Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween and Halloween Time at Disney's California Adventure Park.

Happy Halloween everyone.  Today is one of our favorite holidays here.  We love to celebrate everyday, but days we can dress up like our favorite characters we love even more.  This year we started with a theme.  Brandan is Kylo Ren and I chose to be Jabba the Hutt.  I had this whole vision of a Star Wars family as mixed and mangled as we were.  Turns out children, no matter how well we try to convince them, have their own thoughts about life.  Our little gal loves all things dinosaur and our easy going guy loved his costume from last year he didn't get to wear so he is a shadow.  Easy peasy and fun.  Now on to the tricks and treats.   

Of course one of our most favorite Halloween traditions is to see all the decorations.  Today we are talking about our visit to Disney's California Adventure Park.  The spell has been cast and the park is alive with Halloween magic.  If I were going to compare I would say that this side of the park is twice as decorated as the more famous other side of the Disneyland parks.  As you walk in you are greeted by bats galore and Oogie Boogie welcoming you in.  There are spooky surprises at every turn.  

My favorite part of the park was for sure the Cars Land area.  The characters are all in their favorite costumes for the meet and greets.  Tow Mater is celebrating the holiday with a Junkyard JamBOOree.  Luigi has a Honkin' Halloween them going on. The music was so different but so fitting to the style of the land.  It was awesome!  This was the highlight of our day.  Everywhere you looked there was a new hidden decoration, and I mean seriously everywhere.  

 With the holiday's in full swing it always brings in the crowds.  The lines were a little long and I expect they probably will be through the rest of the season.  That doesn't mean its a bad time to go though.  The feel of the park is thrilling.  The decorations are worth the trip.  The Guardians of the Galaxy ride has a new theme after 5:00 for a new after dark adventure that sadly ends today.  But our friends on the other side of the park, at the Haunted Mansion, will be decked out for the rest of the holiday season. 

 While you are there, make sure you are getting the treats they offer.  Our favorite choices were the Anti Vampire Chicken Pizza and the Candy Corn Cotton Candy.  The pizza was a great garlic concoction with a white sauce.  While the garlic flavor was there it wasn't overpowering at all.  My only complaint was that it was a little wet and messy, but that could have just been the one piece I had.  You cant go wrong with garlic anything though.  The cotton candy was typical Disney yummy but in an extra cute Mickey spiderweb bad.   

Disneyland is always a great time.  Holiday season is just a bit better.  No worries though, we have you covered.  We will be there to show you all the fun if you cant get there yourself.  And if you can get here yourself we would love to see you!  Until next time, happy travels.  ❤ Misty

Friday, October 27, 2017

Sneak Peek at Pixar-Disney's Coco.

This Thanksgiving the powers behind Toy Story, Cars, Inside Out and many other lovable tales, brings us Coco.  On November 3rd you can see an extended sneak peek at this up and coming new treasure at the Disney's Hollywood Studios "It's Tough to Be a Bug" theater located in Disney's California Adventure park.  This will be a 3D fully immersive experience that can't be missed.  

"Music is my language and the world es me familila"-  Miguel.  
Never underestimate the power of music.  Miguel, the main character in this story, dreams of being an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. The problem is that his family has banned music for generations.  He isn't supposed to love music, but he just can't help it.  

Ernesto de la Cruz was the father of his great grandma Coco and the greatest musician of all time. One day he left with his guitar and didn't come home.  Miguel's family thinks that music was the curse that took him away.  Now Miguel has a secret love of music he wants to share but he only shares it with his dog, Dante.  

One day he sneaks into the crypt of De la Cruz and strums the guitar that he once owned. Though he is very alive he and his dog are transformed to the Land of the Dead.  The story unfolds to tell the tale of his ancestors, music and a quest to get him back home before it is to late and he is lost forever.  

In Disney's California Adventure parks Paradise Gardens food court area behind Goofy's Sky School you can visit the story and traditions of Miguel's familia.  Here you can see a "Musical Celebration of Coco", a group of storytellers with song and dance bringing to life the songs and stories of the movie live for you to experience. You can also get complimentary face painting, have Mexican treats and experience more learning about the traditions of the Dia de los Muertos.  

Dia de los Muertos is a holiday celebrated by those of Mexican heritage.  I have heard that it is a bigger deal in the United States that it is in Mexico but I think its a holiday worth learning more about and celebrating ourselves.  Dia de los Muertos. or Day of the Dead, focuses on families and friends gathering together to celebrate those who have died before us.  Dia de los Muertos is a multi day holiday starting with All Saints Eve on Halloween.  Dia de los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents), on November 1st, is dedicated to infants and children.  November 2nd is All souls day or Day of the Dead.  Side note- I did a lot of research on this and found quite a few different days, names and ways that they celebrated.  There are a lot of traditions and customs but the thing that all remains the same is creating bonds with those who have passed on.  As a member of the LDS (Mormon) faith I also strongly believe in a true and lasting connection with our ancestors that have passed on before us.  I love to see the celebrations of the past.  I love to hear the stories of the families and how they became the people they are.  Miguel is immersed in the Land of the Dead where he learns all about his family and in part about himself as well.  

