THE 2019 CALIFORNIA ROAD (PRE) TRIP THEME NIGHT COUNTDOWN – DAYS 14 AND 15 (UNIVERSAL HOLLYWOOD AND HUNTINGTON BEACH!)

Welcome, welcome, welcome to the penultimate California Road Trip Pre-Trip Theme Night Countdown Post. Yep, only one left after this. Then shizz becomes real.

And, like….there is very little time left. We are at the point where we can officially say we are going to California…NEXT WEEK.

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We are all about the countdown milestones. And being able to say we are going next week is a big one. We’ve already hit the double digits. Been able to say we have less time to wait for the trip than we have on the actual trip. And in a few days, we hit single digits. Then, comes the “this is the last X before the trip.” You know…”This is our last Monday, Tuesday, Saturday at 8:14 AM.” And that kind of coincides with the whole “This time next week, we will be X.” As in, “This time next week, we will be hiking in Yosemite.” Or “This time next week, we will be touring Alcatraz.” Or “This time next week, I will be blacking out from too much wine in Napa and disappointing both my wife and children. And friends.”

Yeah, milestones are great. And we are definitely not at all obsessed with vacations.

Moving on.

The movie

For our movie this go-round, we went with…

SIMPSONS MOVIE POSTER DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP.jpg
Fun fact: This came out the day before Owen was born. The Simpsons are in his blood. Obvs squad.

Sure, we could have gone with Harry Potter, but then. THEN. How would we tie donuts into it? You see our conundrum.

Plus, I really feel like The Simpsons Movie doesn’t get the love it deserves. The film came out in 2007, when The Simpsons was in its 19th season. Which means basically…I wasn’t watching much Simpsons at that point. While I love me some 90s and even early 2000s Simpsons, we are all well aware the show seems to have run its course. Which always feels awful to say. Because of how much I love the episodes I love.

But the movie really, to me, brought it back for at least a little while. The animation was super slick-looking but I also felt the gags and jokes were pretty much on-point and classic Simpsons. And while it didn’t push the envelope as much as South Park did when it hit the big screen, it did just enough to make it feel as though we were seeing something warranting a PG-13 rating.

The film itself essentially plays like an hour-and-a-half episode. The plot – over-pollution of Springfield leads the EPA to quarantine the town and the Simpsons are to blame – could easily have been the plot on a typical Sunday night. But, that is completely fine. Because it’s the characters and their interactions with one another that have always made The Simpsons what it is.

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They’re all looking at his doodle.

Homer remains the primary focus of the film, which is a good thing. While the entire Simpsons brood and the residents of Springfield all have their rightful place within the Simpsons universe, Homer is the core. While he is someone none of us would ever want as a father. Or husband. Or relative of any kind. Or friend. Or employee…well, you get the point. While that is all true, he is still one of the greatest characters ever created. He’s definitely remained the funniest part of the show throughout its entire run and, despite all his bad choices and mistakes, you love him. It’s impossible not to.

But the movie plays on that. And pushes Homer’s homer-ness to a point that even Marge feels like she can’t take it anymore. It’s like Groening and company knew this all to be something at play – no matter what, we can’t hate Homer – and decided to see if they could get us to hate him. He’s pretty despicable in this movie. He lies, pollutes, goes against his town and his family, and I mean of course he abuses his son. But he really is a miracle of a character because you still find yourself rooting for him.

HOMER DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP
Legit LOL at this scene.

It’s a pretty great movie.

The meal

Our theme night this time around coincided with Father’s Day. Also, by “night” I mean “morning” as we did a theme breakfast. A theme Father’s Day breakfast. Have any more beautiful words ever been written?

And being that we were watching The Simpsons Movie and also being that they are in fact one of the most wonderful foods ever created, we themed the morning around DONUTS!! Nickie did an AMAZEPANTZ job with the decorations.

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And for breakfast, we had pancakes and sausages.

HOMER DAY 15 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

Pfft, nah. We had donuts, stupid.

And not just any donuts. We had donuts from my favorite local donut shop – Kane’s!

KANES BOX DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP.jpg

Seriously, this place is hella-good. Check these puppies out –

DONUTS DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP
So. Pretty.

So good. I ended up having their special Father’s Day whiskey-flavored donut (2nd one from the right on the bottom in the picture above.) And I had their monthly flavor – Salted Caramel. Which was INCREDIBLY good.

SALTED CARAMEL DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP
I can’t believe we once lived in a world before salted caramel.

