Universal Studios Hollywood Trip Report
Recently we were lucky enough to visit Universal Studios Hollywood to experience Super Nintendo World first hand. Last week we talked about our adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom. This week, we’re going to ta...
Universal Studios Hollywood Trip Report
Recently we were lucky enough to visit Universal Studios Hollywood to experience Super Nintendo World first hand. Last week we talked about our adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom. This week, we’re going to talk about what visiting the rest of Universal Studios Hollywood is like, how it compares to Universal Orlando Resort, and why it’s definitely worth a visit when you’re visiting the Los Angeles area. Since it’s so close to Hollywood and other famous LA landmarks, we’re also going to talk about some great spots to visit nearby that are sure to be exciting if you’re interested in the glitz and glam of Hollywood, as well as some hidden gems for Disney fans.
Discussion topics include:
stunt show is amazing. Studio backlot tour is an incredible look at Hollywood film making magic and history,why you should consider the VIP
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[1:06] Welcome back to another meeting of the Gold Key Adventurer Society.
My name is Dan Leonard. Hi, Dan.
Hi. Joining me this week in the studio is Heather Strait. Hello. And Mr.
Jeff Williams. That's what they call me.
They sure do.
At least to your face. Ouch. Ouch.
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You sure got a purdy W. I'm not sure what that means, but it sounded a little uncomfortable. Feels wrong.
Yeah, so does my W. Recently I was lucky enough to visit Universal Studios Hollywood to experience Super Nintendo World first hand.
Last week we talked about my adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom and this week we're going to talk about what the rest of the theme park is like, how it compares to Universal Orlando Resort, and why it's definitely worth a visit when you're in the Los Angeles area.
Since it's so close to Hollywood and other famous LA landmarks, we're also going to talk a little bit about some other great spots you can visit that are sure to be exciting if you're interested in the glitz and glam of Hollywood as well as some hidden gems for Disney fans.
I had a whirlwind visit last week. I was about 2.25 days around Los Angeles.
That is pretty whirlwind.
It was amazing how much I was able to pack into the visit.
Part of that is because, like we mentioned briefly last week, Universal Studios Hollywood is a much smaller theme park smaller theme park than.
[2:57] What we think of. I've always been impressed with how much you can pack in.
And Universal Studios Hollywood is still a working movie studio.
Yeah, that's right, which gives you there's a really awesome attraction I'll talk about, in a little bit that is super cool. But yeah, it's right in the middle of a working movie studio. And it's actually from Universal Studios. You can even see the Warner Brothers studio.
Right there, really around a lot of working studios. Paramount is not far from there too, right?
[3:30] Yeah, Paramount's actually kind of in the middle of downtown LA a little bit more, but it's still very close. It's just a couple of miles away. And that's the thing, it's funny, like LA is such a gigantic city, but everything is like, all the Hollywood stuff at least is right in the Hollywood of an area. Yeah. Yes.
Not as big as not as big as I thought. Yeah. It's hard to get around as I thought.
It's been a long time since I've been out to Universal Studios, Hollywood.
I've done a lot of the L.A. landmark stuff more recently, but it's been many years since I've been.
I went there before there was any theme park there. It was just like the studio tour.
And I had the little JAWS thing was part of the studio Back in the day.
And just separated the water and you went through it for the Ten Commandments ride and there was a small jaw thing. It was all part of it.
Wait, what, what, are you being serious about that? Yes. Oh wow.
That would be amazing. They just did a parting of the waters thing and it was like miniature.
Oh funny. A miniature Ten Commandments thing. That would be so cool to see.
And then you pull up and oh we're in Amity and there's a shark and it was all just part of the tram thing. It was a ride element.
I remember a little bit of the ride stuff. It was it was towards the end of my college career and I took a class in the communications department. It was not the 70s.
It was the 1990s.
[5:00] I took a class about the Hollywood and American culture for my communications degree and we spent two weeks living in the Universal Sheraton right there at Universal Studios and did all kinds of different stuff. It was really cool. All the studio tours, but in the evenings we could go into the park, which was fun. All you wanted to do? Like express pass style?
And you passed style? Yeah, we had tickets that would get us in all the time.
It was pretty cool.
That's so cool. That's really cool. Speaking of that Sheraton, that was on my list.
I actually stayed right next door to the Sheraton at the Hilton Universal City and the Sheraton is right there.
Those two hotels are fantastic spots for if you want your home base to be right at Universal Studios Hollywood. The Hilton was seriously a five-minute walk across the street from, the main gates to Universal Studios. Beautiful hotel. I was on the 23rd floor, had a view of.
