Archive for the 'Griffith Park' Category

Disneyland, One Last Time

After our sightseeing in Los Angeles which included seeing WALL•E at the El Capitan Theatre then seeing our engraved paving stone in front of Ollie Johnston’s train station near the Disney Tunnel in Griffith Park, we got back to our room at the Disneyland Hotel as the sun was starting to set. Here’s the view from our room of that:

The construction crane (in the above picture on the right and the picture below in the center) is being used in the expansion of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel. If the hotel wasn’t there, we’d also have a great view of Disney’s California Adventure.

After freshening up, we headed out through Downtown Disney to spend one last time that trip in Disneyland.

If  you count us going to the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood on the previous day, we actually did take time to see a movie on this Disney vacation… we just didn’t do it in this very conveniently-located AMC Theater in Downtown Disney.

We were in luck! Monorail Red came into the Downtown Disney monorail station after a short wait and we were able to take it into Tomorrowland at Disneyland.

Gates keep new passengers behind a  half-fence until all the passengers get off of the monorail.

Here we are, inside the monorail, looking through the open door and a partially-open window. That’s the maximum amount the windows will open — designed to prevent Guests from jumping out (amazing that one has to do things to stop stupid people from doing things like that). However, it was quickly learned that the interior of the monorail would get way too hot in the California sun, so these windows will be redesigned/replaced with ones that slide down, like the older monorails’ windows.

A big tip of the mouse-eared hat to the designer of the backlit Disneyland Monorail logo!

How would Guests get out through these windows in an emergency?

There’s the Main Street Train Station as we speed along towards Tomorrowland’s monorail station.

We hadn’t seen Mickey’s Toontown at night, so we walked there first. Sadly, Roger Rabbit’s CarToon Spin was already closed for the night.

His wacky fountain was still lit up and running!

One last look over our shoulder at the ToonTown hills and Mickey’s ToonTown itself.

Approaching the Matterhorn, with Michael shooting a video of it.

It is great to see that they still draw portraits of Guests in a courtyard at New Orleans Square…

…and how faithful Walt Disney was in recreating a bit of the French Quarter at Disneyland.

This is near the back of New Orleans Square, with the restrooms down the alley on the right and the Frontierland/New Orleans Square train station behind us.

Gotta go on one last ride at Pirates of the Caribbean!

“We wants the redhead!”

“Quiet, ya scums!”

Main Street USA is ablaze with the new-fangled turn-of-the-century invention, the incandescent lightbulb.

Any Hidden Mickey’s in the arrangement of flowers there in Town Square?

One last look at floral Mickey and the Main Street Train Station, with Tinker Bell aglow…

…as she gives us a “goodnight kiss” of pixie dust. A farewell Disneyland memory of this trip.

The picture above and the two below combine to make a panoramic last look at the entrance to Disney’s California Adventure.

There are plans to change this entry way so this might be the last time we see it with our own eyes this way.

And now, one last walk through the exit of the plaza between DCA and Disneyland…

As we enter Downtown Disney for the last time this trip…

…we see a poignant message from three of our favorite Disney Characters…

We hope to seeya real soon, too, guys!

Each entrance to the giant World of Disney store is decorated differently.

It was hard to resist going in one last time, but we had an early plane to catch the next morning — and packing to do before then.

Bye-bye, World of Disney!

One last walk through Downtown Disney.

And then, all too soon, a last nighttime view of the Disneyland Hotel.

I can see our room from here!

Tired, but happy after a wonderful vacation that ended all too soon, before sunrise on Saturday morning I drove our rented SUV to in front of the Disneyland Hotel lobby where we had just checked out.

Goodbye, Disneyland Hotel! You’re… the best! 8=o)

Goodbye, California! We’ll be back… sometime!

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Disney Tunnel at Griffith Park

We were last at Walt’s Barn in Griffith Park on our Easter trip. We went back to take a look at the paving stone we donated to the landscaping project around Ollie Johnston’s train station there. We not only found that but also found the Walt Disney Tunnel there at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California.

Want to see it? I’ll have more about it, including a picture down below in this blog entry. I had a feeling that title and opening sentence would get your attention!

The Carolwood Pacific Historical Society offers regular tours of Walt Disney’s barn on the third Sunday of each month — in Griffith Park in Los Angeles. See the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society for more details.

That’s Walt’s Barn and Walt adjusting his Lilly Belle locomotive in the backyard of his house, in this photo on display inside Walt’s Barn. Take a look at our earlier trip report about our other visit to Walt’s Barn during Easter week. After clicking here, go to each of the following pages of that trip report where it says “Walt’s barn >>” in the upper right of the blog entry’s column.

