Star Trek Beyond (2016)

I had the chance to watch the newest Star Trek movie, Star Trek Beyond, at an early screening this past week. I like the new movies. I never watched the shows or the old movies, so I’m coming into Star Trek as a brand new fan. I always enjoy watching the movies, in part because the cast is great, but I find that there is a really persistent problem with movie franchises and developing villains very poorly (looking | at | you, Marvel) and expecting audiences to not mind. I can barely remember the villains for the previous Star Trek films (even amidst the big reveal/controversy with Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan for the last one!) and there’s a reason for that. And I’ll talk about that later.

But TL;DR I really had a lot of fun watching this movie, from beginning to end! Justin Lin did a really great job directing this one. (This fantastic Wired write-up will do a better job of telling you why than I can.) I really loved watching Beyond, because when you have a great director and a great cast, it’s really hard to go wrong. (Also, sorry JJ, but I do not miss the lens flares.)

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Goodbye West Coast

Goodbye West Coast | Spring Break 2016

Last time on Spring Break 2016, we wrapped up a magical day at Disneyland with a fancy dinner, the World of Color light show, and some tiki fun at Trader Sam’s. The parks finally closed, and we were finally able to rest our noggins before our last few hours in California. It was time to go back home…


I was dreading waking up a bit, because it meant leaving Disney, leaving California, leaving vacation… and going back to a world where I had to work without hidden Mickeys.

 

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Looking out over DCA… wishing I didn’t have to leave…

The previous day had really taken a toll on me. I could baaaaarely drag myself out of bed, and I was simply, thoroughly POOPED. We washed up and checked out of the hotel before spending our morning wandering around Downtown Disney a bit, with the intention of maybe buying some souvenirs, since we hadn’t purchased any non-food items in the park.

 

For breakfast, more beignets! I forced my feet to go one before the other to Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen (Express), where I got myself another order of beignets. (Non-Mickey-shaped but still very delicious.)

Tip: The Jazz Kitchen is a sit-down New Orleans-style restaurant, but you can pick up mint juleps, beignets, and more little treats at the Express Stop.

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Yum yum yum!

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Nerve (2016)

When Annie told me she had tickets to see Nerve early, I was pretty meh about the whole thing. I was a little nervous because it is marketed as a thriller, and my heart can’t always handle thrillers! But I love Dave Franco and Emma Roberts has solidified herself in my heart thanks to her meme-fame.

You know how this one starts, right?

I’ll try to keep this short and spoiler-free (although I will mention things that are in the trailer I include below), but I was pleasantly surprised by this movie and found it to be better than it was set up to be. (Also, if you are a fan of Orange Is the New Black, there are 2 recognizable inmates in this movie!)

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Disneyland Part 3

Disneyland: Before Bed | Spring Break 2016

Last time on Spring Break 2016, we had an emotional character lunch (well, at least I did) with some princesses before enjoying Disneyland for the bulk of the afternoon. The weather was finally cooperating and our golden afternoon melted into evening as we headed off to dinner to meet back up with Megan and Don.


Don and Megan, splashing out for their mini-honeymoon, not only made reservations for lunch but for dinner as well, at the swanky Napa Rose restaurant at the Grand Californian. Napa Rose is known for their farm-to-table menu brought by Chef Andrew Sutton. If you want the opposite of nomming on a giant turkey leg in the parks (and you’re not a Club 33 member), this is the fine dining spot for you. We were all feeling pretty full from our big, late lunch, so the four of us ordered a bunch of starters to nibble on. It was nice to have a little taste of the high life before throwing ourselves back into the parks. (And although it was a little sad, it was nice to set down my Minnie Mouse ears for a little bit.)

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Grilled diver scallops
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… can’t remember what this is, maybe a seasonal special…
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Truffled mac & cheese
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Green beans
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Wild boar meatloaf
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Roasted duck meatballs

Tip: If I had a second day at Disney, I think I would have skipped meal reservations because there is a lot of great food available in the parks and I was constantly worried about ruining my appetite. (Like we did at Disney World last year.) Napa Rose is a fine dining experience, so it’s not easy on kids or wallets but the food is very yummy.

