It's a Great Big Beautiful World! Let's Discover it Together

Showing posts with label California. Show all posts
Showing posts with label California. Show all posts

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Discover the USA... Christopher's GET OUT & EXPLORE Suggestions

Suggested Itinerary: CALIFORNIA DREAMIN'

(This one is SPECIFICALLY for adventurous ones in the 18-35 set. Similar yet different opportunities are available for those beyond that range)

This trip (and others like it across the US) is exclusively for young travelers 18-35, and while you get to enjoy cool accommodations, tasty and authentic meals, and incredible experiences, you'll also create something very special that money can’t buy: friendship. It’s something you often miss out on if you travel independently. Call it a cliché, but it’s the truth, and the equation isn’t complicated. You + a coach of other young travelers + shared experiences + a new part of the world = lifelong friendships and memories.

San Francisco | Sonoma Valley | Muir Woods | Bass Lake | Yosemite National Park | Palm Springs | Santa Monica
• Picnic lunch in Muir Woods
• Wine tasting in the Sonoma Valley
• Entry to Yosemite National Park
• Yosemite base camp orientation
• Yosemite park shuttle
• Yoga by the pool in Palm Springs
• Afternoon pool party with DJ (seasonal)
• Brunch at a local café
• Hot Air Ballooning in Sonoma
• Bike rental in Sonoma
• Forest Flight Tour Ziplining in Sonoma
• Food & wine pairing dinner in Sonoma
• Parasailing in Santa Monica
• Surf Lesson in Santa Monica
6 Nights/5 Days • 5 Breakfasts & 1 Lunch

This itinerary has MULTIPLE Departures available May 24 - August 30
From $1,607 pp. You can join us as a 'solo' traveler, with a partner, or in a group.

Interested? Ask me, and let's get you booked! Know someone who might be? Share it! I love helping people of all ages get out and explore on land vacations!

Monday, March 8, 2021

Go Active Itinerary Suggestion:  CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY


ITINERARY SUGGESTION:  CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY: Napa & Sonoma Vineyards, Redwoods & Pacific Coast

Legendary vineyards. Soaring redwood forests. And the dramatic Pacific coast. This is Northern California. And for you, it's a fantastic week and an incredible journey. Wine tastings and gourmet meals enlighten your palate. Stunning scenery invigorates. And top-notch spas relax and rejuvenate... all in one remarkable place simply known as the Wine Country.

There are 24 possible itinerary departures from April to November 2021. These 6 days, 5-night adventures are truly special!
Intrigued? Ask me! Know someone who might love this type of adventure? Share it with them!  I love helping people get out & explore with land-based vacations & active adventures of all kinds. Don't let the agency name fool you...we are SO MUCH MORE than just cruises!
Learn more about other biking and active adventures on our dedicated page! 
#travel #adventure #tourism #vacation #exploremore #discovertheusa #supportsmallbusinesses #travelagent #theinternetisforlookingbuttravelagentsareforbooking #bicycletouring #bicycling #biketours

Friday, October 4, 2019

Happy 49th to Me as I Spend the Day at the Happiest Place on Earth!

My 49th at Disneyland

Living in the midwest, but heading Down Under, means that I had to fly west before I could fly to the Southern Hemisphere. With a nearly 16 hour flight, I didn't want to have the 5 additional hours to get to LA be shortly before hopping on the next plane, so a stopover was called for. Departing for Australia the day after my birthday meant that I really didn't want to also be flying on my birthday, but would much rather spend the day doing something I wanted to do and hadn't been able to do in decades...visit the park that started it all...Disneyland. So I flew to LA two nights early and spent the night of the 3rd in Anaheim across the street from the park. With this trip, I will finally get to experience the park's newest land, which opened back in June...Galaxy's Edge, the new Star Wars addition. I'm pretty excited about it, and can't wait to get back inside my beloved Disneyland. 

As a kid, I always began my day in the park in this space, and then worked my way around. Today I'm headed to a whole new world to start my grand circle tour of this amazing place. Going to get my Han Solo fix and see the Millennium Falcon first.

Single Rider plus right at opening means on the second flight of the morning! That was an awesome experience. I will be doing this one again later!

I've popped across the esplanade to Disney California Adventure and am now just hanging out with my favorite visionary dreamer and the Mouse. I love how this statue is accessible and makes for a great photo spot, unlike the more famous Partners statue in the hub over at Disneyland which is in the center of a large planter and completely inaccessible to guests. I got a similar photo to this one though when we got to visit the Walt Disney Studios for an awesome tour a couple of years ago, as the Partners statue found there is completely accessible in the Courtyard, just as this Dreamers statue is at DCA.

