Hello Kitty Grand Café – Orange County (Irvine)

Hello Kitty Café – Orange County (Irvine)

What: Hello Kitty Café

The Hello Kitty Grand Cafe in Irvine, CA

Where: Irvine

For: All Ages

The pastries

Hello Kitty Café is one of our kids’ favorite places to stop by.  Not only is it very kid-friendly, but it is a dream for anyone who loves Sanrio and Hello Kitty merchandise.  An added plus is that everything is so cute that the Café is sure to brighten up anyone’s Instagram feed!

Skylar with Hello Kitty

The Café

The Grand Café is located at the Irvine Spectrum Center in Irvine, California.  It serves a very limited quantity of food and drinks, and everything is Hello Kitty themed…from cakes to cookies and donuts!  Beverages include teas, coffee and blended drinks.  Special themed merchandise is available for purchase as well.  Make sure to check out the hours online and be prepared for a decent wait if you decide to go on the weekends or during evening hours. 

The Bow Room Set Up

There is a very special and exclusive bow room that can be reserved for parties to enjoy afternoon tea or evening cocktail service (for ages 21+).  The Bow Room has a different menu selection than the rest of the café and includes fruit, sandwiches, sweets and choice of fine tea.  A credit card number is required to hold reservations, which can be made up to 60 days in advance.

The Bow Room: Afternoon Tea or Evening Cocktails

Hello Kitty Café Truck and Pop Ups– Traveling

The Hello Kitty Food Truck

The Café was so popular that there is a traveling food truck that has a schedule available online (mostly available at popular malls).  Because of the limited selection available, sometimes seasonal items can sell out.  Many times there are Facebook events that are created based on the scheduled stops that allow fans to plan what time they want to arrive.  Each time we have come to the Hello Kitty Café Truck there has been a large line, so be sure to come early!

Pastries and Drinks

Some mini-cafes and pop-ups have been created throughout Southern California, albeit for a limited time.  These smaller cafes have small seating areas and a limited selection of drinks, pastries and merchandise available for sale.

Water Bottles and Cookies

The Crowd

As mentioned before, I would advise anyone to come early and be prepared to wait in a decent sized line when experiencing the Café or Food Truck.  There are a bunch of families present along with kids who enjoy Hello Kitty.

The Cafe

Cost

The Bow room costs $55 per person for afternoon tea (2 person minimum and only even number of guests).  Make sure to remember that there is a required gratuity for parties of 6 or more patrons.  Drinks are generally around $4 with pastries costing approximately $5 and bottled water is $2.  If you want a bag, you will have to pay an additional $1.

The Drinks

Hello Kitty Café Information

860 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine, CA 92626

(949) 536 – 5357

https://www.sanrio.com/pages/hellokittycafe

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Hello Kitty Café, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com

Pelican Hill – Newport Coast

Pelican Hill-Newport Coast

Pelican Hill

What: Pelican Hill

Where: Newport Coast

For: All Ages

My little brother used to work at Pelican Hill, and we would visit him there and lounge by the pool while eating at the pool restaurant.  It’s quite the experience, with all amenities you could ever think of.  You never even have to leave the resort!  This is definitely a luxury five-star hotel that highlights Newport at its finest.

The Rooms

The Resort

The resort sits on over 500 acres of beautiful land and boasts six restaurants, a golf course, spa and pool.  Luxury bungalows and guest rooms provide an expansive view with the extravagant feel of a five star hotel.  Camp Pelican is a kid’s day-camp provided for children ages 4-12.  Kids can partake in activities with the camp leaders while their parents enjoy the amenities of Pelican Hill.  Additional camps and excursions are provided for the older children at an extra cost.  A gift shop located inside the main building of Pelican Hill allows for patrons to pick up beach-themed clothes and trinkets from their stay.  A spa boasts over 20 treatment rooms with a diverse menu of treatments to choose from.  The 36 hole golf course is a world-class course with breathtaking views of the ocean at every hole.

