Viva Las Vegas to California Dreamin Part Two

Our next trip was driving from Williams, AZ to Carlsbad, California but we had to make a stop at the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, AZ.  We parked in the shopping area, right below the bridge. There were quaint little local shops, and we enjoyed a cold italian-ices, in the dry 120 degree weather

The drive to San Diego was long and with lots of desert scenery. You must make sure you have plenty of gas before leaving because the exits are long and far between. I would suggest you stop and gas up the car in between. There seemed to be way too many broken down cars, on the "historic route 66."

Carlsbad’s Park Hyatt Aviara: 7100 Aviara Resort Drive Carlsbad, California: July 7-9th

This is an incredible hotel! Hyatt Aviara is a five star Virtuoso property, with VIP service. We had a gorgeous room with a balcony. The hotel had an arcade for the kids, nice pool and golf course.The hotel is 30 minutes north of San Diego.

In San Diego we visited the Seaport Village. There are about 50 shops, including apparel, art and San Diego souvenirs plus restaurants. 

Here we picked up the land and water San Diego SealTours.  Rates are $36.00 for adults and $19.00 children. The tour is 90 minutes long. The tour is similar to the Duck Tours in Boston, the tour highlights city on land then the bus takes to the water to visit the local California seals.

Marriott Long Beach:  4700 Airport Plaza Drive Long BeachCalifornia: July 9-10th

This is a typical Marriott, located right at the Long Beach airport. You can even hear the planes depart and land. Hotel has Free parking, outdoor pool and about 8 miles from the beach. However the hotel was under going some minor construction.
In Long Beach, we visited the famous Venice Beach. Parking was about $10.00 and the boardwalk was great with lots of shopping deals. We wanted to check out the Venice Beach Freak Show but unfortunately it is closed during the week. 

We were able to enjoy the best fast food meal at Jody Maroni's on the board walk. I had a chicken sandwich there that was the best I have ever eaten. Be prepared for lots of people coming up to you to sell stuff. Also, seeing the poverty was kind of upsetting.

Queen Mary Hotel :1126 Queens Highway Long Beach, California: July 10-11th

Staying at the Queen Mary was awesome! We were able to request a water view room and it felt like we were cruising at sea for the night. The Queen Mary hotel is a former transatlantic ocean-liner. There is no pool. Parking will be validated for free while your stay on the ship. There are a variety of restaurants, and cute boutiques on board. We took the ghost tour which was $10.00 per person and lasted 1hr. It was very spooky and afterwards I felt like I kept seeing things especially at night. I wouldn’t leave my bed.   

Holiday Inn Media150 E. Angeleno Avenue Burbank, CA: July 11-13. 

This hotel was ok, but could use improvements. There is free parking and a outdoor pool. This hotel was very convenient to the Hollywood area, so was worth the stay.

On July 11th we went to the LIVE taping of the X-Factor.  It was fun to see the behind the scenes.  We saw lots of celebrities like Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio. Hopefully you will be able to get a glimpse of us in the fall!

On July 12th we went to Universal Studios, which was only 10 minutes away. Parking was $10.00. Tickets for Universal are $84.00 per adult and $76.00 per child. There are specials online for multi-tickets or AAA. There are NO discounts for one day passes, believe me I tried to find them. There are also front of line passes and the VIP experience tickets. We were able to complete the park in one day, but we have already done a majority of the rides before so we skipped some if the shows. Waterworld was so awesome and they had real actors. Then we checked out  Shrek 4-D, Simpsons Ride (awesome simulator), The revenge of the Mummy,  King Kong,  Transformers and the Studio Tour which so much better than Universal’s in Florida! The only disappointing ride I really wanted to do that Disneyland doesn’t have was Harry Potter.  

We even saw the actors and live taping of the show "The Bates Motel." For first timers, I would suggest 2 days at Universal, if you want to do everything plus enjoy the Citywalk. The Citywalk had lots of shopping, restaurants, and nightlife.  


We went to the Griffith Observatory to see the best view of the Hollywood sign.     Then we parked by Mel’s diner and paid $10.00 for the day. We were able to check out the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Chinese Theatre and of course we did some shopping. Then we drove on the famous Rodeo Drive.

Holiday Inn Buena Park: 7000 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA: July 13-15.

Very nice hotel. The rooms were great, free parking, outdoor pool and perfect location to visit Disneyland. They offer a complimentary shuttle to Disney BUT you must make reservations and you have to be punctual. The hotel is only 5 miles from Disney.

Disneyland has two parks; Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks. Disneyland is like the Magic Kingdom and because I have been to Disneyworld a million times, we decided to only do Disney California Adventure. That park had Hollywood studio rides and a couple rides we had never done. Here we did California Screamin (awesome roller coaster), Goofy’s Sky School, Grizzly River Run,  Little Mermaid, Luigi’s Flying Tires, Mickey’s Fun Wheel, Radiator Springs Racers (we loved this racecar ride), Silly Symphony swings, Toy Story Mania, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Soarin. 

I recommend doing the single rider pass because it saves a lot of time or fast pass.
You must definitely do the fast pass for the “World of Color,” because it was absolutely awesome an my favorite show of the entire trip. The fast pass is located near Grizzly River Run ride. There was 2 shows (9:00 p.m. and 1015 p.m.) it lasts about 30 minutes. The 1015 p.m. show is less crowded. The fast pass allows you to get closer to the show.

Holiday Inn –Hawthorne  11436 Hawthorne Blvd Hawthorne, CA : July 15-16.

This hotel is very convenient, free and secured parking and free breakfast. Rooms were fine. Although the area is not in the best, it served its purpose as it is located only minutes from the LAX airport. 

The California Sun setting on the close of our vacation

For more information about Toni's Family road trip, please contact her or any Largay Advisor at And for more pictures and vacation ideas, go to our Facebook Page and Like Largay Travel today! 

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