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Old 12-17-2010, 05:08 AM   #16
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One other thing and completely off topic...but check out what happens when Harry Potter gets the Disney treatment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DC8jfW8g00

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Old 12-17-2010, 05:18 AM   #17
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I am sure you will take plenty of photos at Solvang. I was disappointed not to go there, but DH likes the beach.

Is the APIS something new?
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Old 12-17-2010, 05:21 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jade+3 View Post
I am sure you will take plenty of photos at Solvang. I was disappointed not to go there, but DH likes the beach.

Is the APIS something new?


I'm pretty sure that I didn't have to do this in October. Either that or they are starting to enforce it a bit more. I went on-line via the Qantas website. Our family friend TA did fill in some of the fields (passport number, passport expiry date, name, gender etc) but she didn't know where we were staying.
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Old 12-17-2010, 05:29 PM   #19
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One other thing and completely off topic...but check out what happens when Harry Potter gets the Disney treatment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DC8jfW8g00


This is absolutely hilarious!!!!!
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Old 12-25-2010, 10:44 PM   #20
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Details, Schmetails – SoCal

Anaheim Arrival Day

DH and I decided to stay at the Residence Inn Maingate at Anaheim. We stayed there in 2008 and found it really convenient on a number of fronts.
  1. The rooms are clean and comfortable.
  2. A full cooked buffet breakfast, plus make-your-own-waffles, is included in the nightly tariff.
  3. It is a 10-minute walk to the park entrance.
  4. It is close to the restaurants at Garden Walk where the Cheesecake Factory, PF Chang, California Pizza Grill and Bubba Gump can be found.

We did debate staying at Grand California, HoJo and Candy Cane; but in the end, it was the breakfast that swayed the decision. So, we’ve booked in for the 2 nights.

So, after flying into LAX and picking up the car hire, we will make tracks for RI and check ourselves in. That should leave us the afternoon and night to consider what we do.

I have an aunt that lives in SoCal and will need to catch up with her. At this stage, it is looking like the night of Wednesday 19th. I’m not really sure how this is going to work and I figure we’re going to be dead tired from the 14-hour flight. But, we don’t have any other option. I’m hoping that she will come to visit us; rather than us having to drive to her.
If it weren’t for this catch up, I think DS and I would love to get to Disneyland and spend the rest of the day and night there after arriving from Oz.


Disneyland Day

We have only one day planned for visiting the parks at DLR. For this Disneyland Day, DS and I plan to hit the following must-do rides (including those at California Adventure):
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Space Mountain
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Tea Cups
  • Soarin’
  • Peter Pan

Maybe rides
  • Screaming
  • Indiana Jones
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Dumbo
  • Nemo

Sadly (or thankfully), the following family favourite rides are closed:
  • Splash Mountain
  • It’s A Small World
  • Big Bear
  • StarTours
  • Mulholland Madness

I’m hoping that the parks won’t be too busy and that we can get on the rides without long wait times.

Our food for this day will consist of two events that have already been booked in.

Thanks to franandaj, we have a booking for lunch at Club 33 (yes, THAT Club 33).

I’ve googled the lunch menu and it looks fantastic; particularly the dessert cart! Needless to say, I hope that I don’t embarrass our hosts by the fact that I’m planning on taking as many photographs as possible in the establishment.

Lunch promises to be THE highlight of this trip; and I am so looking forward to it, not just because of the special location but particularly because this will be my first DisMeet with franandaj. I’m really pleased to be able to meet her in person, as she has become such a special, lasting friend on the Boards.

I figure that the DS will probably be full and bored with food after about 45 minutes; and that he will probably want to depart and hit more rides. We might resort to bringing an electronic babysitter for DS so that DH can stay a bit longer to enjoy the food and locale. The alternative will be that DH will head out with DS and I’ll stay chatting with franandaj over a longer lunch and coffee.

For dinner, I have pre-ordered a World of Colour picnics with Reserved Viewing for all 3 of us. DS and I will be enjoying the All American whilst DH has opted for the Mediterranean Vegetarian picnic. I contemplated the Taste of Asia picnic but in the end thought that I would prefer the cold chicken, instead of cold salmon.

