Northeast Trip: A Day in Philadelphia

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If you’ve been following my Northeast Trip posts, you would have caught on to the common “GO GO GO” theme. Our day in Philly was no exception…

For whatever reason, we all thought we could just take “the train” down to the city of Philadelphia. Well that turned out to be much more expensive and not quite as easy as previously thought. After some research, we found the BOLT bus which would pick us up in NYC and take us the whole way to Philadelphia, dropping us off somewhat west of downtown. While the BOLT bus didn’t fully deliver on the free WiFi, it did deliver on an air conditioned and comfortable ride [besides the fact that it was almost 2 hours late picking us up later that night because of a massive accident and weather conditions on the Expressway (aka the freeway to us Californians)].

Anyway, enough about the horrible crazy transportation situation we found ourselves in…

Reading Terminal

After a quick subway ride from the bus stop to the city, we found our way to the Reading Terminal. This alone, is why my husband wants to go back to Philadelphia one day. Of course, hopefully during the Dutch festival again as well!

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Reading Terminal is similar to the Chelsea Market we visited in NYC, but its 95% counter service restaurants and a certified farmer’s market. And luckily enough, we managed to go during the 24th Annual Pennsylvania Dutch Festival. I’m not sure that we could ever go back outside of this festival as many of our favorites were part of it, especially Beiler’s Doughnuts where my husband had “the best donut EVER.” The other highlights for us were the sandwiches at Tommy Dinic’s and Hope’s Cookies.

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Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell

After stuffing ourselves full, we walked down to see Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Because of our extremely limited time we really didn’t stay anywhere long but just “looked.” And please notice how crazy the weather is… all these photos are shown in chronological order, so note the beautiful blue sky to the massive rain and thunder storm. 🙂

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Standing on the steps of the Portrait Gallery, fresh from the rainstorm.

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Of course I insisted to stop by the Printing Office to see some old school printmaking… the building used to belong to Benjamin Franklin.

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Geno’s vs Pats

And of course, we had to take the bus down to Geno’s and Pat’s to decide for ourselves which of the two offered up the better Philly cheesesteak. We ordered 4 sandwiches, 2 from each restaurant to compare provolone and cheese whiz as well as the sandwich itself.

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The winner: Pat’s “wit whiz.”

More Philly Sites and Sights

We had just a few extra minutes (literally fifteen minutes at most) so we ran by the state building as well as the LOVE sign.

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And to end all of these Northeast trip posts, my mom did all this touristing with a boot!

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Thanks for following along my adventures along the east coast… it finally feels back to normal round here, just in time for more wedding festivities!

Cars Land—Photo Tour, Part 2

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Here is part 2 of my Cars Land Photo Tour! See part 1.

Let’s continue down through Radiator Springs… just past the Cozy Cones on your left, you will find the Radiator Springs Curios shop.

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SHOPPING. Between the Cozy Cones and Luigi’s Tires, you’ll find one of the last shops in Radiator Springs… the Curios.

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SHOPPING. Across the intersection you’ll find Ramone’s House of Body Art, another store that just expanded since the grand opening.

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ATTRACTION. While I was so looking forward to the big Radiator Racers ride, I was super excited to be able to ride on Luigi’s Flying Tires, a ride that is based on a Tomorrowland Ride from the 1960’s: the Flying Saucers. They were never able to get that ride functioning to its full capacity so I really hoped they worked the kinks out for Luigi…

The line itself moves very slowly for a ride that seems to end as soon as you figure out how to get moving. Right before you board, pay special attention to the diagrams on how to ride.

You [and your ride buddy together] must lean in order to get your tire to move… but not lean too much. Or too little. There’s a special sweet spot that will really get your tire to zoom. With only 2 rides under my belt, I have yet to really master getting this ride down. Hope that changes next time.

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The below photo shows just how delayed this post has been… these inflated beach balls have long since been removed from the ride but as my only photo of the ride itself, this will have to do. 🙂

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ATTRACTION. And of course, the ride everyone waited years for… similar to the Test Track at Epcot, Radiator Springs Racers covers 6 acres of this 12 acre land.

Before you even get in line, a helpful tip for many is to get in the single rider line. It cuts the wait time down by over half the time if not more. But if you are in need of a Fast Pass, make sure you grab one outside of Bugs Land—these Fast Passes go fast!

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And the third option, actually waiting in line… it truly is an immersive line experience. So many items to check out, even the very realistic mold on the rocks. 🙂

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The ride itself truly takes you within this work of art. Getting to go up to the bridge from the movies and ride along with the other cars is just such a neat experience for any Cars fan.

But once you get inside the ride, the Cars come to life and away you go through an animated Radiator Springs, full of life size audio-animatorics.

Then comes the racing, once your car goes through either its final paint job by Ramone or a quick tune up at Luigi’s, your car is ready to race! Good luck!

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Before you leave Cars Land, make sure you take a walk toward Pacific Wharf to be able to get the best look at the rockwork of Radiator Springs. It’s really the best place for photo opps too!

To get to this walkway, head for the gap between Ramone’s and Flo’s V8 Cafe.

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Well that’s all folks! Hope you enjoyed the tour!

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Cars Land—Photo Tour, Part 1

This post has been long overdue but last summer—and since then—I have been taking photos of the brand new Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park. And while many of you may have been down to visit the gang from Radiator Springs, I know quite a few who haven’t. So this is just a broad glimpse into what exactly this new land contains—where’s the food, what’s a store, and of course a scoop on the rides…

CARS LAND is located between Bugs Land and the San Francisco Wharf. It has quite a few entrances but we will start our journey at the main entrance where you are greeted with a postcard like sign, welcoming you to Cars Land.

