Retro Building Revamp on Whittier Blvd.

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In 2015, Friendly Hills Bowl on Whittier Blvd. closed its doors. It had been a staple in Whittier for many years and I was concerned about losing the awesome “Googie” architecture on the famous street. Last Fall, Aldi supermarket and BevMo opened their doors on the property and I was happy to see they worked in some of the vintage elements from the original property.

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This sign once read “BOWL” with purple diamonds. I was so excited to see that they reworked the signage.

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You can see the stone wall and strong lines on the roof– these were all from the bowling alley.

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I shot these in October when BevMo had just opened and Aldi was nearly open. You can see the “Friendly Hills” sign which is original design but with updated color. The diamonds below used to read “bowl”– I love that signage from the bowling alley was still able to be used.

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This image is from the Whittier Daily News site and you can see the original “bowl” signage before it was redone. The link to the story is here.

Vintage Ephemera Friday #007

Ephemera is defined as something that is not meant to last long– often paper goods. I find myself picking up matchbook covers, postcards, and old magazines at estate sales, flea markets, etc. I know that there are plenty others who dig this stuff too so I’ve decided to post a new piece every Friday as a series, “Vintage Ephemera Friday,” or #VEF on IG.

I encourage anyone else who reads this to also post cool old ephemeral goods (old papers, pins, magnets, pretty much all advertisement goods, whatever you like!) and post it with both “#VintageEphemeraFriday” and “#VEF” tags so in the future others can search through the collective finds.

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I’ve always loved postcards and I used to have a goal of finding “Greetings From…” themed cards from each state. Due to their popularity, I’ve only come across 2 out in the wild (by wild I mean not searching for them to buy online). This Alaskan card is one of them. I love how each letter has a scene special from the state.

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It wasn’t used through the mail, but you can see the stamp space says it is a one cent stamp. With Alaska joining the union in 1959, I am a little confused on the timeline. I don’t know how many visitors were there before it became a state that would send out postcards. You will note that the card calls it a territory so it’s definitely pre-1959.

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Please feel free to join in and post your vintage ephemera finds here or on IG on Fridays! #vintageephemerafriday #vef

Vintage Signage Post: Sno-Flake Drive In

I’ve been a longtime fan of old signs. I think they’re so much more interesting than today’s common backlit box signs. They’re more expensive, but are a great detail for any business.
Driving around Southern California there are still a lot of cool old signs around, although they are being torn down on the regular. I lost all my old pictures on my last computer (an expensive and sad lesson learned about the values of external hard drives) so I often bring my camera with me to recapture old faves and stop whenever I come across new-to-me vintage gems.
I came across Sno-Flake Drive-in in the Lake Tahoe area over the summer. I’m a big fan of old burger joints anyway so when they have retained their vintage vibe it’s even better.

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Unfortunately it was too early in the morning to get a milkshake when I took these pics, but hopefully I’ll visit again to try them out and admire their sign. I love the detail in the ice cream and the little snowflakes.

Did you know that January 4th is National Trivia Day? To keep on the milkshake theme– did you know that they are called “cabinets” in Rhode Island? But these shakes do not include ice cream. Thanks to Aviva Trivia for having a trivia page on milkshakes!

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Every Day is a Holiday

Happy 2017! I can’t believe that the new year is already upon us (a few days in, actually) and I am excited for what the year ahead brings. I took some time away from Amerikitsch to focus on school last year but I am working on my time management skills (a worthy resolution) to make 2017 a year of great things for Amerikitsch– I hope to add vintage signs, shops, restaurants, and other finds that travelers in Southern California can enjoy.

For a Christmas gift I got this fun calendar that includes what different events and holidays are celebrated each day. It’s called “Every Day’s a Holiday” and that’s how I want to think of 2017– to be happy, to be hopeful, and have celebration in mind. Last year was tough for many people, myself included, and I like to think that the new year can be a fresh start to better days. If those better days happen to include days like, “Chocolate Cake Day” or “International Bagpipe Day,” all the better!

I wish you a fantastic new year and I hope that you check back for more vintage inspired and travel posts.