[6:05] City Walk and the Hollywood Hills. They have theme park view rooms.
I can't recommend that spot highly enough. Yeah, both of those. So the Sheraton is also Very nice. Lobby bar right there. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Beautiful. Nice lobby bar at the Hilton.
And yeah, nice lobby bar and a really good breakfast buffet too. Perfect. It was good.
There is a nice lobby bar at the Sheraton too. And I cannot remember the name of the, celebrity we saw there. He was a Kung Fu guy. Chuck Norris. It was not Chuck Norris. I would I would have remembered that.
No, but more of the older. He was old at the time. I'll figure it out.
I can't remember who it was. That other guy. Yeah. Like old school, old Kung Fu movies.
David Carradine. Yes, that's who it was. Thank you. That was the Kung Fu TV show. Yes, that was him.
That was older. That was also Bill from Kill Bill. Yes. Yeah, that guy.
Okay. Yes, that guy. Didn't you also step on Tom Felix's foot?
He stepped on my foot.
[7:12] This will tell you how far back this was. It was when Tom Selleck was guest starring on Friends.
He still had a mustache. Yes, he did. And he was staying there.
And I was, I went down to the front desk for something and he was standing behind him not realizing it and he backed up into me and turned around and I didn't, had no words, did not know what to say. Did you cream your jeans right away? A little bit, yeah.
Of course. That beautiful mustachioed- He is a beautiful man.
[7:43] Yeah. you So anyway, oh yeah. Great hotel, yeah.
Great hotel. First night I walked over and I visited City Walk and I actually liked City Walk in Hollywood better than in Orlando. It looks a little more themed.
It is more themed. It's laid out a little bit more straightforward instead of being just this blob of stuff.
It's like city streets that you're walking through and they've got big King Kong hanging off the side of a building and there's a giant dragon.
But it's also a little, there's more shops and there's more restaurants because they've got more than just like the Universal Store.
They have kind of small stores, but also there's like a weird, like the world of socks stores that sells nothing but novelty printed socks.
There's a really cool like sci-fi nerdy toys and collectibles shop.
I don't know, I would like that. There's one of those skydiving simulator towers, the iFly2. Movie theater.
They also have, they just recently opened a Tucson Chocolate Emporium there, which has a slightly different menu and it's a little bit smaller than the one in Orlando.
I was going to ask, is it a giant building? Yeah, it looks pretty small.
[9:05] Yeah, it's definitely smaller, but it's right in the middle there.
We've got some fast food spots, there's a Taco Bell, but there's also some burger spots that they only have in California.
Apparently California really likes Panda Express. They have a Panda Express there.
Also there's a Panda Express in Universal Studios Hollywood. So yeah, I liked it.
It's smaller, it was easier to navigate, it just had a cooler, more themed feel to it.
So I liked that spot a lot.
[9:38] The next day was, as we mentioned last week, atmospheric river time.
Time for rain. And Morrison.
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. There was plenty of rain in the morning, but that didn't slow me down too much.
I just threw on my rain coat and hung out, explored the park a little bit, waited for for our friend Eric, the Dorky Parks dad on Instagram to show up. He's local, so he showed me around the park.
That's nice, yeah. Yeah, the park, again, is smaller. The entrance area is really cool. It's similar to the streets in Universal Orlando where they're themed to different cities, but it's all just….
[10:31] I shouldn't say all.
The main section of the street is like old-school Hollywood landmarks, and then it branches off to be cartoony New York City, leading up to where the Secret Life of Pets attraction is.
And then for some reason, there's a Paris street just because they have a Paris street in Paris there, and you can eat at the Moulin Rouge.
I forgot all about that. Yeah. Yeah.
It also feels smaller because the forced perspective is a lot more noticeable.
The buildings are all on a much smaller scale, like at Disneyland.
But so that's that entranceway there.
They have Hogsmeade, which is the same as at, exactly the same as Universal Orlando, So for obviously the train doesn't move because there's no alley, right?
Right. but they have the tiny little griffin.
[11:38] Roller coaster and they have the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
The hippogriff, right?
Hippogriff, that's what it meant. Flight of the Hippogriff, that's what it is.
And Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey inside of Hogwarts. There's three broomsticks and the Hogshead Tavern.
Was that the one where when they opened the Forbidden Journey there that they added the element of 3D and it made everyone puke? Yeah.
