One cool thing about being a Peanutter is, even though we travel in teams of three, we are part of a larger program of 21 food-shaped vehicle drivers. Even though we unfortunately only get to see the other 18 peanut and hot dog faNUTics a few times throughout the year, sometimes our schedules overlap and we get to meet up on the road. Los Angeles was the first city that we got to stay with some of our Hotdogger friends: Jackie (PepperJackie Cheese) and Alex (AlexanDog).
As we pulled into our Disney-themed resort in Anaheim, California, (I especially liked the Mickey-Mouse-shaped pool because it reminded me of the Disney World resort I stayed at as a kid) Alex and Jackie ran out to greet us with a homemade welcome sign. Given that we’d only ever spent two weeks of our lives with Alex and Jackie (during Peanut Prep & Hot Dog High), it’s crazy how much seeing them and the Wienermobile there waiting for us felt like having a piece of home with us again.
On our first full day in L.A. we met two very important people. First was Jacob, Alexandog’s boyfriend — and now fiancé, he proposed while we are all together — who was visiting for the week, and is one of the most hilarious people I’ve ever met (#JustJacobthings). Second was Matt, a Disney intern who we invited to take a tour and pictures with the NUTmobile for some media coverage (for the month of August we were in a fierce media challenge against the other two Peanutter teams). After our photos, we got to talking and when Matt found out that some of us had never been to Disneyland, he didn’t miss a beat in inviting us all to to the park the next day with free tickets.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Disney, so I was pumped that our new squad of seven got to spend the day at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. When I say “the day” I mean we spent a whopping 15 hours at the park which included: 20 rides, a musical production of Frozen, two fireworks shows and of course a scoop of heavenly pineapple Dole whip. We were all having such a great time that Matt decided to call into his afternoon shift at work and spend his whole day with us! As a Disney insider, Matt also helped us skip several of the lines and made sure we got the full experience. Whether you’re 2 or 22 you can’t help but feel the magic at Disney, and this was truly a day for the books.
Just in case Disney wasn’t magical enough, my dreams really came true the next day when we headed to Huntington Beach. This was my first time at a beach on the Pacific Ocean, and while the water was cold, the beach itself was awesome. There was tons going on, including a huge Vans surfing open, and the palm trees and shops along the beach were exactly how I always imagined Cali to be. To top it off, I got an amazing scoop of Rice Krispie treat ice cream, a new flavor discovery that I can now wholeheartedly recommend.
The rest of our week in Los Angeles was mostly uneventful because we were so exhausted. Everything you’ve ever heard about the traffic in Los Angeles is absolutely true: it straight up sucks! It took us a solid two hours to and from events some days, so by the time we got home the last thing we wanted to do was hop back in the car and into the madness. As one lady so eloquently put it, “anyone who drives in L.A. is a nutmobile.”
However, we did still manage to have some more fun in the city. One night us peanuts, wieners and Jacob headed to Hollywood Boulevard and checked out the stars. While there, we discovered a restaurant/bar that was inspired by Tim Burton. The entire place was dark with black lights, movie-themed food and drinks and there was a life-sized replica of Beetlejuice behind the bar (this last example was particularly spooky). It was all a neat experience, but my favorite part was just people watching and taking in all of the sights on the Boulevard (including the church of Scientology — Elise & I are very intrigued by cults) because L.A. is truly unlike any other city in the U.S.
On our last night in town we decided that it wouldn’t be a proper trip to Los Angeles without a visit to the Hollywood sign. We packed into the Wienermobile, braved the traffic and drove through the hills until we found a prime spot for some photos. Even though the sign is just a bunch of huge white letters on a hill, it was cool to see this cinematic legend, especially for a big movie fan like me. After the sign, we stopped for yet another amazing ice cream experience: cold ice cream inside a warm glazed donut at After’s Ice Cream. Admittedly, I opted out of the donut, but the blue cookie monster flavor was enough to satisfy my daily ice cream needs.
The day we left L.A. just so happened to be my 22nd birthday, and even though it was a drive day, it was still special. I woke up to the smell of bacon and walked out to the kitchen where Conner had been slaving away to have breakfast waiting for me, and Elise presented me with two pairs of crazy new socks. Our new friend Matt showed up as a surprise with a birthday cupcake in hand, and they all sang happy birthday (even though I sort of hate being sang to haha). My mom also had cupcakes delivered and my friend Amanda had a new book and hammock waiting for me at our hotel in San Francisco. We topped the day off with seafood pasta and, of course, ice cream! All in all, 22 was off to a good start and our week in the City of Angels had a spectacular ending.
Until next time, Peace & Pecans!