Thursday, October 24, 2013

7th Annual Halloween trip. Tsujita LA, Venice Beach, Hotel Maya, & Queen Mary's Dark Harbor

Woke up early Sunday morning and made another attempt to get Ramen at Tsujita.

This time we were successful. Had 16 of us and we took whatever seating we could get.

Out of 4 attempts that I have tried to eat here, I have only been successful twice. One time we got here for dinner only to find out that they don't serve the Ramen at dinner time, and the other time we barely missed the lunch hour before it closed by a few minutes, but finally got to eat it this time and it was so worth the wait.

Char Siu Tsukemen with extra egg and extra pork. There are instructions on how you're suppose to enjoy this Ramen.

First you dip the noddles in the broth and enjoy, second: after about 1/3 of the noodles have been devoured you squeeze some lime over the noodles and continue dipping, the flavor should change, lastly after the noddles are finished you can add some hot water to the brother to thin it out and enjoy the soup/broth base.

For me, I go straight for part two.

Delicious pork in all it's greatness. This Ramen puts all Ramen in the Bay Area to shame...seriously the best Ramen I have had so far. Hawaii was holding the spot for a long time, but Tsujita is the new crowning champion.

I way over ordered, but I rather have too much than not enough. This was as far as I got.

That car had a built in grill in the trunk. Pretty cool.

After Ramen we had a bit of time to kill before the rest of our group arrives in OC. So our friend Alvin suggested that we check out Venice Beach. I have been so why not?

Really interesting people out there and lots of food, vendors, and local artists.

We walked all the way to Muscle Beach. It wasn't what I expected. I guess I pictured something a lot grander than this. Maybe because it was a Sunday and none of the big dogs were out, but still cool to see for the first time.

They had a set of rings on the beach, you know Peter had to get his muscle ups going.

I'm Hans and I'm Franz and we're hear to pump you up! Listen to me now and hear me later.

It was almost time to pick up our friends from the airport so we headed back to OC. We dropped off Brandon to pick up his car and while on our way back, Jack really needed to use the restroom and we just happened to be by Knott's Berry Farm. It gave me the perfect opportunity to stop by Amber Waves Haunted Bar like we do every year.

Was really hoping to see our regular bartender Naseem that we have seen every year for the past few years, but she wasn't on duty. I did ask around and she still works there though. It was a bummer not to see her.

The decorations seemed a bit better than last year, but I have seen them do way better in previous years.

A frosty pumpkin spiced shot, laced with 151! I bought it because I like how it looks. I love how they present their drinks all themed out for Halloween. This one came with vampire teeth and candied pumpkins.

The drink on the right was like a jager bomb, but instead of Jaeger there's 151.. hooray! The one on the left was like a vanilla creamsicle type shot, it came with a gummy spider. All of the Halloween shots come with souvenir shot glasses.

We had a few extra drinks so we talked Peter into drinking the pumpkin one. Then he found out there was 151 in it... Surprise

After finally getting the whole gang together we checked into our hotel at long beach. Hotel Maya
We were originally suppose to stay on The Queen Mary, but since it was actually haunted Robyn refused to stay on it. She was going to book a room nearby, but I wasn't going to allow her to be on her own. So we decided to stay at Hotel Maya and I was really glad that we did. It was a really nice hotel. It's a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel. I haven't stayed in a DoubleTree in decades, but we all got chocolate chip walnut cookies & strawberry infused water upon check in.

I really loved the vibe of the hotel. It has a lounge type feel to it. Really relaxing and there were so many places to just to chill out. They had a make shift beach by the water with a bunch of outdoor lounge couches and day beds around fire pits.

Here's Jason, his first time on the annual Halloween trip and hopefully not his last.

We rented a 12 passenger van from AVR the vans are a little older and have higher mileage, but are way cheaper compared to everyone else. We were able to get this 12 passenger van for under $400 including insurance for the whole trip. They're located about one exit from John Wayne airport, but they have drivers that pick you up and drop you off. We had a very pleasant experience with them.

Jason's wife Nichole is also a newbie to this trip.

and the other Nicole...newb also.

Just a typical room. Nothing exciting about it, but nice and clean.

Our Knott's Amber Waves Haunted Lounge shot glasses.

Did I mention that all the cookies was given to us warm like they were freshly baked. It's the little details that get me.

We had about an hour to kill and knew that there was going to be a lot of drink ahead of us. So we better get some food in our systems.

We ended up eating at the restaurant at Hotel Maya, Fuego Restaurant
I had the Calamari and Sopas. Calamari was excellent. I had no idea what Sopas were and didn't know what I was getting myself into. I was expecting something along the lines of Tamales.

