Thursday, August 25, 2011

Disneyland - Trader Sam's - World Of Color and General Trifles

I finally made it to Trader Sam's tiki bar over at the Disneyland Hotel.  Several times, actually.
The bar looks like the Jungle Cruise crashed into the Tiki Room --- what's not to love?
Tiki drinks, Disney style.
Order a Shipwreck or an Uh-oa.
The bar lights up with special effects.
One of them made possible from fellow blogger Kevin Kidney - who designed the "ship in a bottle" above the bar.  It is a replica of a certain ship floating down in the caverns of the Pirates of the Caribbean.
Here's Kevin's post about his (and Jody Daily's) involvement.  Once again, Kevin and Jody are amazing!
The Shipwreck drink itself?
I heartily endorse the Uh-oa.
After a couple of these, you soon echo the sentiments of our dear friend Koro, the midnight dancer:
"Today my magic feet no move.  My head sore.  But last night all tiki gods had BIG time.  SOME luau!  When drums begin to pound, (your) head full BIIIIG SOUND!"
Some views of the interior of Trader Sam's are set forth below for your edification and enjoyment.
The bar is cozy.  There is a porch outside the bar, but it is pretty warm during the day.  I would probably wait until dusk or evening before taking a seat out there.
 The "ship in a bottle" is on the shelf above the liquor bottles near the center of the photograph.
From our table just inside the entrance doors, here is the view looking toward the west wall of Trader Sam's.  Lamps, tiki totems, Jungle Cruise photos and bamboo are a banquet for the eyes of an old skipper and West-sider.  It's a good thing this place wasn't around back in the 1980s.  2/3rds or more of our opening crew would have never made it into work!
Along the walls are plenty of framed prints and pseudo-mementos, such as the example below.   
Overall, Trader Sam's is worth a visit (or five)---especially if you are staying on site and don't need to drive home!  Be sure and stop by.  Give Sam my best!
Great bartender.
Bit of a head case.
A real "people person" though.
Not a vegan.
He really wants to serve you.
So, don't get too close to the large kettle in the back.

As I mentioned in my last post, we stopped by the "other" park and actually sat down to take in World of Color.  Staying at the Grand Californian, we were able to be the first into the park to get FastPasses for the event.  We got the "Blue" section and, thanks to a hot tip, we were told the best spot to take in the show was along the bridge that leads across the water towards Ariel's Grotto.
I snapped the shots below from our vantage point on the bridge as evening fell upon us.
We were treated to a gorgeous sunset. 
 Once evening set in, Mickey shone brilliantly from the - ahem - Ferris Wheel ("Don't worry, Lilly, my Park isn't going to be dirty like a carnival.").

And here is a shot of the World of Color show in progress---as you can see, we had some of the best seats in the house---short of grabbing a table at Ariel's Grotto.
World of Color hints No. 1, 2, 3 and 4:

1.  Stay at one of the resort hotels---preferably Grand Californian---you get into the Park early (if you are there on the right day) so you can be among the first to get WOC FastPasses.

2.  Get in line EARLY at the hotel entrance gate for California Adventure (just past the Napa Rose in the Grand Californian).  The line presently forms before DCA opens.
THERE (in line for the hotel entrance to DCA).

3.  As for the show itself - GET TO THE SHOW AREA EARLY.  Get to the rope at the bridge leading to Ariel's Grotto (between the Little Mermaid attraction and Ariel's Grotto) well, well, well BEFORE the scheduled showing of World of Color that you are attending.  Be among the first along the rope so you can pick out your spot when it drops.  Hold hands.  Cling to each other.  The massive horde behind you WILL stampede you and tear at your party like charging bull elephants.

4.  Bring a blanket or two to lay out on the ground and mark your spot (anything that can help you stake out territory from all the "last minute Larrys" who WILL inevitably show up just before showtime and try to hone in on your personal space).

That is all for now, dear readers.
You guys are fabulous!
Keep up the good work!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Disneyland - Club 33 and I meet Anne

My family and I went to stay at the Grand Californian during the last week of July.  A Grand time was had by all.  We made the most of our week, dropping by Trader Sam's over at the Disneyland Hotel, giving Steakhouse 55 a try, finally braving the crowds for a---believe it or not---FIRST time ever viewing of "World of Color," stepping aboard the new Star Tours and taking in lunch at Club 33.

Oh!  While walking through the Park during our visit, I spotted a young woman wearing a "Jungle Is 101" t-shirt as I entered the Plaza from Adventureland.  "Hey!  Nice shirt!" I called out.  The young woman was with two of her friends and she looked at me.  "I'm MIKE, the Jungle is 101 blogger."  
"I'm Anne."
"ANNE!!  Nice to meet you!  Are you guys having fun?!  I'm here with my family."
Anne has been one of this blog's 4 (four) readers for quite some time now.
She was very nice and said she wears her Jungle is 101 shirt to the Park often.
It was an absolute treat to meet a reader in person.
Quite a rare event, since I figure I've got about a 4-in-8 billion chance (3-in-8-billion if you exclude my mom!) of actually meeting someone who reads this stuff.
Anne seemed remarkably cogent and normal for a "Jungle is 101" devotee!
Anne, it was very nice to meet you!

