Our final stop on the trip was LA. We stayed at the Magic Castle Hotel which was in Hollywood.
Our first meal followed with our American style eating theme, In n’ Out Burger. We also decided that since Hollywood appeared to be seriously lacking in bars, at least where we were staying, that we would buy some of the “redonk cheap liquor” that we kept seeing and make use of the hotels free soft drinks. The other cool thing about the Magic Castle Hotel was that the front desk provided breakfast and, wait for it, unlimited snacks. They had a list of mini snacks and drinks to choose from and they insisted that “there’s no limit and we don’t judge”.
On Monday we decided to head up to Universal Studios. Despite an initial grumble that the ride waits were 20 minutes or so, we figured out that (compared to Disneyland at least) it was a pretty quick turnaround. Matty and I were pretty impressed with how good the rides were. We fitted them all in, and even had a few second rounds. We were a bit disappointed before we went on that more than half of them were 3D rides. I expected the space shuttle simulator but was blown away with how good the simulations and 3D actually were. The Transformers ride was uh-mazing! Before we left we decided that since we’d been on everything else that we really needed to walk through the House of Horrors. Oh my god. I have never been so frightened. There were horrible scenes from movies and people in costumes jumping out from the shadows. Yuck! Poor Matty was clenched half to death as we walked through.
For dinner Matty and I decided to try the fancy Japanese restaurant on top of the hill above our hotel, Yamashiro. It was so yum and the view was gorgeous, even whilst we were eating. The photo below is of the gardens out the front. We had edamame beans (and yes forgot that you don’t eat the outside), tuna sushi and some delicious hoisin pork and rice stack.
Tuesday was our quiet day. We were going to the Magic Castle (with actual magic!) that night so we took it easy. Matty and I walked along Sunset Blvd (there was nothing there), had a swim (it was a nice pool), and had lunch at a sushi place that we had spotted on Sunday (it was suh gewd!).
The Magic Castle “is the private clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts, Inc, a very special organization devoted to the advancement of the ancient art of magic”, and it was pretty darn cool. Think a memorabilia museum, crossed with an old house, crossed with a maze. You have to be a member, or be invited by a member to get in. We were lucky enough because Mum and Dad’s friends at P.I were friends with a couple whose brother is a magician and a member. Boy that was a mouthful. We had dinner with M&D, Rhonda and Steve (the P.I friends friends) and Brooks (the magician) and saw three different magic shows. The weeks theme was Japanese magic. We were also treated to a private magic show by Brooks with lots of awesome card tricks.
Dad managed to catch a cold almost as soon as we got to L.A and was feeling pretty sorry for himself whilst we were at the Magic Castle. He spent all Tuesday night coughing and sneezing so by the time Wednesday (Disneyland!) rolled around, both him and Mum passed. Matty and I headed off on our own and boy if we thought that 20 minutes was long to wait, we had no idea about Disneyland times.
We did manage to cram in walking throughout the entire park (I think), and we managed to go on 7 rides all up. The wait times were crazy! I think the minimum was maybe 25 or 30 minutes and the longest was 100 minutes. Yes we stood in a queue for over an hour to go on a 5 or so minute ride. Space Mountain was worth it though. We also got stuck on a ride. We queued for over 45 minutes for Indiana Jones only to have the ride stop and for the floodlights to come on. 10 or so minutes later the ride got going again, but even after a second run through (where yes, it stopped again) we decided enough was enough and got off. Other highlights included eating lunch at a ranch style all you can eat, but at the same time table service restaurant with bbq chicken and ribs, and patting a goat. Lowlights include standing in line for 100 minutes surrounded by high school teenagers on spring break. Ugh.
The very last day of our trip, Thursday, Matty and I went to The Grove Farmers Market. It was mostly food stalls with a few knick knacks thrown in. We had lunch and then did a tour of the surrounding shops, including Kmart (ours is way better) and Anthropologie (where I, of course, wanted to buy EVERYTHING!). For dinner we took Mum and Dad to the sushi place on Hollywood Blvd. that we enjoyed so much the last time. And that was it. We took a taxi back to LAX and then had a 15 or so hour flight back to Melbourne.
We had an absolutely fantastic, once in a lifetime trip. I also want to say a big thank you to my parents for taking us and for organising the entire thing. Love you!