The Best of the Rest – Southern California 2020

Disneyland isn’t the only spot we visit when we go on vacation to Southern California. We generally try to spread our Disney days out so we aren’t completely exhausted going several days in a row. We are very fortunate to have a place to stay close to the parks, because my Uncle Peter actually is an architect that does a lot of contracted work for Disneyland. This post is about the stuff we do in between our park days.

One of the best parts about going to Southern California is getting to spend time with my Uncle Peter and his AMAZING dog, Duke. We absolutely adore Duke – he is so friendly, cuddly, and excited to see us every time we walk in the door. We love taking him on walks to the park right around the corner from Uncle Peter’s house, where digs giant holes in the sandbox surrounding the playground. There’s also Huntington Dog Beach near Irvine, which he gets SO EXCITED to visit. He knows when we are headed over there and gets completely amped up. It’s hard not to have a gigantic smile on your face watching all of the dogs play with each other in the waves. In January, the water is a little too cold to go in all the way, but it is a good place to get your feet wet and catch some beach time.

We also love watching Duke swim at The Bone Adventure. He loves, loves, LOVES catching flying balls and jumping into the water off the dock. It’s pure joy to play with him in the water. Now that we aren’t able to travel to visit Duke, we enjoy tuning into The Bone Adventure’s web cam to watch him swim around! Check out this little video Adam and I made using the slow-mo on our Pixel 2 Cellphones.

This trip was specifically scheduled around our 1-Year Anniversary and as lovely as it would have been to go to Disneyland on our actual anniversary, we decided it was best to steer clear of the park on a Sunday, especially with the opening of Rise of the Resistance. Instead, we went on A Pirate Adventure! This is very similar to Medieval Times or other dinner theater combinations. You go knowing the food is going to be only okay, but that the entertainment is going to be aces.

This ended up being an awesome anniversary activity. I may have gotten a little tipsy on a large strawberry daiquiri before the show even started, but that only ended up enhancing the experience! I had been to the Pirate Adventure a few years ago on a trip with my sister and best friend, and was pleasantly surprised they had incorporated more women into the show. Overall, it was an awesome experience and one I would definitely recommend if you have an open evening and some time to kill.

After the Pirate Adventure, we really weren’t ready to head home just yet, so we stopped at Downtown Disney. This was an awesome place to do some shopping and listen to live music. I ended up picking up a lot of my souvenirs here (with the exception of our Lightsabers and Droid), which was nice so I didn’t have to carry them all over the park. It was a great way to round out the evening. Neither of us had ever been to Downtown Disney in CA and while it isn’t something we would do every trip, it’s nice to know that it is there and something you can do for free. We don’t have any pictures from this little outing, except this one of the Disneyland fireworks shooting off behind us. How cool is that?

The last notable thing we did in Southern CA was a taping of The Price is Right. I had done this once before (on that same trip with my sister and best friend) and while it can be a very fun experience, I have some tips to make sure you plan accordingly for it.


  1. Prepare to wait in long lines both before and after the taping (think 5 hours of time total).
  2. Eat very well before you arrive.
  3. Have cash for the food cart.
  4. Bring a jacket.
  5. Don’t wear a watch or any other electronics.
  6. You will be asked questions to see if you are a good fit to appear on camera. If you want to be on the show, be incredibly enthusiastic, wear a custom shirt or fun outfit, and rehearse your answers to their personality questions ahead of time. If you are like us and would rather watch than participate, just try not to be too interesting.

The Longer Rant Version:

The Price is Right tickets are free – you just have to be good about logging on and grabbing them when they become available. They give you a time to arrive and then you wait for several hours before your taping. Now, despite having done this before, Adam and I hadn’t quite prepared for the wait. We did not eat nearly enough before arriving and also did not have cash on hand for the snack cart they had for those waiting in line. If we could have used a credit card, we seriously would have paid $20 for a hot dog, we were so hangry. Scratch that. I would have paid $50 for a damn hot dog. On top of that, Adam had worn a watch to the taping – just a regular watch, not a smart watch. He ended up having to throw it away (fortunately, it was only $10 on Amazon – but still…) because they are incredibly strict about electronics going into the tapings. At some point while you are waiting in the line, they will take your cellphone and check it in so you can get it back after the show (the security guards said they were not allowed to check watches, which is why Adam ended up throwing his away). Before the taping is a long wait, and then the taping itself is pretty fun, but then you get funneled back into a long line to get your checked items back. At this point, the sun had started going down (it had been 5 hours since we had gotten there) and we were cold and hungry and we had to wait in ANOTHER line. We had noticed a Chipotle on the way over from where we parked, so I sent Adam ahead to please for the love of goodness have food waiting for me when I got out of the line, and waited to get our phones. I am happy to report, the Chipotle was delicious.

At the end of the day, our experience this time wasn’t the best. I am not sure I would personally do it a third time, but I would recommend everyone who is interested at least try it once. It is a lot of fun, especially as a videographer, to see the behind-the-scenes of a real studio and camera equipment and how all the moving pieces work together.

Afterwards, we drove over to see Frozen the Musical at the Pantages in Hollywood and that was a wonderful experience you can read about here. Now that was something else. We highly recommend seeing that play if you have any interest in Disney or Frozen.

With that, I think I have finished writing about the Southern California portion of this trip! I still have a couple more blog posts as we traveled down to the Bay Area for a few adventures and to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. We were truly blessed to have such a wonderful first leg of our vacation. We left feeling exhausted, but the fun kind of exhausted. Like when you are so tired because you have had so much fun. We can’t wait to return.

(Visited 165 times, 1 visits today)