Archive for September, 2008

The 5 Spookiest Theme Park Attractions in Orange County (No. 5)

Want to scare yourself silly this October? Then join me for OC Metroblog’s five-part series, featuring the scariest, most demented, creepiest theme park attractions in our neck of the woods. It’s just in time for Halloween!

First let me clarify what kind of attractions we’ll be discussing. I’m not looking for thrills and cheap scares. We’ll be focusing on the thematically scary stuff. So you’re not likely to find Supreme Scream or Perilous Plunge on this list. It’s a list that’s decidedly less speed and more boogie-man.

Number Five: Indiana Jones Adventure – Temple of the Forbidden Eye.


[Photo by Seanutbutter]

I’ll bet this wasn’t your first choice for scares huh? Take another look at this mega-attraction and more importantly don’t take the thirteen year old behemoth for granted. Though some of you may disagree, the themes presented in Indiana Jones Adventure (located inside Adventureland at Disneyland Park in Anaheim) are the stuff that make up your worst nightmares.

Expanding on the scare tactics that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad employs, Indiana Jones capitalizes on death, destruction and the creepy-crawleys in a big big way. Not content with a few bats, or an earthquake or a demented goat hellbent on blowing himself (and most likely you) to the dark side of the moon; Indy takes the concepts of the classic runaway mine train attraction and pumps them full of steroids, then drops them in a vat of bugs, rats and snakes. Basically it’s fun for the whole family.

The year is 1935 and the setting is an exotic tourist destination in remote India called The Temple of the Forbidden Eye. The catch (and there is always a catch) is that a world of riches or eternal youth can be yours but you must not look into the eyes of Mara (an idol). For the record, the eyes of Mara are roughly the size of Rhode Island. So, you know, good luck with that.

Mara, as it turns out, is a real bitch on wheels. She doesn’t like it when you look at her in a certain way, or in any way at all for that matter. The safety film warns that anyone who gazes into her enormous implausibly large eyes will be vaporized or contract a flesh eating virus or turn into a pillar of salt. Don’t mess with Mara, she’s the Leona Helmsley of lost pagan idols. One glance and you’re toast.

As you may have surmised, everyone on your expedition not only looks into the eyes of the idol, they basically date rape her with their touristy persuasions. It isn’t long before your doomed expedition is sent on a fright filled journey inside the famed temple. A journey that might have ended in tragedy if not for the heroic intervention of famed archeologist and all around bad mofo, Indiana Jones.

So why does it make the top five? For starters the body count in this attraction is huge. I mean really really big. How many dismembered body parts can you cram into one space? Thousands. There are literally corpses around every corner. They fly out of the ceiling, they dangle from ropes, they pop out at you from the abyssal darkness and apparently, based on what you see throughout the ride, they make excellent candle holders. Now there’s a market that Illuminations has failed to exploit.

Another key factor are the oodles and oodles of creepy-crawleys. There are bugs – lots of them. There are snakes – really big ones with fangs that try to eat you as you zip past. There are rats – rats on a log that nearly decapitate the entire third row of your ride vehicle. Oh and then there’s that giant skull that shoots death rays from its eye sockets. Yup, when you round the first corner, the John Williams score swells, the vocalists sing like deranged angels and a green ray of destruction shoots out of the “forbidden” eyeball of the aforementioned giant skull and nearly blows the ever-loving-shitballs out of some unsuspecting tourists.

Indiana Jones Adventure – Temple of the Forbidden Eye rolls in at number five because while it’s scary, especially if you have any number of common phobias, it’s edging on more adventurous than truly horrific. Still I know some eight year-olds and some sixty year-olds who find the whole experience pretty damn terrifying – if not just the littlest bit jarring. Having a giant boulder dropped on your head can rattle even the strongest constitutions.

Gina- Your Disneyland Ambassador

Disneyland Railroad, Main Street

Disneyland Railroad, Main Street

Get ready for lots of posts about Disneyland.  We’ve renewed our annual passes and are going a lot now that the crowds have gone for the summer.

Now, I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable about things at the Disney resort.  I’ve been going to Disneyland practically every year since I was born, so I like to think I know a little bit about it.  I find myself giving directions to lost tourists (you can always tell who they are) and helpful advice about rides and line lengths and such. 

