West Coast Trip 2016 Pt. 1 – Disneyland & Comedy in LA

21 Jan

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This 10-day trip came about in a bit of a roundabout way. I’d been itching to make a Vegas run in early January with a work friend and meet Andy there*. Then my dad told us he had tickets with our names on them for Seinfeld in San Diego in January. After contemplating flying back and forth two weekends in a row, we decided to work through the holidays, save up some vacation time and make a long trip of it, spending a weekend in LA, taking a quick flight for three nights in Vegas and flying in to SD for some quality family time**. Everything worked out splendidly. We caught two comedy shows and a full day in Disneyland in LA, got our fill of Cirque du Soleil and gambling in Vegas and enjoyed Seinfeld and family time in San Diego before flying home to our Scooby. We’ll break down our trip in three parts, starting in L.A.

*Initially I was very much not invited, so I was planning on making a New York trip of my own to console myself.

**Zack really made it a point to ensure there were tons of activities I’d love, since he was worried I wouldn’t care for Vegas and just in general wanted me to feel relaxed and happy.

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We landed in L.A Friday afternoon and Andy scooped us up from the airport. Thanks to L.A. traffic we had just enough time to drop our stuff at our hotel room and head to The Comedy Store. Despite Andy still having a big cooler in his trunk from NYE and the hotel not being able to find our reservation, we got to the venue half an hour before the show started. And, it turns out, still managed front row seats in a nearly empty venue. Go figure!

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We only knew Ron Funches* and Nikki Glaser on the early line-up, but we were confident we’d be impressed by anyone the store brought up. Andy was used to the late shows and wasn’t sure when we’d need to be there to ensure we got in. We not only made it in, but we doubled the crowd just by showing up. That allowed us to settle in with margaritas. We haven’t reviewed ‘ritas in a while and these weren’t anything special, but they did the job. Definitely not worth a trip to the venue for the drinks alone, but the comedy made the drinks better, somehow.

*And Ron couldn’t even make it because he had a live taping of “Undateable” to attend instead.

IMG_0638Sure, the names on the marquee for the late show are bigger than the comics we saw, but we really loved the group of comics we ended up with*. I love the set-up at the store where each comic gets 15 minutes and they’re generally pretty tight, even when doing crowd work. The crowd was quite small, but we all laughed a ton and even got picked on a bit. Me for my boot, Andy for his cough, Andy’s friend for being from Israel, Caitlin for being from Texas, and Alex and Sade for something too, I think. We posed for a pic in front of the store as the line for the late show stretched all down the block in front of us.

*Kirk Fox was probably my favorite, but everybody was seriously hilarious. I’d say [SPOILER ALERT] this was the best comedy night of our entire trip.

IMG_0637We headed back to Andy’s to watch a couple episodes of @midnight and meet his cute puppy Gemma. She and I became fast friends. She gave Caitlin and I lots of face licks and made us miss Scooby. It didn’t take more than an episode and a half for me to pass out on the couch and we headed to our hotel to get some shut eye before a full day of Disney.

portosBefore we got on the road to Anaheim, Andy took us to his favorite local breakfast spot, Portos. They have incredible baked goods, are fast despite the constant long lines and are super affordable. We grabbed a few goodies and coffee to go and were soon on the road to the happiest place on Earth. PORTOS! Such a delicious delight.

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I was so overjoyed to learn that we’d get to visit Disneyland, I can’t even explain. I had never visited the original Happiest Place — I’d only ever made it to Disney World in Florida. I was worried that this trip would make me want to change my plans for my 30th birthday, but it simply solidified that this is going to be the best possible decision for me*. The only character we took a photo with all day was Alice (from Wonderland fame) because I was wearing a shirt that said “Alice im Wunderland” which is German, in case you couldn’t guess. She complimented me on my “style.” We actually took a much better photo than this** but I’m guessing Zack is cracked up by the ladies’ expressions.

*Caitlin really was the happiest girl in the happiest place. We’ll have to give her the full shebang with a long weekend in Disney World to do 30 right.

**Authentic photo > posed photo every time. Alice was dropping some knowledge right here. 

IMG_0670I literally jumped into the air* when I saw the Sleeping Beauty carousel in the middle of all of the Fantasyland action. It was a pretty solid carousel — didn’t go too fast so you could really enjoy all the stuff around you. We also popped into that ride you see behind me, “Pinocchio’s Daring Journey,” which is the stuff goddamn nightmares** are made of. The worst part is when the little boys turn into donkeys and they’re stuck in cages and crying, “Moooooom!” SO disturbing.

*An actual leap into the air. For a carousel. It was pretty adorable. 

**It’s pretty dark for a little kid ride. Thankfully, Jiminy Cricket was our guide.

IMG_0686I’m….not sure why Zack wanted this in here. It’s goofy. I like the smiles, blurry or not. 

IMG_0704The last ride we participated in on our Disneyland journey was the Small World ride, and it was still in its “Holiday Edition” format which I think actually made it a lot more enjoyable. Instead of singing “It’s a Small World After All” over and over again, we got a bunch of different Christmas tunes. The thing I love about this ride is that there is SO much to look at! It’s very easygoing, and just slow enough so you can almost take in everything but quick enough so it’s really not boring, as you might expect it to be. It was just delightful. It’s a Small World Christmas edition is Caitlin’s happy place. It may not be mine, but seeing her enjoy it so much did it for me. 

