USA West Coast Travel Part VIII (Universal Studios Hollywood)

USA West Coast Travel Part VIII

(Universal Studios Hollywood)

Day 10 (Sunday, 31 May 2014)

Universal Studios Hollywood

After spending an hour at the Hollywood Walk of Fame along Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles City, we travelled 10 km north-west of the city-centre and arrived at a famous place where many Hollywood’s blockbuster movies have been produced, like Jaws,  Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Transformers, King Kong and many more. It is known as Universal Studios Hollywood.

Pictorial Map of Universal Studios Hollywood showing the locations of attraction

There are two areas at Universal Studios Hollywood, viz. film studio and theme park. Opened in 1915, the film studio area is one of the oldest and most famous Hollywood film studios. It claims to be “The Entertainment Capital of Los Angeles”. It allows visitors to tour the area to see its soundstages and backlots.

The theme park offers rides and shows since 1964.

Entrance to Universal Studios Hollywood with a red carpet, Universal City, California, USA

On arrival at Universal Studios Hollywood, we walked on a welcome-red carpet, bought tickets and entered the Studios. Then we made a beeline to a place where we hopped onto one of the four carriages of a tram for a studio tour. As the tram moved, slowly, we listened to a recorded narration by Jimmy Fallon, an American TV host, and at the same time looking out for things mentioned by him.

A panoramic view of the studio area at Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal City, California, USA

Visitors boarding a tram for a studio tour at Universal Studios Hollywood

Colonial buildings along an old street used in film-making at Universal Studios Hollywood

Colonial, business buildings used in film-making at Universal Studios Hollywood

A town in colonial times used in film-making at Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studio Tour

Old Streets, King Kong 3-D Show and Vehicles

The first back-lot we went through was a site of a few streets with colonial, business buildings. Then we entered a soundstage and put on 3-D glasses. A minute later, our tram was rocking, violently, and realized that we were attacked by two large dinosaurs, T-Rexes, virtually. Some of the visitors were shouting and screaming, loudly. I wondered if they were afraid of the fierce dinosaurs or could not bear the violent movement of the tram.  Anyway, the tram stopped when King Kong came and killed the dinosaurs. That was a 360 3-D attraction. It would be a scary experience to the faint-hearted.

The tram continued moving. A few minutes later, we passed by a row of vehicles of different shapes, sizes, colours and models used in making some movies like Magnum PI, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, The Flintstones, Fast and Furious and The Transformers.

Cars used in making a film “Back to the Future” at Universal Studios Hollywood

Cars used in making a film “Fast and Furious” at Universal Studios Hollywood

Prehistoric cars used in making a film “Flintstones” at Universal Studios Hollywood

A tank used in making a film “Transformers” at Universal Studios Hollywood

A coach used in making a film “Jurassic Park” at Universal Studios Hollywood

Flash Flood

The tram continued moving and came to another site where we witnessed a flash flood. Fast flowing water rushing down a hill and flooded a village. A minute or two later, the water disappeared further down the hill.

A flash flood in a village created in making some films at Universal Studios Hollywood

Town of the Old West

Later, the tram passed through a town of the Old West where most of the buildings were made of wood and bricks, and then another town of later years where all the buildings were made of concrete.

A town of the Old West created in making some films at Universal Studios Hollywood

A town after the Old West created in making some films at Universal Studios Hollywood

Earthquake

Having seen the towns of the olden days, we went to another sound-stage. When our tram entered and stopped inside the building, we saw a subway-station on our left. A minute later, a “8.3 magnitude earthquake” occurred. Our tram rocked, roughly. Then we saw the roof of the station collapsed  and a gas-tanker came down with it. It “exploded”. Soon, a train came to the station and derailed. It came towards us but, luckily, it was stopped by some pillars. Later, water flowed inside the station.

A subway station created in making a film “Earthquake” at Universal Studios Hollywood

An aftermath of an earthquake created in making a film “Earthquake” at Universal Studios Hollywood

“Jaws”

After the earthquake experience, we went to another spot. It was known as Amity Island where we saw a “diver” being attacked and killed by a giant shark called “Jaws” in the water near a quiet fishing village. Then the vicious shark’s head with its mouth wide open showing its sharp sharp teeth, suddenly, surfaced very close to our tram frightening some of us and then disappeared.

A scene of a quiet fishing village on Amity Island used in making a film “Jaws” at Universal Studios Hollywood

 

A shark attacking a diver in the water of Amity Island created in making a film “Jaws” at Universal Studios Hollywood

“Jaws” suddenly appears near the tram frightening some visitors at Universal Studios Hollywood

“Desperate Housewives” Wisteria Lane

The next place the tram brought us to was Wisteria Lane. That was the place where a TV show, “Desperate Housewives” was shot. Along that lane, we saw some well-kept houses with manicured gardens and shady trees belonging to some of the characters in the show, like Susan, Bree, Mike, Gabrielle and Lynette. That place will always remind me of the times I spent watching the show series on TV.

