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Old 11-16-2012, 03:29 PM   #661
brookelizabeth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post
I'm doing the 6 day dance with you!

Impressive that you persevered to find the sign, what a total UGH of an experience. I hope getting to the pier was relatively painless after all that.

Can't wait to meet you next week!
It was so fun meeting you!!!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaireW View Post
Glad to see you updating again - and it sounds like you've got lots more to write about too!

And when you get so far as planning your trip to Europe, head this way with questions about coming to the UK
I have TRs on deck...I really want to write about my cruise experiences from this year too, but we'll see...I always think I can do a "quick" TR, but that never happens.

Joe and I were talking about Europe the other night, we want to do an ABD for sure (open to location), Disneyland Paris and Germany. We are thinking maybe doing London for a few days, and possibly the ABD in Italy (Joe's first pick). I have no idea yet...BUT, when we do figure it out, I'll let you know!

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Originally Posted by ladylyons View Post
The sad thing is we always drive and I don't have a problem driving through the city's and traffic. We go to San Francisco enough so I've gotten used to small very curvy roads. I'm really thinking about it this next trip in December. Now just got to talk DH into it.
I was soooo nervous about LA traffic! It wasn't that bad, but ANNOYING. Oh Lord - just wait for my next update.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poolrat View Post
YAY I am caught up


I will see you in about a week

You found the sign!!!!



So glad you ventured off property, I wasn't so brave.


Summer trip in my siggie and hopefully soon the DL trip.
It was awesome seeing you again!!!! It was so fun seeing everyone, I kept forgetting who I had already met in real life because it just felt like I knew everyone already.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoonerGirl View Post
Oh I can totally hear what was probably going on in Henry's mind, "we drove an hour and a half just to look at this sign!". Poor kid, I bet he was bored to tears, lol!

Glad you finally made it!
I am SURE you are right! He did NOT get it at all!

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatMark View Post
Brook, between vacation, a funeral, putting mom in a nursing home and work, I'm finally catching up on all my threads.

I loved your updates. So glad you got to see the Chinese Theater and you found the Hollywood sign. We've only been to San Francisco (and that was actually sitting at the airport waiting for our connecting flight to Las Vegas after flying home from Hawaii), but I would love to go to LA/Anaheim some time.

I'm not up to that part in my TR yet (I actually just got it started), but I hope your check-in at OKW goes a lot better than us...very disappointed in that experience last month.
Oh Kathy, I understand getting behind-and I haven't even had the battles that you have of late.

I really want to get to San Francisco sometime, it's always been on my "list" of places to visit. Maybe a California Coastal cruise is somewhere in my future.

I read about that in your TR since! VERY frustrating. Ours, thankfully, went very smoothly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OneTreeHillAddict View Post
I felt like I just took a virtual tour of Disneyland. Now I want to visit for real. Soon, very soon.

Your little boy is so handsome. I love his hair!

I have a question for you. Which Disney do you prefer? DL or WDW?
Whenever I do planners for Disneyland, or even look at my own pictures, I want to be there NOW too!

Thank you for the kind words about my little man. We were surprised with the red head, but it's recessive on both sides, so it makes sense!

That is a TOUGH question. In many ways we like WDW better, but in other ways we like DL better. I will say Disneyland has better entertainment, better upkeep on rides, and many of the rides are just better in general. WDW is better in being it has Epcot and Animal Kingdom - two very unique things you just don't find even a glimpse of at Disneyland. Disneyland is EASY. Oh my gosh, so easy. Walk to the park, walk to your resort. Park hopping doesn't require a mode of transportation and another bag check! With little kids, Disneyland rules. But, WDW is better for a longer stay - you get immersed into the "bubble" and you don't as much in Disneyland because once you step outside the park area you are hit with real life instantly. Harbor Blvd is a BUSY road...real life is just outside...WDW is a complete escape with no need to ever leave property.

I think I lean toward Disneyland a bit more at this point in my life. My kid is 5, so DL is easier...plus it still holds the novelty factor with that we've only been there once, know what I mean?
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:51 PM   #662
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tehSAC View Post
Wow great report! Trying to catch up.

