THE 2019 CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP: DAY 10 (SANTA BARBARA TO DISNEYLAND, WITH SOME LA IN BETWEEN!)

While I am sure all of you have been enjoying the CA trip blogs thus far.

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OK, well. I am sure MOST of you have been enjoying the CA trip blogs thus far.

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Fine, but I’m sure SOME of you have been enjoying the CA trip blogs thus far.

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Ugh, whatever.

Anyways. This post. This Day 10 post. This one FINALLY gets us to Disneyland. Yup, it only took 10 days to get to the Disney portion of the trip. Well, truthfully, we did visit the Walt Disney Family Museum back on Day 2, but there weren’t any rides there. Or churros.

We woke up on Day 10 at the Lavender Inn By the Sea in Santa Barbara and I walked over to the complimentary continental breakfast to grab some stuff for the room. I don’t have a picture of it, which doesn’t seem like me. But I do remember I grabbed some bagels, croissants, hard-boiled eggs, cinnamon rolls…wait, actually. The guy before me took the last cinnamon roll. So while everyone was enjoying their breakfast, I fashioned a voodoo doll in his likeness out of hand towels and Q-tips.

We were out of Santa Barbara relatively early as we had some day plans to get handled before actually arriving in Disneyland.

And those plans were about a two hour drive away – in Hollywood!

Ah, Hollywood. The land of stardust, magic, and Markie Mouse.

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“just remember, it all started with a….AHH, WHAT IS THAT?? MOVE AWAY FROM THE MOUSE, MIA.”

I drove the Mustang with Nickie, Myles, and Jack as my passengers. We arrived in Hollywood close to 10AM, which gave us some time to look around a bit. We parked right near the TCL Chinese Theater as this was our main point of interest.

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While we were waiting for everyone to sort of gather, I made Myles (and Jack when he would humor me) be tourists.

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And I mentally poured out a little liquor when I came upon these two.

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I also made Nickie take a picture of me with my hands in Dean Martin’s handprints.

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Not because I love Dean Martin so much. I mean, I do. I do love Dean Martin. But that wasn’t why I needed this specific picture. I did it because I wanted to recreate the picture she took of me on our honeymoon. 16 years ago.

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Haven’t aged a bit.

While we had plans at the Chinese Theater a little later, the boys had to go to the bathroom so I got to get a sneak peek at the lobby. There were a ton of artifacts, including this.

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As everyone started arriving, I got Owen to pose for a few pictures as well.

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And Mia joined in as well. And I mean, of course we got a picture on this dude’s star.

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Gah, NO. They were SUPPOSED to be on Tommy Lee Jones’s star. Big U.S Marshals fan, Mia is. Ah well, I guess Mickey Mouse works too.

We heard about this spot across the street at the little outdoor mall where you can get a pretty good look at the Hollywood sign. I mean, on a sunny day, I suppose that’s true. Unfortunately, we had a bit of smog to contend with.

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I feel like the smog makes this picture even more of an authentic “LA picture”

But I mean, we could still see it. So, success?

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We got a great look at this sign, however.

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Pfft, you think Dean Martin would have listened to such a sign? I didn’t think so, either.

While it was only like 10:30 in the morning, we knew lunch should happen soon since we would be inaccessible for a couple hours starting at 11:30. Plus, we were on vacation. We can have lunch whenever we want, man. Sorry we don’t conform to your “rules.”

And since Tony hadn’t been able to experience it earlier in the trip, we decided to have lunch at In-N-Out Burger. There was one a short walk away from the theater.

A short, graffiti covered walk that included being stopped by a homeless woman telling us to…well…go do things to ourselves…whilst wearing a plush donut pillow around her neck. So a really nice walk is what I am saying.

Well, for most of us. Unfortunately (and unbeknownst to me at the time since he was a little ways in back of us), Matt took a bit of a tumble on the walk and twisted his ankle a little. At least that’s what he says happened. I’m pretty sure he was faking to get out of running. Kidding, I kid. We iced it at the In-N-Out and fed him lots of fluids later that night. What? Wine is a fluid.