Susan’s house on Wisteria Lane in “Desperate Housewives” at Universal Studios Hollywood

Bree’s house on Wisteria Lane in “Desperate Housewives” at Universal Studios Hollywood

Mike’s house on Wisteria Lane in “Desperate Housewives” at Universal Studios Hollywood

Gabrielle’s house on Wisteria Lane in “Desperate Housewives” at Universal Studios Hollywood

Lynette’s house on Wisteria Lane in “Desperate Housewives” at Universal Studios Hollywood

“Bates Motel”

Then we went to one more place where a scene in a movie about a psychopath, “Bates Motel”, was re-enacted before our eyes. In the scene, a man, Norman Bates, carried a female corpse out of Bates Motel to his car and put it in the boot. After that he noticed our presence and walked towards us with a knife. Before he could get near us, our tram left the scene just in time to escape from him.

Norman, a psychopath and serial killer, carrying a corpse to his car, a scene that can be seen in a film “Bates Motel” at Universal Studios Hollywood

 

Norman with a knife in his hand walks towards the writer’s tram at Universal Studios Hollywood

Plane Crash Site

Our tram went to the last shooting location. It was an airplane crash area created for a scene in making a film called “War of the Worlds”, a science fiction disaster thriller movie, directed by Steven Spielberg and acted by Tom Cruise in 2005. In the area a destroyed Boeing 747 was used.

An airplane crash scene created for the film by Steven Spielberg “War of the Worlds” which is a science fiction disaster thriller film at Universal Studios Hollywood

An airplane crash scene in “War of the Worlds” by Steven Spielberg at Universal Studios Hollywood

In 40 minutes we completed the studio tour and has increased our knowledge about film-making. In 2011 I visited Universal Studios Japan in Tokyo. It had a theme park but no studio tour.

After the studio tour, we went to the theme park at Universal Studios Hollywood to look for thrill, excitement and enjoyment.

(Continued in USA West Coast Travel Part IX (Universal Studios Theme Park))

Previous / Home  /Next

U.S.A West Coast Travel:

Part I    San Francisco City

Part II  San Francisco, Fresno. Las Vegas

Part III Grand Canyon

Part IV  Las Vegas City

Part V   Premium Outlets in S, California

Part VI  Disneyland Resort, Anaheim

Part VII Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles

Part VIII Universal Studios Hollywood

Part IX   Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park

USA West Coast Travel Part VII (Hollywood Walk Of Fame, Los Angeles)

USA West Coast Travel Part VII
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Los Angeles City

Location of Los Angeles in U.S.A.

Los Angeles City, California, USA

At 9 a.m. of Day 10, Jay Ho, our tour-guide, informed us that we had last two places to visit in Los Angeles City, i.e. Hollywood Walk of Fame and Universal Studios, before our USA West Coast tour was over.

Jay Ho, our tour-guide, telling us that we are going to visit “Hollywood Walk of Fame” and Universal Studios in Los Angeles City, USA

Los Angeles City, also known as City of Angels and L.A., was founded in 1781 and has a population of about 4 millions making it the 2nd. most populous city in the U.S..

Hollywood Walk of Fame

After travelling for 40 minutes from Anaheim, we arrived in Los Angeles City. Immediately, we went to the Hollywood Walk of Fame which was along Hollywood Boulevard.

Tour group moving along Hollywood Boulevard before going for the Hollywood Walk of Fame on its walkways in Los Angeles City, USA

Writer and wife on the Hollywood Walk of Fame along Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles City, USA

Hollywood Walk of Fame is a famous tourist attraction. Created in 1958 on the walkways of Hollywood Boulevard, it has more than 2500 embedded pink stars with names of the celebrities who were honoured for their outstanding contribution to the entertainment industry. Each star has a picture that tells us the kind of entertainment industry a celebrity has contributed.

There are over 2500 prestigious stars on Hollywood Walk of Fame along Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles City, USA

Initially, there were 5 categories of entertainment industry, viz. film industry(denoted by a picture of a classic camera in the star), TV entertainment(a picture of a TV receiver), music recording industry(a picture of a record), radio broadcast(a picture of a microphone) and live theatre(a picture of two masks of comedy and tragedy). Later, another category for companies that deserved stars was created, e.g. Disneyland that has contributed to the film industry for more than 50 years, a local newspaper, baseball team, and police department to name a few.

Celebrities’ contribution to film industry on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Celebrities’ contribution to television entertainment on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Celebrities’ contribution to music recording industry on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Celebrities’ contribution to radio broadcast on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Celebrities’ contribution to live theatre on Hollywood Walk of Fame

The only person who received all the five initial categories on the Hollywood Walk of Fame so far is Gene Autry(1907-1998), an American performer.

Gene Autry(1907-1998), an American performer, is the only celebrity to receive 5 Academy Awards or Oscars so far.

While my wife and I were walking on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the first star that attracted my attention was Bruce Lee( an actor), then Glen Campbell(a country singer), Jackie Chan, Mickey Mouse( an animated cartoon created by Walt Disney), Michael Jackson(a singer}, Bruce Willis(an actor), and many more.