A few years ago a couple buddies and I visited LA, and we too tried to get as close as possible to the sign too. Most likely we traveled the same roads you did. Views up there were amazing.

Your photos look similar to mine. . Look forward to catching up on the rest of your report!



Yes! Our pictures do look quite similar!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caretames1 View Post
What a great tour of Hollywood! We have decided to that in the next 5 years we will attempt DL and Cali. I say attempt because WDW is so alluring and a cruise is something I'm really interested in. We'll see.

How long did it take for you to drive from DL to Hollywood and the Theater area?
You won't regret going out to Disneyland and California! It's absolutely wonderful! We definitely want to return now that we've been there...it's funny, the Disney addiction used to just be WDW, now it's WDW, DL and DCL! OY!

The drive from Disneyland to Hollywood was less than an hour, and the traffic was nothing - very easy drive!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jedijill View Post
Yay! You are back and I am caught up. Henry keeps getting cuter.

Jill in CO
I was back...then gone again...now back again.

Thank you. I think so too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by elphie101 View Post
Glad to see you're back! I think the transition from summer to school season throws everyone into a loop hahaha.

Your TR has been a life saver for me so far, as an East Coaster planning my first trip to DLR (well, the first trip my parents didn't plan ), especially your latest installment going outside the Disney bubble. Definitely want to look into renting a car at DLR for the day, and on getting to the park to see the Hollywood sign!

Can't wait for more!
I think every transition throws me into a loop...but now with school started, travel over, the stuff with Hurricane Sandy has calmed down some, I am actually catching up on life! It's a true miracle. Just in time for the holidays to kick in.

You'll love your DLR trip! It's totally worth the looooong flight! I am glad we went outside the Disney bubble, and next time we go there, we will do it again. There is just too many wonderful things to see, I have to try and get a few done each trip!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiggerrn2 View Post
Sorry I missed the send off! Hope you are having a great time at OKW!
No worries! We had a GREAT trip! One of my favorites.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IWISHFORDISNEY View Post
Long time no talk. I am loving this trip report and it has given me alot of ideas for our Cali trip. The pics are awesome as usual!! Have fun in sunny FL this week. Hope you get to do the Halloween party.
Glad my TR has helped a bit for your trip! We didn't get to the Halloween Party - we were going to, but decided against it about a week before we left. I'm glad we didn't go, even though it's been on my list forever. We just had so many other things going on, and with our friends there, it was just better to skip it. Next time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by annmarieda View Post
Looks like quite the journey to get the hollywood sign! At least now you can say you have "been there"
Exactly! Been there, done that, next time I'll just buy the t-shirt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poolrat View Post
Caught up and Welcome back!!!!

It was great seeing you again and so sorry it wasn't longer.
Me too! I wish it had been longer, and I wish it had worked out for Joe and Henry to come along. I guess we will just have to do it again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiggerrn2 View Post
Welcome home!! Can't wait to hear about your trip.
Thank you! I hope to eventually do a TR, but I definitely want to write about a cruise first since it's different. After the cruise, then October...but then we'll have a Feb trip to write about too. What a dilemma huh? Our travels will likely be fewer in 2013 though as we save for 2014. I think. I just never know now with my job - side trips always creep up! (i love it!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by micandminforever View Post
Welcome home. I look forward to the pictures from your latest trips.
Thank you! I'm sure you've been seeing some on Facebook!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovemy3babes View Post
Welcome home Brook! So, so sad I missed you and Sheree on our trip. Like really bummed!
I am sad we missed you too!!!!!!!! BUT, our paths will cross again! We will just have to make sure of it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charleston Princess View Post
Wow! That ordeal to get to the Hollywood sign was something! I could feel your frustration, Brook! All's well that ends well, though, and you saw it!!! In person!!!