Some people probably wonder how someone could go to a "family" place like Disneyland alone. Well one of the best parts of being solo, is I get to do things that my family doesn't like to do! I LOVE Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, and they don't. I've enjoyed it TWICE today...with a Dole Whip each time! AND, it never gets old. I love this show. 😀

Halloween is NOT my favorite holiday, but The Haunted Mansion IS my all-time favorite attraction in the park. So I'm going to declare that this is a Haunted Mansion-themed slice of birthday cake, and not a Halloween one. Since this is my day, I can make that declaration. 😎
(Tomorrow it'll go back to being the other thing for anyone who enjoys it 😅)

It's been such a great way to spend my 49th birthday. I got to be in a place that I love, chat on the phone with people that I love, and just do anything that I wanted going at the pace that I wanted. I couldn't have asked for anything better.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Always Something New Whenever I Come to NYC

I enjoy staying at different places when I come to the city to be able to enjoy different experiences and be able to have a list of recommendations for clients coming to New York. This time I stayed in Yotel at 10th & 42nd. It is an excellent value and conveniently close to the theatre district. Just a short walk to the Convention Center, and the subway. The cabins are small but efficient. It's sleek and modern, with both Japanese and European influences. The elevator plays hip and fun music, and there's a robot in the lobby to help store your luggage for later in the day departures.

My view this morning as I finish getting ready for the day, packing for my flight home later, and then venture out for a supplier meeting and more. I've never had a room with a view of the river before, so this has been pretty cool, but as I look at the Hudson River and think about flying home from LaGuardia, all I can think about is Sully and the crazy but safe landing on the river. I've flown out of LGA numerous times since that crash years ago never even giving it a thought, but since watching the movie about it this past summer with Matthew, that's what has come to mind every time I've looked out this window this trip! I would never have thought about it before that birds could take down a plane. Who knew?! Oh well, no worries here, it's just so real being here, looking at the river and flying from the same airport. I know that when it's my time and God is ready to take me home it'll happen regardless of where I am or what I'm doing and I have zero control over it... So no fear in traveling for me. It's just more the movie geek in me coming out, as many disaster movies are so fake it's ridiculous...but that one was real. 😎. If you haven't watched it, do so. It's cool but intense.

 Following my vendor lunch meeting, I tried something else new to me...I ventured to the "top of the rock"...Rockefeller Center that is. The view to the north over Central Park was amazing! To the south is the Empire State Building (which I've previously been to the top of), and downtown.

And then it was back to LaGuardia for my flight home, back to Indiana, at least for 3 nights until the next big adventure! The Chicago and New York Travel Shows are now done, and the follow-up begins with all of the leads, and the bookings continue. These shows can be grueling long hours, but the business generated is well worth the physically taxing nature of the events that they are. Next up comes the LA Travel & Adventure Show in 3 weeks. I am absolutely looking forward to that one...but my first visit to the Emerald Isle comes first! I love traveling, but tonight I get to sleep in my own bed and love on my family. Hurray for being home once more!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Dining at the Carthay Circle Restaurant

Recently I dined for the very first time at the Carthay Circle Restaurant inside Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland® Resort.  I was there for an Earmarked Agent Education Program, and they treated us to a wonderful meal before heading over to the Paradise Pier area for our viewing of World of Color.  Our menu was pre-selected for us with appetizer, salad, entree, and dessert, though we could choose between three different entrees.  

Here's what I enjoyed: 

  • Signature Fried Biscuits stuffed with white cheddar, bacon, jalapeno, and apricot honey.
  • Carthay Circle Salad with heirloom apples, roasted walnuts, winter greens, bacon, dates, and creamy citrus vinaigrette.
  • Choice of entree: I went with the Angus beef Delmonico, with chipotle sweet potatoes, bacon, and onion ketchup.
  • Chocolate Cookies n Cream Cake with winter orange chantilly (but I was too full to partake of that - a couple of bites only. Good but heavy).

Dinner at the Carthay Circle was so very good and so very filling. It was a nice touch for our hosts to enjoy a delicious meal. It's definitely not what most people think of when they think of eating inside theme parks!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Flashback Friday - Disneyland 1978


