Los Angeles beyond the Mouse (part 2 of 3)
Hooray for Hollywood!!
There were two recurring themes when I told people we were going to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is really touristy, and not the safest area.
I would not to be deterred. We went anyway.
My plan was to get to Hollywood Boulevard around 10am when everything starts to open, and leave before dark. Then we gave the same speech we gave the boys before we visited Times Square. We are not taking pictures with people dressed in costumes for money. Do not take anything that anyone offers you whether it is a flyer or a CD. Street people will hand you a CD of their music and then ask you to pay for it and not take it back out of your hand. Cautionary instructions were given, we were ready to rock!
We parked in the lot underneath the Hollywood and Highland mall which was very well lit. The fee was nominal for the day. We started our day by walking toward Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. There is no charge to step into the courtyard that surrounds the theatre and look at all of the footprints and handprints of famous people. They try to sell you a theatre ticket, a tour and several other things, but we took the free route. It was more than enough. My boys were enamored by the Star Wars characters handprints (robot prints?). Whatever, you know what I mean, people. It’s kind of interesting to see what “older” movie stars your kids recognize.
From there, we wandered down the Hollywood Walk of Fame on that side of the street. Each star has the person’s name accompanied by an icon that indicates whether their star was for music, TV, film, etc. Each of the boys found a star with at least part of their own name in it, covered up the other part with their foot for the picture, and voila, they had their own star too. When the walk ended on one side, we walked up the other. We talked about movie stars that were popular when Grandfather was little, and sang songs of musicians they didn’t think they knew. They even found some broadcasters they liked from sports, like Terry Bradshaw.
We stopped in front of the Disney’s Soda Fountain and Studio Store to eat lunch. The soda shop’s food is nothing great, and they have a “to go” area for ice cream products only. There are plenty of other restaurants at the mall that would have been better. But, when in Rome… I hear that they are actually revamping this into a Ghirardelli Ice Cream Shop to open in November 2013, so be sure to check it our before you go.
After lunch we had a few hours to kill. With much trepidation, we decided on Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. I thought it would be a waste of money and we would speed through it. How wrong I was!! Yes, I admitted I was wrong. Write it down. Anywhoo, here are the details. There are several floors to roam and pose with the figures. There are politicians, sports figures, movie stars, singers, etc. You can touch the figures anywhere, except on the face. Discounted tickets are available online, or with a flyer, etc.
Having never been there, I had no idea what to expect. But it was such fun!! My boys took turns pretending to punch out Justin Beiber, skating with Tony Hawk, and acting cool with James Dean. They even have props to help add to the fun with some of the wax figures. There were so many fun pics it was hard to choose just one for this post. Remember that each Tussaud’s has figures from the area it is located, so friends that visited the Hong Kong location were perplexed by all the famous Asian celebrities they didn’t know.
Last on our list was to see a movie at El Capitan. El Capitan is a 1926 movie theatre restored by Disney and reopened in 1991. It is absolutely gorgeous inside. Only Disney movies are shown there, but during new releases, they sometimes have a live show on stage before the movie. Months before our trip I had secured VIP tickets. The VIP tickets allow you to pick a your exact seats, a popcorn in a plastic reusable tub, and a drink too. They do have General Admission seats, but you need to get in line 45 minutes ahead of time to stand in line to get the best choice. We picked first row balcony center, and those seats were $24/person.
Luckily for us, Oz the Great and Powerful was in it’s first two weeks of opening. Therefore, El Capitan had a magic show before the movie on the stage. It was actually pretty good, and was included in the ticket price. The magician actually levitated a lady on stage!! Although we attended an early evening show, it was dark when we got out. That was our cue to leave the Hollywood area, and start our commute back to our hotel for the night. It was a fun day for the entire family. Was it touristy? Yes. But it was even more fun to tell our naysayers about it. We came, we saw, we conquered!!