20th Anniversary of Our First Trip to Disneyland Together (#FlashbackFriday)

Our 20th anniversary continues with remembering our first trip to Disneyland together. As I might have mentioned a time or two, I grew up near Disneyland (saw Walt in the park and even watched Disneyland being built), and Rich first went there with his family when he was six. They came all the way from Delaware. After he moved out to the San Francisco Bay Area after college, he went to Disneyland a few times with some friends.

So in October, just two months after our wedding, Rich and I were snuggling together on the couch in our Redwood Shores apartment, and he was reading a brochure. He showed it to me and said, “How would you like one of these?” What was it, you might ask. It was a brand new Mustang.

Of course, I said, “Yes!” pretty much the same way I said “Yes!” when he proposed – lol!

So we bought the new Mustang and decided we needed to take it on the open road. South on I-5 would be the perfect place to drive a new Mustang.

mustangFor some reason I can’t remember now, we planned to go to Knott’s Berry Farm. Maybe because of the stories we’d told each other about how that’s probably where we’d met on his family trip. Why not Disneyland? I have no idea now. Maybe we were looking for a smaller outing on such a last-minute trip.

So, here we were, blasting down I-5 when Rich asks, “Can you go all the way to Southern California and not go to Disneyland?”

“Yes,” I lied (why, I do not know).

So Rich said, “Well, I can’t.” lol!

“Me neither,” I confessed.

So off we drove down I-5 and checked into our hotel near Knott’s Berry Farm. We started early in the morning with breakfast at Mrs. Knott’s. Somewhere we have a photo of Rich all dolled up in a pink boa onstage with the Calico Saloon girls. That’s when I realized my new husband was a ham. Ha! Don’t know why it took me so long.

That breakfast filled us up until 4 p.m. when we finally had a small snack before heading off to Disneyland. By the time the park was about to close at midnight, we were exhausted but determined to buy Rich a Mickey watch. I don’t think we did, though, but he’d find one on another trip.

No wonder we felt like we should cancel our WDW trip this fall for a Disneyland trip. It marks the 20 year anniversary of that first trip together.

Besides, after two big cruises this year, we were trying to do it on the cheap with very few vacation days. A better-planned Spring trip will be a better time to go when we can do it right.


Choosing Between Disneyland and Disney World

We’ve been going back and forth between going to Disney World next or Disneyland. We’ve booked and canceled and booked and canceled and booked and canceled too many times to number. I never thought we’d have such a hard time getting on a plane and going to Florida. After all, we moved there twice. But then, it’s always a struggle between where to live: California or Florida.

However, after last weekend at Newport Beach and feeling a life time of memories going back to my first trip to Disneyland when I was 3 years old, well, Disneyland is tugging at my heart. So, we did it! We actually cancelled the WDW trip and booked two trips to Disneyland instead – one during the Halloween season and one during the Christmas season.

Because we can’t cancel our plane tickets, we’ll probably reschedule the WDW trip to either the Flower & Garden Festival or Food & Wine Festival next year.

But here are a couple of videos about the joys of Disneyland that led us to choosing Disneyland over Disney World. Growing up as a local, I felt those years all over again and I must go back soon. I was there when Walt walked the park. We were there as a family when we saw him. It’s home. Thank you, Uncle Walt!

Newport Beach Getaway, Part 2

After our nap, we talked about our evening plans and we both really wanted to return to Newport Beach. We could stop by Downtown Disney for breakfast on the way back home in the morning.

First, we wanted to drive past a mobile home park to see if there were any new homes. It’s one way to live in Orange County and the brand new manufactured homes are pretty special. This one was located near the Huntington Harbor area, which is quite gorgeous and reminds us of when we lived on Redwood Shores in the SF Bay Area. We love being surrounded by water. How the heck did we end up in the desert? Okay, a couple of years would be a lark, but for this long? We’re still struggling with how and when to escape permanently. This trip was a bit of a scouting trip. We have another scouting trip coming up for the next place on our list.

We didn’t see anything we liked there and, in fact, don’t really like this park, so we headed for PCH and back to¬† Newport Beach to hang out, if we could snag a parking spot. I was thinking that after sunset, the place would be pretty empty, but I was wrong. There’s the nightlife after dark.

The drive from Huntington Beach to Newport Beach with us chatting privately about how cool it would be to live there again.

By the time we reached the parking lot, traffic was backed up. Instead of parking in the first parking lot like we had earlier, we continued on, still hoping for a beachfront parking spot. We drove to the end and then made the turn toward the direction we’d come on the other side directly in front of the beach and, voila, a parking spot just for us. Woo hoo!

We began our walk past the shops and restaurants and noticed that Mutt Lynch’s was packed, as usual, but then we noticed a couple of spots open at the end of a bench and so we walked in. The bouncer at the door didn’t ask to see our ID – one of the few people not asked – lol! When we approached the table, we asked the others if it was okay if we sat down. The 20-something shrugged her shoulders so we took that as a yes. The waitress brought us menus and was super friendly.

Rich went for the Korean Tacos and a Mai Tai and I went for the Grilled Shrimp Tacos and a Margarita. She brought us our drinks and while we waited for our food, we moved over to a far more comfortable table by the window.