This walk by the way? 5 minutes. I know. We really do make the most of our time.

But we did finally make it. And it was glorious.

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And once again, it appeared I was at the kids’ table. Hrm. Maybe I should have started being insulted at some point. But really, the company was top notch.

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I once again got a Double Double Animal Style. Because that’s what you do.

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And you’re probably asking, “Was it good?”

Which means to me you have never had In-N-Out because of course it was good. Mia couldn’t stop raving about it. I believe she may have claimed it was the best burger she has ever had. And she didn’t even get it Animal Style.

After lunch, it was back to the Chinese Theater. Because we were seeing…

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Myles, Owen, and Mia are shooting webs. Jack and Will are using their super thumbs-up powers.

Oh sorry, the kids totally got in the way. Ugh. That says Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Haha, I am kidding of course. In fact, the kids would rather never take any of these “get in front of the carboard cutout of the movie we are about to see” pictures. Which, of course, is why I take them.

Memories.

But yeah, we were sooooo excited to see this movie. I honestly think Spider-Man has become my favorite hero in the MCU at this point. And its thanks in large part to Tom Holland’s portrayal of him. He IS Spider-Man, more than any other actor who has taken on the role.

And seeing it at the Chinese Theater was a really cool experience. The theater is YUGE.

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The problem with seeing a movie at the Chinese Theater? You end up wanting to see another movie like an hour later.

And real purty.

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And it was insanely empty. Which was odd. I mean, I know it was an early movie, but the film had just come out like a few days prior. It was so empty, I ended up moving a seat back with Nickie so I could see a little better and not have a huge head in front of me.

I enjoyed the movie with some popcorn and a beer. And I like really enjoyed the movie. In addition to Tom Holland, I dig the feel of the Spider-Man movies. Marvel has done a good job of making all the movies in the MCU a cohesive part of a whole, while still giving each separate franchise their own unique aesthetic. The Spider-Man movies play like part superhero movie, part high school comedy. Which are like two of my favorite things. So yeah, it works well.

Everyone seemed to like the movie as well. Mia was shooting a lot of webs for the rest of the day, which was a good sign.

Since it was already 2:00 and all I had to eat so far was a bagel, 2 hard-boiled eggs, a double cheeseburger, fries, popcorn, and beer, I was obviously hungry. Thank the Maker there was a Ghiradelli across the street.

As we made our way over to the Ghiradelli, we walked past the El Capitan Theater, which premieres a ton of Disney movies. And right in front of it, I got a picture of another star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Or should I say the “Wocka Wocka” of Fame.

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And right next door…

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And this Ghiradelli? It ain’t no ordinary Ghiradelli. It’s a Disney Ghiradelli. Meaning there is A LOT of Disney up in this place.

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Right outside the store there was also another star worth snapping.

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While we were handed the obligatory free square of chocolate upon entering, we knew this would not suffice so we grabbed a menu.

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Myles got the Strike It Rich (Butter pecan, Vanilla, Butterscotch Sunday) sundae and Owen ordered (I think) just a couple scoops of vanilla with sprinkles and whipped cream. The Nerneys picked up some chocolate squares to go. And I think Mia got a couple scoops as well. None of which I appeared to have snapped a picture of.

Probably because I was all tunnel vision for this, which Nickie and I split.

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Holy frikkin NOMZ

The Treasure island. Vanilla Ice Cream. Whipped Cream, Hot Fudge. Almonds. And a warm Ghiradelli brownie. Look, I was full of food on this day. But I still managed to put a pretty big dent in this thing. Because I believed in myself.

After Ghiradelli, it was back in the car for another hour or so. To…

TOO…..

TOOOOOOOOOOOO…….

DISNEYLANDDDD!!!!!111

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It was here. It was time for the Disneyland portion of our trip. And the GPS? It wasn’t just set for Disneyland. It was set for…

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I like how the promise of awesome juxtaposes with the filth on the windshield. It feels like some sort of social commentary.

Holy crapballs, right? The Disneyland Hotel!! We were staying at the Disneyland Hotel! For four nights.

Cray.

