Two Excited Disney Mad Children, Two Disneyland’s, Two Countries in Ten Days

Sarah and Dan got a great deal on visiting Disneyland in both Shanghai and Tokyo and grandma got to tag along – she never needs to be asked twice. These are the kind of experiences I like to fill my life with I would rather create a memory then buy things any day of the week. The less you buy the more you can spend on making memories.

China Leg

Flight Qantas 129 A330-300  – Departed a few minutes late at 9:35am Great seat in row 57KJ DEF 2 3 2 configuration at the back of plane allows room to stand in the aisle while someone passes. Food was good chicken for lunch and beef and rice for dinner were my choices Kids were amazing never complained or asked once ‘how long now’? Emily and Daniel had several hours sleep and Ollie (so many movies too watch lol) got at least 2-hour nap during the flight. We landed just after 6:30 pm. Shanghai is two hours behind Australia so no jet lag. Customs was a very simple and easy process and given the number of people in the queue we were through very quickly. We are confident now that we could have entered through the 144-hour visa waiver line. We had obtained a visa in Sydney just to be on the safe side. We didn’t want to put Japan part of the trip at risk if we were turned back. After finding bags lapping around carousel 10 we spilled out into the throng people in arrivals. Our transfer driver spotted us quickly. The Donald Duck and made Mickey Mouse luggage might have been a give away or that we only fair people in the place. After a very comfortable 30 minute ride our hotel stood before us and was a welcome sight even though only 8pm were all ready for bed. IMG_8421 The hotel is amazing Toy Story theme from top to bottom including woody appearing in the lobby from time to time. Not sure how many rooms all built on figure eight design which makes getting around easy. The grounds were so peaceful and a great place for an early morning walkIMG_8918 We were up early for the day our first day in the park and on the first bus for early entry. Hotel guests get early entry access to the park which is really good as giving everyone a chance to get set before the masses pour in. Our first ride was xxx one of the best in the park for all ages. Then we were off to slinky dog for a mini roller coaster. Dan and Sarah then tackled Rex’s Racer which looks relatively tame but was more of a stomach churner than it appeared. Pirates ride was the next Emi didn’t like this much but Oliver loved it. Kept saying go again. The graphics were so real it felt like you right in the battle and on the galley rising up through the sea. We waited to meet Jack Sparrow and just got there right at the right time to beat the line. Jack spent ages talking to Ollie and Emi. Oliver just thought he was the best, everything was about Jack said this Jack said that for a long while afterward. After some bbq corn and yummy chicken sticks, it was time for the Fantasia show in front of the castle. The props and costumes were amazing and so well done. The kids were totally meresmised. Next, it was time for the parade we settled down in a spot to wait. Sarah and dan ducked off to do the seven dwarf ride. The parade was fun and the character loved Ollie and Emi in their hats. Everyone in the park loved them. The characters to cast members and the people who were always wanting to take their photos. After the parade found the hotdog stand and they were quite tasty buns a little hard, not soft like ours but filled a spot. Next, it was time for Ollie to hold court with all the Marvel characters especially Captain America. Kids love all the characters and love meeting them over and over. In meantime, Pluto and Goofy came walking out to do their stint. The waiting line was closed before we were finished with the ducks. So Ollie waited in the middle of Main Street and sure enough, when they were leaving Pluto spotted him took his hand and Emi with goofy to walked all the way back to the exit. It made Ollie’s day perfect and it was only 3pm with dinner at Cinderella’s table and fireworks to come.   IMG_8836       We headed back to Main Street to meet Donald and Daisy together.
    Before dinner, we decided to take the boat ride and the kids were delighted when the cast member loading the boats organised with our boat captain to let them steer – it didn’t seem to be something they were doing for others so kids felt a bit special – IMG_8861 No doubt their hats which caused a stir all over the park helped them secure this opportunity. They did a good job and we made it around safely.         Dinner in the castle was really good and the food was delicious the character spent ages with the kids and although tired the kids were still loving their Shanghai Disney day with another day to come.

