A Once in Lifetime Adventure in Walt's Wonderful World-lots of pics-COMPLETE

Disneygrl36

Happy DVC member!!!!
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
We met the group in front of Twist this morning & headed out to the Disney Soda Shop for a special breakfast. They are not usually opened for breakfast, so this was a treat for us.
Here is our menu

Eric had a Mickey waffle & I had scrambled eggs & bacon. His was cuter so you get to see it.

The ceiling in the Soda shop

We had time to browse the store after breakfast. It was like a small Disney store-I looked at some pins but didn't buy anything, although later wished I had bought the CD of Disney music played on the Mighty Wurlitzer organ.
Then, it was time for our tour of the El Capitan theatre.
We had a tour guide named Mike whose love of the theatre was evident in the way he talked about it. We started out in the lobby & he talked about the history of the theatre & how at one point it closed & was boarded up. Disney bought the theatre & restored it to the way it is today & now they show movies complete with the organ playing, a stage show, a curtain show & then the movie being played. What a great way to see a movie!!!!!!!!
We went into the theatre & here are some detail shots. T


The organist was playing Disney music as we came into the theatre.

He talked to us about the Mighty Wurlitzer of which there are not many left.

It is an amazing instrument & has all the various instruments up in the rafters & when he presses the buttons those instruments are actually played-as in a drum stick strikes the drum, etc. Amazing. There is one organ pipe that he demonstrated for us that is able to shake the whole theatre. Really fascinating.
Here's a little video of him talking about the organ.

He played a few name that Disney tune songs & 2 people in the group won that CD I wish I had bought.
After that we were treated to the curtain show.

We were also able to go up on stage & see some of the riggings that work all the various curtains.

Eric on stage

And my foot on a peformer's mark

As we were leaving that part of the theatre, the singers came out to do a sound check for the holiday show they are performing.
We next went upstairs to the Hall of Fame & talked abit about the restoration project with Ed who had been instrumental in getting the project going. I am so glad that they did this & did not let this beautiful theatre just sit there & rot away-that would have been a real shame.
They had some great photos & memorabilia up there.
The 40th anniversary of Mary Poppins.

Monster Inc.

A shot of the theatre from the balcony.

After this we were taken downstairs to the lounge area & then got a group photo taken on the stairs. I really enjoyed our time at the El Capitan & wish we had been able to go back to see a movie there, but we just ran out of steam/time. A lot of our group did go see Bolt & saw the holiday stage show.


Then, we went right next door for our tour of the Jimmy Kimmel live shows set. We were not allowed to take any photos in there because it is a working studio. It is in an old Masonic temple that has been bought by Disney/ABC. Before it was Jimmy Kimmel live, they used to use it to set up events that went along with the movie they were showing next door-like a Toy Story set up with Woody's line dancing lessons in the front room. Here we met Uncle Frank who is the security guard on the show & who is really Jimmy's uncle & our tour guide on of the associate producers on the show. We saw the control room & I could not believe how small it was. They all sit together in there looking at lots of screens. The funniest thing was the huge bottle of Tums in the middle of the room. We also went into the sound/tape room which was even smaller & had a lot of complicated equipment in it including a sound board that had so many different buttons & knobs on it, I would have been really scared to touch it lest I ruin everything. We also went to the editing area & saw some people working on editing tapes to run on the show.
We then went upstairs to the make up room, which was once again really small-do you see a theme-with one chair. They had lots of stuff in there like fake eyelashes, wigs & various forms of facial hair. We could also poke our head in some of the guest dressing rooms. I was struck by the fact that some of them had showers in them. Up here was where the elevator was as well & this brought up some ghost stories-a woman has been seen along with a guy in a zoot suit many, many times. Pretty spooky. We went down to the green room which had a very hip/loungey type feel too it. They have video games, a pin ball machine & a pool table to keep the guest entertained, along with a bar of course. They said lots of people that aren't even on the show just like to come hang out in the green room & Uncle Frank was proud to tell us that their green room was the most popular one in town. Then they took us in the studio & Uncle Frank talked abit about Jimmy & how down to earth he is. He has several family members working for him. Uncle Frank said it was his "fault" Jimmy was in show business. He & his family moved to Vegas after he left the police force. They took Jimmy's grandmother with them, so soon Jimmy's Mom decided to follow them to Vegas. While there Uncle Frank did security for Frank Sinatra & Jimmy caught the show business bug. He told us some funny stories about his time there-including one about when Snoop Dog was on the show & Jimmy told him Uncle Frank only made 6 arrests in his 20 years as a cop & then Snoop Dog coming over to hug him & tell him he was his kind of cop.:lmao: He was a real character. While we were in there, who should pop his head in & say "What the heck is going on in here?" but Jimmy Kimmel. He told us not to believe a word Uncle Frank said & waved to us all. Our guides said that had never happened so pretty darn cool.:thumbsup2
We were able to have our picture made on the stage with Uncle Frank taken by our guides. This is a picture of our picture that they made into a photo postcard for us.

