Tuesday, June 17, 2008

June 4,2008

Day 2 - Lights, Camera, Adventure!

Word of the day: Hollywood

The day began at 7:50 am as the group met Robyn on the mezzanine of the Hotel and she guided us with the use of the famous paddle to our first stop of the day. As short walk to the Disney Soda Fountain and Studio Tour were we

had a private breakfast before the store opened. I did find it truly amazing the things that Disney was able to open specifically for this group.
Breakfast was a choice menu of "mickey waffles, scrambled eggs, or oatmeal
along with fresh fruit, bacon, sausage, juices, yogurt, bagels and beverages.

It was very neat to have the store and soda fountain all to ourselves.
There is some great flip clip artwork and stain glass ceiling panels in the store.
The store also sells limited edition "Disney Soda Fountain Pins" as well as other
Disney merchandise.

As we were leaving the store through theside door all the servers and staff lined up and wished us a magical day as we entered the El Capitan Theater.

Our guide for this part of our tour of the El Capitan was Ed, who was part of the team the undertook the restoration of this beautiful theater.
The lobby of the theater was decorated with props used in Narnia - Prince Caspian and you felt like you were on a movie set , not a movie theater.

We began our tour on the balcony , as Ed put it, so you can see the grandeur of this amazing theater. The artwork in the ceiling, walls and entrance hall in this massive theater was breathtaking.

As we walked down the stairs, a Wurlitzer Organ was playing " Hooray for Hollywood" This Organ was restored and one of only a few left for that gone by era. The organist showed how the different sounds are made and how this one organ can sound like an entire symphony. ( picture above)
The curtains were pulled and we entered the backstage area, saw the inner workings of the theater and then went on to an area used for private functions that housed many other props and costumes from Narnia- Prince Caspian.

It was time for us to move on to our next stop of the day, Jimmy Kimmel Live at the Hollywood Masonic Temple.

Two members of the crew along with Uncle Frank greeted us at the door and we began our tour which included a short clip of Jimmy Kimmel highlights, the sound room, the make rooms, the production center, and the green room, which is not green and no one knew where the term came from.
The green room had a complete bar, pool table, video games, plush couches and guitar signed by many of Jimmy's guests.
The next stop was the studio where the show is taped. This is where we had
many photos taken with Uncle Frank while we sat at Jimmy's Desk.
Uncle Frank is really Jimmy's uncle and he just loves to talk.
Uncle Frank pointed out his dressing room, which he said was a janitor's closet.
Our final stop on this tour was an area outside and behind the building where the live bands perform. This area is directly next to Hollywood High , which could be seen from the parking lot.

Now it was time to board our coach, for a short trip to the Jim Henson Studios.
This was also no ordinary bus. Our coach was complete with plush seats, overhead compartments, a bathroom and audio and video.
Our driver John, very familiar to Hollywood, pointed out famous sites and landmarks as he drove us to our next stop.

We knew we had reached our destination when the coach pulled up in front of a gated building with very large Kermit the Frog on top.
This group of buildings was once home to Charlie Chaplin Studio and on one of the doors is a painting of Charlie. This was one of the many areas throughout our six days that no camera's were permitted in certain areas.
As we entered the courtyard there was a sign" Welcome Adventures by Disney".
We broke up into two groups - Mickey with Quinn and Robyn with Minnie as we toured the different areas of Jim Henson's Studio.
We began our tour with a short film on the Henson history, next on to the creature shop where we learned about and some got to make the puppets work , had a demonstration from one of the master puppeteers on the new technology
being used in "Sid the Science Kid". Next stop was the sound studio, where we got to watch , what I would call the rehearsals for the taping of a new episode.
I never knew how much went into making an animated film or TV show. The final stop before lunch was the office the is now Brian Henson's , formerly used by his father, Jim. We were allowed to take photos of this area , since no one was there.

Lunch ( which we had preselected on our arrival day) was in the courtyard at Jim Henson's. Towards the end of lunch a puppet who the group named ,came out and spent time entertaining us and taking individual photos.
The final part of our tour was a short movie that had been designed for the Adventure by Disney groups and had Brian Henson as one of the voices.

Now it was time for the famous group shot in front of the Jim Henson sign with someone holding the Adventure By Disney Paddle.
Group shots became a regular event throughout our adventure. I still can hear
Quinn's voice saying" if you can't see me , then I can't see you and your not in the picture. "

As we left Jim Henson's Studio and boarded our coach a cooler filled with bottled water was waiting for us.
According to the printed itinerary this should have been our last stop of the day,
but there was another surprise in store for us. We were going to Griffith Park
the home of the Carolwood Pacific Railroad Historical Society and Walt's
Barn, which houses many of Walt's train memorabilia and many of his original pieces.

Walt's barn and the memorabilia were incredible. To think that many of the items were used by Walt , was, as one person put it "simply spiritual ".

The group got to ride the train 3 times and the adults were having as much fun, if not more then the 4 kids on the tour."

Robyn and Quinn had a picnic area set up with coolers of bottled water and snacks.

Roger Broggie , son of Michael Broggie, founder the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society along with his wife Sharon were on hand to tell the stories of Walt and his railroad, as well as sell limited edition merchandise and yes they do take credit cards. This was one of many shopping expenditures.
The trip to Griffith Park and the Barn was for many an experience of a lifetime.

This is not part of the printed itinerary because the opening of the Barn and the
train ride is completely dependent on the volunteers.
We boarded our coach for our trip back to Hollywood.

Jimmy Kimmel Live offered the group tickets to the live show that evening for those interested. Many of us chose the other option of going back to the El Capitan for a showing of Narnia- Prince Caspian.

Following the movie, a few of us went to dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen,
strolled around the walk of fame and called it a night after wonderful time in Hollywood.

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