Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Magical Day at Disneyland

So the other week, I turned to my sister and said: "We haven't been to Disneyland in almost a in Southern California...that's not right!" We decided to remedy this by going a couple of weeks ago. 
It's tradition in our family to start our Disney mornings right with a hearty breakfast of beignets!

The Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney has an express kitchen which serves up these delicious French pastries covered in powdered sugar. 

Beignets are so delicious and the perfect way to start what is going to be a magical day!
We made our way to Disneyland and after being let in we set off for Tomorrowland. 
Disneyland Suggestion #1: Make a plan with your party before arriving about what rides you want to go on that day. Figure out which rides have Fass Pass, and if someone in your group has never been then you're probably going to have a longer day as there are iconic rides everyone wants to go on. Some rides are busier while others have faster lines. Also, if it's the summer and going to get extremely hot, I would recommend going on Splash Mountain early in the day so that you can cool/dry off throughout the hotter hours. 

Space Mountain usually has the longest wait as it's one of the most popular rides. So because of that we always head that way first. 

Disneyland Suggestion #2: Know where the cameras are on the rides. For Space Mountain it's at the very end so after the twists and turns, when you start to go straight pull a funny pose! 
"Where should we go next?"

One of my favorite rides is The Matterhorn! It's really awesome at night, but we weren't staying that long this time so we settled for the daytime. 

Disneyland Suggestion #3: Food is pretty pricey so be prepared to pay a bit for meals and snacks. If you don't mind sharing than I would recommend going to Plaza Inn on Main Street. They have chicken dinners that are big enough to share between two people. (Also that Churro you just spent $3 buying? You can get the same one at Costco for $1...)
Plaza Inn is usually our go to, but I decided to treat myself to the Clam Chowder which is one of my favorites. 
As a rule I always get a Mint Julep when I go to Disneyland. It's basically lime Kool-Aid with some mint, but I love it!

Sarah got her favorite, the famous Disneyland Corn Dog, as well as a Mint Julep. The Corn Dogs are only available at a vendor on Main Street and there is usually a long line, but it goes quickly. 

Disneyland Suggestion #4: Just FYI there is no alcohol available at Disneyland except at the exclusive Club 33. There is beer and wine at California Adventures, but do you really need alcohol to get you through your day at Disneyland/California Adventures?
So after exploring Disneyland, we moved across the street to California Adventures. It's been recently "redone" as it wasn't the best Disney Park in the world. They've since changed the decoration, buildings, and added Cars Land. 

We immediately went to Soarin' Over California which is one of my favorite rides at California Adventure. It makes me feel so proud of my state!
Disneyland Suggestion #5: If you're in a small party and don't mind being separated during a ride consider doing "single rider". A "single rider" pass allows you to skip the line, but the downside is that you're filling a lone seat and won't be sitting with your friends/family. FYI Indiana Jones and Soarin' Over California are the best rides for this.
I hadn't been to California Adventure since it changed and added Cars Land, so we went for a little walk to look around. 

It still doesn't add up when compared to Disneyland and the parks at Disneyworld, but it's definitely an improvement!
It was really warm that day so Sarah and I got some soft serve near the boardwalk. It was so good! We quickly ate before going on my other favorite ride...

Toy Story Midway Mania!!
I was Player 1 and Sarah was Player 2...and I won!!

Of course peace was quickly re-established between siblings, and we headed home after a fun filled day with sore feet and new memories.

I love going to Disneyland and as a Southern Californian born and raised, it fills me with pride to have the original Disney park in Orange County, CA! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dreaming of Fish & Chips

It seems to be a tradition in our family to have some delicious pub food in Santa Monica after a visit to the Getty Center.
Our pub of choice is the Ye Olde King's Head!

The place is pretty massive with a pub, a tea room, and a gift store which is filled with goodies from the UK. 

We of course started off our meal with some cider! My sister got a Strongbow and I chose the more fruity Wyder's Pear Cider. 
The cider was an excellent choice of beverage with what I had ordered....

Fish & Chips!!!

The fish was seasoned and cooked perfectly, the chips were awesome, and the tartar sauce was probably the best I have ever tasted!
After living in London for over a year, I became addicted to fish & chips. This was probably the best American version of fish & chips I've ever had!

My sister got the bangers & mash which smelled and looked delicious! I was assured that it also tasted very delicious as well.

My dad got a burger with fries (also yummy!), and my mum got the afternoon tea. This consisted of some finger sandwiches, a scone with clotted cream and jam, and dessert plate. 

Of course we had to end our meal with one of our favorite British desserts...Sticky Toffee Pudding!!
It may not look very appetizing, but it is so good!
And of course no visit to the Ye Olde King's Head is complete without going to the gift store. It is filled with food, drinks, candies, and other items from the UK, and I wish that I could just buy everything. 


Friday, February 14, 2014

Wanderings Around the Getty

So this past Saturday my family and I decided to check out the Getty Center. They were having an exhibition on photography and Queen Victoria, and my sister had never been so of course we had to go!

The Getty is right off the 405 in Los Angeles. It does cost about $15 to park, but it is free entrance to the museum and their special exhibitions.
After parking the car, you'll take the famous Getty tram up the hill and to one of the best museums in Los Angeles.

One of the best things about the Getty is the fantastic view of Los Angeles. On a good day (LA language for no smog in the area) you can see right to the ocean, and with the beautiful Getty gardens, it creates some perfect picnic spots.  

One of the reasons why we went to the Getty was because there is an exhibition right now on Queen Victoria and her use of early photography. Vicky is one of my favorite British monarchs and us sharing a birthday may or may not contribute to my favoritism... 

Not only does the Getty have a fantastic collection of works and a gorgeous view, but the view within the Getty is pretty spectacular. The architecture, fountains, and garden makes this one of the prettiest museums I have seen especially in the United States. 

Everywhere you go there is another view or another art work!
There are works by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Georges de la Tour, Orazio Gentileschi, Titian, Renoir, Monet, and Vincent von Gough. Just to name a few of my favorites! They also have a great collection of Medieval works, and they always seem to have a special exhibition on  Illuminated Manuscripts.

When you arrive at the Getty Center don't forget to pick up your iPod touch/audio guide to use for free! It gives an unique perspective on some of the more important or significant works within the Getty collection or the current exhibitions. 
I would highly recommend checking out the Queen Victoria photography exhibition while it is at the Getty. 
I could spend all day at the Getty looking at the gardens and the massive collection of artwork.