Here we are already at the end of December! It was a pretty decent year for me as I finished my second bachelor’s degree, had good times with my friends and family and got to visit some of my favorite places. There were some stressful moments and I had a few doubts about being able to finish school, but it happened and I managed to have a few adventures while doing it.
In March I went to California for a few days to see my cousin and to experience my first WonderCon. We did a lot of new stuff; going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios for the first time, taking a WB Studio tour and exploring more of LA. All of it was amazing! It was such a fun trip and there is always something new to do in California. I definitely still have a bunch of things on my “to see in Cali” list!
In June I went to Las Vegas with my sisters, brother in-law, niece, her boyfriend and my two friends. It was my niece’s and friend’s first time so it was fun taking them to some of our favorite places and we managed to do a few new things as well. We stayed at the Paris, which is one of my favorite hotels on the strip, and although our weekend was plagued by plumbing problems in our bathroom, the hotel was still an amazing place to stay at. They have an amazing pool and the best brunch spot around at the Le Village Buffet. I like staying in the middle of the strip as some of my favorite casinos and things to see are close by, including the Bellagio and the Venetian. We went to the Titanic Exhibit at the Luxor, which not gonna lie was a little depressing, but pretty interesting and went to the Marvel Avengers Station at Treasure Island which is a cool interactive exhibit where you can see costumes and props from the Marvel movies. The Marvel exhibit is a must see for any fan and the fact that it was interactive made it pretty fun, plus there is a store with a ton of Marvel goodies to buy. Us girls had tickets to the Backstreet Boys show at Planet Hollywood our first night and it was such an amazing concert. The Axis at Planet Hollywood is a great venue and I loved the Vegas feel that the show had. On our last night we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris, which was scary as hell for me but had some amazing views!
Bellagio Conservatory – one of my favortie places to see in Vegas
Mural at the Marvel Avengers Station
BSB at The Axis
Bellagio Fountains from the Eiffel Tower
Eating is basically my favorite thing to do in Vegas and I was glad to have travel companions that felt the same way! We wanted to try new places this time around, so we went to the Grand Lux Cafe at the Venetian and Hash House A Go Go at the Linq, which was amazing! I had heard good things about it and it definitely lived up to my expectations. We also made it to my East Coast favorites, Wahlburgers and Shake Shack at New York New York, both being just as good as their Boston and New York locations. So much good food, good company and doing new things made it another great Vegas trip!
The Our Burger and fries at Wahlburgers
Shack burger and bacon cheese fries at Shake Shack
Pasta at the Grand Lux Cafe
Volcano nacho at Margaritaville
Sprinkles sundae at Sprinkles Las Vegas
Avocado/bacon farm scramble at Hash House A Go Go
In July my sister, nephew and I took a road trip to Montana for six days to attend a friend’s wedding. We spent a night in Missoula and a couple in Billings, attending all of the wedding festivities. We also went through Red Lodge, a neat little town with an amazing candy store and drove the Beartooth Highway to Silver Gate to spend our last night at a friend’s cabin. The highway was at times a little scary, but had some beautiful scenery. We had a fun time with friends we don’t get to see very often and managed to squeeze in some time at Yellowstone National Park. We had been once before with our parents when we were kids and it was even more amazing than I remembered it. We only had a day in the park and it was very busy so we didn’t get to see everything we wanted. We did manage to see Lamar Valley, Upper Falls, Canyon Village, the hot springs and a bunch of animals, including bears! We were talking about how cool it would be to see a bear and we ended up seeing five! It was exciting and definitely a highlight of the trip. I was also excited to find my Yellowstone Golden Ale! I had been searching for this beer since I had tried it a few years back on a different trip to Montana and there it was in the grocery store in Red Lodge! I love a good road trip and it was fun to spend time with my family and friends, plus taking my nephew to some very cool places.
Barrels of taffy at the Red Lodge candy store
Bear Tooth Highway scenery
Yellowstone Golden Ale
Mama black bear
Bison in Lamar Valley
More beautiful Yellowstone scenery
My last trip of the year was to Denver to attend another wedding of some very good friends. This was my second time there and it was fun to go again with some of my best friends. There is a lot of fun stuff to do in Denver. Over the course of five days we managed to take the Coors Brewery tour where we got to sample some beer and learn how it is made, explored a little bit of Red Rocks and drove up to Estes Park to the Stanley Hotel where we had lunch. All must sees when in Denver! The wedding welcome dinner was held at Casa Bonita, famous because of South Park and it was such a fun experience. It seriously is just like everything South Park says it is with questionable Mexican food, an arcade, diving shows and Black Bart’s cave. The waiter even showed us Cartman’s table! My friends got married at a beautiful monastery and had an amazing reception with a ten course meal! It was one of the best weddings I have ever been to and it was such a wonderful weekend with friends.
View from the Red Rocks
Dive pool at Casa Bonita
Colorado Rockies in the back
Butterflies descended on us all weekend!
Overall it was a good year and I am grateful for the places I got to go to. Now that I am done with school I am really excited to have more free time. The year is starting off with a week in Kauai and another trip to California in July, with hopefully checking off more of my Oregon bucket list items in between. Thank you to those who have read my stuff this year! Hoping for a happy, healthy and adventurous 2018!
I took my 2017 California trip back in March and it has only taken me six months to write about it! In between going to school and working, it has been hard to find the time. So here it is!
I love California. If I could, I would move in a heartbeat and try to be the entertainment journalist that I have always wanted to be. For now though, I am content with the times I get to visit, plus I am thankful for the cousin who lets me stay with her and goes on the adventures with me!
I still have a lot of California bucket list items and on this trip I got to tackle a bunch of them; The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, the WB Studio Tour in Burbank, a visit to the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and a day at WonderCon in Anaheim. Harry Potter was first on our agenda! The last time we were at Universal Studios in 2014, they were starting to build this so we were anxious to go! I had been looking at pictures and reading about all of the things to do so finally being able to see it in person was amazing. All of the details that they put into everything is super impressive; from the pygmy puffs at Zonkos, the pumpkin pasties at Honeydukes, the entertainment provided by the frog choir, to the Butterbeer that tastes just like you have always imagined it would. They don’t leave anything Harry Potter out! One of the main things to do there is to walk around and browse the shops; Ollivander’s Wand Shop, the Owl Post, Honeyduke’s and Zonko’s to name a few where you can get pretty cool merchandise. For food there is The Three Broomsticks, plus some beverage carts where you can get Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice. The Three Broomsticks serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with dishes like shepherd’s pie, roast chicken and ribs on the menu. I had the fish and chips at the restaurant and it was delicious. Plus if you want an adult beverage head over to the Hog’s Head Pub, which has beer and hard alcohol (if you want to add an extra kick to your Butterbeer, add a shot of fireball!)