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Here are the first few months from my calendar with all the different “holidays” and events. Who knows, you may want to plan a Puzzle Day party?!

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Have a wonderful 2017, friends!

HWS Area Hotels

Hi friends, I’m back with more Disney posts! I got away from blogging after a trip through the PNW in August. I then started back at school so I’m still working out time management between school and posts. This post is a continuation of the WDW posts I had in July. There are a couple more and then I will have posts from my most recent travels. Thanks for sticking with me and please comment if you have any questions.

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One of the most visually impressive hotels on the WDW property is Art of Animation. It has four sections with each section devoted to a specific film- The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars.

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The check-in area is absolutely beautiful with bright colors and illustrations.

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They had a pinboard out while we were there!

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Like the other resorts, they had a gorgeous Christmas tree– I think this was my favorite! The colors were so bright and fun.

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They even added animation touches in the tree.

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Passed the check-in and the drawings was this great wall display with cells from the featured movies. It was interesting to walk through the “sketchbook” area of check-in and then see art from the films.

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If you have the time to walk around, I highly recommend checking out the great decoration outside of the lobby. Each building of the hotel had movie-specific features that were great.

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One of my favorite features in the Cars area were these postcards in the window. Unfortunately, they’re display only and not for sale. The cars were to “car” scale so they’re a great feature for photos.

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The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite films, so that building was my favorite. Ariel here is overlooking a pool (check the beach chairs).

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Ursula was the coolest character out there– she’s over three floors high!

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I very much enjoyed wandering around AoA; it’s a vibrant, fun resort that I recommend visiting even if you’re not staying. If you are a guest at another Disney property, it is free to park and check out other hotels, so do it!

Pop Century was another fun theme hotel– it’s not too far from the All-Star resorts, but I thought it was a little nicer.

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Pop Century celebrates pop culture varied by decade, from the 1950s to 1990s. My vintage heart loved the groovy true vintage decor– like this awesome golf cart! Disney does create a lot of cute photo-op areas.

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They did not have full on vintage Christmas decor, but I loved their classic look on the wreaths and tree.

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The check-in area had this large shadowboxes with items from each decade. They were really fun and all true vintage! I wish I could’ve been on the team searching for these treasures. Some were fashion, or music theme, or sports, etc. It’s fun stuff to look at while your group is checking in.

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The polka dot purses! The glitter platforms!

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Pop Century has a quick-serve food area, but no “sit-down” restaurant.

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We didn’t have any ice cream, but a guard recommended we have the tie dye cheesecake. It was pretty and tasty, and if you’re a pin collector there is a Hidden Mickey pin with Chip and Dale snacking on it.
I liked Pop Century for it’s fun theme and its budget friendly. Of course prices vary per reservation date, but this resort seems to be only slightly more expensive than the All-Stars.

We also visited Caribbean Beach, but it’s easy to get lost! This resort has a relaxing island vibe and it is very spread out over a lot of property. This may be a problem if you have someone in your party with mobility issues are a lot of small children: the walk back to your room after a long day at the parks may have you wishing for a room closer to the lobby. It’s something to consider when planning your trip!

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All Disney resorts have access to “Magical Express,” which is a pickup and drop off service to and from the hotels to Orlando International Airport. The time can vary, as the bus makes stops at each hotel, but it was convenient.

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I loved the island flair in the Christmas decorations– the flowers were such a great touch!

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Caribbean Beach did have a casual restaurant and some quick serve options (pictured below). I loved the bright colors of the resort.

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I hope these photos give you an idea of what the theme of the resorts are and what “feeling” you can expect. These properties are more on the budget-friendly side if you want to stay at a Disney property (which I recommend if you can!).
If I were visiting with friends I’d probably pick one of these resorts to spit a room to help keep prices down (so you can get more souvenirs, of course!).
Have you stayed at any of these hotels? How did you like them? Let me know in the comments, thanks!

