traveling to a galaxy far, far away

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If you’re familiar with this blog, you may remember that I have not been to a Disney Park for 16 years.

Well I’m proud (?) to say that streak has been broken.

I was cajoled by my nephews (14 & 11) into going to D-land for the new Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge land that recently opened at the end of May.  This was a momentous occasion, and the really only thing that warranted a special visit.  I will say that not much else has changed at the happiest place on earth since I last stepped foot inside, and maybe that’s a part of its charm (especially for millennials).

may the force be with me…

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hometown hits: orange, california

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Orange County, California is more than housewives and McMansions. Granted, we do have our fair share of overly plasticized people, sprawling estates and vapid teenagers, but anyone who visits will encounter a far different vantage than what you might have seen in a show.

What they don’t show on TV is a 3 million + populated area filled with cultures from all corners of the world.  There’s Little Saigon, Korean District, and Little Arabia to name a few neighborhoods around.

But, what started it all, and what was most attractive to settlers to this part of Southern California was its miles and miles of orange groves, hence the name of the county.

Before Walt stuck his spike down to create Disneyland, this whole area was filled with ranches amongst the fruit trees.  And in some pockets of the area, you can still unearth some of the history of this county, especially in appropriately named Orange, California.

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know before you go: SNA airport

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John Wayne Airport/Santa Ana (SNA) is the small airport that serves big Orange County, California.  It is my hometown airport, and I’ve probably flown out of here hundreds of times.  If you’ve ever flown out of SNA, you know that because of ordinances imposed by the neighboring beach cities, the planes have to cut their engine power down to 50% when they take off.  That’s the most annoying thing about the airport, but luckily there are other reasons that make this airport worth choosing.

Namely, it is very easy to navigate.  There’s only one concourse with three terminals A-C, ~20 gates, so it is very easy to travel from one end to the other.  Also, security is typically a breeze to get through.  It is incredibly easy to be dropped off and picked up, and the traffic flows well,  despite being located in Southern California.  For being a small airport, there are pretty good food options: Carl’s Jr (also known as Hardee’s, but originated from OC), Pei Wei, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Zov’s (local favorite), Subway and Pinkberry.  The hours are not that great though.  There are also a few sit down bars including an Anaheim Ducks sports bar.

The best thing about it, is that there is easy freeway access from the 405, 5, 55 freeways.  You can reach it from almost everywhere in Orange County in 15-20 minutes (including Disneyland) when traffic is light, and this saves you a lot of time.  Flights run a little higher than other airports, but you’re paying for convenience to avoid the portal of hell that is LAX.  Again, no airport lounges, but not too many long international layovers happening here.  This is the airport to take if you’re on your way to Disneyland.  If you can swing the higher expense, do it, it’s so worth it.

Remember:  ✈️ = unhappiest place on earth ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = skip disneyland, stay here

Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (there’s just one, it’s easy)

Convenience of security lines: ✈️✈️✈️ (pretty fast)

Dining: ✈️✈️ (selection is good, but the hours are poor)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️ (very spread out)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️ (free wi-fi, have little cubby desks where you can charge)

Amenities: ✈️ (there’s usually some art or collections displayed)

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