Jennifer goes to San Francisco

I’m back to my vacation and the last stop on our tour of California – San Francisco.

dsc03902

Vista along 17-Mile Drive

On the way to San Francisco, my husband and I stopped in Monterrey and drove the 17-Mile Drive. This picturesque road is not to be missed. It winds through Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach. We stopped several times on our drive to take in the beautiful vistas and to see the sea lions and otters.

San Francisco was just as I imagined it and was one of my favorite cities on our trip. The weather was nice, but cooler. If you go, take a light jacket because you’ll need it, especially with the breeze coming off the water.

dsc04007

Coit Tower

dsc04003

View from Telegraph Hill

In San Francisco, we saw the Painted Ladies and went up to Coit Tower, which is on Telegraph Hill. We also went to Alcatraz where Al Capone and Robert Stroud were once inmates.

dsc03945

Painted Ladies

Most of our time was spent at Fisherman’s Wharf, which is huge and offers a variety of shops and dining options. The sea lions have their own dock. They are loud, but adorable.

dsc03971

Fisherman’s Wharf

One of my favorite places was Ghirardelli Square.  We stopped in the Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop and got hot fudge sundaes. We also sampled some of the chocolate. This was a highlight for me. It gets crowded — the line was out the door when we went — but it moves fast and is worth the visit.

 

 

dsc04104

Sea lions on dock

Now, this leads me to what I believe is not worth the time — the cable car. My husband bought tickets for the cable car because it was the one thing he really wanted to do in San Francisco. The line was long, but according to the sign, the wait was supposed to be only an hour. I later found out that the wait can be over two hours in the summer. We waited about two and half hours and, when we finally got on, the cable broke down. No, I’m not joking. It was another half hour before the cable was back up and we got our ride. If, like my husband, the cable car is a must do, then be prepared to wait a long time. I don’t like long waits and, with so many other things to do in San Francisco, I don’t recommend a cable car ride.

dsc04220

Golden Gate Bridge

You can take the time you don’t spend in line waiting for a cable car ride and go to the Golden Gate Bridge and Walt Disney Family Museum, which is what we did on our last day in San Francisco. I wish we’d planned for more time at the Walt Disney Family Museum. It is an interactive museum, which means you should plan two to three hours. We didn’t have that much time, but I still enjoyed learning about the Disney family and how Disneyland and Disney World came to be.

Have you been to San Francisco? If so, what was your favorite thing to do?

 

You can also find me here: Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest

Jennifer goes to Los Angeles

dsc03668

Me with an Academy Award

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about my visit to Disneyland. After a couple of days at Disneyland, my husband and I hit the road again. Our next stop was Los Angeles.

Los Angeles was fun. In planning our trip, we scheduled a couple of studio tours. We went to Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. Sony is smaller than Warner Bros., but I would recommend doing both tours if you have the time. If you are fans of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, they are taped at Sony. Wheel of Fortune wasn’t filming at the time, so they took us onto the set. Jeopardy was filming and my husband and I were lucky enough to get into the audience at the last minute.

dsc03515

Sony Pictures

At Warner Bros., we were able to walk on the set of The Goldbergs and sit on the couch used in the scenes filmed at the Central Perk on Friends. Those were the highlights for me at Warner Bros. I love both of those shows. We had lots of fans of Pretty Little Liars on our tour and, after seeing where it’s filmed and hearing the rave reviews, I’ve decided I’m going to have to watch it. dsc03643

We also toured Dolby Theater, which is where the Academy Awards take place, and we went to the El Capitan Theater, which is Disney’s theater. Disney premieres their movies at that theater.

Of course, we saw the Hollywood sign, walked the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman’s Chinese Theater). I had fun comparing my hands and feet to those of some of my favorite actresses. We also went to the La Brea Tar Pits where many fossils from the Ice Age have been excavated.dsc03190

Because we are amusement park people, we went to Universal Studios. It is much smaller than Universal Orlando, but I enjoyed it more. The rides were great, but the best part was the studio tour, which is included with the admission to the park. It is a huge tour because its part of the amusement park, but it’s still worth doing. They film a lot of current TV shows there, such as The Good Place.

One evening, we drove to Santa Monica Pier to watch the sunset. The pier is a popular place to watch the sunset and gets quite crowded. But if you’re looking to add a little romance to your trip, it’s worth the drive.

dsc03256

Sunset at Santa Monica Pier

 

Have you been to Los Angeles? What was your favorite thing to do?

 

You can also find me here: Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest

Jennifer goes to Disneyland

DSC02713

Paradise Pier

While on our way up California’s coast, my husband and I had to make a stop at Disneyland. Over the years, we’ve made quite a few trips to Disney World because we love it. After visiting Disneyland, I still say nothing compares to Disney World. Overall, we had fun and there are some attractions at Disneyland that I wish Disney World had.

