Happy 4th of July!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful and safe 4th of July at home!  Here are some photos of a day trip that we took to Placerita Canyon at “Oak of the Golden Dream” in the Santa Clarita Valley in Southern California.  It’s where gold was first discovered in California when it was Mexico’s territory.  Francisco Lopez discovered the gold on March 9, 1842 under an old Oak tree.  It pre-dates the John Marshall discovery at Sutter’s Mill which was in 1848.  

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The Tataviam people who had originally lived in the area 

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The murals are located in a storm drain that you need to access to see the Oak tree

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Stay strong and safe!

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Take care Everyone!

 

 

 

Disneyland’s Rise of the Resistance Group Boarding Pass or Fail?

Neek sez:  Okay, we have crappy phones with crappy coverage so we really didn’t think that we could do any of the virtual queuing that Disneyland had required to get a boarding pass for Rise of the Resistance ride at Galaxy’s Edge.

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Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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Neek sez:  This year I have a lot to be thankful for including not having to cook for Thanksgiving.  We decided to have our meal at Norm’s Restaurant which is having it’s 70 birthday this year.

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Yes, it was crowded and yes the food wasn’t as good as what you make at home but being with your favorite people makes it all worthwhile.  Lex definitely didn’t complain about any dishes to wash this year.

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We would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

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It’s Elemental, My Dear Vader

Lex sez: Ever since I was six years old when I first saw Star Wars on the big screen, I’ve wanted to have my own lightsaber.  Watching Obi-Wan Kenobi battle Darth Vader, there was something magical about their duel with blades of light.  I tried to re-enact that scene, as well as the battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back.

 I would use cardboard shaped like tubes to pretend I was a Jedi Knight.  When Return of the Jedi came out in 1983, I got a wonderful Christmas present of a lightsaber.  This was an improvement over cardboard: it was a plastic tube fit over a flashlight where you could insert colored gels to change the color of your lightsaber.  My sisters and I had lots of fun playing with that.

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The desire for a lightsaber faded to the background as I grew older.  But it reignited this year with the opening of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland.  I found out that within the town of the Black Spire Outpost on the planet of Batuu, there is a place called Savi’s Workshop.  At Savi’s, you don’t just buy a lightsaber, the workers there help you create your own personalized lightsaber.  I had heard the experience was almost like a ceremony.  Suddenly that desire from childhood was back: I had to create my own lightsaber!

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It’s important to note you can’t just walk in unannounced to Savi’s asking to make a lightsaber.  There is a specific process.  First, you have to make a reservation.  This can be done online through the Disney website or through the Disney app on a smartphone.  I opted to set up the reservation on their website the week prior to going.  Fortunately, they do allow you to bring two guests, so Neek and Sar would be able to watch and film me creating my personal Jedi weapon.

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When you arrive at the Black Spire Outpost, you can’t just ask for Savi’s Workshop.  Neek, Sar and I observed multiple stormtroopers from the First Order interrogating other guests and I had heard that Savi was operating his place in secrecy so the First Order would not be aware of his illegal activity.  So I asked a cast member, when there were no stormtroopers within earshot, if she could direct us to a place that made “scrap metal.”  She understood “scrap metal” is a code for Savi’s Workshop and took me into her confidence and directed us where to go.

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Once I checked in at the front desk outside Savi’s to confirm the reservation, I was shown designs for the different kinds of lightsaber hilts I could design.  There are four kinds: Peace and Justice, Power and Control, Elemental Nature and Protection and Defense.  I chose Elemental Nature, so my saber would reflect what Obi-Wan Kenobi said about the Force, that it is “an energy field created by all living things.”  Once I made my choice, I was given a pin to wear to show the workers inside that I had chosen Elemental Nature.

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After we went inside Savi’s, one of the workers, who call themselves the “Gatherers,” walked into the center of the room and explained that Savi gathers parts for lightsabers from around the galaxy.

After showing one of the Gatherers my Elemental Nature pin, I put together my hilt.  I was really impressed with the quality of the materials: it not only looked realistic, it felt realistic!  I particularly liked the piece I chose for the end of my hilt, which the Gatherer told me was the tooth of a Rancor.  Then we selected a Kyber Crystal, which is determines the color of your lightsaber.  I chose green, in tribute to Luke Skywalker!  