It was a good thing we switched the cars back up so that it was the Goodys in the Mustang. Because we were INSANELY excited. Like the way only the Goodreaus get excited about Disney.

As we rounded the corner, we of course had Disney music playing. And we were ear-to-ear smiles as we got our first glimpse of the hotel.

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We pulled up to the main registration, started unloading the car, and were soon joined by the Nerneys in the Suburban. So after unloading, Matt and I drove the vehicles over to the lot while the rest of the lot checked in at the Fantasy Tower.

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For those that don’t know, the Disneyland Hotel is made up of three different towers themed after different sections of the Disneyland Park – Fantasy Tower, Adventure Tower, and Frontier Tower.

The Falzones hadn’t made it there yet, but the woman at the front desk assured us we would all be together in the Frontier Tower. Spoiler alert, we were not. While us and the Nerneys had adjoining rooms in Frontier, the Falzones were placed in the Fantasy tower. Which was a bummer but eh, we were all close enough. And honestly, no one would in their right mind would want to be anywhere near Nerney-Goodreau adjoining rooms. It’s best to stay away.

Bell Services took our bags with the promise of them being brought to our room and we walked over to our tower.

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In the lobby of the hotel is this super cool model of Big Thunder Mountain.

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It’s the wildest model…in the hotel lobby.  

We hopped in the elevator and went up to our fourth floor room.

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The Disneyland Hotel is cool in that it’s theme is pretty much…Disney. Most of the other Disney hotels have a location-specific or other non-Disney theme attached to it, with smaller hints of Disney throughout. But the Disneyland Hotel. It’s allllll Disney.

Our room had it all over the place…

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On the bed were pillows that read “A Dream is A Wish Your Heart Makes” on one side and “When Your Fast Asleep” on the other. And the headboards were amazing.

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In the wood of the headboard was a carving of Sleeping Beauty Castle surrounded by stars and fireworks. And while one switch on the light in the middle turned said light on, another switch did this…

Yeah, it made the fireworks and the stars light up. And I don’t know if you can hear it, but it also plays a music box version of “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.” The cool thing is that it plays it right at the beginning and then it stops, but the light stays on. So I mean, obviously we left that on all night.

Annnd while a ton of Disney hotels have gone to the pumps in the shower for shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, the Disneyland Hotel still has all the individual H2O amenities.

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So you KNOW I am still smelling like Disneyland with all the soap I took home.

The room was pretty great, honestly. I will give a fuller review of our entire Disneyland Hotel experience in a later post but the room was on point. Plus, like I said, it was an adjoining room to the Nerneys so that was…fun?

No, it was fun. Yeah.

We hung out in the room for a bit, and waited for our luggage to arrive. Thankfully, we had some beers packed in the backpack so we had a couple drinks and hung out. Once the bags did arrive, we got some of our stuff situated, which was really nice to do. Having four days ahead of us in the hotel afforded us a little bit more of a “getting settled” kind of thing.

I could even unpack all the gum Laura picked up for me in Santa Barbara.

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Fresh breath for DAYS, son.

Thanks to Laura, my gum game was STRONG.

But soon enough, we did have to get ready for dinner. We all got dressed fancy-like and walked over to the Fantasy Tower to meet up with the Falzones for dinner. And what a dinner we had planned. Dinner that night was at my favorite restaurant in all of Disneyland – Steakhouse 55!

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We checked in and sat down in the lounge for some pre-dinner libations. The kids meanwhile got comfortable in the room next door to watch some cartoons.

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And man, you KNOW I ordered a Manhattan. As did both Matt and Tony.

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The girls all got wine, I believe. I don’t have any pictures of said wine. But I am sure you can imagine what it looked like.

We sat, had some drinks, talked for a bit. And soon enough, our table was ready so our server led us into the restaurant, drinks in hand. I love the look of Steakhouse 55. It has this whole old Hollywood vibe. Super low light, lots of old photos on the wall. Like this one of Walt.

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Once seated at our table, the waitress brought over some warm bread and butter.

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Which we obviously devoured.

