02
Mar

Disney Recap

By: muttler

 

25/02/2022 – 27/02/2022

Hi all, a quick Disney recap. I didn’t do posts each day as frankly I have probably posted about Disney enough already, and also we were typically going until late in the night, so there was also no time!

These few days at Disney were always intended to be low key. As everyone knows we have been to Disneyland a bunch of times, and so this was just in some respects a signal that some things were slightly more “normal” after the past couple of years. We just intended to take it easy, ride what we could, and also get to the handful of new things, namely the Rise of the Resistance Star Wars ride, and also the new Avengers Campus part of California Adventure.

I won’t go into a blow by blow detail of the three days, but below are some of the highlights:

1. Rise of the Resistance

This wasn’t open last time we went. This is unlike any ride, whereby the line seamlessly blends into the ride, which is part thrill ride, part theatrical story of being rescued by the resistance from the First Order. I rode this twice, both time at park opening (i.e “rope drop) so as to avoid the typical 3 hour wait. It is pretty great, although I think re-ride factor is quite low.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Smugglers Run

I have banged on about this before. Piloting the Millennium Falcon… what’s not to love? And I got to ride it by myself a bunch too.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Avengers Campus

A new area of the California Adventure park, this is the home of all the Marvel properties. It is not 100% open yet, with only one ride (Spiderman Web Slingers) and some character appearances and things. I will reserve judgement until it is fully open, but it is underwhelming at the moment. Web Slingers is kinda fun (motion tracking you as you fling your arms around to shoot webs at spiderbots) but 2 rides on it was enough for me. I was stuck on the ride for 10 minutes though which is always kinda fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Haunted Mansion

Our favourite.

 

 

 

 

5. Pixar Rides

Probably the best themed rides in any of the parks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Random

 

 

 

 

 

7. Food

Always a mixed bag at Disney, but you can find some gems (always Dole Whip Float for the win)

 

 

 

 

 

 

26
Feb

Winding Down (the Disney Way)

By: muttler

 

24/02/2022

We were on the home stretch now. We said a sad farewell to Palm Springs (after I had a nice 2 hours walk through the mid-century modern neighbourhoods) and headed to Anaheim.

All through the pandemic, all Kate wanted to signify a return to “normal” was a visit to her happy place, Disneyland. So we resolved to do so. And today was finally the day.

The drive was fairly uneventful and by lunchtime we were in Anaheim. Too early to check into our final hotel, we dropped our car off and headed to our usual first visit whenever we come… Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar. Who doesn’t want a boozy lunch?

 

 

 

 

 

It had turned into a glorious day, and it was lovely to sit outside, having cocktails. We soaked it up, especially after the last couple of years.

We didn’t intend to be crazy over these last few days, rather just take it slow and enjoy the Disney vibe. For the day we really just wandered around. The parks were unusually busy for a Thursday so we went on the odd ride but rather just wandered around Disneyland and California Adventure.

I likely won’t post each day for the next few. I have posted about Disneyland a bunch, so I might just do one post to encapsulate the few days. The two new things will be the newish Star Wars ride, Rise of the Resistance, and also the new Avengers area in California Adventure. So I will report back on those in due course!

06
Nov

8 Year Old Me Loses His Mind (So Does 40-Something Me)

By: muttler

Tuesday (5/11/2019):

I didn’t really say that this trip really came about because of my work trip landing me in the US, and that Kate had not had a chance for a holiday all year. After all the work with our renovations, Kate deserved a trip to her happy place so a few days at Disneyland were in order!

It also worked out well, as what new addition was there to Disneyland? Galaxy’s Edge (i.e Star Wars Land)! I was SO excited for this. I had probably done a little too much reading about it, but that was OK… I had to be prepared. And what were the main orders of the day? Well, a trip on to the Millennium Falcon ride “Smugglers Run”, enjoying some Blue Milk, dropping in to Oga’s Cantina (full of scum and villainy), and… BUILDING A FREAKIN’ LIGHTSABER!! Indeed.

I’m not go into all the details for the Disney adventures. I have written about the parks a bunch. So it will be mostly photos (plus that gets me doing these entries quicker!). I will also go a little light on the build a lightsaber experience as I think the less you know the better the experience for that one. Needless to say I was a grinning idiot the whole time 🙂

We also did ride on some of our favourites, especially Haunted Mansion. But today was about taking it easy and exploring the new land.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

06
Nov

Mid Century Modern

By: muttler

And now the holidays begin! I had flown back from Pittsburgh to LA and spent the night there ready to begin more adventures…

 

Saturday (2/11/2019):

Kate arrived on her overnight flight from Melbourne tired. But that was OK… I had fairly much adjusted to the time zone and was doing OK. So I met her at LAX, and we went and grabbed a car ready for a few days of driving into the California Desert. First destination was Palm Springs! We had always wanted to go and finally we were going to make it.