Entrance into Hogsmeade
Treats at Honeyduke’s
Fish and chips at The Three Broomsticks
For the rides in the area, there is The Forbidden Journey and the Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster. The Forbidden Journey should be the first thing you get in line for when you get to the park as the lines can get over an hour long. The wait isn’t so bad though because you get to walk through Hogwarts and it is very cool! I won’t spoil the ride or what is inside, but both are worth waiting for! What isn’t worth waiting for is the roller coaster as it is only like a thirty-second ride. If there is no line for it then I would say go, just so you can at least see Hagrid’s Hut and Sirius’ motorbike.
Overall, Universal did such an amazing job with it and I can’t wait to go back. I definitely want to go to the Orlando Wizarding World one day as it also has Diagon Alley and more rides than Universal Hollywood. The rest of the park is pretty fun, Jurassic Park being one of my favorite rides, but we spent almost the whole day in Hogsmeade. We got a little time to walk around, but ended up going on just the Studio Tour and the new Walking Dead attraction. Our day ended with looking in shops at the CityWalk , which is a fun place to hang out at without having to have a ticket to the park, and having dinner at Margaritaville.
We spent our next day at the Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, taking their amazing tour. After you check in, you join a group and hop in a cart to be driven around the studios by a guide, stopping at places along the way to see sound stages where TV shows and movies have been/are being filmed, the prop department and cool exhibits. We got to walk around their New York City set that they still use and have used for Annie, Friends, Gremlins, etc. and got to check out the set of the Freeform show, The Fosters. We stopped at cool exhibits featuring Harry Potter and DC movie’s costumes and props. You also got to make a stop at the prop department to check out the tons of items that have been used in many movies and TV shows and that they continue to use today. Anything with a tag on it was going to be used for a show later on! We also got to see inside the picture car vault that currently has some of the vehicles and props from the Batman movies. This was my definitely my favorite part of the tour and one prop that I thought was cool was the Gotham snow globe from Batman & Robin.
Props from various movies in the prop house
The snowglobe from Batman & Robinman & Robin
Harry Potter costumes
Various Suicide Squad costumes
My favorite sets we got to see were the cafe that was featured in La La Land, which was only a limited time feature and after the tour, we were dropped off at Stage 48 to see the Central Perk set from Friends. This was so cool to see and you get to sit on the Friends couch to take a picture! My favorite show is Friends so it was so fun to see the set and we got to drive by the stage where they filmed the show. Stage 48 also features some cool interactive stations where you can sit on a Bat Pod or a Harry Potter broom in front of a green screen and take some pictures! The tour ended at the Central Perk Cafe where we got some coffee and we walked through the WB Studios Store. Being a TV/movie/pop culture buff, this was one of the best tours to take and one of the coolest things I have ever done. They change the exhibits from time to time and it is definitely something that I would consider doing again.
La La Land cafe
The Friends stage!
Central Perk set
Actual cafe serving coffee
After our tour we decided to go to the Griffith Observatory where we met up with my sister who was on vacation with her family. We parked near the Greek Theater and caught a bus up to the observatory as it was only a few dollars and better than trying to park somewhere on the hill. There are no fees to get on the grounds, go into the building or check out the telescopes, but one to go to the planetarium. There were a lot of people and it was late in the day so we didn’t stay too long. Just enough to walk around the property and look inside for a few minutes. It is a pretty cool place and I definitely want to go back to see a show at the Planetarium.
View of LA
We did go to Disneyland the next day to hang out with my family and it was crazy busy. But that was expected since it was Spring Break! There weren’t too many new things since I had been there last and they were still building the Guardians of the Galaxy ride. It was a fun day with getting to ride my favorite rides, eat all of my favorite things (dole whip, churros and Sprinkles cupcakes with a new Downtown Disney location) and have a great time with my family. It was my niece and nephew’s first time to the park so it was pretty cool to hear about all of their favorite things at the parks!
We spent my last day in California at WonderCon, which is why I went down in the first place! The convention is held at the Anaheim Convention Center, which is a pretty nice space. We mainly walked around the show floor and while I had hoped to see the Agents of Shield panel, the line was too long by the time we got to it so instead we got to see the WB panel which featured Annabelle Creation and Wonder Woman. We got to watch some clips of both movies and it was fun to listen to Patty Jenkins talk about Wonder Woman, which turned out to be my favorite summer movie. I did an entry a while back ranking my favorite conventions and I would put WonderCon in the middle of the pack. It had a good amount of exhibitors/artists, but I thought that there would be more TV show/movie panels. Overall it was a good first time there. It is nice that the convention center is withing walking distance of Disneyland and we finished the day at Downtown Disney, having drinks at the Jazz Kitchen and checking out the shops.
It was such a fun five days and I was glad to be able to cross some things off of my bucket list that had been on there for a while! I am hoping we will get back to SDCC again, plus hope to see more on my Cali list; Hearst Castle, San Francisco, the dinosaurs in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure which are near Palm Springs and Disneyland during Halloween to name a few! I always have so much fun on my trips to California and I can’t wait to plan the next.
In a few weeks my next adventure will be going back down to California to visit my cousin for four days, with one of them being spent at WonderCon at the Anaheim Convention Center. I am not sure what to expect from this convention as it will be my first time attending and all I know is that it is put on by Comic-Con International, who runs the huge San Diego show. I am really into pop culture and these conventions have become favorite events to go to. Going to panels, walking the exhibit floor, sharing experiences with people and seeing all the art that people come up with are some of my favorite things about the conventions. I have been to many different ones on the west coast and it got me thinking about my favorite and my not so favorite. Here are the ones I have frequented and my thoughts on them.
San Diego Comic Con – SDCC has definitely been the best con I have been to and it is a ‘you must go at least once in your life’ convention. It is pretty big and a lot of people attend. You definitely have to be ready to be surrounded by people almost the whole time, be ready to sleep outside in line to get into panels that are on your bucket list and be ready not to eat a decent meal for a couple of days because you are spending hours in Hall H to watch panels or hours in line. I know, this all sounds horrible, but I have honestly had the most amazing times in the years that I have gone. The con is four days, always held in July and registration for tickets is usually early in the year. It is a good idea to scope out hotel/airline prices right after you get tickets. My first time going was with my best friends in 2010 (you can read about my full experience here) and we were easily able to get four-day passes with preview night almost a year before the con (this was the only time going to SDCC that this happened for me). I got the idea of going from the coverage of it in Entertainment Weekly and pitched it to my friends the summer before. We managed to see a lot of fun panels and I got to attend a couple of fun parties. It was an awesome first experience.
