It was almost a month ago, but I never got around to writing a post here about Colleen’s 40th birthday trip to Los Angeles. Some of the pictures have been up on Facebook for a while and now there are a bunch in the 7MM photo gallery too.
The kids spent the week in Grand Marais with my parents, so it was just Colleen and I on this one. We flew Sun Country to LAX, arriving late Monday night. The usually wonderful Emerald Aisle at National had only mini-vans available at that hour, so we spent the week driving around in this thing.
We stayed at the wonderful Belamar Hotel in Manhattan Beach the whole trip and had a great third-floor room with a balcony overlooking the pool. Even for a boutique hotel, their prices were very reasonable and the service was top-notch.
Each day of the trip started off with breakfast at the incomparable Uncle Bill’s Pancake House in Manhattan Beach. I’m pretty sure I could start the day there for the rest of my life and be happy about the decision. Make sure and try the potatoes stroganoff…
Tuesday was Hollywood day, which included stops at the Grove, the LA Farmer’s Market and an afternoon taping of the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson show at CBS Television City. It was really interesting watching them tape the TV show, as everything happened out of sequence in a studio that seems much, much smaller in person. Jeff Foxworthy was the guest that day. We stopped for dinner at the Hollywood branch of Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, then drove by the Columbia Records building before driving down Sunset Boulevard through Beverly Hills and Bel Air on the way back to the hotel.
Wednesday was beach day. After breakfast at Uncle Bill’s, we walked along the Manhattan Beach pier and the Strand before driving down to Hermosa Beach. We did a little shopping and had lunch at the Good Stuff restaurant located across from the pier. We spent a little time in the hotel courtyard before driving down to the Redondo Beach pier for dinner at Kincaid’s Bayhouse.
We checked out of the hotel early on Thursday and had breakfast at the usual spot. From there, it was a relatively painless freeway commute to Anaheim for a day at Disneyland. My brother and his wife (who work for Disney in Florida) were kind enough to get us two tickets to the parks as a birthday gift for Colleen. The main park was open from 8AM – 9PM and we were a little worried about crowds when we found out it was both Laker’s Day and Grad Night. Everything turned out fine, though, and we got to do almost everything we planned on.
Colleen got a birthday button from City Hall when we first arrived and people wished her happy birthday all day long. We tried to get dinner reservations at the Blue Bayou, but they were booked. We ended up waiting for cancellations and did get in after waiting about an hour. That secretive Club 33 door tempted me the whole time we waited, so I asked for membership info at City Hall when we left.
We hit all of our favorite rides and popped over to the California Adventure side to go on the new(ish) Monsters, Inc. ride and the Tower of Terror. Other new things on the Disneyland side included the Finding Nemo submarine ride and new Mark VII monorails. There were some changes in It’s A Small World (that we didn’t much care for) and the Tiki Room was back to the original version (which we loved). We caught the fireworks, which started while we were on the Matterhorn, then drove back to the airport for a red-eye flight back home.
Welcome to 40, Colleen!Originally published by DK on July 15, 2009 at 12:50 pm