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Once that was done, we placed our lightsaber into a special chamber on the work bench.  Suddenly, the lights dimmed.  Slowly, the room was bathed in green light and the spirit of Yoda entered the room, praising our efforts to keep the Jedi hope alive!  We were then told to activate our lightsaber.  I pressed the button on my hilt and raised my very own fully activated lightsaber!  I was ecstatic waving it in front of Neek and Sar.  Some might say $212.00 is a bit pricy, but for the quality of the lightsaber and the amazing experience of making it, I say it was well worth it!

Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge – Fuzzy Tauntaun, The Millenium Falcon, and building a Little Droid Friend

Neek sez:

Lex has often told me about how he went to see Star Wars as a child with his grandmother when it was first released in 1977.  To a little boy, it was a transcendental experience that has endured to the present.

Disneyland has done a great job in bringing this film universe to reality.  The details of the planet Batuu where Black Spire Outpost exists is quite amazing.  The droids, ships, buildings are all scaled to realistic proportions and the skyline blends in well with the texture and color of the surroundings.  It does seem like you are in another world.

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We arrive at about 8:30 AM and decide that it’s not really that early to have a drink so we visit Oga’s Cantina for a quick one.  Lex orders a Fuzzy Tautaun which is has alcohol and a special ingredient makes your tongue a little numb – this is favorite drink of the famous space smuggler, Hondo Ohnaka.  Sar and I share a Hyperdrive Punch that has no alcohol but we steal sips from the Tauntaun. 

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I might have stolen too many sips from Lex’s Fuzzy Tauntaun

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It was a strange looking bar

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with strange looking creatures

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DJ Rex really knew how to spin the grooves

Sar wanted to build a droid so we went to the Droid Depot where a wonderful Batuuan, Maria helped her to build a BB8 model.

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Sar makes two new friends!

Next, we were off to Doc Ondar’s Den of Antiquities where strange beasts and their unfortunate heads were on display.

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Sar, Lex, and I did ride Smuggler’s Run where they shared the position of being a pilot.  My job was a gunner and had fun shooting lasers to defend the Millennium Falcon and our bacon.  As we left the ship, we could see evidence of the Imperial Force around the area.  As you can see in our video,  the stormtroopers were constantly harassing visitors.

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The time flew by and it was time for Lex to build a light saber.  I will leave that blog post for him to write.  

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Oogie Boogie Bash First Fright 2019 at Disney’s California Adventure

Last year Lex, Sar and I wanted to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disneyland but were too late to purchase the tickets as the event was sold out.

Fast forward one year later, we finally get our tickets and find that the event is not at Disneyland park but at Disney California Adventure.  Imagine the disappointment we had when we found that the venue was changed. We figured that it was probably because of the opening of Galaxy’s Edge.

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We dressed as tourists from Aulani

No one knew what to expect except that there would still be treat trails and the headless horseman appears at the start of the parade.

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I can assure you that this event did not disappoint one bit.  We had a wonderful time and saw the most beautifully creative walk through that we have ever been and an amazing water show, “Villanous”.  There were character photo spots everywhere including Goofy and Donald Duck from Kingdom Hearts – they even let you hold the key while taking a photo.

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We experienced childhood delights by walking the treat trails and meeting with the famous villains of Disney animation fame.  Our host Oogie Boogie was especially memorable.

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With our treat bags filled with candy galore and our feet about to fall off, we reluctantly headed for the exit.  What a fun night and hopefully more will occur in the following years.  We can honestly convey that Oogie Boogie Bash was a hit!

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The following are some tips that we found helpful if you are attending this first fright event.

Beginning at 3PM, Disney California Adventure will allow guests with their Oogie Boogie Bash tickets to enter the park.  Inside they will scan your ticket and distribute wristbands.

Trick or Treating

Every guest of the Party, children and adults, will be handed a trick or treat bag upon entering the park. You’re also welcome to bring your own bag, but considering the massive amount of treats given, I would at least bring an extra heavy duty canvas bag or backpack. There will be 10 treat stations (11 if you are an annual passholder) around the park with special banners marking the entrances. Each treat station has several treat carts giving you the goodies. These are on the Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween party map as black cauldrons.

The lines for the trick or treating are rarely long. We don’t really recommend doing the treats at the end of the night as others have encouraged because we have not seen them giving out more later. If pressed for time, try working in your candy collection when you see a short line on the way to another activity and mark it off on the map so you can visit it later.