Iron Man floor display
I have been back twice with my cousin, scoring a Thursday ticket in 2013 and then somehow managing to get all four days in 2014. Even though we only went one day in 2013, we saw a few movie panels and got a lot of cool stuff from walking the floor. The 2014 trip was awesome because we saw almost all of the panels that were on our list. This was my first year of sleeping outside, which I had vowed I would not do, but if you have your heart set on seeing certain things then you have to make sacrifices! In two days we only got eight hours of sleep, but it had been totally worth it. We were able to see some pretty awesome movie panels like Marvel (Ant-Man and Avengers), The Hobbit, Mad Max and some cool TV panels; Game of Thrones, the Walking Dead, the last Sons of Anarchy panel and a special WB panel of Gotham, The Flash and Arrow.
Outside the con
Game of Thrones cast
The Hobbit cast
Avengers Age of Ultron cast
Batman masks in a display on the convention floor
We have tried every year since to go back and have not had any luck getting tickets. This has become a huge downside to this con. It has become so popular that now it is difficult to go. They changed their ticketing soon after the first time I had gone to an open registration and you have to sign up for a member id through the SDCC website. The ticket site is now a randomized system where you log in, you get placed in a virtual line and you basically sit in front of your computer for an hour waiting to be picked to buy tickets or wait for the site to tell you it is sold out. It is a frustrating system! But, San Diego is still a fun place to go and even if you only get a one day ticket or nothing at all, there is still so much outside of the con and you never know what cool things you will get to see or the people you will meet. It is helpful to follow the San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog for updates on the convention and when open registration will be.
Rose City Comic Con – It was exciting when this started in Portland and every year has been a good show. After more people showed up than anticipated in 2012, the first year it started, they wisely moved it from the Double Tree to the convention center which definitely provided more space. The convention center floor is very open and I never feel like I am too crowded when trying to navigate it. RCCC is slowly getting bigger and they have definitely improved the show over the years when it comes to guests. It is nice to have a local con and to support local artists and shops. It runs in September and this year has been expanded to three days.
Emerald City Comic Con – ECCC happens in March and is a four day convention. I like going to Seattle and a lot of my friends go to this con too so having a group of people there makes it even more fun. I have gone a few times since 2011, but it has been getting more crowded and Seattle is becoming more expensive to stay the weekend. Usually it is who the guests are that help me decide on going. They do always have cool exhibits, like a Lego display or costumes from a movie, and they have a ton of vendors and artists in the exhibit hall. Plus, Seattle has so much to do in the city in case you need a break from the madness. One of the highlights from attending has been meeting John Noble and Jasika Nicole from Fringe. They were two of the nicest people and I got a photo with them, plus they were nice enough to sign it for me right before the convention closed for the day.
Cool Harry Potter lego display
Hunger Games costume exhibit
Even Starbucks gets in on the fun
Wizard World Comic Con – This may have been the con where I got to meet the Chris’, but I find the Wizard World ones over priced and unorganized. WW does events throughout the year in different US cities. My first WW was in 2015 in Portland and I went because of the guests. In 2016, they were adding people from the Marvel casts to almost every city but Portland. My best friend and I wanted nothing more than to take a picture with Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth so we ended up canceling all of our Emerald City Con plans (we had everything booked!) to go to Philadelphia. While touring the city and eating Philly cheesesteak was a lot of fun, the convention was frustrating. We decided to only go for one day since we had limited time and ended up spending most of the convention in line due to photo ops being so behind. There were so many people waiting for pictures and the lines were still huge after we had gotten done. The picture itself was so fast; being a hi, get ready, snap the photo, out the door. The night before we had talked about how we wanted to pose, but when it came time for the picture we had no time to ask and both of us could not even say one word to either of the Chris’ anyway! At other cons, I have actually gotten a chance to talk to people who I was taking a picture with or getting an autograph from so it was a little disappointing.
Everything was running behind by almost two hours and there was barely time to see all of the exhibitors on the floor between my photo and autograph. Then by the time I had gotten done, the convention was closing. I read some stories online later on about how some people got turned away from the photo ops they paid for because the guests were out of time and had to be somewhere else. The upside of the weekend was being in a new city. I did have a great time with my friends and had good chats with people I had met in line so not all of it was frustrating. I did not attend the show this year in Portland and if I do attend this con again, it will definitely depend on the guests because $50 for just one day is too much!
I have had a lot of fun at conventions and love going. What makes it even better is having friends who are just as nerdy as I am and love to go too. I am excited for WonderCon and will probably attend Rose City again this year. I hope to some day get back to San Diego and some day attend the New York City Comic Con.
My aunt and I enjoy going on vacation together so over a year ago when we were talking about where we wanted to go next, the east coast was mentioned and we talked about what we wanted to see. New York had been at the top of my list for a while and I thought it would be neat to see some of Massachusetts too. Not long after, we booked our hotels in Cape Cod and New York! Time flew by and we spent 8 wonderful days exploring the east coast.
Portland to Boston is almost six hours and while the flight was nice, the getting from the airport to our dinner destination was a stressful experience. East coast driving is definitely more aggressive and cars were trying to make their way into our lane from all directions, most weren’t that friendly when it came to merging and at times you couldn’t even tell where your lane was! It was crazy and we were grateful when we finally made it out of the city.
I watch the Wahlburgers on A & E and trying their burgers was on my to do list so we made our way to Hingham to have dinner. I had the Our Burger, with lettuce, tomatoes, house made pickles, government cheese & Paul’s wahl sauce and some tots. Both were delicious! It is very cool inside, with the ceiling having the names of movies and TV shows that Donnie and Mark had been in. It was very fun to see the places that are featured on a show that I enjoy!
From there it was a three hour drive to our hotel, the Cove at Yarmouth. I had found this place through my Mom’s time share and it was pretty decent. It has two pools, a restaurant, laundry area and the rooms came with a keurig, microwave and mini fridge. It was in a good spot, in between the towns of Yarmouth and Hyannis, and easy to find.
We spent the next day exploring Cape Cod. There is a main highway that goes all the way up the cape and it is surrounded by trees. Being fall, they were all different colors and the drive was beautiful. Unfortunately you can’t see anything off the exits so you basically have to pick a town and start exploring. We chose Provincetown, at the very top of the cape, as the place to start. We spent the morning walking the town and checking out all of the fun shops. It is a cute place right on the water and has a cool Pilgrim monument that you can go to the top of, which we chose not to do, but you can see the whole thing from town.
We made our way to the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitors Center and Race Point. The visitors center has some really pretty views and you can see the Pilgrim monument from the observation deck! We did hit the beach at Race Point, but not for too long as we had more places to go. There were so many spots to stop and see the ocean or just walk around. I was in awe of how beautiful everything was.
Cape Cod National Seashore
Highland Light in North Truro
While trying to find a place for lunch, we found that it was common for most places to be shut down for the season. Someone told us later that most places close right after Columbus Day since it isn’t too busy during the fall/winter months. We made our way through Chatham to see the lighthouse there and ended up at the Skipper Chowder House in south Yarmouth where I had my first lobster roll. I am not a seafood person, but vacation is a time for trying new things! It was pretty tasty and I also had a cup of delicious New England clam chowder to go with it.
