We’ve been back from our California vacation for more than a week now. It’s taken a while for re-grouping, however, since I came down with the flu immediately upon return to home. Now that I’m feeling better, I’m able to share some of the photos I took there. The photos accompanying this post are shot with an iPod Touch 5 and fudged with Wood Camera, an Instagram-like app.
For this trip, we went back to Disneyland. You probably already know that I love Disneyland. My spouse hates it, however, so we go there probably once every 8-9 years as a compromise (I’m actually cool with this arrangement!). In my adult life, I’ve been there in 1987, 1995, 1996, 2005, and now 2013. I’ve enjoyed every time, but it seems like every new visit, the park becomes more tourist-trappy and not so special. At least for this new trip, we had two and a half days of exploring, which made for a more relaxed trip overall. Despite several major attractions being closed for refurbishments, Disneyland was fantastic. We used the Fastpasses wisely and got onto nearly all the rides we wanted (the Golden Horseshoe Revue wasn’t doing any live performances, only serving food). On the newly re-done Star Tours, I ended up being the rebel spy that our ship needed to transport – fun! The crowd at Disneyland was nice and mellow, a change from the somewhat more ghetto-y crowd at DCA the previous night. After our Disneyland day, we got together with the fabulous, unbelievably talented Disney designer Kevin Kidney, who braved a hoarse voice to chat with us for about an hour.
I was also looking forward to Disney’s California Adventure and seeing the massive changes they’ve made since our 2005 visit, when we saw all we wanted in a mere half-day. The Hollywood Street, made to look like Los Angeles of Disney’s 1927-33 era, is a fantastic place. We loved taking pictures and noticing the real-life buildings they used as inspiration. The whole area is so classy and beautifully imagineered, a complete turnaround from the cheesy, thrown-together look of DCA on our earlier visit. Later on that night, we got a prime viewing spot for their nightly World Of Color water/light show – even the Disney-averse Christopher was impressed with this one, and that’s saying a lot. The photo below is of us, wet and dazzled, ready to get back to the hotel. The merchandise at both parks was yet again overpriced and underwhelming, but overall we came away happy and thoroughly entertained. At the Disney Gallery, I came away with a swell coffee table book – Poster Art of the Disney Parks – as a memento of our trip.
Disnelyand/DCA didn’t make up all of our vacation – the first morning, we stopped at Newport Beach and walked around for more than an hour. It was lovely; we’ve never been to that particular beach, which had some trash issues but otherwise was fine ‘n mellow. On our way back to Phoenix, we traveled to Simi Valley and the Reagan Library for their exhibit of Disney-related objects (of course!). The museum was beautifully laid out, and if the Reagan exhibit was somewhat revisionist/optimistic it was nicely done and very admiring of the man. The Disney part had a ton of great stuff, including a re-creation of Walt’s office (seen for many years in Disneyland) and a fascinating/strange display of the model heads of all the U.S. presidents used for the Walt Disney World Hall of Presidents.
While the imagery with this blog post gives a good idea of our trip’s visual delights, we took a ton of other (unaltered) photos – which are seen in the Flickr set below.
Animal skull found on Newport Beach, 2/11/2013.
Lifeguard station at Newport Beach, California, 2/11/13.
Nemo Submarine port hole, Disneyland, 2/12/13.
Princess Fantasy Faire diorama at Disney’s California Adventure preview center, 2/13/13.
Matt and Christopher after a long, tough day in Disney’s California Adventure, 2/13/13.
Display of bust maquettes for Walt Disney World’s Hall of Presidents attraction, Ronald Reagan Library, Simi Valley, California, 2/14/13.
Cherry trees in full bloom at the Reagan Library, Simi Valley, Calfornia, 2/14/13.