It’s finally here, the photo diary of the trip I took to California! It took me longer than usual to go through all the photos because I had so many. Go follow me on Instagram because I’ll be posting more photos and videos of my time in California ( I’ll save it in a story highlight afterward). I was originally going to make this post a two-parter but decided against it and just made this one long post so be prepared for a lengthy and picture-heavy post. I’m going to try my best to retell the highlight moments of each day but it’s been a few weeks since I’ve taken my trip so I may have forgotten a few details but whatever, it is what it is.
My mom, dad, younger sister, baby nephew, and I went to California to spend a week in South California. We specifically stayed in the Anaheim area. We were only in California for a week but it went by fast because we did something almost every day and were exhausted by the time we arrived at our Airbnb but it was a fun family trip that went by too fast!
On Saturday, we flew out early from Atlanta and arrived at around noon in California. We got our rented car and checked into our Airbnb right away. We had a few issues with our Airbnb so most of our first few hours in California were spent in our Airbnb contacting our host. We eventually got some food at a local supermarket nearby and had lunch. Later my family went out to meet with my uncle and his girlfriend. I stayed at the Airbnb because I wasn’t feeling well. I was finally sick the day before we left so I stayed in and slept. My family went out and had In-N-Out, and they brought me back fries and a grilled cheese, literally two buns with some cheese, it was very salty. However, In-N-Out does redeem themselves later! They also went to Daiso and my sister brought me back a red bean bun, rice, a Hello Kitty cup, and washi tape.
On Sunday, I don’t remember much of what we did. We arrived in California amidst Hurricane Hilary so we didn’t go out much on Saturday or Sunday hence why I don’t have many photos from the first few days. My family went and had dinner with my aunt, uncle, and cousin but I still wasn’t feeling that great so I stayed in the Airbnb to rest. Resting did help because I felt completely better the following day.
On Monday, we went to some Outlets and I requested to go to Daiso so I could check it out for myself. Go check out my haul from California to see what I bought. The Daiso stores in California had a lot of Sanrio merchandise. They had certain things like in the Daiso stores in Korea, they’re pretty similar but I think Korea has more unique collections and in California, it’s mainly just licensed characters. The prices were pretty reasonable and comparable to the Daiso stores in Korea.
For lunch, we got In-N-Out, again. This is where In-N-Out redeemed themselves! I ordered a grilled cheese again but this time with lettuce, tomatoes, caramelized onions, and their secret sauce. This time it was much better! If you’re a vegetarian make sure to get a grilled cheese with all the veggies and I recommend getting the caramelized onions because they add a unique flavor to the sandwich. You can also ask how they cook your fries, a tip that my cousin shared with us! I was so confused as to why all our fries were so hard but you can ask them to not be cooked all the way.
On Tuesday we went to Disneyland! We went with my uncle, his girlfriend, and my aunt, who works for a Disneyland hotel so we were able to get in for free and got most of our Disney purchases for a discount!
It always amazes me how small the Disneyland castle is! We are so spoiled with the DisneyWorld castle which you can see as soon as you enter the Magic Kingdom park. However, you have to squint to see the castle in Disneyland or you might miss it! haha
The first thing we did after we entered Disneyland was get Starbucks! We arrived around noon and we were all feeling low on energy because none of us had had lunch so we found a spot in Tomorrowland and had our lunch and coffee. Afterwards, we went all road a few rides. Even though we went on a Tuesday in late summer there was still a long wait for most of the lines. We only rode 4-5 rides altogether, and we didn’t get to ride certain rides because they kept breaking down throughout the day, like Indian Jones, Haunted Mansion, and the Matterhorn ride. I did get to see Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland, it’s pretty much a carbon copy of the one in Hollywood Studies but slightly smaller. Last time I got a blue milk in Galaxy’s Edge so I decided to get a green milk this time. They taste the same but I think the blue milk looks cooler.
For dinner, my aunt suggested that we go to California Adventure because they have a variety of food options. It was dark by the time we went here so I don’t have any photos of my time in California Adventure or my meal, veggie tacos.
I got to see the new Bridge that leads you to the San Fransokyo Square and see the iconic Mickey Ferris wheel but all the pictures I attempted to take came out blurry so you’re just going to have to believe me when I said it was EPIC! After we ate, my sister and I left our party to go and experience the Avegeners Campus which I did take pictures of! We didn’t ride anything in California Adventure because it was getting late by this point and everyone was getting tired.
For dessert, my aunt suggested churros in Disneyland but it was already late by this time so the fireworks started so we stopped to look at them. By the time, the fireworks were done it was pretty packed so we decided just to get churros in Downtown Disney. I got a strawberry cheesecake churro which was amazing! The churro was pink-colored and strawberry-flavored and came with a cream cheese dipping sauce which was incredible! If it’s one thing we don’t have in Disneyworld it’s churros. I’ve only seen basic churros at Disney World.
