Magic Bands to Masks #ThrowbackThursday

Reading the “Disneyland Drama” article in my daily Disney Food Blog newsletter, I must say I’m happy to see this issue spreading beyond locals in California and nearby Las Vegas. I’ve been having interesting comment exchanges on FreshBaked about how ridiculous and political this whole issue of not giving California theme parks the information they need to officially open.

I also must say that as much as I can’t stand the idea of having a lunatic president for another 4 years, this whole Newsom thing doesn’t bode well for my impression of what the Democratic party might do if elected to the White House. We are so hosed!!

Anyway, each morning I feel like we really might book a trip to Florida – I can’t sit around and wait on every breath Newsom takes – that’s just not healthy! So I thought it would be fun to put together a #ThrowbackThursday video of our time living in Florida when our magic drawer held our Magic Bands. Here in Las Vegas, we still have a drawer but now all it holds are masks.

Here’s the link to the video – please like and subscribe! Thank you!

PS – I got a migraine after publishing this post and video. I’m calling it Newsom. Btw, Did you know his exwife is a big Trump supporter? There’s no way this whole thing isn’t political.

Happy 65th Birthday Disneyland: Our First Trip Back to Downtown Disney (#YouTube #Disneyland65)

Happy 65th Birthday, Disneyland! This was the day Disneyland chose to reopen nut the state of California (ie Governor Newsom) rejected them. And the way he keeps shutting down the state, who knows when Disneyland will open again.

But our recent trip to Downtown Disney was a real pick-me-up to help tide us over. We’d hoped to get back to Anaheim for Rich’s birthday and had made reservations at the Hilton (while we were lunching at Uva Bar at Downtown Disney), but Hilton just cancelled them. They’re not opening by mid August after all.

Listening to Walt’s opening speech on July 17, 1955, I knew I had to update our youtube channel with a video of our recent time at Downtown Disney. The video starts with our driving by the Grand Californian, on to the Simba parking lot, and then Downtown Disney, concluding with lunch at the Uva Bar (Catal).

The Downtown Disney/Newport Beach Birthday Trip

Yes, we did it. We finally decided to go forward with staying at the beach, booking outside dining at Tommy Bahama in Newport Beach for my birthday dinner, and the next day lunch and shopping at Downtown Disney. It was pretty awesome. And we felt totally safe. People were wearing masks (definitely at Disney) and most other places we went, too. Life felt almost normal – certainly nothing like what you read in the media. Ugh!

The tyrant governor newsom should investigate his “data” a little more thoroughly and figure out where, exactly, these spikes are coming from and the reasons for them. Because I could see no reason for them or the closures where we were. Of course, we stayed outside and chose wisely. It did seem a bit more loose when we drove by the donut shop on Newport Beach. People were wearing masks but I couldn’t say they stood 6 feet away from each other. Maybe that doesn’t matter as much if you’re wearing a mask?

Here are some photos from the trip starting with the birthday dinner at Tommy Bahama, Newport Beach, kicking it off with a Mai Tai:

First Sip

Incredible Calamari with Cilantro Slaw (shared appetizer)

Rich’s Ribs

Kathy’s Coconut Shrimp

Key Lime Pie to share (Rich insisted – lol)

First Cut

First Bite

Evening walk on Huntington Beach

Everything was delicious and we took half the rack of ribs and a couple of shrimp back to our beach hotel for dinner the next night.

The next day we drove to Downtown Disney at around 11 am to secure a parking spot in Simba Parking Lot before it was full.

The CMs teased us that Rich was wearing an Angels mask, and Kathy was wearing a Dodgers mask (to match her blue outfit,she explained). Yeah, right, they said – lol!

Not sure a Dodgers mask goes with a Mickey hat – lol!

We stood in line for about half an hour for entry to World of Disney (nothing compared to those who arrive later in the day).

In line, waiting to enter the World of Disney

After the walk from the Simba parking lot, temp check, and security, 30 minutes in line for World of Disney, 45 minutes and $200 of shopping later, we were desperate to take off our masks at the Uva Bar and have a drink and some lunch.

