Category Archives: North America

Los Angeles & Anaheim

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Los Angeles & Anaheim

Boasting two of the most visited amusement parks in the world, Anaheim is a much anticipated destination for families.

Race through the entrance to Disneyland, and enter the magical kingdom. The aroma of caramel popcorn wafts in the breeze and children’s laughter rings in your ears. Venture into Fantasy Land, the segment of Disneyland devoted to fantasy. Appreciate attractions such as the ‘Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo Boutique’, the ‘It’s a Small World’ ride and ‘Sleeping Beauty’s Castle’.

Roam into Tomorrow Land to experience the segment of Disneyland dedicated the future. Enjoy rides such as Space Mountain, Star Tours and Astro Orbiter. Catch the Disneyland monorail or railroad from this segment.

Make your way to Adventure Land to experience rides such as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, explore Tarzan’s Tree House or simply relax on the Jungle Cruise.

Stroll into Frontier Land and be astounded by the country action. Be wary of the two cowboys having a shootout on the verandah of ‘Big Thunder Ranch Barbeque’! Climb onto the Big Thunder Ranch roller-coaster and take a journey into mine shafts, pitch black caverns and the rocky desert. Board the ‘Mark Twain Riverboat’ to observe Frontier Land whilst cruising around the ‘Rivers of America’.

If you’re feeling like getting wet, find Critter Country, where you can board a log and zoom down a flume from a tremendous height.

For younger children, go to Mickey’s Toon Town, where they can explore Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Tree House, ride on Gadget’s Go Coaster or travel through Mickey’s house and even meet the mouse himself! Celebrate the success of all things Disney by watching the renowned Parade. Witness beloved Disney characters dancing and singing to their favourite tunes.

Journey over to California Adventure Land for some more fun.

Catapult up ‘California Screamin’, the tallest rollercoaster in the Northern Hemisphere. View the park at colossal heights while anticipating the moment the coaster will plunge downwards.

For a true Californian experience, head to ‘Soarin ’Over California’. Relax while seated in comfortable chairs before you’re unexpectedly elevated upwards. Let your feet dangle as you go on a simulated flight over California. Observe California’s most famous man-made and natural wonders and inhale the many different aromas as you travel over this breathtaking State.

Hop on board Mickey’s Fun Wheel – this structure is not your average ferris wheel as some carriages actually swing during their journey. To complete your time in the Magic Kingdoms, witness a truly spectacular water show at night, titled “Wonderful World of Color”. Enjoy watching bursts of water create scenes from treasured Disney films accompanied by music.

After bidding farewell to Anaheim, hire a car and travel to Los Angeles for your brush with fame. Purchase a VIP Pass to Warner Brother Studios for a fabulous tour. Witness the street where LMFAO filmed their smash hit, Party Rock Anthem. View the set of successful TV Series, Friends, as seen in the last season. Enter the prop house, where directors are able to choose props for their movies. On my visit to Warner Brothers, I was lucky enough to see the whiteboard used in the TV Series, Revenge, a chandelier used in Pirates of the Caribbean and even Simon Baker himself, Australian star of The Mentalist.

Travel to Universal Studios to experience high thrill rides and wonderful tours. A Fast Pass is certainly worth the money. Instead of waiting in line for hours, you are permitted to cut straight to the front, it saves lots of time! Venture to Amity Bay for your encounter with that infamous shark, Jaws. Nibble on your nails while waiting in line for the rollercoaster, Revenge of the Mummy. It is titled scariest indoor rollercoaster in the world! Join a tour and learn some of the tricks to filming movies by experiencing the heat of cars blowing up and flash flooding in seconds. If you’re fortunate enough, your tour guide might drive you past a scene being shot!

Amble through the Star Walk, a street occupied with pink stars dedicated to important people such as Whoopi Goldberg and Kermit the Frog (he is incredibly important)! With more stars then you can imagine, finding a specific person (or frog), is exceedingly difficult!
Take pleasure in observing the different handprints and footprints celebrities have. Admire these imprints just outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Some interesting ones to hunt for is C3PO’s and R2D2’s footprints! You’ll also notice the Friends casts and the Harry Potter casts.

Enjoy your brush with fame…… whether it’s an actual person, Disney Character or just an imprint, they ALL count!

May the Travel-Bug be with you…….

Things to do and places to visit:

Disneyland and California Adventure Land = http://www.disneyland.disney.go.com/
Universal Studios = http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com
Warner Brother Studios = http://vipstudiotour.warnerbros.com
Star Walk = http://www.seeing-stars.com/immortalized/walkoffame.shtml

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Las Vegas, America

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Las Vegas, America

Abnormal is one word that completely sums up the city of Las Vegas.  It’s asif you’re in a whole new world!

This is unless you believe that rollercoasters towering on top of buildings, canals complete with gondolas, or exploding volcanoes every 30 minutes are normal. This is just everyday life for the locals of Las Vegas and it has also been described as a “Disneyland for Adults” by others. This unique city has been crowned with the name “Sin City” for one very obvious reason – gambling. I am almost certain that there is no building in Las Vegas without a casino. In fact, I was stunned that McDonald’s was completed without one!!!

