1 Day in L.A – Dec 20, 2015

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Would you like to know how much you can cram into 24 hours?  Let me tell you.  As I mentioned in the previous post, we woke up at about 8am (not by choice).  We were tired and jet lagged, but since we only had 24 hours in L.A, we wanted to make the best of it!  We had a lovely breakfast in the hotel restaurant, at which time I checked my Groupon app to see if there were any good deals on tours for Hollywood.  To our surprise there was one offering a Celebrity House & City Tour for 2 people only $35! That is a pretty awesome deal, so I bought it.

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We were only a 10 minute walk away from the famous Hollywood/Highland intersection where you can find just about everything touristy that you want (tours, walk of fame, museums, etc.), so we headed down to check out the tour.  We were able to get a seat on the 11:15am tour, which was perfect for us.  It was MUCH cooler than we had expected it to be when we left our hotel, so we were a little under-dressed.  The weather was supposed to get up to 16 Degrees Celsius, so we dressed in sandals, and t-shirts (no jackets).  For those who are confused by that statement – since we are from Canada, we actually find 16 Degrees to be WARM, not cold.  We soon realized that it would be a chilly day for us on that open-air tour.  I would tell you the Company that we took, but honestly, the name on the Groupon and the name on the bus were different, so I don’t think they are very professional, and I really can’t recommend them.  The tour lasted about 2 hours, which allowed us the chance to go up to the Hollywood sign, and look out over Los Angeles.  We also toured through all the neighbourhoods and valleys.  We drove down famous streets like Mulholland Drive and Rodeo Drive, and through the streets of Beverly Hills.

Ron Howard House

The “Celebrity” tour was a little disappointing.  Sure, we saw some famous homes, like Ron Howard, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Puff Daddy, Justin Timberlake, Jon Stamos, Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, Elvis, Simon Cowell, etc., but the disappointing thing was that most of them were very underwhelming at best, and some of them we couldn’t even see due to trees, bushes, and massive gates in the way.  It was still fun to see, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you are short on time.  For me, I had already been to L.A. and seen a lot so this was a fun way to see another part of it. Check out some of the homes we saw, along with other photos from the tour on our Facebook page here.

After the tour, we went for lunch at an amazing (and authentic) Mexican restaurant, where we were serenaded by a cute mariachi band.  This was both enjoyable and embarrassing.  Ask anyone who knows me and they will say that it took everything in my being not to leave the table and run away with my face beat red!

After lunch, we sauntered down to Graumans Chinese Theatre, where the premiere of Star Wars had just occurred, and because of this, the usual area that you can w
alk around with the hand/footprints of celebrities was closed.  We then wandered over to the “Kodak Theatre”, which is now known as “Dolby”, which just sounds weird to me, so I will continue to call it the Kodak Theatre.  It is home of the Academy Awards, and if you want you can pay to go inside.  We didn’t have time for this, but it would have been fun.

We took the 10 minute walk up-hill this time to get back to our hotel, where we were going to arrange transportation to take us to Warner Bros Studios in Burbank.  We also needed to put some warm clothes on!  The cheapest option I could find was $5 with Uber.  Unfortunately, what I learned quickly is that not having a working phone number is going to be a pain the ass.  Without a phone number, I couldn’t book Uber, because they do everything by texting.  We asked the front desk for the next affordable option.  Well…there isn’t any.  The next best thing was a personal shuttle service which would cost $40 ($20 each way).  It was still cheaper than a taxi because it was a flat rate, so we booked it.  The driver we had was named Ohan.  He was a lovely Armenian man in his 60’s.  He dropped us off, and gave us his personal cell number to call his when we were done the tour.  Again, with no phone to use, we were hoping someone would be available in one of the buildings to let us call later (they were).

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I actually took this tour at Warner Bros about 10 years ago, so at first I was expecting this to be a repeat experience, but I am sure glad I was wrong!  Our tour guide was amazing, and from start to finish, there wasn’t a single repeated word.  Our guide said that likely 10 years ago, this tour was so small that there wasn’t much to it (he was right).  We toured a jungle area that they use for many movies and shows whenever they want to be anywhere “exotic” or even just in someone’s backyard.  We toured the outdoor sets, which make up New York and Chicago amongst others.  We saw where some of our favourite shows and movies filmed some of their outdoor scenes.  The BEST part of our day was getting to visit the set of The Big Bang Theory, which is one of our favourite shows.  The first thing you notice when you go inside is how SMALL the set really is.  It is amazing how they make it look so much larger on TV!  We couldn’t take pictures, so all I have to remember it buy is my poor memory, and a photo of the parking space outside…sigh…

The highlight for Trevor was getting to visit the props of all of the Batman costumes and vehicles from the last 75 years.  It was pretty interesting to me too to see everything in 2 rooms.  They even had the costumes from the new Batman vs Superman movie, which isn’t even out yet.  That was neat to see.  You can see the complete collection, along with other photos from the day on Trevor’s Facebook page here. They also had the new vehicle from that movie on display with the other vehicles from the Batman franchise.  There were also props on display in another room from all of the Harry Potter movies, but neither of us our fans of those movies, so I didn’t post any photos.  Sorry Potter fans.

After approx. 2 hours the tour concluded with us going to a self-guided building, which houses a lot of amazing fun things.  The beginning is dedicated to the process of making movies (screenplay, casting, set design, costume design, etc.).  The second half began with the set of FRIENDS on display (Central Perk set to be exact).  You were allowed to wander around the little café, and sit on the couch to take some photos.  This was the highlight for me 10 years ago, and it was still pretty fun this time!  Next, we played with some movie technology, using sets and camera tricks from Lord of the Rings to make ourselves into hobbits, and took a spin on the bike from The Dark Knight, having ourselves videotaped in front of a green screen and then put in the movie scene.  Fun stuff.

You would think that was enough for one day, but we weren’t finished yet.  We had Ohan drive us back to Hollywood Blvd where we had dinner at the historic “Pig and Whistle”.  This is a gorgeous little pub which is housed in an old movie theatre from the 1920’s.  Very classic Hollywood feel.  Food was ok.  I recommend it for the atmosphere more than anything.

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After dinner, we walked back down past Graumans Chinese theatre to Madame Tussauds wax museum.  All I can say about this place is that it was FUN! If you have ever been to the museum in Las Vegas, this place is 100% better.  The figures here are SO lifelike it is shocking!  Some of them we just stood in front of and said “wow”!  You will see some photos of us posing with some of them and having a good time.

Patrick Swayze from one of my favourite movies Dirty Dancing!

Patrick Swayze from one of my favourite movies Dirty Dancing!

Check out our photos from the museum on our Facebook page here.

By this time we had spent a good 12 hours enjoying L.A/Hollywood, and it was time to head back to the hotel to get some rest, because we were due to be up at 4:45 am to catch our shuttle back to LAX.  Unfortunately, it is the same shuttle company we took in…..so this will be interesting.

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