During this visit, Carol helped the Carolwood society out by folding t-shirts in Walt’s barn. Michael and I voluntEARed but there wasn’t much for us to do, other than sweep the walkway near Ollie Johnston’s train station and remove pine straw from its roof. We were glad to help in any way we could!

Ollie Johnston’s train station has had landscaping and paving stones added around it since our last visit.

And a windowbox has been added inside the front window as well, including an electric lamp in the window.

In the picture above and below you can see the paving stones and concrete which have been added since the last time we were last there. Starting closest to the station’s door, the paver is inscribed “Ollie & Marie Johnston” and below that one is an engraved marker showing “Frank & Jeanette Thomas.”

The one on the lower left as you’re facing the train station is ours!

It is engraved with the words

RICH KOSTER

CAROL KOSTER

MICHAEL KOSTER

We never got ourselves a paving stone at Walt Disney World or Disneyland when there was an opportunity to do that, but I like the setting of this one even better.

Ours is placed alongside Disney notables and fellow members of the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society who donated to this project. From left to right, below the two markers for Ollie & Marie Johnston and Frank & Jeanette Thomas, are these:

Tom Shafer, Jr. // Oscar Urrutia // Les & Judy Smout Foundation // Rich & Teya Johnston // Ken & Carolyn Johnston // Ward & Betty Kimball // John Lasseter // Michael & Sharon Broggie // Roger Broggie // Herbert A. & Kathryn Dymond

Jim & Nancy Cotterman // Ella M. Witter, Marc George Witter, Matthew R. Witter // Bob Gurr // Walt Disney Family // Tony Baxter // Bob Lemberger // Michael Campbell & Family // Fred S. Lack, III // Peter & Patti Finie //

Rich Koster, Carol Koster, Michael Koster // James P. Klitch & Family // Gary Oakland // Austin Meyers // William D. Barbe // David Krebs // Blake & Sherolyn Thomas // Carl & Lois Lehman // Robert & Rita, Robert A. & Daniel Cisneros // Steve Waller

Over in a little-seen portion of the track system in Griffith Park is a hidden-away tunnel…

…marked with a plaque above it.

The Disney Tunnel is near the “Disney Loop” at Griffith Park and is curved like Walt’s own backyard tunnel was — but not as much. Walt’s Carolwood Pacific railroad at his Holmby Hills estate was designed with a curve that made it impossible to see light at the opposite end of the tunnel.

Update to add more information that Bill Barbe sent to me today: “The Disney loop was the original inner loop that is just inside the main part of the facility.  When the club expanded west they put in the three tunnels. The Disney Loop is the most inner loop in the club.  It goes around the infield area around the barn and inside between the storage building and the passenger cars.”

And additional information from Fred S. Lack III: “Walt Disney donated his track in 1964 and it was put in place in 1966. Walt was invited to the ceremony in September of 1966 but declined because he was too busy. (Walt died 3 months later) The Disney Loop starts at New Sherwood Station and goes around behind the car barns and down around the Disney Barn. The track was made out of aluminum and wore out and was replaced with the current steel track.”

Bill believes “they named it Disney Tunnel because it came off the Disney loop and Disney was a Charter Member of the club.”

Fred adds: “The city donated more land to Los Angeles Live Steamers in the early 1980’s. To reach this land, Los Angeles Live Steamers had to tunnel under the horse trail that still exists today. The tunnels, named for early members of the Los Angeles Live Steamers, were built out of old culvert pipes. They were not meant to be the shape of Walt’s tunnel. Since the west end is connected with the Disney Loop, I presume it was named for Walt. The tunnels were built about 1984.” 

I big tip of the mouse-eared hat to both Bill and Fred! 8=o)

Michael Broggie wrote to add: “Yes, when Walt was a member of the LA Live Steamers he donated the funds to create the tunnel and donated the track from his Carolwood Pacific RR.”

A tip of the mouse-eared hat to you, too, Michael! 8=o)

Something used by Walt on his original home layout remains in the Griffith Park layout to this day… but I’ve been sworn to secrecy not to tell what that is, for security reasons (so it won’t be stolen and sold on eBay). Join the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society and you might find out what it is!

We enjoyed our second visit to see Walt’s Barn and Ollie Johnston’s train station — and were glad to see how well the paving stones around it turned out (including the great honor of having ours among Disney luminaries as well).