Coliseum Bar and Grill

The Restaurants

The Coliseum Bar and Grill is the restaurant that my brother worked at.  All the food was not only delicious but very filling.  We always enjoyed the ability to either eat seated at the restaurant or dine at cabanas by the pool.  Andrea at Pelican Hill is a sit-down fine dining Italian restaurant located in the center of the main building.  Pelican Grill provides a dining experience that overlooks the gorgeous views of the golf course and ocean.  Vacationers can go to the Villa Clubhouse and experience Piccolo to eat small bites and appetizers to share.  The Great Room Social Lounge provides dining with drinks and music.  One of our favorite places to stop by was the Caffe and Market, which serves gelato.  We always ordered gelato and enjoyed it while taking in the breathtaking views. The golf course boasts its own Pelican Hill Golf Club Caffe for hungry golfers looking to take a break from the game.  And if you don’t want to leave your room, there’s always the diverse room service menu to take advantage of! 

Sky and I at the Pool

The Pool

The Coliseum Pool is the largest circular infinity pool in the world.  It’s surrounded by cabanas and lounge chairs, and floating lounges are provided by the resort.  A small kids pool sits on the second level, and it is secluded enough that patrons can enjoy the water without the hustle of the main Coliseum pool.  Guests can take in the beautiful ocean views and surrounding golf course from the comfort of their private cabanas.

Bird’s Eye View

The Crowd

There is a diverse crowd at Pelican Hill.  My brother used to always tell me of the famous actors, musicians and athletes that he would serve.  Although it is a family friendly resort, it still keeps the elegance of an Italian resort.  All of the workers attend to every need of the patrons, which makes anyone feel like they are on an expensive vacation.

The Grounds

Cost

Daily guest fees for golfing is $295.  Room prices range from $400 into the thousands depending on which room is chosen.  Dining ranges from $20 to $60 per person dependant on the restaurant that is chosen.  Please keep in mind that there are additional charges for Camp Pelican and Spa Treatments.

Sunset on the Course

Pelican Hill Information

22701 S Pelican Hill Rd, Newport Coast, CA 92657

(855) 315 – 8214

https://www.pelicanhill.com/

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Pelican Hill, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com

Corvette Diner – Mission Bay (San Diego)

Corvette Diner-Mission Bay (San Diego)

Sky and Emma at the Entrance of Corvette Diner

What: Corvette Diner

Where: Mission Bay (San Diego)

For: All Ages

My cousin recommended that we try out Corvette Diner when we told her that we were taking the kids to San Diego for a few days.  It was a short drive from the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay, and it exceeded all expectations.

Corvette Diner

The Diner

When you walk into the diner, you’re immediately transported to the 1950’s.  There is a beautiful classic corvette behind the host stand, and the wait was about 40 minutes long.  We didn’t mind the wait because there was a full-service bar that we ordered drinks from before taking the kids to the back of the restaurant to play as many games as they could before we were called to be seated.  The restaurant also boasts a DJ booth with DJ spinning tunes from the 50’s and checkerboard dance floor.  Another dessert bar is in the back of the restaurant, and patrons are allowed to sit and order floats, Sundays, etc. 

Inside the Diner

Old movies, cartoons and music videos play in black-and-white in the back dining room.  Booths and tables are in the two other rooms, and there is ample space for everything from two-somes to large parties.  There was even a balloon artist that came around to each table and made balloon sculptures for each of the kids (he worked on tips!). 

The Kids with their Balloon Butterfly Wings

The waiters and waitresses were dressed appropriate to the decade, and the waitress really had a great connection to the kids.  She not only brought everyone at the table ‘Corvette Diner’ hats, but she brought extra for their baby dolls also.  After some online research, I was able to see that there are options to book our rooms for parties and corporate events.

Sky and Emma with their Corvette Diner Hats

The Food

The food was very much American Comfort food.  Ethan and I both ordered burgers that were so large we couldn’t finish them.  The kids ordered a hot dog and macaroni and cheese, and the portions were large for them as well. 

Ice Cream Floats

When the waitress brought the kids their lemonade, she put a top on the cup and put sprinkles and a cherry on top (which blew their little minds).  The food was made well, and we left with full stomachs and the desire to come back.  The second day we were there, I ordered an Oreo shake that was to die for.

The Fun Zone

The Fun Zone

We were super surprised that there was an entire arcade in the back of the diner.  A few party rooms were available for rental and dining as well.  Party eat and play packages were offered to patrons for an affordable price.  You’re able to play using a card instead of tokens, and you need to pre-pay prior to sitting down at any games. 

