The highlight of September, aside from our latest VCBW Beer Box arriving, was our long-awaited vacation to Disneyland. Seriously, we began planning this trip in late 2019, with the pandemic wiping out the journey for two straight years. Let’s see how it all finally went down:
To get to Southern California, we boarded a Princess Cruises ship from Vancouver to Los Angeles. Mrs. Sip finally reached Elite status on this voyage; therefore, she was given a complimentary mini bar set-up, among other perks. Only problem, she was given two gin and six blended whiskey bottles. Now, I understand this is a freebie, but a little more variety would have been preferred. We did call to make some changes, but availability was so limited, we were forced to go with six gin and two whiskey bottles. Another liquor issue we had was Ma and Pa Sip gifted me a bottle of Crown Royal for the cruise, but it was also unavailable. Not loving the substitution options, I elected to take a credit on the bottle, which allowed me to spend that on cocktails around the ship. I am now an Elite member as well, so hopefully our next cruise provides a better mini bar set-up.
As for that ship credit, I quickly went to work on it, ordering a Mayan Mule at the Elite Lounge. We also bought a bottle of Pinot Grigio for dinner, which we spread over three of our four meals. My night cap that evening was the Captain’s Bounty (Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum, Malibu Coconut Rum, Bacardi Limon Rum, Kraken Rum, sweet and sour, pineapple juice, Coca-Cola), which was my favourite cocktail of the cruise.
Our one port stop was in Victoria, where we met some family members for breakfast at the Breakwater Bistro. Before taking Boy Sip on a walk along Ogden Point, I quickly enjoyed a Hazy IPA and Breakfast Sandwich.
Our next two days at sea were spent celebrating my and Girl Sip’s birthdays. Drinks enjoyed over the festivities included: Alaska White and Amber Ales, Ultimate Cooler, Mango Margarita with added chili flakes, Long Island Iced Tea, Lynchburg Lemonade, and Strawberry Fields (Mezcal, Strawberry Puree, Ginger, Lime).
Some thoughts to sum up the cruise, I still really miss the Explorer’s Lounge and Skywalker’s Lounge, which are both missing from these newer ships. Also, I feel there should be some sort of arcade available on the ship for kids and adults alike. Amongst some other good (not great) food eaten, my favourite meal was the quick serve Bahn Mi Sandwich from the International Café. I felt the food was better in Disneyland than on the cruise.
Speaking of Disneyland, we had finally arrived, in the middle of a SoCo heatwave and massive crowds in the park. The best way to handle it all was frequent visits to beer vendors. Our first servings of the stay were the Battlesnakes Pilsner for me and delicious Golden Road Hefeweizen for Mrs. Sip. I later also added the Karl Strauss Boat Shoes Hazy IPA.
Each day, we retreated to either our or Ma and Pa Sip’s hotel for a break from the heat and recharge. On one of these occasions, I was tasked with getting Girl Sip a Quesadilla at Calaca Mamas. When asked to wait for my order at the bar, I took advantage of the situation and had a pint of the restaurant’s Mexican Lager.
One of the best lunches of our trip was at the Pym Test Kitchen, where all food comes in enormous servings. Our meal included the Not so Little Chicken Sandwich and massive Quantum Pretzel, finished with the decadent Choco Smash Candy Bar. To drink, Mrs. Sip put in mobile orders at the Pym Tasting Lab. Our beverages were The Regulator (Tequila, Golden Road Mango Cart Wheat Ale, Mango and Habanero Syrups, Mango flavor-filled Boba) and Honey Buzz (Gin, Lemon Juice, Honey Syrup, Honey Straw). As we left the kids with Ma and Pa Sip for a Disneyland date night, we also enjoyed a pair of fantastic BarrelHouse Strawberry Daze Blonde Ales from the bar.
