Universal Studio's

USA & Mexico Holiday Part 2 – LA, Carnival Cruise, Catalina & Ensenada

The second part of my holiday post is all about my time in LA and on the cruise to Catalina and Mexico. Very different to my time at the ranch, but equally as amazing for different reasons!

We arrived in LA in the evening, staying at the Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills, which was a lovely hotel. We didn’t have much time for anything other than a meal, so we just booked our excursions for the next two days.

Universal Studio's

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

We booked with LA City Tours and the first day was the LA City and Movie Star Homes and Beaches tour. Our first stop was at Venice Beach and we also visited Santa Monica, Marina Del Ray and Downtown Los Angeles.

Hollywood Walk Of Fame

Walking along Hollywood Boulevard down the Hollywood Walk of Fame was so different to how I had imagined! I don’t know why, but I always imagined it to be quiet but it was so busy!

It was such a struggle trying to take pictures, especially of the hand prints at the TCL Chinese Theatre. It was such a great experience though and I’ve always wanted to see the stars and hand prints.

I didn’t want to leave without getting a picture of Marilyn Monroe’s hand print and I had to wait for the perfect opportunity for it to be clear of peoples feet, which took a while!


They had a promotion for The Walking Dead going on whilst we were there and it was brilliant! All the actors were walking around dressed as ‘walkers’ and they were actually pretty scary.

Hollywood Walk Of Fame

Me and my boyfriend are massive fans of The Walking Dead so we hung around for a while taking pictures. I didn’t really know how to pose with him staring at me though, which resulted in this very awkward picture!

Hollywood Sign

Our next stop was the Hollywood sign and I’ve always wanted to see it. It was so hard to get close enough to take a decent picture though, as we could only go where the tour bus stopped off at. I would’ve loved to have got closer for a better picture but it’s in there somewhere – you have to look really closely!

We also went on a ‘Movie Star Homes’ tour. That was really fun, especially as we saw Leonardo Dicaprio’s house and I saw him sunbathing in his garden. Just joking – but it was one of the houses you could see properly, as most are hidden behind high gates.

The tour guide said he’d seen Jack Nicholson a few times during his time as a tour guide, but we didn’t have much luck seeing anyone! All the houses seemed so empty though, it makes me wonder just how much time they actually spend there.

Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive was a surreal experience! Again, it was really busy and full of people on the side walks but hardly anyone in the actual shops!

Rodeo Drive

We didn’t really feel comfortable going inside any of the shops as they were just so empty. I’m sure you have to pay to go inside some too, so we wasn’t going to risk the embarrassment of attempting to walk in one just in case!

Rodeo Drive

All the shop assistants looked really bored just sat there waiting. I can’t imagine how many customers they actually get in a day!

Rodeo Drive

 Outfit: skort eBay | cami Dorothy Perkins (similar here) | scarf Primark | bag Topshop | watch Swatch | Sunglasses Ray-Ban 

We went to a Murder Mystery dinner that evening at our hotel which was definitely not what I expected! I knew that the actors get the dinner guests involved in the events, but I didn’t know they would ask random guests who they were and what their motivation was!

I didn’t realise you had to think up a little back story for your fake persona, so I spent the meal slightly worried about what I was going to say if they picked me – but luckily they didn’t. My boyfriend was really annoying though and had a great story planned about working at Nasa, which made me panic even more to think of a good story!

It was really good fun and I’d definitely do one again, but now I know what they’re about I will have a back story planned in my head next time!

The Las Palmas Hotel where Edward climbs the fire escape to Vivian in the final scene of Pretty Woman. Love that film and that scene!

Universal Studios

We went to Universal Studio’s Hollywood for our second day and we had such great time.

Water World

The Water World show was definitely the best show at the park. It had amazing special effects with massive explosions and a plane crash which was incredible! Some of the cast came out to speak to the guests afterwards as well, which was a great end to the show.

Minion Ride

Loved the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride! I love Despicable Me so couldn’t wait to go on this. It was a 3-D ride taking you through Minion Training in a lab to turn us all into minions – such a fun ride!

Simpsons Doughnut

My favourite ride was definitely The Simpsons Ride – it really is one of the best! It’s a simulator with amazing animation and it’s just so fun, I’ve been on it before in Florida and couldn’t wait to go on it again.

Simpsons Doughnut

Afterwards we went into the store for some souvenir shopping when we saw this gigantic doughnut – obviously we couldn’t say no!

