Friday, June 23, 2017

Everything we did in Disneyland

Last month I made my first trip to the West Coast. You can read about our first stop in San Diego in this post. Today I'm going to talk about the second part of our vacation, Disneyland! This was my first time to visit Disneyland and first time at any Disney park since I was 12. Maybe I just didn't notice it but when I was younger I never realized adults would do Disney without children. But I'm here to tell you Disney in your mid 20s childless is the best time to go. I kept seeing these parents carrying their children and thinking I'm so glad I don't have another human attached to me right now, and don't even get me started on the stroller corrals.

Today I'm sharing all the attractions we enjoyed and a brief description of them. Obviously everyone has their own taste and likes and dislikes so remember this is just my opinion.



1. Toy Story Midway Mania - I'm very competitive and like to make bets for things like loser buys first snack, so I really enjoyed this ride. For the record I had to buy first snack

2. Soaring - Top 5 Rides - This one is so well done and I really appreciated that I felt like I was soaring and not being jerked around

3. Star Tours - Bottom 3 Rides - Hands down my least favorite part of the day. I'm not a huge Star Wars fan plus this one jerks around so much I felt a little sick afterwards.

4. Lugi's Rollickn Roadsters - Fun enough but I not worth it if the line is 20 minutes or longer

5. Monster's Inc.- I'm a big Monster's Inc fan so this ride is on my would ride again list for sure

6. The Little Mermaid - My favorite part is hands down the music because let's be real The Little Mermaid has some of the best songs

7. Peter Pan - Bottom 3 Rides - I feel like I'm going to catch some flack for this one, but it's honestly not worth the hype. We ended up waiting in line two different times before it broke down (twice) and then we eventually were able to ride. All that said, if you've never ridden it's worth a ride.

8. Radator Springs Racers - Fun enough, but unless you have a FastPass not worth the extra long waits

9. Haunted Mansion - a true classic not to be skipped

10. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - This is probably my least favorite of the mountain rides so if you have to skip one it'd be this

11. HyperSpace Mountain - Top 5 Rides - We went when they still had the StarWars overlay which was fun. I was actually surprised how much I loved this one. I also really liked that you get to sit next to someone whereas in DisneyWorld you're just single file.

12. Splash Mountain - A classic that shouldn't be missed! I sat front row and honestly didn't get that soaked, but saw many others getting off that looked like they'd gone swimming. Also I think it's so funny that this is such an iconic Disney ride yet very few know the backstory of Song of the South

13. Grizzly River Run - I think this one is seriously underrated, just be prepared to get wet!

14. Snow White - This is one of the classic slow dark rides in Fantasyland right behind the Castle. If you aren't a huge Snow White fan (full disclosure she's my favorite) you can probably skip this one


15. Mr. Toad - Top 5 Rides - This is my childhood favorite and honestly 90% of the reason I wanted to visit Disneyland. When they removed it at Disney World I wrote a letter expressing my displeasure

16. Alice in Wonderland (not the teacups) - This is one of the rides that is unique to Disneyland. It's fun and silly with lots of bright colors

17. Pirates of the Caribbean - Did you even go to Disney if you don't ride Pirates? Beware the drop is bigger than the one in Disney World and you will feel like you're sitting in water for the whole ride

18. Jungle Cruise - If you're not into dad jokes this is one to skip; however, I am a big fan of dad jokes and love this ride

19. It's a Small World - Need a break from the heat? This is the ride for you, just make sure you're not in hurry because it is a slow ride. Be sure to be on the lookout for all the updated Disney characters!

20. Enchanted Tiki Room - Top 5 Rides - This is another childhood favorite of mine. Bonus points for being able to eat your Dole Whip inside!

21. Buzz Lightyear - Bottom 3 Rides This is another ride that honestly I could have skipped. It's the same concept as the Toy Story Midway Mania in California Adventure, except less fun and more difficult

22. Matterhorn Bobsleds - Top 5 Rides - The mountain ride unique to Disneyland. We went right at closing so the nighttime views of the park were really fun and made the experience.





All in all I think 22 rides is pretty impressive, considering we hit all the major ones we wanted to. Indiana Jones (closed for refurbishment), Tea Cups (mainly because they're iconic), and Nemo (honestly forgot it was even a thing) were the only rides I was really interested in that we didn't do. We also caught the beginning of the Main Street Electrical Parade, one of my favorite attractions from when I was younger; if you've never seen it or haven't since you were a kid I highly suggest going in the next two months so you can watch one more time before it retires forever.


