Disneyland Adventures

Disneyland Adventures

One of the biggest landmarks in southern California is Disneyland. When you search for things to do in this area, Disneyland will probably come up first. It is a great outdoor area for families, friends, kids, boyfriends or girlfriends all to enjoy. Especially around this time, fighting the crowds becomes easy when you see all the dazzling decorations for the holidays. It is one of my favorite places to go and always an adventure for me, even though I basically live there with my annual pass.

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Holiday spirit got us like. Taken by A.C. Choi

First thing everyone wants to do is see Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. During this time of year it is decorated for the holidays with ornaments, garland, snow and Christmas lights. At night, they have a castle lighting ceremony where they light up almost 80,000 LED lights on the castle and have a gingerbread scented “snow fall” sprinkle the crowd.

 

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Gingerbread Beignets. Photo taken by J.M. Weir

On your way to take your castle picture, make sure you enjoy the sights and sounds of Main Street. Grab a treat or two from the Jolly Holiday, like their raspberry-rose macaroon, or the Candy Palace from some other treats. If you really want to go big, take on the adventure of trying one of Disneyland’s homemade candy canes. Lines for this start in the early morning to get a wristband because only 120 get one. They are handmade candy canes crafted by cast members who have made candy canes for years.

After you have your treats, why not take your full belly on some rides. While it isn’t holiday themed, Space Mountain got redone this last month and is now Star Wars themed. Take on the adventure with Admiral Ackbar as you go through twist and turns and take down some ships in space.

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It’s a Small World, holiday style. Picture taken by J.M. Weir

As for holiday themed rides, always check out Small World. During the year, yes it can be an odd ride, however during the holidays it’ll take your breath away with almost 250,000 lights on the outside and the animatronic dolls singing holiday songs like “Jingle Bells”, and more.

On the other side of the park, check out the Haunted Mansion. Decked out in ghostly holiday decorations, it is themed based on the movie “A Nightmare Before Christmas”. You won’t want to miss out on Jack Skellington’s story, gingerbread houses that give off a gingerbread scent as you ride through, and the Boogie Man gifting you with a special gift at the end of the ride.

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Firework Show. Picture taken by J.M. Weir

And at the end of the night, when you’ve had your fill of treats and rides, take the time to relax and enjoy some shows. Head over to Main Street for Mickey’s “A Christmas Fantasy Parade”, where you can not only see all your favorite characters for the holidays, but special guest Santa Claus will also make an appearance. And when that show is over, stick where you are for some fireworks. Unfortunately, they won’t be the holiday magic firework show this year, but instead they will be showing their 60th anniversary show with projections, lights, and even some snow fall.

So if you’re looking for an adventure with some holiday cheer included, head over to the Disneyland Resort.

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Picture taken by J.M. Weir

 

 

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Three Hiking Spots to Work Off Thanksgiving

Three Hiking Spots to Work Off Thanksgiving

You don’t need the gym to work off that Thanksgiving bloat. Instead, take a stroll outside with friends or family at one of these hiking destinations.

  1. Chantry Flats; Sturtevant Falls Trail

Right in the hills of Arcadia and Sierra Madre, California is the Chantry Flats recreation area full of various trials. Many take on the Sturtevant Falls trail because it is only a 1 and 1/4 miles and ends at a nice resting spot with a normally large waterfall (when there has been rain and water). Just be fair warned that while it is an easy trail, the hike back can be rough for some since there is a large incline and hill coming back up.

2.   Sycamore Canyon Park

Even in the busy city of Diamond Bar, California there is a nice hiking spot. Visit the Sycamore Canyon Park for a quick and easy hike with some nice views. It is less than a mile around, however there are tons of stairs for a great leg workout.

3. Eaton Canyon Natural Area

Just up from the heart of Pasadena, California is the Eaton Canyon hike. This hike is a little more crowded with youngsters and dogs, but the views are nice. Just like Chantry Flats, this hike will end at a nice resting area with a cooling waterfall and is only a mile and a half.

So after resting our bellies from the turkey and pie for a couple hours, let’s go try out these hikes!

Under the Sea: Aquarium of the Pacific

Under the Sea: Aquarium of the Pacific

Sebastian from The Little Mermaid said it best: “Just look at the world around you, right here on the ocean floor. Such wonderful things surround you, what more is you looking for?” So why not explore the ocean creatures at the Aquarium of the Pacific?

The Aquarium of the Pacific is a public aquarium located in Long Beach, California, that houses a collection of exhibits, that show off over 500 speices of the Pacific. These habitats don’t just include the obvious like various fish, sharks, and stingrays, but also it allows you to experience land-ish creatures like lorikeets, sea otters, and penguins.

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Best Friend and I ready for adventure. Picture taken by J.M. Weir

One of my favorites is the lorikeet forest. This is a great exhibit to take your friends, family, or kids into (unless you’re afraid of birds) because you get to interact with the lorikeets. At the front of the lorikeet forest, you can buy little cups of nectar, and because they love that stuff, the lorikeets will be all over your arms, head, or body in general. I know it sounds overwhelming or gross, but these are dazzling creatures with their bright colors and sweet nature, so it is a blast having them all around you sipping the nectar.

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Bird Lady. Picture taken by A.J. Huang

Another great exhibit to catch is the stingray tank. This is located in the outside area near the Shark Lagoon and seal exhibit. This is a fun area to try as well because, like the Shark Lagoon, you are able to reach your hand into their tank and pet the rays as they fly by. Not only that, but ocassionally you can make it for feeding time to see them eat and maybe even toss them a treat.

