THE 2019 CALIFORNIA ROAD (PRE) TRIP THEME NIGHT COUNTDOWN – DAYS 9 AND 10 (SANTA BARBARA, LA, AND OUR FIRST NIGHT AT DISNEY!!!)

Hey everyone!!

We are back with another night counting down our impending 17-Day Californiastravaganza road trip. And things are getting tight, y’all. Look how many days are left…

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Yeah, that many days.

And as you can see from the title (up there ^^), as of the end of this post, we will have covered the first ten days of the trip. Leaving 7 more days. To cover over the course of less than 4 weeks.

Now, this would normally freak me out. I’d be going nuts. But today? Today, I feel totally fine. I mean, as far as you know, I am totally fine. On account of I’ve been drunk for the past 7 days straight.

Pfft, I kid.

And it should be ok. The next post is going to be a bit of an epic one, covering a whole four days of the trip. That would end up leaving only two posts post…um…post. So we should be able to cover it. And if not? Well, then I just go into an unending shame spiral. No big deal.

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The movie

We have actually done an LA-based theme night a little ways back. For that night we watched La La Land and did so much more than we have been doing with these most recent theme nights. Decorations. Activities. Man, we used to really do it up. I just haven’t had the energy for it. Am I getting old? Maybe. Or maybe it’s the fact THAT I’VE BEEN DRUNK FOR THE PAST 7 DAYS!!

Anyways, there was some push to do La La Land again. But I wasn’t about to be both a slacker and repetitive. And lucky you, that meant we ended up doing an actual real-life Disney movie for this theme night…

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Yup – Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

I hadn’t seen this one in a while. In fact, Owen had never seen it. Wait. What? Have I failed as a parent? Well, I mean. I have. But have I again?

And Nickie has always claimed to not like this movie. So it ended up being a perfect choice – a first viewing for Owen and a “you’re wrong” viewing for Nickie. And Myles and me? We could just sit back and bask in the fact that we knew what was going to happen and we like it.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is a unique piece of the Disney universe. Think about it. Roger was a BIG piece of Disney in the late 80s and 90s. In fact, he was pretty much the de facto spokesman for MGM Studios (Hollywood Studios to you youngsters) in its early days. I remember visiting MGM back in the early 90s and Roger was all over the place. Check it out – I even got my picture with him.

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Back then, I never would have thought Roger’s look would have been the one to hold up better.

Yet, look at this thing. First off, it wasn’t even released as a Disney film. It was released as a Touchstone picture, which was Disney’s film distribution label for it’s naughty stuff (PG-13 and R films.) And it definitely feels like a naughtier type of movie than your typical Disney film. A guy gets shot in the back. Baby Herman makes a joke about having a tiny penis. The whole “is that a rabbit in your pocket…” joke. It even spawned a whole urban legend about Donald Duck saying the n-word.

And then, of course, there’s Jessica Rabbit.

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The only Disney character I know to have gotten her own Playboy cover and inspire Heidi Klum to inspire nightmares.

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But I still see Roger as a pretty iconic character. And the movie is still pretty great. While the effects sometimes look a bit dated, the whole thing still holds up pretty good. I love the story and the setting. The whole look of works really well.

And then, of course, there’s Jessica Rabbit.

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Plus, this one has a bunch of nostalgia associated with it. 1988 was one of the good ones. That summer, I was 12 years old. It was the summer between 6th and 7th grade. Moving from one school to another. And it was when I started hanging out with people that would become friends for the rest of my life. I spent a lot of time at the movies that summer. I have actually seen articles referencing the summer of 1988 as one of the best movie summers of all-time. In addition to Roger Rabbit, you had Die Hard, Big, Bull Durham, Coming to America, Midnight Run. Even both a Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm St. entry. It was a big summer, especially for a 12 year old (I still think 1984 may be the better of the 80’s summer movie seasons, but still.)