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No rocking to sleep needed at night for anyone. Up and at ‘em early again to take advantage of early park access which is a part of being in the Disney hotel. Enter through. Special entrance before the park opens. Our second day was a bit of a blur for me but I know there were more character visits and slowly the book was filled with character signature on their page. Sarah had purchased a Disneyland storybook (A- Z of characters I think) and kids were getting each character to sign their page. Emily patiently waits for a long time to meet with Snow White and she was made feel very special. We had a shorter day today as kids were starting to get worn out so we decided on a late lunch at Cheesecake Factory which is located in the downtown Disney area before heading back to the hotel for a rest – well grandma and kids. dan and Sarah headed back for a night session to finish their Disney experience Dan called the Tron best Disney ride at any park he has visited. The kids day was complete a very tired Ollie walks into the hotel and who’s there no other than Woody. He suddenly found a second wind to do once last character visit before grandma took them to the hotel convenience store for a scratch up dinner. Next stop Tokyo This park is really amazing and I would recommend to anyone. So well done and very organised. Our car service Sun Transfers got us off to a great start and returned us to the airport with no fuss and worth every penny for peace of mind. Hotel staff we so helpful and we had no language issues. All in all, it was a brilliant experience mostly down to Sarah’s hours and hours of research and a great understanding of all things Disney which means she plans everything to get absolute best out of the park visit. Plenty of hidden gems if you do the research. Next stop Disneyland Tokyo Japan

Last days before flying home

Our last few days…

Back to Hilton Anaheim which is located not far from Disney, decided to get a bit better hotel for this
part of the trip but used and got the room for $80 a night.

No 1 Duck’s little brother

Although a little further from the entrance of Disney still easily walkable and near good restaurants and CVS pharmacy which is always good, they are like mini supermarkets which means we could stock up on supplies and fruit etc for the kids.Chris, Ollie and I had a down day, Ollie had been having a horror stretch of no sleep at night, started biting his tongue in his sleep again.We went for walks and slept while Charlie Emi and Sarah managed to get one more park day in.Sarah Chris and Charlie headed to ESPN bar for dinner and the kids and I had room service and settled in for some tv time.

They love Pooh
and Tigar
and Chip
My mate Tigar

These little ones are the best little travellers. Emily(4) and Oliver (2) are on their second overseas trip and with a passionate Disney lover like their mum, there will be many more trips to comeEveryone had been sick with a cold at various times during last week so everyone starting to look forward to heading to the plane, via a detour to the outlets on the way back to LAX.We decided to head back to Orange Outlets first for one last meal at the Saddle Chop Ranch before heading to Citadel to pick up some last minute things and fill in some time as it was raining today.



Car returned without incident and we all agreed we were pleased with our Chevy and the ease of checking back in and getting to airport to wait for our flight. Everyone had a great flight home, kids slept well and again we had extra seats to spread out.


Maxi taxi home for Sarah Charlie and the little ones and Ian collected Chris and I.Now where can we go next?


A look back our our Disney trip 2017…. To be added soon

Big meal for a little girl

Emi loves ribs

Hollywood, Basketball, Universal Studios and Rodeo Drive

Hollywood and Universal Studios

The next few days we headed to Hollywood before heading back for three more nights at Disney in lieu visit to Las Vegas which we decided to put off until another trip.

We set off after an iHop breakfast of pancakes and bacon.  It was decided we would call in at the Citadel Outlets on the way to our hotel in Hollywood.

Getting a reasonable hotel in Hollywood is no easy task, I alway recommend travellers stay up near universal and do day trips down to Hollywood Boulevard and Rodeo Drive.  The other alternative it to purchase and ticket on the Hop on Hop Off bus and it will allow you to visit all the areas without having to stay in the area.

Back to our visit to Citadel Shopping outlets, located on I5 they were about halfway between Disney and our Hotel in Hollywood.  Ollie was a asleep within minutes of getting in the car so I was happy

The best way to do ‘The Outlets’

to park the car and let him sleep while the others shopped.  As we didn’t was to be stuck in peak traffic we set off by 3pm to find our new home for the next 3 nights.

The traffic was heavy but not unreasonably so, my trusty navigators were on the job and we arrived at The Moment Hotel on Sunset Boulevard. A boutique hotel located along the world-famous Sunset Blvd, the Moment Hotel
Just a short five-minute walk to the famed Sunset Strip and Hollywood Walk of Fame we provide a unique one-of-a-kind Hollywood experience for guests traveling on vacation or for business. Features the chic flair of Hollywood, the modern style of LA, and the laid-back vibe of Southern California in one cutting-edge and minimalist package.

Stop number 2 of Hop on Hop Off Bus – Red Route is right across the road.

No1 Duck at it again!!!!!

After checking in we headed out to find some dinner near the Hollywood walk of Fame.

The boys were equally shocked, as I was on my first visit here, at how grubby this place was, not a sign of the glitz and glamour we all expect of Hollywood.  Dinner was at the Hard Rock Cafe, nothing to write home about but that could have more to do with how tired everyone was.  After a walk around the area we called it an early night.

Not a happy boy –
Loves his new mate

Everyone hoping Ollie would sleep without biting his tongue tonight. Sarah was running on Empty as Ollie has has some many bad nights biting his tongue in his sleep waking up screaming.