But there was only one star that was on a wall at the entrance of Dolby Theatre. It belonged to Muhammad Ali(born in 1942), a famous heavy-weight boxer.

Writer squatting in front of Bruce Lee’s star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, L.A., USA

A star for Jackie Chan for his awesome, innovative stunts in fighting films. It is on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has another star in Hong Kong Avenue of Stars.

A star for Tom Cruise on Hollywood Walk of Fame, L.A., USA

A star for Bee Gees, a pop music group, on Hollywood Walk of Fame, L.A., USA

A star for Robin Williams, an actor and comedian, on Hollywood Walk of Fame, L.A., USA

Kenny and his family posing in front of a star on a wall of Dolby Theatre for a heavy-weight boxer, Muhammad Ali, on Hollywood Walk of Fame, L.A., USA

In an hour, I was happy to find many stars belonging to my favourite idols on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. If I had more time there I would be able to discover many more.

TCL Chinese Theatre

TCL Chinese Theatre built in 1926 on Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles City is a home for movie premieres

Along Hollywood Boulevard, I noticed an unusual building that looked like a Chinese temple. In fact, it was a theatre known as TCL Chinese Theatre. Built in 1926 by Sid Grauman, an American showman(1879-1950), it is a home to many premieres including 1927 film, “The King of Kings” and 1977’s “Star Wars”.

In its forecourt there are some concrete blocks that have hand-prints, shoe-prints and autographs belonging to celebrities, like Michael Jackson, John Travolta, Shirley Temples, Anthony Hopkins, John Woo, Will Smith, Burt Reynold and more. Their intention is to wish the owner of the theatre good fortune.

Two members of our tour group looking at Michael Jackson’s hand-prints, shoe-prints and autograph in TCL Chinese Theatre forecourt on Hollywood Walk of Fame, L.A., USA

Anthony Hopkin’s hand-prints, foot-prints and autograph in TCL Chinese Theatre forecourt, L.A., USA (He is a Welsh actor appearing in about 100 films.

Shirley Temple’s hand-prints, foot-prints and autograph in the TCL Chinese Theatre forecourt, L.A., USA (She was a child star in the 1930s)

John Woo’s hand-prints,shoe-prints and autograph in the TCL Chinese Theatre forecourt, L.A., USA (He is a H.K. film-director)

Dolby Theatre

Next to TCL Chinese Theatre is Dolby Theatre. It is a centre for promoting motion picture industry and plays host to a prestigious annual award ceremony, Academy Awards. In the last ceremony, the 86th. Academy Awards, held on 2 March 2014, there were 2809 winners receiving the awards or Oscars for their excellent works in the film-making industry.

Dolby Theatre, on Hollywood Walk of Fame, hosts Academy Awards(Oscars) ceremony, annually.

The Oscars

An Academy Awards winner will receive an Oscar that is a statuette of a knight holding a sword and standing on a reel of film with five spokes representing the categories of actors, writers, directors, producers and technicians. It is 24 cm tall and weighs 3.85 kg, and made of gold-plated britannium on a black metal base.

The prestigious award, Academy Award or Oscar, for a celebrity whose work in film-making industry is excellent

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

There is a wax museum, Madame Tussauds, near TCL Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. It houses many notable personalities including actors, musicians, directors, athletes and television entertainers. A statue of Shrek outside the museum is its largest figure. As it is in the sun it is made of plastic instead of wax. Next to Shrek is another statue, a large blue transformer. They both attract cameramen, including myself.

As we did not have much time on Hollywood Walk of Fame, we gave that museum a miss. In fact, my wife and I visited one in London in 2004.

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, Hollywood Boulevard, L.A., USA

A statue of Shrek, a green ogre in fairy-tale films, outside Madame Tussauds Wax Museum on Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood Boulevard, L.A.. USA

A statue of a transformer outside Madame Tussauds Wax Museum on Hollywood Boulevard, L.A., USA

While walking on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, I stopped at a souvenir shop and was attracted to a man-sized statue of Elvis Presley, one of my singing idols. Immediately, I gave my camera to my wife and asked her to snap a photo of me with Elvis. You may see us in the photo here.

Writer taking photo with Elvis Presley in a souvenir shop on Hollywood Boulevard, L.A., USA

Having spent an hour on the Hollywood Walk of Fame along Hollywood Boulevard, we left the place at 2 p.m. for Universal Studios (Hollywood) where there were lots of thrill and excitement for visitors. It was about 10 km north-west of the centre of Los Angeles City.

(To be continued)
Previous / Home / Next

U.S.A West Coast Travel:

Part I    San Francisco City

Part II  San Francisco, Fresno. Las Vegas

Part III Grand Canyon

Part IV  Las Vegas City

Part V   Premium Outlets in S, California

Part VI  Disneyland Resort, Anaheim

Part VII Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles

Part VIII Universal Studios Hollywood

Part IX   Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park

USA West Coast Travel Part VI (Disneyland Resort, Anaheim)

November 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Anaheim) 

USA West Coast Travel VI (Disneyland Resort, Anaheim)

Day 9 (Saturday, 30.5.2014)

Location of Anaheim in State of California, USA

Disneyland Resort, Anaheim

Pictorial Map of Disneyland Park, Anaheim, California, USA

At 9.20 in the morning of Day 9, we boarded a white shuttle-coach at our hotel, Marriott Suites, and it brought us to Disneyland Resort or commonly known as Disneyland. It was a few kilometres from the hotel.

