The Random Writings of Rachel: Why California?

Why California?

When we announced our trip to visit the USA this summer, two of our destinations were obvious choices. Our primary family bases are in Michigan and Texas. The third destination wasn't quite such an obvious choice: Anaheim, California.

Michigan and Texas were 'must-dos' for us in visiting the USA, for obvious reasons. California is an extra...and here are the factors that added up in our decision to add such an 'extra' to our already complicated and full trip:

(Our Previous Layover Vacation in Oahu)

1. We're a fan of 'layover' vacations. My parents have used layovers successfully to visit France and England on layovers for no added flight costs. Angel and I had a 5-day layover in Oahu when we moved to China, essentially giving us a trip to Hawaii for no money spent on airplane fares. I knew from past experience that LAX is a very common stopping point when flying into the USA from Asia. Upon researching a variety of flight options, I was able to get us an arrival in LAX, a flight to Dallas, and a return flight to Malaysia leaving from Dallas for a total of $100 less per ticket than flying right into Dallas, and $300 dollars less per ticket than the best ticket for flying into Michigan (pro tip: if you want to be an American who lives in Asia, don't be from Michigan). This means our flight cost for adding a destination to our trip is -$200 of what it would have been if we'd simply just flown into Dallas. That 'extra' $200 will go a long way to the added cost of spending a few days in California.

(What Angel looked like when he lived in California, at least at the beginning.)

2. Although Angel, depending on his mood, either claims to be "from" Michigan (he moved there for college and came back for a pretty girl) or Texas (his parents moved while he was in college and he lived there for 1 year after graduation)....he's actually from California. He used to live and work biking distance from Disneyland. He still has relatives in the area but hasn't been back to visit since his last visit to California about 12 years ago. He's looking forward to seeing uncles and aunts and cousins and showing me the landmarks from the stories of his youth--his old home and school and the beach he always went body boarding at. He's made a special mention of taking me to visit his favorite panadería (bakery). He even looked it up on Google Earth to make sure it's still there. This must be some bakery. We will be staying with his aunt, which is another factor that will make the stopover more affordable.

(You can see on my face how excited I was about a real-life Pizza Planet, right? We didn't eat there, I was just happy it existed.)

3. Ever since visiting Walt Disney World and Hong Kong Disneyland in 2014...I have developed a gradual mission to visit all of the Disney parks worldwide. I've got seven down, and I might have the change to knock another two off the list since we're going to be in the area anyways. This is yet to be confirmed, as tickets to the parks in the USA are surprisingly expensive compared to tickets to the Asian parks. It's possible that just I will go to the Disney parks while Angel visits more of the people he knew growing up. We'll see...there's so much to do in Anaheim area that it's hard to figure out exactly how to allocate our few days...right now I think we'll definitely be visiting Joshua Tree National Park...but the rest of the itinerary is not really set.

I am definitely open to suggestions of things that are truly awesome to see and do in Anaheim area! If you've traveled around that part of the USA, let me know any advice or recommendations you have! I especially have no plans whatsoever for eating--I am imagining most of what we eat will either be from the grocery store or from Angel's favorite panadería...

17 comments:

  1. I've never done a "layover vacation," but it sounds like such a smart idea and so neat! I hope you guys have fun in California! I've never been there (even though I spent several years of my childhood in Oregon, which isn't that far of a road trip), but it sounds wonderful.

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  2. This is a really clever idea - I've never done anything like that before but I'll keep it in mind for my next trip! Sorry I don't have any tips for how to spend your time, I'd love to visit California one day but have never been.

    Hope you had a great weekend :)

    Away From The Blue Blog

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  3. Layover vacations are the way to go! I've stayed in both Iceland and Panama for "free" due to extended layovers.

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  4. Wow, you're going to love it! We just got back from Disney World in Orlando and it was such a blast!

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  5. You have to go to Disneyland and California Adventures. You simply must.

    Also, I KNEW this would be on your list of "why" as soon as you mentioned Anaheim. As a kid, I lived in Santa Ana, CA. Disneyland was still a special occasion, but we did go about once a year. Alas, I haven't been to California since I was 15. :(

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  6. I love your mission to do all Disney parks!! I am a fan girl too!! I have only done Orlando but am hoping to do California in the next few years.

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  7. I seriously to try out a "layover" vacation. I never thought to do it!!! Other than Anaheim, make a quick stop to Laguna Beach and Newport while you're there. The beaches are glorious!

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  8. I'm so excited for you to visit California! I've only been once (well twice but I don't remember anything about the first time), and it was lovely.

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  9. I LOVE Disneyland and that whole area!!! A huge chunk of my family lives right there. I wish I had good advice on where to go, but I haven't visited that area since high school. Enjoy!

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  10. I have only been to California one time and I am itching to go back! I went to San Diego but when I return I want to visit Los Angeles or the Bay Area. Ideally, I'd take a train up the PCH and take it all in.

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  11. I've never done a layover vacation. That's an interesting way to see more places. I've never been to California but I'd love to go. Have a great time!

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  12. So fun!! The only time I've been to California was on a "layover vacation" on our way to China back in 2000! It was only a 1 day layover, but we still saw SO MUCH of Los Angeles! It was such a fun day and I loved it! We'll be in San Francisco this year and I've just started planning out that trip. So many cool things to see in Cali! How awesome that you guys will get to see all of Angel's old stomping grounds! Love that!

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  13. Wanting to go to Disneyland is good enough reason for me. ;-)

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  14. Great article, love your sharing so much, thank you!

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  15. Nick and I went to Disneyland many years ago and we had so much fun! I've been to Disney World in Florida, too, and I think it would be so cool to be able to see all of the parks. I love the idea of a layover vacation. I wish I had thought of that last year when we traveled around the US visiting our family but I am going to keep that in mind for next time. Thanks for the tip.

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  16. I love Disneyland! You should eat in the Blue Bayou restaurant IN the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It's pricey, but SOOO worth it! Also, when you are in Dallas this summer, I'd LOOOOOOOOOOVE to meet up with you for lunch sometime!!

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  17. I love the idea of a layover vacation!! So, so smart. When we went to Maui a few years ago, we had a layover at LAX, and got to spend a few days with friends there. My goodness is the coast beautiful in Redondo Beach!! Angel was a super cute baby! My husband grew up in Tonga, and I so wish that there was a photo of him as a baby, but none exist. So sad. I am also delighted that there exists a Pizza Planet. :-)

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