Sip Trips #214: Disney Days

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.

Cruise

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).

cruise work

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.

Disneyland Fun

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.

Star Wars Disneyland

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.

Dave & Busters

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.

Disneyland Wishes

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!

South Carolina – Charleston Mule

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. South Carolina’s southern hospitality welcomes the Sip Advisor this week. The Palmetto State claims to be the birthplace of barbecue so let’s get the smoker fired up, pour a pitcher of sweet tea and find a nice spot of the porch to enjoy:

Motto: “While I breathe, I hope” and “Prepared in mind and resources” – The definition of preparedness means having two different mottos.

Food: South Carolina has their own variation of some fruits, including the Bradford Watermelon and Carolina Reaper Chili Pepper. The Bradford Watermelon was once thought to be extinct, but the sweet, flavourful melon is making a comeback in Sumter. The Carolina Reaper, the world’s hottest pepper on the Scoville scale, is grown in Rock Hill.

Drink: South Carolina is said to be the birthplace of Sweet Tea and that claim makes sense given the first tea plants in the country were cultivated in the state. Today, the Charleston Tea Plantation is the only one of its kind in the U.S. Summerville has a Sweet Tea Trail, featuring the World’s Largest Sweet Tea and a number of outlets serving the beverage.

Carolina Reaper

Site to See: Myrtle Beach has become a popular vacation destination with an estimated 14 million visitors coming to the area each year. Its Boardwalk and Promenade opened in 2010 and has since been ranked as one of the top boardwalks in the country. Attractions along the boardwalk include the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel, beaches, golf courses and restaurants and clubs.

Street: Rainbow Row on East Bay Street in Charleston is known for the 13 historic houses painted in pastel colours. It is said to be one of Charleston’s most photographed areas. The rainbow began when one owner painted her home pink and neighbours joined in, but legends persist it was done to help drunk sailors find their accommodations.

TV Show: Vice Principals, starring Danny McBride, follows Vice Principal Neal Gamby and his efforts to become principal of North Jackson High School. The series aired for two seasons and 18 episodes and was filmed around the Park Circle neighbourhood of Charleston, with West Ashley High School doubling as the school setting.

Movie: The Notebook, starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, takes place on Seabrook Island, as well as in Charleston. The film tells the story of a young couple who fall in love, despite being from different social classes. Other notable movies with South Carolina ties, include The Patriot, The Big Chill, The Birth of a Nation, Glory, Full Metal Jacket, and Radio.

The Notebook

Book/Author: Peggy Parish, best known for children’s book series Amelia Bedelia, was born in Manning. She attended the University of South Carolina, leading to a career as a teacher, prior to becoming an author. There is a statue of Amelia Bedelia outside the Manning public library, a tribute to the city’s most famous resident.

Fictional Character: Among Parks and Recreation’s many memorable characters was the entrepreneurial Tom Haverford, portrayed by Aziz Ansari, who was born in Columbia. Over the course of the series, Haverford goes from underachieving government employee to successful restauranteur, with a number of failed businesses along the way helping him finally get things right.

Fictional City: East Peck was the setting for TV show Trial & Error, which was a mockumentary style sitcom, following lawyer Josh Segal, as he represented clients accused of odd murders. Causing further complications is Segal’s on-and-off romantic relationship with the prosecutor. The series ended after two seasons and 23 episodes.

Actor/Actress: Actor and stand-up comedian Chris Rock was born in Andrews. The Saturday Night Live alum has starred in movies such as the Madagascar and Grown Ups franchises, as well as created the TV series Everybody Hates Chris, based on his childhood. Rock ranks among the top 10 on many greatest comedians of all-time lists.

tom-haverford

Song: South Carolina has two State Songs, Carolina and South Carolina on My Mind. Carolina, based on a Henry Timrod poem, was made the State Song in 1911. It was joined by South Carolina on My Mind, by Hank Martin and Buzz Arledge (both from South Carolina), in 1984. Both tunes will make you pine for the Palmetto State.

Band/Musician: The ‘Godfather of Soul’ James Brown was born in Barnwell. Known for his energetic performances and hits such as I Got You (I Feel Good) and Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, Brown was made a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2013. Brown had 17 singles top the Billboard R&B charts.

People: TV personality Stephen Colbert was raised on James Island. Colbert parleyed his role on The Daily Show into his own spinoff The Colbert Report. The success of that show led to Colbert replacing David Letterman as host of The Late Show, a positioning he still holds today. Colbert has won Emmy, Grammy and Peabody Awards, along with being a bestselling author.

