2 Weeks - Hollywood, Vegas, then off to DL....

Discussion in 'California & the West Trip Reports' started by kylieh, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. kylieh

    kylieh DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,843
    We’ve been back in Australia for 4 hours, home for 2 ½ and the reality of a wonderful holiday is starting to sink in. Up to load three now of the washing. About 50 to go.

    Here’s our cast

    Me: Quite a few DL visits, our last trip was 18 months ago, then a 20 year gap beforehand.
    DH: 2nd visit to DL, 4th to the USA
    DD7: 2nd visit to the USA
    MIL: 68, first passport and time out of Australia.

    Day 1 – SYD to LAX.
    One of the wonderful things about travelling from Australia to the USA is that you land before you leave, taking advantage of the International Date Line. Our Qantas flight left roughly 1.30pm Wednesday 7 April, and we arrive 9.30am Wednesday 7 April. Pretty uneventful flight, although MIL had a fall boarding the aircraft. Fortunately she was ok, though it was a big scare. It was meant to be an A380, but a couple of days before was switched to a 747.
    Execucar picked us up, and we were whisked off to the Magic Castle Hotel in Hollywood. I took a couple of pics along the way.

    Santa Monica Blvd Sign.
    [​IMG]

    LA Ink Store
    [​IMG]

    Let me start by saying that The Magic Castle Hotel has the best service I have encounted. I would even go as far as saying better than any of the Four Seasons I’ve stayed in. Very polite, they addressed us by name, very clean, but very old and in desperate need of a refurb. The downside was that we were in the annex building and I did not feel safe. The hotel is an old apartment complex around a pool, think like Melrose Place. Full kitchens. There are some additional units outside and that is where we were stationed. The beds were comfy and the housekeeping did a good job. We had a two bedroom unit.

    MIL and DD were both exhausted after checkin, so DH and I went down to the local supermarket , picked up a few bits and pieces and cooked dinner in the hotel room.

    Day 2... American Girl, The Grove, and Rodeo Drive.
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. kylieh

    kylieh DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,843
    Day 2 – The Grove, American Girl, Rodeo Drive.
    We had a lunch booking at American Girl Cafe in the Grove. DH thought it may be a bit too girly for him, so he went to the Farmer’s Market.

    DD purchased a new American Girl Doll, Lanie who is the girl of the year.

    [​IMG]

    Lunch was really fresh. First course was a shared plate of different bits and pieces, and some warm cinnamon buns to start with.
    [​IMG]

    I had the Quiche and Salad.
    [​IMG]

    MIL had the chicken sandwich with a pasta side salad.
    [​IMG]

    And DD had the mini hotdog / burger / fries combo.
    [​IMG]

    Dessert was chocolate mousse, a cake, and a cookie. We had a plate each, and was unable to eat it all.
    [​IMG]

    MIL and I had a Mimosa (half champagne half orange juice) and DD had Iced Tea to start with, but it’s really different to what we have as iced tea in Australia, so she swapped and had coke.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here are some more pictures from the lunch, including DD’s new doll Lanie joining us at the table.

    [​IMG]

    MIL and DD
    [​IMG]

    One of the light fittings.
    [​IMG]

    Lanie having her hair styled.
    [​IMG]



    Including tax and tip (and drinks for MIL and I) for three of us, around $130.

    After lunch we jumped into a cab to Rodeo Drive. DD and MIL had an appointment at the Spa at Four Seasons - MIL for an eyelashes, and DD I purchased a mini lip mask treatment. It was a good intro for DD into having a facial. It is designed specially for 6 – 12 year olds. She loved it.

    Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (aka Pretty Woman Hotel)
    [​IMG]

    We to Tiffany’s. We purchased DD got a small cross pendant that she absolutely loves. She hasn’t taken it off since purchasing. We walked a little down Rodeo Drive, but we were all that tired that we headed back to the hotel.