Even Lilo got in on the action.

LILO DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

Annnnd we watched the movie, obvs.

But since it WAS Father’s Day, I figured maybe I would recap the awesomeness that was my Dad’s Day. Nickie and the boys spoiled me with a bunch of great gifts.

PRESENTS DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP
Oh that donut pillow? It smells. Like a donut. 

They got me a bottle of Bulleit Rye, a new pink hoodie, Dear Evan Hansen, a donut mug, a donut pen, some donut tattoos, a donut pillow. ANNND a Pull N’ Go Forky (from Toy Story 4.) They also gave me all my presents the night before. Because we have trouble with the whole waiting to give presents thing.

These presents though? Perfect. In that aside from the whiskey, they are also kind of perfect for a 14 year-old girl. My family truly knows me. I am a 14 year-old girl with an alcohol problem on the inside.

The rest of the day was amazing as well. After we watched the movie, Owen and I watched the 2014 Godzilla, I went to the gym, and then we had some Chinese food at my favorite Chinese restaurant – Kowloon.

CHINESE FOOD DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP.jpg
Can you believe there was still another dish coming after this picture was taken? Yeah, it was just the four of us. Don’t judge us.

After that, we went to see the new Godzilla: King of the Monsters movie (which I LURVED btw….sooooo good.)

AND we even got a surprise visit from Stephanie (and Sophia…in her belly) to top the night off.

It was a pretty perfect Father’s Day. And yeah, the presents and activities were awesome. But it was really spending time with these guys that made it the best.

NICKIE AND MYLES DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP.jpg

ME AND OWEN DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

I CANNOT WAIT to have 17 days with these people. They are my favorite people.

 

#CaliFriendsYeah2019 –Day 14 – In which we visit both Hogsmeade AND Springfield. And also…DONUTS!!

Day 14. Cray. On account of it Is today where we will have hit our “we have been on vacation for TWO WEEKS” moment. How am I possibly going to go back to a life where I have to get up early every day?

I mean. Yeah I know. The plan is to get up early every day on this trip to. But like, not to work. It’s way easier to get up early when you’re doing it so you can eat breakfast burritos, ride Space Mountain, or drink earlier than usual. We should probably come up with a term other than “get up early.” Maybe “kick sleep in the face”?

Yup. I like it.

Anyways, on Day 14 we are for sure going to be kicking sleep in the face. We are kicking sleep in the face at 6 AM. Because while we are leaving Disneyland…

CRYING LION KING DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

…We are doing so because we are heading to Universal – Hollywood!

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Which is like the Orlando Universal, but with a lot less to do! Get excited!

But our first stop will be our new home for the day – The Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City.

Universal Studios Entrance

Which Is, like, super close to Universal. I mean, look at that picture. It’s so close, I bet it smells like Hippogriff poop and Pygmy puffs. On account of those are things in Harry Potter.

I mean, I’ve heard. I only care about sports and cars and stuff. None of that nerd stuff for me. Score a quarterback!

Annnnyways. The drive from the Disneyland Hotel to the Hilton is about an hour and a half or so. So we will most likely just drop our bags off and head over to the park. Well, head over to CityWalk first. To put another notch in the #GoodyDonutChallenge (it’s an Instagram thing. No big deal) at Voodoo Doughnut. Voodoo is sort of a legend in the donut world. At least I think it is. Wait. Is there a “Donut World.” If so…

I WANT TO GO DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

The issue is really going to come down to – WHAT DONUTS TO GET?? And literally, that’s the best issue. Ever.

I think I may have to go with two – One I am pretty sure to like and one sort of more out there choice. The “Old Dirty Bastard” (raised yeast doughnut with chocolate frosting, Oreo cookies, and peanut butter) seems the safe choice…

ODB DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

…While the Tangfastic (plain cake doughnut with vanilla frosting, Tang, and marshmallows) feels a tad more “maybe I will like it, but also maybe it will be disgusting.”

TANG DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

After making sure we reach out recommended caloric intake FOR THE ENTIRE DAY, we are going to head into the Universal – Hollywood park for it’s 9AM opening. Just don’t tell anyone at Disney. I feel like we might be tried for treason.

The plan will most likely be to head straight into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter so that we can jump right on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. We have been on the one in Orlando so I assume things are pretty much the same but there are quite a few in our party that I don’t think have ridden it before. So good to get that one ridden and out of the way quick. In fact, if I could disapparate at park entrance and just apparate at the entrance to Forbidden Journey that would probably be best.