Ethan and the Kids Playing Pinball

Ethan ended up purchasing the most expensive play card, and the kids not only had enough credits to play the entire night, but we came back the next day to finish playing.  There is also an area where the kids can redeem their tokens.  I would compare this to a higher-end and cleaner Chuck-E-Cheese with affordable pricing.

Shakes

The Crowd

The clientele is definitely family-centric with the theme, staff and arcade.  It is very loud and busy, although that’s what we would expect coming to this diner.  The area is also very safe and clean, and we came out earlier in the day to take the kids around and look out at the bay before finishing using our gaming credits.

Other Dining Areas

Cost

Our bill was only $50 (including tip) for dinner.  We tipped the balloon man $5, and the highest level play pass was $50.  Drinks ranged from $10-$12 with desserts costing from $6 to $10.   The experience was so good that I convinced my cousins and parents to come down the following week to experience the magic of this diner.

Corvette Diner Information

2965 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106

(619) 542 – 1476

https://www.cohnrestaurants.com/corvettediner

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Corvette Diner, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay – Mission Bay (San Diego)

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay – Mission Bay (San Diego)

Sky and Emma looking at the boats in the marina

What: Hyatt Regency Mission Bay

Where: Mission Bay, San Diego

For: All Ages

The Hyatt Regency Mission Bay is a staycation that we took to San Diego with the kids for a few days to end the year.  Not only did the kids have a blast going down the water slides literally a thousand times, but Ethan and I had a great time playing with them in the pool and exploring the area.

The Hotel

The Hotel

The hotel took us about two hours to get to from Torrance.  It’s at a beautiful setting and provides a full-service restaurant, three pools with three water slides, a pool restaurant and bar, a small market, areas to rent boats/kayaks/etc for the water and a fitness center.  We walked around the marina and checked everything out when we got there.   Since we went after Christmas, the lobby was decorated beautifully.  The entire hotel keeps up with a nautical theme.  Outside there are also lounge areas with fire pits that are turned on at night time.  Each morning, Ethan walked to the market and brought us coffee (they serve Starbucks…my favorite!).

Room with Two Queen Beds

The Room

The hotel rooms are large and spacious.  We chose a room with two queen beds, and it was more than enough room for the four of us.  There is a balcony attached to every room, and two outdoor chairs with a table are provided so you can drink a cup of coffee while either looking out at the marina or at the pool area.  Black out curtains allowed us to sleep in, and two bottles of water, a microwave, small fridge and coffee are all included.  There were ample toiletries (including make-up remover wipes for the ladies!) and towels to go around our group of four. 

Pool Area (Slides Not Pictured)

The Pool

The pool was where we spent most of our time.  There is a large pool in the middle of the area and a jacuzzi on the side (understand that sometimes it is filled with kids!).  A small slide with 3.5 ft deep pool was on one side of the area.  This was great for the kids since they could stand up after coming down the little slide.  Lounges surround the area, allowing for parents to keep a close eye on their children (if only all parents would actually do this!).  Two large winding slides are accessible by a few flights of steps at another pool (also 3.5 ft deep).  This slide had a lifeguard, so we felt safe letting the girls go up knowing that they wouldn’t be slid over by another older child.  We brought floaties and pool toys so we could spend the entire day outside.  The pools were even heated enough for us to go in, and we were able to enjoy a few trips down the slide as well!

Lounging at the Hotel

The Activities

Upon check in, we were given a coupon for a free hour long kayak or paddle board rental at the marina.  Although we thought that we would use this coupon, we spent so much time at the pool that we didn’t.  There are a variety of rentals available for patrons, including paddleboards, kayaks, boats and jet skis.  The prices seemed pretty reasonable as well.  The pricing for the on-site restaurant seemed a little steep, but we just door-dashed Panda Express and it saved us a lot of money.

Views of the Marina from our Hotel Room

The Crowd

Keep in mind that because of the pool slides and activities available, this is a very family-friendly place.  I read on yelp that some of the child-less travelers didn’t appreciate all the noise the kids were making, but I didn’t have a problem with it as our kids were squealing with delight almost the entire day.

View of Hotel from the Marina

Cost

The hotel cost us around $500 to stay for two nights.  I definitely thought that this price was worth it, although you can find cheaper stays when you don’t go during peak seasons.  I would also suggest to go through third party sellers to find the lowest pricing.  Valet pricing is offered at almost $40 per night, although the hotel concierge told us to park on the street (there was ample parking) to save us the dough.  Please also keep in mind that discount coupons are offered for local attractions (i.e. San Diego Zoo and Sea World).  We would definitely come back here, and Ethan and I were talking about the possibility of making this a yearly family tradition.