After that we went outside in the back of the studio to where they do the live music concert segments-they also have a small intimate lounge in the front for music acts as well. Out back, they have a bigger stage & lots of lights & speakers. They told us about how crazy it was when the Jonas Brothers performed out there & how the girls were trying to bribe people to let them in & then how later Walt Disney World called them to discuss how best to handle their security. It was cool to be back behind the studio & we could see the parking area & there was a school ball field right across from that side of the studio.

Next we were loaded onto our awaiting motor coach where Don our driver was waiting. Our guides had water/snacks if we wanted them for the bus ride.

Next up, we are headed to Jim Henson studios--finally the frog oh my!!!!
 

SoonerGirl

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 9, 2006
The theater looks AMAZING! And how cool that you got to eat breakfast at the Soda Shop. Loving your report so far, keep it coming!
 
  • hack2112

    Guilty!
    Joined
    Dec 31, 2006
    The night the Jonas Brothers were there was the day we had our tour of the studio. There was already a line outside the entrance to the outdoor stage.

    And Uncle Frank is amazing. And funny. Did I mention how amazing he was?
     

    prettyprincessbelle

    <font color=green>I'm just excited for the BBQ! Yu
    Joined
    Nov 28, 2007
    Great TR so far! (that rhymes!)

    I love that you guys went to see Walt at the cemetary. What a beautiful gesture from you 2. :)

    Adventure's by Disney looks so MUCH FUN! The whole thing and I love how they do little things for you guys like leave all those treats out! Wow! So exciting!!!!
     

    mommaU4

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 8, 2005
    Yes beth we did do alot. It was a busy day but fun. We were busy this whole trip, maybe that is why I was so tired when we got home & now have a cold. ABD is great. I cannot recommend it highly enough. You could gamble a bit there in Vegas & maybe you will win big enough to splurge on a trip. We live close to Morristown Beth. Small world isn't it?
    It is a small world! I'm sorry you are sick now. I hope you feel better soon.

    Great update. Love those Mickey waffles. So cute.
     

    FauntleroyFAN07

    Commander of Donalds Crew Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy
    Joined
    Jul 6, 2007
    wow some realy cool things so far, do you have to be a DVC member to go on this or can anyone do this adventures by disney
     
  • Jennifer48

    Not a Disney bride but engaged and honeymooned at
    Joined
    Jun 1, 2005
    Mel,

    I love the add-ons that your and your DH did before the ABD trip began. I actually got goosebumps reading when you went to see Walt's grave, creepy!

    The theater looks amazing. What a wonderful purchase by Disney! :goodvibes

    It looked like no one was in the Soda shop with you guys. Was it really that empty?

    Keep up the great work! You are REALLY making me want to go now! :upsidedow :flower3:
     

    Disneygrl36

    Happy DVC member!!!!
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2004
    The theater looks AMAZING! And how cool that you got to eat breakfast at the Soda Shop. Loving your report so far, keep it coming!
    The theatre was amazing & really beautiful-it really did make you stop & think, what if they didn't save this.:confused3

    Ha! A Jimmey Kimmel Drive-By!

    Nice work!
    Yeah, we were really lucky to see him. He is pretty cute in person too.

    The night the Jonas Brothers were there was the day we had our tour of the studio. There was already a line outside the entrance to the outdoor stage.

    And Uncle Frank is amazing. And funny. Did I mention how amazing he was?
    I bet there was.....the guys that lead our tour told us it was NUTS & that some of the girls even fainted. Uncle Frank is hilarous. I am so glad we got to meet him. :thumbsup2

    Great TR so far! (that rhymes!)

    I love that you guys went to see Walt at the cemetary. What a beautiful gesture from you 2. :)

    Adventure's by Disney looks so MUCH FUN! The whole thing and I love how they do little things for you guys like leave all those treats out! Wow! So exciting!!!!
    Yes, the little extras that ABD gave us were really cool. ABD is AMAZING & we will be booking another one, I am sure.