No such luck, he actually drew blood a few times in the night and his poor tongue was so sore. After a rough night we decided to hang in the hotel for the day to let Sarah catch up a bit and rest the kids up.  Chris and Charlie headed across the road to Ralph’s (a supermarket) to pick up some food and drinks.  Sarah, Ollie and Emily slept for most of the day.

In the evening we decided to head up to Universal for dinner at place that Charlie visited previously. The Saddle Ranch Chop House was excellent and just as Charlie remembered it, sure to become a favourite of ours.

It was decided that we would have another lazy start to the day tomorrow with a drive to Rodeo drive for lunch. 

Another rough but a little better night for Ollie, so after a sleep in we drove down and parked at No 2 Rodeo Drive, can’t beat the the valet parking so worth it. We had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory it was just a short wait to get in and needed to back back in time for the boys to go to basketball game.

Basketball was a bust as the main player boys came to see sat that night much to their annoyance and that of basketball fans everywhere, boys paid top dollar for good seats only to not see the best players play.
Still a good game but not what they paid for.

Our day at Universal Studios.

It was decided that after a rest up everyone was ready to tackle Universal Studios, highly recommend this as a day out for the family. Future visits we will be sure to stay up near Universal most probably

at the Hilton so that we can make full use of all the facilities around the park. Many food options and shopping opportunities to explore.

We opted for the ‘Front of line’ one day pass, a little bit more expensive but so worth it especially on busy days.  Ollie was in full flight after a couple of better night’s sleep and ready to visit all the characters.
Shrek was right there after we entered and Ollie and Emi held court with him for ages, they loved donkey sticking his head out as well.
We spent the day walking and walking, had lunch in the Moe’s bar it was good. They had the system worked out to keep the crowd moving. We landed a great table almost immediately which only enhanced our experience.  
After lunch it was off to meet Homer and the simpson characters, the kids loved this and the characters loved the kids especially since they were wearing their hats again.
The boys and Sarah did most of the rides and Emi did the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride with them.  Ollie and I found a shady spot outside and he just wandered around and amused everyone with his pluto hat.
We head to the lower level, a must do, only if the escalators are working, there is no way without them. It is a very steep descent but gives a great view over the city below. The kids said the best ride is down on this level called (to be added)
While Chris Sarah and Charlie were riding the bigger rides the kids and I spent time in the play area where Ollie had a nap before making friends with all the other kids and playing for ages.  It was a great section, only one way out so Grandma parked herself here and rested while they played.
After more rides then it was ice cream and donuts time. While the big kids got in a few more rides before we called it a day.  The boys were hoping to get to another game of basketball on the way back to Anaheim but we left the park a little too late. The gave it a miss as they were going to miss some of 1st quarter, of course it turned out to be a great game. We were all checkin at the Hilton to watch the last quarter and the boys hit the room service and Sarah and I decided we would make do with snacks from bard downstairs.  Everyone crashed pretty early and waited to see how Ollie would go.
Room Service

Not good was the answer, CVS was the answer get got some gel to numb his tongue so he managed a full day’s sleep with grandma the next day…

Disney Day and Characters Galore

After a day at the races yesterday,  the boys and I appreciated that Sarah spent half the previous day getting our passes organised before having fun in the park with Emi (4) and Ollie (2).

We set off earlyish to beat the warm day that had been forecast.

Grandma coming down with a cold so decided to hang in until later in the day before taking the little ones home for a sleep and well earned rest arvo.

After hotdogs and ice-creams in Mickeys Toontown. Ollie and Emi made their favourite purchases of the whole trip – Donald and Pulto hats.  We headed for the tea cups ride where Chris treated Sarah and Emi to the spinninest ride ever, of course his neck will be out for next few days. Hard tell his mates pick up an injury on the tea cups

The boys and Sarah stayed on at the park for the rest of the afternoon, evening and then head to ESPN bar in downtown Disney for a late dinner.

Loving the Dalmatian puppy that
comes out when the button is pressed
‘Again’ was all we heard for half an hour
Charmed all the park Photographers 

Grandma and the kids had
well earned sleep and everyone felt better for it.

After late night snack of pancakes and coffee from iHop next door to the hotel we settled down for the night.  Tomorrow it was early start with character breakfast in the park.

Our ‘No 1 Duck’

Our second trip to Disney
 in 2 years -Lucky kids
Love my Pluto Hat

‘One more’
Waiting for the pup to appear…
for the 20th time today

Character Breakfast and Our No 1 Duck meets The No1 Duck

Our no 1 Duck after Donald
showed her the stance
of all No 1 Ducks
Now where is that duck? 
Ollie with Tigar getting the obligatory autograph

Up early this morning, needed to in the park and waiting by the restaurant where we were booked in for the character buffet breakfast. This is a must do for anyone with kids visiting the park.

