Thursday, 18 August 2016

Travelling Single mum style Part 2

Every step on the planet I find wonderful. I have my eyes open , and every detail fascinates or excites me. I love it, and taking my son on this holiday I have to say I had expectations. Even tho I tell people all the time not to have any so as not to be disappointed . Still ,  I had expectations, more of what I thought my son would get out of the holiday , how he would react and what would happen etc.

Parenting tip 101- your child is their own unique being , even tho we try to make them like us whether we do it consciously or not.

My son has no real interest staring out the plane window. There are somethings that the digital age have now made not that interesting anymore. Instead of wanting to look out the window he can't wait to get the gaming system or the movies up ...sigh , expectation bubble popped. The wonder of flying thousands of feet above the earth and what the country side or sites look like apparently cannot compete with mind craft, sonic the hedgehog or whatever pixelated trend is happening...I did not introduce him to video games btw ! the joys of the ex partner *meh*

We arrive in San Diego around 7pm to get to Legoland. Now I have said to friends many times that google does not know everything, and in this case I was unfortunately right. There is no shuttle bus that takes you to legoland from the airport every 30minutes(google lie 1)There are shuttles that you can organise that will get you there. We have a reasonable distance from the airport - like everything in California , it's an hour or two apart from the other attraction you want to see!

When we arrived our checkout was fun from the very minute . Everything in the hotel is lego inspired or actual lego. The outside of the hotel looks like lego bricks, the inside lobby has huge lego installations and you are immediately immersed in the land of master builders ( inside lego nerd talk lol) . I could write about legoland for so long I  might lose the plot of this blog. I think I took 300 photos. I am , and always will be a lego nerd . The attention to detail for lego fans was worth  every cent that we paid for the hotel . And it truly is a half a minute walk to the front gate. So if you get the extra hour early in you can really get on some rides quickly and repeatedly . The  family restaurants were very American hotel fare and not of much interest to we Melbournians who are spoilt for great food options.However the Sky cafe food was great and the buffet in the morning was amazing choices and lego fun everywhere. If you get to try the "apple fries" inside the park they were fabulous btw, my son didn't like them -bonus all the more for me. Handy hint we did not know. You can trade with ride and food attendants all around the park. They have either mini figure name badges or trading points where you can swap eveything from hair , to legs to accessories. My son and I thoroughly enjoyed that and if there was to be a next time we would know to load up :) We scored a fabulous set on sale 1/3 of the cost of the set that never made it to Australia. So my advice pack light and be ready to shove that lego box into your luggage .
The park is fabulous and fun but you really have to be a lego fanatic to get the most out of it- one thing I was able to mould him into LOL . The hotel is kind of expensive , I made choices based on "the trip of a lifetime" experience . Also my child is not a big eater so I saved a lot of money on that part of the trip. https://www.legoland.com/california




What I did discover was - I seemed to be the only single parent. I did not see a single parent in the hotel , in the park ...anywhere in the 3 days . What I did see was the extended family unit , which was lovely but bought up a lot of emotions for me. That was not what I expected. Suddenly I went from thinking we were going to have the most fabulous of times , to having emotions triggered in me. Once again I could not convey this to any other adult. I had one drink on  one night at the restaurant only to find myself a bit tipsy and up in the hotel room with my child asleep by my side at 9.00pm . Party ON !! It made me think about how privileged I must be as I am the only single parent here but how I was a little sad to be by myself.

Another day another shuttle...

