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Old 04-26-2014, 08:23 PM   #1
chrisbris
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Trip report - Chris from Australia's Solo Trip (thanks podcast team!)

Trip report time!

So excited to finally be heading away on holidays - thanks to the podcast team for all your help!
For the podcast with the team have a look at http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3252010

I will try and keep this trip report up to date as I travel - but to follow along and see more photos have a look at my twitter at:
@Chris_Travel_Au or at http://twitter.com/Chris_Travel_Au

and on foursquare
https://foursquare.com/chris_travel_au

Follow along and it will be great to chat with you all!

I am going to post about my entire trip but will definitely do more on the Disneyland section!

Look forward to posting soon!
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Old 04-26-2014, 08:23 PM   #2
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Index

For those who haven’t listened to the podcast (tisk tisk) or to recap here is my trip plan.

Trip Plan
I am visiting from Australia for a month in April/May 2014.

Our trip has 4 parts –
Washington DC for a few days then travelling down the east coast to Savannah and Georgia
We then fly over to New Orleans for 5 days of exploring New Orleans and Louisiana
After that we fly to Albuquerque and have a few days making our way to Las Vegas.
My travel companion then flies home back to Australia and I have Saturday to Friday rocking around solo having fun at Disneyland.


A Little bit amount me
I’m a 29 year old guy and live in Brisbane Australia. I love all things theme park and all things Disney so a great combo – right! I’ve visited Disneyworld, Disneyland Paris and Disneyland Hongkong. This will be my first time visiting Disneyland so I’m pretty exited about this.

Index
I thought why double up so hopefully I can also be a bit of an index to the posts

April 25 : Brisbane to Los Angeles (and with miracle of the international date line a day in PART 2 (Los Angeles)
April 26 : Travelling Los Angeles to Washington DC
April 27 – 30 : Washington DC
April 30 – May 5 : Road Trip! down the east coast and a few day in Savannah and Charleston
May 5 – 10 : New Orleans and Louisiana
May 10 – 15 : Road Trip! Albuquerque to Las Vegas
May 15 – 17 : Las Vegas
May 17 – 23 : Disneyland
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Old 04-26-2014, 08:26 PM   #3
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Brisbane to Los Angeles

Friday 25 April 2014 - BNE to LAX

Last night we went out to dinner with my Boyfriend to celebrate our 7 year anniversary and while he went out partying for the start of the long weekend -after dinner I headed home and finished packing.

Side note – I tried duck nachos for the first time and they were amazing!


All packed - with 2 extra bag inside for all the shopping

This morning I went to dawn service for ANZAC day. The 25th of April is ANZAC day in Australia so it is a public holiday. For anyone not sure what ANZAC day us have a look here Wikipedia ANZAC day

Qantas offers a free town car pick up and drop off service, so this morning at a bit before 8 I was picked up for the quick trip from home to the airport. By 8:15 I was checking in and getting my boarding pass.


Qantas Town car pickup


QANTAS check in area at Brisbane International

I had not been able to check in online as I was in the exit row – seat 5B. A quick trip downstairs and using the express path through security and immigration .

I went up to the Qantas lounge and a as platinum member got to use the first class lounge.


The big bus to LAX

The boarding area was packed - The hostess on the flight said the flight was full apart for 6 seats in premium economy.


The packed boarding area

We boarded right on time and I set up my home for the next 14 hours – seat 5B. I like this seat as because it is in the emergency exit row you don’t have anyone next to you.


Seat 5B - extra*storage area

Seat 5B

The flight was great – well as great as a long haul flight can be! I watched a few movies then had some lunch. A stilnox later and I got a good 6 hours sleep and woke up in time for breakfast. Sleeping tablets are a must for me on lang haul flights!

We pulled up at the gate a 6:20 and the aerobridge pulled up right at the door next to my seat so I was one of the first off the plane and dashed to customs. LAX has seen some work since I was here last time and is much better (still not great but better). I joined the line for customs and were seen straight away, through to the baggage hall where my bag was 10th off and then straight out. 23 Minutes from deplaneing (is that a word?) to the street – a record for me a LAX where normally I am stuck for 2 hours in lines, lines and more lines.

The Qantas chauffeur drive was waiting for me at the exit with a Qantas sign and my name on it and quickly we were on the way to the Intercontinental Los Angeles.

Next up – My jet lag / rest day in Los Angeles
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Old 04-27-2014, 11:27 PM   #4
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Great post - can't wait to hear more about your trip!!

