Meet Amber Hudman, the delightful flight attendant for Virgin Australia who has gone to Disneyland – no joke – 300 bloody times.
I always thought I knew what the concept of ‘committed’ was but clearly, I don’t know the half of it. A valiant effort, Amber.
Of course, when your job entails flying to cities that are actually home to a Disneyland or Disneyworld, it seems like a much more plausible feat than if someone like myself, who has to save six months just to get out of Melbourne, wanted to accomplish the same thing.
Regardless, Amber’s ability to fly around the world on the reg meant she was the perfect candidate to ask for some A-grade tips on visiting LA.
On my recent flight to LA, I chatted to Amber while sitting in a plane completely decked out in Stars Wars gear – it was immense.
So, if you’re keen on spending some time in the City of Angels, here’s what my new bezzie Amber had to say:
P.TV: What food do you have to try before you leave?
Amber Hudman: In-N-Out Burger and animal-style fries (on the secret menu).
P.TV: What’s the best way to get around town?
AH: Hire a car. Public transport is hit and miss. Uber of Lyft if you plan on drinking.
P.TV: Where are you most likely to spot a celeb?
AH: At a yoga class in West Hollywood, at The Grove or Farmer’s Market in Beverley Hills or if you want to spot a Kardashian, head to Calabasas or Topanga.
P.TV: Are those ‘Maps to the Stars’ tours worth it?
AH: Nope! Most celebrities live in gated communities these days and those who don’t, you can just google their addresses and get in your hire car and go look for yourself.
P.TV: What’s the best ride at Disneyland?
AH: If you want to crap your pants then Guardians of the Galaxy at DCA. My favourite is Pirates of the Caribbean as it’s the last ride Walt Disney himself participated in designing, and it’s the ride I wanted to go on the most as a six-year-old when we were planning our first family vacation to Disneyland as there were photos of it in the brochure. It’s a classic.
P.TV: How many times have you been to Disneyland?
AH: I would say, 300? I’m the only person at Virgin Australia who’s been to all six Disneylands in the world. Anaheim’s my favourite, purely because it’s the one that started it all.
P.TV: What’re your Top 5 must-do activities in LA?
AH: Disneyland, drinks at the rooftop bar at the Waldorf Astoria, The Grove during Christmas time, see a show at Pantages Theatre and hike the Hollywood Hills.
P.TV: How would you spend 24 hours in LA?
AH: Hike up to see the Hollywood sign, have breakfast at Urth café then look at the boutiques on Melrose Ave and Robertson Blvd before lunch at The Ivy. Have a power nap back at the hostel, then sunset drinks at Waldorf and a show at Pantages. If you’re still going, head to PUMP for a nightcap.
If you want to see what flight attendants do on their layover, go to Instagram and look up #crewlife – lots of hidden must-dos for all over the world.
P.TV: Where do you get the best vantage point to get a clear snap of the Hollywood sign?
AH: To see the front of it, walk up Beachwood Canyon near the Hollywood Reservoir to be behind it and see the whole of LA.
P.TV: Where’s the best place to picnic?
AH: Griffith Park or Lake Balboa Park, on a Saturday night you can do a night picnic at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where you can watch old movies on a big outdoor screen.
P.TV: What’s the best/worst experience you’ve had in LA?
AH: When Kourtney Kardashian was buying frozen yoghurt right next to me! There are far too many to count, I’ve loved every trip I’ve had there.
(Editor’s note: can’t confirm if the Kardashian sighting was the best or the worst experience.)
P.TV: Any other tips you’d suggest for newbies?
AH: Allow plenty of extra time as there is always traffic – every day, any time of the day, every direction.
As someone who has spent a total of two hours driving on LA roads (I’m a bigshot now, no time for plebs) I can attest to Amber’s last point – the traffic absolutely sarks.
Don’t let that deter you though, LA is equal parts glitz and gross in the best possible way.
Get your ass over there.
The writer travelled as a guest of Disney and Virgin Australia.Image: Instagram / @mynameishuddo