All posts tagged: california

Vignettes of Yountville, Day Two

Day two in Yountville didn’t start out well for us. We came out to one of the vineyards up on the hills early Saturday morning with Napa Valley Aloft for a hot air balloon ride (and a champaign breakfast after), but the weather had other plans. We were hoping it would clear up, spending our time taking photos of the fog-covered vineyards and half blown-up balloons while waiting. But the fog just got thicker by the minute. Our guides were very apologetic though (although it’s hard to blame them, the weather can be unpredictable), and they made up for it by having unbelievably delicious Bouchon chocolate cupcakes waiting for us when we got back. And we still enjoyed the view. Bicycle Ride Around Yountville With our hot air ballon ride canceled and it being too late to go back to bed, we had to find another way to spend our Saturday morning. Luckily our hotel (North Block Hotel) lets guests use their cruiser bikes for free, so we decided to explore the town on them. We rode …

How to Make the Most of Your Disneyland Getaway

While it may not be as big as Orlando’s Disney World, the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim is just as packed with rides and attractions for both the young and the young-at-heart. Before you go, expect that you won’t be able to see the entire park, let alone go on every single ride there, in a day. However, you would want to get your money’s worth and experience as much of what the park has to offer. Here are our ten tried and tested tips on how families with kids can make the most of their Disneyland getaway:   Come Early. Depending on the season, both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure usually open around 9 or 10 am Monday thru Thursday, and Disneyland opens around 8 am Friday thru Sunday. One great way to make the most of your visit is simply to come early – not only will you have more hours to spend there, you’d also beat the crowds to the ride lines! Jungle Cruise is one of the many attractions at the park …

Four Reasons to Take the Kids to Disneyland This Summer

When the days are longer and the temperatures are higher, many families make that journey out west to Southern California where the weather is always perfect, the beaches are glorious, and there’s unforgettable, assorted fun to be had everywhere you turn. This summer, spend a day or two at the Disneyland Resort with the kids during your family vacation to complete the experience. Here are a few great reasons why. 1) The Fun Doesn’t Stop at Nightfall Just because the sun has set, it doesn’t mean the fun has to end. In fact, at Disneyland, family fun’s only beginning. After spending the entire day running around from ride to ride, it’s time to set-up shop on Main Street U.S.A. (or in front of the Ferris Wheel at California Adventure) to see the three new spectaculars that will dazzle both kids and adults. Paint the Night. Disneyland lights up with a river of some 1.5 million LED lights streaming down Main Street U.S.A from the new Paint the Night Parade. As part of the park’s 60th …

“Fast & Furious – Supercharged” Sets Universal Studios Hollywood Ablaze

Sizzling celebrities. High speeds. Explosions. A car flying in the air and through a billboard. Universal Studios Hollywood certainly welcomed the latest family-friendly addition to Los Angeles’ favorite theme park with a bang! Tuesday, June 23, saw the launch of the new Universal Studios ride, “Fast & Furious – Supercharged,” and fans of the movies as well as families with kids are in for the ride of their lives. The high-octane but very kid-friendly adventure is an exciting hydraulic motion-based ride pumped with adrenaline, state-of-the-art 3D audio and 3D-HD imagery systems, other sensory special effects, and the world’s longest and most expansive 360-degree screen. The ride features some of the stars from one of the biggest movie franchises in history, including Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, and Tyrese Gibson, who all reprise their roles to fight the bad guys in an exhilarating car chase! Expect rockets, debris, bullets flying and explosions as you get caught in the midst of all the action. And get ready to get a little wet. The best part? Dwayne Johnson, who plays DSS …

Going Beyond the Magic: Disneyland Exceeds All Expectations with 24-Hour Diamond Celebration

One of the really cool things about my job is getting invites to fantastic events and awesome trips that I probably wouldn’t have access to if  I weren’t working in the travel publishing world. It’s one of the many perks of the job that I’m truly grateful for as it definitely opens doors to new experiences for me. This week, I’m headed to Disneyland – along with many bloggers and members of the press – to help the original Disney park usher in their 60th anniversary with their Diamond Celebration extravaganza and 24-hour event, which I am super excited about. They’ve got a lot of awesome things planned for the celebration and it’s going to be epic. I’ll be sharing the latest updates before and during the Diamond Celebration event through the MiniTime website and social media as well as on my Twitter and Instagram accounts, but for now read on after the jump to find out more about what Disney has in store for the festivities. Something simply amazing is happening at Disneyland this May. With July …

Remnants

Here’s the deal: relics of an almost forgotten time only remembered through Hollywood’s very loosely-adapted Western classics, rotted and rusted – typewriters, cash registers, p.o. boxes, horse-drawn carriages – are littered all over, amidst whatever skeletons are left of this old silver-mining town and the considerably cheaper, wild western version of Disneyworld (cotton candy, fake gold panning, coin-pressing machines, the works!) on what used to be Calico’s downtown/red light district/main street. There are only 9 residents left in this town today but everyday from 9 to 5, tour buses and SUVs pile into its dirt parking lot and tourists from China to France walk its streets to “experience” how life was like in the wild wild west. It’s got the markings of a tourist trap but if you step outside the traffic, whether to the northeast where an abandoned hotel was carved on the sides of the rocks or to the northwest where the old schoolhouse stand, you can almost feel the ghosts of the past, whispering tales and anecdotes about miners, cowboys, Chinese immigrants, …

Destination: The Big South

The massive and powerful waves of the Pacific and the jagged rocks at the bottom of the California coast constantly meet with such intensity and force. To say that the fate of any poor soul who gets caught in between is bleak is a great understatement. But from the safe and distant haven above, atop the cliffs, this dangerous scene transforms into panoramas so stunning, so breathtaking that one might be inspired to risk descending down to it just to experience its beauty at close range. Such is the magic of Big Sur. And one could not look at its beauty without trembling with inspiration. It was here in the Big South where I decided to celebrate (or lament, depending on one’s perspective) my thirtieth year of being alive and find some calm. Or perhaps just buy myself time to lick my wounds. Whatever it was I was trying to find, I couldn’t tell you for sure. And whether or not I found whatever it was I was trying to find, I couldn’t say either. …

Destination: Darwin

“But why think about that when all the golden lands ahead of you and all kinds of unforseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you’re alive to see?” – Jack Kerouac, On The Road * * * * * It was the first time I had heard of Darwin, that one uneventful morning at work when I picked up a copy of the Los Angeles Times. There on its front page sat a very sympathetic article about the small, desert town’s residents’ technology-related plight. Apparently, the reclusive folks of this virtually unknown town to the west of California’s Death Valley have been fighting for their right, despite their geographical seclusion, to high-speed Internet. A necessity to the rest of the world, broadband connection remained an extravagant luxury to them, at least as far as the Internet providers were concerned. My heart went out to Darwin’s residents, possibly cursed to forever endure their sloth-paced Internet made worse by the 90s robotic squeals coming out of their modems; really, it did. I still …