Sunday, August 30, 2009

land of fantasy

California Adventure

walk like an Egyptian

We've just returned from sunny southern California where we spent three days at Disneyland and California Adventure, a day at Universal Studios and yet another at some very crowded, but fun beaches. Newport Beach and Corona del Mar. Iz is a regular mermaid and freaked me out jumping into the waves, allowing them to tumble her to shore.

This being my first Disneyland experience, I was like a kid in a candy store enjoying all this "happiest place on earth" has to offer. I skipped my way through the charming Main Street USA feeling like I'd just walked into a fantasy movie. Several rides were enjoyed through the course of the first day: Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones, Haunted Mansion, Autotopia, the Finding Nemo Submarine. We jumped onto a horse drawn carriage, a train, or the monorail whenever we felt like it. Lines were short and often nonexistent on this beautiful Monday morning. It was all there at our disposal. When we got hungry we stopped and had a yummy, but expensive lunch at Rancho Del Zocalo, or a hot dog at one of the many little stands along the way. When we got thirsty we stopped for $3 bottles of water to stay hydrated. Ouch! By Tuesday we knew the location of all the drinking fountains where we could refill those expensive water bottles.

horse drawn carriage


I was very impressed with the rides and the 4-D adventures (Honey I Shrunk the Audience and Shrek) where we were sprayed with drops of water when the characters sneezed, and felt mice scurry from the screen and over our feet. Our seats moved as though we were traveling in the same Jeep with the characters down a bumpy gravel road. It's all quite an amazing sensation.

My very favorite ride was in California Adventure, the newest theme park just across from Disneyland. Soarin' over California. Belted into a swinging row of seats with about nine people, we glided up to an IMAX movie screen in complete darkness. In seconds our toes were dangling over the Golden Gate Bridge, we were dipping down into the valley a few feet over a stream, gliding over mountains, an aircraft carrier, San Diego at night, a golf course (look out for that high flying golf ball!), orange grove, vineyard, ocean, Disneyland. All while smelling some of the appropriate smells... pine trees, oranges, lavender. This five minutes of bliss put me in a happy place I won't soon forget.

We stopped in Hollywood on the way back from Universal Studios. Iz wanted to take the Walk of Fame and check out Grauman's Chinese Theatre (she learned about it from I Love Lucy). This consists of a sidewalk along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street that serves as an entertainment hall of fame. It's embedded with more than 2,000 five-pointed stars featuring the names of not only human celebrities but also fictional characters honored for their contributions to the entertainment industry. We were hungry by the time we arrived here, so we jumped into the first posh restaurant we found. We ordered soft tacos at the counter and grabbed a seat near the window at Baja Fresh, which happened to be just across the street from Grauman's. It was all partitioned off for a premiere of the movie All About Steve, starring Sandra Bullock and Thomas Haden Church.

Samuel L. Jackson


We wandered over to the wax museum where they had a few statues out on the sidewalk. I snapped a few pictures. Crowds of people were beginning to gather on the sidewalk around Grauman's. So we decided to hang out and watch the Hollywood types emerge from the premiere. It was kinda fun to watch all the fancy clothes and made up people walking by. When Sandra finally did walk out onto the sidewalk, security announced her presence. From where I was standing, I could have reached out and touched her. But I didn't.

The last day was spent trying to recover from it all lounging around the hotel pool, where it was 97 degrees in the shade, taking advantage of the poolside service for lunch and margaritas. Told ya it's the land of fantasy!

Now I've got to get working on all that laundry. And figure out how to soothe my very sore throat. Breathing air conditioned air all night made my throat feel like I swallowed razor blades.

Welcome to my world of fantasy and fun.


Susan said...

OMG! I love it! This was your first trip to Disneyland?!!! Fantastic! Well, I've never been there either, but I've been to World umpteen times because: 1. My FIL used to work there, and 2. We lived in FL for 2 years when DisneyWorld first opened and lived a hop, skip and a jump from the park.

LOVED the pics of Isabel, especially laughing it up with la Marilyn! She's quite a ham!

Um, it looks as if Sandy has a fabric rose growing on her boob! So cool that you got that close! She's one of my favorite comedic actresses and reminds me of Lucille Ball a lot.

Cindy said...

hi Susan, Can you believe I've been all over Florida several times and managed to skip the Disney experience there too? As many times as I've been to California, I've never wanted to join the crowds at Disneyland. I had no idea what I've been missing. We have to go back to Southern California soon because Isabel really wants to visit Sea World, which we planned to do on this trip, but ran out of time. We forgot to build in some necessary down time.