Sky and Emma with the Christmas Decor

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Information

1441 Quivira Road, San Diego, CA 92109

(619) 224-1234

https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/california/hyatt-regency-mission-bay-spa-and-marina/sanis

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Hyatt Regency Mission Bay, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com

Habana – Orange County

Habana-Orange County (Costa Mesa & Irvine)

The Bar

What: Habana

Where: Orange County (Irvine and Costa Mesa)

For: All Ages

Outdoor Seating

Habana is a Cuban restaurant in Orange County that I was introduced to by my coworkers.  I’ve been here a few times, and it not only has authentic décor but the food is amazing.  They also make pretty strong drinks!

Coconut Mojitos

The Restaurant

When you walk into the restaurant, you’re greeted with a beautiful authentic Cuban setting.  Both indoor and outdoor seating is provided for guests.  Although I’ve never been to the Irvine location, I can only imagine it’s just as beautiful as the Costa Mesa location (please note that there is no bathroom in the Costa Mesa location). 

Paella

A gorgeous bar with dim lighting creates a posh ambiance in Habana. On Friday and Saturdays in the Costa Mesa location, they have ‘Habana Nights’ where live musicians play music for patrons from 10:00pm to 2:00am.  The Irvine location entertains from Wednesday nights to Saturday nights. 

Sunday Brunch

The Food

On Sundays, Habana offers a brunch from 9:00am to 3:00pm with picks of all types of food from seafood to paella.  Mojito Mondays offer $6 mojitos all day.  Specialty cocktails are also offered.  We ordered a ton of different appetizers and entrees, each one seemingly tasting better than the rest. 

Specialty Cocktails

The food combined with the lush atmosphere of the restaurant really transports you to Cuba.  The wide variety of choices for food gives an option for everyone.  My favorite drinks were the mojitos that came out in fresh cut coconuts…which we ended up eating after our meal!

Outdoor Brunch

The Crowd

I’ve been to Habana for both lunch and dinner, and I can’t decide which time is better.  If you go to the Costa Mesa location, beware of parking…you will probably be forced to valet (which is complimentary if you show them your receipt from the restaurant).  The crowd consisted mostly of adults, assumingly because of the complexity of the dishes that required a more refined palate.

The Amazing Food of Habana

Cost

Sunday brunch is $45 per person with kids under ten years old costing $19.  Without drinks, we spent about $35 per person, with drinks costing about $10 to $13 each.

The Indoor Seating Area

Habana Information

Costa Mesa: 2930 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

(714) 556- – 0176

Irvine: 708 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine, CA 92618

(949) 419 – 2500

www.restauranthabana.com

Sunday Brunch

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Habana, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com

Stax Bakery & Creamery-Irvine

Stax Bakery & Creamery-Irvine

What: Stax Bakery & Creamery

Where: Irvine

For: All Ages

Stax Bakery & Creamery is located in the University Center across the bridge from the University of California, Irvine.  I attended UCI as an undergrad, and I used to go to University Center almost daily between classes.  There are so many stores and restaurants to explore, and my absolute favorite dessert place is Stax.  I took Skylar there a few years ago, and recently I took Ethan there for dessert after our Orange County Staycation.

The Bakery & Creamery

When you walk into Stax, you’re greeted with a clean and modern restaurant.  There are cookies displayed next to the cashier, and tubs of different flavors of ice cream line the wall.  The menu is straightforward, but there are also so many options to choose from!  I wasn’t sure what to get, so the cashier was kind enough to tell me about all the different types of desserts.

There are Thai-Style rolls, which is ice cream that is spread on a cold stone and rolled up and placed in a cup with individual toppings.  My favorite dessert is the cookie sandwich where you can choose any two of your favorite freshly baked cookies and whatever ice cream you want (you can also opt for the fixed cookie sandwich menu).  All the bread and cookies are made fresh and in-house daily.  There are fifteen unique flavors of ice cream, and the employees help you choose which flavor you want by offering you samples.   You can choose to have ice cream in a single/double scoop, ice cream float, milk shake, or sundae.  There are also ten different types of cookies (including vegan options!).

