Friday, October 10, 2014

Brick-or-Treat 2014 Opening Night at LEGOLAND California: Trip Report

By Zach Cooper
On Saturday, October 4th, LEGOLAND California kicked off the season with the opening night of Brick-or-Treat. The event is hosted every Saturday in October plus the 17th and 24th. We were able to attend, bringing back a full multi-media trip report.




Walking into the park, we were greeted by a giant LEGO pumpkin.

At the official start of Brick-or-Treat (5pm), I was able to view 3 amazing shows at the Courtyard Theater, located in the Castle Hill section of the park.





MAIL ORDER MONSTERS: This show is about a character named Chester Funny Bones who feels left out not being part of the "scary" entertainment at Princess Penelope's Halloween party. Instead, there are 3 other monsters: a zombie, werewolf and a witch. Chester than casts a spell on each of the monsters, changing them to "not scary" monsters. The monsters then have to try to reverse the curse and bring back their inner-scary.


 








MASTER VENTRILOQUIST KEVIN JOHNSON: America's Got Talent semi-fanalist Kevin Johnson takes the stage with his two friends Clyde and Matilda. The shows includes many funny moments, including lots of audience interaction. It is a laugh out loud show, for both the kids and their parents.



  



THE WITCHETTES: This show features 5 singers who jam out to some Halloween songs. Lots of fun!








SPIRITS OF BRICK-OR-TREAT LIGHT SHOW: After dusk, an area between Land of Adventure and Castle Hill light up to Halloween music.







 ART ATTACK: An amazing masterpiece created in just a few minutes!







HUBBLE BUBBLE'S DANCE PARTY: A fun place to jam out and learn some dance moves.




There are 10 locations throughout the park where you can trick-or-treat, picking up special goodies. 2 bonus locations are also inside Sea Life Aquarium.

  



 

There is so much more to do during the night, including Ghost Cruise and also viewing the firework display. Brick-or-Treat at LEGOLAND California is a must-do for any family. Admission tickets for the event can be purchased as low as $30.

To learn more information and buy tickets, visit www.california.legoland.com/bot.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pearl Harbor Trip Report


By Zach Cooper
During my trip to the island of Oahu, I was able to stop by the historical site of Pearl Harbor. 

It's hard to forget what happened on the day of December 7th, 1941. The military base of Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese air forces. That day, we lost over 2,500 warriors of America. 1,000 people were injured. Many of the ships were destroyed, including the USS Arizona, which sank.





The anchor from the USS Arizona.


Visting Pearl Harbor, I learned more about the history. They have a great audio tour, which takes you through many exhibits. 



Another thing I recommend seeing on your visit is the USS Arizona Memorial. Before visiting the memorial, you get to see a short documentary. After, you board a small boat that transports you over. The memorial is built above the wreck site. It serves as a place to remember the lives lost. This is a burial grave to 1,177 of its crew, so they ask for minimal talking and no conversation using cell phones. It was really emotional seeing parts of the wreck and reading the names of the lives lost. 70 years later, there is still oil dripping above the waters.






I really would recommend visiting Pearl Harbor. It can be very emotional at times, but it leaves you so much knowledgeable on that tragic day. It is also a great way to remember the lives lost and honor the men and women that fight for our freedom.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Disney Aulani Resort & Spa: Trip Report & Review


By Zach Cooper
Earlier in July, I was able to spend 4 nights and 5 days at Aulani: A Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii. Here are some multi-media highlights of what the resort includes:


The resort is located in the peaceful area of Ko Olina Hawaii. There are only a few hotels nearby, so it isn't very populated with tourists. Great location for sure.




Maka'ala LOBBY: Aulani has an amazing lobby, full of the Hawaiian culture. The resort claims they spent much time with the locals to get their input and vision.




On the sides are really cool murals that wrap around portions of the lobby. There is also native Hawaiian music played inside.



The check-in desk is really helpful and willing to assist your every need. Behind them is the Rainbow Wall.



Outside of the lobby is an amazing view of the Waikolohe Valley, an amazing place that Imagineers created inside the resort. This includes streams, pools and a lazy river. 




KOI POND: 



A little far outside of the lobby is a beautiful koi pond. That had lots of fun water features and special effects in the water.







MENEHUNE BRIDGE: Located just off the side of one of the two Aulani towers is a fun interactive water area for the keiki (kids).




The play structure includes 2 water slides



The bridge is based around the mysterious "Menehune", a legendary Hawaiian master-builder. 


Every few minutes, a large bucket full of water splashes over anyone who dares to stand beneath. 






RAINBOW REEF: For an extra cost, you can snorkel in the only private snorkeling lagoon on the island.


The lagoon is really good for any people experiencing snorkeling for their first time. There are no waves or strong currents that could ruin your experience of snorkeling.



On the side of Rainbow Reef is a cool viewing area for spectators. 


Inside the lagoon are many vibrant fish from the Hawaiian islands.





WAIKOLOHE POOL: One of the most pleasing parts of Aulani was the 8,200 square-foot pool. You can enter the pool from 0 feet and walk you way up to a few feet. Really cool.






KA MAKA GROTTO INFINITY POOL: One of the newest additions to the resort is an amazing infinity pool


The pool includes an infinity edge that overlooks the lagoon and the Pacific Ocean. Once you dive under the water, you can hear audio of whales and many other creatures. Really cool detail.




KEIKI COVE: Intended for kids 5 and under is a small splash zone. Here, small fountains burst up from the ground. You can also spot murals of underwater animals on the ground.







WAIKOLOHE STREAM: One of my favorite parts of the trip was floating around on the lazy river.      
The river includes many fun surprises.




The stream wraps around most of the Waikolohe Valley. 






