Photo of the Week: Halfway to Hell

IMG_0951The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in America, maybe the world. When I went to San Francisco, all I was talking about was seeing Alcatraz and the Golden Gate. During construction, several men fell from the Golden Gate bridge and were caught by the safety net. These guys called themselves the Halfway to Hell Club. They were one of the most exclusive clubs with there only being around 20 members. You learn something new every day!

Hotel Review: Harbor Court

On the first leg of my trip to San Francisco I stayed at Harbor Court, a Kimpton Hotel. This was my first stay at a Kimpton Hotel and it most definitely will not be my last. Here’s my quick review.

The location

Harbor Court’s location is in the Financial District but also on the waterfront. The back door of the hotel lobby drops you off on the Embarcadero. From here you can walk to the Ferry Building and Pier 14 to enjoy the sunset. You can easily grab transportation from the hotel, as it seems like you can in most of the city. There are plenty of restaurants in walking distance, too, if you’re looking to eat near by.

The staff

I love the staff at Harbor Court. They were the most friendly staff at a hotel that I’ve encountered in a long time. I must say, it was extremely nice to see. They are always greeting you with a smile, doors are being opened for you as you arrive and leave, and the front desk is eager to help you with any and all your needs. However this chain is training their staff, keep it up. You’ve created a lifetime customer with the service alone.

The experience

Talk about a GREAT experience at this place. I joined their free rewards program before coming out to San Francisco and it’s the best. Being part of the program gets you free WiFi throughout your stay, a free wine/beer hour from 5 – 6 p.m. each night, a $10 credit to the mini bar, and fresh baked cookies at the front desk at 9 p..m. Like I said, the best.

The room

I had a standard room and it was on the smaller side. Realistically, you’re just getting ready and sleeping in your hotel. The small sized room didn’t bother me at all, but it may be a deterrent to some. I’m sure there are larger room options as well if you desire more space. However, the room had everything I needed. I was satisfied!

The final say

Stay here. Period. The end.

You’ve hooked me, San Francisco.

I’m leaving a piece of my heart in San Francisco.

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I’m sitting at the airport while I write this and am realizing how badly I want to stay in this city. I spent two full days exploring and there’s still so much more to see. Why only two days, you ask? I was able to add on a couple days of vacation to a quick business trip. When you’re flying all the way to the West Coast from the East Coast, it only makes sense.

So what did I love about this place? Where do I begin?

  1. The views. If you want city views, you’ve got them. If you want a views of the water, you’ve got that, too. San Francisco is the definition of picturesque, in my personal opinion. The architecture here is stunning, from the famous Golden Gate Bridge to the jealous older brother of the Bay Bridge. The Victorian homes are exactly how you see them on your favorite TV shows and movies. Piers and skyscrapers live side by side. Must I continue?
  2. The food. I’ll admit I am a picky eater, so my opinions on food can only go so far. But if you’re a foodie, come to San Francisco. This city loves to support local businesses, so you’ll find so many unique places to eat while you visit the city. The typical lifespan of a San Francisco restaurant is six months. If you’ve made it past that six month mark, you’re considered a success. You’ll find Asian, Italian, Mexican, American and more styles of food all over the city. If you’re looking for chains, be prepared to be scoffed at. Certain parts of the city are starting to ban chain foods. These people are passionate about supporting new and local restaurants!
  3. The attractions. Visiting for two days was not enough. I knew it wouldn’t be, but I didn’t realize how much there was to do in San Francisco and the surrounding areas. Alcatraz is a must see for anyone who loves history. There will be more posts to come on The Rock soon. Pier 39, the Ferry Building, Coit Tower, the Painted Ladies, Golden Gate Park, Washington Square and the list goes on. Let’s be honest, the city itself is an attraction and tourists flock from all over the world to visit.

I could go on and on about this city, and I will. A piece of my heart will remain in San Francisco. I’ll return again not to pick up the piece, but to leave more with it.

Sigh. I’m sad to leave you, San Francisco. Until we meet again.

Hocus Pocus Comes to Disney World!

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Disney announced that a new show will be coming to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in 2015. Welcome the Sanderson Sisters and other Disney villains in Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular! Are you ready for it?

Growing up Hocus Pocus was one of my favorite movies. Who am I kidding? It’s still one of my favorite movies. And it’s about time Disney brings the Sanderson Sisters back to life!

The only way to see this show is to visit Disney World, not Disneyland, between September 15 – November 1, 2015. The show is only on select nights, so be sure to check the schedule. I’ve never been to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, but I may need to make a stop there this year.

New Announcements: Universal Studios Orlando

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know how much I love Universal Studios Orlando. Yes, I’m a child and I’m okay with it. There are new attractions at Universal and more attractions coming. All my information comes from the Universal Orlando Resort blog. Go over and check it out! Let’s run through the list of attractions.

1. Raptor Encounter at Islands of Adventure: Right on time with the Jurassic World release, you can meet some Velociraptors at the park. Check out the video to get the best explanation of how this dinosaur has come to life.