The Food and Drinks

Stax offers sandwiches, paninis, personal pizzas, salads and empanadas.  There is also a variety of coffee available for guests.  Most of the food is available in the refrigerated section to the right of the cashier.  When we went, it was lunch time on a Sunday and the selection wasn’t very big.  They told us that if we picked out a sandwich or panini that they could heat it up in the back.  It reminded me of the grab-and-go food options that Starbucks offers.

The Crowd

Since this is right across the street from UCI, there are many college students here.  You will also see a lot of families with young children at the University Center.  During the week, employees of nearby businesses come here for their lunch breaks.

Cost

The food cost from $4 to $9 with coffee costing from $1.95 to $3.50.  Thai Rolls are about $7, ice cream is from $2.95 to $5.95.  This is a very good price for novelty ice cream, and the serving portions are very big…each time I went I couldn’t finish what I ordered!

Stax Bakery & Creamery Information

4187 Campus Drive M174, Irvine, CA 92612

(949) 861-2055

staxbakery.com

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Stax Bakery & Creamery, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com

Fire + Ice – Anaheim

Fire + Ice – Anaheim

What: Fire + Ice

Where: Anaheim

For: All Ages

My family took me to Fire + Ice for my birthday three years ago, and it was a very interesting experience.  It’s right across the street from Disneyland, and it’s the perfect place to go as a group for some good food and company.  We’ll probably go again to eat after stopping in at Disneyland since they’re in such close proximity.

The Restaurant

Fire + Ice is a create-your-own-meal experience that serves Brunch, Dinner and Lunch at fixed prices.  Guests grab a bowl and fill it with their favorite ingredients before heading over to the sauce bar to add some extra flavor.  There is an assortment of toppings, sauces, spices and herbs for plates.  After patrons have mixed their perfect concoction, they bring it on over to the grill to watch the chefs cook their food.  It takes from five to ten minutes to gather your food and for the chefs to complete your plate, and you can come back as often as you want.  The chef was very personable, and it was nice to chat with him while he was preparing our meal on a huge grill in front of us.

There is both indoor and outdoor seating on the patio.  The patio includes a fire pit and live entertainment on the weekend.  Happy Hour is available all week from 3:00pm-6:00pm.  There is also a full bar available for adults.

The Food

The restaurant offers a variety of Asian, American, Latin and Italian flavors.  I made a few smaller dishes so I could try everything.  This is probably why we ended up staying in the restaurant so long (since it takes 10 minutes to make one dish).  The Asian food includes noodles, eggs, siriracha sauce, bok choy, soy and ginger (just to name a few!).  The American culinary experience includes wings, ribs and burgers.  Latin flavors give choices such as beans, rice and tacos.  The Italian experience focuses on pastas, sausage, meatballs and various herbs and spices.  Each dish that I threw together was cooked to perfection and tasted amazing.

The Crowd

The first time I came here was in the middle of the week during lunch time, so there was no wait.  The second time we attempted to come, there was a 90-minute wait.  I would suggest calling the restaurant to make a reservation or putting your information in online.  If you are able to get in, the experience lasts about an hour to 90 minutes.  Another thing to keep in mind is parking.  When we tried to get in at 5:00pm on a Saturday, we were circling the parking structure for 20 minutes trying to find a spot after finding out about the hour-and-a-half late before ultimately leaving and going somewhere else.

Cost

Brunch costs $14.99 per person for adults and $9.99 for kids ages 4-11.  Lunch costs $11.00 for adults and $7.99 for kids, with dinner coming in at $18.99 for adults and $10.99 for kids.

Fire + Ice Information

1104 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

(714) 808-9757

fire-ice.com

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Fire + Ice, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com

Discovery Cube OC/Discovery Cube LA-Los Angeles and Orange County

Discovery Cube OC/Discovery Cube LA-Los Angeles and Orange County

What: Discovery Cube OC/Discovery Cube LA

Where: Los Angeles and Orange County

Summer 2018 Dinosaur Exhibit.

For: All Ages

The kids have been to Discovery Cube OC on many different occasions.  It makes for an entire fun filled day with the whole family.  There is an indoor and outdoor area filled with activities that promote learning.  Each time I’ve been to Discovery Cube OC, I’ve learned a lot of new things that I never knew.

Entrance to Discovery Cube OC.