Glad you had a great trip to WDW! Excited to see your pictures and read all about it!
It was worth the trip once, but I won't be making that journey again!
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Old 11-16-2012, 04:06 PM   #663
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Life Update - Hurricane Sandy

Well, I don't think I've done a life update since summer...and so much happened since then, but the biggest one as of late is Hurricane Sandy. Many of you I am friends with on Facebook so you know how we fared, but in case you haven't heard, we were/are 100% FINE! I live in Queens, and fairly close to the water, but far enough away that we weren't affected. We didn't even lose power. Joe's office was very badly damaged and he won't be able to go back into the office until next month, but he's able to work from home-so nothing lost there.

Unfortunately that is not the case for over a million people on the east coast.

Hurricane Sandy hit us HARD. There are still people without power. Thousands lost their homes and everything they owned. Many people thought they were going to die...and many did.

It has been a hit on New York City (and surrounding areas), but New Yorkers know how to work together. Within a day there were sites set up with donations pouring in. People were taken care of, homes were already being cleaned and repaired. There is a long way to go, but we are making awesome strides.

I've been fortunate enough to be a part of this in a small way. I was reading on Facebook about the damage, sobbing and thanking God over and over for how very BLESSED I am, and saw a note that there was a donation site just down the street from me. I had NO excuse not to get out there and help. I posted that I would be spending $100 of my own money to buy supplies and if anyone wanted to donate, they could.

Long story short, with that one message over $3,000 was raised! I cannot tell you how much that means to me. To be the "feet" of this little project, blessing others in their time of need. It's been a life lesson for me, humbling and amazing.

I still have a chunk of change and am using it to help families I have met, and using it to help some various projects - like a Kids Center for the Rockaways (Queens - where the 111 homes burned to the ground), a project called "Astoria Cooks for the Rockaways" where people from my neighborhood (and Henry's school has gotten involved in this!) are cooking for those in need - the volunteers working, the people living there who still don't really have a home or heat. Anyone. Last week over 1200 people were given a HOT, healthy, home cooked meal because of this little effort. Amazing.

On Tuesday I will be going to the Rockaways to serve with Astoria Cooks. I am very excited about this opportunity!

Thank you to everyone here who has prayed for New York, donated time, items or finances, either through me or another source. You are MOST APPRECIATED! Every time I talk about it, or even think about it all, I end up crying. It's devastating, and yet something amazing and beautiful has come from it. My words don't even come close to my gratitude. Thank you.
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:00 PM   #664
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I'm so glad you are okay Brook when it could have easily been not the case. I cannot even believe the devastation this has caused so many. You are amazing for all you did!!!
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:18 PM   #665
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I know I already told you this, but I was very impressed by all that you have done to help out in the aftermath of Hurrican Sandy. Your efforts are truly inspiring. Keep up the good work!
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:27 AM   #666
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Glad you guys had no major issuses due to Sandy and are able to give back. My DD's preschool just had a fundraiser this week for the children that were affected by Sandy. We donated Teddy Bears to a local group called Project Night Night where they donate a bear, book, blanket and bag to children in need. They've already donated some and are doing more. Some of the pictures I've seen are just heartbreaking. We were glad to be able to do a little bit and my kids were happy to help other kids in need of getting a special bear.
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:04 PM   #667
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Wow, wow, WOW! God bless you for all that you do. I'm still praying for the eastern states. Stay strong!
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:08 PM   #668
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovemy3babes View Post
I'm so glad you are okay Brook when it could have easily been not the case. I cannot even believe the devastation this has caused so many. You are amazing for all you did!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEK View Post
I know I already told you this, but I was very impressed by all that you have done to help out in the aftermath of Hurrican Sandy. Your efforts are truly inspiring. Keep up the good work!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ladylyons View Post
Glad you guys had no major issuses due to Sandy and are able to give back. My DD's preschool just had a fundraiser this week for the children that were affected by Sandy. We donated Teddy Bears to a local group called Project Night Night where they donate a bear, book, blanket and bag to children in need. They've already donated some and are doing more. Some of the pictures I've seen are just heartbreaking. We were glad to be able to do a little bit and my kids were happy to help other kids in need of getting a special bear.
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Originally Posted by disneyismyheart247 View Post
Wow, wow, WOW! God bless you for all that you do. I'm still praying for the eastern states. Stay strong!
Thank you everyone! I have been amazed at the outpouring! Love that teddy bear project ladylyons! That is soooo sweet and wonderful. I'm sure those bears brought smiles to many children's faces!
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:04 PM   #669
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Until the Sun Goes Down on Santa Monica Boulevard!