After some stops to freshen up and eat and outlet shop, we made it to Cabazon, just out of Palm Springs. It is home to a fairly dodgy looking Dinosaur tourist park. We didn’t go in, but stopped to see the dinosaurs out front like everyone else.

Mid arvo we arrived in Palm Springs and checked in to our hotel, the suitably 50’s Orbit-In. It was great. The owner was a fantastic guy who made us feel very much at home. The hotel was a time capsule to 50s vibe and was a blast. We even had “Orbitini Hour” at 5pm… drinks on the house by the pool. Ah, this is the life.

We didn’t know before we booked but it was actually Pride Weekend in Palm Springs! It meant the main street was going crazy with all kinds of pride events and festivities. It was great fun seeing everyone out for a good time.

We had good times of our own planned. As luck would have it, one of our absolute favourite artists, Shag, was having a print launch at his downtown gallery space! YES!!! So after some tasty Mexican food, we went to have cocktails and chat with the great man himself. We even treated ourselves to a couple of prints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday:

It was Pride parade day, but sadly we had already planned our day to check a bucket list item off… visiting Joshua Tree National Park. So we disappeared out of town before it got too crazy and made it to the National Park. It was a glorious day, not too hot, so we began our drive from South to North West.

First we weaved through the Colorado Desert, which is quite barren and mostly very furry cactii. Highlight is the Cactus garden where you can explore amongst hundreds/thousands of medium sized cactus plants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From there you go over a ridge and into the Mojave Desert where the landscape instantly changes. We saw lots of rock and boulder formations, and the Joshua Trees start. Skull Rock is a stopping point and I couldn’t help but climb into the eyeball. Getting down was the hard part 🙂

 

 

 

 

We also went to the top of the main ridge and looked down on Palm Springs. It was quite hazy but still spectacular.

 

 

But it is the Joshua trees that take the cake. People say they are Seussian in their appearance and they definitely are. They are a sight to behold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunset was very early so around 5pm the colours changed a little and the sun set on what is an absolutely gorgeous place.

We were given the tip for place to visit for dinner, a place called Pappy and Harriett’s. We had no idea what it was but went anyway! It turned out to be a cowboy bar of sorts in a place called Pioneertown, not far from Joshua Tree. Turns out it was a movie set in the 40s! The place was packed and a buzz. We had some great burgers and drinks and made our way back to Palm Springs.

 

 

Monday:

Alas it was time to say goodbye to Palm Springs already. We definitely did not have enough time there and both vowed to go back.

On the way out of town we visited the Aerial Tramway, to go to the biggest ridge above Palm Springs (not back in Joshua Tree). It is close to 3000m altitude and often has snow on it! We caught the tramway up and looked out over the area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also had time for some sneaky “Welcome To Palm Springs” type pics 🙂

 

 

When we entered Palm Springs a few days earlier, a couple of billboards caught my eye which I revisited. They had the legacy of some early Shepard Fairey (i.e. Obey) pasters on them that I had to stop and get pics of.

 

 

 

We fought the traffic back toward LA and arrived at our home for the coming days in Anaheim. After dropping the car off, we rested for a little bit and then decided it was time for a drink to wind down. Where did we go? Trader Sams of course!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We couldn’t resist getting a few tiki mugs and drinks to cap off the day and get ready for some Disney action.

21
Sep

This Is Halloween

By: muttler

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Probably the main reason for coming back to Disneyland was to experience Halloween in the parks. And not just Halloween in general, but to come to one of the special Halloween parties that they throw in the park. Sure, it is an excuse to sell more tickets. But they also do know how to put on a show. So we spent the first part of the day in the parks, and then got into costume for the nighttime…

 

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19
Sep

Back In The Mousecage

By: muttler

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So one of the main reasons to come to LA this time of year was to visit Disneyland. In particular it was to visit during Halloween. The park is done up in a spooky manner here and there and many of the rides have a bit of a spooky theme to them. Importantly there is also Halloween parties, but more on them later in the week.

Rather than go into the detail of all our running around Disneyland and California Adventures, which you have read before on this blog, I’ll just post some random photos each day. Enjoy!

 

haunted mansion, halloween style

haunted mansion, halloween style

 

haunted mansion, halloween style

haunted mansion, halloween style

 

matt beats kate at astro blasters

matt beats kate at astro blasters

 

folk you find in critter country part one

folk you find in critter country part one

 

folk you find in critter country part two

folk you find in critter country part two

 

splashdown!

splashdown!

 

the almighty dole whip float

the almighty dole whip float

 

parade anticipation

parade anticipation

 

parade time

parade time

 

parade time

parade time

 

parade time

parade time

 

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bug’s land getting a facelift from stark industries

 

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tower of terror is now guardians of the galaxy: breakout!

