Hawaii Trip – Travel – Part 4

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Hawaii Travel (sort of)

Flight Path
Flight Path

We started planning our Hawaii trip back in November 2014, well in advance of the actual trip.  As we detailed in our planning post, we broke our trip into two parts in order to fly to Hawaii in first class.  This first part of the trip would get us to Los Angeles, CA where we would stop at Disneyland for four days, then we would continue on to Oahu. 

After so much advance planning, we were excited when it was finally time for the trip to happen.  We got a ride from a friend to Reagan National Airport in order to take a short trip from Reagan to Newark.  We don’t usually  take United flights out of Reagan, primarily because Dulles is a United hub and Reagan National is an American hub.  However, this flight is what the “free flight fairy” delivered for us. 

We arrived at Reagan National without problem and dropped off our luggage.  Our flight was leaving from Terminal A.  We have Admirals Club lounge access, but all the Admiral Club lounges were in Terminals B and C.  We thought about going through security in one terminal, hanging out in the lounge, then coming back out to get into Terminal A before our flight took off, but we reconsidered that plan, because we didn’t want to be late for our flight.  There is a United lounge in Terminal A, so we decided to just head there.  We got through security really quickly thanks to TSA Precheck.  The terminal was really crowded.  We located the lounge and headed in.  The lounge was pretty small, but was better than waiting outside of it.

We had some snacks and sodas in the lounge until 30 minutes before our boarding time, then we left to make sure we would be at the gate on time.   We boarded the plane and found our seats.  The flight was a small regional plane with only economy seating.  The flight backed away from the gate and started taxiing.  Then, we stopped.  And we sat there.  We had a really tight connection in Newark, probably 50 minutes.  I had tried several times to get United to change our flight to let us get to Newark much earlier, but they insisted this was a valid connection and we would be able to make it.

United flight from Reagan to Newark
United flight from Reagan to Newark

The problem was thunderstorms were passing through the area.  We had been monitoring them all afternoon, but there wasn’t anything we could do about them.  We would eventually get to our destination one way or another.  The flight eventually took off about 30 minutes late.  That would give us 20 minutes to get from terminal A to terminal C in Newark, which involves taking a bus.  That’s right, B. U. S.  This would be fun.

Weather in Newark
Weather in Newark

Once we landed, I turned my phone on to discover that our outbound flight was delayed as well.  We still raced across the terminal, after taking the bus, to make sure we got to the gate.  We all managed to catch our breath before we boarded.  We were about to experience United’s p.s. Premium Service, which includes lie-flat seats, free on demand movies (with noise canceling headphones), and a decent dinner.  Here’s a picture of what the seats look like when upright.

Lie Flat Seats
Lie Flat Seats

We got settled in our seats and got comfortable.  Everybody got something to drink and we started playing with the entertainment centers.  There were a lot of available movies that I hadn’t seen, so I decided to spend part of my flight watching one of them.  We also ordered dinner!

Dinner Choices
Dinner Choices
Drink Choices
Drink Choices

Here are pictures (sorry for the low light) of my salad and steak.  The food was actually pretty decent, but the taste might have been enhanced by my gin and tonic. 

Salad
Salad
Flat Iron Steak
Flat Iron Steak

After dinner was done, I ordered dessert.  I wanted to be able to say I had an ice cream sundae at 36,000 feet.  Once dessert was finished, I settled in and watched a movie for a while.  Towards the end of the movie, I reclined the seat to flat.  I managed to get a few hours of sleep before we landed in Los Angeles.  The flight crew started to get everybody up before the we landed, in addition to giving us warm chocolate chip cookies! 

We landed without incident and headed to collect our luggage.  We then had to take a shuttle bus to get to our rental car.  We had a slight delay at the counter because the desk agent didn’t want to rent me the car for the price quoted by Costco.  I don’t know what the problem was, but I kept insisting that I wasn’t paying more than what Costco said it was.  We spent 30 minutes going back and forth, and finally I said I just wanted the car and we could get it straight later.  I figured that Costco Travel would make the situation right or I would just dispute the charge with my credit card company.  In the end, it was fine and we actually got charged less than the Costco price.

We loaded our luggage and headed off to our hotel, which was the Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Anaheim Resort Area.  We had 5 nights at this hotel, mostly covered by free points.  It took us about 45 minutes to get from the rental car location to the hotel.  When we showed up, the valet was moving cars around the lot, so we left the keys at the front desk.  The check-in was friendly and he quickly got us squared away and in our room.  It must have been about 2:00 AM in California, so for us, it was pretty late since we are normally on east coast time.  I was really happy for that two hour nap on the plane ride.

I’m really sorry we didn’t get any pictures of the hotel itself.  It was maybe two blocks from the front of the two parks.  We managed to walk it every day with no problem, even after walking the parks for the entire day.  We had to walk one block to get to South Harbor Boulevard, then maybe one block to get to the Disneyland entrance.  The walk took about ten minutes each way, including waiting for lights.  The hotel is on the upper right hand side of the map below (1411 South Manchester Avenue).  The entrance to the parks is on the bottom left.

Walking route from hotel to parks
Walking route from hotel to parks

The room we had was comfortable with two queen beds.  We had a ton of outlets to charge all our devices as well.  We enjoyed the free breakfast every morning before heading over to the parks since we didn’t stop at a grocery store like we normally do at Disney World.  We were concerned about getting too much food or drinks and then trying to figure out what to do with the extras before heading to Oahu.  The room did have a parking fee, but I don’t remember how much it was, maybe $15 or so.  I will say that we didn’t take advantage of anything else at the hotel like the pool or fitness center.  We spent most of our time in the parks.

Up next…  Lots of pictures of the parks.

 

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