Time to go back in time thanks to fun old family photos of days gone by.  Growing up in Southern California, Disneyland was a popular destination for our family.  Sometimes we were there just the four of us, other times with extended family members.  Oftentimes my brother and I would get to go for school or church incentives, or as awards for a successful sports season with the teams we played on.  Trips with friends, or friends' families were often the case as well, and as we became teenagers, the park was a popular destination to hang out.
Here's a look at Tomorrowland from April 1978.  The shot itself is a bit blurry, but it's of Sam the Eagle, host of America Sings, an all-audio animatronics show celebrating America's music, which originally opened in 1974 in honor of America's upcoming Bicentennial in 1976.  The show occupied the space originally designed and built for the Carousel of Progress which opened at Disneyland in 1967, and closed in 1973 to be shipped east to Walt Disney World.  Just as COP did, the audience revolved around a series of stages, with each section celebrating a different era in American music, with the eagle and owl seen here popping up in each sequence to tell the story of the various musical styles.  Never meant to be a long-term attraction, since the Bicentennial celebration was only meant to last from 1975 - 1977, the show closed permanently in 1988.  (I was in the last performance as the carousel spun around for it's final performance).  Prior to the closing in 1988, a few geese were stripped of their skin and found a new home in the all-new Disneyland classic Star Tours, when it opened in early 1987.  When the show was dismantled, many of the audio animatronics found new life in the Disneyland classic, Splash Mountain over in the all-new Critter Country (replacing Bear Country) in 1988 as a cost-savings measure.  Thanks the smashing success of both Star Tours and Splash Mountain at Disneyland, a whole slew of new animatronics in the same style had to be created when both Star Tours opened at Walt Disney World's Disney-MGM Studios in 1989 and Splash Mountain was added to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland in 1992.  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Flashback Friday - Monorail to Disneyland Hotel


Time to go back in time thanks to fun old family photos of days gone by.  Growing up in Southern California, Disneyland was a popular destination for our family.  Sometimes we were there just the four of us, other times with extended family members.  Oftentimes my brother and I would get to go for school or church incentives, or as awards for a successful sports season with the teams we played on.  Trips with friends, or friends families were often the case as well, and as we became teenagers, the park was a popular destination to hang out. 

Since moving to the midwest, I don't have the good fortune to get to visit my favorite place as often as I would like to any longer, but every chance I get I'm there and have a GREAT time.  My personal library of Disneyland photos numbers in the tens of thousands, but the vast majority of those are from my own adulthood, not my childhood, and certainly not before I was born.  But I definitely enjoy seeing all of the old photos of Disneyland - especially from the days when Walt Disney was alive.  

I snapped this picture of a picture at the Disneyland Hotel on my last visit to the Disneyland Resort in 2012.  It shows the Monorail arriving at the Disneyland Hotel station which opened in 1960 when the Monorail line (which opened in 1959) was extended across West Street (now known as Disneyland Drive) from the park to the hotel.  The extension took great care and required special permission from the city and county as it took the Monorail out over a working public street - Disney's innovative thinking and push for progess at work!  The station,  was the first link for hotel guests to get directly to the theme park, and provided transportation directly into the park via the Tomorrowland Station.  Other options included taking the courtesy tram or simply walking across the street and through Disneyland's parking lot. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Today in Disney Parks and Resorts History - Mickey's Toontown

January 24, 1993 – Disneyland – Anaheim, CA

Mickey's Toontown officially opens at Disneyland.  This all-new land, just north of Fantasyland, is a recreation of the Mickey Mouse universe, where guests can meet the characters and visit their homes, constructed in a vibrant cartoon-style with no right angles to be found anywhere. Inspired by "Toontown" from the 1988 film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, the themed land features attractions as Gadget's Go Coaster, Goofy's Bounce House, Donald’s Boat, Chip & Dale’s Acorn Crawl and Treehouse and the Jolly Trolley.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Today in Disney Parks and Resorts History - Tomorrowland Additions

January 15, 1975 – Walt Disney World – Lake Buena Vista, FL

Space Mountain opens in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  A space-themed indoor roller coaster, originally envisioned by Walt Disney for Tomorrowland at Disneyland in the 1960’s, the technology to build it simply didn’t yet exist when Walt dreamed it up.  The first official ride is taken by Colonel James Irwin, the pilot of the Apollo XV Lunar Module on Apollo XV.

Also opening on this day in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom is the Carousel of Progress, an attraction relocated to Florida from Disneyland in California, tracing 100 years of innovations in electricity. The attraction had a home in Tomorrowland at Disneyland from 1967 – 1972, but it originally debuted at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.  It features a rotating carousel, whereby the guests are seated and rotate around the various stationary stages where an audio-animatronics family showcases American life from the days before electricity to the present.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Today in Disney Parks and Resorts History - Disneyland's 35th Celebration