Jay Ho, the tour-guide, briefing the tour-members before going to Disneyland in Anaheim, USA

A white shuttle-coach coming to Marriott Suites and taking tour-members and others to Disneyland, Anaheim, USA

Walt Disney

Disneyland at Anaheim was founded by Walt Disney and opened to public in 1955. There is so much to see and do in Disneyland. It has two main themed parks, viz. Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventures Park.  Both are amusement parks with lots of activities for young and old.

Ten minutes later, we arrived at Disneyland. As we had a day to spend in Disneyland our tour guide chose to lead us to Disneyland Park. With a pictorial map of the park in his hand, he showed and advised us to visit some of the attractions first.

Disneyland Park

In Disneyland Park there are 8-themed areas, each having different attractions, i.e. Main Street USA, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Mickey’s Toontownland, Critter Country and New Orleans Sguare.

Jay Ho, the tour guide, showing a pictorial map of Disneyland Park and telling the members the locations of different themed areas before entering the Park, Anaheim, USA

Main Street, USA, in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Vintage Vehicles

After receiving the tickets from Jay Ho, we entered the park and walked in Main Street USA. We saw many people in the main street heading in different directions for different areas of attractions. There were some vintage vehicles carrying visitors along the street. Some were horse-drawn while others were running on electricity.

A horse-drawn vintage carriage in Main Street, USA, in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

A vintage omnibus in Main Street, USA, in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

A vintage fire-engine in Main Street, USA, in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Captain EO Tribute, a short 3D movie

Jay Ho brought us to Tomorrowland to watch a short 3D movie titled  “Captain EO Tribute” starring Michael Jackson in a theatre called “Star Tours”. We queued up for 30 minutes before we entered a spaceship and travelled to another planet with Michael.

Visitors queuing up to watch a short 3-D movie: “Captain EO, Tribute” outside Star Tours Theatre in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

“Captain EO Tribute” was a space adventure with lots of battle noises and loud musics. It was shown as a tribute to the famous singer, Michael Jackson, when he passed away in 2009. In the adventure Michael travelled in a spaceship with some talking creatures to another planet where he, successfully, transformed an ugly queen into a beautiful lady.

Michael Jackson starring in a short 3-D movie: “Captain EO, Tribute” in Star Tours Theatre in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

A spaceship bringing Michael Jackson to another planet where he transforms an ugly queen into a beautiful woman in a 3-D movie: “Captain EO, Tribute” in Star Tours Theatre in Disneyland Park, Anaheim

Indiana Jones Adventure(Adventureland)

After that Michael’s movie we went to queue up in Adventureland to experience an Indiana Jones’ adventure. There were many people in the zig-zag queue. I was surprised that our oldest fellow-members, Wai Yean and his wife, wanted to experience that adventure that involved rough truck ride. Forty minutes later, our turn came.

Adventureland, a themed area in Disneyland Park in Anaheim, USA

Visitors queuing up in a zig-zag manner to experience Indiana Jones’ Adventure in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Wai Yean and wife, the oldest couple in the tour group, going for a rough truck-ride in Indiana Jones’ Adventure, Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Dr. Chua and family in a long queue going for a rough truck-ride in Indiana Jones’ Adventure, Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Richard Ong and wife in a long queue going for a rough truck-ride in Indiana Jones’ Adventureland, Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Visitors in Indiana Jones’ trucks going for a rough ride on a rugged terrain in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

We hopped into a truck and experienced a rough journey on a rugged terrain. Our vehicle had to make sharp turns, sudden drops, forward and backward movements at high speed and more. By the time the ride was all over we were already in a daze.

“Pirates of the Caribbean”(New Orleans Square)

It took sometime for us to recover from that turbulent ride which had been experienced by Indiana Jones in a movie. Later, we went to a nearby place and joined a long queue for another experience which was a slow but pleasant boat ride. It was a ride of “Pirates of the Caribbean” in New Orleans Square.

Sitting in a boat, we went into a dark, mysterious cavern where “Dead men tell no tales”.  It was a pirates’ hideout where we learned about their way of life-a life of crimes and vices. Although my wife and I had the same boat-ride in Disneyland Tokyo in Tokyo in 2011, we enjoyed the same experience again.

Visitors in boats entering a dark cavern to learn about pirates’ lives in “Pirates of the Caribbean” in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Captured ladies are on auction by pirates in “Pirates of the Caribbean” in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Pirates in a dungeon enticing a dog that had a bunch of keys in its mouth to go nearer to them in a cavern in “Pirates of the Carribbean” in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Haunted Mansion(New Orleans Square)

Immediately after that interesting “Pirates of the Caribbean” boat-ride, we joined a queue to a haunted mansion. After a long wait, we walked into the dark haunted mansion where we saw many kinds of ghosts making sudden appearance and disappearance with scary noises. This place is not for the faint-hearted.

