On June 5, 2012 it was announced that Adventures by Disney would be offering a new tour. This tour explored the magic of Hollywood and is appropriately named “Lights…Camera…Magic!” This one day tour offers adventurers a look at many of the icons that are so closely related to Hollywood and the world of movie magic. On August 2nd, a select group of media were invited to experience this tour (the exact tour that every other guest receives). Here is a look at what the “Lights…Camera…Magic!” tour covers:
The day begins at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa when the group meets in the lobby shortly before 8 AM. After a brief introduction, coffee, and a bagel; everyone was loaded aboard a coach bus and driving towards Los Angeles. The guides, Hanneke and Natalia shared random tidbits about the drive (aka University Southern California, Staples Center, Hollywood sign, etc.) between the Adventures by Disney videos and classic Disney cartoons.
The first stop of the day for this tour was at the Hollywood & Highland Center. This is the home of the, now named, Dolby Theatre. Grauman’s Chinese Theater is located here as well. This stop included tours of both the outside of the center, a chance for every guest to get their picture taken with their own Hollywood Walk of Fame star, a brief opportunity to visit Grauman’s Chinese Theater (some tours focus on this theater), and finally the Dolby Theatre.
The Dolby Theatre is home to the Academy Awards and also the Cirque du Soleil show Iris. The tour of this location was led by an employee of the Dolby Theatre. It began with a walk through of what celebrities would experience as they enter on the night of the Academy Awards, including a look at their private lounge. The tour then moves up several floors and into the seats where the Academy Awards are viewed live by members of the Academy. Set pieces from Iris could be seen on the stage below. The facts were told in story form by the guide, keeping things interesting for all ages.
Following the tour of the Dolby Theatre, everyone piled back aboard the bus for the scenic tour of Hollywood, the Sunset Strip, and Rodeo Drive. The microphone was passed off to the bus drive Don for this part of the adventure. Many of the well known sights of “Tinsel Town” were included in this part of the tour that ended at the Original Farmers Market that happens to be right next to The Grove. Here, everyone was handed a gift certificate to go and get lunch from one of the many stalls found at the Farmers Market. With nearly an hour and a half for lunch, there was plenty of time to eat, explore, and quickly shop before returning to the bus.
Once back aboard the bus, it was time to move on to the Walt Disney Studios. This bus ride passed by many of the well known name studios in the area including the Warner Bros. lots and also NBC lots where Jay Leno films The Tonight Show. As the bus weaved through the hills and streets, a video was played that shared the history of the Walt Disney Studios.
The Walt Disney Studios will be a highlight for any adventurer who takes this tour. The tour includes history behind different parts of the studios before actually getting to stroll through some iconic buildings that are living pieces of Disney history. The first stop on the tour was at Pluto’s Corner. This is one, of many, iconic locations found at the Walt Disney Studios. After an overview of the area, a few minutes were structured in for photos. Following this, the tour moved to the old Animation Building. Guests were allowed to take photos inside, with a few restrictions to protect privacy of the people working there. Then guests were led down into “the morgue.” This is a unique underground passage that led to the Camera building. The name for this passage clearly comes from the style and feel of the tunnels. Once outside and in the sunlight again, the tour continued through the studios with a brief break taken to shop at the Studio Store. This is a unique opportunity to get merchandise from around the Walt Disney Company and also some that is exclusive to the Walt Disney Studios.
Following the shopping break, the tour was given a unique treat. It was actually taken inside of one of the sound stages* where Body of Proof is filmed. A stage manager was there to share information and answer questions. This was an incredible opportunity to see first hand where television shows and movies are filmed. In fact, this stage had originally been built for the television show Dragnet and films like Mary Poppins, Armageddon, and some of the Pirates flicks had all utilized this stage.
The next stop on the tour of the Walt Disney Studios was the Frank G. Wells building. This building is perhaps most famous for housing the Walt Disney Archives. After a few minutes to look around at the lobby, the multi plane camera, and the Starbucks, the tour moved out to Legends Plaza for an end of the day reception. This included snacks, cupcakes, and drinks. Legends Plaza is where Disney legends have been honored. It also is the home to statues of both Walt Disney and Roy O. Disney.
After the reception, everyone boarded the bus for the trip back to Anaheim and the Disneyland Resort. While this was during rush hour, this wasn’t an issue for anyone riding aboard the bus… appropriately they were watching Cars on the screens inside.
“Lights…Cameras…Magic!” is a one day tour offered by Adventures by Disney. To book a tour or for more information go to: www.AdventuresbyDisney.com, call 877/728-7282 or contact a travel agent.
CLICK HERE to read Mr. DAPs review of “Lights… Camera… Magic!”
*It should be noted that there is no guarantee that every tour will get to go inside a soundstage. This is a working studio so tours are accommodated when it can be done in a way that doesn’t disrupt shooting.