After finishing our churros, we said goodbye to our family because they all had work the next day. Afterward, we went to the World of Disney shop in Downtown Disney, did some shopping, and then called it a night because we were all pretty worn out at this point. Even though Disneyland is small compared to Disneyworld there is a lot more to do here and it would take a few days to ride all the rides you want and watch the parades and fireworks shows.
On Wednesday, we went to Santa Monica. When my dad first came to the US he came here and worked as someone who did gas emissions in a nearby town to earn enough money so that he could move my mom from Mexico to the US. They used to write to each other love notes via post and my mom still has all of their love letters stored in a shopping bag in her closet! So cute!
We didn’t do much in Santa Monica just walked along the pier and looked at the ocean. It was nice to hear stories of my parents when they first arrived in America where they went and what they did. Listening to their stories made me appreciate them for all the sacrifices that they made to live the life that they have now.
On Thursday we went to Knott’s Berry Farm. My uncle kindly bought us tickets as a treat so we could take my nephew to see Snoopy. I didn’t know what to expect from Knott’s Berry Farm but it was cute. They have a Peanuts-themed land called Camp Snoopy with cute little rides for kids. My nephew was having a fit that day (he’s only 3) so he didn’t experience this land so much. But I enjoyed seeing all the cute Snoopy and peanut details scattered through the land.
The next land was a Mexican-themed land called Fiesta Village. There were alebrijes (Mexican spirit guides) scattered throughout the area. I could only find 4 (I didn’t take a picture of the 4th one because people were eating in front of it). We rode a few rides in this area and then had lunch at a place that was a Chiptole knockoff but not as good. haha
The next land in Knott’s was this old American western-themed land called Ghost Town but there wasn’t anything scary so I was confused with the name. The land next to Ghost Town was called Boardwalk which had a lot of roller coasters and amusement park games where you could win some cute Pokemon prizes. You had to pay to play and they were kind of overpriced so we didn’t play any of them. We were done with Knott’s by 3 pm so we decided to just leave since there was nothing else we wanted to do. I was surprised to see a Starbucks at the exit near Knott’s but I took this opportunity to get my first pumpkin spice latte of the year!
Compared to Disneyland, Knott’s was pretty empty. Most of the rides were ready to be ridden and we were on and off in a few minutes. I would compare Knott’s Berry Farm to Six Flags as there are different lands with certain places having more roller coasters than others. Knott’s Berry Farm was cute but I probably wouldn’t go again.
On Friday, our last day, we had made plans to hang out with my aunt, uncle, and cousin again. We went to the Irvine Spectrum Center because we wanted to visit the Hello Kitty Cafe. At the Irvine Spectrum Center, we had a quick lunch/dinner at Shake Shack before, this was my first time eating at a Shake Shack. I was surprised to see that they had more than one vegetarian-friendly burger! After we ate we did some shopping, there was a Miniso shop at this shopping center so we went in and had a look. I only bought two things but my younger sister splurged and got a lot of Kuromi things, a canned boba, and Hello Kity ramen (seen in photos). We had dessert at the Hello Kitty cafe, I got a lavender tea (I forgot to ask for boba!) and a Hello Kitty pineapple dole whip because I forgot to get one in Disneyland.
At Irvine Spectrum Center, we spotted Honey & Butter Macarons and had to go in! I’ve followed Honey & Butter on Instagram for years so it was amazing to finally visit this place in the flesh and try their macarons. I didn’t know that they had stopped making their character macarons so I was kind of disappointed to see no character macarons. They were preparing for their Hatsukau Miku event that was happening the next day! Too bad that we were leaving the next day! But they did have a special Hatsune Miku flavor, Miku Mint! I got one of those macarons along with 11 other macarons, I got a 12-pack to share with my family. I don’t remember all the flavors we picked out but we almost got one of every flavor that they had. Me and my family can all 100% say that these were the absolute best macarons we have ever had and we’ve been to Paris! But they’re THAT AMAZING! They’re a decent size, creamy, soft, crispy yet chewy, rich in flavor but not too sweet, and they’re not that expensive! Each macaron ranges from $2-3, I’ve seen macarons half this size priced for much more! If you ever get the chance to visit the Irvine Spectrum Center and enjoy macarons, I highly recommend getting some macarons from Honey & Butter!
And that’s it! We said goodbye to all our relatives and on Saturday morning, we made our way to the airport, and in 2 hours we were back in Georgia! I was even welcomed back home with a cow-shaped cloud! Yup, I can’t make that up! If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is! Do you see the cow in the cloud picture? Let me know if you see it! haha
Have you ever been to California?