Our family vacation last week took us to the west coast and southern California. Kara and I have family and friends there and a visit to Los Angeles was a few years overdue. We had perfect weather and a drama free journey until the day before our departure. More on that in a moment.
For the kids, the number one destination on the itinerary was Disneyland. The Disney in Anaheim features a few things you can’t find in Orlando, namely Cars Land. Cars is the Disney Pixar film that has been a ridiculously huge success and its characters Lighting McQueen and Mater are household names in any household with young boys, and girls, too.
Disney is an amazing operation, and in my opinion, Cars Land is the most amazing creation the world of Mickey Mouse has ever executed. The life sized Route 66 town of Radiator Springs is a work of art.
My son couldn’t wait for the meet and greet with Lightning and Mater, and my favorite moment was when he tried to look inside Lightning’s mouth.
My daughter was the consummate trooper through all of this, as she waited patiently to see Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, another attraction that is exclusive to Disneyland. Note to Disney: Cars Land is awesome, but I think you should add a few more characters in Cars Land, namely Miss Sally, the baby blue Porsche with strong appeal among girls forced to watch Cars over and over again with their brothers.
We decided to stay in Huntington Beach, a city that markets itself as “Classic California,” and for good reason. It has miles of coastline and wide expansive beaches that are filled with surfers, joggers, even a yoga class. We’re always looking for child friendly hotels and we hit the jackpot with the Huntington Beach Hyatt, right on the famed Pacific Coast Highway overlooking the ocean. This Hyatt featured several pools, casual places to eat and places to rent bikes and surfboards. Best of all, the resort is dotted with fire pits, that take the chill out of the ocean breezes on a March night. It’s a 20 minute drive to Disney and 45 minutes to Los Angeles.
The beach starts to fill up late in the afternoon as the locals and tourists show up with food, drinks and firewood. Yes, bonfires are legal, at least in Huntington Beach. The kids made smores, while teens broke out guitars and frisbees.
Oh yeah, the drama. The day before we left Kara was walking through the sand when she let out a scream of pain. She had stepped on a broken beer bottle that sliced deep into the ball of her foot. Ouch. We waved over the lifeguard for a first aid kit, and in a scene right out of Baywatch, a lifeguard who looked like he spent his life at the beach drove over in an ATV and got to work, cleaning up the gash and wrapping it in bandages. “She’s going to need stitches,” the young Hasselhoff told me.
Those wide, expansive beaches are great for football and catching rays, but daunting when carrying a human over your shoulder. What’s a husband to do? It was off to the clinic where doctors checked out the wound and decided to go with surgical glue over the stitches.
The doctor told Kara to stay off the foot for 48 hours, but we had a flight the next morning. The airline was less than helpful when we requested to change our departure to a day later. Even with a medical note, American Airlines still wanted to charge us an extra $1000 a ticket to fly the next day. Kara sucked it up, and with the use of a wheelchair at LAX, we took our regularly scheduled flight home.