West Coast-ing, Part the Third: Disney Minus Disney

Yesterday we went to Disneyland. Twice. Well, sort of. Okay, we didn’t actually go to Disneyland. But it felt like we did. Twice

Firsty, we stayed at the Madonna Inn. Normally, hotels aren’t in any way one of the more interesting parts of any given vacation, but the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo looks like that would happen if Willy Wonka was a woman with an unlimited architecture budget who just dropped acid. The main color everywhere is pink. Every room is decorated differently and has a different name (i.e. San Francisco, American Beauty, Krazy Dazy, Oriental Fantasy, Yahoo, and Hearts & Flowers).

In some of the rooms and bathrooms, there are rock walls just worked into the design. There are even some rock sinks and, oh yeah, a rock urinal. In the main building, the men’s bathroom has a rock wall where… well, look, it would be very hard to describe without making you feel unclean.

All of this is to say the Madonna Inn feels very much like a Disney theme park, just without the rides.

But, as I said, there were two locations on our trip yesterday that made me think of Disney. The other one was the town of Solvaing, which can be best described as a living EPCOT pavilion. What do I mean by this? Well, the entire town is basically Little Denmark. It was founded decades ago by a small group of Danes, and there’s such a remarkable Danish influence there.

There’s a small Hans Christian Andersen museum, there are plenty of restaurants that serve somewhat authentic Danish food, and just the architecture around the city makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a different country altogether.

We also drove through Malibu, which was nice, since I’m assuming we weren’t driving through the parts of Malibu that just really scream, “YEP, YOU’RE IN MALIBU!”



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