Fuzzable Blogs: April 16 – East Coast to West Coast

Welcome back to my monthly Fuzzable blog. As I write this, I’m currently ridiculously jet lagged and fighting the urge to nap or else I won’t sleep tonight. The reason for my jet lag is because I’ve just come home from one of my favourite ever holidays, a week-long trip to New York and Los Angeles.

My mum and I have been saving to go to America for a few years now and have been waiting for the right time to go. At some point last year, our friend David asked if we fancied going to NYC and LA in April to celebrate his birthday. With NYC being on my bucket list, and the idea of going from East Coast to West Coast being incredibly enticing, it was a no brainer.

After months of waiting, we finally travelled to NYC on April 4. We flew out late evening from London Gatwick with Norwegian Air, and after an eight hour flight we arrived at around 8:30pm NYC time. This was my first long haul experience in almost 20 years and it wasn’t half as bad as I expected. I entertained myself on the flight by swooning over Zac Efron in The Lucky One and sobbing my heart out over Wonder (side note – I have never been such a wreck whilst watching a movie! Full on ugly yet happy tears for the whole plane to see lol).

As soon as we arrived in NYC, we took a taxi to our hotel, left our luggage and made our way to Times Square which was only a few blocks away. For me, seeing Times Square all lit up was one of the main things I wanted to do whilst on holiday and it definitely didn’t disappoint. I could have stood there all night – the lights were all so mesmerising!

Thursday was our first full day so we woke up early to make the most of it. We decided to go to Liberty Island first to see the Statue of Liberty, however, despite being there fairly early, the queues were absolutely ridiculous, with the guards saying there was a 4-5 hour wait to get the ferry over. Not wanting to waste time, we decided to go to see the World Trade Center and the 9/11 memorial instead. From there, we hopped on the subway to Hoboken, New Jersey, in order to get the perfect view of the NYC skyline.

After a quick Starbucks pit stop, we made our way back to NYC and walked to Central Park. I don’t think we even saw half of the park, it’s that enormous, but we spent a good few hours walking around and taking in the beautiful sights. We had a mini photo shoot and mum also had a close shave with a squirrel, which was definitely a ‘you had to be there’ moment.

Later, we went to Madame Tussauds. I love going to see waxworks and I enjoyed looking around however, it wasn’t my favourite Tussauds as there weren’t any particular figures that I wanted to see. To finish off the day, we went for food in Shake Shack before having a photo shoot in Times Square. Having seen pictures of Zoella there a few days before, I knew what kind of vibe I wanted to go for but sadly I’m as far removed from Zoella and her model looks as physically possible so this girl just had to make do with the below.

On Friday, we celebrated David’s birthday by being as touristy as possible. We visited both the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Centre and were blown away by the stunning views of New York. We also made it to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty, this time with next to no queues at all. In fact, we barely queued for anything all day which was a blessing in itself. Later that night, we went to B-Dubs for food as it’s David’s favourite New York restaurant. Imagine all the chicken ever, multiplied by 100.

Saturday was our last day in New York and I got to fulfil a fangirl goal. As you may know, I am a huge fan of The Wanted and one of my favourite songs of theirs is ‘Lose My Mind’. The music video for it was shot in Coney Island and I’ve always said to myself that I have to go there if I ever make it to New York. After a bit of a trek on the subway, we made it to Coney Island and it’s safe to say that my fangirl feels were at their highest.

The main thing I wanted to see was the Wonder Wheel, as it’s pretty much at the centre of the video. Luckily for us, it was a very quiet day at Coney so we got to take so many pictures and truly enjoy the amusement park. David and I even went on the wheel, although opting for the swinging cars probably wasn’t our best decision.

We finished off the day by visiting Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. Before we arrived in New York we bought a five-attraction pass meaning that we could pick any five from a long list without having to buy tickets on the day. As it was our last day, and by this point with minimal time left, we opted for Ripley’s just to use up all five attractions. It was okay but I didn’t feel that there was that much to see so I wouldn’t really recommend it.

