Sunday, February 17, 2013

California Dreaming: Part 1 ~ Birthday Celebration

So yes, I am officially back from vacation (one of two technically, as you will see!) California was nothing short of amazing. Arriving off the plane from New York into LAX was magical, such as was our bus to the Sheraton Anaheim, driven by a hilarious driver who made Aladdin references on multiple occasions. We eventually arrived to the hotel late in the evening, with everything being as magical and perfect as I remember back in 2011. The lobby still smelled like California Pine Trees, the fish area was still the coolest shade of blue and the cheesy elevator music was blasting hardcore (as hardcore as a hotel could, anyway). We entered the small three floor elevator (which I am convinced smells like the main Star Tours ride - a specific but not bad musk of some kind.) We then plopped ourselves in our room, flopped on the bed and rested for the first big day of our vacation - My birthday!

I sadly woke up at 5am LA Time, since my brain was still on New York time. I can easily say I was too excited, and I was even more happy to see that my mom had gotten me a Chai latte to start my big birthday off just right. We then got ourselves dressed and headed off to Goofy's Kitchen for breakfast. Goofy's a buffet style place, with tons and tons of delicious food. But the thing that makes it truly magical is the really cool experiences you have meeting the most random assortment of characters, and some how I got really lucky because my favorite character that I wanted to meet was there: Peter Pan. I think this might have been because they were promoting the BluRay release, but regardless it was awesome. Peter and me joked about my birthday, and we took a lovely picture together. I also got to meet favorites like Chip, Dale, Rafiki and Mulan! I wanted to meet Captain Hook too, but sadly he was super busy during my stay. 

(Entrance to the Disneyland Hotel)

Then it was park time! I met up with my lovely CA friend, Amber. We both twinned in Toy Parade salopette version (Me in black, her in mint) and all three of us entered into the park and went straight to my favorite ride that I had been missing since my first visit: Indiana Jones Adventure: The Temple of the Forbidden Eye. This ride is nothing short of badass, and upon our first visit (of many times during our vacation!)  Amber told us that the ride had gotten a new refurb since I was there last, where a lot of the effects got a new touch up including the lights and some of the colors in the set pieces. 

Everything about this ride is perfect: Its bumpy and adventurous but not too scary, and has just the right amount of thrills for a tame thrill seeker like me (I am not into roller coasters BUT I love a good fast pace thrill ride like a motion simulator or dark ride like this) My favorite scene is when you enter the Temple with the lava bit and bridge, and of course when the giant snake leaps out at you. Even my mom enjoyed going on it multiple times with me, which says a lot about her. 

After Indie, we ran off to Star Tours, my second favorite ride. Yes, if you can't tell I am a bit of a George Lucas fangirl when it comes to Disneyland attractions. Though Star Wars isn't my favorite nerdy thing in the world, it still holds a special place in my heart. Star Tours though is fantastic, especially now with the new refurbishment in which you can end up in multiple locations within the universe of the franchise. This was the other ride I went on multiple times like Indie, and has incredible re-ride ability. After Star Tours, we leaped over to another George Lucas creation, Captain EO, the Michael Jackson 3D movie - which never gets old.

We then headed off to Pirates of the Caribbean - rounding out my top 3 rides in the park. This is a classic and the size and scoop this attraction produces is incredible and has my jaw drop every single time I go on it, especially when you enter the main section of the ride with the incredible still state of the art animatronics. Once we got off the ride, me and my mom parted ways from Amber and went to lunch next door at Blue Bayou, a restaurant experience inside the space in which Pirates resides. The space is themed to New Orlean's nightlife, with the whole place being completely dark and the atmosphere seeming like you are outside in the real Bayou. And that food was just as epic as I expected - the Monte Cristo Sandwiches were epic and the Gumbo was brilliant. 

(Mint Julep Deliciousness!)
Afterwards, we met up with Amber again and went on a few more random rides before meeting Disney's new and Pixar's first princess, Merida. Merida of course was adorable, with her giant red hair and bear cubs behind her is truly precious. But what was even more cool was prior to us meeting her, Ariel and Cinderella popped up to say hi to her, and some silly interaction took place. Afterwards we met up with my friends Jenika and Kate, who are some of the coolest ladies on the planet. We first rode Dumbo, which funny enough I had never ever been on before (probably cause I have a bit of Vertigo, and heights basically freak me out) but I survived and it was grand. We then went on another first for me, The Matterhorn, and that was truly awesome and now I can add to one of my favorites. 

We then headed to California Adventure, where I got my first taste of Cars Land (but more on that for the next entry) and Buena Vista Street as well. I ended my time at the parks for the day with a showing of Muppet Vision 3D, along with a ride on The Little Mermaid and Toy Story Midway Mania. I then said goodbye to the parks for the day, and met up with my good CA friend Julie (blog link here) for a lovely Birthday dinner at a cute little asian spot. Sadly my voice was very horse and my illness I had been slowly getting rid of came back, so I wasn't as lively as I would like to be, but I had an excellent time none the less, as Julie is one of my favorite ladies ever. We ended the night with having a Dessert Box (a box made of toast, filled of tons of yummy themed treats) called Paris in a Box and it was amazing to say the least. 

(In front of the Beauty and the Beast Lego set up!)

And if you can believe it, that was only the first day of my vacation. Look forward to another post for Part 2 of the California Dreaming series!




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