    It is a small world! I'm sorry you are sick now. I hope you feel better soon.

    Great update. Love those Mickey waffles. So cute.
    I know I love Mickey waffles too. We have a MM waffle iron, but don't seem to pull it out very often....we do always have them Christmas morning though so I get Mickey waffles soon. :mickeyjum Thanks for the concern....I hate having a cold!!!!!:sick: I am trying to rest, drink plenty of fluids etc.

    wow some realy cool things so far, do you have to be a DVC member to go on this or can anyone do this adventures by disney
    No Dan anyone can do Adventures by Disney. You should go check out the ABD portion of the Disney website. We did use DVC points to pay for one of us & cash for the other one so you can use DVC points to book the trips.

    Mel,

    I love the add-ons that your and your DH did before the ABD trip began. I actually got goosebumps reading when you went to see Walt's grave, creepy!

    The theater looks amazing. What a wonderful purchase by Disney! :goodvibes

    It looked like no one was in the Soda shop with you guys. Was it really that empty?

    Keep up the great work! You are REALLY making me want to go now! :upsidedow :flower3:
    The pre-tour adventure was alot of fun.......I got goosebumps several times this trip. I am glad everyone enjoyed reading about it so much.
    The Soda shop was empty that night. It was around 7 or so & they close early so we were really the last ones in there eating ice cream.....can you imagine anything at DTD being like that?
    Glad you are enjoying & if you have never been to Disneyland, you must go.
     

    Disneygrl36

    Happy DVC member!!!!
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2004
    No update tonight.....I promise one tomorrow though. Between this darn cold & some Christmas mischief for DH that I have been doing today, I am just too pooped.

    Check back tomorrow for adventures with a frog............
     

    travelmel

    Blue Banana Vacation Club
    Joined
    Aug 31, 2007
    Looking forward to it! popcorn::

    I wish I had that Cinderella Waffle Maker.. that would be my new Xmas tradition, too! Maybe New Years.. LOL
     
  • lurkyloo

    The Attic was just perfect!
    Joined
    Aug 24, 2006
    Wow! How did I miss all these updates? I just love reading your report - partly because I get to hear about all the events leading up to when we met at DCA, and partly because it makes me realize how dang glamorous my life in Los Angeles is! :rotfl: And I loooove the peppermint ice cream at the Disney Soda Fountain - my favorite thing to get there is a peppermint milkshake!

    We wandered around & explored the views. It was too early to get inside or see the Planetarium show.....so we will have to go back & do that some time. It really is a beautiful building & considering it was built in the 1920's it is very well preserved.
    When you come back (cuz you have to come back!) definitely check out the inside. They just completed a 2 1/2- or 3-year renovation of the Observatory and dug out a huge space underneath that's filled with cool new exhibits! :thumbsup2
     

    Disneygrl36

    Happy DVC member!!!!
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2004
    Looking forward to it! popcorn::

    I wish I had that Cinderella Waffle Maker.. that would be my new Xmas tradition, too! Maybe New Years.. LOL
    More coming right up. I am such a sap for traditions!!!!!!!!!!

    Wow! How did I miss all these updates? I just love reading your report - partly because I get to hear about all the events leading up to when we met at DCA, and partly because it makes me realize how dang glamorous my life in Los Angeles is! :rotfl: And I loooove the peppermint ice cream at the Disney Soda Fountain - my favorite thing to get there is a peppermint milkshake!

    When you come back (cuz you have to come back!) definitely check out the inside. They just completed a 2 1/2- or 3-year renovation of the Observatory and dug out a huge space underneath that's filled with cool new exhibits! :thumbsup2
    I am glad you are enjoying the report Carrie. It is very, very glamorous in LA. I must get back to explore more & maybe see some celebrities-besides Jimmy Kimmel, you & Patrick :rotfl:
    That peppermint ice cream was to die for.....wish I could have them ship me some of it for Christmas dinner.......wouldn't that be a wonderful dessert to serve?
    Yes, we do have to come back. I wasn't sure what Eric would think about CA & Disneyland, but he is soooo ready to go back too!!!! Maybe you & Patrick could be our tour guides next time & then we could really see how the locals do it LA style.:banana: :cool1: :banana: :cool1: :banana:
     

    Disneygrl36

    Happy DVC member!!!!
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2004
    So after leaving Jimmy Kimmel live, we headed towards Jim Henson studios via our very nice motor coach driven by the ever cheerful Don. He talked to us about old Hollywood some & played appropriate music like "Hooray for Hollywood".
    We passed by some points of interest & I tried to get a few pictures through the windows of the bus.
    That's the Chateau Marmont hotel where lots of stars have stayed & like to hang out. Lindsey Lohan even lives there. Why do you live in a hotel?:confused3

    Kat Von D's tattoo parlor LA Ink as seen on the reality TV show which I have to confess I have watched a few too many times.