The Ongoing Exhibits

Exhibits change seasonally (please check the corresponding websites for current exhibits) and are different in Orange County and Los Angeles.  In Orange County, the ongoing exhibits include: Mission Control (kids can complete a space mission inside a replica of the Jet Propulsion Lab’s control room), Helicopter Tour (fly in a virtual helicopter over Orange County’s landmarks), Water Gallery (a scientific look at water’s impact on the planet), Inspector Training Course (learn how to navigate your garden while eliminating vectors), PetersonVille Healthy Kitchen (kid’s cooking class with real food), Interactive Exhibits (cloud ring, rock wall, seismograph, shake-shack, hurricane), Science of Hockey (learn about and play hockey), Boeing Rocket Lab (learn about how rockets work), Discovery Theater (short feature films scheduled throughout the day), Planetary Research Station (learn all about weather on earth), and the Eco Station (save the world as a superhero).

Dinosaur Summer 2018 Exhibit.

The Exhibits in Discovery Cube LA include the Aquavator (descend into the earth’s crust with a special elevator), Discovery Market (learn the importance of making healthy choices when you shop) and Park Science.  The Science of Hockey, Planetary Research Station, 3D Theater, Helicopter Tour (pertains to LA landmarks), Race to Zero Waste and Inspector Training Course is the same as the Discovery Cube OC.

Aquvator Exhibit

There is a small healthy eating area with restaurant in the Discovery Cube.  They offer healthier options of snacks and lunch for the kids.  I can be very crowded around lunch time, so I would suggest going earlier in the day.

Bubblemania Bubble Fest

The Seasonal Exhibits

Currently, there is a Dinosaur exhibit going on for the summer.  I took Skylar here last year, and she had an amazing time looking at the life-sized animatronic versions of dinosaurs.  We’ve also been when there was a Dora the Explorer themed exhibit that taught kids about the rainforest and how to speak Spanish.  One of our favorite times there was when we went to watch Bubblemania and a Bubble Show.  Please check online for information about seasonal exhibits.

With Skylar and my Father at the Dinosaur Exhibit

The Crowd

It gets very crowded on weekends and later in the day.  Parking also becomes harder when there are bigger crowds.  I suggest coming when it opens so that there aren’t many lines for the little ones.

Skylar at the Garden Exhibit.

Cost

Adult admission is $19.95 and children admission (ages 3-14) is $14.95.  Check Living Social and Groupon for any deals to use.  For extra shows or exhibits there is an extra charge per person.  The discovery theater is an extra $3.00 per person.

Discovery Cube Information

Orange County: 2500 N. Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 91705

(714) 913-5040

Los Angeles: 11800 Foothill Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91342

(818) 686-2823

discoverycube.org

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Discovery Cube, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com

Medieval Times-Buena Park

Medieval Times-Buena Park

What: Medieval Times

Where: Buena Park

For: All Ages

We took Emma to Medieval Times to show her about the knights and take her back in time.  The entire experience lasted about two hours, and it was very interesting.  Emma loved the food and show, and a plus was that our knight won the tournament!

Pre-Show

Prior to the show, the guests are checked in and walk to a host stand where they are assigned a color of knight to root for and given a colored crown corresponding to the color of knight they are given.  There is a photo opportunity with a ‘King’ and ‘Queen’ before patrons walk into the castle.  The 11th Century European Style Castle has many things to do before the show.  There is a full bar available for adults.  A shop for souvenirs lines the wall.  All of the horses that are used in the show are in stables with glass windows, so guests can see them being groomed and fed prior to the main event.

There is a Hall of Arms where guests can admire elaborate Mediavel decorations.  This is also where the ‘Museum of Torture’ sits where replicas of old torture devices are on display.  Many weapons are on display from the Armory (some are for sale!).  Patrons can also buy replica smaller-scale weapons to take home.

The Show

The show starts out with an introduction of the knights and cheering sections.  There is a storyline where knights have to win various games in order to win the heart of the ‘Queen’.  The games were fun to watch, and the knights were given flowers by the Queen after each game.  In turn, the knights gave the flowers to girls in their corresponding cheering section.  Emma had a flower thrown to her and it made her night even more special.