Perhaps the main reason tourists “hit the strip” is to explore its many hotels. I have never seen hotels used as attractions but once again, everything about Las Vegas is abnormal. The Venetian includes two running canals complete with gondolas and accompanying gondoliers to serenade you throughout your ride. The Luxor is home to an incredible IMAX theatre. The Bellagio boasts the world’s largest chocolate fountain. The Mirage holds the key to the Secret Garden (complete with dolphins, lions, leopards and tigers) as well as an exploding volcano. The hotel, Paris, showcases an Eiffel Tower a third of the size of the actual monument.

I’m sure that anyone who has visited Las Vegas will agree with me when I say that you have not taken advantage of the city until you have seen the Grand Canyon. The vast majority of tourists who visit the Grand Canyon do it by car or bus. Why not fly? Papillon Helicopter Tours have a lot to offer, and is what I personally recommend. The tour I completed included a free limousine ride. It picks you up at your hotel then drops you off at the terminal facility for check-in. This is followed by a safety talk before boarding the aircraft. Flying over the Hoover Dam is magical, but is nothing compared to the Grand Canyon itself. The helicopter dives in for a 4,000 foot descent and before you know it, you are safely standing on the bottom of the Canyon. It really is like the saying ‘flying into a postcard’! Here, a light picnic (a basket for each passenger), is awaiting you. Whilst nibbling on these refreshments, cute chipmunks surround you as well as blossoming cacti. This is also the time when you are able to explore the Canyon by foot. On the flight back, you will travel over the world famous strip and be treated to fantastic photo opportunities. Once again, the limo will return you back to your hotel. This is an outstanding opportunity to make a memory. Flying into the bed of the Grand Canyon was certainly the highlight of my visit to Las Vegas.

May the Travel-Bug be with you…

Places to visit and things to do:

Hotels

The Venetian = http://www.venetian.com
The Luxor = http://www.luxor.com
Bellagio = http://www.bellagio.com
The Mirage = http://www.mirage.com
Paris. = http://www.parislasvegas.com/casinos/paris-las-vegas/hotel-casino/property-home.shtml

Papillon Helicopter (+ limo) tour = http://www.papillon.com/popris/show_package.aspx?package_id=125&lang=en-US

San Francisco, America

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San Francisco, America

With it’s distinctive landscape and architecture, it’s no wonder tourists are naturally drawn to the city of San Francisco.

Perhaps one of the most visited attractions in San Fransico, lives in the sea.  The jagged form of Alcatraz Island, slowly appears wrapped in a deep sea of fog, as the boat nears what is commonly known as “The Rock”.   Pouring rain and fierce winds certainly made my experience on Alcatraz scarier, but did not at all affect the educational portion of the tour.  Whilst on the island, I was given a head set to wear.  These were a great idea, as instead of following a large tour group, I was able to gain knowledge about Alcatraz at my own pace. 

Back on the mainland, a sleepy bayside community, called Sausilito, lies tucked away over the Golden Gate Bridge. Unlike the city, Sausilito is crammed with boutiques, window shops and secluded fishing wharves.  Being only 10 minutes over the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausilito is a great escape from the noises of the city!

Sprawled throughout San Francisco are many cafes and restaurants.  The Rain Forest Cafe is my personal favourite.  This restaurant is best suited  for families with children.  Most other restaurants in the city just serve spectacular food, but The Rain Forest Cafe makes what could be a boring dining experience, extremely fun!  Instead of waiters and waitresses, my food was served to me by ‘Ranger David’.  The waiters’ outfits include khaki shirts and black pants.  Each kid’s meal comes with a gift pack containing a ruler, activity book, wallet and pencils, all with the Rain Forest Cafe symbol printed on it.  Complete with a souvenir shop (due to its great success), moving animals and half-hourly thunder storms, The Rain Forest Cafe is certainly one of San Francisco’s hot spots for a spectacular dining experience.

The beyond steep hills make it difficult to discover San Francisco by foot.  Therefore, I relied mostly on tour buses to make my way around.  This is a great way to see the city, as it ensures that you see everything and don’t waste time visiting non-worthy attractions.  San Francisco City Sightseeing Tours offers to take you to many different places.  I rode two of these tours, the Golden Gate and Sausilito Tour and The Night Loop.  The Golden Gate and Sausilito tour stops at Sausilito, the Presidio, Ghirradeli Square, the Palace of Fine Arts and of course, the Golden Gate Bridge.  The trip across the famous monument stops at both sides for fantastic photo oppurtunities. 

The Night Loop stops at China Town, Embarcadero, The Bay Bridge, Union Square and Alamo Square.  Alamo Sqaure is home to ‘The Painted Ladies’ of ‘Postcard Row’.  The yellow ‘Painted Lady’ is in fact from Full House, a popular 90s TV series starring the young Olsen twins.  Both tours are worthwhile, however if neither interest you, there are also many other tours available. 

May the Travel-Bug be with you……

Places to go and things to do:

Alcatraz Island=https://www.alcatraztrips.com/index2.asp?source=google&gclid=CMmfqL7olbECFedMpgod6S6UhA
The Rain Forest Cafe=http://www.rainforestcafe.com/
Sausilito=http://www.ci.sausalito.ca.us/
City Sightseeing Tours=http://www.city-sightseeing.us/allloopstour.html