After you have explored the park and worked up an appetite you can head on over to the Paradise Garden Grill.  Now through November 2nd you can treat yourself to a menu of south-of-the-border inspired dishes in honor of the Dia de los Muertos holiday.  As you all know by now I am a big fan of any food Mexican so I highly suggest making your way back here to try a dish or two.  

I hope this holds you over until the movie is released.  I am excited to watch this one in our favorite movie theater.  

Until next time remember, you only get 86,400 seconds in each day.  You can use them how ever you choose but you can't ever get them back.  I highly suggest making memories with those you love.  
❤ Misty

 You can view the trailer of this movie here.  

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Angeles Crest Highway

 When life gets in the way it can be difficult to get out and find adventure. However, there is always something to do out there and it doesn't always have to take that much time or planning to do it.
  Our cycle of life has us in this dull period as I write this but we haven't let it stop us. I've taken to the interweb to find some scenic drives near me. Specifically I was looking for National Scenic Byways and of course I was rewarded. I found the Angeles Crest Highway.
  We started out the route on the western edge in La Canada Flintridge, CA. The thought of getting into the mountains and out of the valley heat had me excited. Despite it being October it has been pushing mid nineties for high temperatures in southern California and frankly I don't like the heat. The Angeles Crest Highway promised to take us to over 7000 feet above sea level. In fact, it's one of the highest highways in the state of California. Early on in the drive as we started to climb we were rewarded with beautiful views of the cities below but if you want to see them you need to take advantage of the pull offs within the first few miles. After that the windy road leads you deep into the canyons and away from civilization.
  I was surprised to see signs for ski resorts up there. I just don't think of skiing in southern California. This is beach country, dang it. We have no room for snow! At least I thought that until I saw a snow plow pass us headed toward town. Again, I learn something new every day. Actually, the road closes in some areas during the winter due to snow so I guess these really are mountains.
 I will say that when I head into the mountains I like to see Pine and Aspen trees. Not here. Unfortunately the mountains along this stretch of road still look like desert to me. It's still a gorgeous drive but it doesn't feel like the mountains. 
 Here in the San Gabriel mountains Mt Wilson Observatory sits high above Los Angeles. We didn't take this spur of the trail so we didn't get to see it. Perhaps another time.
Short of a few pull offs here and there this road is strictly made for scenery without the need to stop. If you bring your camera you can get some nice canyon views as you climb, though but overall this is just going to be you passing through on your way Little Rock. It seems to be a popular drive, however, based on the amount of motorcycles we saw that Sunday afternoon. We also encountered a group of BMW's and a group of Mustangs cruising the canyon. Yeah, I'm a bit jealous as we drive along in our grocery getter but, oh well.
 We missed a turn somewhere along the way and ended up exiting the canyon farther north then we should have. So we took advantage of our shorter drive and swung into Vasquez Rocks to stretch our legs. Some of our group had not been to Vasquez Rocks yet and I think it's kind of worth stopping by for a few minutes if you're in the neighborhood. We weren't the only ones with that idea as the place was crawling with families out climbing around and having a little late lunch.
  Yeah I like to have epic adventures that take full weekends or longer but sometimes I have to live in reality. Which sucks. But taking advantage of things that are close by and doesn't require us sitting on the couch at home can help keep away that cabin fever feeling that creeps in once in awhile. So my advice is to do a little research, grab a cooler of drinks and a map and head outside for a little mini adventure. Your stress levels will thank you for it.


Friday, October 20, 2017

Six Flags Magic Mountain's Fright Fest 2017

We are knee deep in the most wonderful time of the year.  We have the haunting good times of Halloween leading us right in to Thanksgiving that will guide us straight into Christmas.  After that we have New Years Eve to celebrate all the fun we had this year and all the potential for next.  It is a non stop celebration at our house.  We have the tree up but no worries, it is fully decorated with ghosts, spiders, bats and eyeballs.  We don't jump start Christmas here.  

Being right in the middle of the Halloween season we love to see all the theme parks have to offer.  This post here is about Six Flags Magic Mountain's Fright Fest.  Every year Six Flags Magic Mountain puts on a great Halloween show running mid September through Halloween night.  They go above and beyond what you might expect.  The park is nicely decorated during the day but at night the frights come alive.  One of my favorite features is the hoards of terror that walk the park at night.  They are scary and mobile.  You never know where you might meet them.  Standing in line or walking to a different location or even just watching a show.  No where is safe. If like one huge haunted house attraction.  