YOU’RE a nerd.

After that, who knows. We will probably spend some time walking around Hogsmeade, taking in the sights and probably hop on Flight of the Hippogriff.

HOGSMEADE DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

I honestly don’t know what will come next. I have been looking at this plan and their recommendation is to do the Studio Tour next. Which seems like a good idea since this is an attraction even Nickie will enjoy. Which is a rarity at Universal. And also anywhere outside of Disney. Plus, I do kind of love that in addition to visiting sets and what not as with a normal studio tour, you do also get to experience attractions like Kong 3-D and Fast and the Furious while on the tour. It’s like…erm…a bunch of attractions in one. But the main reason ANYONE ever would want to ride the Studio Tour? This guy….

JAWS DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

I know we are already married, but I may still propose to Nickie at the moment when Jaws pops out of the water.

No? You don’t get the reference?

MALLRATS DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

That plan then has us visiting the Lower Lot, which does make a lot of sense. Not only could we hit both Transformers and Revenge of the Mummy, both stellar attractions in their own right but the new Jurassic World attraction should be open by then and that’s like top of the list.

Why?

Are you really asking me why?

Because dinosaurs.

DINOS DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP.png

If the answer is ever “because dinosaurs” to any question asked, it always suffices. ALWAYS.

From here, if possible, we may want to deviate from the plan slightly. Since I believe (having never been there, I am not 100% on this but the map below makes it look like that) when you come up from the Lower Lot you are basically in Springfield USA (also known as Simpsons Land if you are someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about).

UNIVERSAL MAP DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP.jpg

And while we are actually planning on having lunch in Springfield, I think it would be best to ride The Simpsons Ride before lunch. You know, to be safe. And not covered in vomit.

Don’t laugh. I am DEAD serious.

So that’s sort of a rough draft of a pre-lunch plan. Who knows what will actually get done since I have legit no idea of what the crowds are gonna look like. But, the plan for lunch is solidly in place  – Krusty Burger!

KRUSTY BURGER DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

We have been to the Orlando Krusty Burger and they make a (to paraphrase Samuel Jackson) “tasty burger.” I will most likely get a standard Krusty Burger Platter, which comes with Kurly Fries but not a beverage. On account of I “Can’t Get Enough of that Wonderful Duff.” I mean, OF COURSE I am getting a Duff beer.

DUFF AND BURGER DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

After lunch, we may want to let our food digest and take in some shows or less barf-inducing attractions like WaterWorld or The Walking Dead walkthrough thingamajig.  I’d also like to check out the Kung Fu Panda 360 movie attraction as well.

Or maybe we will head back to the hotel to swim and relax at the pool. That’s what the spreadsheet says at least.

HILTON POOL DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

Once our food digests though, we still do have to hop on Minion Mayhem.

MINIONS DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP.jpg

And then…the day is a bit free. As I said, who knows if this plan comes to full fruition so this may be when we head to attractions we haven’t hit yet. Or back to some we may want to ride again. Or we just hang out and drink more Duff? Strong STRONG possibility of that.

We will be having dinner back in Hogsmeade at The Three Broomsticks. When we visited back in Orlando, we ate at the Three Broomsticks and got the “Great Feast” on account of it feeds 4. And there were 4 of us. But who knows what will happen this time around. I kind of don’t hate the sound of some Bangers and Mash or that Cheese Toastie with Chicken (grilled English Cheddar Cheese with chicken, bacon, mustard, tomato, and a sunny side egg.) That one sounds delicious AND you can say it like when you performed a vicious uppercut in Mortal Kombat II. Like you could be like, I want a Cheese…

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With chicken.”

Depending on what time we end up having dinner (the counter service locations in the park…like Three Broomsticks…close an hour before park closing), we may want to just wander Hogsmeade a little bit because we really REALLY want a good location to catch the new Dark Arts projection show on Hogwarts’ Castle.

Word is we should get a spot a bit further away from Hogwarts in order to get the full effect of the show, closer to Hogsmeade, rather than on the right of the castle. But it looks AMAZETOWN and a truly…

…wait for it…

magical…way to end our day at Universal.

Nailed it.

Also, depending on when it closes, we are hoping to grab some doughnuts at Lard Lad for breakfast the next day. Have I mentioned I like donuts?

