As today marks the day that we leave Orlando and begin our long journey back down under, we thought it would be great to call in on some old favourites. So, as it’s on the way we’ve decided to drop into Los Angeles for a few days to break the trip, more specifically Disneyland Park and California Adventure. This US holiday has all been about the kids (and the big kids at heart) so we planned it to be full of kid fun and kid excitement.
LA holds plenty of memories for me. I’ve been here about 6 or 7 times over the years and done all of the touristy things you can imagine. My first ever visit to LA in 1994 was marred with an event that I hope I never experience again. On our first night, we’d arrived from Vancouver and settled into a long overdue night of sleep. Suddenly we were rocked from our beds as an earthquake of 6.7 magnitude hit in the dead of night. It was the longest forty seconds of my life. I held onto the bed as it bounced and moved across our 9th floor room. I was totally convinced that I was going to be smashed through the window as the building fell over, and down onto the car park below. I even had time to decide that I would grip the mattress during the fall to cushion the impact. Well, lucky for me the hotel didn’t fall over, and I didn’t land in the car park clinging to my mattress. To an LA local this reaction probably seems lame, but for a young lad from another part of the world who had only ever seen earthquakes in movies it was exactly what ran through my mind.
Wow … welcome to LA. It was an experience that was both terrifying and amazing. I remember thinking that if I was going to choose anywhere to be in an earthquake, it would have to be LA, where buildings are built to withstand them. If the same thing happened in some other part of the world, then maybe it would have been a whole different story. But even LA suffered huge damage that night. I remember sitting there in complete shock and watching the live news on TV (which had bounced from one end of the bench to the other and almost fallen onto the water on the floor that had splashed out of the toilet and was seeping into the room from the bathroom). They crossed to the freeways and buildings that had collapsed and showed vision of fires and cars running off the broken freeways. I think that there were about 60+ fatalities, which confirmed just how big a disaster it was. It was no minor quake. That day in 1994 is a point in my life that I use to measure things – before quake and after quake.
My family and friends back home in Australia were frantic as they watched the disaster unfold on TV and tried (unsuccessfully) to contact me for almost 12 hours. It’s a day that I’ll never forget and one that reminds me that life is short and can change in an instant. Ironically, over the following week, our stay was full of aftershocks, but when we went to Universal Studios the Earthquake section of the Studio Tour was closed due to earthquake damage.
This video of live news from that day is quite long, but click your way through it to get some insight on what was happening. Once daylight arrived the true extent of the damage became apparent.
Anyway, I trust that this visit to LA will be fun and won’t involve another earthquake, as I’d have to be pretty unlucky to drop in for two of them in a lifetime. Here are a couple of vids showing some things that we’ll be getting up to in the final stages of this memory making holiday.
While you’re here, please check out my edge-of-your-seat time-travel adventure books by clicking the pic below.