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US/UK/HK Trip: Leaving and Arriving in LA

Part of our 2012 US/UK/HK Trip. See the explanation and summary entry.

We went to the airport on Sunday to catch our morning Qantas flight to LA to begin our trip. After clearing security and customs and grabbing a quick snack, we were about to walk to the gate for boarding when the dreaded announcement happens: "Unserviceable problem with the aircraft landing gear doors, new aircraft due in 8 hours, go to the gate for instructions".

Great start. We were offered by Qantas to go to a hotel for the day in which we would be fed and given a room, or stay at the airport (see here for the letter they gave us). So after a few hours they bussed us to the Sebel hotel in the city, got a decent free lunch, and 6 hours later at 5pm were bussed back to the airport.

Re-entering Australia before we even left...
Re-entering Australia before we even left...

Upon getting there it was the same plane :S (the problem mustn’t have been that 'unserviceable'). We eventually took off, and arrived at LA at about 3pm Sunday local time, instead of the originally scheduled 6am. As we were so delayed, our gate wasn’t available, so they went and parked the plane at what I assumed was 'out back' for LAX, and then shuttled us back to the terminal. One cool thing was that because we parked out there, we managed to drive past Air Force One; the President was in town for a fund-raiser.

Air Force One
Air Force One

What was at first cool, changed to frustrating. After getting our bags and getting on our transfer shuttle to Disneyland, it turns out that when the President's plane is parked at LAX, they close all the major freeway overpasses in and out of LAX for security reasons. It meant that it took us 40 minutes just to get clear of the LAX district.

Driving into Anaheim was the next delay. We were unaware that the next day was a public holiday for Columbus Day. It meant that Disneyland was insanely busy, and that the police had closed the main roads in and out of the park. In Anaheim we had to wait in traffic for about 30 minutes to get to the hotel, and we had to be dropped around the back loading dock and find our own way to the reception. 28 hours after our scheduled departure in Brisbane, we finally checked into our room at the Disneyland Hotel.

The hotel itself was great. The bed headboards have a carved Disney castle with built-in LEDs that would light up and play music when switched on. Absolutely fantastic :D.

Disneyland Hotel bedhead
Disneyland Hotel bedhead

It was about 7pm, so we decided to try and go into Disneyland to get in a quick Space Mountain ride before dinner. Disneyland was insanely busy. Like barely-room-to-move busy. Local Californian regulars were telling us they’ve never seen the park that busy. Anywho, it was a 120 minute wait at Space Mountain at 7pm, so we decided to leave Disneyland for tomorrow and got the monorail back to the Downtown Disney district and went to the awesome Lego Shop before going back to the hotel.

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