The games included jousting which was probably the highlight of the show.  The knights get onto their horses and run at each other on different sides of a divider with long wooden spears that fly apart when they run into each other.  This was when the crowd was the loudest, cheering on their knight.  Fighting with weaponry is another highlight.  Knights utilize swords, shields, an alabarda (cross between a battle axe and a spear), mase, armor and lances to fight each other.

A royal falconer also comes out and lets his falcon fly around the heads of the crowd.  It’s so interesting to see how close the birds get to the patrons without straying from its goal of flying back to its handler.  A beautiful display of horsemanship is also a part of the show.  The horses are well trained and beautifully groomed.  One horse walked on its hind legs, and Emma couldn’t believe her eyes that the horse was walking like a person.  The ‘King’ also read out special occasions that patrons were celebrating to the crowd during dinner.

The Food

The food is served almost immediately.  A variety of soft drinks are offered for guests.  There is also a full bar available for adults.   Keep in mind that there are NO utensils offered for guests.  The appetizer is tomato bisque soup served in a cup with a handle with garlic bread on the side.  Diner is half of a roasted chicken with sweet buttered corn and herb roasted potatoes.  There is so much food that servers were walking around offering take-home bags.  We were so full at the end of the meal.  Dessert was pound cake and tasted amazing.  Coffee followed dessert.  There are no kids meals offered, but there are vegetarian meals available.

The Crowd

There are five Medieval Times castles around the United States.  The crowd consisted mostly of families and people celebrating special occasions.  There were also some schools there.  Ages ranged from infant to the elderly.

Cost

Adults cost $61.95 and kids (ages 12 and under) cost $36.95.  If guests sign up online, they are able to see seasonal deals as they come around.  When we went, I used a deal that allowed me to go for free on my birthday.  Groupon and Living Social often have deals so that guests don’t have to pay full price for tickets.  There is also a discount if you purchase tickets online.  Drinks were about $15 each (it’s cheaper if you buy it when you sit down for dinner rather than pre-show).  We bought Emma a little light-up flower that was $7.

Medieval Times Information

7662 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620

(888) 935-6878

medievaltimes.com

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to the Medieval Times, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com

Irvine Park Railroad-Orange

Irvine Park Railroad-Orange

What: Irvine Park Railroad

Celebrating Father’s Day at Irvine Regional Park.

Where: Orange

For: All Ages

Rides and Attractions

The train ride is a family favorite, with patrons able to take a 1/3 scale train around the Irvine Regional Park.  The conductor gives a tour of all the attractions.  The ride takes about 20 minutes to make a full rotation.

Irvine Park Railroad offers bike rentals that can be enjoyed by one person or an entire group.  Since the park is so big, families can explore using a regular bicycle, a tandem bike or a quad bike.  Training wheels are also available for kids that are learning how to ride and double surreys allow up to six adults and two small children.  Helmets are provided with every rental for no additional cost.  Keep in mind that availability is on a first-come, first-served basis.

There is a large lake in the middle of the park that offers paddle boat rentals that can be enjoyed by two or three riders.  Children under the age of 13 are require to wear a life jacket.  There is also a height requirement that can be viewed on the website.

The Orange County Zoo allows patrons to visit animals native to California in their natural habitat.  All animals are domesticated and are rescues that cannot be returned to the wild.  There is a petting zoo where the children can feed and brush goats and pigs.  Various times during the year the zoo will put on family-friendly events.  Crafts and shows are available seasonally.

The park offers pony rides for kids and horse rentals for trail riding.  Horseshoe and volleyball set rentals are available for outdoor group and family fun.  There are also hiking trails that range from one to four miles long.

Party and moon bounce rentals along with party sites are available for rent on a first-come first-served basis.  I would suggest to make reservations four months in advance.  There are two snack bars in the park with food such as hot dogs, chips and ice cream.

The Crowd

There are always a ton of families and groups in the park.  We like to go for the themed events.  For Halloween they offer mazes, face painting, a pumpkin patch, etc.  We recently celebrated a Star Wars themed Father’s Day at the OC Zoo.

Cost

Train rides are $5 per person (children 12 months and younger are free).  Bike rental prices are based on the type of bike rented and time it is rented for.  Please check online for the hours of operation.  Pony rides are $5 each rider.  Moon bounce and party venue rental pricing can be viewed on the website.

Irvine Park Railroad Information

1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869

(714) 997-3968

irvineparkrailroad.com

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Irvine Park Railroad, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com