    The Comedy Store where lots of famous comedians got their start.

    The Whiskey A Go Go where Goldie Hawn got her start as a go go dancer.

    Proof that we were on Sunset Blvd

    We passed lots of other interesting things as well like the Scientology Center, the Viper Room & lots of building that used to be cool things like the Hollywood Athletic Club where Walt Disney was a member.
    Before long we pulled up to Jim Henson's studios. Diana said they used to be able to see it from far away because of the huge Kermit statue dressed as Charlie Chaplin, but he is being refurbished.
    It is a very charming set of buildings & I wouldn't have thought of it as a working studio, but it is a hopping & busy place. They were having some kind of casting there that day so there were all these extra people around carrying scripts.


    P.S. I know someone who participates in Puppet Up now :banana: :cool1: & it is now on my list of have to go see it sometime things.:goodvibes

    We gathered in the courtyard & just kind of soaked up the area abit before they split us into groups Minnie & Daisy to go off & experience different things. We were in the Minnie group with Diana as our guide.
    We went to watch a video in the little comissary building first which kind of showed us how Jim Henson started out & showed some cute & hilarious muppets clips all the way from the show Jim Henson started out with, Sam & Friends where Kermit the Frog was born, all the way up through the Muppet Movies & Labyrinth.
    I think it only fitting here to pay a little tribute to the man who made the Muppets possible. Did you know that the Muppet show was filmed in London at first because the networks here didn't see it's potential? :confused3

    I read some great things about Jim Henson before this trip in anticipation of getting to see the studio, but my favorite was about his memorial service where a group of puppeteers sang "Just One Person" in their character voices & started out one by one scattered throughout the audience until they all ended up on stage together. This was said to inspire the director of the comedy "Love Actually" to incorporate this idea in the wedding scene in that movie where various members of the congregation get up & sing/play instruments to seranade the happy couple. Now I will never be able to watch that scene without thinking about Jim Henson.

    Next we went out & Diana showed us around the studios.
    If you don't know, this studio has tons of history. It was built in 1918 by Charlie Chaplin & he used it up until the 1950's.

    There are lots of cool touches left at the studios as a nod to his contributions. Red Skeleton also owned the studio for a time. A&M recording studio was here as well.

    This is the vault where Charlie Chaplin kept films & his famous Little Tramp shoes.

    A mold was taken of the original shoe/signature print which is in a museum somewhere now.

    This unassuming building is what used to be A&M recording studios but is now the Jim Henson recording studios. It is booked & used by lots of people in the recording industry. Diana said they had seen Justin Timberlake here on one tour. There were a lot of people around that I am sure I should have recognized, but alas I did not spot any celebrities-at least human ones.

    How did I get stuck up here?

    This cutie was outside of the building where we went to watch another video.

    This poster was in the small theatre where we watched the film. One of my favorite Muppet movies.

    The movie was hilarious. It starred Bobby & Samson telling us all about the studios & their history.
    I found this picture of Bobby (the pig) & Samson (the moose/bull????)....

    Brian Henson actually puppeteered Samson for this film & it was made for ABD exclusively as they do not have tour groups in to the studios as it is usually closed to the public. I heard later from a very reliable source that the ABD dress rehearsal tour was there the day they were making the video & that the crew at Jim Henson's studios was so excited to have them there.:goodvibes It was a very funny video & at the end they get kicked out because Bobby goes nuts when he realizes all the famous people that have worked there. Too funny!!!!

    We also were able to go into the soundstage since it wasn't currently being used.
    Just a big empty box that can be made into anything.



    Continued in the next post...........
     

    Disneygrl36

    Happy DVC member!!!!
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2004
    We also went into the reception building where alot of the awards are kept that the studios has won.

    I found a very familiar face there.

    And a beautiful Christmas tree underneath which lay something very interesting.

    Underneath the tree.

    Something else cute.