So they removed it? it. They have removed that. Yes. It was still a good ride, although it was a little, it felt a little herky jerky when I was on there, but it was still fun. I like that ride. The screens don't bother me. I can't imagine that ride with 3D. I think that would be, I think that would do me in. Yeah, that would be intense. I mentioned Secret Life of Pets, so there's There's a section that kind of looks cartoony, New York City.
Secret Life of Pets Dark Ride is so much fun. Super cute.
The whole queue, you're walking through this New York City apartment building and there's little hidden things from that movie.
You can open up the letter slot in one of the doors and you can peek inside and there's a dog doing like a DJ dance party session. I've not seen those movies.
Oh, they're really good.
They're good. They're fun movies. I've seen one of them, it's cute.
[13:04] But there's animatronics throughout the queue. It's really fun.
I can see how if you're stuck waiting in line for a long time, it would be a really fun queue to spend time in. So when you went, there was not a lot of line?
No, because everybody was at Super Nintendo. Between the rain and the Nintendo stuff.
I was lucky in that way, although I did later in the day definitely need the express pass that I had to help me get on some of the attractions.
[13:38] It started to pick up in the afternoon when the rain let up.
But A Secret Life of Pets, great ride, is a classic dark ride through New York City and crazy things happen with a bunch of dogs and cats. Super fun. I loved it.
There's Super Silly Fun World there, which is their Minions area.
Oh, I was going to ask what that is.
Yeah, it's like the amusement park that Gru takes the girls to with the fluffy unicorn. Yes.
So fluffy! Yeah.
And they have a spinner attraction, like a basically Dumbo flying elephant.
And then they have a big splash pad playground there.
There's Minions Cafe, which has basic theme park food, mac and cheese and burgers and stuff.
Eric said that the food's really good actually though, there for being just standard theme park options.
And they have a couple of games, carnival type games that you can play there.
So that was fun.
[14:41] And then the other thing, there's two other things up top is there's, they have Springfield like in Orlando.
Yeah. Which is, it's a little bit smaller because they don't have the alien Kang and Kodo's twirl and hurl ride. Haha, yes.
They do have the original, the main Simpsons ride, but there's their Springfield is so much cooler looking because they, they did more with the buildings.
There's the towers of Krusty Lou Studios are rising up in the background.
And they have Hollywood.
That's good. They have the music store backs up to the jail and you can see Sideshow Bob escaping from the jail. And there's a little spot where you can see the nuclear power plant and Homer's.
[15:31] Station, workstation there. And he's got signs say off to lunch and also all the restaurants, instead of being a bunch of restaurants shoved into the Krusty Burger food court thing, they have separate entrances. So Cletus's chicken shack has its own like, Cletus's a Slackshot Yokel themed building.
Oh, yes, that's nice. So that's really cool.
Can you still get a Giant Peak Donut?
Oh, of course. Yes, there's Lard Lad Donuts. Do they have the Duff Beer Garden thing?
Yeah, yeah, they have the Duff Beer Garden.
And actually, that's where they put the Bumblebee Man's taco truck is inside the beer gardens, which makes sense. It makes sense, yeah. A food truck at a beer garden.
They also have an ice cream shop that's not in Orlando. I feel like I think there was one other thing right next to the ice cream shop.
But so it's just a little bit more fleshed out with the theming and there's some more of the buildings and spots from Springfield that you recognize.
And it was really fun to be able to see those things.
I liked that a lot.
[16:34] You can go down a little set of stairs and that's where you get on the studio backlot tour, which is Heather and Jeff, you both talked about incarnations of it a little bit.
And this is an awesome feature of this park. I loved it.
It takes about an hour and you get on a tram and they take you down and first you see a bunch of sound stages where they're...
And the dog is done. You see a bunch of sound stages where they might be shooting some shows.
We saw the soundstage for The Voice.
Oh, cool. This is The Voice. Yeah, that was like the big one that they highlighted.
There are some other sound stages that have been used in movies and TV.
[17:23] And then they take you into really, the highlight is the actual back lot.
They have city streets of New York where they had set up to film American Ninja Warrior in.
All these outside environments you've seen in movies dating back to the 1930s.
They've been using these spots for a very long time, which I thought was really cool.
You go through the town where they filmed—damn cock—the town where they themed The Good Place with Ted Danson and Kristen Bainer.
Oh yeah, so cool.
That show was filmed largely in the sets that, back in the 1930s, were the European town for Frankenstein among other things.
The same spots there. I saw the Black Lagoon, the pond that became the Black Lagoon.
Was the creature still there?
No, and it's funny because it's like in the middle of just wide open space. It's a lake, where obviously they brought in a bunch of trees when they were filming the movie. But.
