Tag Archives: Opera

Disneyland, 2007

My jetlag woke me at 3am and Opera next door was just closing. I was privy to a car park conversation between a guy and girl exiting the nightclub, which turned into a much accounted travel story.

“What’s your name?” he said.

“Destiny,” she said.

“Destiny! I f-ing LOVE that name!,” he said.

“What’s your name?” she said.

“John,” he said.

Perhaps it was the lack of sleep, but this tickled me no end and I tried to contain my laughter on the top bunk so as not to wake my husband-to-be (HTB) on the bottom bunk. Unbeknownst to me, he was also awake, had heard the whole conversation.

Later that morning we were woken by a knock on the door which heralded our bus ride to the airport to pick up our hire car. No more walking for us! With no time to wash, we quickly chucked our stuff into our backpacks and headed downstairs.

After picking up some other passengers at the famous Chateau Marmont on the other side of Hollywood Boulevard, we hit the freeway. After obtaining our car we headed to Anaheim and Disneyland.

My HTB had never been to Disneyland before and I couldn’t wait to share my memories of the happiest place on earth with him. We took the obligatory photos in front of the Mickey and Minnie Mouse made out of flowers at the entry and then walked down Main Street.

First stop was Adventureland. We went on the Jungle Cruise, which hadn’t changed much and climbed the new to me Tarzan’s House. The Indiana Jones adventure was the highlight- it really seemed like that rock was going to roll on top of us.

In Frontierland we saw the Rivers of America, Tom Sawyer Island and the Mark Twain Riverboat. We had a bite to eat in New Orleans Square and then went on the classic Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The new Haunted Mansion had clever use of holograms and was themed to match a kid’s movie that I hadn’t seen. The best ride was the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.

Next we headed to Critter Country and my all time favourite ride- Splash Mountain. It was just as good as I had remembered it and this time we didn’t have to line up for as long.

We passed the iconic Enchanted Castle in Fantasyland, had a ride on the Storybookland canal boats and a spin in the Mad Tea Party cups. I indulged a little nostalgia with a trip on the Matterhorn bobsleds and a journey into It’s a Small World. The song was just as annoying as I remembered it, but they had updated a few areas, like the 2008 New Year’s Eve in Paris.

Mickey’s Toontown was a completely new area to me. The rides were more for big kids, but we still went on Roger Rabbits Cartoon spin and Go Gadget’s Go Coaster.

Tomorrowland was my HTB’s favourite- probably mostly due to the Star Tours area which was very well fitted out. After a spin in Autopia, we had run out of time, so started our walk back to our cheap Anaheim motel passing the Enchanted Castle lit up for night on the way. As we neared our motel we saw the closing fireworks over the park.

Ah, Disneyland, the original, and still a joy.

Related posts: Los Angeles, 2007, USA, 1990, Travel rememberings, All things Disney

Los Angeles, 2007

My husband-to-be (HTB) and I landed in Los Angeles airport and headed straight for Hollywood. I had flown through LA airport many times, but had never stopped to see the city itself, apart from Disneyland.

This time it would be different. We stayed in a hostel a few blocks from Hollywood Boulevard. The hostel overlooked the parking lot of the club of the moment, Opera, which Brittany Spears had been known to frequent.

Surrounding us were the Hollywood Hills and the famous Hollywood sign- from a very far distance- but still legible. We headed straight for the Boulevard to spot Marilyn Monroe and Keanu Reeves amongst the stars on the street.

At the Chinese Theatre, we found Eddie Murphy’s handprints out the front. I was awed by the Roosevelt Hotel, made famous by many movies I am sure, but by Charlie’s Angels 2 for me.

We saw the lovely old Captain Theatre, Capitol Records and the appropriately themed Egyptian Theatre. We had dinner in the Pig and Thistle– supposedly a haunt of celebrities. I had never heard of Fredrick’s of Hollywood, but the lingerie on display there was certainly show stopping, such as the colourful bra designed by Sharon Stone.

The next day we decided to walk down Melrose Ave and perhaps find Melrose Place. Yes, I know, walk- nobody walks in LA and we quickly discovered why. Melrose Ave is a very, very, very long road. And if that wasn’t enough of a clue, the school bus driver who laughed at us as he passed and called out that we were crazy definitely clued us in.

We passed Kermit the frog at the Jim Henson studio, funky boutiques and coffee shops along the way. I purchased a pair of warm gloves from Target- a reliable shop for a bargain the world over it would seem.

Giving up on Melrose Place, we got on a local bus past Beverly Hills to Santa Monica and the pier. The palm trees here are as numerous and the Spanish style villas.

My favourite thing about LA was the The Getty. The bus trip up the hill that wove through the gated houses of Bel Air was followed by a tram ride up to the museum. When we arrived at the top, the view of the city was breathtaking and we really felt like we were on top of the world.

We hit the museum courtyard at dusk and the orange hues of sunset made beautiful dappled light patterns on the white marble walls of the museum. I loved the marvellous Fran & Stark Sculpture Terrace and inside the museum I felt very lucky to see Irises by Van Gogh and that bridge painting by Monet.

Coming back down to earth, we window shopped Rodeo Dr by night, finding a red dress at Valentino that I could never afford. We also saw the famous Beverly Wiltshire Hotel (scene of Donna Martin’s disgrace on Beverly Hills 90210, or was it Brenda’s first time?) and took our picture with the big Christmas tree set up on the Spanish steps for the season.

We finished our Hollywood adventure where it began on Hollywood Boulevard with half price pitchers of Margarita’s at L’Scorpion. They sure can mix a top Mexican cocktail in California, and the multi coloured corn chips went together with them perfectly.

Related posts: USA, 1990