This morning, as I drove around town looking for a recycling center that was open, I found myself reflecting on what turned out to be a reasonably successful vacation. I have been off work for 12 days on what the hipsters call a “staycation”. I call it saving on motel bills while not working. Although we didn’t “go” anywhere, we actually went to quite a few places.
Looking back on it, this didn’t start the way I had hoped. Our first trip was to the Disney Halloween event. Every year we talk about going and this year I finally broke down and paid the extra $50 for each ticket. Essentially, it’s Disneyland with a special parade and fireworks show. They also have trick or treating and some Halloween themed characters wandering around. We did see some interesting costumes, but we didn’t participate in the trick or treating. Instead, we waited in line for two hours (with delays) to see a parade that may have lasted all of five minutes. I remember thinking – I waited two hours for this? Immediately after the “parade” we shuffled into an area that reminded me of the cattle trucks the army packed my buddies and I into when we have to move from point A to point B quickly. If you’ve never seen or experienced transport by cattle truck, imagine those college fraternities that try to pack all of their members into a VW or a phone booth – except wearing full battle gear and staying that way for an hour or two while you get dragged over what passes for a bumpy road. Anyway, we – along with every other person in Anaheim, stood shoulder to should for about 30 minutes only to hear that the show was delayed. 15 minutes later it was canceled. Why? Inclement weather. I suppose the weather was inclement somewhere, but if you asked anyone who was packed with me, it wasn’t Anaheim. On the bright side, at least we had a chance to get to know (too well) a dozen or so people we never would have chose to stand so close to while enjoying beautiful weather.
Oh, right after the canceled show, a crazy old lady in an electric wheel chair ran me over. Yep, she ran me down without so much as a How do you do. I can now cross that off my bucket list.
After the Disney debacle, things got better. We took a trip to the Richard M. Nixon library. It’s not too far and it was surprisingly fun. I’ve only been to one other presidential library – Reagan’s – and I have to say Nixon’s library was a head and shoulder above it.
Next we went to Knott’s Scary Farm. I have lowered my expectations for Knott’s over the past few years because it has really declined. Although this year wasn’t comparable to the Scary farm in its heyday, I can say that it was a lot of fun AND we had the privilege to see Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. All in all it was a good time.
Our next trip was to the Huntington Library. It is always a good place to visit. This was our first trip in two years, and they have made some major improvements. If I lived closer I would try to visit it more often. There is so much to see there.
Finally, we made the lengthy trip out to Universal Studios. This was my first visit so I didn’t know what to expect. First, I can tell you that butter beer is a real thing. You can buy it there at the Harry Potter exhibit. You can also buy just about anything you have read about or seen in a Harry Potter movie. The little village – Hogsmeade I think it’s called – is phenomenal. It is exactly like what you see in the movies. Oh, and the best part about it is the 3D ride in the castle. By far the best ride I’ve ever been on. This alone, was worth the trip.
Universal also has other stuff, Jurassic Park, tours, Simpsons, etc. All good stuff, but it all pales compared to what you’ll find in Harry Potter land. I’ll know I’ll be going back.
By the way, if you want to buy a magic wand, they cost $52. The butter beer is only $6, but plan on sharing it with your friends. It’s a mix of butterscotch and cream soda. It’s so sweet, you’re only going to want to take two or three drinks. Potent stuff.
So, as I sit here enjoying a bottle of butter beer on my last day of vacation I have to say, I had a good time and I’m looking forward to the next.
By the way, all recycling centers are closed on Sundays. That’s inconvenient.
We all need a vacation like this. Soon.