There were a lot of meals eaten that night but with the whole subdued tone of the restaurant and the looks I sometimes got from some of my travel mates, I hesitated to take pictures of every dish. Instead, I focused just on what I ordered so I could quickly kind of pull my phone out and put it away.

So I will take you through what I ordered and then give kind of an overall take of the meal.

To start with, Steakhouse 55 usually presents some sort of amuse-bouche.

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I can’t quite remember what this particular amuse-bouche was, but it definitely contained berries. Also though, it may have not.

And also ALSO, since most of the kids didn’t want theirs, I was amuse-bouching like no tomorrow, thus continuing the trend of me being some sort of human garbage disposal.

For an appetizer, I was really back and forth on getting the Onion Soup au Gratin. Well, really..I was back and forth on getting any type of appetizer knowing I would be eating my weight in steak. But of course, I got it. Because if the choice is between eating something and not eating something, I usually err on the side of something.

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Say…cheeeeeeese

In terms of decisions in my life, this one is probably just below getting married and having children. It was a solid decision. Look at ALL THAT CHEESE. Man, this was insanely good. We also ordered the Seared Sea Scallops and Tiger Prawns. I didn’t actually try the prawns, but Tony said they were really good. The Scallops (which I wish I got a picture of) were delicious though.

For my entrée, I went with the 14oz. Herb-Rubbed Grassfed Rib-Eye. I was feeling like the 180z. was a little too much food for tonight and I honestly didn’t love their standard rub last time I was there. This gave me the rib-eye I was craving with a different (and in my opinion, much better rub.) And it was an amazing cut of steak.

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And man, that bone marrow was yum. And check out that picture. I am loving the Samsung Galaxy S10 camera. This place was legit low-light. And that picture came out pretty amazetown.

For sides, we got the Truffle Mac and Cheese…

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…the Scalloped Potatoes…

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…and the Green Beans (not pictured.) While I always love a good Truffle Mac and Cheese, those potatoes were bomb.com. Probably my favorite side of the night.

And of course we ordered some wine. We started with a bottle of The Prisoner (which I feel like I don’t have to explain at this point. You know we love The Prisoner. Let’s just leave it at that.) And Larissa surprised the table with a bottle of Jordan Cabernet. She’s pretty much the nicest. And it was some good wine.

And while we didn’t order dessert, Owen was officially celebrating his birthday (cough, cough which was in a few weeks from then), so they brought him out a special birthday dessert.

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All in all, the meal took about 2 hours or so. Which is the best. And it was incredible. Steakhouse 55 once again delivered on a superb meal. What an awesome way to start the Disneyland portion of the trip.

Now, while the pictures seem to have ended at this point, the night most certainly did not.

Tony mentioned he bought some cigars and thought tonight would be the perfect opportunity to smoke them. On account of any night or day would be the perfect opportunity to smoke cigars.

The rest of the crew hit up Downtown Disney, where Owen bought ANOTHER stuffed Winnie-the-Pooh and Myles bought a Disneyland sweatshirt.

Tony, Matt, and I meanwhile proceeded to Tony’s room to pick up the cigars. And since he was in the Fantasy Tower anyways (where Steakhouse 55 was), we went back down to the lounge to grab a few glasses of Lagavulin to accompany them. Matt and I got in a pretty heated credit card battle at the bar, but in the end he won and picked up the Scotch bill. Thanks Matt! You’re there when I need a drink.

After we left the lounge, we searched for a place to smoke our cigars. And there aren’t many places. Eventually, a security guard pointed out a grassy area in front of the Frontier Tower where we could stand and smoke.

Quick aside, we found out the next morning there was a smoking area with chairs and couches literally like ten feet from this spot. Of course.

The three of us smoked our cigars, drank our Scotch, and had a really nice hour or so talking and what not.

And that’s where Day 10 ends.

Oh wait, Matt also fell asleep on the lawn for a couple hours after Tony and I went up to our rooms.

Aren’t you glad we came, Disneyland?

Stay tuned for Day 11, where we get our first day at Disneyland Park, including a visit to GALAXY’S EDGE!!! Pew Pew.

 

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