After our stay in Disneyland, we rented a car and headed south to San Diego. (By the way, if you were wondering, Hell is a Hyundai Accent in Eco-Mode.) Our original plan was to stop in Carlsbad, which is about halfway between Anaheim and San Diego, and spend a day in Legoland, then finish the journey. After three days in Disneyland, we realized we’d die if we tried to keep up the theme park pace. Instead, we took this as our resting day. We still stopped in Carlsbad, but only to go to In & Out Burger. Sonja was skeptical but became an immediate fan, even though she ate only the hamburger patty (and wore the hat.)
The drive took longer than we were anticipating thanks to wonderful SoCal traffic, but we eventually made it to our hotel. Sonja and I went swimming in the pool, because I’d promised, but it was the only time during the trip that we swam. Afterwards, we headed into the Gaslamp district for dinner at the Spaghetti Factory and some minor touristy shopping. It was during this outing that the weighted Hyundai door slammed on my hip when I was trying to help Sonja out of the car, and we paid $30 to park for about two hours. I don’t know which hurt worse.
We caught up on some sleep that night, and the next morning we tackled the San Diego Zoo. There was a lot of grousing during this trip. When we took the double-decker bus tour, Sonja and I sat on one side and Shaun across the aisle. After the first two or three stops, it became clear that Shaun was on the better side for viewing the animals, so I suggested Sonja sit by him. She said she didn’t want to. I kept suggesting until she yelled at me that she didn’t want to do that and why did I keep asking? Then, every time the tour guide gave us a fact about an animal, she’d say, in a disgusted teenage tone, “I already knew that.” We did get to see the panda bears, which she was excited about and which has renewed her interest in her once favorite animal. While the zoo did have many remarkable animals, the most remarkable thing was that the markup on sodas was even higher than the markup at Disneyland. Something like $4.50 for one bottle.
We left the zoo in the late afternoon and, after dinner and a quick Target run for Ibuprofen, found a river beach to play at, to fulfill another promise we’d made so Sonja. We thought we’d do the actual beach, but we were running low on time and energy. I did put forth the idea of using our entry to SeaWorld, which we were going to just throw away, to see their nighttime show. It was looking like a real possibility, until I realized that I’d lost my phone. (I’m not normally one to lose my stuff, especially at such an alarming rate, but it was too much to keep track of, I guess. In my defense, I was trying not to lose my child, and I didn’t. Success!) We had to go back to Target, where luckily they’d found my phone. I bought a reasonably priced San Diego t-shirt and we called it a day.
The next day, it was on to Legoland. Legoland, in case you were wondering, is NOT Disneyland. In the morning, we stood in line for quite a while to go on this little kiddie plane ride, which, just as we were getting to the front, Sonja decided would be too boring. We went on a roller coaster instead, which Sonja complained hurt her back. There were several rides she couldn’t go on due to height restrictions. One was a Lego version of the spinning teacups, and I could not figure out why that one wasn’t accessible to smaller kids. We also did a boat ride or three, Sonja did the Lego horse ride which might be the cutest thing ever, and we went on their two 3D rides, the superior of which was the Ninjago ride.
Also, responsible parents that we are, we taught Sonja how to lie. There were two rides where the kids could drive cars, and one was for kids age 3-5, the other age 6-12. She wanted to go on the older ride because she had seen it on YouTube. We told her she had to say that she was 6, and she really resisted this. She wasn’t six, why on earth would she say she was? It took an unreasonable amount of explaining that the reason to say she was six was to get on the ride she wanted to go on, and that it was okay to say that this one time because she was almost six and it wouldn’t hurt anyone to say that, and afterwards she could immediately go back to being five. She finally agreed and got on the ride, although Shaun and I held our breath when they asked her how old she was, thinking she might offer some sort of last second explanation of how she was lying to get on the ride.
There was a lot of souvenir buying in this park, because next to Disneyland and the Zoo, their prices seemed downright reasonable. Overall, we found it to be a typical theme park experience, and were happy to have done it and know for sure that a return trip was not warranted. Sonja disagrees with us on this last point.
We left early on our last day, knowing that the trip to Los Angeles would be long and we were likely to encounter traffic. We stopped at In & Out burger again for lunch because it’s truly the best and I insisted. Then, as we were nearing Anaheim, we were about an hour ahead of schedule, and we decided to spend the extra time in Downtown Disney (where I lost my camera.) We got even more last-last minute souvenirs for ourselves, including a t-shirt for Sonja, since she hadn’t gotten any clothing in California. For me, it was just nice to be Disney adjacent. I can’t even explain it, but I was very happy.
Finally we arrived at LAX, which truly is the pitts. It is not air-conditioned, or not very. We had to go through three extremely slow security lines. We planned to have dinner there because we had a 6 o’clock flight, but after deciding on pizza at a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, we found we we couldn’t order by the slice. We had to buy a whole pie. Seems odd for an airport. Finally, we made it back home, after a flight we thought would make the national news after a woman started complaining about how the flight attendants were treating her and was asked to step off the plane. (She eventually got back on – we think the flight crew apologized to her.)
We’ve been home for two months now. Other than working a whole lot and fretting that I didn’t have time to finish this blog and I’d forget all the details (I did), we’ve talked seriously about doing it again next year, only staying in Disneyland for the whole week. And I have *almost* got that Boobs in California song from The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt out of my head. Oh and look, I finished the blog. Yay!