A last look at Griffith Park before we headed back to the Disneyland Hotel.

You’ll find out about that and our last visit to the parks in the next entry to this travel blog.

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Lunch at Disney’s Soda Fountain & Studio Store

After enjoying the WALL•E movie and the Disney stage show at the El Capitan Theatre, we entered directly into Disney’s Soda Fountain & Studio Store. This was the second time we had been there this year — and we love it!

Hidden Mickey (okay, maybe not so hidden) in the section of the store with Hollywood-themed Disney items. See how many “Hidden” Mickey’s you can spot in the picture below!

A large portion of the Studio Store area of the Soda Fountain shop was devoted to WALL•E merchandise.

I bought one of those BnL (Buy n Large) coffee mug (lower right of the picture) and they really are large! Carol got a large souvenEAR Disney’s Soda Fountain & Studio Shop coffee mug.

Lunch was great! Good thing we didn’t overdo it on the popcorn during the movie.

Check out the mouse-eared bread bowl of New England Clam Chowder that Michael ate out of!

You’re guaranteed to be seeing Hollywood starts in Disney’s Soda Fountain & Studio Store!

Did you see Goofy up there?

The WALL•E  Sundae looked real cute, but we were already stuffed. We didn’t want to look even more like the humans in the movie! 😉

If we had ordered that, we would have needed BnL hoverchairs to get us out of there! 8=o)

Next, we drove to see Walt’s Barn again in Griffith Park. And we discovered something else there as well… Take a look in the next entry on this travel blog!

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Going to see WALL•E at the El Capitan Theatre

We set off Friday morning from the Disneyland Hotel to see WALL•E at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles and do sightseeing in the area, too.

There’s a billboard promoting the new Toy Story Midway Mania attraction at Disney’s California Adventure.

…and another one.

A smoggy skyline.

Traffic was heavier than we expected, based on what we had during Easter week!

There’s the exit for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles. If we hadn’t gotten a late start that morning — and if the traffic hadn’t been so heavy — we would have gone to see it.

Michael took this shot from the back seat. He didn’t get much of a view ahead of him!

The famous intersection of Hollywood and Vine

The “Hollywood” sign can be seen off in the distance looking across the street from the Kodak Theatre, near Disney’s El Capitan Theatre. (Click this picture or any of them to see them larger.)

The Kodak Theatre complex is across the street from the El Capitan Theatre and also includes a shopping mall and underground parking garage, the best place to park when going to see movie in the El Cap — and that’s where we parked.

We took a picture of a nearby landmark to help us find the rented SUV after we were through.

A giant WALL•E atop the El Capitan marquee was the first thing we saw before crossing the street after parking.

Here’s another view of it, taken as we were leaving after the movie. Apparently a TV interview was being done there.

In the next blog entry we’ll cross the street and be right outside the El Capitan Theatre, then go in!

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Renting a Car Friday morning for Sightseeing

I got up Friday and even before getting breakfast I headed to the Alamo office in Downtown Disney to rent a car for us which I had reserved for our day of sightseeing in Los Angeles. Actually, it was upgraded to an SUV.

From the Disneyland Hotel, walk across the pedestrian bridge then take the first right on the pathways, near this building.

Walk past the Walt Disney Travel Company office.

Continue walking past the Travelers Insurance Company office… the Alamo car rental office is right next door, on the end.

If you go too far, turn around and you’ll see this. 😉

 

The SUV Alamo assigned to us was parked nearby.

I made sure to bring an iPhone car charger with us so we could alternate charging our iPhones while riding to keep both of them fully charged. Having the Google maps app on our iPhones helped us out when we got list on the way to the El Capitan Theatre. I had originally set up our route to take us to see the Walt Disney Studios first before the movie but since we got a later start than planned that morning, plus there was more tradfis than we had experienced during Easter week, we were running late and had to revise the turn by turn directions on the go.

The SUV had some minor dings, which I documented with my iPhone’s camera and then showed the pictures to the clerk in the Alamo office just to make sure I wouldn’t be charged for having created them after I returned the SUV the next day.

There was plenty of room in the rear for luggage, which is good because we were also going to use this vehicle to bring us and our luggage to the Orange County airport early the next morning. I like the convenience and good customer service Alamo has: It is easy to walk to Alamo’s office in Downtown Disney to rent a car. They keep their cars in the large parking lot right next to their office, the same lot also shared with Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel. It actually is more convenient when staying in the Disneyland Hotel tower we were in to park in that lot rather than the official one for the Disneyland Hotel, but I’m not sure if that is allowed after you first drive the rental car out of the parking lot.

