Living in Southern California – I think I delayed our inevitable first family visit to the Disneyland Theme Park for as long as possible – Lil’ Diva was 4.5 and Lil’ Dude was 3 . We decided to make our first visit special and stay overnight, allowing us to spend 2 days at the park.
My mom & younger sister were also visiting southern California, making the timing perfect. Mom had never taken us, needless to say, being able to go with 2 of her daughter and her grandchildren was quite a treat for her.
I knew the kids were going to have the time of their life and while we were there – I wanted to find out what green efforts were a going on at this classic California theme Park – if any.
Turns out I was able to uncover some of the parks effort without even visiting their website:
Lil Dude hasn’t quite discovered his inner speed demon – yet – so one of his favorite rides was the Disneyland Railroad Train. We rode it a few times. On one of our rides it stopped to get fuel Imagine my surprise when the conductor informed us that the steam was generated with BioDiesel collected from the park restaurants. No fancy stickers or pre-recorded promotion, just a mention in passing by the conductor. Nice. Can they convert the Race Cars to the same fuel – those are a little stinky!
I noticed recycling receptacles throughout the park . These are great – sadly most people don’t bother to use them or use them incorrectly. Imagine my surprise when I noticed one of the park employees dumpster diving!
Having recycling receptacles (say that 5 times fast) is one thing, but I happened to walk by when “Cast Member” Verola was emptying trash and she did something that astounded me… I caught her fishing out the recyclable bottles out of the trash and walking them across the way to the recyling receptacle. I had to investigate further! It turns out that Disney donates the money raised by the recyling to charity – and Verola was motivated. She proudly informed me that it was for the dogs.
While we visited the park we took advantage of the fruit stalls located near Pirates of the Caribbean. It certainly would have been more economical to pack our own fruit, but in the absence good planning it was nice to have a few healthy options to mesh in between the cotton candy and bbq we hit for dinner.
Disney has also set some strong eco milestones. In the next 2-4 years they plan to cut their emissions by 50%, their electricity use by 10% and lastly they plan to reduce their waste by 50%. Their long term goal is zero emission and waste.
I would love to see them taking a stronger stance on the impact of Disney products, but overall they are making inroads in many areas, and have set some lofty goals. I can’t wait to see how close they get to achieving them and in the meantime – we ended up purchasing season’s passes – so the lil’s will be sure to experience more joy at the happiest place on earth.
It has been almost 2 years since Dude and I made our last child free escape. With two children 16 months apart and no family anywhere nearby Dude and I are on our own.
When my In-Laws planned their most recent visit – it became clear that an escape was in order. An enjoyable trip for Dude requires it to be in range for emergency response and with only 2 days for our escape there was no point in spending it all on the road. Fortunately, living in Los Angeles beautiful spots dot the map to the immediate north and south of us.
Secretly – I was hoping to find a property working on green initiatives and was delighted to find numerous hotels making an effort to be more sustainable. Destination Hotel & Resorts has a green program they call Destination Earth and there are numerous Leed certified properties popping up around the country.
In the end it was a lovely invitation from a Destination Property - Estancia La Jolla Resort and Spa – that caught my attention and with Dude’s approval we were on our way.
Two words describe my first impression of Estancia La Jolla – understated elegance. While the property was quite extensive – it felt intimate and uncrowded. A perfect spot for a romantic getaway.
We drove into a small swarm of Bellhops – we of course had the most charming of the group escort us to our room – let’s call him Ted. Little did we know this little stroll to our room would flavor our entire weekend.
We’ve stayed at a number of lovely hotels - and honestly – I couldn’t tell you the name of a single bellhop. Somehow I think we’ll remember “Ted” for years to come and yes his name has been changed to protect his identity or in this case we don’t want him to get into trouble at work!
As we strolled through the immaculately groomed grounds he pointed us in the direction of all that we would really need to know during our stay – namely the location of bar and spa.
We ended up asking two innocent questions: 1. How far of a walk is it into La Jolla? 2. Can we walk to the Beach from the hotel? More on this later…
Our room had everything we needed – but was on the smaller side. If you plan on visiting the property and like to spend time in your room – you’ll want to upgrade your room selection. What the room lacked in size it made up for in tranquility. Our room was one of the quietest I’ve experienced in a hotel – entering from a courtyard meant no noisy halls.
Once we settled in and unpacked we embarked on our first foray and what would become – Adventure One of our La Jolla trip…. stay tuned!