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Waiting to get pet or for food. Picture taken by J.M. Weir

But of course, let’s not overlook the obvious. Many visitors of the aquarium go straight for the outdoor exhibits and shows and miss out on all the amazing and beautiful creatures that the aquarium started from; the fish and other marine life.

You can start your tour of the marine life tanks as soon as you walk in the place as there is a massive fish tank straight ahead. From there you can walk around and be amazed by the dazzling Tropical Pacific Gallery that houses creatures like the Weedy Sea Dragon or normal seahorse, or even catch some “Finding Nemo” friends like the clown fish.

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There’s so much to explore. Picture taken by J.M. Weir

From there, enjoy the entire place. Check out as much as you can because this aquarium has so much to offer. You can check out the animal care center, various lectures and interactive rooms, and more.

So as if this post isn’t Disney enough, “just keep swimming” around the place and absorb, like a sea sponge, as much as you can about the amazing Pacific Ocean and all its life!

Step by Step, Little by Little: Thousand Steps Beach

Step by Step, Little by Little: Thousand Steps Beach

After a long week of work, school, or even midterms (like I just had to go through) what is a better way to unwind than the beach?

Thousand Steps Beach is a hidden treasure in Laguna, California. It is quite the trip to get down to the beach (make sure you’ve been doing your cardio), as you have to walk down about 230 steps, but it is well worth it.

Picture taken by J.M. Weir
The Stairs. Picture taken by J.M. Weir

This beach is known for its seclusion, large waves that crash beautifully over the rocks, and for the tide pools and sea caves. However, be careful with the sea caves, if it is high tide or going to be you don’t want to be trapped inside the caves.

Feeling like Indiana Jones. Picture taken by E.E. O'Brien
Feeling like Indiana Jones. Picture taken by E.E. O’Brien
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Dazzling Sunsets. Picture taken by J.M. Weir

And as the day wears on, this beach only gets more beautiful. It shows off the most gorgeous and colorful sunset I think I’ve ever seen. Make sure to bring your cameras for some amazing pictures.

But don’t forget, after this day of beauty and adventure in tide pools and caves…you have to hike up what feels like a thousands of stairs to your car.

If you want to know more about this adventure, check out this short YouTube video.

So go out and enjoy this dazzling and lovely beach for yourself!

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah Ziplining

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah Ziplining

This next adventure is an awesome time for any adrenaline junkie out there, and it is closer than you think…

Sitting in the trees. Picture taken by OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sitting in the trees. 

Big Pine Ziplines is located in Wrightwood, California, only about an hour and a half away from Pomona and surrounding areas. Their experience is an amazing blend of views, thrills, and memories with their various packages that they offer.

Depending on the tour you chose, you can zip down a couple of ziplines, repel down some ginormous pines, walk your way across suspended bridges, and even climb into the trees on their suspended “sky-stairs”.

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Repelling down. 

Not only do they offer some great opportunties close to many of us here in SoCal, but also their staff is incredibly knowledgble, safety-orientated, and hilarious.

To learn more about this ziplining experience, watch their video on their website.

So what are you waiting for? Zip on my friends!

The Suspended Bridge with our leader. Picture taken by OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Suspended Bridges. 

*All photos taken by Big Pine Ziplines.

LA Hollywood Sign Hike Adventure

LA Hollywood Sign Hike Adventure

It is hard to not feel like a homebody sometimes when you’ve lived your whole life in Southern California and feel like there’s nothing to do anymore. But as I sat at home trying to figure out things to do this last week with friends, I thought why explore new things and share some fun places or activities to do in SoCal with everyone.

Since the weather is finally a bit better the last few days, and not scorching hot, let me throw a hiking adventure out there for this first go around. And what says SoCal adventure more than the Hollywood sign?

The Hollywood sign was built in 1923, originally as a billboard sort of advertisement for new housing during that time referred to as “Hollywoodland”. It is crazy that now it is one of the most iconic, well known symbols out there.

Luckily, for those of you reading this, you will now be informed that there are various trails that lead to the Hollywood sign. There are short ones that lead you straight to the sign, there are long and intense ones for a nice workout, or there are average ones for horses and family time. My best friend and I were not as lucky. We had thought there was only one trail, one that our friend had told us about, and I just about died because we got stuck with the workout trail.

My face when I saw the trail we were walking. Picture taken by J.M. Weir
My face when I saw the trail we were walking. Picture taken by J.M. Weir

Though it was not steep or full of hills and inclines, the trail that my best friend and I went on was long. It was the Charlie Turner’s Trail and boy did it show me I need some more cardio.

Starting near the north end of the Griffith Observatory parking lot (yay free parking!), it is about a six-mile hike round trip, give or take depending on if you take the man-made short cuts around and if you go all the way to the Mt. Hollywood trail. Though six-miles sounds long, it is totally worth it. The views are incredible, and the feeling of accomplishment is quite nice as well.

Jumping for joy. Picture taken by J.M. Weir
Jumping for joy. Picture taken by J.M. Weir

Some tips for you all now planning to hike to the sign:

  1. Wear comfortable shoes. No need to wear hiking boots, but be sure you can walk, run or whatever you plan on doing comfortably and that they have good traction.
  2. Bring a bottle of water. Even if it is not hot outside, the hike is quite long and you’ll need it.
  3. Plan what time. Know that some times gather more people than others, like the mornings and evenings because it is cooler. Also note that the trail takes 45 minutes each way and you do not want to be stuck out there in the dark.
  4. Bring your camera or phone for pictures. The view is beautiful, and you’ll want to take some selfies I’m sure.
  5. Enjoy the time outside!
LA Skyline. Picture taken by E.E. O'Brien
LA Skyline. Picture taken by E.E. O’Brien

What are you waiting for? Check out this trail and adventure for yourself!