Every year, the Calabrese's gather from around the world to meet in one, predetermined spot. Drinks are had, stories are told, everything we've ever hated about one another will soon be over in a few short days so don't worry. It's always a fun trip, and I'm always stoked to spend some time with the fam, even if that means melting under the sun in the endless line for Space Mountain.
Trips vary, locations differ from year to year. This time 'round, we went to Disneyland twice, hit up the beach once and threw in a quick trip to Knott's Berry Farm for the raw fuck of it. Now, the beach was especially solid this year. A specific dream in life is to be a part of a "classic beach scene," where the sun is shining, girls in bikinis are playing volleyball and a game of Frisbee leads to an altercation when an off-kilter throw lands in some one's food. Tensions would rise, a game of skill is settled upon to even the score. We'd duel over a game of soccer or we'd arm wrestler. Worse case scenario: I'd get horribly kicked in the face. Real hard, but not hard enough to keep me down. Lots of people on the four wheel dune buggy things, too. And surfboards propped up in the sand. I'd sulk away, plotting revenge, but you know how it is. I'm a wuss.
What I'm trying to say is that the beach was really fun this year.
Now, Knott's Berry Farm was really really fun. Haven't been there in over a decade so it was a nice refresher course in remembering how dirty the place actually is.
And sure, most of the rides felt like your bones were breaking and two siblings swore up and down that they almost died on two different roller coasters...but was still suuuuuper rad. Looking back, I legitimately feel bad about thinking my sisters' near-death experiences were slightly based on panic and silly paranoia. Since, ya know...a woman just died on a roller coaster at Six Flags two weeks ago. My bad.
I've never been to Disneyland twice in a row before. It allows an opportunity to fully appreciate every nook and cranny while not being forced to blow your load in a single day. I'm pretty sure we only hit up one ride in a mind boggling four hours on Day 1, so it was nice to have a little bit of freedom to not feel too burnt that the Cars ride sucked total ass.
Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, etc. These are the classics, these are the rides you must ride. When you're all done with that, the natural route to take is straight on over to Disneyland 2.0.
What's the verdict on California Adventure? Do we like it? Despise it? Personally, I think the place is great. The food selection is better, the roller coaster is top notch and you can totally walk around the park with beer. Not advisable if you were to ride said roller-coaster, though. When you're all done with that, you either go home or go big. If you're with me, and I know you are...you make it a priority to search out Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar in the Disneyland Hotel area.
Throw everything you think you know about the Tiki Room out the window. If you have no idea what the Tiki Room even is, that's even better -- you're starting from scratch. Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar, located just outside Disneyland Hotel, is not just a bar. It's an outstanding trip into your wildest night of island-hopping debauchery.
Imagine everything you know about Hawaii. Everything you've seen, heard or come to expect when you think of the place. Because that's exactly what this place is. Complete with bamboo walls, sinking ships in a bottle (like magic!) and outstandingly potent liquor drinks.
You can order food, yeah, but the real money is in those tropical drinks. Of course, I don't remember any of them at this point, but say you ordered the "volcano themed" drink. The lights go off, portraits on the walls featuring volcanoes erupt (more magic!) and the staff squirts water into your face. It's so fucking cool.
AND OF COURSE you can buy the glass your drink came in. Color me obvious, but I ordered The Zombie. What, you wouldn't have ordered "The Zombie?"
Look at it. Just look at it! If I'm remembering correctly, the brew was a concoction of pineapple juice and whiskey and other things that wanna make me vomit just trying to remember it correctly. Not terribly pricey, but they poured heavily, so it kind of made up for it.
They even had two dudes serenading the crowd with hula-dancing music, which made the whole night feel extra Forgetting Sarah Marshall-y.
Look at it! Are you looking at it? JUST LOOK AT IT.
Can't wait to do it again next year!