“Highlights of SoCal” Birthday Trip (Pre-Trip Report)

You might recall we’d booked the Paradise Pier Hotel at Disneyland Resort for my birthday in July. It’s a semi-milestone year for me and feeling homesick, I really want to get back to SoCal. On a side note, Valerie, our Vegas petsitter, originally from Long Beach, and her husband moved to Long Island, NY two years ago and she’s having the same homesickness. “I didn’t know it would be this hard,” she said. I knew it was hard, but I didn’t know I would miss “home” so much so early this time around.

Anyhoo, what to do, what to do to make the most of this trip to get that feeling of home? We have booked and unbooked and rebooked so many different things. Including Paradise Pier. Some of you may remember the time we stayed there about 10 years ago (the “Big Kahuna Family”) with all of our trials and said we’d never stay there again. For one thing, it’s an awfully long walk to the parks and you can no longer cut through the GC to get to DCA due to security reasons. Bummer!

And we love to cruise. And, as I mentioned in yesterday’s Flower & Garden post, we’re missing Mexico!

Really thinking hard about spending the whole trip hiking around the parks and getting to/from them, especially with this latest hip flare-up at Epcot. It’s too bad the GC is so outrageously expensive these days – that’s the resort we truly love. So we changed it up. Here are the new plans:


MCO to LAX, check into Queen Mary area hotel (not staying at the Queen Mary again – yikes!) Have dinner/drinks at our favorite restaurants/bars on the Queen Mary.


Board Carnival cruise ship at the new Long Beach terminal – can’t wait to try the new terminal! Cruise from Long Beach to Ensenada, round trip.


Day at Sea – Sea Day Brunch


Ensenada – booked a wine and lunch excursion in the vineyards. Were so wowed by the vineyards in Ensenada several years ago. Who knew Ensenada had such a wine culture? You usually think of Tequila when you think of Mexico.


Return to Long Beach. Drive to Huntington Beach, grab a burger at In N out, catch up with my beach cities and check into hotel in Anaheim. Birthday dinner at Napa Rose that night.



Valerie said she flew back to LA to visit family and it made being back in Long Island harder! I’m hoping that hitting the highlights in SoCal will satisfy that need and that returning to our beautiful home in the Orlando area will show me how great life is here.

Some of the fun we had at Hussong’s the last time we were in Ensenada:

Pool Home Anniversary/Dad’s Birthday

Fifteen years ago we were celebrating Rich’s dad’s 80th birthday in the Orlando pool home. We decided to do that instead of staying onsite so we could invite family down and get a feel for what it might be like to live in Orlando.

We’ve now lived in Central Florida three times since then. This time around we’ve been here just about 10 months – the first 7 months were in an apartment in the North Orlando area while building our new home, which was so exciting. It’s a beautiful home and neighborhood. Golf community 8 miles from the beach. Gorgeous!

But now we’ve only been living here in this new beach community for 3 months and I’m homesick. We’ve been in Florida long enough to be homesick but not long enough to have bonded with the new house because our new house is in a new town where we’ve never lived.

We were walking the beach the other night and this guy walking his dog called down to us, “Hey, can I talk to you?” We just stared at him, wondering what he wanted. He ran down while shouting, “I love your hats!” Rich was wearing an Angels hat and I was wearing a Dodgers hat.

He told us he grew up in Southern California and he’d been living at the beach in Florida for six years now. We could tell he was just as excited (or maybe more) as we were to find some expats in Florida. You never really lose that feeling that California is home and you can’t help but miss it.

This time around, we’re planning a trip back. Hoping that will be the fix for homesickness.