Now, where was I?
Ah, lunch at Club 33.
For you Disneyland-o-philes, Club 33 is something you have heard about many times.  I imagine a few of you have made it up there for lunch or dinner.
As for the few who have no idea what Club 33 is---here's a link.
We took in the Club for an 11:30 a.m. lunch.  
Here is a photo-essay of the visit.
The number of the club, the mysterious "33" is said to relate to Walt Disney having been a member of the Freemasons.  The 33rd degree of Freemasonry is the highest.  Here is a video tour of the Club. 
We arrive at the red main entry and board the elevator shown below (those are my daughters inside) for a lift to the second floor dining area.
My wife and I took the stairs.
At the top of the stairs, you can see into the Trophy Room.
To your left (but not shown) is an ornate leaded glass telephone booth that was a prop or set element from "The Happiest Millionaire."
The entire Club interior was designed by Emile Kuri---the famous Hollywood set designer who also has his own window on Main Street.
Here is the main dining room.
And here, the main corridor, with bar (right) and buffet.  The marble-topped table on the left was featured in Mary Poppins.  Cher-ooo!
The main upstairs entrance corridor.  Ahead and to your left is the ladies' restroom.
As you round the corner at the top of the stairs, the men's room is to your left.  In the photo below, you can see (at the left side) the side of the telephone booth mentioned above.
Here is the main entrance hall, looking back at it from the bar and buffet area.
Our table was in the southwestern corner of the main dining room.  We could step out onto the balcony there above New Orleans Square.  Here are a few views from the balcony.  Ahhhh. 
Below, we look down toward the main entrance of the French Market.  
Next time you are there, turn around and look back and up.  You will see our balcony there next to the magnolia tree and above the Cafe Orleans.  
Here is the balcony as seen from street level.
Here is a view from the eastern end of the balcony, looking down at the riverfront of New Orleans Square.
Fabulous artwork and a close up of some of the interior wallpaper.  Fresh flowers, but of course.
The delightful Club 33 Bloody Mary atop our table in the main dining room.
Now, some views from inside the Club and out onto New Orleans Square.  First, a peek down from the main corridor:
Next, the view out of the window at the top of the main entrance stairway (the phone booth is to the right, not shown).
Here is the view from the corridor where the buffet and bar are located.  We are looking out upon the entrance to the Blue Bayou.
Here is another view.
And this is a shot, taken from street level, of the window out of which the above photographs were taken (the white-trimmed window at the upper right side of the photograph).
 Another view of the main dining room.
Looking south toward the Court of the Angels (through that lanterned archway in the the distance) from our balcony along Orleans Street.

And here is the opposite view, looking from the intersection of Orleans and Royal Street back up toward our balcony (the one in the center-left of the photograph, next to the tall magnolia tree).
 A view of the riverfront side of the main dining room balcony (this is above the Cafe Orleans - note the blue and white umbrellas).
Looking out from the Court of Angels and up Orleans Street.
Finally, a shot of this blog's skipper luxuriating on the curb in front of City Hall, while waiting for the afternoon parade.  See?  I'm alive and well despite the severe lack of posts recently.
Until next time, I hope you've enjoyed this little photographic tour of Club 33, from inside and out.
My best to all of you---and thanks for checking in!


Monday, August 8, 2011

Disneyland - The Lost Safari Leader Returns

My best to you, Adventurers and Adventurettes!

Mike here.

I would have posted more in the past two months had it not been for a wrong turn in the Guatemalan rainforest. You can get pretty disoriented in jungle overgrowth, especially with a blowdart in your neck! After I came to in a dark hut, I managed to free (most) of the other members of our group and we made our way down river and back to our rickety dock. Talk about a sight for sore eyes! The guys on the dock greeted us warmly, but had somehow managed to be completely unaware of the fact that we had been missing for over eight weeks. Ah. Skippers.

I have much to tell you as, after our ordeal, I made a sojourn to the Grand Californian for four days in order to recuperate. Poolside mojitos can powerfully combat the most virulent of jungle maladies. I also managed an invite into an exclusive club in New Orleans Square---it had been a while since my last visit. I have pictures, but no time to upload them this morning. Stay tuned.

The Park, as always, revitalized my weary spirits, rekindled my devotion and rewarded my many years of Disneyland experience. Oddly enough, we had a supremely happy time at this particular place on earth. Hmm. Maybe there's something to that old slogan after all...

As to you, my devoted four (4) readers (Hi, Mom!), what can I say? I feel like a deadbeat dad, an AWOL soldier, a bolting groom, a Ponzi scheme con-man, a pirate rowing away from you on a lonely island beach, a DMV clerk, a Congressman, a neighbor who borrowed your rake four years ago (and still has it), a garage mechanic in a small desert town---350 miles from anywhere---who has your broken-down car up on a rack, a distant cousin who is still promising to make good on that loan---someday, someone who has left you high-and-dry. I am sorry.

I will try to make amends by getting back to posting daily---or at least a couple times a week! Thank you all for continuing to check in with me and for your good thoughts and best wishes on my behalf. These are truly cherished and appreciated.