There is no limit to the candy collection. You are allowed to visit the treat lines as often as you wish. Although we only went once to each treat line, believe us when we say that they are generous with the treats.

Halloween Parade

The parade starts in the Paradise Gardens area of the park (near Silly Symphony Swings) and makes its way past the Little Mermaid ride, the main entrance to Cars Land, through Carthay Circle, in to Hollywood Land, and ends next to Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout. The exact parade route is noted on the Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween party park map. About 10 minutes before each parade at 8pm, the Headless Horseman will ride down the parade route.

Obtain a spot for the parade at least 30 minutes ahead of time. Frightfully Fun Parade is popular and there’s only one showing per a party so you don’t want to miss it.

World of Color: Villainous runs at 9:00 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. The show lasts about 22 minutes. Good vantage points can be had anywhere along Paradise Bay in front of The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. Viewing for World of Color is standing only, there’s no seating available.  Be sure to arrive around 30 minutes early if you want a good spot with an unobstructed view.

What we did

Now, I will tell you how we did our visit (Keep in mind that this is just showing what we did and do not recommend it for everyone because our priorities for experiencing the bash will different from yours):

  • We ate before the bash began because we knew we wouldn’t have time to see all that we wanted to see and eat also.
  • First, we went inside the Stage 17 treat trail and saw Dr. Facilier
  • Afterwards we proceeded to The Animation treat trail to see Oogie Boogie himself.
  • Down the road we went to The Hyperion Theatre treat trail and met with a very Mad Hatter
  • Next we went to Cars Land and went to the two treat trails there.
  • By this time, we decided to find a spot for the Frightfully Fun Parade near The Little Mermaid ride.
  • After the parade we proceeded toward Paradise Gardens Park where we encountered another treat trail and visited AP Corner for the special magnet, button, and extra treats.
  • Getting back to the pier, we found that we were just in time to see Villanous
  • After the spectacular water show, we walked over to Grizzly Peak to visit Villains Grove.  Now, that was worth the price of the ticket!
  • There was another treat trail down the road where The Evil Queen was making a potion for her poisoned apples.
  • Another treat trail was near Soarin’ where Maleficent was being evil.
  • Finally, the last treat trail was Buena Vista Street where we were heading out of the park.

We got out of the park at 10:30PM, beat the crowds and headed for the tram and parking garage.

Our priorities were to see the shows and hit the treat trails and Villains Grove.  We didn’t do any of the photopasses or ate any of the special Halloween menu items but we did try the delicious Minnie Witch Shake and the Rest in Peace-Strami Fries before the bash got started.  They were filling and kept us going all night!  We really wanted to see The Descendance but just couldn’t fit it in.  Maybe, next time.  We had a blast and hope to do it again in the future.

Note: Photopass downloads are included for free with Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party tickets.  You can start joining in the photopass 3 hours prior to the Oogie Boogie Bash when event participants are allowed into the park.

 

A Day at Disney California Adventure

Sometimes, you just need to let go and let the inner child out of your tired, old body.  Well, that’s what we did when we visited Disney California Adventure Park!

Sar, Lex and I had a blast visiting this unique park dedicated to the wonders of the Golden State of California.  In fact, it seems a bit weird to have a park about the state in which the park is located.  Why not have a park about Oregon or New York or a foreign country?  I’ve definitely have not lost sleep over this dilemma but I do have some ideas of why.  California is a darn humongous state and it’s difficult to see all parts of it.  I think the Disney people wanted to have visitors from out of the state and country to see what else there is in California besides, well, amusement parks.  Even though it is going through some Stark Industries changes now, it still shows how diverse and pretty cool California can be.

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The Wonderful Disney Cast Members

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Vampire Mater?

It was fun riding on Radiator Springs Racers and seeing the colorful Coco show.  Lex especially loved the relaxing feeling twirling through the air on Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind.  I think my favorite was watching Lex get wet on Grizzly River Run! We had a great day but were now excited to experience nightfall and attend the special event at Disney California Adventure.

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Next Stop – Oogie Boogie Bash!

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Old California

We’ve always been fascinated by the tales of old California.  People coming from all over the world in search of gold and silver, fertile lands to farm, or just to create a home for a new generation of Californians.  

Lex, Sar and I visited the Ojai Museum in Ojai, California just recently.  Ojai is a unique little sanctuary of resort spas, a small shopping precinct, a world famous music festival, well-known spiritual center, and was home to a now deceased centenarian artist, Beatrice Wood.

