24 Hours of Disneyland


05-19-14-Event-logo-Starting tomorrow at 6am, Disneyland will be open for 24 hours for those who are brave enough to “rock” their Disney Side.

And although I despise the use of “rock” as a verb for donning any article of clothing and successfully gaining the approval of others and, therefore, really dislike this slogan, I will be there with the family. It’s okay if you think I’m nuts because chances are you’re right.

We’re not going because we’re hardcore Disney fanatics. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, being raised in southern California sort of desensitizes you from the ahhh! factor that mostly everyone outside of the state gets when they hear “Disneyland.” It’s just another stop along the 5 Freeway for us in most cases and our Annual Passports* were bought as a way to kill a few Sundays a year when we had nothing else to do.

But there are exceptions, like those who will be camping out starting at midnight tonight waiting to get in at the precise moment the gates open then partake in a marathon park visit for the next solid day.

That’s not me. While I like Disneyland and all that, let’s get something straight: you will never find me camping outside of anyplace for anything. You just won’t. Unless I’m camping for the sake of camping.

We’re going because we were invited to go by a friend who just spoils us too much, but whose spoiling is so appreciated. We simply cannot repay her for what she’s done and continues to do.

At any rate, here are the details of our visit.

It won’t be the full 24 hours. I am working until 7pm on Friday and Anthony has school, so right away there’s a good portion of the 24 hours cut from our visit. I plan on meeting the family and friends at the park around 8pm provided traffic around the park is not winding down every possible side street like an anaconda.

Lines won’t be an issue for us. While the crowds may be huge and lines long, the one thing those who camped out will still have to do is wait or, as they most likely will do, use a FastPass. Not us. We will once again have our VIP Guide giving us quick access to all attractions. He will be ours from 4pm – 4am so we need to cram in as much fun as we can in those 12 hours. He can also schedule prime seating for everything going on for this special event.

I am going all night. I have made it my quest to uh…rock my Disney Side from the time I arrive until 6am the following morning. I want to see how tired people are as they drag themselves down Main Street. I want to see the sun come up over the Matterhorn or Space Mountain. I want to see World of Color at 3am, ride the Haunted Mansion at midnight, eat a churro at 4:47 in the morning. I’m going to do this, even if the family decides they’ve had enough.

We have a room. If the family chooses to end their quest early, they’ll have a room waiting for them at the Disneyland Hotel. And when I drag myself in there at 6am, I can crash for about 5 then start to pack up for our 11am check-out time.

It will be social. What good would an event like this be without spamming your social network feed with umpteen photos? I plan on posting pictures/tweets on Instagram and/or Twitter at every ride we conquer along with the time we are in line, for as long as my phone’s battery holds a charge, with whatever hashtags are pertinent to the event. #disneyside seems to be the only one I’ve heard of as of now.

I have no idea what we’re in for but rest assured you will see it as it happens on the aforementioned networks. Wish us luck!

And hey, I think I’ll wear this loud shirt from 1990 – Disneyland’s 30th anniversary – to the event.

Or should I *cringe* rock something else?

IMG_20140522_220407

*We’ve since abandoned renewing our APs as they because way too much for us. Being unemployed didn’t help matters.

Advertisements

Blogging 365, Day 54: Long Day


UPDATE: The video is now up! Go to bottom of post!

Indeed it was.

I woke up at 4:30 am, took a shower, got dressed, had a little breakfast, put the bike on the bike rack, hopped on the train, got to Chinatown, rode my bike almost 30 miles…and by the time I got home, it was nearly 3 pm. So here I am, exhausted.

Anyway, here’s the day in pictures since I’m pooped. I am having trouble uploading the video of me lighting the firecrackers but when I can do it, I will post it. I had a great time doing that and riding today.

CAM03007

Union Station is incredibly awesome. So many movies, shows and commercials were filmed here.

Chinatown Firecracker Bike Ride 008

Chinatown

Chinatown Firecracker Bike Ride 007

Waiting for the event. I got there way early.

Chinatown Firecracker Bike Ride 009

My bike.

Chinatown Firecracker Bike Ride 020

Firefighter giving us tips on lighting. We had to wear helmets and goggles and when the firecrackers went off, even where we were standing, the debris was hitting us. We also had an option to wear earplugs which I did.

Chinatown Firecracker Bike Ride 027

Near the top of one of the many hills we had to climb.

Chinatown Firecracker Bike Ride 029

Dodger Stadium, still looking as great as ever (even under construction).

CAM03020

Pit Stops were set up every 10 miles with goodies like this, fruit, peanut butter, and water.

Chinatown Firecracker Bike Ride 035

Warner Bros. Studios Gate 2. I worked here when I was on The Whole Truth.

Chinatown Firecracker Bike Ride 038

Roy E. Disney Animation Building.

Chinatown Firecracker Bike Ride 039

Walt Disney Studios. I worked there when I was on No Ordinary Family.

Chinatown Firecracker Bike Ride 043

River sans bike trail. We rode along another river.

Chinatown Firecracker Bike Ride 049

With my medal. It was pretty small. Here’s a better view.

