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USA 2011 > Venice Beach/Santa Monica/Disneyland Anaheim

After 2 short weeks in New York, we flew cross country to LA to go to Disneyland (the ONLY place my boy had wanted to go to so obviously I had to include it in the itinerary).  We arrived at 11am and had the rest of that day to sight-see before a full day at Disneyland the next day, so we caught a bus from our hotel at LAX out to Venice Beach (about 20 mins and $1).  Venice Beach is a very interesting place but not a place I was comfortable to stay in very long.  There’s a row of stalls by the beach selling all sorts of items from clothes to jewelry to marijuana with very few mainstream stores like American Apparel.  The people on muscle beach were very efficient – exercising whilst getting a tan!

Venice Beach Walk

Muscle beach

Eventually we walked to Santa Monica Pier which instantly felt a lot more comfortable.  There was a beach volleyball game underway next to the pier.  The pier itself was very touristy but still quite fun.  We spent some time just walking along the waterfront and the few blocks around there.  We discovered a shopping centre where we spent even more time shopping.  By the time the sun started setting we were pretty tired and my boyfriend had a great idea to grab some food and sit in the park near the water and watch the sunset.  Best. Idea. Ever.  The sunset was absolutely spectacular from where we were sitting.  After sunset we caught the bus back to the hotel and had a reasonably early night in anticipation for Disneyland the next day.

Santa Monica Pier

Sunset at Santa Monica

The following morning we caught the hotel shuttle to LAX (most LAX hotels have a free shuttle service to the airport) and from LAX we caught the bus out to Anaheim.  Luckily there weren’t really lines for any of the rides since it was winter and the park wasn’t full (thank goodness).  We visited every ‘land’ within Disneyland and went on most of the rides (the teacup ride was the only ride I wanted to go on!).  Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean would have been the best 2 we went on.  There’s a roller coaster ride which is the shortest and least interesting roller coaster I’ve been on in my life (and yes I’ve been on that mouse ride at Luna Park Sydney).  The Finding Nemo ride looked interesting from the outside because the submarine goes underwater, but it’s just a video ride.

Teacup ride!

Car ride – can’t remember the name

We were pretty exhausted by 6pm and according to the bus schedule there was supposed to be a bus back to LAX in 15 minutes so we ran to the busstop and waited for ONE AND A HALF HOURS for the next bus.  I was so so angry.  If we had known it wasn’t going to come for that long we could have stayed at the park longer and watched the night fireworks.

All in all I found Disneyland Anaheim was very much a theme park for families with young kids and not a 25-year-old couple.  Next time I’m in the US I might make an effort to go to the Orlando Florida park.

Kay’s tips for Venice Beach/Santa Monia/Disneyland:

  • I didn’t bother visiting any of LA since so many people have told me not to waste my time, so I decided to go to Venice Beach and Santa Monica instead
  • You can easily do Venice Beach and Santa Monica in one day
  • A lot of people also said you need to hire a car in LA but we just caught the bus between LAX and Venice Beach/Santa Monica and never waited more than 5 mins for a bus and paid no more than $1
  • Do yourself a favour and watch the sunset at Santa Monica Pier
  • At Disneyland you can get express passes where you go to a ride and get a ticket and then walk around for 15 minutes or so and come back into the express line.  I never bothered to do this because when I went, there was never a line longer than 15 mins but you might take advantage of this in summer

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