Animal: At the Myrtle Beach Alligator Adventure, visitors can view the largest crocodile in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world. Utan, King of the Crocs, was brought to South Carolina in 2002. The croc was born in 1964 and measures 18 feet long, weighing 2,000 pounds. Utan is jokingly referred to as an ambassador of Thailand.

James Brown

Invention: Based out of Greenville, inventor Gerald Barber has created a number of objects to better the world… or at least entertain them. His most well-known invention is the free fall amusement ride, a version of which can be found in nearly every amusement park. He has also developed wind turbines and designer coral reef, among other patents.

Crime: On October 25, 1994, Susan Smith claimed to police a black man had carjacked her vehicle with her two young sons still inside. A nationwide search for the kids and suspect commenced, only to be halted a week later when Smith confessed she had allowed her car to roll into a lake, drowning her children. Smith was sentenced to life, with parole possible after 30 years.

Law: South Carolina looks like the fun police with a couple acts of legislation. First, a person must be 18 years old to play a pinball machine. Second, dance halls are prohibited from operating on Sundays. I’d hate to be a 17-year-old professional pinballer and dance enthusiast in the state on the Lord’s Day.

Sports Team: There are no professional teams in South Carolina, although the NFL’s Carolina Panthers (who play in Charlotte, North Carolina) have training facilities in the state. The Clemson University Tigers versus University of South Carolina Gamecocks football rivalry is known as the Battle of the Palmetto State. Also, actor Bill Murray owns and is the ‘Director of Fun’ for a minor league Charleston baseball team.

Bill Murray

Athlete: Baseball star ‘Shoeless Joe’ Jackson may or may not be the greatest athlete South Carolina has ever produced. His career was halted because of the 1919 Black Sox betting scandal, which saw participants banned from the sport, although many claim he was not involved. Jackson, born in Pickens County, would later play in other leagues, using aliases.

Famous Home: A major tourist attraction for South Carolina are the many plantations that are spread across the state. Two particularly notable estates are the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, one of the oldest plantations in all the south, and Drayton Hall, the only manor along the Ashley River to survive both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

Urban Legend: Julia Legare, of the wealthy Legare family, was thought to have died of an illness and was buried in the family mausoleum. When another family member died years later, they found that Julia was not in her coffin. They theorized Julia had just been in a deep coma and perished trying to escape the crypt. Every door put on the mausoleum since won’t stay shut, as Julia won’t let it. Today, there is no door at all.

Museum: In Beaufort, you can find The Kazoo Museum, located in the Kazoobie Kazoos Factory. The museum houses one of the world’s largest collections of the instrument, as well as offers kazoo recordings and the history of kazoos, dating to the 1840s. The exhibition moved to South Carolina in 2010, following stops in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon.

Kazoo

Firsts: South Carolinians must have valued a good performance, as the state had the first symphony orchestra in the country and was the site of the first opera performed in America. Further appreciating entertainment and leisure, the state was home to the first public library, museum, theatre and golf club in the U.S.

Company: Restaurant chain Denny’s is headquartered in Spartanburg. The diner-style eatery is best known for being open 24/7 and serving breakfast, lunch and dinner items at all times of the day. Originally founded in 1953, as a coffee shop called Danny’s Donuts in Lakewood, California, there are now more than 1,700 Denny’s locations around the world.

Events: South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union, so it’s no surprise the first battle of the Civil War occurred there, at Fort Sumter. Days after seceding in December 1860, Confederacy forces took Fort Sumter from U.S. troops. The fort wasn’t restored to U.S. order until February 21, 1865, when the American flag was raised again.

Miscellaneous: Tap Dancer Clayton ‘Peg Leg’ Bates was born in Fountain Inn. Bates gained fame for the finale of his act, the Jet Plane, which saw him leap across the stage, landing on his wooden leg (Bates lost a leg in a cotton gin accident at the age of 12), then do a series of backwards hops. Bates appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show 22 times, the most of any guest.

Charleston Mule

Charleston Mule

  • 1.5 oz Sweet Tea Vodka
  • Top with Ginger Ale/Ginger Beer
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

This cocktail comes from South Carolina’s Firefly Distillery and takes advantage of tea being the State Hospitality Beverage. I went with Ginger Ale over Ginger Beer, for a slightly different taste than you normally get with a Mule drink, as well as my nod to Blenheim Ginger Ale being a South Carolina institution.