Our first day, we went to California Adventure Park. My favorite part of the park was Cars Land. I felt like I had stepped into Radiator Springs. The Radiator Springs Racers is similar to Epcot’s Test Track, but has some small drops and I found it to be more thrilling.

DSC02760

Radiator Springs

This might seem like an odd one, but I absolutely loved the Animation Academy, which is located in Hollywood Land. At the academy, a Disney artist teaches you how to draw a Disney character. I learned how to draw Winnie the Pooh. I used to line up for this attraction at Hollywood Studios in Florida, but Disney World decided to close this attraction. I really wish they would bring it back.

Paradise Pier is California Adventure Park’s boardwalk-themed area. It is also home to Toy Story Midway Mania – one of the most popular rides. On Toy Story Midway Mania, you shoot at targets to rack up points. At the end, you find out who has the highest score in your car. My husband always seems to be on top.

DSC02831

World of Color

DSC02920

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle

We stayed long enough to see World of Color and it was worth it. It is a water and light show that takes place at Paradise Pier. Images from some of Disney’s movies come to life right on the water and are accompanied by Disney’s fabulous music. I highly recommend sticking around for this one.

Our second day was spent at Disneyland. While it is similar to Disney World, there are some differences. Disneyland still has Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Snow White’s Scary Adventures. These rides don’t offer lots of thrills, but they are fun nonetheless. It also turned what used to be 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea into the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. I never got to ride 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at Magic Kingdom because it was closed before my first trip to Disney World, but my husband used to ride that one a lot and really enjoyed the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.

DSC02907

Haunted Mansion

Of course, we had to ride Hyperspace Mountain. As Part of Disneyland’s 60th anniversary, they transformed Space Mountain into a Star Wars high-speed adventure. It was fun being put into the middle of a battle.

No trip to Disney is complete without the fireworks. Because of the 60th anniversary, the fireworks were quite the spectacle. Images were shown on the buildings on Main Street as fireworks exploded overhead. It was beautiful. I found out that Disneyland’s usual fireworks show will return on September 5, 2016.

Before leaving the park, my husband and I made a stop in the theater to watch some of the old cartoons. We had a few good laughs.

DSC02844

Main Street

Disneyland and California Adventure Park are both great parks and are much more laid back compared to Disney World. We never ran into the long lines that we run into at Disney World. That being said, I still love Disney World because I am completely immersed in the Disney experience as soon as I land in Orlando. On the highway, there are signs everywhere that welcome you to Disney, which build that Disney excitement. Anaheim is missing that. We basically drove off the street and right into a parking garage. The build up isn’t there. Despite that, if I were out that way again, I’d make a stop at Disneyland.

Have you been to Disney World, Disneyland, or both? If you’ve been to both, d0 you prefer one over the other?

 

 

You can also find me here: Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest

Jennifer goes to Las Vegas

DSC02388If you follow my blog, you know that I love to travel. I recently had the opportunity to travel to Las Vegas and several cities in California. In coming weeks, I’ll be sharing some details and photos from my trip so keep a look out for “Jennifer goes to . . .” posts.

This week is Las Vegas. I had a blast in Vegas. I’m not a huge gambler, but I enjoy walking around the casinos. They are all different and many of them have things you can do outside of gambling.

At the Venetian, I ate gelato, drank cappuccino, and listened to opera. At the Mirage, I went to the Secret Garden and saw white tigers and lions.

The Bellagio is one of my favorites. I watched the water show outside and then took a stroll through the conservatory. I also went to Mandalay Bay and visited the Shark Reef.

DSC02306

Me at The Wynn

DSC02044

Bellagio’s conservatory

Besides walking through the casinos, I went to a couple of shows. Mat Franco puts on a great magic show. If you love close up magic, you’ll enjoy his show. I also went to see Cirque du Soleil’s The Beatles Love. It was fantastic.

Last minute, my husband and I decided to see Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding and we had lots of fun. Some of the characters reminded me of some of my family members.

DSC02410

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam isn’t far from Las Vegas and is a must see. The dam is massive. It was extremely hot the day I went (somewhere around 106 degrees), but I still walked across the dam and stood in Nevada and Arizona at the same time. I also heard way too many dam jokes.

Of course, no trip to Las Vegas is complete without a ride on the High Roller. The view of the strip is unbelievable. If you go to Vegas and ride the High Roller, make sure to ride at night because the strip is lit up. The lights from the top of the High Roller are beautiful.

DSC01917

The High Roller

 

DSC02105

View from the High Roller

 

If you’ve been to Vegas, what is your favorite thing to do?

 

You can also find me here: Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest