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If you’re heading out to Knott’s Berry Farm and you like fried chicken, you really should plan on eating at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant while you’re there. During our first visit to Knott’s Berry Farm last year, we had a yummy lunch at the restaurant. When I read that you can try numerous boysenberry menu items, I knew we had to give it a shot. The boysenberry is central to the history of the park, and I’d never tasted one, so the idea was too tempting to resist. Apparently, the boysenberry is a cross between a red raspberry, a blackberry, and a loganberry. It’s also a great way to break up the day and relax in the middle of park touring. You really can’t miss it; we walked right on by as we headed to the front gate from the parking lot. Yes, it’s outside the park, but if…

When some people travel, they search for things “off the beaten path” while avoiding tourist traps. Those people aren’t us. Sure, we like to experience places “as the locals do,” and we love finding those little known gems. But we also love those places that “everyone should see once” in their lives. The more cliche the better. And why not? We like to experience a little bit of everything. The Hollywood Walk of Fame area may not be for everyone, and I don’t know if I’d ever go back, but when we planned our Los Angeles trip, I knew I wanted to see it. Even if it’s only one time. I wanted to be able to say that I’d been there. With a preface like this, you may believe that the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a horrible experience. It wasn’t. Was it amazing? Again, no. Am I glad we…

We had a wonderful time at the Plaza Inn for Minnie and Friends, Breakfast in the Park. When we were planning our trip to Disneyland, I was excited to find out that the park had a character breakfast that allowed you to meet approximately eight characters in one dining experience. Yay! As Walt Disney World vets, we were used to meeting a number closer to five at once. When I read that the characters are not guaranteed, that you had no idea who may show up, well, I knew this was a character meal we needed to try. So at exactly 60 days out, the reservation window at Disneyland (WDW’s is 180 days), I easily booked us an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) for a pre-opening character breakfast at Plaza Inn. Some Things We Learned First, I don’t know if it was a weird fluke because of the timing of Star…

Mel’s Drive-In wasn’t exactly on our radar, but when we saw it on the iconic Sunset Strip, we decided it was our kind of place. We’d spent the morning checking out Hollywood, and now we were ready to explore other areas nearby that we’d seen on TV and at the movies. So while we were in the vicinity, we needed to find some great food so we could refuel for the rest of the day’s adventures. And that’s exactly what we did. Mel’s Drive-In If you’re looking for nostalgia, this place has plenty! It’s like taking a step back in time. We were seated at a booth, and we loved taking in all the details, including watching the cooks behind the counter. After we placed our drink orders, it was time to find some tunes on the tableside jukebox. We went with music from the Grease soundtrack. It wasn’t long…

You simply can’t go to Hollywood without seeing the sign up on the hill.  On our arrival day, we couldn’t contain our excitement as we drove our rental car towards our home for the next two nights–Magic Castle Hotel. Just ahead of us, we could see the Hollywood sign for the first time. We certainly looked like the ultimate tourists as we tried to capture our first picture. Oh well. We were tourists! The next morning, we checked out the sites in West Hollywood. After lunch, we knew we wanted to try to get a better view of the Hollywood sign. Our time was limited; we were heading to San Diego the next morning. Sure, we could’ve hiked up to the sign, and I’ve heard that’s a pretty cool experience. But since our schedule was tight, and our nine-year-old was with us, it made sense to check out Griffith Observatory.…

When planning our first trip to Los Angeles, one of the most daunting aspects was trying to find hotels in Hollywood that met our needs. So many places were out of our price range, yet we wanted to be close to Hollywood attractions since we’d never been to LA.  We also wanted a family-friendly hotel where we felt safe, and we needed a place to park our rental car.  When I discovered the Magic Castle Hotel, I knew I’d found the place for us! About the Magic Castle Hotel The Magic Castle Hotel is a small, adorable hotel that, at one time, was an apartment complex.  Many rooms face the courtyard with the pool and poolside tables.  The location is great if you’re looking to see the Hollywood stuff; the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Grauman’s Chinese Theater are just a couple of blocks away.  Since they used to be…

When I discovered that you could see sea lions and seals in the wild at La Jolla in San Diego, I knew we had to make La Jolla Beach a part of our quick diversion to San Diego.  We only planned one night in San Diego after two in Los Angeles, so we had to prioritize our activities.  Visiting the seals and sea lions was a perfect activity for our family! Finding the Sea Lions and Seals This was our first visit to San Diego, so we weren’t sure what to expect.  We chose Fairfield Inn and Suites San Diego Old Town for our hotel for its proximity to Old Town.  La Jolla is about 20 minutes away, so it’s an easy drive from Old Town.  Once we got to the La Jolla area, we looked for a  place to park.  Here is a map of the area from the…

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