Love hearing about Aussie trips
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:42 PM   #5
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Jet Lag Day In Los Angeles - 25 April (again!)

I had the day in Los Angeles to get over Jetlag and the long flight and I used my IHG points to book at night at the intercontinental LA.

It was located next to the Fox studio where they film shows like modern family but I didn't sight any celebrities.

I got to the hotel at about 8 and lucky for me my room was ready! I went up and crashed out asleep until about midday. The hotel had a free shuttle bus down to Beverly Hills which was convenient.

I went for a big walk around Beverly Hills and century city - not much to see but good to be out and about.


The Hollywood Hotel
A cool find was the cupcake ATM - the shop was 2 meters to the left but I guess in LA you get what you want!


Cupcake ATM
It was a rainy day in LA but I could just see the Hollywood sign in the distance.



A rainy day in LA


I crashed out early that night having some room service for dinner.
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:47 PM   #6
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Los Angeles (LAX) to Washington (BWI) - 26 April

I had an early start the next morning and got the super shuttle out to the airport. Pretty good value at $14 for a one way transfer. It stopped at one other hotel then straight to LAX so I was there with plenty of time. LAX was busy but not to crazy.


Empty LAX in the morning


My flight to Baltimore (Washington) today was via Las vegas. The fare when flying via Las Vegas was $239 in first class cheaper then economy class flying direct. It would earn me a heap of Frequent flyer point so I took the indirect fare. It was my first time flying delta in the USA.



First Class on Delta - Leg room


The flight was a few minutes late taking of and then arriving into Las Vegas. I love the taxi ways around LAX watching all the different terminals and planes from all around the USA / world. The flight was on a little Canadair (Bombardier) Regional Jet 700. It is 1 seat, an aisle and then 2 seats.

Las Vegas is a great airport - new and with fast free wifi. I had a few hours there before boarding my flight to Baltimore. The plane was a airbus a320 which seems to be one of Delta older aircraft.


Jody's Sausage Kingdom at Las Vegas airport

A big thing I love about flights here in the USA is the WiFi onboard the flights. The internet is not blindingly fast but it is a great to be on the web while on the flight. It makes the flights go so much faster. You can also watch your flights in real time on the web.

Also in the USA they have changed the rules about electronic devices - you can now use your ipad, ipods etc during take off and landing. A great change!

Dinner on the flight to BWI was ravioli in a tomato sauce.


Dinner on Delta

I landed in BWI at 10:58 and waited and waited at baggage claim for my bags - but no bags! I went to the Delta lost bags office and my luggage was not loaded in LA! They advised my bags would arrived int eh next day or so! I was not happy but not much that you can do so I went to get the supershuttle to Washington, about a 1 hour drive. I waited about about 30 minutes for a shuttle then we set off.

I ended up arriving at the hotel in Washington at about 12:30 and crashed into bed and slept like the dead.

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Old 05-04-2014, 05:08 PM   #7
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Really looking forward to the post-trip podcast. I hope the luggage caught up to you in DC. Never had my luggage lost, but I can't imagine that it's much fun.
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Maybe March 2015 trip to Universal Orlando (Going to the Dark Side maybe).
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Old 05-04-2014, 10:20 PM   #8
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joining in luvin the updates so far. Cupcake atms more places in the world need those
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Old 05-05-2014, 11:51 PM   #9
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Washington DC

This was my second visit to Washington DC. I visited in late October last year as Winter was coming on. What a different looking city this is going into Summer!


Flowers in DC


More DC Spring Flowers

I meet Erica who had been in New York for the previous week in the morning. So great to see her and set off on our adventures! It was a lovely day around DC - not to hot and not to cold.

I had to get a jumper, shirt and clean socks and underwear as my bags had still not arrived. A quick trip to Urbanoutfitters in Chinatown solved that problem and freshened up we headed out sight seeing!

We decided to head to the national mall. It was packed with heaps of of people - families and school groups hanging out having a great time! A really buzzing place.

We visited the natural history museum which I must say is looking very old and tired and we noticed that they were playing Jurrasic Park 3D that night on the IMAX screen followed by a Q&A with the curator of dinosaurs. I love Jurassic Park - it is one of my favourite movies of all time so we were excited to get tickets to see it that night.

We then went next door to the Smithsonian Museum of American History - what an awesome place! We got to see things like the a fragment of Plymouth rock and Thomas Jeffersons desk along with a copy of the declaration of independence. They keep a bit of so much of american history from the original IPOD to all the dresses that the first ladies wore to the inauguration ball.


