Family Vacation Part 1: Universal Citywalk
After planning our trip and packing for our trip, it was time to actually take our trip. The kids were super excited, but my husband and I were nervous. It was our first flight solo with the boys, my husband’s first trip to Los Angeles, and our first time taking the boys to the big amusement parks. First up, Universal Citywalk.
Day 1 started very early in the morning. I’m talking 4 am. Our flight left at 6:30 am, so we wanted to be out of the house around 4. Everyone slept in their clothes, which were comfy sweatpants ideal for travel. My husband packed up the car the night before.
We debated between taking Uber or parking at a remote lot. Asking a friend or family member to drive us that early in the morning would have been a huge favor, plus all five of us don’t fit in anything besides a minivan. So, we took the cheaper option of the remote lot.
I found a lot for $7 a day with a shuttle that ran to the airport every 20 minutes. It turned out to be cheaper than one way with Uber.
After waking the boys, we were out the door right on time.
Shuttle and Airport
The parking lot was easy to find, and the shuttle left for the airport within 5 minutes of us arriving. The boys found every part to be an adventure, so it was pretty exciting when the back door swung open and a suitcase flew into the street. The driver pulled into the median, grabbed the bag while dodging oncoming traffic, and slammed the door shut.
Not a good omen, if you ask me.
Luckily, we made it to the airport with all of our bags, and checking through security was easy.
We had a little bit of a wait, but the boys all had snacks, took turns going to the bathroom with my husband, and watched for the plane to arrive. Since we flew on Southwest, we didn’t have assigned seats. You have to check-in exactly 24 hours before your flight to be in the first group on the plane, which I didn’t. Thankfully, families get to board after the first group, and it wasn’t a full flight.
Mr. B sat with my husband, and I got the twins. Lucky me.
Actually, all the boys were pretty good on the plane. They did all switch seats a few times, and made me dig in their backpacks for something every ten minutes, but no screaming or crying. I’d call that a win.
We arrived in LA on time, took a shuttle to our rental car, and headed off to find our hotel.
Unfortunately, I got a monster headache. Hardly anything to drink (to avoid airplane bathroom) plus no caffeine was not a good combo. So, before we reached our destination, we had to stop for some food and drinks.
Our original plan for day one was to head directly to Universal Studios. Even after eating, I didn’t feel so great, plus everyone was tired from the long morning of travel. We decided to chill in the room, then go out an explore. We would do a full day at Universal Studios the next day.
When traveling, you have to be ready to go with the flow. Even when you have three very excited boys.
We just pointed out that we would have much more fun having two full days at the park, and then we bribed them with candy.
Our hotel room was awesome. They upgraded us to a suite, so mom got to take a nap in the bedroom, while the boys argued over which cartoons they would watch. When I got up, it was time to check out our surroundings.
Our hotel was located on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, less than a mile from the Universal Studios and Citywalk. It was a well-lit, area with tons of restaurants and shops, so we all felt safe walking. There was a sidewalk all the way, but we did have to cross a few busy streets.
Universal Studios and Citywalk are located at the top of a hill, and there is a free shuttle to take you up.
There’s also a sidewalk, so we made the boys walk. Gotta burn off all the energy!
Citywalk is located on the same grounds at the theme park, but there is no admission required for this area. It’s full of shops and restaurants, but no real rides. There is a movie theater, a Howl at the Moon Saloon Dueling Piano bar, and a stage where they sometimes have live music.
I wouldn’t plan for a whole day there, but you can definitely kill a few hours looking around, shopping, and eating.
We took pictures in front of everything!
We also browsed through all the candy and stuffed animal stores, watched people pretend to skydive in one of those IFly tunnels, and then found a place to eat.
There are chain restaurants like Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, and Hard Rock Cafe. We had a big lunch, so we decided on Johnny Rockets to split an order of chicken tenders, fries, and milk shakes.
The boys wanted to buy everything, but I took this as an opportunity. I told them that I would buy them one souvenir if they behaved for the two days at the park. This appeased them, and also was a pretty safe bet for me. They would either be good for two whole days, or I would have to spend any money.
With the two-hour time difference and a full day of travel followed by site-seeing and a long walk, everyone was ready for bed.
We made the long trek down the hill, everyone got in their jammies, and fell asleep immediately.
Tomorrow, we head to Universal Studios!