Comic Con

Yes, I know that San Diego is not in Orange County, okay? But the event is so big, it might as well be (you didn't think I would be able to justify it, did you?).

I heard that a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Comic Con was an underground thing (not literally). I mean, we can all assume that the convention didn't just break out into existence as the multi billion dollar event it has become (duh). It started in the 70s as just a few nerdy guys exchanging/searching for/interested in comic books. But now it is the place to be if you are involved in or in love with either movies, comics, television, or video games. However, the event generally focuses on the sci fi and fantasy (the nerdiest) genres of all medias listed. 

A fraction of a gazillion people
Do you know how many people are involved in or in love with movies, comics, television, and/or video games in the sci fi or fantasy genre? A gazillion. What started as a few geeks and their superhero make-em-up-books has evolved into something that attracts a gazillion human beings to San Diego every July.

Rumors suggest that in the late 90s/early 2000s Comic Con was not as mainstream as it is now but also not as boring as it was when it began. To have been one of the geeks attending during that sweet spot: heaven.

The elusive Hall H
Moving on: Comic Con 2012 was my first (what? OMG!) Con. Boy, was I naive to the amount of nerds on the planet. Before we left I was looking at the panel schedule and casually selecting which ones I'd like to attend. WAS I CRAZY? At Comic Con, one does not choose which panels they'd like to see - the panels choose you (at least the first several thousand of you that will fit into the room). "Honey, we may have to get into line early to see the Big Bang panel at noon. I'm thinking 9am." Nope, try 4am. The lines for panels were MILES long. There were 10s of thousands of people that tried to get into the Firefly panel that didn't (I heard Nathan Fillion say 200,000 people. That's wrong because there are less than 200,000 attendees. But it was definitely a lot of people).

What's the point? I wanted to see all my fellow nerds dressed up in costume and I was hoping to find some cool Harry Potter or Hunger Games stuff (which there was none of. Surprising, right?). You know what I realized? I didn't need a ticket into the con. There is nothing in the convention center that I can't find online. Even the panels are filmed and posted on YouTube. So, what's the best part of the con? The nerds. You know what nerds are surprisingly good at? Partying.

We're Alive meet and greet
Everyday of the con is followed by hundreds of parties. Every company with a booth throws a party. So here's what you do: make friends with some businesses on twitter and get invited to their party. Don't go into the con, just go to parties. Done.

If you are going to get a four day pass and do the whole Comic Con thing - get a room in the hotel right next door. We stayed with family nearby and took the trolley into to town everyday (which was awesome for money saving). But, when we were walking around and we were hot and we were tired nothing looked better than the Marriott's pool. If you have the money - do that.

Dino letting us cut
Interested in Panels? Bring a friend. The only reason we got to see some panels on the first day was because fans of We're Alive were in line, spotted us, and let us get in line with them. If we had just gotten in line at the end - we wouldn't have gotten in. So I say - coordinate with your friends and make deals. You can get in line for something at 4am on Friday and they can do the same for you on Saturday. But plan to stay in the same ballroom/hall ALL DAY. If you leave, you're not coming back.

"Mufasa," really?
You have to dress up one of the days you go. But, be prepared for no one to recognize what you are (like I said, this event is no longer for a specific type of nerd. The movie nerds are not going to understand your video game character costume and vice versa). I was dressed as Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter and got a ton of "Mufasa!" There are also a ton of posers. My fiance was dressed (very authentically) as a character from the Hunger Games. We found a line of people waiting for actors from the HUNGER GAMES to sign some stuff (also, the signing lines are a waste of time and money) and no one recognized his costume. ARE YOU FOR REAL?

In Conclusion:
  • Comic Con is no longer an event for the nerdiest among us
  • Do not plan on going if you fear crowds
  • Option 1: don't buy a pass and just attend parties
  • Option 2: buy a pass, but stay in a hotel nearby
  • If you wear a costume, bring a change of clothes for the evening
  • Get in line for panels the night before
  • Bring a back pack filled with water and food (the convention food is gross)
  • Don't expect to see anything you can't see on the internet


Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar

In the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki bar
In the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki bar
Where the drinks are as sweet as the drunks are
In the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki bar

I used to go on vacation to Hawaii a lot with my family. Lately I've been having some major flashbacks to those happy times (right after the divorce) in the sun. Anything that reminds me of Hawaii puts me in a nostalgic trance.

Though I wasn't old enough to drink the last time I was in the Aloha State, sweet drinks with umbrellas make me squee (who started putting umbrellas ellas elllas eh eh eh in drinks? Was that in an effort to keep out the rain? Whatever, it's adorable).

Enchanted is right.
The interior of Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel is a small space covered in tiki masks and bamboo and stuff, but kinda smells like stale beer. The outside, however, overlooks the hotel's pool, has tiki torches all around, and (I can't find a schedule of it) live Hawaiian music (at least it did when I was there (maybe he didn't work for Disney and just shows up?)).

Look at the cool glasses! LOOT AT THEM.
The cocktail menu is full of neat rum drinks. I got something called the shrunken head or the zombie or something and it had cinnamon in it. Kc (my fiance) got the Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum and was disappointed with the drink to ice ratio.

There's food too, but who's really coming to the Enchanted Tiki Bar to eat?

The drinks are pricy because it's a theme bar in Disneyland (I mean, come on) but to enjoy the atmosphere is worth the mark up to me. Just ask for easy ice.


Buena Vista Street/Carthay Circle Restaurant

Cramped - too close to other humans
Buena Vista Street is complete!

For what feels like years, Disney's California Adventure's entrance has been under construction. It's been super frustrating to make your way through the sectioned off pathways to get into the park.

Finally, the payoff.

Old: Tacky
I don't know if you remember the original "Main Street" in DCA (Disney's California Adventure), but it was dull and ugly. The concept for the park was lame and some of the ideas were just dumb. It used to be a mini golden gate bridge to walk under and then a big golden sun waterfall thingy. The kids loved it (sarcasm).

New: Elegant
Now the entrance is BEAUTIFUL. The street is so bright and cheery, but at the same time magical. It's perfectly Disney. The concept was to bring old-time (30s) LA to life. Success. Unfortunately within most of these brand new beautiful buildings are shops and restaurants. SPEND YER MONEY!

Amongst these typical shops and restaurants, however, hides a gem: The Carthay Circle Restaurant's lounge.

The theater w/ an identity crises
At the very end of the street is what looks like and old theater - but don't be fooled - it's a restaurant (I was actually disappointed to discover this at first because I had heard that this would be a theater playing Snow White on loop). The Carthay Circle is a shmancy restaurant that requires reservations (ooh la la). Upstairs is the dining, but downstairs is a lounge.

The lounge is decorated like a high-end 1930s bar. There are bar tables and comfy lounge-style tables scattered around. There's a really well-designed cocktail menu (yes, I liked the design of the menu) and a large selection of wines by the bottle and glass.

In the 30s, every table had bongos
The best part about this place is what Kc (my fiance) described as a trash filter at the door. The people in here are calm, quiet, and seem sophisticated (maybe it's the ambiance). It's like a little escape from Disneyland in the middle of Disneyland: GENIUS.

I had a Tequila Daisy, I think? It was a frothy pink cocktail with a sugared flower garnish. Kc ordered a bottle of wine to split with a friend (hi Carman). 

The sevice was excellent and the drinks were great. We had a hard time leaving.

You. Make me uncomfortable
P.S. We went to the new ice cream place on Buena Vista Street and there was a weird new face character in there. I think she is a telegram - something. She's dressed like a 30s messenger boy and walks around talking to (annoying) guests. I don't get it.