The other reason for me wanting to have the day at Disneyland is so that I can see World for Colour. I didn’t want to queue up for a fastpass nor did I want another sit-down dining meal for dinner (after the big lunch at Club 33).
Plus, neither the Fireworks nor Fantasmic are scheduled for the night; and so I figured this would mean that WoC would be the premier attraction for the night.
So, the picnic was a reasonable alternative. I had to wait until my one-month window was opened before I could book the picnic but I now have my Will Call prebooking all sorted out. WoC will be screening at 8.15 pm on the day.

We will probably have to head over to DCA after lunch in order to hit the must-do’s and pick up the picnic before getting in line for WoC. I’m guessing that we’re going to have to bring warm clothes for the day, and possibly waterproof ones at that!

Anaheim Departure Day

After our 2 nights and 1 day at Disney, we will start our drive up Pacific Highway to the Californian Central Coast.

When we go on a touring drive, DH and I are absolute fiends when it comes to stopping at every possible attraction that strikes our fancy on the way. Therefore, we have no plans other than have booked our accommodation for the night…..

Oh! And there is a chance of another DisMeet with Aussie Shushh and her family on this day. It all depends on her schedule and disembarkation process from a cruise!


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Last edited by PrincessInOz; 12-25-2010 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 12-25-2010, 11:34 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
Anaheim Arrival Day

Thanks to franandaj, we have a booking for lunch at Club 33 (yes, THAT Club 33).

I’ve googled the lunch menu and it looks fantastic; particularly the dessert cart! Needless to say, I hope that I don’t embarrass our hosts by the fact that I’m planning on taking as many photographs as possible in the establishment.

Lunch promises to be THE highlight of this trip; and I am so looking forward to it, not just because of the special location but particularly because this will be my first DisMeet with franandaj. I’m really pleased to be able to meet her in person, as she has become such a special, lasting friend on the Boards.

I figure that the DS will probably be full and bored with food after about 45 minutes; and that he will probably want to depart and hit more rides. We might resort to bringing an electronic babysitter for DS so that DH can stay a bit longer to enjoy the food and locale. The alternative will be that DH will head out with DS and I’ll stay chatting with franandaj over a longer lunch and coffee.

Take pictures away! I always do when I'm there, as to the other guests, it is such a destination that we should make sure our waiter takes a picture of our party with both our cameras! I always go crazy with pictures when I go there. Ask the waiters about the fixtures and furnishings and they are thrilled to give you a tour of the place, the bathrooms (especially the ladies) are not to be missed! They do serve a leisurely lunch in that they give you plenty of time to enjoy the seafood salad bar before necessarily placing your order that DS might become quite impatient!

I'm looking very forward to it! It will be so much fun to share sarcastic comments via voice as to boards!

Yay!
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Old 12-26-2010, 12:01 AM   #22
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The day looks like fun! I'm sure you guys will have a good time and get along well
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:22 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
Take pictures away! I always do when I'm there, as to the other guests, it is such a destination that we should make sure our waiter takes a picture of our party with both our cameras! I always go crazy with pictures when I go there. Ask the waiters about the fixtures and furnishings and they are thrilled to give you a tour of the place, the bathrooms (especially the ladies) are not to be missed! They do serve a leisurely lunch in that they give you plenty of time to enjoy the seafood salad bar before necessarily placing your order that DS might become quite impatient!

I'm looking very forward to it! It will be so much fun to share sarcastic comments via voice as to boards!

Yay!
Yes. It will be nice to add facial expressions to the sarcastic voice!

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Originally Posted by DisneyFirefly View Post
The day looks like fun! I'm sure you guys will have a good time and get along well
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:57 PM   #24
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OT - Dinner at Maze, Melbourne

This year, I have discovered amateur photography....and it's all thanks to the Dis.

We bought a dSLR camera in March this year and I found out that the DisBoard photography subforum was running a photography scavenger hunt over summer. So, I figured it would be a bit of harmless fun for me, I would learn to use the camera and it would also push me out of the house during the southern hemisphere winter months. Needless to say, I don't go anywhere now without carrying my camera.

My new found calling in life?

I am convinced that I would make the perfect food photographer....not because I take good shots; but because I would be happy to eat good food (and take some shots beforehand).

Since picking up the camera, the majority of my shots are pictures of food and drink. And last night's dinner excursion ending up being no different!