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This photo is from earlier, when we passed some time before the most thrilling ride of the day on “Pirates of the Caribbean.” This was the second-most thrilling ride because of two decent-sized drops* — one unexpected one in the dark, and a second one that is luckily lit. The thing I didn’t love about this is that they’ve updated it to include stuff from the movies they’ve made — there are a few animatronic Johnny Depps sitting around. But, I did enjoy that they added Davy Jones via a misty hologram. *I loved the drops. The rest of the ride is pretty decent, but those drops are legit exciting. 
buzzAnd here I am, looking like a super nerd in space. This was the first ride we did, where we just got to shoot stuff with lasers and Zack enjoyed spinning us around in our little spaceship. It was fun! I really enjoyed this ride. It’s fun to make your little car spin around and I felt like I was doing well at zapping stuff with my gun. I liked being able to control a couple aspects of the ride instead of just sitting there.

IMG_0712This Small World picture will have to stand for the stuff we didn’t get pictures of, the most important of which was Thunder Mountain. I was terrified to hop on this actual rollercoaster, but so glad we got a fast pass so I could sit down without thinking too much about it. And — it was AMAZING! I wanted to ride again right away. It was thrilling and fun, just the exact adrenaline rush I was looking for. Seriously, Thunder Mountain ruled so hard. I’m surprised Caitlin went for it, but glad she did. It’s fast, exciting and has some legit scary drops. I was bummed we couldn’t get on Star Wars Space Mountain*, but this provided enough thrills. If you want to ride Star Wars Space Mountain, get there as soon as the park opens and get a fast pass. The fast passes were gone by noon and the wait was never less than two hours the rest of the day.

*I was bummed about this too, if you can believe it. I was scared to ride it, but I felt like the Star Wars theme would get me through.

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We also rode Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, which was less exciting than I remembered (and you end up in hell?!), Autotopia which is basically just you driving a car on a track and you can’t go that fast, and…I think that might have been it? I feel like I’m forgetting something from Tomorrowland. We also had some yummy food* (although Dole Whip is COMPLETELY overrated in my opinion), did a little shopping (I have a BB8 cup!!!), and ended the wonderful day with the electric light parade and firework display. It was an absolutely magical and wonderful time**, and I can’t wait to see and do even more when we spend 4-5 days in Disney World for my 30th.

*My Asian Chicken salad for lunch and grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner were quite solid. And the black and white cookie Alex is displaying was solid as they always are, but you can’t top the Chewbacca Cheesecake. 

**Special shout out to Alex and Sade for being awesome Disney companions. We got to spend most of our Disney day with them and they made the lines feel shorter and the rides that much more fun. Yes!!! I 100,000% agree with this point. These two helped us utilize all the tricks of the trade and were just excellent company in general.

IMG_0718Sunday morning we made a return trip to Portos, tried a couple new treats and got our favorites again and watched that ugly Vikings-Seahawks game. We then headed for a little hike and got sidetracked with a stop off at the Griffith Observatory. We intended to make a longer visit, but there was literally no parking and Andy brought Gemma along with him, so Caitlin and I took a quick walk around, took a couple pictures and got back in the car. This was A-OK by me; while I would have liked a little more time exploring the Observatory, it was too crowded on a Sunday to really stretch our legs. 

IMG_0714The best view in L.A. — I’m talking about the wife*. We wanted to go to this very short hike Andy knew about that let us get a good view of the Hollywood sign, but they were closed to film something. So Hollywood. So we took the scenic route back to Andy’s to watch more football and hang out for a bit.

*Too sweet!

IMG_0721In the late afternoon we headed to the Sunset UCB to see ASSSSCAT, the improv group started by Amy Poehler. We got there an hour and a half early to ensure we got into the free show and played a game of Last Man Stanton in line to pass the time*. We figured we wouldn’t get big stars that night since the Golden Globes were going down across town that night. We were pleasantly surprised that we got three comedians we knew. Lauren Lapkus and Jon Gabrus who I knew and loved from being on Comedy Bang Bang a number of times were two of the improv-ers. Cameron Esposito, whose stand-up I like, was the guest monologuist. They had some real solid bits. Nothing groundbreaking and a weaker supporting cast than normal, but a good time for sure. We went back to Andy’s with some champagne to watch the Globes and take it easy. The show was solid, but we were soon bummed out to find out David Bowie had died. Put a damper on the night, but still a fun day in L.A.

*This is where you name an actor, and then go back and forth trying to name as many movies as you possibly can with them in it. It’s tough, especially for non-movie-afficionados like me.

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We ended the L.A. leg of our trip with lunch at a cute cafe down the street from our hotel. We got delicious sandwiches and sadly no soup, since I didn’t see the soup nazi sign until after we ordered. With full bellies we headed to LAX for Caitlin’s first trip to Vegas*. To be continued in part two…

*Dun dun DUUUUUUUNNNN!!!!!!

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One Response to “West Coast Trip 2016 Pt. 1 – Disneyland & Comedy in LA”

  1. Laila March 1, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

    I am only just catching up on all these posts now because I am THE WORST at reading blogs 😦 but OH MY WORD DISNEYLAND!!!!!!!!!! Also I LOVE that “goofy” blurry smiley one of you two, you are absolute goals I swear! xxx

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