Okay, so I didn't make it back last night - we ended up going into Times Square for dinner and the night escaped me...but I'm here NOW!

Last I left off we had just finally gotten to the Hollywood sign after driving all over, back and forth and in circles. Now we were headed to Santa Monica! I really wanted to see the beach and Santa Monica is just so iconic, it won out...and it looked easy to get to.

Just pretty much straight down that road until you hit the ocean.

Yep.

I called up my friend Cole again and she would meet us there. Perfect!

Let's roll! After getting turned around twice more and ended up back at the Chinese Theater we oriented ourselves and rolled on.


Pinks!


Everyone sing it...



Well, straight, it was to the beach, but easy, it was not! It was about here the traffic got bad. You know the stereotypical bad LA traffic. Yep. THAT traffic.

At first it didn't phase me. I was on a vacation high in the Carzilla. Great weather, we just saw the Hollywood sign, on the way to the beach! Woo-hoo! Paaaaarty!

Um...well that lasted about 15 minutes in bumper to bumper, stop and go, 4.2 million red lights, traffic!

UGH!

At one point we were just sitting there, for quite some time and Henry noticed the car next to us had a dog with his head out the sun roof. So we rolled down Henry's window so he could say hello and we made instant friends with the dog and the owner!




Look, no cars! Because that's not the street we need!


Something big-ish looking was going on here

Finally, traffic let up a bit and we could go more than 8 mph!

So pretty.

I had plans of getting to the beach much sooner than we did, but the traffic put us behind schedule by about 45 minutes and I had to make a bathroom break NOW. So when we arrived in Santa Monica, despite my friend Cole telling me to find free parking on certain streets for 2 hours, I found the very first free parking spot I could - and that was in a 1 hour spot near a parking garage.

But, the garage had a bathroom.

And it wasn't horrible.

(though, I have gone in many a NYC-public bathroom, so by normal people, it might have been! )

Cole beat us to Santa Monica.

How, I have NO clue, she left after us! But even she, used to LA driving (perhaps THAT is why she beat us! ), admitted how bad it was that day.

Car is parked, bladder is empty, the sun was setting - lets get to that beach!


Down a staircase that took you to a pedestrian bridge over the busy road (Ocean Ave I think?)


Sigh....





WE MADE IT! SAND!





Henry in his happy place...digging in the sand!

Cole and I were chatting as the boys went ahead of us...then I told her, before the sun set I just had to get my feet into that water! So we took off for the ocean!







It was gorgeous. And COLD. The ocean on the west coast is muchhhhh cooler than the east coast's due to currents. And it was January.


He was soooo happy!

Continued in next post
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:07 PM   #670
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Continued from previous post


Me too!


This one was my Facebook profile pic for a long time! Sums up the feeling of being there!





We decided to stroll toward the pier, where the big iconic ferris wheel is. When I had planned this, I envisioned us here much earlier in the day, getting a chance to explore the carnival area and even eat dinner here. Nope, not today. I had 1-hour to see this otherwise I'd end up with a nasty parking ticket!






It just never gets old. So beautiful.






Love this one.


Henry had found this heart in the sand and wanted his picture taken with it. So sweet!



We walked under the pier. Just because we could.







We then walked up onto the pier and decided our next move.


Cirque tents

The time on the car was expiring... A plan was made that I would run back to the car and get in, if a police officer came near I would drive away so we wouldn't get a ticket. Joe couldn't run back, because he cannot drive legally! Unfortunately, that meant Joe got to spend more time with my friend than I did! LOL! So not what I had pictured for our time here, but you gotta do what you gotta do!

I literally started to run, I had about 5 minutes, and Cole said the police surveyed that area OFTEN. She's had more than one ticket.

On their nice, leisurely walk to the car, a couple pictures...





