CA Trip Part 2 (Hollywood, El Capitan, Celebrity Home Tour, Warner Bros Studio)

My conference ended mid-day Saturday, which is when Jason arrived, so we both Ubered to our next hotel. Unfortunately, my convention rate expired on Friday night so we opted to book a much less expensive hotel in the Burbank area for Saturday.

Word to the wise: you should always save your nicest hotel for the end of your trip. I was sorely disappointed in our next hotel, though I wouldn’t have been nearly as much had I not just checked out of the JW Marriott.

We chose a well rated boutique hotel near Universal Studios – it’s a historic hotel, often used in TV/film, and has just 12 cottages. Sounds cute, right? It was clean, family owned, and safe. It was just… not the JW Marriott.

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Location wise, it was in a neighborhood that had a ton of restaurants in walking distance. Matter of fact, Vivian’s Millennium Cafe was just down the street! Anyone else a Leah Remini fan? I love her and loved her reality show, “It’s All Relative”  – this is the restaurant her husband and her dad own that was often featured on the show. We had hoped to grab breakfast there but was running late and didn’t get to 😦

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Shortly after Jason arrived from LAX, we grabbed another Uber and headed down to Hollywood Blvd! We walked the street, people watched, and were incredibly entertained by the various groups protesting. Obviously saw the Chinese theater:

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I have always wanted to do one of those cheesy celebrity home tours so we bought a Groupon for one and had it scheduled for late that afternoon.

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It actually was pretty fun, and lasted 2.5 hours. I tried to remember everything I was taking a picture of but can’t remember it all 😦 Here are some pics with houses I DO remember!

Justin Timberlake/Jessica Biel’s house (er, the gate to it)

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The Osbourne’s house (from the MTV show) and later Christina Aguilera’s:

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The Playboy Mansion (you can see the top of it sorta):

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Rodeo Drive (much smaller area than I envisioned):

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View from the Hollywood Bowl overlook:

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And now, anytime Justin Timberlake is on TV, I am quick to say that I’ve been to his house.

This Disney fan really wanted to see a movie at the El Capitan, one of the historic movie theaters in the area, so we grabbed tickets for Dr Strange. Our tour dropped us off right in front of the theater so we wouldn’t have to backtrack.

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Disney bought and restored the theater at some point and now shows just Disney films, and does premieres there as well. It was opening weekend of Dr Strange so they had a meet and greet, special cups, etc.

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The theater is just beautiful – though very dark and hard to snap pics.

Before the movie begins, their house organist plays – he was amazing! He even broke out Phantom of the Opera, to the cheers of the crowd.

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We grabbed dinner at a restaurant across the street from the hotel and crashed. The next morning was our Warner Brothers Studio Tour!

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I was soooo excited about this tour – some of my favorite shows are produced there! You ride on a cart with a tour guide, who asks prior what shows people really love so she can tailor the tour to fit your group.

Lorelai Gilmore’s house:

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The Seaver’s house on Growing Pains:

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Merlotte’s bar from True Blood:

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Gazebo from Gilmore Girls (it’s parking spot is even labeled “Gazebo parking only”):

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The Alibi Room from Shameless:

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We stopped at a special DC Comics exhibit (lots of Suicide Squad stuff):

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And to check out the Batman vehicles:

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They drove us through the woodworking studio and then we got to check out the props department. Well, just a tiny sliver of it!

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There in the props department is the oval office set-up from The West Wing:

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AND THEN THE BEST PART! We got to go onto the Ellen set! It was a Sunday morning, so obviously nothing was filming, and since tickets to her show are harder to snag than the golden ticket, this was the next best thing.

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Unfortunately… no pics inside. We got to see the Riff Raff Room, sit in the audience seats, and walk through part of the backstage area (like, I walked past the empty TV boxes that Andy brings out to game winners). I will say that the set is SO much smaller than it appears on TV. The front row is sitting just steps from Ellen!

The tour ends in a hand’s on exhibit where you can sit on the Friends couch, play with film sets, and see lots of props.

From The Music Man (one of my favorites!):

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The hospital ID’s from the staff of ER:

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CJ’s goldfish from The West Wing:

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Phoebe’s guitar from Friends:

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It was an excellent tour and an entertaining 3 hours.

The tour ended our time in Hollywood – there is tons to do but we hit the highlights of what we wanted to experience and felt good about going ahead and making our way to Anaheim. I mean, Disneyland was waiting for us!

Next up… the Happiest Place on Earth!

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