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OUTDOOR FOOD CART. Your first stop on the right is similar to the fruit stand that stood here before Cars Land came to being… at Fillmore’s you can get all the hippie dippy stuff: fruit, bottled beverages, and other snacks.

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ATTRACTION. Next up on your left is Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. This ride was actually a lot more fun than I had been expecting! Out of all 3 ride, this would be my second favorite. The line has plenty of decor for you to look at and read, plus it moves pretty quickly. The ride itself has you sitting in the tractors which then rotate along several discs—think Tea Cups but with half as much spinning.

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SHOPPING. back on the right, this shop has anything you can think or dream of that’s Cars related.

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Plus these really awesome hats!

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OUTDOOR FOOD CARTS. If you’re looking for some food without the sit down experience, a “quick” grab it and go, head to the Cozy Cone Motel. Each cone has a different type of food from popcorn to ice cream and they even offer breakfast if you come early enough! Keep in mind, these lines move pretty slow. More info on the food served can be found here on Micechat.

Outside the main office of the motel is your best chance to snap a photo with Mater or Lightning… keep an eye out for a hidden Buzz Lightyear inside the office too! 🙂

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RESTAURANT. A 50s diner, for the families who want more of a full, sit down meal with plenty of seating available—inside and outside.

More info on the food served can be found here on Micechat.

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And coming next week… Luigi’s Flying Tires and of course a look at the ride that covers 6 acres of California Adventure: Radiator Springs Racers!

Photo Tour of Disneyland’s Exclusive Club 33

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Are you ready for the GRAND tour of Club 33?

And I mean grand because there are a ton of photos. Too many actually to even post here. Between me and Mr. Anthony Tran, there were hundreds of photos taken… from the furniture to the walls and beyond the balconies. Including the bathroom facilities.

If you want the more sensational post about our trip check my first post here… the following post is all about the facts—the whats and where’s that at’s.

The Entrance and Beyond the Door

You begin by ringing the doorbell to check in at the front door with the receptionist.

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Then the big moment arrives when you get to walk through the emerald painted Club 33 door and the whole party is greeted by the receptionist and a large staircase and a lift (elevator).

The lift was created especially by Walt Disney Imagineering after Walt and his wife Lillian saw one while shopping in the French Quarter in New Orleans. more info

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Lounge Alley

The staircase takes you up and above Royal Street where you then cross over the street below. Many people think Club 33 is just above the Blue Bayou restaurant but the buffet area and the main dining room is actually across the way and above the French Market.

(To get a better idea on where you’re at I am going to show exterior photos mixed with interior…)

This first photo was taken from across at the balcony seen in the second photo, the balcony with the bluish iron work is the trophy room, which you’ll see later on the tour. 🙂

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The other side of the red shutters…

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Down this “lounge alley” leads you to the buffet stations and ends at the main dining room. To your right and out of frame would be the top of the staircase and the trophy room.

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This table is from the movie Mary Poppins and found its home in the Banks home before finding its place here at the Club.

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Buffet Room and Bar

Next up would be the bar, and in the background you can see the couch us girls were sitting at (seen above).

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Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

We came during the lunch hour so each meal came with a buffet of appetizers.

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Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

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Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

As well as a dessert bar. Behind the dessert bar were concept art pieces by Marc Davis for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.

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Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

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Main Dining Room

When we first arrived the dining room was full but by the end our group was the only one left. We were definitely making the most of our time there.

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Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

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Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

Our meals ranged from lobster to rabbit to rack of lamb. For the most part everyone ordered the steak. 🙂

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Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

The View

My favorite part of the whole visit was standing out on the balconies above New Orlean’s Square.

These three are from the balcony facing Pirates of the Caribbean…

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And these few are from the balcony facing toward the Rivers of America and Haunted Mansion.

I am so happy Anthony got his photo with my favorite spot of Disneyland, the Courtyard of Angels, in the background!

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Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

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Trophy Room

Looking up and above the Blue Bayou restaurant is the Trophy Room, a more informal dining room for the Club.

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I had to take a photo of the curtains because I want to try to match them for our home office!

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This turkey vulture is an actual audio animatronic that would be voiced by an actor hidden in a sound room. The chandeliers above the tables had hidden microphones that the actor could use to respond to the guests while they dined. All the microphones have since been removed but the vulture still sits above the entrance.

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Bathroom

As we near the end of our tour, let’s take a quick glimpse inside the restroom faciltiies, which are almost just as beautiful as the rest of the Club.

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And thanks to Anthony, here’s the mens room. 🙂

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Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

Art

Let’s take one quick glimpse back before we go and look up close at some of the art featured throughout Club 33…

Starting with of course the Ryman concept art for the Courtyard of Angels that I posted about in January!

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Marc Davis character development concepts behind the dessert bar…

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The original entrance to the apartment above Pirates of the Caribbean on Royal Street… before the creation of the dual staircase in front of the attraction.

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Exit

Club 33 really doesn’t rush you through your time there. From the moment we got there they allowed us to meander throughout and take as many photos as we wanted to. They even prolong bringing out the main course so you can get as many appetizers as you want and you don’t have to rush. Which led our visit to be 3 hours long. 🙂

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The night before we went, I was looking up random stories about the Club online and found a post by a castmember who finally got her turn to enjoy Club 33. She closed her post with a photo of the back of the door. And I really loved that. For the rest of my life I will have many more photos from the front of the emerald green door but only these rare photos of the back of the wooden and red door.

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And thanks Anthony for taking such amazing photos throughout our visit! We all so appreciate it!

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Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

And of course one very last glimpse back… to the right behind the tree is the main dining room where our party of 10 spent 3 hours on our Sunday touring the exclusive Club 33 at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

Photo by Anthony Minh Tran