January 11, 1990 – Disneyland – Anaheim, CA

Disneyland kicks off its 35th anniversary celebration.  Reuniting in front of the Main Street Train Station for the first time since the 1955 Grand Opening live broadcast on ABC TV are all three of the original broadcast hosts:  Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings, and Ronald Reagan to kick off the anniversary celebration featuring the all-new Party Gras Parade, with New Orleans-style floats and 40-foot-tall balloons of famed Disney characters in their best party styles: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Roger Rabbit.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Today in Disney Parks and Resorts History - Star Tours Debuts

January 9, 1987 – Disneyland – Anaheim, CA

Star Tours opens in Tomorrowland at Disneyland, occupying the space once occupied by Adventure Thru Inner Space. A flight simulator ride based on George Lucas’ Star Wars film trilogy, it is the park's first attraction not to use Disney-designed imagery. The opening celebration lasts for 60 hours and guests are given a Star Tours Watch when they enter the park. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Today in Disney Parks and Resorts History - Disneyland's Tencennial

January 3, 1965 – Disneyland – Anaheim, CA

Disneyland observes its tenth anniversary with a Tencennial Parade.  On television Walt Disney introduces a host of new attractions coming to the theme park on his “Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color” Sunday night program. He is joined in this episode by the first Disneyland Ambassador, Julie Reihm, whom he refers to as Miss Disneyland.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Today in Disney Parks and Resorts History - Walt Disney Passes Away

December 15, 1966 – Burbank, CA

Walter Elias Disney passes away at St. Joseph's Hospital of acute circulatory collapse, as a result of lung cancer, just ten days after his 65th birthday.  The flags on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland are flown at half-staff, as the park opens at Lillian Disney's request to honor her belief that Walt would have wanted the show to go on.  Walt's 74-year old brother Roy determines to postpone his retirement in order to pursue Walt's last dream, the recently announced construction of Walt Disney World in Florida.

December 15, 1973 – Walt Disney World – Lake Buena Vista, FL

The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction officially opens in Adventureland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Housed in a golden Spanish fort called Castillo Del Morro, it is located in the all-new Caribbean Plaza expansion area of Adventureland.  It is based on the original attraction of the same name which opened 6 years earlier at Disneyland and features 125 Audio-Anamatronics (comprised of 65 pirates & villagers and 60 animals).  Guests ride in batueax through flumes filled with 155,000 gallons of water, and unlike the Disneyland original go down one 14-foot drop instead of two drops, which is due to the higher water table in Florida than Southern California.

December 15, 1989 – Walt Disney World – Lake Buena Vista, FL

Star Tours officially opens at the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park at Walt Disney World. It is the first attraction to open in the park's new Backlot Annex area.  Based on the successful Star Wars franchise of movies, it is Disney's 3rd version of the attraction, having first opened at Disneyland in 1986 and Tokyo Disneyland in July 1989.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday Trivia - Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean, one of the quintessential Disney theme park attractions, which first opened at Disneyland in 1967, was originally conceived of as a walk-through attraction?  

© Disney
As designed it would have led about 60 guests at a time through a series of 6 or 7 vignettes filled with wax figures.  Thanks to the findings and learnings taken away from the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, Walt had his imagineers completely redesign the attraction to be a ride-through attraction utilizing the bateaux style boats we all know! 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Today in Disney Parks and Resorts History - Pirates of the Caribbean

October 31, 1966
Disneyland - Anaheim, CA

Water is filled for the very first time in the flume of Disneyland's newest (and Walt Disney's last) attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean, still under construction in the all-new land, New Orleans Square, personally dedicated by Walt a few months earlier in July. (Walt's untimely death December 15, 1966 precluded him from ever experiencing the finished attraction which opened to the public on March 18, 1967).

Friday, October 5, 2012

Today in Disney Parks and Resorts History - Disneyland Hotel

October 5, 1955
Disneyland - Anaheim, CA

The Disneyland Hotel officially opens across the street from Walt Disney's original Magic Kingdom, Disneyland.  The hotel is owned and operated by the Wrather Corporation (Jack Wrather is a good friend of Walt's, invited by Walt to build and operate the hotel with the license to the Disneyland name,  and the hotel will not become officially part of the Walt Disney family until the 1988 acquisition by The Walt Disney Company).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Where in the World Wednesdays - Destinations to Explore Before Leaving This Life

Death Valley National Park - California

Located within the northern end of the Mojave Desert in California, Death Valley National Park is the hottest spot in America – literally!  Summer time temps typically reach 125° F and hotter… topping out in July 1913 at 134° F.  In this below-sea-level basin, steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Yet striking contrasts exist throughout the park - towering peaks are frosted with winter snow, and rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers.  It’s hot and arid, but home to over 307 species of birds, 51 species of mammals and over 1,000 species of plants that are native to the area.  It has a striking beauty to it, despite only receiving about 2 inches of rain every year.  The area originally got its’ name in 1849 by pioneers moving west in search for gold, and became a national park in 1994.  