On top of the decorations and the traveling terror teams you also have 7 haunted maze locations to thrill you.  Through out the park you will see signs like this that tell you where to go find your next nightmare.  This is an extra fee on top of your pass to get in.  After you enter the park and walk past the funnel cake store you will see a large sign.  It is there that you can purchase wristbands that will get you further into the scare factory.  General Access will cost you $22 or $17 if you are a season pass holder.  If you don't love waiting in lines you can get Express Access for $47 of $42 for season pass holders.  Either way you will love every scream.  

There are signs telling you how to get everywhere but if you are wondering if you are in the right place look around.  The decorations are extra scary and give you hints to the locations you are in.  This picture is of Willoughby's family mansion.  Here you will see a once affluent Victorian mansion that evil has taken over.  Each scare zone has its own theme and thrills.  While Willoughby's family mansion is new for 2017, the old classics are still there.  It just gets bigger and better every year.  

If you aren't looking for the full wristband level of frights there are still plenty of hair raising fun experiences for you to explore.  Territory Twisted is one of my favorites.  Twisted Colossus is in my opinion the best ride in the park.  It is old fashioned wood coaster meets the thrilling scares of the new modern steel coasters.  

The area it is in is all decorated up in steampunk meets massacre.  The ride itself is extra special too, but we will cover that in a second. 

There is Club 6 feet under where you can party with a dead DJ and stage shows like Voodoo Nights to keep the fun flowing.  You can also see a comedy hypnosis stage show in the Golden Bear Theater on select nights at 8 and 10 pm.  You can also see the Suicide Squad take over DC Universe where some of the worst heroes ever roam the streets.  There is a lot to see and do beyond just the maze pass. 

 On of the best parts of Fright Fest has to be the extra scare on the attractions.  Twisted Colossus is thrilling on its own, but left the the touch of the Fright Fest crew you can experience the lights out version of Twisted Colossus and a few of your other favorite rides.  The lights are also off at Full Throttle, Viper, X2: Satan's Domain, BATMAN the Ride, Scream, Apocalypse, Riddler's Revenge and Goliath.  The New Revolution has also been taken over by a demonic presence in full VR fun.  (VR is for guests ages 13 and older). 

Six Flags is all dressed up and ready to thrill you for this years Halloween season.  They have announced that next year they will be open every day next year.  But before we can jump into 2018 we still have Six Flags Holidays in the Park which starts on November 18th and runs through December 31st.  If you can't already guess, we are equally excited to see how they deck the park for the ho ho Holidays.  Happy Travels.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

An Introduction to the San Andreas Fault

The San Andreas Fault is under the road in this area.
   There are things in life that a person knows but chooses to ignore. We tend to like to focus on the positive things rather than the negative. This may be shying away from the news to avoid the stories of assaults, robberies and accidents. It may even be as simple as going out for pizza after brushing off your latest kitchen mishap resulting in burnt chicken. But what I've found while living here in Southern California for the last year is that people tend to not think about earthquakes as much as I thought they would. Even writing this article I'm still not sure how I found myself on the subject but somehow I got the crazy idea that I needed to research the San Andreas fault. After ten minutes or so I decided that doing research wasn't going to satisfy me. I had become mildly obsessed with this near 800 mile long crack in the ground. The fault represents where two tectonic plates, the Pacific and the  North American, meet. These plates are moving in opposite directions which is what causes our earthquakes. This is fascinating stuff. No, reading about it wasn't going to be enough. I had to see this thing for myself. So how was I to go about doing it?
Elizabeth Lake's dry boat ramp.
 Like many faults, the San Andreas isn't exactly the easiest thing to see. It's not like there is really an obvious giant crack running across the face of the Earth, right? Well, sort of. I used Google Earth for an incredible view of the fault from above and actually from that vantage point you can actually see an obvious line dividing California. But I knew that I would need a little more information to actually get up close and personal to this thing. Well I happened upon a book called the Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault by David K. Lynch.
 The book breaks down the fault into twelve sections and turns them into a mile by mile geology tour of California. Now that may not sound romantic but before you roll your eyes at the prospect ask yourself this: what is it about the outdoors that you find so appealing? I bet one of the first things you think about is the scenery. Do you like to stare down at the Colorado River in the bottom of the Grand Canyon? How much do you enjoy the views of El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite? Did you visit Arches National Park and fill your memory card with photos of the amazing sandstone formations? Yes you did. Congratulations, you just learned that you're a geology fan.
View of Quail Lake.
 The fault starts near the Salton Sea to the south of me and stretches up past San Francisco in the north. I looked through the book and found the sections that allowed the best views of the fault. From there I found the sections closest to my house and from there planned a Sunday afternoon drive through Palmdale and up to Frazier Park. This introduction to the San Andreas let me explore over 50 miles of the fault and opened my eyes to not only how close it is to where I live but also how it likes to hide in plane sight. There were sections of the fault that travel directly under the road we were driving on. In fact, if you start to pay attention you can see how the asphalt is separating and cracking from the stress.
The desert ends and the mountains begin. 
  Along this part of the drive you are treated to views of the quieter parts of California where the houses come with a little breathing room in between and no traffic. We came across small ponds, dry lake beds and some interesting geological features that one would ordinarily ignore if they didn't have a handy dandy guide book to tell them what they were looking at. Thanks to the book we got to pull over at a view point that over looked a valley where the Mohave Desert ended and the Sierra Nevada mountains begin. I never would have imagined that here in the dry desert is where I would see the Sierra Nevada's. I'm pretty sure it was more exciting for me than my companions but hey, I enjoyed it. 
The fault snakes across a meadow.
 Of course we did get plenty of opportunities to see the fault first hand and while it may not seem like much more than a small ditch in some places we did get to see some impressive evidence of the fault in other places where scarps identify the San Andreas' path.
This is just the first of many trips that we are planning to visit along the San Andreas fault over the next couple of months. I would love to just start at one end and cruise toward the other but that just isn't feasible for me right now so we'll just hit it one section at a time. My next plan is to head north to the Carrizo Plain, east of San Luis Obispo, where some of the most impressive evidence of the shifting plates are waiting. Here we'll get to get a little dirt on the tires and we will actually get to climb inside the fault itself for a unique experience. It's a trip I'm really getting exiting for. I hope this inspires you to take do something a little different for your upcoming adventures. Remember, a little learning with your leisure time is not necessarily a bad thing.    