I had the opportunity to go the one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants for dinner last night. Maze opened in Melbourne in March this year and I'd been meaning to go visit since then. It seems appropriate to post this here as there is a sister Maze in Los Angeles.

This is the signage for the restaurant.



(Yup…that’s me)

We waited in the lounge for the rest of our dining party to arrive.



DH and I had agreed that I was going to be the Designated Driver for the night; so I had a lime and soda. DH chose the Apple Isle. I wished I had paid more attention to what it was made of, but I didn’t.



It was delicious (I only had a sip).

Our dining party had booked the private dining room at Maze for the night. I didn’t realize until now that most of my shots inside the room consisted of people in them, so I won’t be posting any of those. But here are a couple that were just of the surrounds.

The light fitting…



The centerpiece…



The sideboard in our room….



Looking out of the dining room….




Our waiter placed warm bread on the table with seaweed butter and sea salt.



The seaweed butter was salty enough and no extra sea salt was required! It added that ‘sandy’ flavour to the butter and was really mor’ish.



Our menu – 6 courses, although our waiter told us 7.



The first course was artichoke and it was fantastic. The leek and truffle mayonnaise really worked well together and the artichoke was beautifully cooked.


And because my dining companions were who they are, some of them didn’t eat artichoke, so they got a cold seared tuna instead.



And because my dining companions were who they are, one of them didn’t eat artichoke and is an anti-pescatarian; so he got a green pea soup, garnished with smoked eel, instead.



I did mention this particular diner is anti-pescatarian? Well, he didn’t like the smoked eel either…so it was farmed out to the rest of us. The smoked eel was wonderful.


The marinated beetroot with goat cheese was another highlight of the meal. For my taste, the goat cheese was too mild and mellow; and it needed just a little bit more bite to elevate this dish. And surprisingly, the Cab Sav vinaigrette was sweet. But it was another great dish.



For my money, the pan-seared scallops were THE highlight of the meal. The scallops were perfectly cooked and the kelp and champagne foam were perfect against the softness of the scallops.



I chose the duck for my next course. A wonderful, unctuous duck – pink on the inside and crispy skin. The sweet corn and cracked wheat accompaniment was lovely; and the cherries provided the extra sweetness required.



Others in the party chose the lamb. It was nice; but the duck was unanimously voted the better of the two picks.



My DH is vegetarian; so he ended up with a snapper. It was well cooked; but not a patch on the duck.


Did I mention the particular diner that is anti-pescatarian? Well, he doesn’t eat lamb nor duck either. So, he got a beef dish. I managed this snap of the dish but never found out if it was good or not.



The unpronounceable French cheese and quince toast was lovely. The cheese was particularly bitey and wonderful. The quince paired really well with the cheese and elevated it beyond the humble offering it appeared to be.



Another highlight for the meal was dessert. I didn’t care much for the bayleaf sorbet. It sadly lacked any flavour and for my taste, the dish would have been better balanced if the sorbet had been of a soft citrus flavour. Otherwise, the orange jaffa was brilliant! And the black rice? Just like having rice bubbles in the dish....Superb...and crunchy.




Sadly, it really was only 6 courses – turns out the waiter couldn’t count – but we sat there until the very end, slightly disappointed that there wasn’t a complimentary amuse bouche or additional palate cleansers.

We had 3 french wines to complement the meal (I only had a tiny sip of each) and I wish I had paid more notice to the labels….but I was at the other end of the table, too busy enjoying the meal instead.


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Old 12-28-2010, 05:59 PM   #25
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That looks like a fantastic meal! I'll have to get to the one in LA! I've wanted to go there since I found out it was opening.

What was your occasion for having the private room?
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:18 PM   #26
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That dinner at Maze looks amazing! All too fancy for me though, I'm a simple-food person (but I do like watching Gordon Ramsay on telly).

I'm enjoying this PTR, and am so excited that you will be going to Club 33!

I'm really looking forward to (hopefully) meeting up with Chesire for dinner our first night at DL, although Aust is extremely shy and likely will be embarassed by it all I take after my Mum, what can I say? I think you and I would get on well IRL, Princess!

Back to sunbaking by my pool now...
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Old 12-30-2010, 03:35 PM   #27
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Wow, that really is a mad dash trip, you are sure going to be tired after this holiday. But if the opportunity is there to go to Disney even for one day you have to take it. Especially if you get to go to Club 33 (so jealous) I am sure that it will be an experience of a life time and something that not many Disney fans get to experience.