    Now after that we got the treat of all treats. We got to go to the creature shop where all the magic happens. We had to lock up our cameras at this point because there is top secret superduper new stuff in there.
    We were met there by a puppeteer named Michael. There was lots of neat things to look at in there. The baby from Dinosaur was there-you know "Not the Mama", a dog from Snow Dogs, pigeons from the Producers, Bobby & Samson from the video we watched, fraggles & all sorts of cool puppets. Some of them are really old & falling apart because of the materials they are made out of so you can't really touch them now. Michael talked abit about the building that houses the Creature Shop now-it is an old barn where they used to build sets in Charlie Chaplins days. He showed us with a puppet & a set up camera & tv some of the basic principles of puppeteering. He picked Eric my DH & let him play with a puppet to see how they work. I loved watching him try to do it-he said he was making the most common mistake of newbies which was moving the upper part of the head/mouth too much which makes you loose the eyes-so you should use the lower face/mouth more than the upper so that the eyes stay more stable so your character is more believeable. He also showed us some computer puppetering as well with a dog done in the computer & a special rigging that the puppeteer can use & move the characters face around & make different expressions. It was fascinating watching the dogs face change based on what Michael was doing. We had time to ask him questions as well, but before we knew it our time was up in the Creature shop.
    This is the Creature Shop building.

    And me with a new found friend outside the creature shop.

    Even the bathrooms have a Muppet touch-the signs outside to indicate which facility one should use.


    We were supposed to get to see Brian Henson's office, but he was there that day and using it. Can you imagine-how rude to be using his own office. :lmao:

    Next we had lunch, which was catered by the studios. We had made our choices the day before from a set menu. I had chosen lentil soup, an Joe's salad which had grilled chicken, walnuts & olives. Eric had a salad & a cheeseburger. They also had yummy chocolate chip cookies for us. It was a nice lunch & we enjoyed chatting with our fellow adventurers as we ate under a tent on this beautiful California day.

    After lunch, we got a visit from Michael & Sweetheart.

    He answered our questions & just had a good time interacting with us with Sweetheart.
    Here is a bit of video of him talking with us. Some of it is pretty bright because the sun was right behind him.

    What he said right after I clicked off the video, was that each of the original muppets was worth 20 to 30,000$--WOW & that there are only a very few of each character made & as one gets too old to use for close up work, they are used as "stunt puppets" like Gonzo flying through the air & crash landing. Great stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is a picture of one of the postcards that we received from our guides.


    It was a wonderful time at the Jim Henson Studios!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't believe all that we were able to see & I loved hearing about the history of the place. Charlie Chaplin's ghost is said to haunt the studios & I don't blame him because it seems like a great place to be.

    As we were leaving I found this Hidden Mickey.

    Bye Charlie!!!!!!!!!!!

    In the bus on the way to our next stop, they were playing music inspired by the places we had been & one of the songs happened to be the ma nam a na song from Sesame Street which I love & of course I had to sing along.

    Up next.........a surprise destination-what could it be?????
     

    Jennifer48

    Not a Disney bride but engaged and honeymooned at
    Joined
    Jun 1, 2005
    Why do you live in a hotel?:confused3
    When you have oodles of money to buy a house :confused:

    I read some great things about Jim Henson before this trip in anticipation of getting to see the studio, but my favorite was about his memorial service where a group of puppeteers sang "Just One Person" in their character voices & started out one by one scattered throughout the audience until they all ended up on stage together. This was said to inspire the director of the comedy "Love Actually" to incorporate this idea in the wedding scene in that movie where various members of the congregation get up & sing/play instruments to seranade the happy couple. Now I will never be able to watch that scene without thinking about Jim Henson.
    I :love: that movie! Thanks for sharing that. I'll prob think of Mr. Henson too. I've always had a small place in my heart for the Muppets. They are awesome.

    Diana said they had seen Justin Timberlake here on one tour.
    OH...MY...GOSH I would have died. I :lovestruc :love: JT! That would have been wicked awesome!

    We got to go to the creature shop where all the magic happens. We had to lock up our cameras at this point because there is top secret superduper new stuff in there.
    Do they literally take your cameras/phones and lock them up?
     

    lurkyloo

    The Attic was just perfect!
    Joined
    Aug 24, 2006
    Diana said they had seen Justin Timberlake here on one tour.
    Patrick saw J T-lake there too! He also saw Miley Cyrus there once, and the Jonas Brothers, and Kanye West, and that guy Randy Jackson from American Idol has an office at Henson and hangs around a lot. It's funny because Patrick doesn't know who most of these stars are and people around him freak out and have to explain to him why they're freaking out. :rotfl:

    I also got a little thrill watching your video when Michael mentioned the invitation-only puppeteering classes that Henson does - that's the one Patrick teaches!
     

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