Haunted Mansion where many ghosts make sudden appearance and disappearance with scary noises in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Sailing Ship Columbia(Frontierland)

Stepping out of the haunted mansion, we looked acr0ss a road and saw a small island, Tom Sawyer Island which was a pirates’ hiding place in Frontierland. It was surrounded by water which was known as “Rivers of America”. On the water we saw a beautiful old ship which was a full-scale replica of Columbia Rediviva, the first American ship to circumnavigate the world in 1790. Built in 1958, it now carries visitors for a 12-minute travel experience round the island.

Tom Sawyer Island(L) and a “Columbia Rediviva” replica ship(R) in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

As there were many people lining up in the hot sun for the ship-ride, we went for a jungle cruise near the Haunted Mansion, instead.

Jungle Cruise(Advetureland)

To experience the Jungle Cruise we, patiently, queued for half an hour. It was a strange queue that began in front of a three-storey wooden tower, continued inside the tower, then went upstairs and downstairs, and finally ended at the boat-departing and landing platform.

A two-storey tower where visitors queue up for a jungle boat-cruise in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

After boarding a boat we cruised down a river which flowed through a tropical jungle where wild animals were watching us and making noise, such as elephants, rhinos, giraffes, gorillas, snakes and zebras. Besides, there were natives living in the jungle. Before the cruise ended, we were surprised to see several piranhas suddenly jumped out of the water and back into it.

Visitors on a jungle boat-cruise in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

A large elephant in a tropical jungle in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

A rhino showing its anger to visitors on a jungle boat-cruise in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Piranhas jumping out of water and back into it, suddenly, and surprising jungle boat-riders in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Statues of Walt Disney

After the topical jungle cruise, we walked to the centre of Disneyland Park where we saw a man-sized bronze statue of Walt Disney holding Mickey Mouse’s hand. I spotted a Walt Disney’s quotation of his wish on the statue pedestal and read it to myself: “I think most of all what I want Disneyland to be is a happy place……where parents and children can have fun, together.” I think what he had wished for has come true. The existence of more Disneylands in other places is evident that people, young or old, like to visit them to “have fun together”.

Behind the writer’s back is a statue of Walt Disney holding Mickey Mouse’s hand in the centre of Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Bronze Figurines of Walt Disney’s Cartoon Characters

Around Walt Disney were bronze figurines of Disney’s characters, such as Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket, Goofy, Chipmunks, Dumbo and Gerald G. Rabbit. These cartoon characters were so adorable.

A figurine of Minnie Mouse

A figurine of Donald Duck

A figurine of Pinocchio with Jiminy Cricket

A figurine of Goofy

Two figurines of Chipmunks

A figurine of Dumbo

Gerald G Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland

Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

At 4 p.m. a grand, colourful parade, Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, started from the location where “It’s a Small World” was. Classic musics from Walt Disney’s movies were played, loudly. The parade route from “It’s a Small World” site to Main Street USA was lined with hundreds of visitors, some sitting while others standing, closely, on the roadside. My wife and I were standing at a small roundabout where the statue of Walt Disney was located.

Leading the parade were six drummers. They were then followed by energetic dancers and floats with Walt Disney’s animated characters from classic movies. The first float was carrying  Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. It was followed by Aladdin’s, Little Mermaid’s, Walt Disney’s royal princesses’, Lion King’s, Tiana’s, Fox Hunter’s and the last one, Chimney-sweepers’. There were altogether 9 in the parade. It was indeed a “soundsational” parade,

Six drummers leading Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

Mickey and Minnie Mouse on the 1st. float in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

Lion King on the 2nd. float in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

Ariel, the little mermaid, on the 3rd. float in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

Walt Disney’s princess on the 4th. float in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

Lion King on the 5th. float in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

Tiana and Louis, the trumpet-playing alligator, on the 6th. float in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

Bert and Mary Poppins riding carousel-horses in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

Fox Hunter riding a penny-farthing high wheeler bicycle(the 7th. float) in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

Chimney sweepers on the 8th. and last float in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

Captain Hook and his pirates chasing Peter Pan around in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Abu, Aladdin’s pet monkey, playing cymbals in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Dancers in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

The parade would not be “soundsational” without energetic dancers in colourful dresses, like harlem girls, pinata ladies, ladies in Victorian dresses and can-can ladies. We enjoyed watching the parade all the time. I told myself that I was going to watch it again at 6.30 in the evening.

Genie and harlem girls from Aladdin dancing in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, Disneyland Park, Anaheim

Pinata ladies and flamencos dancing in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, Disneyland Parade, Anaheim, USA

Ladies in colourful dresses dancing, energetically, in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Ladies in Victorian dresses dancing, gracefully, in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Can-can dancers in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Ladies in blue dancing, happily, in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Disneyland Monorail(Tomorrowland)

When the grand parade was over we went to a monorail station in Tomorrowland. After queuing for half an hour, we boarded a monorail train and were on our way to the Downtown Disneyland Station, 4 km away. On the way we enjoyed the sights of Tomorrowland area and the fronts of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventures Park. Then we returned to Tomorrowland Monorail Station.