So distance, yep once again there is no way but the shuttle way in L.A when it comes to getting around. I am not going to say what it cost in a taxi to get from legoland to Anheim but I will say it was the most money I have ever spent on a cab in my ENTIRE life. We probably could have had a limo and driver for the amount. There is no transport (without 3 hours of messing about) , there is no greyhound bus or anything that can get you to Disneyland from Legoland - FACT (google lie 2) . Most people hire cars- back home everything is on the different side of the road let alone driving in a state that has four times as many people as my own country.
My out the window fascination is once again not shared by my son. I am having a great time looking and talking to the driver about everything around us. My son after about 20 minutes is bored.  OMG EMOTIONS ABOUT TO EXPLODE - RAGE ALERT RAGE ALERT!!.  I point out that we are in another country- the cars are different , the scenery- he still doesn't care. Expectations of fascination seem about to be blown to pieces. The suddenly out of nowhere a place that is mentioned in some gaming Youtube tutorial - he is excited !! Thank fuck. Finally he starts looking out the window and absorbing. Great expectations fulfilled.

Now again I am a fortunate soul , I have been to Disneyland before with my parents. I also went with my EX husband who nearly ruined it for life. So I definitely needed to go back lol. Now luckily with a bit of http://tripadvisor.com.au we got an affordable hotel a 15 minute shuttle away from the happiest place on earth. Is it? yes it is . the first day we walked for 10 hours , mainly due to the monorail and the train that usually go around the park being closed. My son didn't complain , he was now truly taken with all the amazing sights and the rides, that  are really so magical .  I did think of the elderly and disabled who really would have had their time there restricted. And really Disney pretty poor planning to be having your diamond celebrations and getting around is a bit crap. Anyway I digress,  Tomorrowland is filled with Starwars  rides and activities- my boy got to fight Darth Vader and that was awesome to watch and an experience of a life time. How many kids can say they fought darhtvade!! And even tho it took up 2hours of our "magic hour" morning it was so worth it as that may not be there in a year(they do rotate the activities to keep it fresh ) . The detail and humour in these attractions is so great I laughed for the 3 days we were there. I must say I am a big kid at heart

Adventureland had amazing new rides and some of the old amazing rides where still there too. Did I expect to get triggered....no. Did I get triggered? YES! . OMG NOOO!!! Once again I seem to be the only single mother/parent in this place , which by the way is packed with around 20,000 even on a monday!! However I must say that after witnessing a  few moments where couples were  arguing and stressing out with each other and the kids, the triggers soon faded into some hologram on the Star Tours as my son and I laughed and laughed. Aaah , breathing happily again , in the happiest place on earth where nothing can upset me .We did three days and could have done more . There is really so much to see and yes there are queues . If you play your cards right and get a fast pass where possible and can skip the line it really made packing in more adventures possible. You can go to rollercoaster parks and carnivals , but if you can ever do it, truly the magic of how things happen had my son astounded even with the original rides - Enchanted Tiki Room , Alice In wonderland, Pirates of the Carribean and splash mountain are still fantastic rides and considering they were made in the 1960's it was a wow. https://disneyland.disney.go.com

We left full of the magic of Disney and once again , yep you guessed it -shuttled our way up close to the airport. Two more days of shuttling around got us to universal studios, a hollywood tour and some random adventuring on our last day.

Now Universal studios these days is a trip into 4D adventure rides. I love rides , but I must say that most of these rides can leave a person almost having an out of body experience that in many ways is not that pleasant when you are hurtling along at great speeds with Megatron or Dementors in your face. The best thing really here is the tram tour that takes you around the lot and the "Animals in action" show that bought out many of the wonderful creatures we see in movies like Harry Potter. I personally found that unless you want your picture with Bumblebee from Transformers , expectations blown again - I thought my kid would want to , but no only the child like mother wanted too,  there really is a lot of average food and over priced souvenirs to purchase. This can be the day wrecker....of course if you are 8 you want a want from Harry Potter , but the prices really were , for a piece of plastic shaped liked wood, ridiculous.

For what we saw on the other shuttle out to Manhattan beach and Venice Beach I would say spend time seeing those parts of L.A . It would have been wonderful to spend another week going to parts of  California that are so beautiful and amazing , that I have seen with my parents. But as a sole parent there was only so much fairy dust I could muster before we had to come back to the land of Oz and see if the good witch can give us some magic from over the rainbow ...I shall keep clicking my little red shoes.