[18:37] You know, Western sets that date back to the 1930s that, you know, famous Western movies have been filmed in.
I really liked the Frankenstein connection, it was really cool.
And then also, the Bates Motel and Norman Bates' house from Psycho are still standing.
It's so cool.
And that's one of the show pieces. So there's certain spots where you go through, and you get a little bit of a show to go with your history tour.
You go through the main show scene.
[19:17] From the King Kong attraction at Universal Orlando. In Hollywood, your tram just pulls into, a soundstage building and stops and everything goes dark. Then all of a sudden, these gigantic screens come up and you're on a little tilty table on your tram. It's the exact same experience as.
[19:38] Skull Island in Orlando, but you don't leave your tram. They do give you 3D glasses at the beginning of this tour and they tell you to put them on at certain spots.
[19:49] At the Bates Motel, you stop in front of the Bates Motel and all of a sudden this shifty looking guy peeks out of one of the rooms of the motel and then he starts carrying a dead body out to his car.
Yes! That's so cool. And when he notices you, he turns around, goes back into the hotel, dumps the body, and comes out with a knife and he gets right up against the, right up to the tram and, ah! Ah, cool!
Oh, spoiler alert.
If you didn't want spoilers, go somewhere else.
You go through, on normal days, you do get to go through Jaws.
You go to Amity and you basically see the finale of the old Jaws attraction that was at Orlando.
When I was there, they were actually refurbing it, so it was shut down and we just drove past it.
But you do go, the shark will attack.
I remember that from that ride. Probably the favorite for all of us would be when you go into the soundstage and it's the Fast and the Furious attraction.
Except for being on a party bus, you're on a studio tram. So I have finally experienced Fast and the Furious.
I didn't realize they worked that into the back lot tour. That's hysterical.
[21:10] And there's another spot that's got a special effects thing, like Catastrophe Canyon was at Disney Hollywood Studios. Do they still do the flash flood thing?
Yes, they do a flash flood when you're in the Western area. You stop at a street in Mexico and suddenly it starts raining and storming.
That's been there since the 70s. And the other thing is... The mid 90s. Right.
They do that and then you go into a subway tunnel, which they tell you is a working film And then all of a sudden an earthquake happens.
I remember that part too. A city bus crashes down through the ceiling and explodes, and then the subway tunnels flood.
And then you get to see the set get reset and strife out. I love all that.
There was a house on fire that we did that used to be, it was like somewhere along there.
It was like, here's, they were talking about how the normal house sets work, or you can make them turn on fire. Oh, nice. It looks fully like a fully engaged house on fire.
Yeah, they don't do that, but you do go into...
[22:09] You drive through the set from War of the Worlds, where the 747 crashes into the neighborhood. Oh, yeah.
And it's an actual 747 that they destroyed and ripped apart and put in there, and they've got, fog, smoke effects and stuff going on there. You drive through that neighborhood. You also drive into now the Western theme park set from the movie Nope.
Oh, cool. And all of a sudden paranormal things start happening while you're a part of that.
So that was really cool. It's a very long attraction and it's super fun.
[22:54] Yeah. And if you, we'll talk about it a little bit more, but if you do the VIP experience, part Part of that deal is you get a deluxe studio backlot tour.
It's approximately two hours then, and you're riding along in a trolley, and you stop and you get out and you can walk around those sets. Oh, cool. So, you get out at Nope.
You can get out at Nope. You can get out and walk through the crash site of the 747.
You can get out sometimes at the Bates Motel.
You can get out at various spots. I've heard that they will take you to the courthouse from Back to the Future 2 or whatever, and you can get out and walk around there.
And they show you more stuff when you get out, and you can really get up close and personal with these pieces of movie-making history.
So if you're a fan of Hollywood movies, if you're a movie fan, it's really cool.
I think that is a huge selling point to me for the VIP experience, something I'd love to see someday.
Me too. Mm-hmm. Yeah.
[24:07] Then if you go down the rest of the escalators, we talked about last week when we talked about Thank you.
Super Nintendo World. Has that already been a week? Yeah, man, so long ago.
There's some more attractions down there. They have their version of the Mummy, which is a little bit different from Orlando's version of the Mummy. There's no fire effects because, I don't know, it's California or something.
The storyline's a little bit different. Fire is known to the state of California to cause cancer. Yeah, exactly.
The storyline's a little bit different.
It's not dressed up like a movie set. like you're actually going into a paranormal event.
