Bright and early the next morning we made our way down to catch a ferry for the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island. The tickets to see the statue up close were sold out, but we were still able to walk around and admire Lady Liberty from afar. Ellis Island was amazing - just thinking of how many people made their way through those halls, full of hope for a new life was really neat. And the views on the ferry ride to and from were fantastic! Walking back from the ferry, we saw the line to get on board was ridiculously long. Good thing we got there early - we were able to walk on!
From there we headed to the downtown area and Ground Zero. Even though I had seen the pictures, actually seeing the site of what was the World Trade Center really brought home the amount of devastation happened on 9/11. We walked by the memorial on the wall. I left L & E on a bench while I went and visited St. Paul's Chapel (oldest public building in continuous use in Manhattan) & Trinity Church (where Alexander Hamilton is buried). We then walked around, seeing the New York Stock Exchange and the infamous bull of Wall Street, which was completely surrounded by people. We had lunch on Stone Street, a cobblestone street full of restaurants.
We then headed back to Times Square to see what they had to offer at the half price ticket booth - we ended up with tickets to see The Fantasticks. We had time to kill before the show so hung out in Times Square. Have I mentioned yet it was Fleet Week? And so there were sailors all over? Nice! I saw several people stop sailors and ask to have their picture with them. I wasn't brave enough until I was walking by a group of sailors stopped for a photo and they ask if anyone else wants a photo. And I said I did and jumped in for a photo! Who am I?
On to the show - the bandit was hot! He looked like he could have been McSteamy's brother. The show was cute, nothing fantastic (ha - see what I did there?).
It was another early morning, this time to avoid lines at the Empire State Building. The view from the top was incredible! Next up was the American Museum of Natural History, which was huge! We started with the dinosaurs and ended with a giant head from Easter Island. We had lunch at the museum.
We walked across the street to Central Park and walked along the various paths. It was fairly hot and humid so we took a break on a bench. E fell asleep so I left L & E on a bench and continued my explorations of the park. I saw the carousel, the Alice in Wonderland statue, then took the subway up several blocks to check out the Conservatory Garden.
I hopped back onto the subway and made my way to the Brooklyn Bridge and began the trek over the bridge. As I neared the other side, the clouds started looking like rain. I headed down to the waterfront. I wanted to grab pizza at Grimaldi's but the line was down the street and as it was even more threatening rain I decided to get ice cream instead and head back across the bridge. I had just started across when it started pouring. Oh rain. Oh well. It didn't last long, well that burst of rain didn't last long. I was almost across when it started pouring again. Eh, it's just rain! I boarded the subway and headed back to the hotel to meet up with L & E for dinner at a pizzeria prior to going over to the Top of the Rock. The best part of the view from the Top of the Rock? The Empire State Building!
Last day before the meeting. It wasn't a full day either, as the meeting was in NJ and we had dinner with a colleague. So what to do with my half day? I could always do museums, but in the end I decided to go to Coney Island. I can always go to museums, but I can only go to Coney Island when I'm in NY. Besides, it was a beautiful day. I got there as the boardwalk was starting to wake up. I walked along the boardwalk, the beach, the pier before boarding the Wonder Wheel for a spin, and memorializing my trip with a stop in the photobooth. Lunch was at Nathan's. And then it was time to head back to the city to meet up with L & E.
I had a little bit of time before I needed to meet L & E, so I went to the NY Library to see the real Winnie the Pooh!
The meeting went well (I think) and then I was on a plane back to Seattle. I got home and started packing for Disneyland. When Jana & I decided to go to Disneyland, NY was not on the horizon.
A few hours at the office the next morning, and then I was on a plane again. But this time to see Mickey!! I met Jana at the airport and we got on the shuttle. We stayed at a Best Western right across the street from the entrance! Talk about location. We walked over to the park to get our tickets. The price for tickets was fairly comparable to upgrading our annual pass (yes, I did renew my WDW annual pass) to a Premier Pass, which is an annual pass for both WDW & DL! We started off at the ticket booth, and they directed us to the annual pass center, which had a few problems and for a minute or two we were wondering if we were going to be able to upgrade! But they persevered and figured out how to upgrade our pass. And for the rest of the trip, every time we whipped out the pass we were treated like super stars! It is a new pass and not many people have it yet.
Disney, Disneyland! It was Jana's first time to Disneyland. We rode several old favorites (Haunted Mansion, Pirates) and several new favorites (Casey Jr, Alice in Wonderland) and I introduced Jana to some of my DL faves (Indiana Jones, Mr. Toad, Roger Rabbit). For lunch we both had a cheeseburger and sometime later both of us started feeling not quite the thing. It was probably a combination of the cheeseburger and the fact we didn't have enough water. We ended up leaving the park a little early and having dinner at a real restaurant before doing some shopping. The real food at the restaurant and the water helped.
California Adventures! We started off with an old favorite (Soarin') and then headed over to Paradise Pier to fast pass California Screamin', but it was broken (yikes!) so we got in line for Toy Story, but 10 minutes into the line and it was closed for technical difficulties. This did not bode well. A few rides later (Mulholland Dr, Jumpin' Jellyfish) and our ride difficulties seemed to be in past. The best part of the day ended up being when we went to see Aladdin - wow! I think that is my favorite Disney show ever!! The entertainment started early with the family next to us.
Kid: "What is this about?"
Dad: "A guy who flys around on carpets and sells cars"
They were cracking us up! And during the show (during A Whole New World) the kid continued with the funny: "It's Good Night Moon!"
The show was awesome - the Genie incorporated a ton of pop culture references which were hilarious, my favorite being Twitter. After the show we headed to the Animation Studios where we learned to draw Minnie, visited the Beast's library and sang after Ursula stole our voices. It was so much fun!
We headed back to Disneyland for a few more rides before dinner and Fantasmic!! I do admit the Fantasmic set up at WDW is more friendly (with the stadium and plenty of seats) but I think I like the DL Fantasmic better. Even if I couldn't quite see everything from where I was standing. After the show we rode a few more rides and closed the park down.
Our last day, and a partial day at that. We rode a few rides and had Mickey Ice Cream before Jana had to leave. We said goodbye and I had a few more hours left which I spent visiting Tinkerbell and riding Big Thunder & Pirates before I said goodbye to Mickey as well.
But with my new pass, it won't be goodbye for long! See ya real soon! I will leave you with a few pictures, as I am still sorting through them all...