Scanning the menu from the iPhone

Rich toasts Kathy’s birthday with a glass of Spanish Chardonnay

Enjoying the atmosphere, company, and refreshments at the Uva Bar in Downtown Disney

Rich’s Fish Tacos (Garlic Fries substituted for Sweet Potato Fries)

Kathy’s American Cheeseburger, Garlic Fries, and a Glass of Argentinian Malbec

Lunching at the Uva Bar at Downtown Disney was Magical! We felt safe and it was so like us that we didn’t even feel cheated that Disneyland or DCA weren’t open. We’re just waiting for the Grand Californian to reopen. Oh, and our server noticed the Angels and Dodgers masks and said her boyfriend was Angels but she was Dodgers. lol! The food was delicious and we took half the fries back to our beach hotel for dinner, but they didn’t heat up well. Darn! They were so yummy!

We returned to our beach hotel and admired our World of Disney shopping haul: Baby Yoda plush, 65th Anniversary Photo Frame, “the child” top for Kathy, coral top for Kathy, the Mandalorian t-shirt for Rich, Disneyland 65th Anniversary socks for Rich, Star Wars mask for Rich, Baby Yoda mask, and Mickey Mouse mask (matches her purse) for Kathy.

All in all, it was an awesome and much-needed trip and great birthday celebration even though we were originally disappointed that Napa Rose wouldn’t be open. It was nice to change it up. We’ll see what’s open for Rich’s birthday.

We’ll be uploading some new videos on YouTube.

Birthday Trip: The “Plan C” Compromise

One reason I was up at first light is that I was thinking about Plan B (staying at Caesar’s), instead of driving to SoCal (Plan A) after Governor Newsom “dimmed” the lights on outside dining, bars, etc. At bedtime, we were both excited about Plan B. But somewhere during the night, I came up with Plan C, which is a bit of Plan A (SoCal) and Plan B (Vegas).

I still wanted to go to SoCal – it’s been too long since we’ve been during this house building project, and I need to see, smell, and hear the ocean. I need a road trip. It’s my birthday. So we will do the big dining celebration here in Vegas (Border Grill, one of my favorites), and then drive to SoCal for my birthday for a couple of days. It looks like Downtown Disney will open as planned with outside dining restrictions. You can read about it on AllEars. And we can drive down PCH to enjoy the ocean, and maybe even find a beach.

The other mood enhancers for today have been watching some DIS videos – here and here. I totally wouldn’t mind owning a Disney vacation home. 🙂

And I’m missing cruising. If you’re missing cruising, too, enjoy a virtual cruise here.

 

 

First Trip Back to Disneyland Property

Watching this morning’s youtube video: the one where Katie and Spence (Best Life & Beyond) meet up with Adam the Woo and Pixar Charlie to bike/scooter the perimeter of Disneyland starting with the Anaheim Convention Center (site of the D23 Conference each year).

When I got my notification, I wasn’t too sure I wanted to peek in. I’ve been trying to focus on living without Disneyland. 50/90 starts on Saturday and that should occupy my attention through September. October brings Rocktober and in November, there’s something similar to NaNoWriMo (novel writing month) called NaSoAlMo (album writing month). Anyway, you get the idea. Keep me distracted so I can forget about this crazy world right now. I can’t keep up with its ups and downs. I don’t want to keep up with the ups and downs.

I also realized these songwriting groups (mostly male) do for me what the old men on the front porch did for me when I was a kid – you know, the one I wrote about in this post. A nice change from the women in the living room (aka women writers) talking about babies – lol!

Anyway, I’m thinking we’ll keep our ressies near Disneyland and try to get into Downtown Disney on my birthday weekend.

More Cruise Cancellations (#cruising #OasisoftheSeas #RealWomenWearRed)

After last Friday’s big whopper announcement from the CLIA, today Carnival Cruise Lines announced their cancellations through September and some even October.

Our money is on no cruises on any of the major cruise lines until next year. And why we cancelled the late November, early February and even August Princess cruises, because we had a triple plan: 2 short cruises and then we’d make Platinum for the 25th anniversary Med cruise in August.

