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Old 08-05-2011, 09:51 AM   #1
Disney1992
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Question Backstage Magic Arriving Day Early, Touring Suggestions

DH and I will be on the Backstage Magic Tour at the end of October. Since we are from the East Coast, we're flying in on Saturday. We won't be arriving until late Saturday. Which leaves us most of the day on Sunday to explore. Having never been to California before, I'm not really sure how far apart things are and what is truly possible.

I've read some Trip Reports, but it appears that there were a few days of free time in those. I've read some travel books and quite frankly, I've confused myself. I was kind of thinking of visiting Santa Monica Pier, need to see the Pacific Ocean, and maybe Griffith Park(sp?). Is that possible? I was also thinking about calling the Concierge at the Renaissance and see if they have suggestions.

Any thoughts or ideas from those that have done some pre-touring?

Thanks So Much!
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:56 AM   #2
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Where are you staying? If you really want to see the Santa Monica pier, it is actually not that far away from LAX. You can take Lincoln Blvd straight there, it's about 10 miles (although it will probably take you half an hour to drive depending on the traffic).

If you're staying at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, the pier is not too far from there, either. Pretty much a straight shot down Santa Monica Blvd. It's about 12 miles, again, about a half an hour away depending on traffic. So it's totally doable, as long as you don't mind driving in traffic!

I've never been to Griffith Park from Hollywood (again, assuming you're staying there) but according to Google Maps, it's only a 15 minute drive away. So, again, should be very doable.

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Old 08-05-2011, 01:24 PM   #3
Disney1992
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Thank You!

We will be staying at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood. We figured it was easier to book the pre-night stay at the same Hotel where we would be staying with ABD.

I'm glad everything seems to be rather close. I'm not worried too much about traffic. Living in the Washington, DC suburbs, I'm used to a lot. When people ask for directions, the first question is what time of day are you going. Under normal circumstances, something could take you a half hour, but during rush hour or other times, it may take an hour and a half. We'll be touring on a Sunday, so I think Rush Hour won't be issue.

This is our first ABD and I'm anxiously awaiting our package. Still a few more days until the 75 day mark. I'm a little concerned that the trip is only 58% full as of yesterday. I hope they don't cancel it.
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Old 08-05-2011, 04:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disney1992 View Post
We will be staying at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood. We figured it was easier to book the pre-night stay at the same Hotel where we would be staying with ABD.

I'm glad everything seems to be rather close. I'm not worried too much about traffic. Living in the Washington, DC suburbs, I'm used to a lot. When people ask for directions, the first question is what time of day are you going. Under normal circumstances, something could take you a half hour, but during rush hour or other times, it may take an hour and a half. We'll be touring on a Sunday, so I think Rush Hour won't be issue.

This is our first ABD and I'm anxiously awaiting our package. Still a few more days until the 75 day mark. I'm a little concerned that the trip is only 58% full as of yesterday. I hope they don't cancel it.
I've found it easier to do the pre-day at ABD's hotel, also. It's usually OK for one day, but if you're staying more, it gets seriously pricey!

Yep, sounds like you'd be prepared for LA traffic. Although I wouldn't count on Sunday not having a lot of traffic. People are still trying to get everywhere, and traffic can be bad. Just depends.

I'm 28 days out from my ABD, and still haven't gotten my box! I'm thinking it's because it's an exclusive departure (DIS trip), so they had to customize the itinerary. But usually you don't get the boxes until 45-30 days out, so you still have a while to go.

I see that the October trip is an Adults Only, so I wouldn't worry too much about it being canceled at this point. I had an Adults Only trip go with 15 people. I think they know the AO trips don't always fill up, especially the "off-season" ones. Fingers & toes crossed for you.

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Last edited by sayhello; 08-05-2011 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 08-05-2011, 04:47 PM   #5
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I have done the BSM tour twice, you will love it.

A good local suggestion for Sunday morning is the LA Farmers market.

About a 15 minute drive from the Renaissance, it is a neat place with some history to have breakfast before you head out on your sightseeing.

We even spotted a "celeb" on our last visit while we were having coffee.
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Old 08-05-2011, 07:03 PM   #6
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Backstage Magic is terrific, you will love it!

Last April, a group of us went to the Griffith Observatory (I very highly recommend it) and then we went over to the Farmer's Market and The Grove. It was a great way to spend a Sunday morning/early afternoon...we were back in plenty of time for the welcome dinner.

Jason
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Old 08-06-2011, 11:50 AM   #7
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Wonderful Suggestions!

Thank You all for the wonderful suggestions. The Farmer's Market could be a good start to our day. Since we'll be on East Coast time, I think we'll be able to get out and about earlier than we would normally do on vacation.