And while a lot of those movies I saw with my friends, this is one I clearly remember seeing with my Dad (well, this and Die Hard.) I have mentioned it before, but my Dad and I spent A LOT of time at the movies. And I remember how excited he was to take me to see this. And we both loved it. I remember walking out of it, talking about it all the way home.

The movie would stand on its own, but whenever one can bring me back to a moment with my Dad, it’s just that much better.

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The meal

For our meal tonight, we had a “dip” focused menu. In homage to the horrifying mixture Judge Doom uses to execute toons.

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Yeah, we’re pretty dark.

I decided to try and make something I enjoy quite a bit when out for a meal, but have never attempted to make it myself – a French Dip sandwich. Turns out, this worked out better than we had anticipated. Check it out.

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That’s a pretty legit special.

Plus. PLUS. Turns out the French Dip was INVENTED in Los Angeles. Which I totally knew. And didn’t find out after the fact. As far as you know.

I picked up some boneless rib eyes and put together a nice mix of oregano, sage, Kosher salt, and ground black pepper as a seasoning mix.

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Mmmmmm. Meat.

And I created a nice Jus to pair with it. I also put some provolone in the sandwich and put the full sandwiches back in the oven to melt the cheese and toast the bread all nice.

Nickie also made some fries. Which we called “Freeway Fries.” You know. Cuz Judge Doom wanted to put a freeway in. Eh, whatever. They both begin with “F.”

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I thought it came out really good, though I think I had a little too much salt in the Jus. But still, very good.

For the movie, we had chips and dip. I made the dip with some Penzey’s Dip Seasoning. Shout out to Penzey’s! Whoop Whoop.

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I also grabbed some Blue Bunny Salted Caramel Bunny Snacks from the store for dessert. You know, on account of “bunny.” Rabbit? Bunny rabbit?

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I also realized I don’t take enough pictures of us during these things. I focus way too much on the food. So here’s a picture of Owen, wearing an awesome shirt and being excited.

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#CaliFriendsYeah2019 –Day 9 – In which we hit San Luis Obispo and Solvang on our way to Santa Barbara

Day 9 starts with the 11 of us waking up at the Sea Otter Inn after spending our second (and last) night there. And I am sure saying goodbye to the Sea Otter is gonna be tough to do. I mean, probably not as tough as it would be saying goodbye to an actual sea otter but still. The place looks great.

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But I mean it’s not completely over. We will still get our picnic basket breakfast delivered to our room so a little bit more Sea Otter-ness before hitting the road. Which is nice.

After breakfast, we are hoping to get a nice morning walk on the Moonstone Beach boardwalk. Like I said, I feel like we aren’t going to want to leave.

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And then. Then, we will hit the road. But never fear. We have a pretty fun drive ahead of us along with a pretty sweet destination. The full drive ahead of us is technically 2 and a half hours but with the stops we have planned, it’s def gonna take longer. It’s just how we roll.

The first stop planned is about 40 minutes away in San Luis Obispo. There are a couple places we want to see here so it’s a worthwhile stop. Like, for example? ABC gum!

What’s ABC gum? You know…Already Been Chewed gum. Yep, a whole alley of it.

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I mean. It’s gross, right? Yeah, it’s gross.

Yeah Bubblegum Alley. It’s basically a 15-foot high, 70-foot long alley lined with old gum left there by past visitors. Yeah, it’s gross. But I mean, we are obviously going to leave our gum. I guess people also often leave their gum with notes so maybe I will leave some wisdom for the ages. Or a grand political statement. Or eh, maybe my blog’s address. Point is. Gum.

Nearby to Bubblegum Alley is the Madonna Inn. Nickie and I visited here back on our honeymoon. Actually, we visited here right before we found out she was pregnant with Myles. We had lunch there, but she wasn’t feeling too good so she couldn’t finish her meal. Little did we know it was ALL MYLES’S FAULT. He’s been giving her indigestion ever since. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

But yeah, the Madonna Inn.

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This place is super cool. Every room has a different theme. One might be jungle-themed. Another themed after the movies. One room is actually made completely of rock. We really wanted to try and work in a night here but it just wasn’t working out with the plans we were making. Someday.