There is no place like home

In the afternoon we went back to the hotel of a rest. Luckily my bags were delivered so it was good to have them back to have a fresh set of clothes before that night going out to see Jurassic Park in 3d on the Imax. It is still such a good movie after all these years and the use of puppets rather then CGI makes it stand up well. The curator od dinosaurs was interesting and explained that they are closing the dinosaur exhibit at the museum of natural history for the next six years to refurbish. It should be pretty good once it is complete and reopens.

Washington Day 2

The next day Washington DC was very overcast and rain showers were about. It turned out to be a crazy weather day with record rainfall and tornados across the USA.

In the morning we went to Congress and got passes to see the House of Reps and the Senate that afternoon. We walked over and visited the national library - such an amazing building with an extraordinary collection.


National Library


National Library

My camera had been playing up and had gotten worse so we had to go to the repair shop to get it looked at. They diagnosed it as a problem with the lens - I will need to get it fixed when I get home but it should be ok for the rest of the trip.

After having the camera looked at we had some lunch and went and had a look at the Whitehouse and look around that area.


The Whitehouse


The Whitehouse


There was a shop the sells only toasted cheese sandwiches

Only Toasted Cheese

We went over the the Vietnam war memorial and Lincoln Memorial.


Vietnam Memorial


Lincoln Memorial


We took a cycle cab down to congress and got some great photos and views along the way.


Gatekeepers house

Cycle Cab

Washington Monument

We sat in on the house of representatives and the senate. It was cool to see the chambers that I had always seen on TV. After that we went back to our hotel and I crashed out asleep still getting over jetlag.
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:24 PM   #10
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Washington D.C. to Chantilly

After our last night in Washington DC we got up the next morning ready to start our big Eastern USA road trip.

The weather in D.C. and all over the east coast and mid west was horrible. We made a decision to skip Wilmington and head straight to Savannah. But more on that later.

We picked up the hire car from Union station. Such a beautiful building in the middle of D.C. – next time I am there I definitely need to allow some time to explore it. The car hire lot was hidden away at the back of the parking lot and not covered to walk there so we got wet getting there.

Our car for the trip was a Ford Focus. The one way fee was much more then the actual rental but I guess that how it goes. Here I am in getting in for our first drive.


Ford Focus for our road trip

Ahhh driving on the right hand side of the road! I did it for the first time last year when I was hear in the states so it wasn’t to bad. The only time it really gets me is turning left – I really need to think about going all the way over to the far side of the road.

And off we went! For this trip google maps would be our guide with Eric and I both getting USA sim cards so we had data access. Overall it did pretty well and luckily I had bought along my in car charger as it really chewed through the battery.

Our first stop was Arlington Commentary. We drove over the Potomac River and found a park as the rain became more and more heavy by the time we were in the visitor center it was pouring. We made a decision to have a look around but could not get out to see the actual memorials.

Back on the road with the rain coming down we decided to head straight to the main purpose of today – visting*the air and space museum in Virginia. We both had really wanted to see the space shuttle and the concord.

We got into quite a muddle trying to get there and ended up doing a loop on the back roads of IAD airport but all part of the adventure.

The museum was fantastic! Such a thrill!

My highlights would definitely be:
• Seeing the space shuttle and all the associated articles from space travel. What surprised me most of all was the really patchwork nature of the shuttles exterior and for many other space crafts just how thin the “walls” were. More like just some padding between inside and out.





• The Concorde – such a majestic plane with the engineering built into the wings – would have been a thrill to fly!

 


The concorde


• Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird– such a smooth and powerful plane – you could say elegant in its design.







• Going up the replica control tower to see how air traffic control works in the USA and listening/watching into a full simulation of a working tower.

Definitely worth the trip!











That night we stayed at the Holiday Inn Chantilly. A very nice hotel with hugh rooms and even a little verandah. Not that you could see much as the rain kept coming down!

We had a yummy BBQ dinner – ribs and beef brisket with mash potato and pasta salad. My god I love BBQ!



 
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Old 05-08-2014, 11:52 PM   #11
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Chantilly to Norfolk

So….. I know I am harping on about the weather but the next day driving from Chantilly to Norfolk it was nuts!

Today we were driving South-East to the coastal town of Norfolk. Wow did we forget to do our homework on Norfolk. We had really wanted to go to drive across to see Chesapeake bay. But with the weather just terrible there wasn’t much point in doing that. Instead we tried to visit Georgetown on the way there but ended up lost and driving around the back suburbs of Wilmington. So we got back on the freeway and motored to Norfolk.