2. King Kong returns to Universal: Back in the day, there was a King Kong ride at Universal. It made me cry myself to sleep as a little kid. The giant ape is coming back to Florida and taking over a park of Islands of Adventure. I think this will go in the pretty empty area between Hogwarts and Seuss Landing, but that’s just a guess. Here’s another video for more info!

3. Universal’s Volcano Bay: Meet the new water park joining the Universal family! I have to say it’s about time that Universal builds its own water park. Universal is claiming that “Volcano Bay will completely redefine the water park experience,” and I’m excited to see how. Construction has already started and the park is set to open in 2017. The mock up, however, looks fabulous.

Announcing Universal’s Volcano Bay – A Water Theme Park Unlike Any You’ve Ever Experienced

4. I saved the best for last. Universal has struck up a new partnership with Nintendo. Yes, THE Nintendo. I cannot wait to see what these two “storytelling giants” come up with for attractions. Mario Kart roller coaster? Duck Hunt games? The possibilities are endless! I’m speculating that this Nintendo-themed section will go into Islands of Adventure where Marvel currently is due to Disney purchasing Marvel in 2009. Sadly, I think we’ll see Hulk and Spiderman disappear. However, I have a feeling that great things are to come!

There are no pictures of this awesome endeavor yet, but I found this and think it’s pretty accurate to how we’re all feeling about this partnership.

My Top Roller Coasters at Cedar Point

Cedar Point is the Roller Coast Capital of the World. This Sandusky amusement park has 17 coasters and some of those are the top roller coasters in the country. And I’m here to count down my favorite rides at the park. Let’s get started!

7. Gemini

If you’re looking for an old school wooden coaster, Gemini is your ride. This racing coaster hits top speeds of 60 mph and is pure fun. With its old age, admittedly it’s not the smoothest. But don’t let that turn you away. Sadly, the red car seems to be the only one that’s running these days. I hope they can get the blue one back up because the racing is the best part of this ride!

6. Rougarou

This is the new floorless coaster that replaced the Mantis in the 2015 season. The floorless aspect of this ride is the coolest part. When you load the ride, the floor disappearing when you’re ready to climb the hill really gets your adrenaline pumping. However, I’m not as impressed with this new ride as I’ve been with new rides in the past. It could be because it’s essentially just a repurposed track. Regardless, it’s great to have a different type of coaster in the park!

5. Raptor

This is a classic suspended roller coaster that you should try when you’e visiting Cedar Point. Raptor is still one of the fan favorites and you can always expect a long line. It’s well worth the wait, my friends. The hill, turns and loops will have you screaming and laughing the whole time.

4. Maverick

This is where the countdown really gets tough. Maverick’s first hill alone could move it up the list. It’s not a tall one, but it’s probably one of the best beginnings of a ride I’ve ever experienced. Just look at that drop! The rest of the 400-foot track speeds you through turns and tunnels. The negative? Those strong turns tend to whip your head back and forth with some force. Hold your head back and enjoy the ride.

3. Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper greets you at the entrance of the park and entices you immediately. This is a winged coaster and, if you’ve never experienced one, you’re in for a treat. The highlight of this ride? When you twist through the two metal keyholes above the front gate. You won’t hit them, I promise, so keep your eyes open for the full effect.

2. Top Thrill Dragster

Dragster comes in at a very close second. This coaster is nothing like you’ve ever experienced before and is over in 17 seconds. Go from zero to 120 miles per hour and get launched of up a hill 420 feet tall. The take off is unforgettable and so is the very from the top. The twist on the way down from the sky is just as thrilling as the twist up. If you have the guts, go front row. You won’t regret it.

1. Millennium Force

Millennium wins due to the level of anxiety the ride gives people, AKA me. The hill is 310 feet, more than 100 feet less than Dragster. However, the climb up builds so much anticipation unlike Dragster. Then the 80 degree drop leaves your stomach at the top. The track takes you through two minutes of hills and turns that keep you entertained the whole time. Millennium is still one of the most popular rides at Cedar Point, so don’t pass up the opportunity to take it for a spin when visiting!

Cleveland Summer Edition: Edgewater Live 2015

The Cleveland summer is kicking off and I couldn’t be more excited. The brutal winters are gone for now and Clevelanders are ready to get out and enjoy the sun.

One event that folks look forward to is Edgewater Live. Well, it’s not one event. Every Thursday starting June 11 through August 13, you can go to Edgewater Beach and enjoy a concert. A free concert. Bring a beach chair, blanket and your best friends to Lake Erie and enjoy the music. Oh, and the food. Cleveland food trucks come by the beach to make sure we’re all well fed.

Want to know who’s playing the tunes? Here’s the schedule!

All these bands are great, but I highly recommend swinging by the see The Spazmatics, Rock the House and Brigid’s Cross. I’ve been going to see Brigid’s Cross since high school and can tell you that they put on a great show!