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This room…wait for it…rocks. Nailed it.

But even just stepping into the hotel is a trip. Like I said, Nickie and I had lunch there and I remember being blown away by the bathrooms. I had Nickie join me in the Men’s room to show her the urinals. There’s even a webpage dedicated to the urinals of the Madonna Inn.

Basically how it works is you step up to this rock structure and once you stand in front of it, it will activate the sensor and a waterfall will start to flow. Which probably really helps with stage fright. Which is a real problem at the Madonna Inn. On account of people like me who bring women in there.

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They do have a bar/lounge at the Madonna Inn called the Silver Bar so maybe we will grab a quick drink.  I saw on their menu they make both an Old-Fashioned and a Rum Punch. Both of which I have a weakness for. So I guess I get both?

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After our visit to San Luis Obispo, we will drive another hour or so to the city of Solvang. Solvang is this Danish village place in Santa Ynez Valley. And no, I know what you’re thinking. I was thinking the same thing. It is not unfortunately made of Danish. But it is all kinds of cute.

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Lunch today will be in Solvang. And you know what they say? When in Solvang, eat at Solvang.

Who says that?

Um. They.

But yeah, the Solvang Restaurant looks like a swell place for lunch. It looks to have a good mix of Danish and American foods. And it has Aebleskiver! Which is basically like these little pancake balls topped with powdered sugar. So I mean. I am obvs squad in.

DANISH PANCAKES DAY 9 CA TRIP PRE TRIP
I am trying to figure out this picture. Those are obviously two different peoples’ hands right? Are they THAT heavy?

After lunch, we will walk around Solvang for a little bit, maybe do a little bit of wine tasting. Because we hear there is wine to be tasted. So if not us, then who?

But not too much wine because we still have a 40 minute drive to our final destination for the day – Santa Barbara! Ugh, we LOVE Santa Barbara. We still regard it as one of our favorite stops on our honeymoon. It’s a beautiful city. AND a great mid-80’s to early-90’s soap opera.

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Once we roll into town, it’s probably right to the hotel to check in. Our home for the night will be the Lavender Inn by the Sea, which looks lovely. And I mean I think it smells like hella-lavender. So.

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And being that we have been driving for a couple hours at this point, we will most likely hit the pool to relax for a bit. Vacation hard, relax hard. That’s what I always say. It doesn’t make all that much sense. But I still say it.

LAVENDER POOL DAY 9 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

And while at the pool, we may end up just ordering pizza for dinner. I say “just” but really, the idea of ordering pizza at the pool is rather exciting. I did some research I think there are a couple well-reviewed options that would deliver – Patxi’s Pizza, which looks like a Chicago-style joint or Gino’s for some more traditional pizza-type eating.

After our pool and pizza time, we will dry off and…well…there is a bit of a question as to what happens next. The plan was to hit the hotel’s complimentary wine and cheese reception, but recent reviews note that wine is no longer served at said reception, only cider along with cheese, crackers, and other finger foods. I don’t mean to whine, but no wiiiiiiine? I mean, we will still go. It’s still free cheese. But a bit of me will resent it.

The good news is that immediately following the wine and cheese reception, the hotel puts out milk and cookies. I mean, cookies aren’t wine but still….they’re cookies.

The big event of the night, though, comes next. We have booked a private sunset sailboat for the 11 of us with Sunset Kidd. And it looks amazing. We could actually bring our pizza on-board rather than eat at the pool if we so choose. The boat also has a full bar on board, with what looks to be a nice selection of local Santa Barbara wines. I am REALLY looking forward to this. Santa Barbara is a beautiful place and I can’t wait to see it, and the sunset, from our private sailboat.

The sail will end at around 9:00PM so not sure if that will be it for the night or if we will hit the pool for a nighttime swim and a nightcap before bed.

