Last November, I had to attend a conference in LA and took the family with me.  LA became one of my favorite cities right away. Why don’t we all just move to The Big Orange?

How we got there

Since my employer was covering my trip, we paid $346.20 for our child and used our JetBlue points for my spouse.  The cost was ~23k JetBlue points and $11.50 for a round-trip ticket from JFK to LAX. This was truly a first taste of the magic of points and miles.

Where we stayed 

For this conference, I was staying at the Doubletree Los Angeles-Westside, which has. Yelp 3-star rating, but we would probably rate it 3.5/4. Maybe we were lucky, but the staff we interacted with was warm, professional and accommodating. Upgrading to a more luxurious hotel or staying at a $1000 a night Disney hotel would have been a waste since we only needed a place to sleep anyway. We extended our stay for 2 additional days which would allow us to spend a day sightseeing and also visit Disneyland.  When we visit Disney World, we have always stayed at one of Disney’s hotels. This time, it made more sense to use a ride-sharing service round trip.

Where we ate

One of our drivers was an aspiring actor from Long Island and had been in LA for less than 6 months. He recommended Tocaya Orgánica on Sunset Boulevard. This is Mexican food from the future. We loved everything we ate.

After we spent a day walking around the LA attractions, we went to the mall near the hotel and ate at Lucille’s Smokehouse BAR-B-QUE. Again, we were not disappointed. The ribs were great and the service was also very good.

What we did

This was a ride sharing driven exploration of Los Angeles. 

I would have skipped Hollywood Boulevard, hower, The Grove at the Farmers Market and the Farmers Market itself were 2 of our favorite places to visit in LA.  We spent some time at Rodeo Drive, Hollywood Walk of Fame, and walked around Beverly Hills. There is so much more to do and we really want to come back as soon as possible.

A Day at Disneyland

We made it to Disneyland at 7:34 am. It was Veterans Day and the was packed!


The first thing we noticed was that the castle is much more smaller than the one in Orlando.


We gave priority to all the Disneyland exclusive attractions. Such as this submarine ride.


Storybook Land Canal


The other big difference we observed was that It’s a Small World is a BIG deal at Disneyland where it’s just another (albeit beloved) ride at Disney World.



Where we ate at Disneyland 

Pro tip: make reservations using the Disney app. We were having a hard time finding a place to eat since the park was packed. Thanks to the app we made a last minute reservation at Cafe Orleans.  I would not normally eat something like this, but I ordered the three-cheese Monte Cristo and really enjoyed it. Here’s Disney’s description:
“Swiss, Mozzarella, and Double Crème Brie fried in a light batter and served with Berry Purée dusted with Powdered Sugar.” Yes, I would order it again!
We spent the rest of our day getting on as many of our rides as we could. Here are our favorites:  Splash Mountain, Jungle Cruise, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Star Tours, Mad Tea Party, Autopia (our child was the driver!), and It’s A Small World. We could not leave without enjoying the fireworks!

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