[24:47] They also have the Jurassic Park ride in Cal- in Hollywood is the Jurassic World ride, so it's been updated with the Mosasaurus and some different dinosaurs from Jurassic World, but it's still the same basic boat ride and you splash down at the end.
Is the Mosasaurus the one that parts the sea?
Yes, exactly. Exactly, and then it parts the glass partition of the plane that's kept in.
And they also have Transformers down there.
[25:19] And that's exactly the same as the Transformers attraction at Universal Orlando.
Robots, roll out. Rallude.
Yeah. So it's definitely, and that's all, I've now told you every single attraction that they have. Wow, really? That's cool.
Oh no. unexpected highlight for me is the water world stunt spectacular.
Oh, I forgot about that! That's the one I want to see the most.
I totally forgot about that.
It is so good. Jet ski stunts and people diving. That was brand new when I was out there.
People diving into fiery, burning water. And guys, there's a seaplane that crash lands, on fire into the water right in front of you. Sweet! It's so cool. Yeah.
So you hated it is what I'm getting from this. Yeah, my nieces loved that one.
They were there two days and went three times to see that. It's so, so good.
It is cool. I love that show. It is so, so much better than the movie, FYI. Yeah, yeah.
It was fun. It was funny. They had a lot of jokes.
The parts of the cast interact with you before the show starts, and they're all stunt performers that are currently working on big-name television shows.
They introduced them at the end and said what shows they're from, and they're all on TV right now. That's awesome.
[26:43] Yeah, it was a really good Sun Show, so that was fun. So now I've told you about every single attraction in the park.
So you know.
It's not a huge park. You don't need multiple days. Get the express pass, you can do the whole thing in a day, including Super Nintendo World. Which is great. It's perfect. You don't leave feeling tired, you don't feel burnt out on theme parks, you don't feel this, gotta get them all, I gotta squeeze in, because it's easy. You're not rushed.
Maeve And then you can spend time in the rest of Hollywood.
That's right. First, I did want to mention some of the other perks of the VIP experience.
So they do a guided VIP tour, like at other theme parks.
[27:31] You get the longer studio backlot tour. They feed you a meal, which is a really nice meal.
We got to experience that as part of my hashtag hosted Super Nintendo World thing.
Take you to a really good buffet at the Moulin Rouge, and then you get Express Pass. Unlimited Express Pass is good for the rest of your day after the official tour is over. So if, If you can swing it, that's definitely a win.
[28:01] Sounds like the way to do it. Yeah, it's a really great experience.
So that left me with a full day to experience Los Angeles.
Hollywood. And I'll tell you what, I did a lot of walking, probably more walking than I needed to.
I could have called Lyft a few more times, but it wasn't really bad.
And like I said, everything's compressed into a small area, just a handful of blocks for a lot of these. this tour while still staying at that Hilton?
Yes. Yeah, I stayed at the Hilton and I actually took the subway, which is just down the hill from the Hilton.
I didn't have to, but I wanted to experience that.
When I planned the day, I said- The sheer terror of taking the subway in Los Angeles.
It wasn't too bad. It was a little fragrant and there was a guy at the very back of the car who was smoking something questionable that was not marijuana.
Hey, I don't mind a subway, but it freaks me out.
That there's earthquakes and subway in the land of the earthquakes.
Yes, that didn't even occur to me.
[29:10] I guess it should have. That's why it doesn't go very far. Yeah. Yeah.
And hopefully not over a fault line. Right. It did connect me right up to where the Hollywood Walk of Fame is.
It was just a short, like five minute ride.
So, in the morning I stopped and I saw, first I got a delicious breakfast at this place called The Waffle.
They've got all kinds of fancy waffles. They had a red velvet covered with strawberries and fruit and stuff.
I got a really good breakfast scramble with chili on it, which I never knew I needed chili on top of scrambled eggs until I had this.
That sounds delicious. I know, it's my favorite way to eat.
If you need diarrhea, that's the dish for you.
Yeah. So definitely check out that.
[30:00] The Waffle, LA, if you're there, it's right next to the Hollywood Film School, across the street from this cool old theater called the Cinerama Dome, which was like IMAX before IMAX existed.
It's shut down now, but the building's still there.
It's neat to see.
[30:20] So I started down near where the Pantages Theater is, which is, they show a lot of Broadway style shows there.
It used to be one of the big, famous movie palaces, and I think they did award shows there at some point.
But it was the kind of big theater where they did Hollywood premieres.
And I just walked down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It's funny how there's a lot of Hollywood history spots that have fallen into just disrepair, or they don't use them at all.