The food and drinks were awesome and the music was incredible. I felt like I was 20-something again or maybe I always feel like I’m 20-something. We rocked with the music, atmosphere, did some people-watching and I was inspired with some writing ideas.





Hanging out at Mutt Lynch’s with an eclectic crowd and music.

Eventually, it was time to leave and we continued our walk past the vacation homes with groups of people enjoying firepits and music and drinks on their private patios. Then we headed back to the car to get our beach chairs to sit and relax on the beach in the dark, listening to the pounding of the surf before heading back to our room. We made a brief stop at the other Mobile Home Park that we were impressed with in the past and there were a couple of brand new homes there. Could we picture ourselves living there? Hmmm…

Once we arrived at our little apartment villa, we shared a mini bottle of wine to wine down before bed and the drive home the next morning. We woke up the next morning exhausted (those Mutt Lynch cocktails were strong – lol!) so we skipped breakfast at Disneyland. Maybe next time. Instead, Rich brought us back some breakfast and coffee from the lobby. After breakfast, we packed up, got ready, and hit the road with a stop at Tommy’s for a couple of their awesome tamales in Barstow.

This was a short but amazing trip and Saturday is on the list as one of the best days of my life. Perhaps because I felt my entire life and family had come together in those moments.

Newport Beach Getaway, Part 1

During the spring, summer, and fall months, we like to get away from Las Vegas about every 6 weeks or so, if we can. So 6 weeks after our Mexican Riviera cruise on the Miracle, we booked our favorite villa in Huntington Beach.

Actually, we kept changing our plans between Disneyland and the beach, but, in the end, the beach won. We even thought dropping in on Disneyland Saturday night but, alas, we were having such a blast at Newport Beach that we headed back for some nighttime fun, too.

It was one of the best days of my life. Maybe because it seemed that my entire life came together for that moment sipping a nice cold Margarita at Mutt Lynch’s on Newport Beach.

With Rich’s remaining vacation days spoken for, we took off Friday afternoon and headed for Fountain Valley, which borders Huntington Beach, for those who do not know. In fact, Residence Inn calls it the Fountain Valley/Huntington Beach location. It’s just 3 miles from my childhood home and I can feel it and smell it and maybe even taste it.

With commute traffic, it took us about 5 hours instead of the usual 4 hours when we get off in Anaheim for Disneyland. But it’s worth it when we arrive. As Elite members, we were given another one of those wonderful corner rooms with fireplace. It would be fun to visit when we could actually use the fireplace.

We’d eaten lunch before we left the house so we were hungry when we arrived. We’d brought some cheese and crackers and mini bottles of wine so we had a snack and relaxed for awhile. Eventually, Rich located a Subway and we were off to get a Subway Club sandwich, which we shared.

We were both pretty exhausted so we went to bed. The next morning we’d expected to wake up to cooler temps with the morning marine layer, but it was pretty thin and mostly sunny by 8:00. Rich brought us some breakfast from the breakfast room and the selections were pretty slim, even though they’d assured us they’d improved their breakfast. We arrived at Newport Beach a little after 9:15 or so. It was a beautiful morning and it seemed everybody had the same idea we had.

We had to hunt for a parking place, even though 10 a.m. is usually early enough even in the summer. But we were a bit in-between the surfing crowd and the beach-going crowd so it was pretty parked up. We did find a space and did our favorite morning walk right off, starting with the pier.

Oh the memories of walking that pier with my dad growing up. We’d watch people fishing off the pier and then find our place on the beach I can see my dad in his red swim trunks floating on a raft beyond the waves. I usually worried about him, but he was fine.

We walked the pier, checked out the fishing, and then watched the surfers. I captured some of it on video from my iPhone.

So after our pier stroll, we headed for the walk along the shops and restaurants. The Seaside Bakery caught our attention and we stopped in to get a couple of chocolate-glazed donuts, which were pretty awesome eating on the beach. I’m hooked – I want to do this every morning!



We continued our walk past the vacation rental homes, dreaming of staying in one sometime. The big thing when I was a teen-ager was renting one with your friends for Spring Break and I’d been making big plans before my parents moved us to Oregon.

We also passed by Mutt Lynch’s and, as usual, it was packed with people enjoying a morning libation while viewing the beautiful ocean. Someday we hoped to find a couple of seats with our names on them.


On the way back, we stopped in and looked around a couple of shops and Rich found a t-shirt we both really liked. After our walk, we returned to the car to get our beach chairs and umbrella and stake our place in the sand. It was absolutely gorgeous out. Rich had paid for two hours of parking but made a return trip to get the sunscreen we’d left in the car and to pay for a couple more hours. We couldn’t leave.

We each took turns wading up to our knees in the water, and then we walked down the beach together.


fullsizerender-2Eventually, Rich walked back to the restaurants and found a couple of slices of pizza in a deli and brought them back to our chairs. Finally, we dragged ourselves back to the car with a short stop to get a frozen banana, first popularized on Balboa Island, which we shared.

img_7499We then drove back to the hotel for a nap. At this point, we were thinking we’d drive to Disneyland and hang out at Downtown Disney and the GC for the evening.