When I got back to the car I was about 3 minutes late, but thankfully there was no ticket, so the plan was to wait for the rest of the crew unless a police officer came; however, someone saw me hop into the Carzilla and proceeded to wait until I left my spot. Soooo...I had to find a new one and get a hold of Joe before they made it back.

Finding a new spot was no problem, basically one block over...and it was in a 2 hour space.



Continued in next post
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Last edited by brookelizabeth; 11-17-2012 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:12 PM   #671
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Continued from previous post

When the rest of the crew arrived, we stood outside the car for quite a while, just chatting - it wasn't what I had pictured, but it was still great! It was wonderful to see Cole again. Eventually it was time to say our good-byes


Cole and I! I hope to see you in less than 10 years this time!


Bye Santa Monica!

We drove along the highway on the ocean as the sun set



We debated on stopping to eat somewhere along the way, but never really saw anything that struck us. Within an hour, we were back in the parking garage at Paradise Pier!


Henry LOVED our Carzilla. He always wanted his picture taken with it. But as you can see here, he's barely taller than the wheel area! Seriously, it was a beast!

We went back up to our hotel room to decompress a bit after the drive and figure out dinner.


Shells from the beach


I found this on top of the TV stand! I couldn't believe it! YEARS old!

After just a bit in the room we headed back out and into Downtown Disney to find some dinner. I was cold and very tired - I just wanted somewhere cozy to sit and enjoy some warm food.

Well, Downtown Disney at Disneyland is THE place to be on the weekend in Anaheim! It was VERY crowded with tons of entertainment going on. Normally I would enjoy this lively atmosphere, but, tonight it was a very big turn off. We were all indecisive about where to eat, but eventually ended up at Naples - the Quick Service that is basically the same as Via Napoli in Epcot.

There are only a handful of seats inside the Quick Service area, so we ended up eating outside - in the cold, sitting on cold cement.

To say it wasn't a magical moment would be 100% accurate!

However, the pizza was good and we just tried to make the most of it.




Calzone




Our view - it really is very pretty!

The food helped. We all perked up some and started to explore DTD for a while. I wanted something more to eat, beyond my slice, and the boys wanted dessert, so we started to wander.

Ah ha!


Yes please! I love me a hot pretzel!

The line, as ALL lines in DTD were that night, was very long - but Ridemakerz is right next door, so that was no problem - the boys were entertained!

My purchase

Pretzel bites! They hit the spot. YUM.

I found the boys in Ridemakerz


and peeled Henry out of there with the promise of a dessert.

Bribery works every time.

Joe wanted a baked item, so we stopped at the bookstore at the edge of Downtown Disney, near the Disneyland Hotel and they did have a dessert case. Both boys were very pleased and we went on back to the Paradise Pier with our bellies full. Sorry, no pictures - I was probably still devouring my pretzels.

In all, it was a very long, but FUN day. I'm so glad we adventured off property and despite the traffic and getting lost, I would do it again! Being in Southern California there are just SO MANY things to see, I couldn't not go.

And the next day in our trip report brings us to a very special day. A surprise for Henry. The only thing he knew is that we were going in the car again and not to Disneyland....stay tuned!
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:44 PM   #672
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So Henry made friends with a dog almost twice his size. That's too funny!

I'm glad you got to visit the beach even though you only had an hour. The pier looks cool and SO long. And the beach is SO wide. Wow!

Are you serious that the water is colder there in January then it is here. I find that hard to believe since our water is frigid. BRRRRRRRRRRH!

Ah - nothing like warm pizza on cool concrete. I'm glad it hit the spot.
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:33 AM   #673
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What a fun trip to the beach!! Sorry about the traffic!! It does get crazy!! I got to see that same Beverly Hills sign last month on my girls weekend. I was just on the wrong side of the car to take a picture!! lol

DTD is a great place to be but it does get busy on weekends!!!
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:25 AM   #674
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Marvelous pics! I was only at a CA beach once, and the water was cold in August!
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:42 AM   #675
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I probably would be glued to the side
 
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Much braver than I was.

Need to go stick my toes in the Pacific sometime.

I am glad you got there and got to see some of it. Quite the adventure.
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