Friday was my birthday and we spent the whole day at Disney’s California Adventure, the smaller sister theme park adjacent to the Magic Kingdom itself. We haven’t been to California Adventure in a long while and it was great to be back. Even though this park doesn’t seem to be very popular for whatever reason, George and I love it. We also wanted to see it one more time before Disney is completely tearing up the whole place to re-theme it to give it the look of the 1930’s era Los Angeles, when Walt Disney himself first came to California. Some areas of the park were already big construction sites but most of the rides and shows are up and running. Sometime in 2012, California Adventure will have completed its transformation with individual new or updated attractions opening between now and then. It’ll start with a spectacular aquatic light show next spring and topping it off with a brand new land based on the Disney-Pixar movie “Cars.” We know it will be amazing.
Most of Saturday was spent at the Corona del Mar State Beach, just on the other side of Newport Bay surrounding the Balboa peninsula in Newport Beach. It’s a peculiar little place with whimsical architecture with a hint of a Mediterranean feel. This beach was filled with people, the busiest we’ve ever seen a beach to be in the greater Los Angeles area.
Far in the distance, however, one could see the gigantic plumes of smoke coming from the La Cañada Flintridge wildfires, which now seem to burn out of control and ravaging in all directions. It’s right next to where our friends Rover and Cal live and they too had to evacuate. Luckily, they’re fine and were able to return to their home in the meantime. It’s weird to see people having fun in the ocean waves while just tens of miles away thousands of people are fleeing a destructive blaze consuming hundreds of homes. Tragicly, two firefighters have already lost their lives battling the flames.
Yet life goes on. Despite the constant threats of wildfires during the summer months, mudslides in winter and occasional earthquakes, we understand why people would never leave California. It’s one of the most amazing places on this planet. We would live there if we could.
Later that Saturday we celebrated both George’s brother’s and my birthday with an absolutely scrumptious dinner at the Blue Agave, a Mexican restaurant in Yorba Linda not too far away from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. This restaurant looks fairly unassuming from the outside but has an inviting and festive atmosphere inside and their food is extraordinary. We ended the evening at Downtown Disney where we strolled around and enjoyed window shopping, people watching and got a glimpse of the nightly firework show at Disneyland.
On Sunday we made our way back home to Las Vegas. The strong winds carried the smoky air from the wildfires over the Mojave Desert and it started to settle in the Las Vegas valley. We can’t even imagine what it’s like being right smack in the middle of this fiery hell. We stopped at the recently opened M Resort & Casino which we’ve never visited before. A very cool and trendy place. We had an early but delectable dinner at the Red Cup Café coffee shop and also ran into some acquaintances. Las Vegas can be such a small town sometimes.
And with that another weekend in the Los Angeles area came to a close. Below are some pictures taken at the California Adventure theme park, Newport Beach, the Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda and the M Resort in Las Vegas.
The Army One Helicopter at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
Corona del Mar Beach in Newport Beach, California