USA holiday summary

Arrived back in Australia on Saturday August 18th.
Here is a summary of good and bad things about our trip.

In LA our travel agent had arranged for transport to our hotel with Karmel Shuttle service. To get picked up I had to telephone the shuttle and then there was some confusion as to where they would pick us up. I would recommending instead to use the Supershuttle service as they have a dedicated stop at the LA airport and no need to ring up.

Crowne Plaza Resort Anaheim; good accommodation in Anaheim. They include free wifi but the signal from our room made it next to useless. We did use the free shuttle to Disneyland but if you have an early pass into Disneyland you have to take a taxi as the bus doesn’t run that early. Standard check in was 4.00pm which we found a pain when we arrived at noon.

Medieval dinner; this was great fun and highly recommended. When the agent booked this the tickets provided for ‘general admission’. We paid about $60 more to upgrade our seats to ‘royalty’ so that we could sit in the front row to see the knights fighting.

Disneyland; the lines are long. Use Fastpass for the good rides, and when possible try the single rider line for much shorter waiting times.

Universal Studios tour; make sure you purchase the Front Of Line pass. Its about $80 extra per person but worth it when you get to skip all the lines.

Lux Bus; we were picked up from our hotel at 8am and arrived in Las Vegas about 1.30pm. Power sockets were provided for the seats. I thought it was a good alternative to flying to Las Vegas.

Luxor hotel; the great pyramid hotel in Las Vegas is getting old and in need of a refurbishment. I wouldn’t stay here again. They also did not offer any wifi internet access.

Las Vegas night lights bus tour; we checked with the concierge at our hotel and found out about a double decker bus tour that left from the Luxor hotel next to our hotel. Purchase tickets from the bus stop for the cheapest price.

Las Vegas shopping; we caught a taxi to the Premium Outlets South. It was basically a medium sized shopping centre but allows you to check out clothes shops at cheap USA prices. There were no electrical goods stores in the centre which I found a bit disappointing.

Grand Hyatt San Francisco; Wifi internet was an extra charge. This hotel is rated 4 star and I highly recommend it. Great location, only 2 blocks from Chinatown and not far from the Italy area.

United Airlines; we flew united airlines from Sydney -> LA, Las Vegas -> San Francisco, San Francisco -> Sydney. The staff were really friendly. On the first flight the headset socket for Julia’s seat didn’t work. On the flight back home I paid to upgrade our seats to business class. Disappointingly the headset socket in Julia’s seat didn’t work again. Not good for 14 hour flights! Business definitely had more room and the chairs reclined to almost flat so they could be used as a bed. Julia managed to sleep most of the flight and I even slept for a few hours. Business class seats also had USA power sockets for tablets/phones/laptops. Our seat upgrade also gave us access to the United Club at the airport in San Francisco. This wasn’t anything fancy but it was quiet with comfortable seats; and we filled up on biscuits and cheese, softdrink and juice while we waited for our flight. Also power and free wifi was available. Despite the great service I’d hesitate flying with them again due to the media functions not working for our flights.

Taxis; we took taxi’s in all the cities and had no problems. Fares were acceptable and drivers were friendly and courteous. It was disappointing then we arrived back in Sydney and the taxi driver was rude and tried to rip us off by going a really long, and unnecessary way to get us home.

Money; we took USA cash for small purchases such as junk food or taxis. Most of our funds I had put on a Prepaid Mastercard through OzForex. The funds were already in USA dollars and we had no problems using the card at any locations.