After thoroughly stuffing ourselves, we split up: MegaDon to see the fireworks at Disneyland and Ben and I rushing to access the viewing area that we grabbed FastPasses for to see World of Color.DSC00888.JPG

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Disneyland Part 2

Disneyland: Before Dinner | Spring Break 2016

A lot of crazy and terrible things have been happening, and while I want these posts to mark good memories for me, I am not blind to the injustices and cruelties that are happening to other people this week and in weeks past. Do not take all of this sitting down. I want to let you know that you can do more than just hashtag and repost things on social media. It requires a bit more work to find out what legislators are doing to help you change the world, but I think it’s worth it. Black lives matter.


Last time on Spring Break 2016, Ben and I arrived in Anaheim for one magical day at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure (DCA). After running around trying to see as much of DCA with minimal line-waiting time as possible, we finally had to answer the call of our rumbling tumblies. So, off to Disneyland’s New Orleans Square it was!


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DISNEYLAND! Celebrating their Diamond Anniversary with 60 years of magic.
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The “dinky castle”, as Annie dubbed it

I reviewed a handful of roundups of best food to eat at Disneyland, as it seems that a lot of my vacationing revolves around eating, even at the happiest place on earth. (One that I looked to for reference often was this one at Local Adventurer, which is a compilation based on their own personal experiences and other people’s lists.) We still had a fair amount of time before our lunch reservation, so I thought we’d be able to split one of the much-touted Monte Cristos, as it’d be a nice between breakfast and lunch type of sandwiches. Unfortunately for us, the line into Cafe Orleans was just too long and we hadn’t planned on visiting Blue Bayou at all. Off to Mint Julep Bar for Mickey beignets it was!

Mint Julep Bar
With a mint julep, of course!

I had actually been craving beignets for weeks leading up to this trip, and I can’t remember when the last time I had one before our trip to Anaheim was. (Had I ever had a beignet before this???) These were pretty freaking great, though. And the mint julep (non-alcoholic!) was super refreshing as the sun started to get really hot. (It was our first sunny California day!)

Tip: Mickey-shaped beignets are sold at Mint Julep Bar and Cafe Orleans, but if you aren’t able to stop by New Orleans Square, the lines are too long, or some other obstacle keeps you from this goodness, you can get traditional-shaped (aka square) (aka not Mickey Mouse) beignets from Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney. Some folks say those taste better, despite not being Mickey-shaped!

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The man behind me is just not having it with my selfie nonsense and, frankly, I can’t blame him

While we were letting the beignets settle into our tummies, we checked the Disneyland app to see if there were any rides in Disneyland that had shorter wait times before our lunch. On our way to Mint Julep Bar, we saw that Pirates of the Caribbean was unexpectedly closed for repairs, but they had reopened and the wait was 5 minutes! We got up REAL fast and power-walked over to PotC, which I honestly did not think I would get to experience on this trip. I didn’t feel too strongly about experiencing rides that had replicas over at Disney World, in light of having ridden them in Florida and wanting to experience completely new things in California, but this is THE original Pirates ride and it was a lot of fun to experience. It’s slightly different from the Orlando one, and it’s fun knowing that there are still real human bones in the attraction! Also, to wave at the Blue Bayou diners at the beginning of the ride. I love this ride a lot, and I’m so so glad that I was able to ride it.

Tip: This isn’t exactly a tip, but I was a little startled by the small drop that happens after you finish harassing greeting Blue Bayou diners. I remembered hearing some yelps as I was waiting in line, but be advised that your little boat will drop and splash a teensy bit! Don’t say I didn’t warn ya! Also, despite what Youtube may tell you, I’d recommend not shouting “Throw me a roll!” at the diners.

After Pirates, we grabbed FastPasses for Indiana Jones, since that wait was very long otherwise and we had a FastPass opening! And then, before we knew it, it was time to head back to DCA for lunch at Ariel’s Grotto with Megan and Don. (Muahahaha they thought they could escape us!)Read More »