What's your favorite Disneyland attraction?

 photo signature_zpsvprlrk8z.png

Friday, June 2, 2017

First Timer's Guide to San Diego

Today I'm sharing the first of my California vacation travel posts. This was my first time to the West Coast and originally I thought I'd call it a success so long as there were no earthquakes during our visit. I'm happy to report there were no earthquakes but the trip was a success for more than just that reason. Our first stop was San Diego and that's what I'm going to break down today!


We flew into San Diego International Airport which was really cool because it's right in the middle of the city. As you're flying in you're low enough to see the palm trees and traditional Spanish style architecture. As soon as we were out the airport the smell of salt water immediately did this coastal girl's heart good.

We stayed in the Gaslamp District at the historic St. James Hotel. It's now owned by Wyndham but has a charming boutique feel. There was no pool but they did have a cool rooftop patio with great views of the city that totally made up for it. My favorite part was the old fashioned elevator complete with the double doors you had to open yourself. My other favorite part was the location. We were a short walk to Petco Park, which was our first event of the trip.



The original reason we decided to visit San Diego was to go to a baseball game. Since the Rangers played really early in Denver this year and we missed the game we thought it'd be fun to go see them play somewhere else. Before the game we stopped at a local spot next to the stadium and grabbed a couple beers before heading into the game. A friend from work has season tickets that we used and had fun seats for the game. The seats were about the only fun part of the game as the Rangers took a serious beat down that night. Ironically the next day they gave a beat down of their own but we had decided not to go to back to back games.



The next day we slept in after a late night of drinking. In much need of something to cure our hangovers we decided to head to a local burger spot, Hodad's, that my friend had recommended. These burgers did not disappoint! One way I judge restaurants is by the people eating inside, this downtown location had a mix of business professionals on their lunch breaks and tourists like us; a sure fire sign you're in for a good meal For those wondering, I looked it up and a hodad is someone who spends time at the beach and thinks he knows how to surf but really doesn't.

Our next stop was the famous San Diego Zoo, just a quick Uber ride away. We had picked up a discount coupon from our hotel which I highly recommend because this is not a cheap ticket. The zoo really is spectacular with enough animals that everyone is bound to find their favorite. Included in your ticket is a bus tour and gondola that takes you from the front to the back of the zoo and drops you off right at my favorite animal, the polar bears! Fun fact the San Diego Zoo is one of only four places to see Giant Pandas in the USA! Double fun fact - I've seen them in three of those spots!

before I got sick on the boat - hint take the seasick medication even if you never get seasick 

The next day we started the morning with a whale watching tour. Sadly we did not spot any whales, only common dolphins and an ocean sun fish, oh whale. I found a two for one groupon for San Diego Whale Watch and would highly recommend them to anyone. We went kinda in between migration periods so our chance of spotting a whale was low, but I'm confident had there been any in the area we would have found them. The majority of the people on our tour were actually a whale watching club, so I felt confident that we chose the best company to ride.

That afternoon we decided to tour the Midway. This is something I never would have thought to do, as I've been on battle ship tours before, but it was so fun. It's a self guided tour with audio that gives you little details; I think there were something like 100 stops you could listen to. It covered in detail the different living areas including the dining rooms for the different levels of sailors aboard. On the flight deck they have all types of different planes and helicopters to view too. If you have any interest in the military this is a can't miss attraction, just be prepared to walk up and down lots of narrow steep stairs.



After returning to our hotel to change and relax a little we picked up our rental car and drove across the bridge to Coronado. Driving was really fun because we kept seeing signs telling us how far we were from the border, hint it's not far at all! Coronado is the perfect little vacation beach town; I wish we'd had more time to explore it. We briefly walked through Hotel Del Coronado which was lovely and reminded me of a Disney World Resort. They were hosting a reception for the California GOP that I wanted to crash but didn't because it was late.

I've saved the best part for last. If you pay no attention to anything else in this post remember this, my favorite meal of the trip. We had dinner at Brigantine Seafood in Coronado and I'm not kidding when I say I'm literally still dreaming of that meal. I grew up on the water and am picky about my seafood but that may have been the best I've ever had. I ordered a seasonal grilled tuna dish that have cauliflower puree and shaved brussels sprouts. We also went on half price bottle of wine night which only enhanced our experience!


The next morning we woke up before the sun to get in our rental and drive north! Be sure to check back next week to read the second part of my California vacation!


Have you ever been to San Diego? What was your favorite part?

 photo signature_zpsvprlrk8z.png