Tomorrowland Monorail Station, Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

General Electric’s Carousel of Progress as seen from the Tomorrowland Station, Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Writer experiencing a short monorail ride in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Entrance to Disney California Adventure Park as seen from a moving monorail train, Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, USA

Arrival area between Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park in Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, USA

“It’s a Small World” Boat Cruise(Fantasyland)

Immediately after the enjoyable monorail ride, we went to queue up for the “It’s a Small World” attraction. Twenty minutes later, we boarded a boat brought us down a canal and into a large building where a “small world” was. Inside the building, we past, slowly, several countries where children in their native clothes singing the beautiful, classic song, “It’s a Small World”, in their own languages. It was a wonderful experience for us as it brought us back to the time when we were children.

“It’s a Small World” building housing children in their native costumes in a small world

Visitors in boats sailing to a small world to see children in different countries in “It’s a Small World” in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Entrance to the small world in “It’s a Small World” in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Children in Switzerland in “It’s a Small World” in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Children in Kenya in “It’s a Small World” in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Children in Hawaii in “It’s a Small World” in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Children in Spain in “It’s a Small World” in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Children in Mexico in “It’s a Small World” in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Children in India in “It’s a Small World” in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

2nd. Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

Coming out of the building where the “small world” was and with the children’s classic song still playing in our heads, we went to look for a spot where we could have a better view of the 2nd. Mickey’s Soundsational Parade which was going to start soon. It was near the  At about 6.30 p.m. everybody heard a loud music being played and looked in the direction of Main Street, USA. Soon the parade appeared and we enjoyed watching it again. It was moving to the place where “It’s a Small World” was located where it would end.

A float carrying Walt Disney’s royal princesses and moving to “It’s a Small World” location in the 2nd. Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, Disneyland Park, Anaheim

The last float carrying chimney-sweepers in the 2nd. Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, Disneyland Park, Anaheim

Story Book Land Canal Boat Cruise(Fantasyland)

Next, we went to another place nearby for another boat ride in a winding canal in the open air to learn about the “Storybook Land”. It was a beautiful land where miniature buildings, villages, castle and landscapes that looked like those in Walt Disney’s classic movies, e.g. Cinderella, Snow White & the 7 Dwarfs, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid II, Alice in Wonderland, The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad and more.

Boat carrying passengers entering a large whale’s(Monstro’s) mouth that has swallowed Pinocchio in Storybook Land Canal attraction in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Storybook Land Canal along which mini-buildings representing homes of the Walt Disney’s animated characters in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Cinderella’s castle atop a white mountain in Storybook Land Canal attraction in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

The dwarfs’ cottage from Snow White & the 7 Dwarfs in Storybook Land Canal attraction in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

A sultan’s palace from Aladdin in Storybook Land Canal attraction in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Prince Eric and his wife, Ariel, living in this sea-side castle from The Little Mermaid II in Storybook Land Canal attraction, Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

A church, cottage and the White Rabbit’s hole from Alice in Wonderland in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Toad Hall from The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad in Storybook Land Canal attraction, Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

King Arthur Carousel(Fantasyland)

After the boat-ride we walked about near Sleeping Beauty Castle and were attracted to King Arthur Carousel. The carousel consisted of 68 wood-carved white horses that moved round and round in anti-clockwise direction, slowly. We waited for the carousel to stop and visitors to get off the horses. Then we climbed onto the horses, and soon we were galloping away as the carousel was moving round and round. Frankly speaking, that was my first carousel horse-ride experience and I enjoyed it.

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

King Arthur Carousel in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Visitors enjoying King Arthur Carousel ride in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Pinocchio’s Daring Journey(Fantasyland)

After that enjoyable carousel horse-ride, we looked around and noticed that there was a very short queue for the Pinocchio’s Daring Journey attraction. Soon we were in a wooden cart that brought us to follow Pinocchio’s daring journey starting from the Stromboli’s Marionette show to Pleasure Island, some places to see Pinocchio’s encounters, a sea where Monstro existed and finally Geppetto’s workshop where Pinocchio turned into a real boy and other objects became alive.  I think children would love that attraction.

Geppetto testing Pinocchio’s reflex action in Pinocchio’s Daring Journey attraction in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

A fox and cat trying to cheat Pinocchio of his gold coins meant for Geppetto, his creator, in Pinocchio’s Daring Journey attraction in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Peter Pan’s Flight(Fantasyland)

Then we went to an old English-looking building to experience Peter Pan’s flight. In the building we hopped into a miniature sailing ship. It brought us to Darling’s nursery, soared high above the rooftops of London in the moonlight and finally reached Neverland where Princess Tiger Lily, Mr. Smee, Tick-Tock and Captain Hook lived. It was an interesting Peter Pan’s flight.