The weather on the drive was pretty scary at times



Now Norfolk and VA beach – things we learnt:
1. They are navy towns
2. Amazing Italian restaurants are in strip malls – something that wouldn’t happen in Australia
3. The Atlantic ocean is a mean and green looking ocean







4. Don’t annoy the man who takes money to park near the beach or he will punish you with looks judging you on your total incompetence.
5. You can still have fun at the beach on a rainy afternoon.
6. The Norfolk glass museum and shop has forgotten to be a shop but instead is a display on the work the instructors do. A bit annoying when you want to buy glass.

Overall I think Norfolk was a bit of a disappointment – we had quaint sea side town in mind – instead we got seaside city with huge navy base. Maybe in the nice weather our impressions would be different. Our hotel that night was a Holiday Inn Express complete with a giant mermaid next to reception.
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Old 05-14-2014, 01:44 AM   #12
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Norfolk to Savannah

Norfolk to Wilmington Now Norfolk to Savannah

As I said before we had originally planned to spend today doing the 4 hour drive from Norfolk to Wilmington but with the weather as ghastly as it was we made the somewhat ambitions decision to drive straight through to Savannah. In hindsight a good decision = yes! But golly was it a long day.

We left Norfolk at about 9am in the morning with the goal being to make it to the outlet mall in Smithfield. But by 10:30 we were in need of coffee and real food (I struggle to call the Holiday Inn Express Breakfast real food – more like the tribute to what can be microwaved a put out for people to devour buffet – not one piece of fresh anything in sight) and we stumbled across the small town named –Emporia.

Now this was what I had always thought a little American town would be. The railway line running straight through the middle of town, people waving and saying hello, wonderful little shops selling knick-knacks (I bought some cute salt and pepper shakers) and a great little café named The Palm Tree. I had one of the best sandwiches I have had in the US of A there and as long as you can enjoy the Christian radio playing and the cash register that flashes up that "Jesus"*it is*a great place to get some real food! So yummy!




Railway Station










The Palm Tree Cafe


Now talking of radio*we were now being introduced to USA radio. You have 3 options:
1. Country Music FM
2. Christian FM
3. Racist and bigoted talkback radio
Now number 3 was the most interesting / scary. We listened with interest and horror as we heard commentators such as Glen Beck discuss such topics that were terribly racist through to*what would be on a deli sandwich name after Obama (the callers consensus being tongue wrapped in dung).

We continued south with our next stop being a crazy place called
South of the Border. This was the place was the place that time forgot. So much tacky tourist things along with fireworks and some sad looking hotels. I think this pace is best described in pictures!














We continued south on the I95 with a few more stops for petrol and snacks before arriving in Savannah at about 9:30pm exhausted but really glad to be there!

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Old 05-14-2014, 01:53 AM   #13
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Savannah - the southern historical beauty!

Wow Savannah - what a town!

We had arrived late the night before and woke up at about 8:30 and headed down to the complimentary breakfast. We had rearranged our trip so the Savannah hotel prices were really expensive so we were staying slightly out of town near the airport at the Holiday Inn.

We decided to use the hop on / hop off bus to get a good overview of the historic district.

The first thing I loved were all the greenery!









and the spanish moss (I cant remember what it was called!)







I grabbed a coffee and we sat in a square and just soaked it all in



We went to the Telfair Museums' Owens-Thomas House and had a really good tour of the building style of the time.

After that we had lunch at*Leopalds Ice Cream - A great ham and turkey sandwhich on rye followed by coconut ice cream. It opened in 1919 and was so yummy and great atmosphere!



We got back on the bus and did the rest of the tour. We drove past the riverside area which looked like a total tourist trap so didn't go back there. It was really good to get the commentary and learn about the city.



That night I caught up with my old boss David for a drink which was great. Good to catch up and hear about his life in Savannah.

We had dinner at the queen of southern foods restaurant - Paula Dean
http://www.theladyandsons.com/
Fried chicken was sooooo good! a real Southern experience.

Savannah Day 2
For the next day we had booked a photographic walking tour with Capturing Savannah. See there website at*http://www.capturingsavannah.com/

Pablo and Britt were our guides and we had a great morning walking around Savannah and learning more about photography. Here are some of my photos:

























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Old 05-18-2014, 01:50 AM   #14
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New Orleans

Saving for New Orleans
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Old 05-18-2014, 01:51 AM   #15
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New Orleans - Swamp Tour

Saving for our swamp tour report!
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