The requisite photo diary of any California tourist. I’m not a big fan of Disney and actually had no plans of going to Disneyland, but my dad insisted. I’m glad he did ‘cause it turned out to be fun—before I realized how much of the Disney culture I didn’t agree with, I got to watch all of the movies and am familiar with all the songs and the characters, so there was much nostalgia. Out of literally a thousand photos, here are some highlights.
As we were making our way inside, we saw this lovely Korean couple who just got married! “And they lived happily ever after,” we hope.
Walt Disney had a well-known passion for trains, so it was no wonder that it’s the mode of transportation around the theme park. There was also a monorail, but this one was preferred by most of the guests as it was like riding a toy train.
On the boat cruising through Storybook Land. It featured 3D miniatures of villages, cities and other settings of various Disney movies.
Agrabah. Jasmine’s palace against the marketplace where Aladdin hung out as a street rat.
One of the awesome 4D rides was Star Tours by Star Wars, with R2D2 and C3PO as flight crew members who mistakenly take off without the pilot. The spacecraft ends up moving more like a magic carpet—soaring, tumbling, freewheeling through space.
Trying out different hats while waiting for the world-famous fireworks display.
Narrated by my favorite Julie Andrews, the lights danced and exploded in the air as various sound bytes from Disney movies and theme park rides were heard all over the park. Took these photos with one hand while my iPhone was taking videos on the other!
And then, there’s Universal. Now this one, I was really excited about. As someone who works in the media industry, I looked forward to the Studio Tour and see the giant sets, props and special effects equipment that Hollywood uses to make movie magic.
We passed through villages and streets where they actually film hundreds of movies and television shows—moving the trees and road signs around and adding a few props here and there to make the location look like whatever place and era they wanted it to look.
But when seen from the back, they’re all just backdrops and facades!
This was the city hall in Back to the Future.
Wisteria Lane, where the Desperate Housewives live.
Generic-looking establishments could be painted and re-decorated to look like a different country or even a different planet.
Jaws, up close and personal. The fires (and the panicked yells of everyone) were real.
We passed through a subway station when suddenly, this tanker starts coming out of nowhere and flying toward us! What would disaster movies be like without hydraulic technology in Hollywood?
One of the Jurassic Park vehicles in a decomposing T-rex.
Speaking of vehicles, here are some famous stars: From The Mummy Returns, Magnum P.I., Knight Rider, and Back To The Future.
One of my favorites (partly because Seph is a former street racer and such a die-hard The Fast & The Furious fan)—as we were pulling up by the Tokyo Drift section, these cars that were supposed to show us drifting stunts started getting shot at. Suddenly, an explosion! The cars were hurled forward upon impact and looked as if they were about to fly toward us. Again, hydraulics saved the day! The last two frames are of the cars dancing—yes, dancing—to Pitbull’s “Gasolina” before taking a bow.
Mr. Bean’s mini Cooper on the London strip of Universal.
Some of the attractions based on movies: Waterworld, featuring professional actors performing aerial, water and fire stunts. How many of these below can you recognize? :)
At the end of the day, I took photos of my parents for being Love Chic Senior: matching from head to toe, yihee!
We actually had so much fun that we went back the very next day! We had an Annual Pass, which means for the whole of 2012, we could come back anytime we want for free. (Of course, excluding plane tickets, haha).
We basically did the same things except for the Animal Actors and strolling in the town square, which we didn’t get to do the day before. I swear this dog looks exactly like mine. Isn’t she so cute?
On the day of my birthday, we were supposed to go to church and then stay home and rest. But since we were already in town, we decided to do an impromptu exploration of Hollywood.
We took this train, and apparently, not even our relatives here have tried commuting. Most people here either drive or walk, but their trains are actually very efficient and cost-effective, not to mention traffic-free!
Spotted a shooting of the next Glee Project when we got to Hollywood. I’ve done producing work for a reality show here in the Philippines and this got me excited! I was gonna take more shots and maybe try to go inside but of course it was off-limits.
We didn’t get to cover everything, because touring Hollywood and its neighbors (Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills) requires a lot of planning and coordination with tour guides beforehand. But there’s always next time! :)