This summer we decided to take the kids on a road trip to Southern California to see the beach and visit Disneyland. I don’t even remember how we came up with this idea. But I did remember clearly that we swore that we would never take our kids to Disneyland before they were old enough to ask. But yes, Disneyland and a road trip. An over 2,000km road trip. I know. Just hold on one second. Somehow the world ended and no one took the time to tell you about it. Fine. WE WENT ON A ROAD TRIP. WITH THE KIDS. AND WE SURVIVED IT. AND WE ENJOYED IT.
Here is the itinerary of our 2-week trip in case any of you want to kill yourself, or kill your kids first before yourself.
Day 1: Portland
We went straight to OMSI without even trying to breathe in how beautiful Portland was, because the two kids at the back of our car were trapped for 6 hours and they couldn’t take it anymore. Plus our Science World family membership allows us to go there free! FREEEEEE!
Before heading to our booked Airbnb, we had dinner in downtown Portland. We thought the idea of food trucks would be fun for the kids, except they didn’t like anything there out of the hundreds of food carts! I made them eat one bite of the chicken gyro before they were allowed to touch that damn strawberry smoothie!
Day 2: Oregon Coast
We started driving along Oregon Coast. And oh my, serene ocean, dove-white sand and blue blue sky! Oregon Coast simply never ends.
Ewwww…chessy selfie! I know… But look at that gorgeous coastline! We couldn’t help!
That night we stayed at a motel that my husband booked before the trip. I have no idea why he chose that one, but my interpretation of that motel is where a wanted drug dealer would pick to hide from being caught. Oh I didn’t even want to think about when was the last time the bed sheets were washed! NO NEED TO BOOK A MOTEL ROOM! You drive by, take a look inside, if you feel like a drug dealer is staying there, you go and look for another one!
Day 3: Bandon, Crescent City, Eureka, Avenue of the Giants
Next morning, I woke up, wait, did I say I woke up? Did I ever sleep? Did I spend the whole night worrying about some serial killer might sneak in our room and kill us all? And what about the bed bugs? How many of them?
WE JUST LEFT RIGHT WE SAW THE DAY LIGHT.
We drove to Bandon for breakfast before we hit the coast again.
Next we drove to Old Town Eureka, and were totally impressed by its best preserved Victorian homes.
Before heading to San Francisco, we stopped by the Avenue of the Giant. It’s by far the most outstanding display of tress I’ve ever seen. A true majestic sanctuary of trees! Many of them are fallen, providing a natural playground for the kids.
Day 4: San Francisco
We checked out from our hotel and headed to Children Creativity Museum.
If I knew Pier 39 was this crowded, I would suggest not to go. Phew!
Same as Lombard Street. Phew! People…
We was disappointed that we couldn’t visit Alcatraz as it was fully booked months ago. This was the best we could do.
Of course Chinatown was busy too. It took us forever to find a parking which was 20-minute walk away from the restaurant that we planned to go. But we didn’t regret it.
Day 5: California Coast, Monterey
As a passionate golfer, Matt had to visit Pebble Beach Golf Course and at least leave his footprints on the 18th.
Finally we arrived Pasadena before dinner time. After days of fast food, I couldn’t even look at a burger at all! And we craved our food – Asian food! This one was supposed to be really good according to Yelp. And OH.MY.GOD. Turned out we came here again before we left Pasadena.
Day 6 – 8: Disneyland
We woke up really early planning to avoid standing in lines at Disneyland, except waiting in line is inevitable in Disneyland. And that’s why I have been so reluctant and intimated by the prospect of going to any theme park. There are waiting and walking and sweating and more waiting and then more waiting. As adults we understand that waiting in line for a fun ride is pretty low on the level of devastating circumstances. But kids? Waiting for ANYTHING is worse than dying in a shark attack.
Much to my surprise, however, something magical occurred. Ethan and Maya, having never been to a theme park, had no idea how any of it worked. So when we had to wait in line, they were like, Okay. This is how it goes! WE WAIT! Except they wouldn’t stop draping their bodies on the rails, floors, flower beds, even strangers because of their tiredness and impatience.
Sure, the kids did their fair share of complaining, but at Disneyland you don’t have to walk two feet before you bump into another distraction. For Ethan, Haunted Mansion? Yes. Picture with Mickey Mouse? NO!!!
You’d never guess the first thing Maya said to Minnie was, “Hi, I’m wearing a Minnie Mouse underwear today!”
We spent three days at Disneyland waiting and walking. I think we’d waited for all the waits that we need to do for the rest of our lives. But when we’d finally get to the front of the line the kids would lose their mind with anticipation. The sound of their chuckling would not ever stop. Their whole bodies rejoiced in that laugh, again and again! They’d completely forget about the 45-minute wait before that. And the next morning I’d wake them up and whisper in their ears, “Who wants to go to Disneyland?” They would popped their eyes open, sat straight up and raised their hand. Just so ready for another day of walking and waiting and walking and waiting and walking and waiting…
Day 9 – 13: San Diego
We headed to San Diego, the last stop of our trip. Just a few theme parks and some more beaches…
After Disneyland, the kids were totally underwhelmed by Legoland. I was the one who felt a little upbeat about Legoland because of the shorter lines and smaller crowd.
I was told to try the apple fried there. And OH.MY.GOD. I licked all the whipped cream and cinnamon sugar!
We visited San Diego Zoo the next day. I wish I could explain to my kids why there are only animals but no rides at the zoo?
This pink flamingos scene though… I am going to frame it.
Seaworld, one more theme park to go! I know. 6 days 4 theme parks = Exhausting! But I married a guy who doesn’t spend a cent for nothing. And so we had to make the best use of the CityPASS we bought.
Thank God! A playground with rides…
You might not guess what they are serving. Not wrestling belts… But da best taco.
We couldn’t miss In & Out when we came to the kingdom of fast food.
The best part of the day for me was to come back to Lakehouse Hotel and Resort, where we stayed in San Diego.
After a whole day of waiting, walking and sweating and more waiting and even more walking and a bit more sweating and damn it more waiting at a theme park, they are just soooooo ready for more splashing!!! What are kids made of?!
I told my kids, ‘Breaking routines is the best part of travelling.’ They stayed up late every night, ate too much fast food, watched too much TV, went on too many rides, stayed too long in the pool…Just PLAAAAAAYYYYY like there is no tomorrow! That night they’re even allowed to touch my phone! Instead of downloading games, they decided to take a selfie with my favorite hotel in background. And that ended our vacation!
Vacationing with small kids is not a vacation. It is for the kids, and that’s what you sign up for as a parent. You give them all the fun and all the memories while doing quite possibly twice amount of work you would be doing if you had just stayed home. And as odd as it sounds, there is an immense amount of satisfaction and pleasure in that, in the fact that you busted your ass so that on the ride home all they can talk about is how much fun they had, how they wish they didn’t have to leave, and aren’t you proud they rode that roller coaster all by themselves.
I will always remember those couple mornings when I had to drag my body out of the bed really early for Disneyland, and I told myself, ‘Okay, I can sleep sometime in the future. Swallow that frustration. Right now my job is to create memories, and I WILL CREATE THE SHIT OUT OF THEM.’