We headed back to Boston the next day to explore a little bit of the city and take a whale watching cruise, which had been on my bucket list for a long time. I had been reading ‘Patriots’ by AJ Langguth, which is about the American Revolution and I was eager to see all of the places in Boston that had come up in the book. We started out near the harbor and followed the Freedom Trail from the Old State House (the site of the Boston Massacre) to Faneuil Hall (where the patriots would meet in secret), past the Old North Church, to the Paul Revere statue and his house. I loved seeing all of these historical sites and I could have easily spent the day seeing more of them. I hope to go back to Boston one day and finish the trail!
Old State House
Old North Church
Paul Revere statue
Paul Revere House
Along the way, we ended up in Little Italy and came across a gelato/cannoli shop that we had to stop in and try both! The place was filled with a bunch of older men speaking Italian and we sat for a few minutes to listen to them. It was pretty neat and the cannoli was delicious!
We made our way back to the waterfront to the New England Aquarium, the place I had gone to online to get our tickets, and took a boat out to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. The website promises to see whales on every trip and they delivered! It was a nice, clear day and there were plenty of them out feeding. One even came up next to the boat for a few minutes and put on a show! It was a very cool experience.
For our last day on the cape, we took a ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard. We decided not to bring the car and ended up taking the bus around the island, which there were stops in each town and buses showed up frequently. It was convenient and cheaper than taking the car on the ferry, but we didn’t have time to see everything and couldn’t stop to see sights (like the Jaws bridge!). We stopped in Vineyard Haven and Oaks Bluff to look around and had lunch in Edgartown. There weren’t many shops open, so we ended up just walking around and it was a cool place to see.
Church in Edgartown
Harbor of Vineyard Haven
We left Cape Cod after four amazing days and headed to Newport, Rhode Island. We spent the day checking out the famous mansions that reside on the coast. The tour packages included either five houses or two. Since we had to be in Providence by the afternoon, we chose to do two and toured The Breakers and Rosecliff. The Breakers, built by the Vanderbilt family, has an Italian Renaissance style and had some amazing art pieces all over the house. Rosecliff is not as big, but is still impressive and my favorite room was the ballroom. Both houses were stunning and had amazing views of the ocean. It was an audio tour and it was fun to learn about the history of the homes.
The rest of the day was spent walking around Newport and driving to Providence to take the train to New York. It was a quick three hour trip and I was glad to be done with driving. The train ride was smooth and the views were amazing, with most of the route being along the coast. The best part of the ride was getting into New York and seeing the lights of the city! This was one of my favorite parts of the trip. It had been a long day of traveling, but seeing those lights got me excited and I couldn’t believe I was in New York!
We spent four amazing days in the city. I was a little nervous, mainly due to how big it is, but after the first day we easily got to know the area we were staying in and managed to figure out the subway. We stayed at Hotel St James, is an older hotel and had small rooms, but came at a decent price. One thing we hadn’t counted on was how there was no air conditioning in our room! They had taken all of the units out in anticipation of the fall weather, but it ended up being warmer and more humid than we were prepared for. The staff were very helpful though and found us the last fan! Overall it was an okay place to stay and you couldn’t beat the location! It was only a few blocks from Rockefeller Center and Times Square, so we spent the majority of our time in that area.
30 Rock is a really cool building with a lot of shops and places to eat inside, there were subway stations close by and there was a nice spot outside by some fountains to just sit and people watch. The NBC store inside was really cool and had a lot of merchandise from some of my favorite shows. I definitely spent a little too much money in there! We spent a lot of time in Times Square and it was such a fun area to be in. There were SO MANY people! New York is definitely not a place for someone who has crowd anxiety, but it is a fun place to people watch! For me the coolest part of the crowds was hearing all of the different languages being spoken!
We had bought a City Pass before the trip, which gave us tickets to a bunch of major attractions for a decent price. We used our pass to go to the Top of the Rock and take a Circle Line Cruise on our first day out. Both offered amazing views of the city with being able to see all of Central Park and Manhattan from the Top of the Rock. The Circle Line Cruise allowed us to see the major buildings from the river and we learned a few things, like which dock the survivors of the Titanic landed at and where the US Airways flight landed on the river.
Top of the Rock view of Central Park
View of the Empire State Building with Freedom Tower in the background
Statue of Liberty
The rest of the day we spent time in Central Park, had lunch at Shake Shack and went to the Museum of Natural History. It was kind of a bummer though because we only got to see one exhibit and an IMAX movie because of an event happening later in the evening that caused most of the museum to be closed off.
Our second day started at the Today show! Matt Lauer and co. don’t come outside until 8am, but it is a good idea to be there at least by 6 so you can check in and get a good spot near the cameras. I don’t think we made it on TV, but it was fun to watch them film part of the show.
We spent the rest of the morning at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, which is a very emotional experience. The museum is heartbreaking and insightful. There are a few exhibits inside that include damaged fire trucks, the last steel of the twin towers, plus pictures, documents, videos and audio that you probably can’t see or hear anywhere else. Both the memorial and museum are respectable tributes to the victims and should be seen while in New York.
We finished the day with a nice walk on the Brooklyn Bridge, ate some New York cheesecake and went to the top of the Empire State Building. It was foggy out that night so we couldn’t see anything from the very top, but the inside of the building is still neat and we had a little bit of a clear view from one of the lower floors.
Our last day was very rainy! We had breakfast at Ellen’s Stardust Diner (where there are singing waiters!) and by the time we made it to the Plaza Hotel and walked a little more of Central Park, it started to pour! We ended up going to a movie and finishing our shopping in Times Square. When the rain finally stopped we finished the day with taking the subway to Grand Central Station and having dinner with a friend. Despite the rain, it was a great last day of the trip.
Overall, this had been one of the best trips I have taken. All the places we went to were beautiful and there were so many things to do and see. Cape Cod and Boston were amazing and if I go for another trip, I would stay in Cape Cod again and just drive around Massachusetts. There is a lot of history all over the state and there is definitely more to see along the Freedom Trail.
Beach in South Yarmouth
Cobblestone street outside the Paul Revere house
Boston from the boat!
I loved New York so much and had the most amazing time there! My favorite part was the Top of the Rock and walking the Brooklyn Bridge. Both had the best views of the city. Everything I ate was amazing; the banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery, the pumpkin cheesecake at Junior’s and the burger, fries and beer at Shake Shack were my favorite! My only regrets in New York were not seeing a Broadway play and not taking the NBC Studio Tour. By the time we decided to do the tour, they were all sold out and the next one wasn’t until a few days after we were gone. Next time, I will do both, plus go to Brooklyn, look in all the fancy shops on Madison Ave, find the Friends building and eat more! I can’t wait!