Visitors entering this old English-looking building to experience Peter Pan;s Flight in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Sailing boats that can take visitors for a Peter Pan’s flight over old London in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Visitors in a sailing ship going to experience Peter Pan’s flight over old London in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Magical, A Firework Spectacular

The finale of the Disneyland Park day was a grand firework display at 9.30 p.m. over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Before it started, the area around the castle was already crowded with people. My wife and I took some time to look for a spot where we could have a clear, unobstructive view of the castle and firework that was going to be displayed soon. It was in a garden about 400 metres from the castle.

Several minutes later, fireworks with white, sparkling stars and bright lines behind them were shot into the dark sky over the Sleeping Beauty’s Castle from a few locations. The sky was continuously illuminated with more dazzling, vibrant, colourful fireworks of diverse shapes and sizes making all of us excited and thrilled almost all the time.

Then 80 seconds later Tinker Bell, a little fairy, appeared and flew above and around the castle for a brief moment. In the middle of the spectacular, magical firework display, Dumbo, a small elephant, appeared, and flew above and around the castle for a short while. Just before the display ended, Tinker Bell reappeared for another short moment. Then, finally, large multi-explosions of fireworks illuminating the sky over the castle. The awesome display of fireworks lasted for about 12 minutes and had made us feel awestricken all the time. It was a magical night experience.

Fireworks bursting high over Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Colourful “meteors” high over Sleeping Beauty Castle and Tinker Bell flying around the castle in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Continuous burst of fireworks high over Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Massive fireworks exploding around and over Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Dumbo flying around Sleeping Beauty Castle and a firework exploding in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

“Meteors” rocketing into the sky over Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Beautiful fireworks high over Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Beautiful fireworks brightening the sky with sparkles over Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

Continuous burst of fireworks brightening the sky over Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Park, Anaheim, USA

When the firework display was all over, we and other visitors left Disneyland Park, feeling satisfied and happy.

Visitors leaving Disneyland Park after the grand, awesome display of fireworks, “Magical, Fireworks Spaectacular”, Anaheim, USA

(Continued in USA West Coast Travel Part VII (Los Angeles City))

Written by Choo Chaw, Kluang, Johor, Malaysia

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U.S.A West Coast Travel:

Part I    San Francisco City

Part II  San Francisco, Fresno. Las Vegas

Part III Grand Canyon

Part IV  Las Vegas City

Part V   Premium Outlets in S, California

Part VI  Disneyland Resort, Anaheim

Part VII Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles

Part VIII Universal Studios Hollywood

Part IX   Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park

USA West Coast Travel Part V (Premium Outlets in S. California)

USA West Coast Travel Part V

Premium Outlets in S. California

Day 7(Thursday, 28.5.2014)

Las Vegas City – Primm(68 km)

Journey from Las Vegas to San Bernardino on Day 7

Iconic “Welcome” Sign

We had already stayed in Las Vegas City for two days enjoying the sights and sounds of the city and seen the Grand Canyon with an awesome scenery in Arizona. Before we left the city on Day 7, we went to the city iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign on the edge of the city and near McCarran International Airport. It was designed by Betty Willis and put up there by Western Neon in 1959.

McCarran International Airport near Las Vegas’ iconic “Welcome” in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Photos for Remembrance

Some members in our tour group took photos in front of the sign. My wife and I took one with an Elvis Presley impersonator, Mark, as you can see him in a photo below.

Writer and wife with Elvis Presley impersonator in front of Las Vegas’ iconic “Welcome” sign

Dr. Chua and family in front of Las Vegas’ iconic “Welcome” sign, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Tan Poh Boo and wife in front of Las Vegas’ iconic “Welcome” sign, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Kenny Cheng and family in front of Las Vegas’ “Welcome” sign, Nevada, USA

Chee Meng and wife in front of Las Vegas’ iconic “Welcome” sign, Nevada, USA

Fashion Outlets, Primm

Later, we left the place for a premium outlet, Fashion Outlets. We travelled south-west from Las Vegas City for about 68 km before we reached a Nevada border town, Primm, where Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas was located.

Tour group leaving Las Vegas in Nevada for Primm, a Nevada border town, on Day 7

Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas, a shopping mall, at Primm Town, Nevada, USA

Layout of stores of Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas at Primm Town, Nevada, USA

Like any outer outlets, it was a shopping mall selling accessories, jewellery, apparels, footwear and more. Most of them were  of American brands, like Levi’s, Nike, Calvin Klein, Timberland, Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, Samsonite, Skechers, Coach, etc. We spent about 3 hours and 30 minutes there and thought that the shopping time was too long. Besides, we did not have much money to buy American products.

Nike Store at Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas

Calvin Klein Store at Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas

Levi’s Store at Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas

Tommy Hilfiger Store at Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas

Luggage Store at Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas

Tanger Outlets, Barstow

At 2 p.m. we left the Outlets and continued our journey south-westwards on Interstate 15 Freeway in the hot Mojave Desert. At 4 p.m. we reached Barstow Town and stopped at another shopping mall, Tanger Outlets, which we had visited earlier. We stopped there for about an hour for those tour members who wanted to buy some American products which they had not bought earlier. Then we left for San Bernardino in the south-west of Barstow. After an hour of travelling on the same freeway, we saw for the first time, after spending a few days at places in Mojave Desert, mountains covered with forests. They were in Angeles National Forest near San Bernardino.