You need to add Indiana Jones to your must do list, In my mind this is my favourite ride! Even if I only went on it '97 I have great memories of it.

I really hope that you enjoy World of Colour, it looks spectacular.

Can't wait for more updates.
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Old 12-30-2010, 03:47 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
That looks like a fantastic meal! I'll have to get to the one in LA! I've wanted to go there since I found out it was opening.

What was your occasion for having the private room?
Our party for the night consisted of 11 adults. Maze offered us the private room as it was the only room with a table big enough and we took it. The catch? We had a minimum spend to meet for the night....$$$$

Quote:
Originally Posted by heidispidi View Post
That dinner at Maze looks amazing! All too fancy for me though, I'm a simple-food person (but I do like watching Gordon Ramsay on telly).

I'm enjoying this PTR, and am so excited that you will be going to Club 33!

I'm really looking forward to (hopefully) meeting up with Chesire for dinner our first night at DL, although Aust is extremely shy and likely will be embarassed by it all I take after my Mum, what can I say? I think you and I would get on well IRL, Princess!

Back to sunbaking by my pool now...
Heidi - If you're ever in Melbourne, let me know. We can do a DisMeet here; and afterwards, we can definitely say that we get on well IRL! I'm convinced that we would too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by QuirkyButterfly View Post
Wow, that really is a mad dash trip, you are sure going to be tired after this holiday. But if the opportunity is there to go to Disney even for one day you have to take it. Especially if you get to go to Club 33 (so jealous) I am sure that it will be an experience of a life time and something that not many Disney fans get to experience.

You need to add Indiana Jones to your must do list, In my mind this is my favourite ride! Even if I only went on it '97 I have great memories of it.

I really hope that you enjoy World of Colour, it looks spectacular.

Can't wait for more updates.
Thanks for posting on my PTR! Another update coming up shortly.

I didn't add Indiana Jones to my must-do list in the first instance because DS and I put the list together. I told him it was like the Dinosaur ride at AKL....sadly, he didn't really enjoy that ride. So, he wasn't keen on IJ and didn't want to add it to the list; although I'm pretty sure he will change his mind when I get him on.
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:05 PM   #29
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Details, Schmetails – Central Coast, California

On Anaheim Departure Date, we have a number of possible options that could serve as stopping points along the way:
  • Catch up with Shushh, potentially at Santa Monica pier.
  • Head to Farmer’s Market/Grove for some shopping and lunch.
  • Head out on the road and find a nice little town to stop at.
  • Shopping…potentially head towards Camarillo Factory Outlets.
  • A combination of the above

We have no definite fixed plans for this day, other than to head towards Solvang.

Solvang



For those of you that have not been to Solvang, it is a little taste of a Danish town in the middle of the Californian Central Coast. I swiped a couple of pictures of the net for visual effect and hope to have my own set of photographs to put in the TR section of this thread. (Apologies for the size of the pictures.)

From the moment you drive in, you’re pretty much transported to Europe, complete with Danish pastries and paved/cobbled paths.





DS has never been to Europe and we figured this might be a way of getting him to think about a trip in an opposite flying direction.

There were a number of accommodation options in Solvang that we considered; but in the end, we settled on one where the rooms were individually decorated. We did consider a couple of the big chain hotels; but really, we figured that we were heading into a country town so a breakaway from mainstream seemed in order. The room does include continental breakfast.

Our check-in is at 3 pm and after settling in, we will head out for some exploration and find somewhere for dinner.

DH and I have been to Solvang once before…and I think it was in 2000 when I was pregnant. So, technically, DS has also been to Solvang as well.

DH remembers a shop in Solvang that sold Tiffany lamps. He specifically remembers a lamp that was shaped like a musical instrument and wants to head back there to see if it is still available. Yes, I know….If you see the massive hole in this train of thought and feel strongly about it, by all means…you can tell DH for me.

I know better.

I would like to hit the Elverhoj Museum in Solvang, one of only a few museums outside the home country that focuses on Danish culture. There is also the Nojoqui Falls County Park that has a 164 foot waterfall, hiking trails and playgrounds. DH and I really like the sound of the Nojoqui Falls.