    [​IMG]

    For dinner we walked down to the Hollywood and Highland Centre and went to Johnny Rockets. Standard burgers, fries, etc. Including tip around $45. I paid that one in cash so I can’t remember for sure by looking on my credit card statement!!

    DH at Johnny Rocket's
    [​IMG]

    My hamburger
    [​IMG]

    Side order of fries.
    [​IMG]


    We went to Sketchers and we purchased DD two new pairs. A few bits and pieces at Sephora, and back to the hotel. Here are a few shots from the area.

    Soda Fountain and Studio Store
    [​IMG]

    Hollywood and Highland Centre
    [​IMG]

    The Best Buy vending machine
    [​IMG]

    DD on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
    [​IMG]

    Sephora
    [​IMG]


    Day 3 shortly - Warner Bros Studio Tour
     
  4. izzie-wizzie

    izzie-wizzie DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Messages:
    819
    Great start of TR! We're hoping to go hollywood/dlr and vegas next year so can't wait to see what you's get up to :goodvibes
     
  5. kylieh

    kylieh DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,843
    Thanks Izzie-Wizzie. :goodvibes

    Day 3 – Warner Bros Studio Tour and Pick up Car.

    After a quick breakfast we jumped in a cab to take us to Warner Bros Studio Tour.

    [​IMG]

    The official age on the tour is 8 and up, but I called and they said they would let DD attend. We watched a short video on the history of Warner Bros, then jumped in a small 12-person tram. The tour was very personal. One of the highlights for DD was seeing where some of the outside scenes from Annie was shot.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We were unable to take video at all, and cameras only outside.

    I enjoyed being on the recreated Friend’s set – original props, but in a different location.

    We also had a look at a museum of Warner Bros Cars.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    We spent a lot of time in the Chuck set which was great as DH and I are big fans. I thought that was the highlight of the morning. We also toured through the Ellen set. The end of the tour was a look through the museum. 2 ½ hours in total.

    We caught a cab back to the hotel. DH and I walked down to get McDonalds. Again, we were all very tired.

    After lunch and a rest DH and I walked to Hertz to pick up the car. This was our first time driving on the right-side, and also in the USA. We were going to share the driving, but upon even sitting in the front passenger seat I realised I just couldn’t do it. DH ended up doing all the driving. We had pizza for dinner from a little shop in the Hollywood/Highland centre. Huge portions. Was similar to how pizza is made in Australia which was a bonus for us.

    We weren’t ready for driving in LA just yet, so after dinner MIL and DD had a girl’s night in at the hotel and DH and I caught a cab back to the Grove. We also walked around the Farmers’ Market. Very nice at night.

    Day 4... The drive to Las Vegas
     
  6. kylieh

    kylieh DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,843
    Day 4 – The drive to Las Vegas

    We quickly packed the car and left for Las Vegas around 8am. With the help of Tom Tom we navigated our way through the freeways, even making long stops for breakfast, fuel and toilets along the way.

    We arrived in LV around 2pm, and checked in immediately to the Marriot Grand Chateau. It’s a timeshare that makes its excess inventory available as regular hotel rooms. We had a two bedroom, full kitchen, and washer/dryer. The main bedroom (for DH and I) had a king bed, ensuite with a huge bath that overlooked The Strip, separate shower. The second bedroom had two double beds, ensuite with shower over tub. Very quiet, and about 200 yards from the strip, or immediately across from the entrance to the shops at Planet Hollywood.

    DH and I walked down to ARIA to pick up tickets from will-call for that night’s performance of Cirque – the Elvis one. Returned to the room and freshened up.

    DH and MIL were attending Cirque, while DD and I were having a girls night out. Can’t comment too much on Cirque other than DH and MIL said they enjoyed it a lot.

    For DD and I our big night out involved getting a cab to MGM. We watched the lions feed in the exhibit for about 10 minutes, then dinner at Rainforest Cafe. I had the Chicken and vegetables, DD had hot dog and chips, and an extra side of veges.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    For desert we ate about 1/10th of a volcano!

