It was a rather uneasy sleep overnight as I knew that when I woke up it would be time to go home...I did not want to leave the ship. The past 14 nights have been so magical and it was hard to believe that it went by so quickly. All 10 large pieces of luggage were already tagged with Daisy Duck labels and placed outside our stateroom overnight. All we had to take to breakfast were our five carry ons and the stroller. I was glad to be able to say a last goodbye to Sonia, our warm and lovely stateroom hostess from Jamaica.
And so it was, that all 20 of us had our last breakfast together as a group at Animator's Palate. We donned our Simba disembarkation stickers and waited at Studio Sea for our cue to be able to walk off the ship. The non-US citizen line was relatively empty at the port of LA. This was fortunate as immigration, though very friendly , took a LONG time. However, it took close to no time to pick up our luggage. Customs, thankfully, was also a walk through. We parted ways and said our goodbyes to Sharon, Samuel and the Parsons.
We were relieved to find our shuttles already waiting for us outside. They took us to the Travelodge at LAX where we had booked ourselves some day rooms with free wi-fi. At $49 per room it was a bargain. The shuttle drivers very extremely helpful and friendly, and we didn't hesitate to use them for our outing to come.
A view of LA at dawn
Trying to work out where to go
We made the trip to scenic Santa Monica to spend the afternoon. We were blessed with superb weather. We started at Third St Promenade. Our first priority was lunch, which was at Barney Bean's. After browsing through our newspaper menu (which took us a while to find and figure out), we settled for a chilli burger, Texas chilli with Spanish rice and clam chowder in sourdough bread. Yummmm!!! As we made our way to the pier, we took the opportunity to stroll through the shops for some last minute shopping. We visited Zara, Crocs, and of course, the Disney Store!
At the Pier, we indulged in some ice-cream whilst people watching. All in all, it was a lovely way to spend our last day in the US. The pick up time for our shuttle came around too quickly.
Third Street Promenade
Reading the newspaper...er menu
We headed back to the Travelodge for some re-packing, a quick shower and dinner at Denny's. We wanted to the make the most of unhealthy dinners, something we would have to stop doing as soon as we got home! Besides, I had to have those yummy American fries one last time
We caught the free shuttle provided by Travelodge to LAX. We made it there in 1 shuttle which was handy and this was when our horrible experience began.
Check in at the self check in booths was a disaster. It wouldn't work on many counts. The Delta staff were completely unhelpful. There was one particularly rude lady whose only obsession was to stand at the start of the line directing people where to go. There were NO other staff nearby to ask for assistance!
After a painful saga of going to multiple places and speaking to various staff, we eventually managed to get our boarding passes. We then had to go through the usual security which happened relatively smoothly. After that, we were back into the drab and sparse terminal where we entered the country over 6 weeks ago.
As we sat and waited to board our flight, we reminisced about the memorable experiences we've had over the past 45 days. It was hard to believe that our wonderful adventure had come to and end. We have truly been blessed to have been given such an amazing opportunity to see the world with family and friends. I was torn with mixed emotions. On one hand , I was eager to see family back home but on the other, I wished our trip didn't have to end. My one consoling thought was that our next Disney trip has already been booked.
Hong Kong Disneyland here we come!
We made it home in one piece!