Vintage Ephemera Friday #006

Ephemera is defined as something that is not meant to last long– often paper goods. I find myself picking up matchbook covers, postcards, and old magazines at estate sales, flea markets, etc. I know that there are plenty others who dig this stuff too so I’ve decided to post a new piece every Friday as a series, “Vintage Ephemera Friday,” or #VEF on IG.

I encourage anyone else who reads this to also post cool old ephemeral goods (old papers, pins, magnets, pretty much all advertisement goods, whatever you like!) and post it with both “#VintageEphemeraFriday” and “#VEF” tags so in the future others can search through the collective finds.

I missed a couple weeks after taking a summer school course, but I’m back and here’s my 6th post. This is a bundle of matchbooks I picked up at an estate sale. There was a giant box of them, but they were $1 a piece, so I had to be a little picky!

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I love finding restaurant theme ones with beautiful graphics. How cute is that chili bowl building?

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I also really like the water nymph matchbook– it was probably a little risqué back in the day. It was printed on beautiful lavender card stock. & barbu-cated? what?! I love when they’re double sided with different graphics on each side. Do you collect matchbooks? I keep saving them for crafts, but I haven’t done anything with them yet!

Please feel free to join in and post your vintage ephemera finds here or on IG on Fridays! #vintageephemerafriday #vef

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

July is Amerikitsch’s WDW month– I visited the parks in December 2014 and I thought it’s time to post about my trip. Check back all month for Disney related posts!

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This is a post about one of my favorite parks, Hollywood Studios. Yes, I said it’s a favorite! I’ve read some other opinions online that differ, but from a visual standpoint I really enjoyed walking around the park. It has an old Hollywood theme and after visiting it I wished that this designed had carried on to the California Adventure park.
I took a TON of photos of the vintage-inspired signage (my favorite!) and will post those separately.

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During Christmas-time, each park had gorgeous mega-trees out front that were designed in theme of the park they represent.

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I visited in December 2014, and the sorcerer hat & ears were still up. I saw online a couple weeks after we visited they were torn down. I know there were mixed feelings on these as well, but I like them. There was a open-air pin shop under the hat that was a great spot to pick up a souvenir.

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As I mentioned, there is an old Hollywood vibe to the park that is a lot of fun for vintage fans. I don’t know if Dapper Day is as big in Florida as it is in California, but this park is the perfect spot for it! The buildings have beautiful deco facades.

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They have the cutest dino, Gertie, that also serves as a ice cream spot. HWS definitely has some epic themed restaurants, too!

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The Prime Time Cafe is a delight and it will get its own post later! Dreamy 50s realness! & by realness, I mean it! They have tons of true vintage decorations that will make you feel like you stepped back in time.

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The Sci-Fi Diner is another great vintage-inspired eatery. It feels like you’ve been transported to a drive-in theatre back in the 50s/60s. I will also make a separate post for this spot.
**TIP: If you’re interested in eating at any restaurant in any of the parks, it is highly recommended that you make a reservation before your trip. You may not be able to get in at all without one!

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Hollywood Studios has attractions that are available in California, like Star Tours and Midway Mania, but I was excited they also still have Muppet Vision! It has been gone from DCA for awhile now with no signs of it returning. It was fun to see it again.

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There were great Christmas decorations, including this giant Santa figure on a street facade.

Another feature that we were lucky enough to visit before its closure was the Osborne Spectacular of Dancing Lights. 2015 was their last year, to many fan’s disappointment. There was a faux street near the Muppet Vision that was reminiscent of something at Universal Studios. You could walk through during the day, but the real excitement was a night to see the light display. I’m guessing they have big plans for that space in the future.

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My favorite part of the display– the baby from Dinosaurs! I remember watching that as a kid and loved seeing the blast from the past.

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In the back of the park is Midway Mania, one of the most entertaining rides. As you can see from the wait time (95 minutes in this photo), it is very popular! We were there off-season and midweek and I did not see the wait time under 1 hour. It is the same ride in California if you’ve been to DCA. To save time you might want to skip it, but the queue is wonderfully designed.

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The queue is designed as if you’ve shrunk down to toy-size. Mr. Potato is telling jokes like the line in DCA, but this one has much more style.

