Monday, September 26, 2005

Day 2 at Old Towne Orange and more Disneyland

After 13 hours of sleep, I woke up feeling mighty refreshed and all geared up for another day of fun and adventure. We had breakfast at Denny's before heading out to do some sight-seeing. SH had talked about this place before we left Honolulu and everyone agreed to go see it. Old Towne Orange is a small commercial district in the old part of the city of Orange. It is a fun combination of nostalgia, "tacky" and some terrific shopping. At its center is a circular plaza with a small tree-lined park. This plaza is surrounded be some small shops, restaurants and an old bank building that houses a Starbucks. If you enjoy antiquing, this place is a must. Quaint restaurants, tea rooms, interesting collectible boutiques, a myriad of antique shops and art galleries, and an intimate Victorian neighborhood of homes all within walking distance make for an unforgettable adventure into days gone by. There are several antique stores offering everything from old junk to memorabilia to fine antiques. Even some of these unique locations were used for a variety of popular movies; "That Thing You Do." We spent well over 2 hours walking around, trying to see the interesting stores and finally I was able to satisfy my sweet-tooth craving as I ordered my favorite dessert when we stopped by this little deli before continuing on. Again, if you enjoy exploring towns with a little history, and especially if you like antiquing, then you should do yourself a favor and break away from all the theme parks for a day and visit Old Towne Orange.

Before returning to the hotel, we made one quick stop at DSW (it's a shoe store for those of you that have not heard of it). SH had mentioned that there was a store closeby to where we were and us gals just had to go to the store since they do not have one in Honolulu yet! We first came to know of such a store 3 years ago before our trip to Vegas. Then, I walked out of the store with 5 boxes. This time around, I came out with 2 boxes and I must say they were at a great bargain; 2 pairs for under $30 and both were 70 percent off! Now how can you leave the store with such great deals?!

Classic Disney Dining

We had dinner reservations at the Blue Bayou restaurant booked for 4:30pm. We were running a little late but we all got there just a little after 4.35 and were were seated about 10 minutes after checking in. The restaurant is located in the building that houses the "Pirates of the Carribean" adventure. The setting and ambience of the Restaurant is AMAZING, as you dine on a terrace in perpetual twilight, that overlooks a Louisiana Bayou. The semi-dark, cool ambiance is just the place to escape the heat and the crowds outside. The area is lit up with colourful Chinese Lanterns, and in the background you see the 'Old Swamp Dweller' at his cottage, and the boats bound for the "Pirates of the Carribean" adventure slowly float by. The colorful lanterns above and the bayou scenery make you feel as if it's evening and you're dining outside on a patio along the bayou. I ordered Crab Cakes with Lobster Sauce, which were very good. The cakes had lots of crab and not too much bread filler and the sauce was delicious. They were served with sauteed veggies, cooked crisp-tender and rice pilaf. Yummy-licious!

After dinner, we all decided to split-up, do our own thing before hooking up again around 9-ish, just before the fireworks display. During this time, SN and I went on the "Jungle Cruise" boat ride with a really funny and entertaining Skipper chick. We floated though the rain forests of the Amazon and the hippopotamus-filled waters of the Congo. Along the way they also have a narrow brush with a cascading waterfall and a band of savage headhunters.

As we were walking out of Adventureland and towards Main Street, trying to look for this one particular store for kids Halloween costumes, we noticed people all lined up along each side of the street; in front of a long white rope. The Parade of Dreams was about to start, so we tried to get a "good" spot and was informed that we needed to be in front of the white rope so we do not block traffic and people can still get by and not get too congested! Precisely at 7pm, all the lights turned on along Main Street, the music started and the first float came out; preceded by the person who leads many of the Disney parades. The Blue Fairy was walking with other fairies in front of the opening float. I was in awe to see Tinkerbell and later to see Jiminy Cricket. To see Simba soaring above the crowd and the huge Ursula was fantastic. All the floats were spectacular and very pretty looking with the colorful lights!

After the parade, we went looking for that store but no luck. We forgot where we had seen it before and after going into several stores with tons of people, we gave up. We decided to go into Fantasyland and try the Peter Pan ride. As we got closer to the castle, we saw that the entrance was closed and blocked off again by the white rope. We asked around, and were told that they were there waiting for the fireworks display. This one guy told us that the fireworks from here (the area right in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle) gives you a front-and-center seat and the best vantage of the projection effects on the castle. It was only about 7.45pm, and we decided to stay and find a good spot. We started to call the others, asking to see where everyone was, to let them know where we were and if they were interested on joining us. The fireworks won't start until 9.30pm so there was this substantial time to wait for! But the wait was well-worth it!

We ended the night by visiting the Main Street's Opera House to check out the"Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years"exhibit. Inside the Opera House there were detailed showcases of authentic attraction models, concept artwork, layouts and maps that will tell the fascinating story of how Walt Disney and his original team of "Imagineers" conceived, designed and built the world's first Disney theme park. Inside the main theater, a film hosted by Steve Martin and it takes you on a journey through the many memorable moments that have made Disneyland a national treasure. A nice touch to end the day!

//m.u.s.i.c V.I.D.E.O

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