 

parade time 2

parade time 2

 

parade time 2

parade time 2

 

parade time 2

parade time 2

 

04
Jun

Eight Days in Florida (Summary Post with Links)

By: muttler

NASA!!!

 

Hello everyone!

Now that I have posted all about our recent holidays, here is a summary post with links to all the posts, first for Florida. Happy Disney (and astronauts and wizards)!

Day One: Into the Disney Bubble (Magic Kingdom)

Day Two: Fly Me To The Moon (NASA Kennedy Space Centre)

Day Three: STAR WARS!! (Hollywood Studios)

Day Four: The Big Ball (Epcot)

Day Five: The Wand Chooses The Wizard (and Springfield, Springfield!)

Day Six: The Tree of Life (Animal Kingdom)

Day Seven: Bouncing Around (Epcot – Hollywood Studios – Disney Springs)

Day Eight: A Final Day in the Kingdom (Magic Kingdom)

 

04
Jun

A Final Day In The Kingdom

By: muttler
one last look at the castle

one last look at the castle

06/05/2017

How times flies. A week ago we had arrived after a fairly long journey and were at the gates of Magic Kingdom at 8am. Now, 7 days later, it was the same situation, however in the past week we had done all 4 Disney parks, Universal Studios, and the Kennedy Space Centre. One last day to act like kids (well, some would argue I do this most days and you are probably right).

 

into the beast's lair

into the beast’s lair

 

Of course it was another early morning to do a Disney breakfast, this time in the Beast’s Castle. There were no character meet and greets, but it was just to have a good brekkie in elaborate surrounds, and be in the park nice and early. The castle was pretty cool, with all kinds of Beauty and the Beast ephemera about.

From there it was all about filling some gaps of things we hadn’t done (and getting on some of our favourites again). We were right next to Peter Pan’s flight so jumped on. For reasons unbeknownst to both of us, the line is always huge for this ride. I mean, it is fine, but it is just an elevated boat type ride through the Peter Pan story. We went on since we were literally first in line, but neither of us think it is worth the typical 90 minute wait.

From there we went to our first fast pass ride, Splash Mountain. Lucky we sorted fast passes as the line was… non existent. Nope, a 5 minute wait. That was OK… on we went and got nice and wet as we hoped… and then went straight back on. Why not?! It was already warm, and we may as well get doubly wet now than wet again later! So back on started our day nice and soaked. Oh yeah.

We jumped back on to some of our other favourites. Big Thunder got a run (still better than 7 Dwarves Mine Cart) and also onto Jungle Cruise (sorry driver this time… you weren’t as good as our first one last week).

 

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In our travels through Adventureland, I finally got myself one of my Disney must-gets. Dole Whip Float! That super sweet Dole pineapple whip with pineapple juice is so delicious and perfect in the Florida heat. So much better than the Beer Float from a few days ago.

 

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It was then into Tomorrowland to jump on a couple of rides. We popped on to one of our usual favourites, Buzz Lightyear Astra Blasters, which was actually named something slightly different. Once on the ride we found out why. It must have been the first version of the ride as it was very lacking compared with the usual. Everything about it (the guns, the targets) just seemed off. Oh well, now we knew.

Space Mountain also seemed a bit different. Neither of us could remember it being more of a sled that you rode in (single file, just like a bobsled). The ride itself seemed the same… rollercoaster in the dark with things flying about… but again it just seemed a little different. This must have been how they tried to differentiate Disneyland and Magic Kingdom a bit decades ago when this was built.

 

doing his best to cut me out of the photo

doing his best to cut me out of the photo

 

While in Tomorrowland we bumped into another character… Mr Incredible! We met the big guy and he was hilarious. He was “busting moves” onto Kate so I had some banter, and then in our photos he proceeded to block me out of all of them. Gold! It is great when the characters have some fun like this. I imagine it must be a tough gig being in these suits for hours, so I am grateful when they have fun with it.

We got one last ride on Haunted Mansion. It seemed a number of the rides were suffering technical difficulties at the park, meaning longish lines at most rides. We got our final fastness sorted for our favourite ride, so back on to Haunted Mansion for one last time. It was nice to get the buzz of our spooky hitchhiker mentioning Australia again.

 

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It was getting dark and in our last hour or two we did some of the shows, like Country Bears and the Tiki House, as well as go around Pirates of the Caribbean again. Fitting since tomorrow we would be on our way to a country on the Caribbean. Maybe we would run into a pirate or two on our travels.

And so with that we were done at Disney World. I have to say, it was a super fun week. I like my Disney, but having the 4 parks, all quite different experiences, and staying in the resort with magic bands and easy fast passes and the systems that worked a treat, it was great fun. Kate did a great job of organising things which, while I was worried was going to mean we were TOO planned, actually meant we had a smooth and line-free Disney, which is the best type of Disney.

We got back to the room and did a pack, ready to embark on a new adventure… to Costa Rica!