It is very convenient to drop off a car from Alamo at the Orange County airport. They have a parking area in the airport’s parking garage where you can leave it and put the keys and rental information in a drop box if your flight is before their office opens, like ours was. Then you just wheel your luggage to a nearby elevator and go across to the terminal to check in. It is too bad that Disney’s Magical Express only exists at Walt Disney World, but this is okay. We could have paid for a shuttle to take us to the airport, but we needed to rent a car to drive to places in Los Angeles anyway so this worked out fine. I like being able to drive off from the hotel when we are ready to go, rather than having to follow a shuttle’s schedule.

This was the first SUV I had ever driven and if this Pontiac Torrent SUV is like most of the rest of them, I’d rather be in my Honda Accord or Honda Odyssey “Minnie” van. Even the midsize car we had during Easter week was preferable to me — and got better mileage, too.

It was also the first time we experienced XM radio. What we really wanted to hear was Rush Limbaugh on AM Radio, but it was hard to figure out how to change to that radio band without having the SUV’s instruction manual left for us inside there.

Our room can be seen right from where the Alamo office is, we’re that close. Our room was to the right of the elevator shaft, about in the middle of this picture.

Carol and Michael were still getting ready for the day back in our room, so I had time to go into the Walt Disney Travel Company nearby and take pictures.

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Disney PhotoPass

Today I finished up adding logos/frames etc. to our Disney PhotoPass photos and then ordered the Disneyland Photo CD for $59.95.

I uploaded the professionally-shot photos from our Easter Disneyland vacation plus a couple we took ourselves, then created a photo book on the PhotoPass website — there was a $20 discount available for that (the promotional code is SUMMERBOOK) so that wound up costing $49.95 for the book.

 

 

Click the images below to see them larger. These are just screenshots — the actually photo book pages will be much larger and sharper — so I’ll put captions below each image to help you know what text is on each page.


Our Disney Memories – Koster Disneyland Resort Easter & July 2008 Trips

 

 

On the left, the inside of the front cover. I don’t really know what it will look like until the book arrives, so I made it white for this representation of it. On the right, the text says “In 2008 we had a great Easter week vacation at Disneyland. We had such a wonderful time we went back to see more in July!”

 

Left:
Easter week is a great time to be there. The weather was nice and cool and it wasn’t too crowded.
The flowers and trees were in bloom. Even Tink was there!

Right:
When we returned in July, Tink greeted us again!
Can you guess which one of us isn’t quite believing Tink landed in our hands?

 

Left:
Michael enjoyed getting a mouse-eared hat complete with flashing LED lights.

Right:
It was Michael’s first time at Disneyland.
Mickey is pointing out that Michael won unlimited FastPasses as a Year of a Million Dreams prize!

 

Left:
Where Dreams Come True.
Disneyland Resort

Right:
Even after a week at the Disneyland Resort, we didn’t see it all — because we also enjoyed southern California sightseeing which included seeing Walt’s train barn. So we decided to return for five more days in July! We even had time to see WALL-E at the El Capitan Theatre along with a Disney stage show there.

 

Left:
In July we met up with some old friends again . . .
. . . like Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, Goofy and Stitch!

 

Right:
We were glad we went back because we were able to finish up enjoying everything in the resort.

 

Left:
We spent plenty of time in Disney’s California Adventure during the July trip, riding everything we wanted to and seeing many things which will be changed or removed soon.

Right:
We all rode Soarin’ over California for the 2nd time (the first time was during Easter week) and the Sun Wheel plus Toy Story Midway Mania.
Carol and Rich even rode California Screamin’ and enjoyed it!

(No captions)

 

Left:
We stayed in July at the Disneyland Hotel on this side of the Dreams tower facing Downtown Disney. It was a free upgrade from the mountain view we had at Easter, because there wasn’t going to be electric power in the Magic Tower for most of the first night. C-PAP Magic!

Right:
Disney Magic happened watching WALL-E and the stage show at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, then we ate at Disney’s ice cream parlor next door.
Next we toured Walt Disney’s train barn again, did volunteer work and saw our engraved paving stone.

Left:
The end of a Disney vacation can come all too early, so it was with us.
We had to leave this wonderful place which had become a home away from home for us.
We spent one last night at Disneyland, enjoying “Wishes” fireworks from the front porch of Haunted Mansion, a last farewell to Captain Jack Sparrow at Pirates of the Caribbean, our last professional photos at night in front of the Castle and in front of the Train Station with Tink spreading Pixie Dust behind us.