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There are also great Toy Story-inspired decorations outside the ride.

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For the mermaid fans, there is this beautiful fountain from the movie, “Splash.” It adds to the Hollywood vibe.

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Speaking of mermaids, there is a Little Mermaid show. Unfortunately, it leaves a lot to be desired. It doesn’t really follow the story, but it is a show that does musical numbers from the movie. If you have small children that love the music, maybe it would be a good spot to take a break from the walking, but otherwise it’s passable. I will say that the singer who played Ariel when we saw it was spot-on! She sounded just like the film, which was impressive.

The Disney Parks in Florida seem to have many stage shows– there’s an Indiana Jones stunt show, a car racing stunt show, a Beauty and the Beast live show, etc. & these are only just the shows at Hollywood Studios. I personally am not a huge fan of stage shows, so I’d pass on them. I saw a couple on this trip and don’t need to see any of them again. If you’re pressed for time you may want to skip them as well, but if you need a break they can be a welcome stop.

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Maybe I’m a little on the nerdy-side, but I really enjoyed “One Man’s Dream,” and exhibition inside Hollywood Studios with Walt’s history and artifacts. You can walk around the mini-museum and they also play a movie. I loved learning about the history and process Walt cultivated for us all to enjoy these many years later.

**NOTE TO ANY DISNEY EMPLOYEES THAT MIGHT COME ACROSS THIS: I was at HWS and visited the One Man’s Dream building on Walt Disney’s birthday. There was ZERO mention of it anywhere in the park other than it was mentioned at the beginning of the film. Really? Nothing for Walt’s birthday? Why not a button or sticker for guests at the gate? Or a special cupcake or other dessert commemorating the day? It doesn’t have to be anything big, but it seems that Walt’s birthday should be acknowledged in Disney parks.**

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Another great spot for the old Hollywood vibe is the Brown Derby. It is a re-creation of the iconic hot spot from the Golden Age of Cinema.

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We visited the park a second day to enjoy a meal at the Brown Derby. It felt very “grown up” and might not be the best spot for the little ones. The meals were delicious, but also a little on the pricier side. It was a nice treat!

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One of the best details were the copper derby hat lights!

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Hollywood Studios has a beautiful “Main Street,” but they also have a great shopping area on the walk towards the Tower of Terror ride. This shop was villain-themed and was great.

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Along the walls were these epic scary old-Hollywood vignettes. Set decorating for Disney sounds like a dream job to me (Disney do you need help in CA? I’m here!), and this shop really stood out for its design. I took many, many photos of the vintage-style signage and they will get their own post soon!

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This is a shot of the walking/shopping area on the way to Tower of Terror. There are plenty of cool things to stop and check out along the way, including great shops and quick serve meal spots.

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When the sun went down, we went back to see the light display. It was the street I mentioned before with the baby from “Dinosaurs” in the window. It was an incredible display with many fans checking it out.

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The Mickey stocking was one of my favorite touches, along with the Halloween cat. We were told that when the Osborne’s mailed all the lights to Disney, they accidentally included a halloween decoration of a cat. The decorators used it in the design every year and moved it around for people to search for while they enjoyed the lights!

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When we were leaving I snapped a photo of this shop window– the Minnie’s were kicking their legs like they were Rockettes. It was too cute and festive.

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A great touch in the window was this poster for the “Jingle Belles.” I’ve also seen these Minnie’s as ornaments in the park. I hope they bring them back this year because I want to pick one up!

So, I’m definitely a fan of Hollywood Studios. The style, the props, and design really grabbed my attention and made me wish they had made similar choices for the DCA park. If you’re all about rides, this park will probably not keep you all day. You can get there early and hit your fave attractions, and then head out. But if you want a more leisurely time, to walk and enjoy your surroundings, I recommend it.

Disney has also announced that there will be a Star Wars land in this park in the future, so I bet it will only get more popular when that opens!

Have you visited Hollywood Studios? What was your favorite part of the park? Let me know in the comments, thanks!

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