CAM03025-picsay

I don’t drink beer but I thought I’d try. And to this day, I don’t know what compels people to drink that garbage. It’s awful stuff (but was free to all riders after the tour).

CAM03026

Even got a free meal afterward. And Chinese food in Chinatown? Nothing compares.

CAM03037

All in all, it was a beautiful day and a great event with awesome volunteers. Thanks to all of them, the organizers, and to the LAPD for keeping traffic in check while we rode along.

I’m pretty sure it’s time for bed now. I’m sure you would be ready too if you did this today.

chinatownrideU

UPDATE: Here’s the video!

 

Blogging 365, Day 53: Like It’s Dynamite


267947_10151465053925042_1930891769_nTomorrow morning I will be getting my first medal of the year when I cross the finish line of the Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker Run’s 30-Mile Bike Ride. It’s my first time riding in this event so I’m pretty excited yet somewhat freaked out about it since I’m roaming into unknown territory.

I mean, I know L.A. but this is nothing like riding in Long Beach like I have for the past 3 years (and again this year): no street closures, a lot more hills, etc. But regardless, I’m committed to it and I can’t wait to see what challenges lie in store for me.

But what’s going to be great about Saturday’s event is what will take place before it: the lighting of 100,000 firecrackers right in the center of Chinatown. It’s a pyromaniac’s dream and something that can only be done legally in Los Angeles during events in Chinatown since fireworks are banned within the city.

What makes that so great? Well, who doesn’t like firecrackers?

And it just so happens that the organizers of the event held a contest on their Facebook page a few days ago that would give 3 randomly selected riders a chance to help light the 100,000 firecrackers before the event starts. All interested parties had to do was change their profile picture to this to qualify for the contest:

644291_10151460953945042_1841598226_n

Oh, you know what the heck it’s implying and what it actually means. Don’t act like you don’t.

I figured I had nothing to lose so I went ahead and changed my profile picture.

So imagine my surprise this morning when I read one of their Wall posts that was congratulating the winners of the contest, one of whom was me.

Yes, that’s right, people. I was one of the lucky 3 riders who was selected to help light the 100,000 firecrackers and I can’t tell you how happy my inner childhood pyromaniac is. This is without a doubt a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m completely honored and stoked to have been chosen.

This is taking tomorrow’s ride to a whole new level. I mean, come on. It’s called the Firecracker Run because the lighting of the firecrackers is a BIG part of the event, and I’m going to be a part of that opening ceremony.

This is nuts. How did I get to be so lucky?

Meh, I don’t care. All I know is that I’ll be 1 of the 3 lighting up those suckers tomorrow morning then hopping on the saddle to tackle almost 30 miles around Los Angeles.

Videos and pictures will be posted Saturday. Stay tuned!

(Posting this video to avoid the painfully obvious correlation between Katy Perry and the lighting of pyrotechnics)

Blogging 365, Day 29: Fair Warning


This is a head’s up to all drivers in the southern California area.

I took this picture of Anthony at the L.A. Auto Show a few months ago and thought I’d pass it along because in 8 short years, this is the face you could see in your rearview mirror:

Anthony Driving!

Hey, just letting you know…

Smilin’ Jack


smilin_20jack_smallIf you grew up in the South Bay like I did (Wilmington in particular), your Halloween just wasn’t complete until you and your family paid a visit to Smilin’ Jack (see image).

It’s a tradition that has taken place for the last 60 years and the local residents love it. So what exactly happens when you go and visit what’s touted as the World’s Largest Jack-O’-Lantern?

It’s pretty simple. You head on down to the ConocoPhillips refinery, sit in what could become one heck of a long line of cars, and wait as they begin to roll into the refinery parking lot.

CAM01994

Here’s when you have time to reminisce about your past visits to see Jack. Like all the times I recall Dad taking me during the short 7 years we had together, or the time me and Ann were the last car in line – they literally closed the gate behind us – and the volunteers threw what seemed to be a million bags of caramel corn into my car. Good times for sure.

Caramel corn? What? That’s right – everybody you see in front of me in the picture above is waiting in line for bags of caramel corn, the most delicious caramel corn I’ve had in my life. Maybe it’s just because it’s a long-standing tradition and my childhood memories come flowing back to me with each visit, maybe it’s because I always feel comfortable haunting my old hometown of Wilmington. Either way, it’s my opinion that this caramel corn is simply awesome.

As you continue to wait your turn, Smilin’ Jack becomes clearer until finally, you reach your destination and get your goodies with Jack overlooking the festivities.

CAM01998

Costumed volunteers happily handed us bags of the delicious treat and I even scored a 76 antenna ball which was definitely a first. What shocked me was that the bags weren’t thrown in the car as they had been in the past, which was part of the fun of going. But I’ll settle for the memory of taking Anthony for the first time and look forward to many, many more visits. It’s a silly tradition yet very sentimental for me to take him and tell him stories about Dad, growing up in that area, showing him the hospital where I was born, etc.

And besides…

CAM02001

…what kid would say NO to this? And if I don’t get a chance to say it tomorrow, I’ll do it now. I wish you all a very happy and safe Halloween. Watch out for the kids and drive safely! We’re looking forward to a fun, cool evening of trick-or-treating 🙂