The is best opportunity to see a lot of characters and enjoy a very substantial buffet breakfast.

It is advisable to spend as long as you can at your table and there are ample photo ops with the various character that visit each table.

We sat on the balcony which gave a go view of the park and only had to walk a short way to access the breakfast laid out inside.

Mmmm Bacon!!!

The characters visit every table which makes again a worth while exercise for all ages, even the boys enjoyed interacting with the character. Meeting Max (Pluto’s son) and eye-ore were highlights for the the kids.

They loved all the characters Emi was a little scared of XXXX for a bit then was okay when she got to know him. The hammed it up with everyone that came by, of course the characters loved Ollie and his high fives and big grins.

How much do we all love Disney?
Right let’s get the bubble happening
See I got it
One of the many Princesses

After the breakfast it time to hit the rides, Emi went on the Big Thunder ride with her mother, Chris and Charlie, so brave for a 4 year old.

Charlie and I headed home early with Ollie who needed a sleep and Sarah and Emily needed to get around plenty more characters.

We headed back over to the park so Emi could meet No1 Duck, she dressed up in character and Donald was blown away by her. People were asking her for her autographed as she headed around the park dressed as the duck.  She loved being a little bit famous for awhile.

Uncle Chris giving me a seat for a bit
Loving Disney

Two weeks in LA – Disney, Races, Basketball and Universal Studios

Boys (Chris and Charlie) decided they would fly to LA and watch some basketball games so Sarah without much encouragement decided to pack up Emi (4) and Olli (2) and surprise them with a trip to their favourite magical place. So thought I hitch my wagon and go with them all

We stayed in town the night before we flew out, stayed near the airport in the Holiday Inn Express located near the domestic airport. A good cheap option with lots of fast food outlets nearby and a shuttle (small charge) to the International airport.

Allow plenty of time for the shuttle they may run behind and don’t want arrive at airport short of time. We are always early anyway, who wants to be stressed and rushing on holidays right.

We flew American Airlines our we lucky to have spare seats on each of our rows. The flew seem to pass by fairly quickly and the kids slept for at least 6 hours which was great.  Such good little travellers, got this while long haul flight down pat.

Landed early in the morning and were pleasantly surprised how easily we navigated through customs. This was probably quickest we have ever cleared customs in LA.  It seemed like no time at all and were we on the car rental shuttle bus on the way to collect our wheels for the next 10 days.

Not a bookie in sight

Loaded up we headed for our hotel across from disney with the hope of early check in as we were hours early. No such luck so it was off to find food and somewhere to hang out until the rooms were ready.  After awhile we headed back to wait in lobby (boys had a sleep in the car) the kids slept in foyer and the hotel to their credit got us checked in as soon as they could at 12noon which was 3 hours early and we were so grateful, it had been long day and night.

After a welcome nap everyone freshen up and we headed to downtown Disney for dinner at the rainforest cafe after a wander around we headed back to hotel to get early night ready to start our holiday.

Massive stands and heaps private boxes

We stayed at the Desert Inn which was suitable for our needs, clean even decor a little dated but best of all was the location. The location was fantastic right outside the parks and an easy walk to downtown Disney, surround with good food options such as Tony Roma’s Ihop (good for midnight pancakes and coffee to go)

Day two saw Sarah and kids heading to park for the day while boys and I headed to San Anita for the races.  What luck three Group 1s programmed with some great fields on both grass and sand tracks?

It was about an hour drive with yours truly behind the wheel and the boys on navigation duties. We arrived in one piece and were immediately amazed by the sheer size of the carpark, if this was anything to go one we were in for a day and a half.

The boys soon got the placing a pet sorted, no bookie all machines and I mean rows and rows or them.

If we were prepared to stay late to collect we were surprise we would have be able to bet on the Wellington Boot.

It was such an amazing venue with great views of the track and it was amazing that you could get so close to the horses parading and the mounting yard was always teeming with people.
Not something you would see here in Australia these days. The beer was good the food was good and both commodities readily available around the venue.

Although not a huge crowd in attendance given there were three group ones on the card it would be amazing to see the stands overflowing as I am sure they do during the Breeders Cup or Derby day.

After a slow start on the punt the boys came home with a break
even day. We agreed it was a fantastic day out and could easily become a highlight of the trip

Boys decreed that all future trips to states must include a trip to San Anita or another race meeting.

We arrived back to hotel and headed to Tony Roma’s for a steak for dinner, Sarah and the little ones arrived home from the park after a long but successful day for them as well.

Tomorrow a family disney day.