    [​IMG]

    Other pics from Rainforest Cafe

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We caught a cab back to the hotel, arriving at the very late hour of 6.30pm!!!! We purchased some popcorn from the small store on site, then watched Wizards of Waverly Place movie for the millionth time.
     
  7. kylieh

    kylieh DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,843
    Day 5 – M&Ms, Bellagio Conseveratory , Buffet, and Fountains
    After a good sleep in, we ventured to M&Ms, World of Coke, and then a basic lunch at Subway.

    M&Ms....
    Yellow M and DD
    [​IMG]

    Red M as Phantom
    [​IMG]

    World of Coke
    Coke Bear on the Way In...
    [​IMG]

    Zillions of coke glasses for sale
    [​IMG]

    After a rest we went to the Bellagio Buffet for dinner. Sorry, no photos there. I may get flamed here, but I really don’t believe it was value for money. The four of us including tax and tip was around $130. The food was ok, but just not what I was expecting.

    We went separate ways after dinner – DH took MIL to have a look around the casinos. DH said they spent maybe $50 on the slots/poker machines at Bellagio, but it disappeared so quickly that MIL didn’t want to spend any more on that.

    DD and I had a look in the Conservatory at Bellagio

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We had a look at the Fountains then headed back to the hotel.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. kylieh

    kylieh DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,843
    Day 6 – A bit of a rest for me
    About 2 days before we went away I came down with a head cold, and it was today that it caught up with me. Despite cold remedies, both natural and non-natural, nothing was helping this cold, other than to make some of the symptoms disappear so I could at least appear normal. So after a quick trip to Fry’s Electronics in the morning, I stayed in the hotel for the afternoon into early evening. I slept. Drank hot tea, and slept some more. It worked, at least a little bit!

    These pics are from MIL of Frys. I couldn't believe how big it was.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Everyone else that afternoon went to Caesar’s Palace and Forum Shops and had a nice time mainly looking around. They went to Planet Hollywood for very late lunch/early dinner and arrived back at the hotel around 6pm.

    Some more pics from MIL's camera...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Feeling well rested I took DH’s offer for a night out. The original plan was to have a big night, but I was too exhausted. We walked over to Bellagio, watched the fountains, then DH said, and I’m paraphrasing! “we’re in Las Vegas, we should at least try to have a gamble.” So we caught the bus to Circus Circus where they have very low limit tables.

    I played the slots for about 10 minutes, not very exciting, roulette, no good, then after some mindless wandering we decided to try Black Jack. Neither of us has played before. I decided to gamble about $50 (last of the big spenders here....) Doubled our money. So after tipping the drink waitress and the croupiers/dealers we broke even for the night.

    We started back to the hotel, catching the deuce bus, walked through Treasure Island and Mirage, then bussed again eventually getting back around 11pm. I ate McDonalds at Circus Circus around 9pm!!! Without the rest during the day I couldn’t of done it, and even with the rest I was only running at maybe 50% power.

    Tomorrow - better day for me with Phantom of the Opera that night!
     
  9. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    96,389
    Welcome back!
    Loving the Trip Report so far...especially the food porn. popcorn::

    princess::upsidedow
     
  10. kylieh

    kylieh DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,843
    Day 7 – Circus Circus for DD and Phantom of The Opera
    We had will-call tickets with the VIP tour for Phantom of the Opera. We drove up to Circus Circus taking the valet-parking option, leaving just before 11am. Once there I bussed by myself down to the Venetian Box Office while DD, DH, and MIL watched the circus acts and played the midway games. After picking up the tickets I met up with the family back at Circus Circus. We watched a couple of circus acts together, played a couple of games, then headed back to rest and get ready for the evening.

    DD’s favourite musical is Phantom of the Opera. She saw it on Sydney, and owns the DVD. She knows most of the songs, and is her ambition to perform on stage, as Christine, when she grows up (she does dancing/singing/etc now...)

    Dinner was at the Grand Lux Cafe in the Venetian Hotel before the show. The portions were large...