On Sunday morning, we flew to Los Angeles with American Airlines. Whilst the flight was six hours or so, I could have happily sat on it for longer thanks to the AMAZING choice of films. I managed to watch The Greatest Showman (already seen it twice but it is SO damn magnificent I had to watch it again), Pitch Perfect 3 and Happy Death Day, all of which were superb.

Soon enough we touched down in LA, and after Uber-ing it to our hotel and changing to more sun-appropriate clothing, we went on a hike to see the Hollywood sign. The saying “life’s a climb but the view’s great” has never been so appropriate. The hike was roughly a ten mile round-trip but so worth it. While you can’t get very close to the sign, it was amazing to actually see it in person and the views from the top were sensational.

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On Monday, we went to Universal Studios Hollywood. I’m going to write a separate post/guide about the studios but in all honesty it was one of my highlights from the whole trip, I loved it! I did extensive research on the park before going so I was well informed about all the rides and queue times etc. However, having missed the one hour early entry to the Harry Potter section, my initial plan of visiting that area before it became busy went out the window – luckily it was a very quiet day at the park.

As soon as we arrived, we headed for the studio tour as it lasts around 60 minutes and would be the lengthiest part of the day. It was incredible to see the backlots where so many films and TV shows are made, and we even got to see Norman Bates in action! The interactive segments were also out of this world.

We then headed towards the lower lot, which is home to the Revenge of the Mummy and Jurassic Park rides. I would recommend visiting the lower lot earlier in the day purely as there isn’t as much to do there, and you may need to dry off from a certain ride! Our longest queue of the day (around 20 minutes or so) was for the Revenge of the Mummy ride, but there was a great atmosphere in the queue which built up anticipation for the ride. Jurassic Park was amazing too, but also left us soaked to the skin. Luckily, with it being 32 degrees, we dried up in less than 15 minutes.

Next up, we headed back to the upper lot, home to Hogwarts, Springfield and more. We went on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which is by far one of the best rides I’ve ever been on. It was so good that we went on it twice in a row (although we did break down on the second go) before returning once more later in the afternoon. I celebrated the splendid ride by toasting it with a Butterbeer, of course.

During the day, we also went on The Simpsons Ride, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem (technically twice, as they had to stop it near the end the first time around due to a child climbing out of their seat), and watched the Special Effects show. Before leaving, we also rode on Flight of the Hippogriff and this is the only ride that I wouldn’t recommend, purely because it’s a fairly lacklustre rollercoaster which lasted less than 30 seconds. Luckily, it was so quiet that we didn’t have to queue to go on, however, on busy days it can have up to a 60 minute wait time which definitely isn’t worth it.

On Tuesday, we visited Santa Monica which was so beautiful. We walked along the pier before strolling along past Muscle Beach, all the way to Venice Beach. It was so peaceful – if I lived there then I would definitely make the effort to learn to roller skate so I could travel along the beach in the same fashion as the majority of the locals!

After returning from Santa Monica, we went to Madame Tussauds Hollywood which is without doubt my favourite one that I’ve ever been to. It was so much better than the New York one, although this was largely helped by the fact that there were specific waxworks (Zac Efron and Demi Lovato) that I wanted to see. We also visited around an hour before closing time, meaning that the place was fairly empty so it gave us time to look round and take pictures without having to wait for anyone else. I also loved the fact that they had props you could use with different waxworks, including a red hoodie for ET and a T-Birds jacket for Grease.

Sadly, Wednesday was our last day in LA and in order to make the most of the sunshine, we spent our last few hours walking around Hollywood before stopping for food at the famous In-N-Out Burger. I loved walking along the Hollywood Walk of Fame and spotting some of my favourite stars including Hugh Jackman. It’s not half as glamorous as I expected but it was great nonetheless.

That pretty much wraps up my week in America, a trip that I will never forget. I’m so glad that I’ve finally had the chance to visit two of my dream locations whilst fulfilling some of my goals. I really hope that I can go back to both New York and Los Angeles one day, however, I’m also now in the process of saving to go to Las Vegas and Florida, my next American goals.

Have you been to New York or LA before? Let me know on Twitter @Fuzzable or drop a comment below. See you next month for another blog!

Written by Katrina

twenty-something content writer with a penchant for boybands, theatre and Disney. Email: katrinanaomirees@gmail.com

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