To get to know the area, we visited the Ojai Museum housed in a former Catholic Church.  It was charming but also very informative.  We were delighted by the exhibit that is currently on display about the former inhabitants of the area.

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Mama Dada?

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The founder of AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)  She decided to create the organization when she observed a retired teacher living in a chicken coop because it was all that she could afford on her pension.

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Remnants and relics of the former Catholic Church

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Edward Libbey founder of the Libbey Glass Company was fond of Ojai and helped in beautifying the downtown district in the 1920’s

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A special exhibit of the valley inhabitants during the Rancho Era and their descendants

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The Legend of Zorro was inspired by Joaquin Murrieta

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Yes, a relative of that famous Cuban Congo player, Desi Arnaz of “I Love Lucy” fame.

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A hair wreath

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Tales of Old California and perhaps some gossip?

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Well, we hope you enjoyed this visit as much as we did.  We couldn’t fit all of the wonderful exhibits in this post but perhaps we will visit again in the future.

Ojai Museum:

​Sun 12n-4pm, Tues-Sat 10a-4pm
Suggested donation: $5 adults, $1 children 6-18
Free: current members, under 6
and, through Labor Day,  military members and their families

Address: 130 W. Ojai Ave

Sunshine Blogger Award – What a Surprise!

 

sunshine blogger award

We received such a surprise from one of our fellow bloggers!  Zareen Benjamin from Plantpicker has nominated us for the Sunshine Blogger Award.  Considering we’re getting a load of rain this week, we certainly appreciate this nomination!  Please check out Zareen’s posts on lifestyle, reviews, and beauty tips.  Her insightful observations on her life journey is a pleasure to read.

Rules:
• Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
• Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
• Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
• Notify the nominees about it on one of their own posts.
• List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

Answers to Zareen Benjamin’s Questions:

  1. When did you start blogging?  We started blogging in July of 2016.
  2. What is your blog about?   We write about our travels and the quirky places that we have encountered or visited.
  3. What is your number 1 blogging tip?  Don’t worry about the small stuff.  Just start writing.
  4. What post did you enjoy writing the most?  We enjoyed writing about “The Loneliest Road in America” because it really was.
  5. Where are you from?  We’re from southern California in the San Fernando Valley – Yes, this is where the “Valley Girl” phenomena began from the Frank Zappa song.
  6. What tourist attractions are in your country? any tips for someone visiting?  We have tons of tourist attractions but we just visited The Getty Center in West Los Angeles and we were floored by all of the beautiful artwork and history of the museum.  Our tip for anyone visiting Los Angeles is get a Metro pass.  Driving in LA is hazardous to your mental health.
  7. What are you doing currently, career? studies? school? etc.  Lex just started a new job last year and Neek is a primary caretaker for Sar and her aging, and sometimes cranky parents.
  8. What is your favorite movie?  Our favorite movie is the 2004 comedy “Sideways”-  Anything to do with wine is a plus!
  9. Who is your favorite fictional character?  Lex’s favorite character is Agent Cooper from “Twin Peaks”, but Neek’s is Agent Scully from the “X Files”
  10. what was your 2018 highlight?  Our highlight was definitely visiting the “That’s From Disneyland” memorabilia display before it went on auction.
  11. What is your biggest goal you want to achieve in 2019?  To be good to each other because sometimes we argue too much 😉

Questions:

  1. Who inspires you the most?
  2. Where was the furthest place from home that you have ever traveled to?
  3. Which blogpost gave you the most pleasure to write?
  4. Why did you start blogging?
  5. Do  you have any social media accounts and what are they?
  6. What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?
  7. What is your favorite dish?
  8. If you could ask a famous person in history a question, what would that be?
  9. Who would be that famous person?
  10. What did you do on New Years Eve 2018?
  11. Do you believe in ghosts?

Our Nominees:

  1. A Petite Slice of Life
  2. Always A Foreigner
  3. Captain’s Quarters

  4. In Dianes Kitchen
  5. Wine and History Visited
  6. Emma Cownie
  7. TRIP MONKEY
  8. One ‘C’ at a time
  9. a mindful traveler
  10. DhananJay Parkhe º Global Goodwill Ambassador/Speaker, Author, Mentor
  11. Ultimatetravel

Thank you for your support!

Love, 

LexandNeek