Final payment for the late November cruise was September and without any ships sailing before then to show us how the ships are going to handle this Bob thing and whether the experience appeals to us before final payment wasn’t going to happen. We’re not sure we want to commit to any cruise until we see what it’s going to look like. The only cruise we still have a deposit on is in 2022.

We’re also in wait mode for Disneyland and WDW – we want to see what the experience looks like before we make any plans – when we can make plans because we don’t have an AP at either park. So, it’s very doubtful cruising or Disney is in the cards for 2020 for us.

Our Oasis of the Seas video is still climbing (68K as of right now), but it’s fewer than 25 seconds so I cannot use any of the YouTube tools to promote our channel. I uploaded it for fun and was ignorant of Youtube requirements or really any possibilities for the channel. I since uploaded a longer one of Oasis of the Seas Part 2, but it hasn’t caught on quite like the original.

I would like to bring your attention to the “Cruise the Caribbean with the Women of Real Women Wear Red” (and Real Women Sing the Blues) video. That was so much fun – brought back the excitement of when the first book was first published.

I’m playing at working on the third book in the “Real Women” series that my agent had requested back then. Sales aren’t what they once were, so I’m not sure about the time commitment, especially because I’ve been so focused on writing/producing electronic dance music (EDM). But sales are picking up again, motivating me to get back into the writing groove.

Let me know if you’d like to see more of this.

Why Did We Leave Las Vegas?”

The question we’ve asked ourselves more than once during this long, arduous time has been, “Why did we leave Las Vegas?” If we hadn’t, we could have avoided much of the emotional and financial stress, although nobody has any idea what they would have to deal with had they taken a different road.

It would have been comforting to have been in familiar surroundings during all of this, like the second time around when we moved back into our home. But we sold the Vegas home before we moved to Florida last time, and that enabled us to buy the Florida home. That had been a difficult decision to make and we almost didn’t. Still, there were reasons to go. But if we’d known we would leave Las Vegas only to return to Las Vegas, I doubt we would have left. I guess that’s why you can’t see into the future.

When I started thumbing through our photos and vids, I remembered all the fun and excitement of our 18 months in Florida the last time around, including building a beautiful home in a golf course community near the beach. A dream come true! So I put together a video to be able to remember and reflect on that special time in our lives, even with all its difficulties.

This video takes you from the “Welcome to Florida” sign to landing in a local apartment, to house hunting, touring model homes, picking out options from the model home, beaches, tiki bars, Walt Disney World, and the last few gorgeous sunsets from our Florida home.

I now have the answer to the question, “Why did we leave Las Vegas?” We would have missed out on all of this:

Hope you enjoy. Don’t forget to like and subscribe. Thank you.

Margarita Monday with Sharon at Sea #Cruise #Travel #amwriting

Okay, so our new latest thing is hanging out with Sharon at Sea and the gang on YouTube on Monday nights. We’ve even reserved a cabin for one of their group cruises, and are considering a second one.

So all of this having happened last night, got me excited to make a video for my novels Real Women Wear Red and the sequel, Real Women Sing the Blues, to replace the one I had on youtube years ago (before Goggle bought it and messed it al up). I kept thinking I’d try to recreate one, albeit, a bit different than before, but I did keep the same music. It’s just too perfect.

Maybe we can’t cruise right now but it’s such fun to hang out with other cruise lovers, and to relive the glory days of writing these two novels, remembering our past cruises.

“Dear Kitten” and Other Laguna Beach Fun

I’m watching Adam the Woo’s video for today, one in a series of local SoCal food locations offering take-out, pick-up, drive-thru, etc. Lo and behold, he’s at the first Taco Bell in Orange County in Laguna Beach.

Well, once again, the Woo is taking me back to my childhood and teen years. I even based a short story on Laguna Beach in Dear Kitten. Laguna Beach will be one of my first destinations sometimes this summer, hopefully, for my birthday.