    I had the grilled chicken and veges. From memory it had a pesto sauce.
    [​IMG]

    DH had the tuna and veges.
    [​IMG]

    MIL had the salmon salad
    [​IMG]

    And DD had fish and chips. Now this was really really big.
    [​IMG]

    We skipped desert, had about ½ hour of so for a walk around the hotel, then off to the theatre.

    The theatre manager introduced himself to us before the performance. This made DD a little suspicious of what was happening, so I told her I had a surprise for her after the show.

    Phantom was well worth seeing. We were in the 2nd row, centre. The only thing against those seats was that you couldn’t see the chandelier falling which is a crucial part of the show. A lot of the dialog had been removed to shorten the show, and there was no intermission. But I enjoyed it immensely and would recommend.

    After the show we were collected by two people who worked on the show who took us around. We were permitted to take photos of basically everything.

    The theatre.
    [​IMG]

    We met Anthony Crivello and Kristie Holden who played Phantom and Christine respectively that night.

    [​IMG]

    The wig room
    [​IMG]



    The Control Room under the stage
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    DD in the boat.
    [​IMG]

    And the highlight for DD – the tour guides suggested she have a go singing on the stage. DD sang “Think of Me.”

    [​IMG]
    If you are a fan of Phantom I really suggest paying the extra and having the tour. It was well worth it for us.

    Tomorrow... it’s off to Disneyland! :cool1:
     
  11. kylieh

    kylieh DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,843
    Thanks Princess in Oz... I'll have some more food porn with the DL part of the trip report.
     
  12. ehsmum

    ehsmum Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2009
    Messages:
    477
    Loving it so far!

    I asked in your other thread about the Warner Bros tour. How do I get my 6 year old in?
     
  13. aussiegirls

    aussiegirls DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    831
    Gorgeous so far.

    I love, love, love the pics of lunch at American Girl. It brings back such lovely memories. That lunch was actually one of the highlights of our trip. Will definately do it again this time.

    xxx
     
  14. Ms. Shuttergirl

    Ms. Shuttergirl DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Messages:
    3,043
    Great trip report so far. Loving the photos and I am so jealous about the American Girl lunch. It looks gorgeous.

    Oh and keep the food porn coming.
     
  15. Mellby

    Mellby Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    51
    Thanks so much for the detailed report. DD looks so happy!
     
  16. kylieh

    kylieh DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,843
  17. 1rocky

    1rocky Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Messages:
    116
    thank you so much for your trip report this has been great especially as i am planning our first trip in Jan to USA.
     
  18. reyasmommy

    reyasmommy DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,729
    I just found your TR...... Looks like you haven't had a chance to finish it, but I love what you had written so far.

    We're planning a trip in June and I was truely inspired by your day at Santa Monica. A dayof shopping at American Girl with your daughter, shopping on Rodeo Drive, and purchasing jewely from Tiffinys, and a spa treatment....... SOUNDS DEVINE!!! I need to have a day like that. AMAZING! And expensive I'm sure.

    Hope you'll get back to your TR soon. :)
     
  19. kylieh

    kylieh DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,843
    Thanks Reyasmommy.

    You're right about the $$. It was the most expensive day of our trip, maybe even more so than all the other days combined. :scared1: It wasn't too bad, relative. We spent around $500 at American Girl including a Girl of the Year, a historical characters for DD's cousin at home, a Baby doll for another cousin, a bag, lunch, hair style, and a heap of books and stuff that MIL can't make. At Tiffanys the cost for DD's necklace was around $650. It is a very small diamond heart cross. She has wanted one for a while and Tiffany's in the USA is about 1/2 the cost of in Australia. DD wears it to church, important school functions, the theater. Otherwise it's away safely! Spa was surprisingly cheap too. Including tip I think it was just over $100 total for the two treatments. Again, a lot cheaper than home for the same thing.

    The trip report for the Disneyland portion of my trip is here http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=36426003
     

Share This Page