Right:
We literally said goodbye to everything that night. Our Disney Rewards magically saved us money!

 

(No captions)

Our Christmas Card

Click the image to see the card much larger.

On the left, the front of the folded card. In the middle, the left of the inside of the card. On the right, the right of the inside of the card, where it says “We wish you a Merry Christmas and a magical, blessed New Year.
Rich, Carol and Michael Koster”

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Friday, Aug. 1st: A Magical Disney Day, then home Saturday

The end of a Disney vacation can come all too early, so it is with us.  No sooner have we acclimated to the two hour time zone difference from Louisiana and adopted this wonderful place as a home away from home than we have to leave it for Rich to return to work and son to start school next week and a Boy Scout meeting this Tuesday night.

Sigh.

But we had many Magical Disney Days — especially Friday!

Never saw year of a Million Dreams Prize patrol, but Disney Magic happened for us watching “Wall-E” at the El Capitan movie theater in Hollywood.  We toured Walt Disney’s Train Barn at Griffith Park again and even did volunteer work there for the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society which preserves Walt Disney’s and his other animator’s hobby trains for all to enjoy.  And we managed to spend one last night at Disneyland, enjoying “Wishes” fireworks from the front porch of Haunted Mansion, Bengal BBQ counter service, a last farewell to Captain Jack Sparrow at Pirates of the Caribbean, two last professional photos at night in front of the Castle and in front of the Train Station with Tinker Bell spreading Pixie Dust behind us.  We said goodbye to everything we passed, literally. and then we gave our Disney Visa Dream Rewards Card to the front desk to be sure to devote all of them to our hotel bill, some of the best magic of all, saving a few bucks!

Big highlight of Friday:  Seeing “Wall-E” at the El Capitan Theatre.  What a “Wow!” experience the organist and stage show were!  The movie itself is Oscar-caliber.  The theater is magnificent, historic, fabulously beautiful.  Took pictures and video of the show and organist.  Ate lunch next door at the Disney Soda Fountain and bought “Wall-E” and ice cream shop souvenirs.  The movie at the El Cap was a Disney Dream of mine to see, and to see it at the El Capitan exceeded our expectations by a kajillion!

But as the Mickey Mouse Club song goes at the end of the show, “…now it’s time to say goodbye to all our company…  M I C, Seeya real soon!  K E Y…  Why?  Because we like Disneyland!  M O U S EEEEEEE…!”

6:45 am PDT or 8:45 am CDT or 9:45 am EST or 2:45 pm London time (take your pick what you related to best) flight Saturday morning, gotta pack and return rental car at the airport and fly away home.  Rich has to work that afternoon and night at the TV station in New Orleans and Sunday too. Sad to go home, really sad.  But you’ve left Disney parks for home before too, and, well…  You know the drill…  Never say never, but say instead “Someday, yes, someday…”

Seeya on the flip side.

Be patient with us about posting, since Rich has to work right away and son returns to school.  We will be posting, just when we can.

See y’all! 

-Carol Koster

-From Rich: There will be blog entries detailing — with pictures — what we did on Friday. It was quite a day!
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This website is not affiliated with any part of The Walt Disney Company.

The Disney Echo at DisneyEcho.emuck.com is your interactive online magazine to discover new wonders and share magical Disney memories.

The display on this page is set up to show the posts in reverse chronological order of when they were posted originally, so if you want to read the reports from the beginning, go to the last post on the last page and work forward. The first entry about the Koster family's July 2008 Disneyland trip can be found by clicking here and the first entry about their Easter 2008 Disneyland trip can be found by selecting this link.

That link goes to the very first travel-related article on this website: Welcome to our Trip Report.

The entry made after that first one is found after clicking the link named "Our Vacation Plans At-A-Glance" and that link is found above and below the first entry.

The third entry is similarly found after clicking the link above and below the second one, where the link is named "Packing Up"

One can read all the travel-related entries in the order they were posted by going to the next entry and the next entry the same way. Otherwise, this website defaults to displaying the most-recently-posted entries followed by older entries below it on the page as well as on the pages after it.

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FTC-Mandated Disclosure: As of December 2009, bloggers are required by the Federal Trade Commission to disclose payments and freebies. Unless otherwise noted, Rich Koster did not receive any payments, free items, or free services from any of the parties discussed in these articles. He pays for his own admission to theme parks and their associated events, unless otherwise explicitly noted.

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