Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Disneyland Hotel: I Remember It Well. Sort Of.

Around the holidays I was invited to stay at the Disneyland Hotel while attending a blogger's event at Disneyland. In case you're not familiar with the hotel, it looks like this:

Actually, that's not how it looks today - that's the picture that's been stuck in my mind since the 60's. Rattling around in there with Monkees songs and episodes of Leave It To Beaver.


Here's how the hotel looks today:

Memory is a funny thing. The one thing that I remember, unequivocally, is that the coolest thing about the hotel was the Monorail going directly through the lobby. In fact, I distinctly remember stepping off of the Monorail and practically right into the gift shop. Yes, that Monorail would blaze straight through the hotel, mere feet away from guests toting suitcases and children running in from the pool. It was the 60's, a time of free love and reckless transport.

Except it turns out that the Monorail actually never ran right through the hotel, it ran near the hotel, a fact I wasn't willing to accept until my husband showed me some vintage photos that happened to be on display in the lobby. Even then I thought he was just playing with my head, like the time he tried to tell me that the Cleavers weren't a real family and Beaver wasn't his real name. Yeah, right.

But the Monorail just running near the hotel is fine, in fact it's one of my favorite things about the place. After a short stroll through Downtown Disney, you can actually enter Disneyland by going through security and showing your passes at the Monorail station, avoiding the long lines that you usually find at the main entrance. (Although one of the times we did this, there was a delay with one of the cars and we ended up waiting far longer there than the time it would have taken us to walk to the main gate.)

As for the rooms, I found them to be clean and comfortable and able to fit my husband and I, our two teens and one of their friends. Also, there was this lamp and 'magic' mirror that were a big hit with my girls:

It turns out that we weren't in one of their newly remodeled rooms, that apparently feature beds with light-up headboards. Which is just as well – when I mentioned that to my husband he just groaned and said sarcastically, "I'm crushed we missed it," which is what I would expect – I mean he wasn't jumping up and down about that lamp and mirror, either. I'm wondering if there isn't some sort of special Disney Man Suite, one that features shrunken heads on the bedposts, sawdust on the floors, skeleton hands holding the lamps and a toilet seat permanently in the 'up' position. (Disney Hotel Design People - call me!)

Also, if you are staying at the hotel, or even just in the vicinity, I suggest taking a stroll through the lobby. While we were there they had some beautiful vintage celebrity photographs on display, and then there's this huge collage of Disney memorabilia. I only got a portion of it here, but you get the idea:

 (Do you see eyes behind that mask? Kinda creepy, or most clever security camera ever?)

We didn't have time to use the Neverland Pool, which looks like it would be fun for the kids – it was recently remodeled and features a pirate ship. Here's a photo from their site. I think it's time for that woman sunning herself in the first chair to turn over:

I do recommend the hotel, especially for it's close proximity to Disneyland, California Adventure and Downtown Disney. The service was excellent, as I've found it is in any of the hotels on the property. The one restaurant we ate in, Steakhouse 55, was good but pricey for breakfast, but that's expected for any hotel dining. Overall the hotel is a sensible choice for families and anyone going to the park on multiple days who are looking for accomodations close to the park.

Now, if they could only get that Monorail to run through the lobby...

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Geffen Playhouse Giveaway: And the Winner Is...

Sorry for the delay in picking a winner. I threw my back out (true story, I swear) and everytime I tried to sit up and do anything on my computer my back would feel like it was being rolled over by a tanker and I'd scream out in pain. And yes that's as sexy as it sounds.

I used the magical List Randomizer at Random.org to swirl up the names of the entries, and this is the one that rose to the top:

Congratulations Kathleen! Your tickets will be on hold at the Geffen Playhouse on Saturday, February 19 for the 3pm show of In Mother Words. See you there!

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Monday, February 7, 2011

My Fresh & Easy Super Bowl Party Was Intercepted

I'm not sure if you heard, but there was this big football game on TV yesterday. I think a few people went to go see it in person at a big stadium, too, although I'm not sure why you would want to do that when the line for the bathroom is much shorter at home. (Sometimes they're cleaner, too. I said sometimes.)

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market offered to provide some food and drink for a Super Bowl party, so I decided to invite my family over to watch the big game. We're the only ones who don't own a huge plasma screen TV, although ours was considered big back when we bought it in 1958. Needless to say I had to lure everyone over with the free food, even though I knew I'd have to endure some more cracks about our "sissy miniature TV" (my 90-year-old mom is pretty harsh.)

This is what the nice people at Fresh & Easy delivered on Saturday. It's just a sampling of what they provided – they sent over enough of food for 15 people. (As well as those roses in the background, which they gave me because they felt bad for the delivery being late. Don't you wish the cable guy was as conscientious?)

Unfortunately, as usually happens when you spend two days cleaning your house in preparation for guests, the party Gods laugh in your Lysol-smeared face. My 14-year-old woke up with a 102° fever on Sunday morning, and we had to cancel the whole thing. She was pretty miserable, and I didn't want to spread the germs to the rest of the family, especially my elderly mom – you think she's harsh when she doesn't like your TV, you should see how she gets when she thinks you've given her a cold.

So most of the food is in the freezer, but we did have one of their Vegetable & Cheese Trays, some of their Buffalo Roasted Chicken Wings and we cracked open the Spinach Artichoke Dip, my daughter's favorite which made her feel a little better and apparently pairs well with ibuprofen. We're thinking of rescheduling the party to sample the rest of the food, even if there isn't  football game to watch it with. Maybe a Grammy party? Hopefully we'll have a new TV by then, one that's in color and has sound.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Win Two Tickets To 'In Mother Words' at the Geffen Playhouse

Need a little culture? How about a play about parenting written by a group of funny, witty women including a Pulitzer Prize winner and presented at the beautiful Geffen Playhouse? And how about if the tickets were free and also included a food and drink reception after the show? Okay then, read on!

In Mother Words, written by some of contemporary theater’s most talented voices including Pulitzer Prize winner Beth Henley (Crimes Of The Heart), humorously takes on the subject of motherhood. The play is making its West Coast debut at the Geffen Playhouse with award-winning actors Jane Kaczmarek, Saidah Arrika Ekulona and James Lecesne.

I've got TWO tickets to giveaway to In Mother Words for Saturday, February 19 at 3pm. This would include the reception from 4:30 to 7:30pm.

Here's how you win: Leave me a comment here sometime before Midnight on Wednesday, February 9. (Make sure you leave a valid email address.) I'll use random.org to pick a winner and will announce it on Friday, February 11. Good luck!

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