It has been a while, a LONG while, since my last post and I have to say that I miss writing. My free lance didn’t turn out how I had hoped, but I have been wanting to get back to doing it for myself for a while now. First up, re-visiting my Nerd Bucket List and my Travel Bucket List. A few years ago I wrote these lists with the determination of trying to accomplish as many things as I could, but had some setbacks with my health right after I wrote both. For the past few years I have tried to get back to accomplishing things on both of these lists and I think it is time to get back to writing about them!
So one of the nerd bucket list items that I have managed to do since writing the list was #6, travel to Oahu and see some of the Lost filming sites. It wasn’t quite the tour I had wanted to take, but it was still satisfying. My aunt and I took the movie tour of the Kualoa Ranch, not just where Lost was filmed but also movies such as Pearl Harbor, 50 First Dates, Godzilla and You, Me and Dupree. Kualoa Ranch is one of the most amazing places I have been. It sits right off the ocean and the views of the mountains are amazing. On the tour you get to take a bus through the valley and stop at some of the movie locations. There is also a World War II bunker that now houses the submarine from Lost and various pictures/posters from the movies/TV shows that have been filmed in the area. The highlight of the tour was seeing Hurley’s golf course and the pond where the submarine scenes were filmed on Lost. It was such a great trip and it definitely made me love Hawaii even more than I already did!
#5 on my nerd bucket list, meet more celebrities, is the other list item that I have also kept up on. I have been to San Diego Comic Con and Emerald City Comic Con a few times in the past five years and have managed to meet some more people from my favorite movies and TV shows. Some highlights have been meeting Karl Urban, Stephen Amell and some of my favorite S.H.I.E.L.D agents, Brett Dalton, Elizabeth Henstridge and Ming Na Wen. In June, my best friends and I are traveled to Philadelphia to Wizard World Comic Con to see some of the cast of The Avengers. I still can’t even believe that my best friend and I got to stand next to Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans! When we were talking about going, I felt like it was a crazy decision to go all that way to talk to them for probably ten seconds, but then I thought that life is short and this is what we want to do. So we canceled everything we had booked in Seattle for ECCC and booked everything in Philadelphia in a matter of days! It turned out to be an amazing trip! We spent a day and a half exploring the city, then another day at the con. Yes, it was only about 30 seconds standing with the Chris'(which I was too nervous to even look at them!), but I had the best time with my best friends in an amazing city.
For my travel bucket list, since 2012 I have been to Oahu, took a road trip to Vancouver BC, been on two more California/SDCC trips, had a 30th birthday celebration in Vegas, explored parts of Colorado with my other best friend, went on an adventure to Lake Havasu, AZ with my mom complete with side trips to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam and this year I made it to the northeast, not only to Philadelphia, but split a week between Cape Cod and New York. I am hoping that in the near future will be a trip to D.C. and I never stop dreaming about New Zealand and Europe! Hopefully when my finances get a little better, that dream will become a reality.
So that is what I have been doing since my last post and I am okay with it. Life does not always go the way you expect it to, but I believe that it is better to make the most out of it. I am definitely grateful to be able to do the things I enjoy most and spend time with the people that I care about. Traveling has been what makes me happy so here is to more exploring the world and to more writing about it!
I am back after a hiatus and hope to keep up my blogging. I thought a good way to start would be a recap of my Vancouver B.C. trip this past Memorial Day. My BF loves, no, LOVES poutine and suggested a weekend up north. We left on Saturday at 4am so we could get a good start at exploring the city since we only had three days to do it. The drive up there was nice and I had to make a stop at my favorite doughnut shop, Top Pot, on the way. They are around the Seattle area, but I always go to the downtown one on 5th ave. The doughnuts are always fresh and the raspberry chocolate is my favorite. Their coffee is pretty good too.
After our pit stop, we continued on and made it to the border around 9 am. We spent about 45 minutes waiting in line and by 10:30 made it to Vancouver. A 6 1/2 hour drive is not that bad. Our first touristy stop was at the Vancouver Aquarium. One of the main reasons I wanted to come here was to see the beluga whales and they did not disappoint. They are amazing creatures and it was fun to watch them. Also at the aquarium were sea otters, dolphins, penguins, tanks and tanks of different fish and there was an Amazon/jungle exhibit with alligators, plenty of snakes and piranhas.
Overall, the aquarium was fun and there were many interesting things to see. We spent the rest of the day driving around Stanley Park, which was gorgeous. It also was a perfect sunny day and it made the park even more beautiful. There were a lot of people out enjoying the day: biking, taking wedding photos, sitting in the sun, picnicking and even rollerblading. I don’t think I have seen anybody rollerblade in years, but it seemed to be pretty popular.
We made our way back to Richmond, BC to our hotel, the River Rock Casino Resort. This place was only twenty minutes from Vancouver and easy to find. We had a nice one bedroom suite and it included a view of the water. The hotel had a buffet, a nice sized casino and a pool/hot tub area. It was really nice and I would definitely stay here again.
Sunday was poutine adventure day. We had breakfast at the buffet and then made our way to downtown Vancouver. Our first poutine place was the Fritz European Fry House. The owner was nice and we had a laugh thanks to Sam who thought poutine with pop was something other than poutine with a (soda) pop. He got the original poutine with the gravy and cheese curds and I had a hot dog. Both were delicious. I thought their poutine was even better than the stuff from the food carts in Portland.
We walked around Vancouver for a while, bought souvenirs and I made a stop for a nutella/coconut crepe. While in a t-shirt shop, the cashier told us about another poutine place we had to try. He got the notion Sam was into poutine from the shirt that he had bought…. with the poutine design. We made our way to La Belle Patate, our second poutine stop. Sam chose the poutine with ham this time, but there was so much of it he couldn’t finish. I tried this one too, but liked Fritz poutine better.
After downtown we visited Granville Island, the market district of Vancouver. It reminded me of Pike Place market in Seattle, with all the meat, vegetable, dessert and goods stands. We bought almonds, the “world’s best syrup” (which trust me, it is), sausage and pepperoni and sat down to enjoy some gelato. We had dinner at a restaurant on the island and enjoyed some local drinks. We went back to the casino and gambled for a while where i proceeded to be up seventy dollars and then lost it all. It was still fun though.
Our last day was spent driving and having lunch in Seattle. We had a delicious chowder filled meal at Ivar’s, walked around the marketplace and I had to make one last visit to Top Pot. Overall, I had an amazing weekend and would go back to Vancouver. The drive wasn’t bad, the food was good, the resort was comfortable and the city was easy to get around.
My last thoughts on Comic-Con with my favorite/least favorite moments and some more pictures of the favorite/cool things I saw. Would I do it again? Most definitely! I think this was a learning year and I know now what to do/what not to do.
Meeting Nathan Fillion: I had a bummer of a day on Friday when I couldn’t get into True Blood autographs or the panel. It made my day seeing him and getting his autograph. He was one of the people who was on my list of “celebrities I would want to meet.”
Castle panel: Another Nathan Fillion choice! He was very entertaining and they gave out a cool Castle water bottle. They teased a little from season three and they made him and Stana Katic read out of “Heat Wave”. Probably was my favorite panel.
Thursday, Hall H: I really loved listening to everybody talk; alot of the celebrities on the panels had some interesting things to say. It was worth sitting there all day and the three hour line wait. Expendables was highly enjoyable with all the stories going around about filming; seeing Tron footage was cool too. Loved listening to JJ Abrams and Joss Whedon talk about their projects and their thoughts on movies, tv and each other.
EW/CBS Fandemonium party: This was the highlight of my evening festivities I participated in. Entertainment Weekly sure knows how to treat their fans. On top of free snacks and drinks they added the CBS celebrities to the mix and an awesome swag bag. I got to meet my favorite columnists and loved chatting with them about television. Also met some cool girls that I hung out with for the night (which added on to the fact that most people I met were really nice and liked to chat).
Vampire Diaries autographs: This surely was an accomplishment! I didn’t want to give up on this and even though the mob was atrocious, I ended up getting what I wanted. All you have to do is wait it out! Loved talking to Ian Somerhalder.
Least favorite things:
LINES: Some of these are terrible! There is a line for everything including going down the escalator and crossing the street. I always felt like there was a line to get into a line.
The WB booth: I loathed this booth the whole weekend. If I go back next year, I am going to skip autographs and go to the panels. I don’t know if it is worth it being squished for almost an hour. I know that both WB and the security tried their best but they really need to move this booth somewhere you can have an organized line. They need to designate a better time and place.
Not getting back into Hall H on Saturday: I had already been into the hall in the morning, but because of the stabbing incident I missed out on the biggest event later in the evening which was the assembling of the Avengers. Also missed out on Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. I think I have learned my lesson on leaving my Hall H seat when you know something big is going down later in the day.
Missing out on True Blood: The one thing that I was looking forward to the most and I didn’t get to see any of it. If I go back next year I will definitely need to prioritize better.
Here are some of my favorite things that I saw like props and costumes with the mix of celebrity sightings.
I decided to write about everything after the week was over because I didn’t have time to do it! There are a couple of things that I learned at my first Comic-Con. One, if you have a seat in Hall H and something awesome is coming up, then don’t leave. Two, no matter how perfect your schedule is and how many things there are that you would want to see, it can’t happen. There is a lot of decision making when it comes to Comic-Con; for me it involved TV vs. movies or panels vs. autographs. This is going to be a long one, so bear with me!
Wednesday, preview night: For Wednesday it was basically our walk around the exhibit hall night. We got into San Diego in the afternoon and Addie and Anna were kind enough to let us store our bags in their room until our room was ready. We headed over to the convention center to check in and discovered a handy trolley system not far from our hotel that would drop us off in front of the convention center. We walked around the hall for the evening and checked out all of the vendors while being handed tons of swag. I had so much stuff by the end of the night I was already thinking about where I would store it on the way home. Including the ridiculous sized bags that we got, I ended up with four of them by the end of the weekend. It took me two hours to find the Vampire Diaries one I wanted and finally some guy traded me his bag. I got to try Pinkberry frozen yogurt for the first time and it was so good I went back again two nights later! We also had our needed In and Out burger for dinner. Overall it was a fun night.
Thursday: Big movie day. Dan, Mindy and I got to the Hall H line about seven and it was good that we got up early. Hall H is where all of the movie panels happen and there are ridiculous lines outside to get in. We waited almost three hours and actually scored decent seats and in between panels scored even better seats. On the agenda was some pretty good stuff. Megamind was first with the attendance of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill and a life-size cardboard Brad Pitt. Will Ferrell and Tina Fey were pretty funny together and I loved it when Tina stroked the cardboard Brad while it was on her lap. She said it was “something I always wanted to do.”
Tron was after and I really liked the panel. They showed eight minutes of footage and the new trailer in 3D. I am pretty excited for this movie and it looked amazing. Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde and Michael Sheen were all in attendance. Jeff Bridges gave us a lecture on recycling plastic water bottles, thought that was interesting. Battle: Los Angeles and Salt were next with Aaron Eckhart/Michelle Rodriguez for Battle and Angelina Jolie/Liev Schreiber for Salt. Battle: Los Angeles reminded me of District 9 and it looked pretty cool. I don’t love Angelina, but it was interesting to hear her talk about all the stunt work she did for the movie. It was impressive.
Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban and Mary Louise Parker showed up for Red. After seeing a better trailer, I am more interested in seeing the movie. All of the cast were entertaining during the panel. Bruce Willis seems like a leader and a chill guy. Karl Urban is awesome and he even yelled out “are you out of your Vulcan minds.” I can’t wait for another Star Trek. Love him! It is cool to see Helen Mirren in a bad-ass role when she normally plays, well, the queen of England! It should be an entertaining movie. After Red was the awesome JJ Abrams/Joss Whedon panel moderated by my favorite Entertainment Weekly writer Jeff “Doc” Jensen. It was cool to see them talk about movies, their work and how much they like and respect each other’s work. It was cool hearing about Lost from JJ Abrams and how much he loved the finale.
The Expendables was the last movie panel that I attended for the day. The moderator’s first thought about the movie was “it is an old school kick ass movie”. Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Steve Austin and Sylvester Stallone were all there with Bruce Willis stopping by for a quick cameo. It was definitely a man’s panel! It was pretty entertaining though and they showed some cool fight scene footage. When Sylvester Stallone walked in everybody started chanting “Rocky”. It was pretty awesome. He also talked about how there was always a hospital trip for someone during shooting the film and that Steve Austin broke his neck in a fight scene! These guys are hard core. I had to leave the panel early and missed out on more footage but only because I was going to an Entertainment Weekly/CBS party.
I was one of the lucky two hundred fans to get in thanks to EW writer Michael Ausiello and seeing his post on Twitter. I have to give props to EW and I like them even more now because they know how to treat their fans. They did free drinks and free food along with appearances from actors of Criminal Minds, NCIS, the Big Bang Theory and Hawaii Five-O. It was so cool seeing Daniel Dae Kim (Jin from Lost) in person. I didn’t get to get a picture with him but did snag one with Jerry O’Connell and he gave me a high five. I also met Jeff Jensen, Lost fanatic/writer for EW and Michael Ausiello. I told Doc Jensen how much I loved his writing and his passion for Lost. I also told him how much my sister Beth liked him too and he told me to say hi to her! She enjoyed that. Both of them signed my EW issue I brought with me and Michael Ausiello was fun to talk to. They gave out an awesome swag bag too complete with a Survivor buff. Overall the day was awesome and I was really happy that we made into Hall H for all of the cool panels.
Friday: This was True Blood day so Mindy and I dressed up in our gear. Our goal was to try to get autographs and/or get into the panel. This was the one thing I was looking forward to. I scouted out the WB booth for a while, but there was too much chaos. Nothing was organized and WB/Comic con security could not control the crowd. Too many women were hovering for the line.
Alas we were not successful so we decided to try to go to the panel. We got in line for the ballroom, but as I was checking Twitter I saw a tweet from Nathan Fillion that he was in the exhibit hall signing autographs. This was decision #1 so Mindy, Dan and I decided on Nathan Fillion. The line for the ballroom was heavy and we probably wouldn’t have gotten in so we left and booked it to the California Browncoats booth where he was. We bought the Serenity comic they were selling for charity and even though he had to be somewhere, Nathan Fillion still went along the line to sign autographs. We snapped a quick picture of him and he left. This was one of my favorite moments of the week!
We went to the Tron arcade after and on our way we ran into Thomas Jane who snapped a pic with me. At the arcade they had this really cool setup of old school video games, including Tron. They gave out Flynn’s Arcade tokens and had a cool Tron bar area in the back complete with techno music and the trailer showing every couple minutes. Afterwards the three of us split up and I went to a Tweethouse get together on the USS Midway. William Shatner and other Star Trek actors were on hand and other celebrities including Tyrese Gibson and Mark Valley were hanging around. It was nice to get out for a while and the Midway was pretty cool.
Saturday: Started off in Hall H again and attended the Harry Potter/Green Lantern/Sucker Punch panel. The Green Lantern looks pretty cool and Ryan Reynolds is pretty easy on the eyes! There was the cutest little boy asking him about how it felt to recite the Green Lantern oath and he recited it for him then gave him an autographed Green Lantern comic. A lot of the celebrities I saw were nice and cool like that. They even gave a lucky audience member Green Lantern ring off of Ryan’s finger! Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) showed up to talk about Deathly Hallows and there was some awesome footage shown. I am very stoked about this movie after seeing more clips of the first part. Looks like they are going to include a lot of important stuff for the fans, was very happy about that. They gave some cool swag out at the panel along with a Comic-Con exclusive Green Lantern comic and a cool HP shirt.
I left after HP and went to the WB booth to see if I could score Vampire Diaries autographs. I encountered the same madness from the day before and debated staying. I didn’t want to give up so I endured being squished for forty-five minutes! It paid off though and they selected me to go in line! It was truly an awesome moments. I got to talk to Ian Somerhalder and he even gave me a fist bump! And yes ladies, he really is that sexy and smoldering in person! Most of the cast was in attendance and I got a cool signed poster. Couldn’t get pictures with them, but I took some of the jumbo tron. I decided to skip the TV panels to get back in line for Marvel.
I finally got to the front doors of the hall only to not be let in because of some crazy nerd stabbing another nerd with a pen near the eye over a seat! The whole hall was madness, along with cops and an ambulance and they wouldn’t let anybody else in. I was bummed out because Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig were there for Cowboys and Indians then the whole Avengers cast showed up during the Thor/Captain America panel. Dan and Mindy did get some cool footage and I was glad that they got to see the panel. We finished our night with some dinner and drinks and went back to pack. Cool side note: Mindy and Dan ran into Ryan Reynolds and Dan got to shake his hand!
Sunday: Last day at the con and it was pretty enjoyable. I went to the Castle panel and got to see Nathan Fillion again. They talked about season three and showed some clips of the new Richard Castle book along with a teaser of season three. Nathan Fillion is such a cool dude! When people went up to ask questions he signed stuff to give to them. He even signed a package of Oreos and his wristband from a party the night before! He was hilarious too. There was the cutest little boy in a Malcolm Reynolds outfit and Nathan was kind enough to shake his hand. I was glad to get into the panel; it is one of my favorite shows and definitely a highlight of the con. We walked the exhibit hall for the rest of the day and then made it to the airport.
Overall it was an awesome trip. Everybody was really friendly and besides the freaky pen fight, nothing else that was crazy happened. There were so many cool costumes too and I loved that everybody got into it as much as they did. It was fun being a nerd and talking to people about TV and movies. Everybody had their exciting moments with Addie meeting her favorite comic people and Dan and Mindy got their comics signed that they brought. I got to meet some cool people along the way and the celebrity sightings were awesome! You have to keep your eyes open every second because they are everywhere (I kept seeing Dennis Miller everywhere and I also saw Adam Corolla). I might have only gotten to see a few things I wanted, but it is impossible to see everything on your list. I think a trip for next year will be in order with a few days tacked on for San Diego. We didn’t have time to explore the city and I definitely want to next time. Until next year!
So I decided I wanted to write about my travel adventures so that one day when I am older and can’t remember anything I can read them. Well, if Word Press still exists! It is like my own “Notebook.”
I started off my many travels for the year with a week in Florida. I had never been so it was a whole new adventure for me. There are so many things to do in this state and it was hard to choose which activities were most important. For two months I spent researching which beaches were the most fun, spent time on disney.com and researched any other parks or tours that would be cool to do. It was overwhelming! I of course wrote a few activities down that looked the best and consulted with my travel buddies.
Day 1: Our flight landed in Orlando a little after four pm on our first day, so it didn’t really leave time to do much. We were hungry so we dropped everything off at our hotel and made our way to Downtown Disney. This is a neat area right near the rest of the parks with tons of shopping and lots of places to eat. We chose Planet Hollywood for dinner and the food was pretty good, but inside is very loud and the waitress was rude. The rest of the evening we walked around the area and of course had to check out the largest Disney store on Earth – the World of Disney. This store has, no joke, twelve rooms devoted to any Disney merchandise you can think of. It was crazy and I think we didn’t even go into every room. Overall, Downtown Disney was pretty fun. The area was pretty big and couldn’t be accomplished in an hour or two. We didn’t get to see everything, but managed to get to the important stuff.
Day 2: Animal Kingdom was our first stop at Walt Disney World. This place was pretty amazing, but made for kids and animal lovers. The Tree of Life though is something that can not be missed. There are animals carved into this massive tree and pictures do not do it justice. We went on the safari that they have and it was like being at a zoo, but the animals get to roam free while an employee drives you around in a jeep. It was neat seeing the white rhinos, especially the baby one. The girls braved the Everest Expedition roller coaster and we took a walk through the jungle trek where there were tigers and silver backed gorillas to see. We stopped in Dino-Land for an “Indiana Jones” type ride with dinosaurs and stopped to meet some characters in Camp Mickey/Minnie. Overall we finished the park in five to six hours. It wasn’t very busy and took no time at all to get through the lines.
We finished the day off by exploring Epcot’s Future World. We mostly rode the rides and walked around the shops. We did encounter a surprise rain storm and it was definitely a different rain from Oregon. Epcot was having an International Flower and Garden festival for the month of May. This was a highlight around the park since there were characters and scenes from Disney movies made into flowers. It was definitely worth walking around to see the different displays. We had a short time in the evening so we only were able to check out the front of the park.