Friday, October 13, 2017

Our Adventure at Cornbelly's and Insanity Point.

We have talked about Thanksgiving Point before here on the blog when we talked about Luminaria and a little bit about it here when we talked about the Fun Five of Utah. Now we are back to Thanksgiving Point to talk about the other adventure we love so much there.  We drove from the warm California sun to pick out the granite slab for the home we are building.  While we were there we had a smidgen of time to stop by Cornbelly's and Insanity Points haunted fun and snap some quick photos.  

You can buy tickets online before you go.  Often this can save you a few dollars if you search for discount codes (For example BELLY will get you $2 off per ticket here).  We missed this step and just paid when we got there, but for all we got it wasn't a bad deal.  They have great options in prices to suit your family needs.  Each pass includes the courtyard activities and the corn maze.  As you get higher priced tickets you add Insanity Point scary attractions.  If you have toddlers then you would love the Laughin' pass which is $11.95 Monday through Thursday and $14.95 on the weekends.  We picked the second option, the Lovin' ticket for $29.95.  This includes everything they have to offer.  The only ticket above this is the season pass which is $59.95 and is basically a Lovin' pass with the ability to bounce back for the entire season.  Included with the Lovin' pass is Insanity Point and five tabs you redeem for either activities or treats while you are there.  We are big fans of the kettle corn if you are having trouble making up your minds on anything.  

The largest part of our night was spent in the Courtyard.  This is where you can find most of the activities.  We laughed so hard at the pig races.  We loved to shoot apples in the apple cannon shooting range.  We watched people ride the mechanical bull though no one in our group was feeling up to it that night.  We had kettle corn, hot cocoa and cookies.  All of this was included in our tabs and our ticket in.  There is a giant air pillow for kids to jump in, rides and games for the kids.  You can roast smores or chat around the fire.  The little ones can burn off energy on the haybail playground.  If you love looking for gems they have that too.    

The highlight of the night for me was the scare factor.  You can walk through the smaller haunted attractions as you wait for your time to hit the but haunt.  The Creature Insanity Point was a great walk through full of zombies, clowns and things that make you jump.  Quick tip, when you see the rear end of a cow duck fast.  It was dark and scary.  It was a great combination of outdoors and enclosed rooms.  The walk through the bus full of prisoners was absolutely petrifying.  The special effects are intense and the characters are dedicated to their parts. 

Of course the ended the night with beautiful super hero themed fireworks.  This is a Halloween tradition we will be continuing for a long time.  We love the family fun that Cornbelly's has to offer.  Our littles are not as little as they used to be.  The haunted attractions are more fun today but keep in mind that they are designed for people 12 and older.  

We are big fans of this event and we think you will love it too.  If you want to learn more about Thanksgiving point you can learn more here and learn more about Cornbelly's here

Off to the next adventure.  Happy travels.  

❤ Misty