It's a mix of... I've got to say, there were spots that were, they looked shady, they looked run down.
I never felt unsafe, though, walking around this area.
And I did a lot of walking. But the Walk of Fame does go through some sketchy areas.
Yeah. Yeah, you think of it as that one little strip right in front of the Man's, whatever, the Chinese Theater. But it's pretty extensive.
It's a total of 17 blocks. You're definitely, if you walk pretty far, you are going to see some people shouting about how to get into heaven, and you're going to see some people sleeping in the doorways of boarded up theaters, stuff like that.
[31:31] That's just what you get in a big city, right? Yeah, of course.
And it's also funny how, because like the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, all those people had to get somebody to pay for them to have that star.
That's a thing, that's not like an honor, that was a thing from the Chamber of Commerce that they did to raise money.
So like the people who maybe had a harder time, you see a lot of famous people who maybe didn't have somebody to raise money for them that are farther out from, that are in the sketchy area of town. Like Abe Bugeta. 𝘧𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘥.
It was super touristy, but I walked around looking for names of people that I recognized.
You know, like the Apollo 11 astronauts have a great big star right at Hollywood and Vine.
[32:18] You walk down and you get closer to really the center is the Chinese Theater, the Dolby Theater and the El Capitan, which are all in one block.
I didn't realize how close these things are to each other.
They're all right there. The Dolby Theater is where they do the Oscars.
That mall is what they walk through. Yeah. It's attached to a mall.
And a hotel. That's the hotel that if you do the Adventures by Disney Southern California and Hollywood, adventure, you stay in that hotel right there in the middle of everything.
And the stars go there and get dressed and whatever, and then literally go around the block to arrive.
In a limo. On the other side of the building. Hey, here's the Riverstar.
Yeah. So, across the street from the Dolby is the El Capitan, which you might recognize as the El Capitoon from Disney.
[33:19] But that theater is owned by Disney. They do premieres there.
There's always some Disney movie playing there.
There's always old Disney movies.
I was there, it was tangled and then they were getting ready to show the parent trap.
And you can watch a movie there. Oh, cool. Yeah.
Not the old parent, the Lindsay Lohan. The Lindsay Lohan one?
Parent trap. Okay, I take it back. Which is funny because they were calling that their throwback movie series.
Oh, that hurts. But they didn't throw it back to Hayley Mills.
That hurts. No, sadly not.
[33:50] But the entrance to that is beautiful. That old super ornate carved and painted ceiling.
And popcorn bulbs on the sign. Did you notice the youth hostel right next door?
Like literally a little doorway right next to it. It's just...
Yep. Yep. They also have...
There's a Walt... There's a Disney... They call it the Disney Studio Store, which I expected to maybe see some cooler things in. It's just a Disney store.
But there's some El Capitan exclusive merch that I've never seen anywhere, because how many people visited. Oh, true.
So they had some cool shirts with Mickey and Minnie and the gang in front of the El Capitan and some pins and stuff.
They also have a Ghirardelli ice cream. Oh, I remember that.
All that's connected there.
Yes. And the Masonic Temple next door, when they do premieres, they make super themed, immersive environments themed to the movies there. And that's also where they filmed Jimmy Kimmel.
Jimmy Kimmel, yeah. Yes.
[34:55] I did not get into the front of the Chinese theater where they have all the handprints and footprints because they had been filming the night before there was a premiere for, Showtime show Yellow Jackets.
[35:11] And they were still tearing down all of the red carpet and stuff.
We were there on one of the, we've done the ABD a couple of times, And we were there when a premiere was happening.
[35:24] I can't remember what it was for, but I- Chips. Oh, that's what, you just said that.
Okay. Yep. Chips. It's Dax Shepard, you know, the more famous movie.
That's right, because you waved at Kristen Bell and got a cute picture of her waving. Oh, nice.
Around the corner from there, if you're a real nerd, you can see the Magic Castle down that street.
Also, another kind of Hollywood history spot, the Roosevelt Hotel is half a block from the Chinese Theater.
[35:58] And this is like golden era Hollywood star stayed there at the beginning of her career.
Marilyn Monroe lived there for a while. Super swanky, dark wood and leather.
The lobby's gorgeous.
They have this amazing, gorgeous pool that's in this palm tree oasis right in the middle of Los Angeles.
Quiet, peaceful. I felt like I was going to get thrown out at any second before checking out the public areas.
And it's surprisingly affordable. It's like the same, a suite there is like $500 a night, depending on where you go.
And it's literally half a block from the Chinese Theater.
