Tag Archives: theme parks

A Return to Disneyland

Darlene and I decided to make a little road trip last week to Anaheim to visit the Disney parks.  It had been 27 years since I’d been to Disneyland, a little longer for Darlene, and neither of us had ever been to Disney’s California Adventure Park.  Happily, Hoan was able to join us for the day at Disneyland.

 

We were all most impressed with the new-to-us Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge area in Disneyland. It was fun to see both old and new stuff, including the holiday versions of classics like the Haunted Mansion and Small World.  At California Adventure Park, we were impressed with the many detailed environments created around the park, but particularly the Radiator Springs area from the Pixar “Cars” movie. Some rides weren’t available at each park though – like the Indiana Jones ride was under maintenance all week and several had delayed openings or multiple temporary breakdowns.  We actually missed out on Space Mountain entirely as it broke down during our assigned window late in the day.

Unfortunately, despite our mid-week attendance, the normal standby lines were often pretty awful (often 50-80 minutes) and Disney’s paid extra “fast pass” Genie+ system isn’t that great.  You can only schedule something every 90 minutes, the most popular ride in each park isn’t included and you’re often assigned a window several hours later so you don’t really get to make use of the “lightning lanes” very many times over the course of the day.  Plus, as we experienced, there’s no recourse if the ride breaks down during your assigned window.

Anyway, on the third day we rested, had lunch in the Downtown Disney District between the parks, attempted (and failed) at an escape room in Irvine and met up with Hoan’s family for dinner.

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To Universal Studios Hollywood

Darlene and I made a quick, three-day trip down to Universal Studios Hollywood last week — to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, of course!  While we were there, we also visited the La Brea Tar Pits and Griffith Park and tried to get to Mann’s Chinese Theater (but it was closed off for a movie premiere) – all places I hadn’t seen for 30-40 years and new for Darlene.

   

The main attraction was of course Universal Studios and we decided to buy their “VIP Tour” tickets.  These are guided, 12-person tour groups that start with early access to the park after an included breakfast.  You get an extended tour of the back lots (two hours rather than the normal 45 minutes) via a single-car trolley instead of the usual tram.  This back lot tour includes getting out and walking around some of the sets and potentially sound stages and working sets (depending on the activity that day) as well as visiting part of their props and costumes warehouse.  You get escorted “priority” access to the various rides and shows (bypassing the lines or enjoying reserved seating) and a really wonderful buffet lunch in a separate VIP dining area.  The VIP passes cost nearly three times as much as the normal pass but we had read reviews from a lot of folks saying it’s a fun and worthwhile experience and now we would agree.  Here’s someone’s detailed description from 2012.

We also took a nice tour of Paramount Studios the following day before catching our plane home.

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In Memory of Gina Grandolfo

I’m posting here to share a collection of images of Gina that I’ve gathered together in this photo stream:

I’ll add to it if I find more pictures.  Here’s information on her memorial life celebration, this Sunday, March 20th.

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Orlando Amusement Parks

Clay and Patty and I went out to Orlando early (ahead of our FileMaker Developer Conference) to visit a few of the amusement parks.

 

We also got to see a space shuttle launch from the FileMaker Dev conference:

 

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FileMaker DevCon @ The Magic Kingdom

This year, FileMaker’s annual Developer Conference was held at Disney’s Coronado Springs in Orlando, Florida. We also visited the Magic Kingdom and Disney/MGM Studios parks.  One amusing highlight was a session of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” filled with FileMaker trivia questions answered by our Dev Con attendees.

This collection of photos comes from several sources — mostly from Clay. (Thanks Clay!)

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Descending on Disneyland

Clay, Patty, David and I descend on Disneyland and meet up with my college friends Corey and Hoan, as well as Mike (Buck) and Gina.  I’ve just scanned in these old pictures and I haven’t been able to narrow down the date.  I’m pretty sure it was a little before June 1996.

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