The OC, The Hills, and Disneyland

Trip Start Oct 22, 2010
Trip End Nov 02, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hotel Menage Anaheim
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, October 26, 2010

     We left San Diego after lunch and headed North on I-5.  We stopped into Einstein Bagel Co. for a quick sandwich, and then it wasn't long before the radio stations seemingly started playing a continuous loop of Katy Perry, Sublime, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Gwen Stefani.  We veered off the expressway at San Clemente in favor of the more scenic Pacific Coast Highway.  The towns between San Clemente and Newport Beach all seemed to be inviting us to stop and discover the small inns, art galleries, and little bistros that lined the busy road.  We could have easily spent a week just exploring these quiet beach towns, but we cruised on through in favor of a wonderful steak dinner with family in Tustin. 
     The following day we scheduled a whale watching trip out of Dana Point.  We headed south on the PCH, stopping in Laguna Beach for a quiet stroll through some of the shops and galleries, before continuing on to the marina at Dana Point.  We boarded the 95 foot Dana Pride and set off for a trip along the coast.  The kids were so happy to be on a boat, I don't think they even noticed that we didn't see any whales.  We did see a large group of sea lions sunbathing on a buoy.  Additionally, the amazing sunset upon returning to the harbor was well worth the trip.  We followed the boat ride with a nice dinner at The Rusty Pelican in Newport Beach.  I got a lesson in valet parking, as apparently there are no self park options in these parts.  Off to Disneyland tomorrow.
     Our accommodations at Hotel Menage were conveniently located within walking distance just across the highway from Disneyland.  The rooms were modern and comfortable, and the service was truly personal.  They offer a shuttle service, or you can elect to walk the quick 10 minutes to the Disneyland gates as we chose to do.  We figured tackling Disney on a Wednesday in late October would mean we would not be fighting crowds on our quest through the Magic Kingdom, but there were quite a few people in the park by noon.  We arrived early to ensure we maximized our time since we only planned on spending one day at Disney.  We rode The Buzz Lightyear ride, The Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and a slew of others.  Disney does a great job of moving the lines, as we boarded almost every ride within 10 minutes of getting in line.  We found Mickey for some great pictures with the kids, and then took our daughter to meet the Disney Princesses, including Cinderella!  I began to think the smiles would never leave the kids faces!  I was worried that our kids (4 1/2 and 2 1/2) might be too young for Disney, but there was plenty there for them.  They will certainly be looking forward to our next Disney trip, and a whole new set of rides and experiences.  Disneyland is truly a magical place!
     The next morning, I managed to get away with the guys for a round of golf at the beautiful  El Niguel private Country Club.  It was a perfect day for golf and I don't think I embarrassed myself too bad on the course.  After golf, we went to dinner at Cafe Tu Tu Tango in The Block at Orange.  I was so impressed with this place.  The atmosphere was amazing, but the food really sealed the deal.  The menu is tapas style, so we got to try a lot of different things.  My favorite was probably the Cajun Chicken Egg Rolls, but it was all great!  The other unique thing about this restaurant is the local artists that paint there as you dine.  They are very approachable and are happy to answer questions about their work.  You can even buy their work right off of the restaurant walls. The artist that was painting while we were there is Rich Flynn.  His work is scattered throughout the restraunt.  I got to view his portfolio, and I was amazed.  His portfolio is full of weddings painted on site, and in the moment.  Rich is a true talent.  You can see some of his work at
     We relaxed for the next few days.  We toured the Laymon's Candy Factory, went to the beach, and spent time with family.  On Halloween we visited Tanaka Farms pumpkin patch which petting zoo, games, four wheeling for the young kids, carved our pumpkins, and took the kids out for a night of good old-fashioned Trick-or-Treating.
     We had a great time in LA and didn't begin to scratch the surface.  The Orange County "Lifestyle" gets a bad rap sometimes because of the ridiculous reality shows that are frequently based here.  But I found it to be quiet and inviting; even towards a couple of 30-something Texans towing their kids around in a minivan.  It is magnificent in scenery while calm in its expression.
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