Dear Kitten…

Dear Kitten, My Favorite Pussycat,

Love,
TomKat

Kitty Arness hasn’t been called “Kitten” since her college days. So when a chance encounter reunites her with an old love on Laguna Beach, she realizes she longs to be “Kitten” one more time.

Still hurting from the breakup all these years later, she must make a hard choice: to hold onto her pride or forgive and forget, especially when she reads the writing in the sand.

AVAILABLE NOW on amazon.com as a standalone or part of an anthology for your Kindle.

Cruises, Theme Parks, and Masks: Shall You? (#Covid19)

To borrow a phrase from Adam the Woo – lol!

Like us, you’ve probably been watching all the videos about the opening of Disney Springs, Universal Florida, and, perhaps Disney.

Masks are the norm now, especially with the news that the “Bob” isn’t really caught by touching surfaces but through cough, sneeze, and speech. David of FreshBaked seems to think this will be the new normal for the unforseeable future. I disagree. I don’t believe this is the “new normal” but the normal now – the in-between normal.

Soooo, will I retract my statement about avoiding places where masks are required unless absolutely necessary?

The Disney Springs video showed the CMs making it seem like fun, as I’m sure all of Disney will, and even the guests having fun does make me ask myself if it’s worth it, wearing a mask, that is, for the sake of fun? Even if the masks are tolerable, will it still be fun if you have to wear one? That’s the question Disney and other theme park fans are asking themselves, even if they’re willing to take the “risk.”

I will say I’m quite pleased by the positive approach from Disney Springs, Universal, and Carnival Cruise Lines. I’d much prefer to hear of potential openings, not cancellations and closures like most cruise lines and Disneyland.

We’ll be watching Carnival to see what happens with cruising changes and how it’s all handled. Will we still want to cruise? Right now we have 3 cruises booked with Princess. The first is the end of November, but since final payment is due September, their silence about their plans is a bit disconcerting. Not sure we will move forward with it (assuming it will still sail), if we haven’t had a chance to see how they’re handling it. We don’t plan on being the guinea pigs.

As for Disney World, I read that they submitted their plans for reopening but without a date. But I’ve heard nothing on the Disneyland front. Not sure Napa Rose will be open on my birthday, which is before Disneyland’s birthday on the 17th, which some are suggesting might be the reopening date. So many of us probably won’t really know what we will do until it’s time to do it.

Two4Disney on YouTube:

Btw, our Oasis of the Seas video is still climbing with almost 55,000 views as of today. Our subscribers are growing, too. Please join us by subscribing to our YouTube Channel.

PS – The top 3 YouTube channels we like for Disney and Cruising:

Disneyland (sometimes Disney World):

The Daily Woo

FreshBaked

MrCheezyPop

Cruising:

CruiseTipsTV

ScottSingerCruises

SharonatSea

Novels set on cruise ships:

Real Women Wear Red Book 1 and Book 2

French Martini & Cocktail Video (Inspired by Disney, Cruising, Las Vegas, California, Florida)

With the release of French Martini on Kindle, I was inspired to create a video looking back at our life through cocktails – lol! This was so much fun to put together (PS – a link to a recipe for a French Martini is in the video description). Enjoy! Also, please subscribe, like, and/or comment on the video. Thank you!

Our Last Trip to Disneyland (#Covid-19)

During this time of isolation, we’ve been binge-watching our favorite Disney and Cruise YouTube channels, namely (in no particular oder) The Daily Woo, Best Life and Beyond, Fresh Baked, Mr. CheezyPop, CruiseTipsTV, Tim Tracker, Scott Singer Cruises, and even peeked into Sharon at Sea.

And uploading some of our own videos, too, especially since this Oasis of the Seas video has now had over 14.5K views (and climbing). Our latest upload is the 3-Part series from “Our Last Trip to Disneyland” last summer to celebrate Rich’s milestone birthday. So glad we went!

Our Last Trip to Disneyland (Disneyland Park)

Disneyland Hotel Tour and Birthday Dinner at Catal

Walt’s Favorite Cocktail at Carthay Circle and Other DCA Fun

Nothing fancy here – just a collection of photos and video taken on our iPhone from the trip.

Hope you enjoy!