Day 3: We decided to head over to Universal Studios for day three. We chose Islands of Adventure over the regular park due to the extreme roller coasters that there were to ride on. I of course chickened out, upside down is not my thing. I did enjoy the Jurassic Park Jungle Adventure and the Adventures of Spiderman. There was also a cool raft ride that left us soaking wet by the end. The park was very fun and had a lot of things to choose from. Definitely would want to get there early in the morning, because there is lots to see and the park closes at seven on some days. The only disappointment I found was that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was not open yet, but you could still see Hogwarts castle and the village of Hogsmeade poking out of the fences to block it. It was a big tease being able to see it and not go in! This alone would be a reason to go back to the park. We did walk around the Universal City Walk after we were done. This area was for shopping and eating. It just didn’t seem to have lots of stores like the California city walk does. They might have been in another area though. Overall it was a very fun day, I wish we had a little more time though to explore.
Day 4: This day was spent at the Magic Kingdom. A whole day from open to close is required here if you want to see the whole thing and go on all of the rides. It is very close to Disneyland, except that the layout is a little different and some of the rides were missing (Mr. Toad, the Matterhorn, Indiana Jones). Even though it was missing some key rides, it was still my favorite place. There is something about Disneyland/Magic Kingdom that makes you be in a good mood no matter what. Even though your feet feel like they are going to fall off and you are dead tired after walking all day long or you are constantly running into people or being hit by strollers, you still have enough energy to finish the park or take another ride on something. Here I went on almost every ride and my favorite has always been Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Like Disneyland, there are also the fast passes to get in line later and these were pretty helpful. Overall the day was amazing and we got to do everything that we wanted to.
Day 5: Spent another day between parks starting at Disney Hollywood Studios. This park was pretty fun, felt like a Disney Universal Studios. We started with the Tower of Terror because I wanted to get it over with! For me it was scary and I had to apologize to Amy because I literally squeezed her hand off! Some kids ruined the drop for us so we knew when it was going to be, but when it happened my whole body was literally flying off the seat! Thank gosh for seat belts! The park also had another favorite of mine, Star Tours and a cool Indiana Jones Stunt show. We went on a new Toy Story ride and a studio backlot tour. I was disappointed by the lack of good places to eat. I wanted a milkshake and could not find one anywhere. We found a 50’s diner to eat at and they had milkshakes, but it was not what it sounded like. We were expecting hamburgers and it was dinners like meatloaf and tuna noodle casserole. So it was more of a 50’s home type diner and not the theme we thought it would be (juke boxes, sock hop type of place). We finished the rides we wanted to go on and decided to try to finish Epcot.
We moved on to the World Showcase part of Epcot, where they have different areas representing different countries. There were twelve in all. Three of us decided to “drink around the world” and share a beer from each different country. Epcot is definitely a place that you need two days at. One day for the front of the park and one day for the back. We were pressed for time so we couldn’t really go inside the shops or anything. We also had a goal to finish every beer by closing time! This was probably my favorite evening of the trip. It was a lot of fun and we had some good beers. My favorite was the Italian. We also happened upon a Davy Jones concert and listened to him sing “Daydream Believer.” We also met some cool Disney employees along the way. By the time we were through all of the countries we were exhausted! I would definitely go back though and explore each country.
Day 6: Our last day was spent at Cocoa Beach, Florida’s space coast because it is close to Cape Canaveral. We were supposed to go on an Eco-tour boat ride of the Banana River, but it got cancelled at the last-minute. My cousin and I were determined to see a manatee though so we found a manatee sanctuary park. There were some in the water, but we were only able to see their backs and fins. We made a stop at the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop and then made out way to the Cocoa Beach Pier. We spent a good couple of hours on the beach and playing in the water. The Atlantic Ocean is definitely different from the Pacific. It is warmer and you can walk out pretty far with it only being a little above your waist. The water is pretty salty and the waves are rough. There was a time where I got hit and my boogie board went flying in the air! The weather was perfect and it was a great day. We finished the day with dinner on the pier then went back to our hotels to pack. It was nice to have a relaxing last day on our vacation.
Overall Florida was pretty fun. Disney World was a little overwhelming, but very pretty amazing. If you want to see all of it, a good five or six days would be needed in order to take it all in. I already would like to go back since there were things I didn’t get to do. A visit to Gatorland, Harry Potter World and the Kennedy Space Center are on my list. Probably would do only Epcot and Magic Kingdom again at Disney, possibly a water park. Maybe a drive down south to explore. It was definitely one of my best vacations I have had so far. Next stop: San Diego for Comic Con in July.
So I am the type of person who when I get a little bit of extra money I go on a trip. For me life is about doing the things you want to do and not sweat the small stuff. It is also too short just to sit around and do nothing. And let’s face it, sometimes you need a break! So far in my life I have been to thirteen states ( Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, California, Minnesota, Utah, Wyoming, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska and South Dakota), Victoria, BC, and Mazatlan, Mexico.
I like to go somewhere new every year. I broke that rule last year and went to Anaheim again and Las Vegas again. This year though I have finally abided by my rule and made plans to visit two places I have never been to: Orlando and San Diego. I am very excited for these two vacations. I am spending seven days in Orlando and plan on visiting Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and probably will spend a day at the beach. I have never been to the east coast and look forward to seeing how different it is from the west coast. I wish we had a couple of more days though. I definitely would love to see the Kennedy Space Center and go to Miami. San Diego will be five days devoted to Comic Con and maybe a trip to the zoo or Sea World. Comic Con has been on my bucket list and I was glad to find some people who share the same desire to go.
Even though I am excited for these trips, I would like to go bigger. I am hoping that 2011 will be the year I will get to visit one of my top five places to visit. They are:
#1. New Zealand: Yes I am a huge nerd and would love to walk the road to Mordor. Besides the Lord of the Rings obsession, this country is gorgeous. I heard from a New Zealander that January or February is the time to go because it is their summer and everyone is at the beach partying.
#2. Egypt: The Ancient Near East was one of my favorite classes in college and I would love to explore Cairo and the Valley of the Kings.
#3. Washington DC: I am a huge history buff and would love to explore this city. I have seen a travelling exhibit of the Smithsonian and just that little taste was not enough. Would definitely want to spend at least a week here.
#4. Western Europe: My favorite subject in history is World War II and I would love to do a backpack trip through Europe. I really want to see Normandy, Paris, Berlin, the concentration camps, London, Anne Frank’s house, etc. My whole trip would be devoted to historic sites and visiting castles.
#5: New York: Another thing on my bucket list, spend New Years Eve in New York at least once.
This year, my goal is to save up enough money to go to one of these places next year. I have not decided on a place yet, so, where should I go?