Continuing with our kid-free evening, we landed a spot at the Carthay Circle Lounge. Here, we sat back and enjoyed fancy cocktails, such as a Dill Gin & Tonic (Gin, Tonic, Dill Pickle Brine, Dill, Lemon Peel) for me and Tequila Daisy (Reposado Tequila, Cointreau, Crème Yvette Violet Liqueur, Lime Juice, Agave Nectar, Egg Whites) for Mrs. Sip. We also split an order of Bao Buns of Soy-Ginger Braised Pork Belly with Cucumber Kimchi, which were incredibly tasty.
We then moved to the Magic Kingdom park and managed to get into Oga’s Cantina, the only place you can get alcoholic beverages in this part of the resort. We were allowed to stay for a maximum of 45 minutes and two drinks, so we made quick work ordering the Tarkenian Night Flower (Gin, Elderflower Liqueur, Ginger, Huckleberry), The Outer Rim (Tequila, Pomegranate Liqueur, Lime Juice, Cane Sugar, Exotic Fruit Purée, Black Salt rim), Jet Juice (Bourbon, Piment d’Espelette, Pomegranate Liqueur, White Grape Juice, Lemon Juice) and Fondor Fizz (Chardonnay, Vodka, White Tea, Lemongrass, Pea Flower Citrus). The bar is neat, but it does make me wonder why liquor can’t be purchased at other parts of the park.
In the middle of our California stay, we decided to head out to Legoland for the very first time. Our day here was a stark contrast to Disneyland crowd-wise, as we were able to walk onto almost every ride and sometimes do back-to-back runs of an attraction. We had lunch at the Knights’ Smokehouse BBQ, sharing the Taste of Texas Platter (Pulled Pork, Brisket and Hot Link) with Fries, Mac & Cheese and Jalapeno Cornbread as side dishes. To drink, we got servings of Societe The Harlot Blonde Ale and Stone Hazy IPA. The only downside of our Legoland day was the park was only open from 10am-5pm and we would have loved to have had more time to explore and play.
Back to Disneyland for a day, we cooled off with another visit to the Sonoma Terrace beer garden, where I enjoyed glasses of the Unsung Carina Hazy Double IPA and Karl Strauss Red Trolley Ale.
With another day off on the schedule, we took the kids to Dave & Busters. Over our lunch of the Chicken Avocado Club and Pretzel Dogs, Mrs. Sip had a Strawberry Watermelon Margarita, while I sipped on a Jameson and Ginger Ale. Then, we played a host of arcade games, some of which were worth their cost and others not so much.
Following an afternoon of swimming, we returned to our hotel, which had a Denny’s next door. We decided to have dinner there, where I paired a Shock Top Belgian White with a yummy Nashville Hot Chicken Melt with Seasoned Fries.
For our final day at Disneyland, we had lunch at the Pacific Wharf area. I ordered from the Lucky Fortune Cookery, having the Teriyaki Chicken with a Four Sons Lucky Dragon IPA (exclusive to the Cookery). We also grabbed beers again at the Pym Tasting Lab, this time having the SLO Brew Cali Squeeze Blood Orange Hefeweizen, suggested by a friend who visited Disneyland in the summer.
My final thoughts on this Disneyland trip were that the resort has become shockingly unreliable, with rides being down and constantly having issues. The new Genie+ system ($20 per day, per person) has its perks, such as being able to get passes to rides from anywhere around the resort, but I refuse to pay extra for a ride on top of the exorbitant entry price. We used to be the type of people that would buy a Disneyland year pass and make the trek two to three times a year. That’s not feasible anymore with park ticket, food and drink and hotel prices all going up dramatically. I can’t see us coming back for at least a couple years and, more likely, a few years.
As we waited at LAX to fly home, we had a meal at the Point the Way Café by Golden Road Brewing. My Ride On Tropical IPA worked really well with the Grilled Chicken Nachos Mrs. Sip and I shared. Sadly, all good things must come to an end and we were back home with two tuckered out Sipplings.
October is already shaping up to be busy, albeit fun. This weekend we’re on the road again, taking advantage of the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend, with a trip to the Okanagan. Halloween festivities will also provide ample opportunity for shenanigans!