Recently, California was ranked as not all that friendly by a researcher from Cambridge, which I find rather insulting.  I’m wondering if that’s kind of unfair, seeing as how many people who live here are from elsewhere.   Is it just that all the unfriendly people are moving from their home states and coming here, giving us a bad rap? Because all my fellow native Californians and I are much too laid back to be considered unfriendly.

But the other day, I think I really made a favorable impression of Californians upon some visitors from Europe.  I was sitting and waiting for my husband and son to get off the Autopia ride when a woman walked by, complaining in German about something to her husband.  She then put her foot up on the bench I was sitting upon to inspect the back of her heel.  She had put a band-aid on it to keep the back of her shoes from blistering her ankle, and it was coming off.  Dude, I so felt her pain.

So I told her that if she needed another, there is a first-aid station on Main Street.  Then, I remembered that I actually had one in my backpack, and offered it to her.  She was surprised and grateful, and as she walked away after applying said bandage and thanking me, I called after her, “Enjoy your time here, have fun!”  We smiled at each other, waving goodbye.

Changing perceptions about Californians, one band-aid at a time.

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The Movie Experience: Anaheim Garden Walk

Have you been to The Movie Experience located at the North end of the Anaheim Garden Walk? I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking it’s just a movie theater. Big deal right? Well it is a pretty big deal. Giving the Krikorian Theaters a run for their money, The Movie Experience is currently the “experience” to beat when it comes to viewing cinema in OC. No joke, it’s hands down the best time I’ve had in a movie theater since I made out with my prom date during a screening of Basic Instinct.


Regardless of its debatably prime location at the Garden Walk, this was clearly someone’s passion project. The wonderful mid-century modern googie architecture, the spacious seats, the hip decor and the IMAX theater should be proof of their love for their customers. Add to that, the three Sky Lobby Theaters where you can bring in your beer, wine and coffee drinks served in the adjacent 21+ lounge (pictured below) and you can see why I think this place is such a winner!


The lounge overlooks the questionably hip Heat Ultra Lounge and offers an excellent indoor, liquor enhanced view of the Disneyland fireworks. It’s a really spectacular view. Oh yeah, did I mention that those three theaters feature really spacious reclining leather chairs, comfy sofas, end tables and a casual cozy atmosphere? Best of all: no children – sorry parents but your screaming babies and rowdy kids have no business attending many of films you seem to take them to these days – better hire a sitter and leave the kiddies at home.

If you haven’t been, you should check it out. Eagle Eye is playing at their IMAX theater as I type. How can you go wrong?

Tickets are $9.00 and $7.00 for a matinee (before 4:00 PM). Disneyland Cast Members get in for matinee price all the time. The Movie Experience is located on the second level of the Anaheim Garden Walk at 321 W Katella Ave in Anaheim. (714) 399-0300. Find them on the web at

Garage Sale Fundraiser

Got some free time tomorrow morning? Then come check out this garage sale in Orange!

A mom from one of my moms groups is holding a special garage sale tomorrow to raise funds for a hearing aid for her 4-year-old nephew. Each item for sale will be for only $1! The items being sold come from multiple families that have kindly donated them for this event. Things you will find on sale include: toys, purses, vintage clothes, a Graco Pack ‘n Play, several car seats, womens and toddler shoes (all sizes), pottery books, 8-track player and tons of tapes, baby blankets and bibs, hundreds of baby clothes (mainly from 3 months to 2T, but some 3T to 5T from Gap, Gymboree, and Old Navy), plus tons of womens’ clothes (all sizes with lots of S and M from Bebe, Gap, Old Navy, the Limited, Express, and Banana Republic), and mens’ clothes (mostly XL tall).

If you’re looking to buy some things for yourself or your kids, do check them out and the families involved will be so thankful. Plus, buying things second-hand is great for the environment!

The deets: Saturday, September 27, 2008 from 8 A.M. to 11 A.M. 4104 N. Ramona Street, Orange, CA 92865.

Light and Healthy-Ho Sum Bistro

One of my favorite places to eat in Newport Beach is Ho Sum Bistro. Located at the near the Lido area of Newport at 32nd Street, it is best self-described as “Californiental” cuisine. (That is Oriental food with a California twist).

My favorites are the Ho Sum Chicken Salad and the Honey Glazed Spicy Chicken. Insider tip, If you are ordering any if the salads and eating it alone, only get the half salad. The portions are huge!

Half a Ho Sum Salad with a serving already plated.