Sayhello, thanks for the tidbits on the Adults Only trip. If your trip went with 15 folks, hopefully we have nothing to worry about. There are currently 25 people booked on our trip.

For those that have taken the tour before, roughly, what time has the Welcome Dinner been in the past? I was thinking about touring from 9 -3 or 10 - 4, something like that. I also don't want to tire ourselves out even before our Adventure begins.

Thanks Again!
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Old 08-06-2011, 12:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disney1992 View Post
Thank You all for the wonderful suggestions. The Farmer's Market could be a good start to our day. Since we'll be on East Coast time, I think we'll be able to get out and about earlier than we would normally do on vacation.

Sayhello, thanks for the tidbits on the Adults Only trip. If your trip went with 15 folks, hopefully we have nothing to worry about. There are currently 25 people booked on our trip.

For those that have taken the tour before, roughly, what time has the Welcome Dinner been in the past? I was thinking about touring from 9 -3 or 10 - 4, something like that. I also don't want to tire ourselves out even before our Adventure begins.

Thanks Again!

I think you wil be fine with 25, my BSM trip was only 19 people and it went and that was the year they cancelled trips left and right. It is an amazing trip have a great time.
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Old 08-06-2011, 01:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disney1992 View Post
Thank You all for the wonderful suggestions. The Farmer's Market could be a good start to our day. Since we'll be on East Coast time, I think we'll be able to get out and about earlier than we would normally do on vacation.

Sayhello, thanks for the tidbits on the Adults Only trip. If your trip went with 15 folks, hopefully we have nothing to worry about. There are currently 25 people booked on our trip.

For those that have taken the tour before, roughly, what time has the Welcome Dinner been in the past? I was thinking about touring from 9 -3 or 10 - 4, something like that. I also don't want to tire ourselves out even before our Adventure begins.

Thanks Again!
I think that the Welcome Dinner was either at 4PM or 5PM. When you check-in with the guides on the first day of the tour, they will be in the lobby of the Renaissance starting about 830AM, they will tell you what time and where to meet for the welcome dinner. Before the dinner starts, there is time to mix and mingle with your fellow adventurers.

Jason
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:20 AM   #10
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I just got back early this morning from an 11 day trip including the ABD tour. I visited the LA Museum of Natural History, Forest Lawn Cemetery (site of Walt's resting place), and a few other locals spots. Definitely try to fit in the LA Farmer's Market, too. I wish I had time this trip, but know it is so worth a visit!
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:52 PM   #11
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Thanks Again!

Thanks! I hope you had a wonderful trip. I'm compiling my list of places I'd like to see (if only DH would do his list) and trying to work out a plan. I'm even toying with the idea of a Private Tour for the day. Since we're unfamiliar with the area, I was thinking someone who knows the area and how best to approach things might save some "frustration" that sometimes happens with Couples when they travel.

The extra expense could be worth it's money in gold.

Thanks all for the suggestions!
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:04 PM   #12
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A great place you might enjoy in the area: the J. Paul Getty museum.

http://www.getty.edu/museum/about.html
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:11 AM   #13
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Will you have kids with you? Even if you don't it still would be fun: we took our DD8 to the Santa Monica pier and she had a blast riding the rides all day. We also went to the wax museum down the block. Also, while we had the rental car we drove around Beverly Hills - just for fun


Regarding traffic, we toured on Sunday and it still took us about an hour or so to get around. Traffic is bad no matter when you are in LA. We used to live in the DC suburbs too, and it's probably worse in LA!
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Old 08-14-2011, 06:14 PM   #14
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We did a day on our own before our Backstage Magic in Dec 2008.

We went to Griffith Park Observatory which has wonderful views of LA & the Hollywood sign. We tried to visit the Griffith Park carousel which inspired Walt to come up with the plan for Disneyland but it was closed but we still saw the structure & the benches where he would sit. We also went to Forest Lawn to visit Walt's burial site & had lunch at the Tam O'Shanter which was a restaurant frequented by Walt & the 9 Old Men. It was a fun day & we were back to the Renaissance in plenty of time to explore in front of Graumann's & still get back in time to get ready for our ABD welcome dinner.

Have a wonderful trip!
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Old 08-15-2011, 09:16 PM   #15
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Thank You!

Thanks for all the suggestions! I've decided to take a slightly avante garde approach and booked a private tour guide. It's either going to be a complete blast or an utter disaster. You get to customize where you want to go and how long. I turned over my list of "want to dos", with all the suggestions in mind. The owner developes the tour around what you want to do and adds things in along the way since you're headed that way anyway. The company was recommended in an LA Tour Guide I picked up.

I will let you all know how it works out. I'm pretty excited. Never tried something like this before.
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