legoland and pick them up, we couldn't leave as early as we would have either and we really had only few hour in San Diego during the day & dinner in downtown in the evening.

We had some time at Mission Beach - very busy, and walked across Mission Bay quieter and fun to see locals playing games and having picnics. We also took walk around Belmont Park.

San Diego is very pretty. Pictures can't capture how beautiful this city is





Mission Bay


I did not realize my son is wearing the Irish colors until he said it's a choice he made on purpose that day!



Mission Beach


we had some tasty pizza and shaved ice cream for lunch. Very reasonably priced food. I found it little cheaper than LA.

We went to pick up our friends from Legoland and checked in at the hotel after Mission beach visit. We stayed in two bedroomed apartment at Residence Inn by Merriot at Mission Bay. I would stay there again. We booked with ebookers. The only other fee was 16 usd per night parking. Breakfast was included and excellent. My son loved the waffle maker. There was also fruit, pastries and some hot items too. Beds were comfortable, we used swimming pool once and they had some inflatable left for all to use. There is happy hour with free bites to eat and some drinks but we did not participate. Staff was polite, having full kitchen can be really helpful for longer trip. Looking for 2 bedroom property limited our choices but it all worked well in the end and having breakfast and swimming pool was good.

Edited at 12:29 PM.
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Unread 9 Jul 17, 09:45 AM  
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The only disappointment that day was the fish tacos! Are they always breaded fish? I was expecting fresh pieces of fish but was disappointed to see it's actually breaded fish. Maybe we did not choose good location to try them - but this killed any desire to try them again

For dinner we went to Buca di Beppo, family style Italian restaurant in Downtown. It was very good meal, food is served family style. We had big salad, spaghetti and pizza to share between 5 of us. I probably wouldn't choose it if we didn't have kids with us, but with kids I would be looking to visit again next time ... :0. One can dream to return to San Diego!


San Diego day 2 and 3 to follow

Edited at 10:02 AM.
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