John and Robyn shared the lobster mac and cheese & Salmon sliders.

It was finally time to head Dark Harbor. We chose to stay at Hotel Maya because it was within walking distance to Dark Harbor. This was our first time attending this event. We thought we would change it up from our normal tradition of visiting Knott's Scary Farm.

It's kind of hard to see but this is the Hotel Maya beach and fire pits. Just pretend you can see all the couches around it. LOL.

Some boats at the docks

Snapped a few pics of the water as we walked to The Queen Mary.

saw this cat on our way there.

Anh and Rinata (sp?) both new to this years trip also.

A submarine.

Upon entering what's the first thing we see!! A full bar. Yup a full bar. This already gives points over Universal's Halloween Horror Nights and Knott's Scary Farm. Universal doesn't serve alcohol and Knott's used to in the past, but has reduced it down to just beer and wine. See this bar was like a god send (I sound like an alcoholic) price were reasonable also.

It's called the Terror Tavern. The Queen Mary also offers tickets to the RIP Lounge, which is a bar that located above the whole event and you can watch people getting scared from there. There are other perks you get with the ticket, but it's a bit pricey. We were able to wait for the last minute and scored tickets to Dark Harbor and Fast Fright (fast pass) for $26 total. Normally it's $24 for admission and $20 for fast fright.

The first maze was Circus.

I tried to snap a picture of the long line...The fast fright line was like 2 minutes. They even had a fast fright line for entry into the event and if you saw the line you would buy one too. I have heard that waits can be up to 2 hours or more for a maze. There were 6 mazes total. Dark Harbor was open from 7p-12a. The bars close one hour before closing. We got into the event close to 8p.

I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, but Circus was my favorite maze. They didn't heard us in like cattle as they do at Universal and Knotts. So the experience was awesome. In the beginning Jack and I got lost and it ended up being just the two of us, and for a brief period I lost Jack and was by myself. This was the type of experience I was hoping for.

I must say the placement of the bars at the event was well thought out. When you exit every maze there's a bar. So it was maze, bar, maze and bar. :)

The next maze was containment. Which was the first maze that we ran to that was located on the ship. There are 3 mazes that are on the ship and 3 mazes in the parking lot.

Anh and Rinata were such great entertainment, watching them go through the maze was so much fun. They scare very easily.

After Containment... more drinks.

The next maze on the ship was HellFire. I was able to snap a picture of regular line. The fast fright was worth it's weight in gold. So glad we all got it.

Drink break and then it was off to Submerged. I heard that the spot with the most paranormal activity is the swimming pool on the ship and this maze allows you to pass by it.

Just look at that line.

of course more drinks, Jason totally got out dibbed by Phat. He swooped in at the last moment to steal the bill and glory from Jason. He's not too happy about it. Better luck next time Jason.

Son's lady friend scared very easily.. Funny thing was that the whole event she tried lying that she wasn't scared of this stuff, but she was terrified.

Our next maze was DeadRise.

Some haunted treats.

This was the first year Dark Harbor had a Zip Line. On my bucket list was to Zip Line so I'll definitely be going on that later.

The last maze for the day was Village.

After we got out of Village it was 11:01 I ran to the nearest hoping to get one more round, but they were closed :( Oh well. We had one hour left so too the Zip Line we go.

Finally getting to cross another thing off my list of to dos

Peter and Nicole.

John and I had a fair race. John totally lost it was no contest!

After Zip Lining we got some food.

One of the rare moments that I get to be in the pictures, since I'm usually the one behind the camera.

Anthony and his girlfriend. I'm horrible with names.

It was finally time to leave. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. We had finished all the mazes, rode the zip line, and had some food. Heading back to get a good nights rest for Disneyland tomorrow.

My final opinion on Dark Harbor is.. outstanding. The mazes were all awesome. There were so many different scare elements that were used. It was better than what Universal or Knott's usually has to offer. Some type of scene with a guy hiding somewhere. I really want to tell you about how they did different types of scares, but I don't want to ruin it for anyone. It's a must visit at least once. Who knows we might be back at Dark Harbor again next year. I highly recommend getting a fast fright. It's worth it, trust me. The one thing I do miss about Knott's or Universal is the shows. Mainly Bill and Ted's excellent adventure or the Hanging at Knotts, but I don't miss the cattle line at those parks and really like how things were spaced out a bit here. Well worth the visit. Tomorrow we're off to Disneyland and lunch at Club 33.


  1. This is a really great video from Dark Harbor Halloween at The Queen Mary. It gave me the chills!!!

  2. Hello and happy new year friend,,
    Well written tips, very accurate, to the point and easy to digest. I love how subtle the colors are. It looks great! I glad to read it and i need to share with friend.


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