STANDARD ROOM: During our trip, I stayed in a standard room. It included a great view (with a balcony), a nice bathroom and very comfortable beds. Of course, you had all your great amenities like a refrigerator, a television and a closet. 

  


A furnished bathroom. Really nice. 


A Mickey Mouse lamp. Really fine touch of Disney magic! 






STARLIT HUI: On select nights, guests of Aulani gather on the Halawai Lawn for one special evening. The Starlit Hui is Disney's version of a luau, with dancing, special effects, music and storytelling. 


 

The night starts with some music from a local band.


It is all hosted by Uncle, a great narrator to the night.




 

Towards the end, two amazing ukulele players come and rock out the night. Truly my favorite moment. 


The Starlit Hui is truly an amazing show. I really recommend seeing it. It is only held on select nights, so be sure to get a schedule. 






FIRESIDE MO'OLELO STORYTELLING: Towards the afternoon, you can gather by an Aulani fire pit and hear some enchanting tales told by storyteller Uncle.






ALOHA FUN WITH DISNEY FRIENDS: A fun activity that takes place on certain days and times.


Towards the end, you get paid a visit from a surprise Disney character. Goofy knew how to show his dance moves. 





DISNEY CHARACTER BREAKFAST: From 7am-11am, the Makahiki restaurant at Aulani hosts "Aunty's Breakfast Celebration".




It includes a full buffet, with pancakes, omelets, toast and all your other favorite morning items. In my opinion, the food was delicious.



Many Disney characters meet and greet with you through the morning. There are also some fun activities for the kids (and adults!). The morning host is Aunty, who celebrates through song and dance. 


Mickey Mouse was also there, taking pictures with guests in front of the beautiful backdrop of the Waikolohe Valley. 

The breakfast was another not-to-miss opportunity. I really recommend dining there one morning.

There is so much else to do at Aulani, it is nearly impossible to describe it all in a single post. If you have the opportunity, I really recommend staying at the resort. Even if you don't have children, don't worry, there are many things to do for the adults. Aulani is great for every member of your family.

Besides the price, I would easily rate the resort a 10/10. Well done Disney!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Halloween Time In The Parks

By Zach Cooper
The Halloween season is fast approaching. Many theme parks near and far are celebrating the season. Here is a list of kid friendly events at some of the theme parks. 





Disneyland Resort: Throughout the resort, the season of Halloween is all around you. The Haunted Mansion attraction becomes the Haunted Mansion Holiday, based off of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas film. Space Mountain turns into Ghost Galaxy. 

Once the sun goes down, Disneyland Park turns into Mickey's Halloween Party with special entertainment, trick-or-treating, fireworks and much more. disneyland.com/mickeyshalloweenparty





LEGOLAND California: Every Saturday night in October (plus Friday's 17th and 24th), the park hosts Brick-or-Treat Party Nights. The evening of fun includes costume contests, trick-or-treating, fireworks and more. Plus some of your favorite rides are open. 





Sea World San Diego and Orlando: On select weekends, the park will be hosting their annual Halloween Spooktacular event. The event includes special shows, trick-or-treating, fun activities and more.
seaworldparks.com/sandiego/halloweenspooktacular

seaworldparks.com/orlando/halloweenspooktacular





Walt Disney World: On select nights, Magic Kingdom Park hosts Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. This nighttime event includes trick-or-treating, special entertainment, a parade, fireworks and of course rides.
disneyworld.disney.go.com/mickeysnotsoscaryhalloweenparty





LEGOLAND Florida: Every Saturday and Sunday in October, the park hosts Brick-or-Treat. The event includes trick-or-treating, LEGO ghost build, scavenger hunt, costume contest and more.
florida.legoland.com/brickortreat




*All videos are courtesy of the parks YouTube channel. Please click on the video to be linked to the channel. 

Hanauma Bay: Review

By Zach Cooper
Hanauma Bay is one historic place! Thousands of years ago, the cove was a volcanic crater. It now features some of the most exotic and beautiful species of fish. This includes turtles, reef triggerfish (or Humuhumunukunukuapua in Hawaii) and lots of other bright fish. Hanauma Bay is a nature preserve protected by the Marine Life Conservation District of Hawaii.  Before snorkeling, you must watch a small video on the history of the bay and also how to keep safe. After, you walk down (or pay to be shuttled) to the beach and enjoy some time in the waters.

I really enjoyed Hanauma Bay, but did not love it as much as Shark's Cove. Still really great experience and would recommend visiting. 

United Airlines: Review

By Zach Cooper
In July, I took a 7-day trip to the island of Oahu, which is apart of the 8 islands of Hawaii. United Airlines flew me there and back. I departed and returned from the Los Angeles Airport. 

The two planes that I flew on carried tons of passengers but had different amenities. The airliner prides themselves on giving passengers a great experience. They bring "technology to new heights" in an incredible way. 

The first plane had a 22-channel "airline radio", where you could hear different songs by many current artists. It also had a number of television's placed above where you could watch movies or TV. This was all included. 

The second plane had a television per seat. To watch movies, you had to pay money. 

I really enjoyed my experience with United Airlines. Their staff is friendly and very helpful. Out of 10, my rating would be an 8. I would consider that high for an airliner. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Shark's Cove: Review


By Zach Cooper
During my trip to the island of Oahu, I stopped at Shark's Cove by the North Shore. This cove includes a crazy amount of fish. There are not sharks though!! This was my favorite snorkel destination on the island. It is so amazing what you see underwater. They also have a few cliffs, that you can jump off of too. Since the cove is so popular, it can get very crowded. I recommend coming early. I would certainly tell a friend about this place, as it is a great experience. You can rent some snorkeling gear across the street, luckily for a fair price.