Half a Ho Sum Salad with a serving already plated.

The environment is bright and they have seating either at the bar for individuals or couples or tables for more. Besides floor to ceiling front windows, local artwork and usually a sporting event on the single TV provide visual stimulation. A popular place among locals, it is usually croded with dine-in and take out patrons. I find it well worth the wait and recommend waiting.
They have lunch specials, served daily from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m, for $6.95. Every Sunday from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m, they have all you can eat dim sum for only $15.95.
A full menu is available here: Menu

They are located at 3112 Newport Blvd Newport Beach, Ca 92663 (949) 675-0896

A Different Angle-Bus Stop

Bus Stop at El Toro and Moulton

Bus Stop at El Toro and Moulton

Moulton and El Toro at night

Moulton and El Toro at night

I am going to be presenting an ongoing series in which I post photos from around Orange County,, maybe from a vantage that is not normally seen. Please feel free to comment.

Coming soon-Sur La Table-Irvine Spectrum Center

Sur La Table will soon be opening up at the Irvine Spectrum Center in the retail space formerly occupied by The Sharper Image.
They just put the public notice on the outside a few minutes ago.

Public Notice-Sur La Table

Public Notice-Sur La Table

I am very excited. I love cooking and cooking gadgets. They also make great gifts.
No timeframe for when it will open, but I will let everyone know when I do.

Text Driving No More (Soon)

Yesterday Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 28 which “specifically bans the use of an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication while driving a motor vehicle.”

The law probably won’t go into effect until 2010.

Now if we could just get a ban on reading the paper, changing clothes, and putting on makeup while driving.

No-Pressure Pampering

Ladies! If the time you have for much-needed pampering is few and far between, then that last thing you need is to be bombarded with extras and add-ons at the salon. When I walk in for a pedicure and walk out feeling like I just left a car dealership, then it is far from a relaxing experience! When I say I only have time for a regular pedicure, then that means I don’t have time for a paraffin wax bath, or an extra 15-minute massage, or a salt scrub, or some damn flowers on my toes!

Which is why I have to recommend Perfect Nail & Skin over by Trader Joe’s in Tustin. After some errands today, I had a little bit of free time before a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon, so I decided to give these girls a try. The place was clean, the girls wore gloves, they did a nice job, and there was absolutely no hard-sell. For $21 (plus tip), I left relaxed and my toes were clean and purdy.

I am never going back to Happy Nails.

Bummed on the Bayou

Listen, I love Disneyland.  I am not a Disney hater, else I would not have shelled out the bucks for annual passes for the last eight years or so. 

But.  Warning because there is a major rant ahead.

Whatchu messin’ with the Blue Bayou for, Disneyland?

It was our son’s 6th birthday, so off we went for a day of escapist fun.  Wouldn’t it be nice, we thought, to have lunch at the Blue Bayou? We don’t do it often due to the prices, but considered this a special occasion and made the reservations.  Oh, and I figured I would order a Birthday Bucket as well so that a candle could be blown out.

Big mistakes, all.

First off, the man who scanned our passes at the gate did not even let us know that we could go to City Hall and get the special phone call and birthday button.  I mean, yes, we already knew, but what if we hadn’t?  Boo to the crabby old guy at the entrance gate.

Then it was finally time for lunch.  We were shown our table, exactly two steps from the waiting room.  Uh, no.  Waited ten minutes for a table right by the kitchen.  Sigh. Fine, we were hungry.

What happened to the lovely crusty sourdough rolls? What happened to the clam chowder?  What happened to the salads on the menu?  The au gratin potatoes are completey different and sucky. And what exactly happened to the kids menu? I know it’s supposed to be a classy place, but only four choices? No dessert included anymore for the young ones, either. Double boo.

Now we come to the complete ripoff that is the Birthday Bucket.  We all know that anything Disney is a bit of a ripoff, but this really took the cake.  The really, really bad and almost unedible cake that comes with the purchase of the bucket.  When a six year old pushes the cake away after three bites, that is a BAD cake.  And I wouldn’t exactly call the bucket “brimming” with surprises.  Try a Mickey sorcerer keychain, stickers, and a pin.  Not exactly my definition of “brimming,” and I’m a wee bit bitter at the twenty bucks we are out.

So next time, skip the Blue Bayou. And the Birthday Bucket. We would have had a better time eating at the Hungry Bear and throwing bread to the ducks.

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