Alternatively, we could go to the Santa Ynes Mission.




Up to Monterey Peninsula

After our continental breakfast, we’ll continue our road trip up PCH. There are a number of possible stops on this route:
  • Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove
  • San Luis Obispo
  • Mission Trail (San Miguel, San Luis, San Juan, San Antonio, San Carlos)
  • San Simeon/Hearst Castle
  • Morro Bay
  • Big Sur
  • Carmel

I would personally love to get back to Hearst Castle and take another tour. But DH isn’t that keen. So, there is only a remote outside chance of us stopping there.



If the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove is opened, I’ll be making DH stop there, even if I have to open the car door and jump out! We once caught the tail end of the MB’s up in Pacific Grove and I would love to see these Butterflies in the Eucalyptus trees.



I suspect that we will be stopping practically every 10 minutes on this road to take photographs; but as we have the whole day to get from Solvang to Monterey (normally a 2 – 3 hour drive at the speed limit), the only issues will be avoiding traffic and watching out for mudslides.

Monterey

Our stop for the night is a hotel in Monterey.

My original preference was Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch in Carmel. The website indicated that there was a 2-night minimum stay at the weekend and when I called them up, reception confirmed the same thing. The only option was to wait until the Wednesday before the weekend when they would be likely to release rooms for one-night stays. I would have liked to wait but figured that I would have very limited opportunity to call from the plane to secure a booking.

So, I asked some ‘Old Fogies’ Dis-ers that live in NorCal about recommendations and the hotel of choice seemed to meet with their approval. The hotel isn’t in the heart of Cannery Row; but it is within walking distance. There is also a chance that one of the Old Fogies and I would do a mini Dis-Meet, either here or in Silicon Valley during the week.

There are a number of things to do in Monterey and I’m interested to visit California’s First Theatre, which unfortunately seems to be undergoing renovations. Still, it might be interesting just to walk past and take a look at the structure from the outside.



The Monterey State Park seems like it contains a number of historic houses that might be worth taking a look at. And then there is always the beach to visit!



Alternatively, there are a couple of chapels and cathedrals that might provide some architecture interest on this visit. Failing all else, we can always take a look at the artsy shops in Carmel..



or the touristy shops in Cannery Row...



I suspect that we will not have enough time on our drive-through visit to Monterey to explore the area properly.

Heading towards Silicon Valley

After our 2 nights on the road along Pacific Highway, we will make our way to Silicon Valley and our home away from home. DH will need to start work the day after we arrive and that leaves DS and myself with 5 days worth of exploration. We are hoping to catch up with family during this stay. I have a cousin that lives in San Francisco and DH has an uncle and cousins in the area. It will be a bittersweet visit with DH’s uncle and family, completely tinged with sadness. My FiL (his uncle is a brother to FiL) passed away just before Christmas and the San Francisco family will want to catch up on all the news.


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Old 12-30-2010, 05:38 PM   #30
franandaj

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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
On Anaheim Departure Date, we have a number of possible options that could serve as stopping points along the way:
  • Catch up with Shushh, potentially at Santa Monica pier.
  • Head to Farmer’s Market/Grove for some shopping and lunch.
  • Head out on the road and find a nice little town to stop at.
  • Shopping…potentially head towards Camarillo Factory Outlets.
  • A combination of the above

We have no definite fixed plans for this day, other than to head towards Solvang.
Let me offer you a hint. GET OUT OF LA COUNTY AS FAST AS YOU CAN!!!!!!

Rush hour has become longer and longer, the window in the day that used to have light traffic has become very small. If you don't get out of LA County before 2 or 3PM you run the risk of hitting the Vetura County commuter traffic. I know it was the Christmas Holidays, but it took us six hours to drive about the same distance that you will be going. We took the I5 to the Ventura Freeway. If you plan on taking the 405 (Santa Monica), well the locals don't call the the 4 or 5 hour freeway for nothing!

I'd place my money on going lickety split to the Camarillo outlets for some shopping and have a nice Seafood lunch at the Ventura Harbor Village. Then you can move along to Solvang and hopefully arrive before dark! If you're on the road by about 9AM most of the traffic should be overwith, not gone, but at least not stopped.

Sounds like fun the rest of the trip, I've never been anywhere you're considering except Hearst Castle, so I can't comment on any of those!
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