And it has the classic big neon sign up on the roof that everybody's seen.
Yeah, so I was thinking like, I could stay here. It would be a beautiful hotel right there in the middle of Hollywood.
Definitely worth checking out.
[36:56] After that, if you're a Disney fan, I went to the Crossroads of the World, which is the entranceway to Disney Hollywood Studios.
It was the first outdoor walking mall in America, and now it has fallen into disrepair and is like technically half shut down.
A film crew was checking it out while I was there.
And somebody thought I might've been with the film crew. They asked if I needed help or wanted to get a closer look at anything.
I wasn't, I wasn't confident enough to lie. And so I was with the Hollywood types.
Yes, I would. Like, uh, yes. Where's craft services?
[37:31] They weren't at that stage yet. They're like location scouting for it.
But it looks just like the entranceway, except for instead of Mickey mouse at the top of that tower, it's got a globe.
And some cool retro 50s curved weird architecture. Yeah, it's amazing how much stuff that you're familiar with is right there in a couple of blocks.
Right down there, yeah.
Yeah, and it's weird too how the weird mix of architecture, because right around that crossroads of the world, there was German fairy tale village that looked like it belonged in fantasy land, and then there was Hispanic hacienda barrel tile roofs.
Is it, am I remembering it, that Jim Henson Studios is buried near, around there?
It's a couple of blocks off of there. Yeah, it's only two blocks away.
It runs on the street, it's parallel to Hollywood Boulevard or whatever that is.
Sunset. Right, yeah, sunset.
It's just a couple of blocks. But if you're on, if you're like standing at El Capitan and you're looking across where.
[38:32] That mall area is that's attached to the hotel, that's where they filmed, what was it, the movie that was like Elizabeth, it's like the old Babylon-y kind of movie, Joan of Arc or, what am I thinking of? Cleopatra? Cleopatra! That was the set of that that's still sitting there. Oh, crazy. Yeah, it's got the elephant statues and all that crap.
That was this big set for one of the huge scenes in Cleopatra. That's like a ball with a guacamole stand in it. Right down the road from there is the Egyptian theater, which was made by the same guy who made the Chinese theater, except for it looks like Egypt.
That was built specifically for the premiere of Robin Hood in the 1930s or whatever.
Which is famously set in that era. Right. Yeah. No way.
It was all right there. It was crazy. But that was really cool.
[39:28] And I like seeing that stuff. I went out for lunch. The Hollywood wax museum is right there, right?
Hollywood wax museum is right there.
There's one block down from the El Capitan is what I called the Wisconsin Dells of Hollywood.
There's the Hollywood Max Museum.
There's a Ripley's Believe It or Not. There's the Medieval Torture Museum.
All that kind of tourist trap stuff right there. They do around the corner have, it used to be the Max Factor Cosmetics Global Headquarters.
It's this really cool old school 50s building.
That is the Hollywood Museum and it's got a ton... I didn't get into it.
My day got busier than I expected, but it has.
[40:10] A bunch of props and costumes and stuff from Hollywood history. Apparently, it's the best museum in Hollywood for that kind of stuff to visit.
[40:20] From there, I went for lunch to Tale of the Pup, which is… LA is known for its architecture of buildings that look like what they sell inside, or also for some reason shaped like hats in the case of the Hollywood Brown Turkey. You've seen probably pictures of the donut places that have the gigantic donut on the roof.
Tail of the Pup is a hot dog place. I was going to ask, could you get a hot dog there?
You can and you should.
You order from a booth. The original hot dog stand is shaped like a gigantic hot dog.
Some of the best hot dogs I've ever had.
And then bonus history for nerds, the building where they cook the food used to be a practice space and recording studio where the Doors recorded LA Woman.
Oh, cool. So I used the bathroom that Jim Morrison possibly used when he was recording it.
Nice. Still had his heroin marks on it. That's right. So that, that was cool.
A really good hot dog. Honestly, one of the best hot dogs I've ever had.
Some of the best fries I've ever had. Super good.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It sounds a little morbid, but there's two big cemeteries that people visit in LA.
One is Hollywood Forever.
And tons of stars are buried there. I saw Johnny Ramone, I saw Burt Reynolds, I saw- Burt Reynolds, doesn't it have a bust of him?
[41:46] With his cowboy hat on. Yeah.
I also saw Don Adams, which has a portrait of him with his shoe phone from Get Smart.
I'm very excited about that.
There's some older Hollywood nerdy history, like the Douglas Fairbanks grave, which is this gigantic, he's got like a 30-yard long reflecting pool and this big overblown columns and stuff.
