Tag Archives: LA

A Series of Exciting Events Sponsored by Google

12 Jul

Between all the offsites and public holidays, James hasn’t worked a full week in over a month. He can never go back to Australia – he is far too spoiled here!

Disneyland

James had to go to Anaheim for a work convention. Since his airfare, hotel and taxis were covered, it was a no-brainer for me to tag along and go to Disneyland for a couple of days. Coming so soon after our trip to Disneyworld, I was curious how Disneyland would compare.IMG_20170624_181532Disneyland has just two parks (conveniently located across the street from each other) – Disneyland and California Adventure – versus Disneyworld’s four. It doesn’t have the Magic Band system so getting fast passes was a lot less convenient. Disneyworld was definitely more elaborate, but I don’t care so much about getting the immersive Disney experience and was glad we didn’t have to stay at a Disney hotel to be conveniently located.

I also thought the rides at Disneyland were better – every adult ride that had a Florida equivalent, the California version was more fun (except for Haunted Mansion – that seemed pretty much the same to me). I also really enjoyed Indiana Jones in Disneyland and Radiator Springs Racers in California Adventure.
IMG_20170623_112304(This was actually part of a series of signs one behind the other that said something like “Sheriff’s old but he ain’t slow” but I like this picture because it seems like an unnecessary burn on the sheriff).

James’ conference started winding down on the Saturday so he joined me for one day at Disney, where we focused on the stuff that was the most different from Disneyworld.

His (and my!) absolute favourite thing was the Animation Academy, which was a class where you could learn to draw different Disney characters. There was a schedule of different characters, with old favourites like Mickey, Minnie and Donald, and new characters like Baymax and Olaf.

There was a screen on stage where you could see the artist’s hand as they drew to help guide you:
IMG_20170624_110256James and I went for the Baby Groot class and he liked it so much we went again for the Steamboat Mickey class. Here are our masterpieces side by side (I’m on the left and James is on the right):

Baby Groot
IMG_20170712_130423I went too big and Groot got too hard to manage. =( James’ is much cuter.

Steamboat Mickey
IMG_20170712_131350When I started Steamboat Mickey, James looked over at me and shook his head because I’d gone too big again. I think it turned out OK though! I’m sad I forgot to colour in Mickey’s head like James did – I didn’t notice it until just then and I think it makes a big difference.

The park started to get busy and hot in the late morning so it was really nice to go to a quiet, air-conditioned room and chill out for awhile.

LA Offsite

This was a team bonding trip where James went to LA and did cool stuff like go on food tours and drink a lot. Every time he sent me a selfie (James: a group selfie is called a weefie) he was hanging out with different people. This one he took outside Paramount Pictures:
IMG_20170608_194617They also went to a Q&A with various industry people, and also famous people like Conan O’Brien and Snoop Dogg.

James: The rumour going around was that they kept having to reschedule Snoop Dogg’s interview because he was too high to get out of his limo.

They also went to a private Snoop Dogg concert which was pretty cool.
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California’s Great America

Last month Google hired out California’s Great America for an employee (and family) picnic. It was on a weekday, so it was nice that employees didn’t have to dip into their weekend to go.

People we talked to said they added too many departments this year and that in other years you could walk onto almost all the rides. That would have been awesome! Oh well – we spent a good amount of time in line but managed to ride everything we wanted.

The Tiki Twirl was fun! Long line though – maybe 20-30 minutes?
IMG_20170628_134941We waited a similar amount of time for Loggers Run and it was pretty disappointing. Disney definitely does the log flume rides better.
IMG_20170628_172301Whitewater Falls was a much better ride. James decided he hadn’t gotten splashed enough on the actual ride and went to the bridge to get re-splashed by the next boat.IMG_20170628_121428By far our favourite ride of the day was Xtreme Skyflyer. Normally it costs extra (I guess because it’s so elaborate and awesome) but it was included in the day for everyone. It had the longest line – I think we waited almost an hour for this.
IMG_20170628_102533There was a really detailed pre-ride process. You’d go up, put on the harness, get it checked and re-checked, then they’d explain how the ride worked. Then you went in those cherry-picker machine thingies where they hooked you up to the cables. And then you got slowly hoisted up until you were crazy high off the ground (150+ feet/17 storeys) and it was fucking terrifying. Then when you pulled the ripcord you’d free fall for ages and then swing in a huge pendulum under the arc.

I took this photo of another group while we were waiting in line:IMG_20170628_104432It was insanely fun. Getting slowly raised up was scary because you could see how high up you were, and the initial drop was also freaky, but the swinging afterwards was actually really relaxing. =)

The food was all free as well. We ate later in the afternoon so the lines weren’t too bad, but they looked really long at lunch.

Each employee also got to play $10 worth of games so of course James went to his nemesis – Jacob’s Ladder. And yet again he failed to beat it. (I’m kind of glad though – look at those giant fucking prizes – what would you even do with them??)IMG_20170628_125106So yeah, that’s been our last month. Thanks Google! =)