I’m ashamed to say we actually finished it off between us, then had to sit down for a while before going on more rides, it tasted amazing though!

Universal Studio Tour

The Studio Tour was brilliant and I loved seeing the sets from some of my favourite films and T.V shows.

Universal Studio Tour

Norman Bates just waiting for his next guests… I think you’ve left someone outside Norman…

Universal Studio Tour

What you doing there Michael Myers?! Just creepily standing on the corner of the street? Oh ok…

Universal Studio Tour

I was so annoyed I ruined my opportunity to take a picture of Jaws. I had my camera ready but it just literally came out of nowhere and I wasn’t expecting it and ended up with a picture of the water and a blurry fin…far too much of a disappointing picture to post!

Universal Studio Tour

Loved seeing the houses on Wisteria Lane.

Universal Studio Tour

 Abandoned Jurassic Park jeep.

War of The Worlds

The War of the Worlds plane crash scene was amazing to see, especially with the added zombies dotted about!

We went in October and the park was getting ready for Halloween Horror Nights, so there were zombie’s and horror movie character’s just kind of dotted around everywhere.

We really wanted to go to it but we just ran out of time, it looked like it was going to be amazing too. As we were leaving, people were starting to queue up for it and I was so jealous I just wanted to jump in the line and go in again!

In and Out Burger

Now this was probably my favourite meal of the entire holiday…In-N-Out Burger!

It’s literally the most amazing burger and the ‘animal-style’ fries are ridiculously good! They are topped with cheese, onion bits and their ‘Secret Spread’ and taste amazing.

Definitely not something I’d want to eat often (I don’t want to even think about the calories!) but when on holiday…I eat what I want and worry about it when I get home!


On our last day we went to the UCLA store. I bought two jersey style tops and an amazing hoodie which I love. You can read the post about my UCLA haul here.

Carnival Cruise

The holiday ended with a 4 day Carnival Inspiration Cruise, visiting Catalina Island and Ensenada in Mexico.

Catalina Island

Catalina Island was lovely, really beautiful views and everything I’d expect from an island known as the Island of Romance.

I would’ve loved to have had more than one day there as it really was stunning – I can understand why it’s a popular destination for weddings.

We went kayaking while we were there which was another highlight of the holiday for me. I was so nervous as I thought you get strapped into the kayak and if it flips over you had to flip it back over whilst still under water – I was so relieved to find out that wasn’t the case!

Catalina Island

So if you tipped up and fell out you just had to flip the kayak over and try and get back on – not ideal but I’d rather that than be stuck under the water with it!

We went quite far out into the sea, the water was quite clear and the instructor was pointing out Leopard Sharks swimming beneath us – I just caught a glimpse of a black shadow move underneath us which was probably for the best as I would have panicked if I saw it properly!

It was such a lovely feeling and so peaceful just drifting in the ocean. I always get so nervous about doing things for the first time, then it ends up being a great experience and I wonder what all the worry was about. It was so fun and I can’t wait to have the opportunity to do it again!

Catalina Island Luau Larry's

Enjoying a Buffalo Milk cocktail at Luau Larry’s bar on the island – vodka, cocoa, milk and fresh banana’s  – so nice!


We went to Ensenada in Mexico the next day and went on a ‘Hotel Resort Getaway’ trip. We had a lovely day by a pool with an ocean view and spent the day just relaxing by the sea.

Carnival Cruise

Waiting for my meal on our last night on the ship. It had great entertainment on there with shows and comedians and more food than you could imagine – it was hard to stay away from the buffets and we ended up eating so much pizza and ice-cream!

Oh well, it was the last stretch of the holiday so there was no point resisting by that point!

Carnival Cruise

It was so sad leaving the ship on the last day after such an amazing time. We had a long flight ahead of us and I was really dreading it. I don’t mind flying but our flight to London was 10 1/2 hour’s then we had a 5 hour wait for our flight to Manchester.

We were so tired waiting in the terminal it was so hard to stay awake – I was literally so close to closing my eyes and not being able to open them again!

It was such an amazing holiday though – definitely worth the days of horrible jet lag after! I was back at work the following week and it literally took me nearly the full week to recover!

So that’s the end of my holiday post – finally! I definitely want to visit Catalina Island and the Grand Canyon Ranch again in the future – those were definitely highlights of the holiday for me and I really recommend both.

I now have no holidays to look forward to – boo – but at least it’s Christmas soon – yeay! 

Anna x

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