LARD LAD DAY 14 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

 

#CaliFriendsYeah2019 –Day 15 – In which life is a beach

Day 15 will be like a severe about-face, “whoa is this the same vacation?” my-body-can’t-handle-such-intense-shifts-in-vacationing kind of day. Because while Days 11-14 are all about running from one attraction to the next and squeezing the most out of every single minute, Day 15 is super chill. On account of Day 15 is a BEACH DAY!!!

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Like a full-on beach day. No big plans to visit any museums, castles, or prisons. Just a day to relax, soak it all in, and reflect on the amazing that has been the trip thus far. So like…our plans are to have really no plans. I mean, that’s not completely true. Of course, we have some plans. We are still Goodreaus after all.

The first part of the plan, though?

SLEEP IN DAY 15 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

Yerp, sleeping in. I have heard legends tell of such rituals. But according to the spreadsheet – and I listen to the spreadsheet most when it tells me to sleep – we aren’t planning on rolling out of bed until 9AM on Day 15.

Whatever. For us, that’s sleeping in.

There is also a bit of unpleasantness on Day 15 as we will be saying our first goodbyes of the trip. The Falzones will be heading home before the rest of us head on to our next destination. I’m sure it will be sad to say goodbye but hopefully we will all have A TON of memories to talk about for years to come. Plus, we are actually coming back to CA with Tony and Larissa a little later this year for Tony’s 50th.

After a tearful goodbye, it’s on to breakfast. Breakfast on Day 15 will hopefully be Lard Lad donuts from the night before and coffee. If, of course, we had the foresight to pick up said donuts. And the willpower to not devour them already.

JUST ONE BITE DAY 15 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

So we are probably getting Starbucks.

Once breakfast is in hand…er…tum tum, we will be off for an hour or so drive to our next destination – Huntington Beach!

HUNTINGTON DAY 15 CA TRIP PRE TRIP
Beach, please.

On the way, we are looking to pick up some sandwiches we can enjoy whilst beaching. I think maybe this Beach Hut Deli place looks like a good fit. It looks to have both unique options for more experimental palates as well as standard sandwiches for more “Owen” palates.

Not sure if we will be able to yet, but an attempt will be made to check into our hotel for the night – The Waterfront Beach Resort.

WATERFRONT RESORT DAY 15 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

This place looks AMAZETOWN. Right on the beach, beautiful pool, rooftop lounge. Perfection.

So hopefully, we will be able to check in. But if not, at least we can probably park and head right for the beach. And then? I mean, beach. What else is there to say about that really? The 12 of us are just gonna like…hang out. And eat our sandwiches.

SANDWICHES ON THE BEACH DAY 15 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

But seriously. Hanging out and eating sandwiches is like my version of heaven.

I think at some point, we may move from the beach to the pool. On account of this is our pool.

POOL DAY 15 CA TRIP PRE TRIP.jpg

And that’s kind of the whole day. Beach. Pool. Sandwiches. Oh, and cocktail. Definitely cocktails.

But as we get into early evening, we do have a couple of plans. For one, we have dinner at this cool spot right on the beach – Sandy’s Beach Shack. Like, it’s legit RIGHT on the beach.

SANDYS DAY 15 CA TRIP PRE TRIP

I can’t decide whether I am gonna go for the Luau Burger or the Huli Huli Chicken. Thankfully, even though we are 11 days from the start of the trip, we are still like 26 days from this specific meal. That really helps put the insanity of this trip in perspective. But yeah, I don’t really have to decide yet.

While at Sandy’s, we are crossing our fingers for a Colton/Cassie sighting. And by “we” I mean probably just Nickie and I. Legit NO ONE else in our party cares about Colton and Cassie. Well, maybe Owen. Oh, and Will.

After dinner, we will head back to the hotel and set up at one of the many fire pits on the beach for some S’mores.

S’more what?

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Pfft whatever, that joke never gets old.

But yeah, the hotel will set us up with a fire, beach chairs, S’mores stuff, hot chocolate, coffee, and – according to the website – “fun.” Yeah, it says “complete with “firewood, beach chairs, S’Mores, hot chocolate, coffee, and fun.” So, I expect a crap-ton of fun, Waterfront Resort. If I don’t have fun. I am seriously gonna lose it.

Sunset is at 8:04 that night so we are hoping to be able to watch the sun set covered in marshmallow. No, not the sun. Our faces. Our faces will be covered in marshmallow.

So that’s Days 14 and 15. One more post left. And then…we live this thing.

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