Judy Garland is there, along with Toto. Oh, Toto. Yeah.
And that's just like the tip of the iceberg. There is a t- I saw alfalfa from the Little Rascals.
Mel Blanks is buried there.
He's got the best exit line in all of the world. That's all folks. Yeah.
His headstone is engraved with that's all folks. That's perfect.
[42:39] But, and like I said, that's the tip of the iceberg. And the weird thing is, it's just a normal cemetery too, and it's a predominantly Russian Jewish cemetery.
So there's all these headstones marked in Cyrillic letters.
But anyone can be buried there.
But if you go around, you can find all these graves of famous people.
The mobster Bugsy Seagull, however you say it, he's there. They have a gigantic flock of peacocks on the land there that roam around.
They just roam the cemetery?
Cool photos of peacocks in a mausoleum, which is the weirdest sentence I've possibly ever said, but it was a really cool picture. I stand by it.
[43:30] And literally backing right up to that cemetery is the Paramount Studios.
You can do a Paramount Studio tour there.
$59 and it's a multiple hour tour through the back lot of Paramount Studios.
Warner Brothers also does a really good studio tour that starts at $70 for a three-hour tour.
So those would be on my list to do next time if I've got some free time in Los Angeles.
Then I did a few specifically Disney-related things to round out the day.
I stopped real quick at the site of the first official actual studio that Walt had, the Disney Brothers Studios.
This is where he made the, they called them the Alice shorts, which were a mix of live action and animated movies.
It's the Kingswell Studio. now a coffee shop, a skate shop.
[44:25] Don't let your Lyft driver leave. Hop out of the car, take some pictures, and leave.
But it's still really cool to see for the history buffs.
If you're there during operating hours, the owners have a little shrine to Walt Disney set up and they like to talk to Disney fans while you're there.
Nearby, that is pretty close to Griffith Park.
I didn't get to go see the merry-go-round. It was closed down for the day because of weather.
But you could go see the merry-go-round and Walt's bench where he watched his daughters ride the merry-go-round.
That merry-go-round is crazy cool. And old and fast.
And insanely fast also. Yeah! Yes, that's what I understand from videos.
Fastest merry-go-round I've ever been on. It just cannot be safe.
That's all you're thinking when you're riding this thing.
[45:16] So that's definitely a thing to check out. Griffith Park is really close there.
Also located in Griffith Park near the zoo, because there's a zoo in the park, is a little travel museum called Travel Town.
And they have the shed from Walt's house where he kept his trains and worked on his trains from the railroad that he had in his backyard.
And they have a whole bunch of artifacts from his train collection inside there.
I didn't get to see that either. That was closed down.
They're only open, I think, on weekends, but you can definitely go see that.
Go up top there to the Griffith Park Observatory, see the Hollywood sign, and then ended the day at Hamachanter for dinner.
[46:15] Table that he and his Imagineers allegedly like to sit at. I got to see the new painting that they made for the 100th anniversary of that restaurant.
And I had asked to sit at Walt's table. It was already seated when I got there, but the hostess told me, allegedly, they put me, in the booth that she said Walt would ask to be sat at when he was eating there with Lily because it was a little bit more private.
Not his business booth.
I don't know if he asked if that was actually true or it was a great thing to tell you.
Right. I don't know if I don't know if that was just, you know, to make me feel better about knocking.
That's a great day. There's so much to see. I also recommend the Hollywood Adventures by Disney.
And you get some stuff like the Jim Henson studios and the Walt Disney studios, which they don't do public tours. You have to be on a special something to get in there and you get to see Imagineering.
All that is very cool and a great way to see Hollywood.
So yeah, Hollywood's definitely doable in a day.
Absolutely. You know, it's not kind of the traditional kind of travel that we talk about planning, but it's definitely something that if you have a good travel planner, they can help you figure out a day that works for you.
[47:35] To get to see the things that you're interested in, highlights of the day.
And of course we recommend that those travel planners are from Key to the World Travel, which means it's time for me to say thanks for hanging out with us again this week.
If you're excited to visit Universal Studios Hollywood or explore anywhere else around the world, Key to the World Travel has the Great Hall at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry full of expert travel planners.
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Can't wait to hang out with you again. See you real soon. Bye, y'all. Goodbye, everybody.
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[49:18] Thanks to Outer Vibe for the use of their song Hoka Hey for the intro and outro of our show.
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[49:41] And until then, remember, life is short and the world is wide, so go have an adventure.