 Highlights of the park include Deadman Pass and Dry Bone Canyon, and the soaring Telescope Peak at 11,049 feet above sea level.  Two slowly rising mountain ranges surround the desert park, created by a plate of crusty salt flats that are sinking, giving the appearance of the desert park being a valley.  It is filled with mineral deposits that have colored the surrounding hillsides with striking oranges, pinks, purples and greens, in an area known as Artist’s Palette.  At Dante’s view, a mile-high sand dune, visitors can take in striking 360° views for 100 miles – allowing visitors to see both the highest and lowest points in the U.S.’ lower 48 – Badwater, at 282 feet below sea level and Mount Whitney, at 14,191 feet above sea level. 

The park boasts a beautiful stone and adobe Mission-style resort, the Furnace Creek Inn, which is an oasis of hot springs and palm trees with a beautiful spring-fed pool.  It also features an 18-hole golf course (the lowest in the world), and a restaurant offering striking views.   

Death Valley National Park is located about 121 miles west of Las Vegas, and about 286 northeast of Los Angeles.  For more information about a visit to Death Valley or other national parks, call 855.776.1733 or submit a vacation quote request at my websites: or  Be sure to follow me on Twitter, like my page on Facebook, circle me on Google+, and pin me on Pinterest

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Today in Disney Parks and Resorts History - Carnation Plaza Gardens

August 18, 1956 - Disneyland

Carnation Plaza Gardens opens at the end of Main Street, U.S.A., in the Plaza Hub next to Sleeping Beauty Castle. An outdoor bandstand and dining location, it will become a popular site for dancing, musical performances and "Date Night at Disneyland".  

Walt & Lillian Disney swing dance at Carnation Plaza Gardens, circa 1958

Friday, August 10, 2012

One Year Ago Today...

It's hard to believe that it's already been a full year since my first, inauspicious (read that - lame) post (and just to prove it, here's a link to that very first post).  

A lot can, and often does, change during a year's time.  Since then, I've posted more than 300 entries - some still lame, some not-so-lame, and others somewhat ok. Along the way I had major technical issues with the website host forcing me to change venues for the blog, I've had fun experimenting with formats and looks to the blog, and several features have been introduced, and /or retired based on changing thoughts and ideas about what I'd like to present or talk about. Some things I'd like to bring back, while others I would like to introduce in the coming weeks and months. 

Certainly during that time changes happened both personally and professionally.  Personally we said good-bye to a beloved family member, as my wife's father succumbed in October to his battle with cancer.  Professional, just about a month after that first post was made, I was laid off from my full-time job of 11 years, and made the decision to pursue my then part-time passion in a more full-time manner.  Thus what began as something to earn some extra on the side became a full-time gig, as we launched our business full-time.  We also switched the host agency that I was working with for a Franchise that we acquired with a national name-brand provider of cruises and vacation packages.  

During the year I went to the Caribbean on a cruise and to Hawaii to explore and check out Disney's new resort there - Aulani (for newer readers, check out the labels to the right on the home page, and search for Aulani to read various entries about the resort and check out photos I took while there.  It is a GREAT resort, and definitely one you should consider visiting).  Trips to California and Florida rounded out the past year, while more cruises and trips are in the works for the coming year.  

I've had fun sharing the variety of Disney trivia, facts and photos with those of you who have chosen to follow along.  I appreciate the readership, and the comments along the way.  I look forward to spending another year sharing and posting - and working to interject more personal anecdotes and information into the blog.  I hope you'll continue to follow along, and perhaps, even bring some friends along with you.  Because really - Disney parks are meant to be shared by family and friends.  In the next year I'm hoping to have some additional entries by guests, who will also share their own love of the parks with  9you - and perhaps their photos and memories of days gone by too.  

So - thanks again for following along and sharing my adventures.  Just as Peter Pan never wanted to grow up - neither do I.  He's always been one of my favorite characters, and Peter Pan's Flight has always been a favorite theme park attraction... which is a big reason why I chose to use Neverland Adventures in the name for my travel business.  

Until next time,

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Today in Disney Parks and Resorts History - The Haunted Mansion

August 9, 1969 – Disneyland

The Haunted Mansion opens in New Orleans Square. The grand opening of the attraction is heralded by a promotional blitz that include the "I Scream" Sundaes sold at Disneyland's Carnation Plaza Gardens.  The attraction's opening has been long-awaited, as the exterior facade was first built in 1963, but sat dormant as Walt and the Imagineers' attentions turned to the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, and Walt's untimely death in 1966 brought about further delay.