Tanger Outlets at Barstow Town in the hot Mojave Desert revisited by the tour group on Day 7

Mountains covered with forests in Angeles National Forest near San Bernardino in southern California, USA

Home Town Buffet, San Bernardino

At 6.20 p.m. we arrived at San Bernardino Town and stopped at a restaurant, Home Town Buffet Restaurant, where we had a buffet dinner consisting of an array of different types of food. In the middle of our dinner, we were amused when a friendly restaurant assistant, Augustine, showed us his creative food art, as you can see it in the photo below.

Tour group having dinner at Home Town Buffet Restaurant at Barstow Town in southern California

A simple buffet dinner at Home Town Buffet Restaurant at Barstow Town in southern California

Augustne, a Home Town Buffet Restaurant assistant, proudly, showing off his food creativity to the tour group

Hilton Garden Inn, San Bernardino

Then we left the restaurant and went to Hilton Garden Inn in the town where we stayed overnight.

Tour group staying overnight at Hilton Garden Inn at San Bernardino on Day 7

Tour group staying overnight at Hilton Garden Inn at San Bernardino in southern California, USA

Day 8(Friday, 29.5.2014)

Desert Hills Premium Outlets, Palm Springs

At 9.30 in the morning of Day 8, we left Hilton Garden Inn in San Bernardino and headed south to Palm Springs where we went to another shopping mall, Desert Hills Premium Outlets, consisting of 180 stores.

Tour group getting ready to leave San Bernardino for Anaheim in southern California, USA

Wang, the tour coach driver, recording his trips in his log book, daily

When we arrived at the outlets we noticed that the stores were selling American products, and most of them were similar to those  at other outlets we had gone to. Our travel agency thought we, Malaysians, were crazy shoppers and had lots of money to spend! But we could afford to buy one or two items only as the exchange rate between American Dollar and Malaysian Ringgit was high.

Entrance to Desert Hills Premium Outlets near Palm Springs in southern California, USA

A hot and quiet afternoon at Desert Premium Outlets near Palm Springs in southern California, USA

Coach Store at Desert Hills Premium Outlets near Palm Springs, California, USA

Jimmy Choo Store at Desert Hills Premium Outlets near Palm Springs, California, USA

Guess Store at Desert Hills Premium Outlets near Palm Springs, California, USA

We were quite displeased with the agency as they made us stay at that quiet outlets for more than six hours in the hot desert weather with a temperature of 38 degrees. I think the agency should consider not more than two premium outlets visits in the hot Mojave Desert in their travel itinerary for their future customers.

Writer’s wife(L) and couple resting and feeling bored at Desert Hills Premium Outlets near Palm Springs, California, USA

Departure for Anaheim

At 4.30 p.m., after long hours of unbearable heat at the quiet Desert Hills Premium Outlets, we, happily, left for Anaheim Town in Orange County. We travelled on the same route again, Interstate 15 Freeway, but we were crossing hilly areas then.

Interstate 15 Freeway crossing hilly areas to Anaheim, southern California, USA

Marriott Suites Hotel, Anaheim

At 6 p.m. we arrived at a hotel, Marriott Suites, in Anaheim Town. When we entered our respective rooms we were pleased to see the cosy rooms.

Marriott Suites Hotel, Anaheim, California, USA

A cosy bedroom in Marriott Suites Hotel, Anaheim, California, USA

A comfortable sitting room adjacent to a bedroom in Marriott Suites Hotel, Anaheim, California, USA

Dinner at Grand China Restaurant, Anaheim

After leaving our luggage in our rooms, we walked to a nearby restaurant, Grand China Restaurant, to have dinner. Our tour guide, Jay Ho, led us to the place.

Jay Ho, the group tour guide, giving direction to Grand China Restaurant where dinner is served, Anaheim, California, USA

Grand China Restaurant where tour group have dinner near Marriott Suites Hotel, Anaheim, California, USA

During the dinner I took the opportunity to take photos of our fellow tour members for remembrance. I was glad they were happy to have their photos taken. You may see them below. After dinner we went back to the hotel and stayed, comfortably, overnight there.

Wai Yean and wife, the oldest couple, are members of the tour group

Richard Ong and wife are members of the tour group

Jun Pow and wife are members of the tour group

Poh Boo and wife are members of the tour group

Chee Meng and wife are members of the tour group

Dr. Chua and family are members of the tour group

Kenny and family are members of the tour group

(Continued in USA West Coast Travel Part VI (Disneyland Resort, Anaheim))

Written by Choo Chaw, Kluang, Johor, Malaysia

Previous / Home / Next
U.S.A West Coast Travel:

Part I    San Francisco City

Part II  San Francisco, Fresno. Las Vegas

Part III Grand Canyon

Part IV  Las Vegas City

Part V   Premium Outlets in S, California

Part VI  Disneyland Resort, Anaheim

Part VII Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles

Part VIII Universal Studios Hollywood

Part IX   Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park