#CaliFriendsYeah2019 –Day 10 – In which we do whatever a spider can and finally make our way to Disneyland

Oh, Day 10. You’re an exciting one. Not that Days 1-9 weren’t exciting. But still.

Breakfast that morning will be at the hotel as it looks they serve a relatively standard complimentary breakfast – coffee, juice, muffins, etc. – but reports are they do have WAFFLES!!

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And that’s good. Because waffles will give us the energy we will need for the 2 hourish drive from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles. LA has proven a bit tricky in terms of planning for us. We only have limited time there so we have toyed with things to do. Do we do a studio tour like the one we enjoyed so much at Warner Brothers? Do we try and see some LA/Hollywood-based sights on our own, like the Walk of Fame and the Hollywood sign? Do we just dedicate our time to recreating the Motley Crue video for Girls, Girls, Girls?

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My incessant campaign for that last idea never really made it off the ground.

In the end, we decided to celebrate all that Hollywood history by seeing a movie at one of the historic Hollywood movie theaters. Spider-Man: Far From Home comes out just before we reach LA so it felt like the perfect time to see it, especially since the Nerneys have been our typical Marvel movie-going companions.

But where to see it? We were originally thinking to see it at the El Capitan since it’s Disney-owned but based on what we see for their usual Saturday movie times and the fact that while we can buy tickets for Spider-Man everywhere else except here, it just wasn’t working out.

So we decided to see it at the TCL Chinese Theater instead.

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Which will be pretty cool. Of the two, it IS the more famed theater. And it has the biggest IMAX auditorium in the world. Check it.

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Imax. You max. We all max.

And if there’s time, we can still hop over to the Disney Ghiradelli next to the El Capitan for ice cream after the movie. Pfft. If there’s time. For Disney and ice cream? Always time. And maybe we can stop and see this dude’s Hollywood star:

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But we should try and be on the road by 3PM because we have an hour-to-an-hour-and-a-half drive to…

Drumroll please…

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DISNEYLAND!!!!!!1111one one

Yup. I know. Finally, right?

So much exciting stuff in Disneyland to look forward to for sure. But today, we will just be checking into our hotel, getting a nice swim, and having dinner.

Wait, did I say “just?”

I mean, we will be checking into…

DISNEYLAND HOTEL DAY 10 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

Swimming in…

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And having dinner at…

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Gah, I know!! This is INSANELY exciting. But let me break it down for you.

Our accommodations for the next FOUR NIGHTS are at the DISNEYLAND HOTEL!!! I know, lots of CAPS and lots of exclamation points in these paragraphs but totally worth it.

Our original plan was to stay at the Best Western near the park, but I actually ended up staying there on a recent business trip and wasn’t all that impressed, even given the location of the place right outside the gate. So what to do next? Book a hotel in the park for quadruple the money. Makes sense to me.

But the place does look awesome.

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And it will be nice staying inside the Disney bubble the whole time. It’s LEGIT Classic Disney the whole time. I will obviously be writing a ton about it after actually staying there but my excitement is palpable. PALPABLE, I say!

So we will check in and then the plan is to immediately B-line to the pool Remember from before? This pool…

POOL DAY 10 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

What? Oh yes, that IS a monorail waterslide. Did I mention I am excited? Because I am. Excited.

Pool time will be probably short-lived because we have dinner reservations downstairs. At my favorite restaurant in all of Disneyland – Steakhouse 55! In case you missed it, we ate here on our last trip to Disneyland as a family.

It’s INSANELY good, from the atmosphere…

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…to the drinks…

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to the (obv squad) steaks….

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…It’s old Hollywood style perfection. So it’s a pretty great place to not only start off the Disneyland portion of the trip but also cap off our Hollywood day.

I am pretty sure I will go with the exact same thing I got last time – whiskey flight and rib eye – but who knows. Maybe I will surprise myself. Probably not. But maybe.

After dinner, we will probably walk off our meal exploring the hotel or Downtown Disney before heading to bed. Because we have an early start planned for the next day and…erm…a brand new planet to visit! Pew Pew!

 

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