Wednesday, December 23, 2009

ABC's California Adventure Part 2

Arrived in beautiful Burbank, California with time enough to check into our retro hotel, the Safari Inn and then head over to Universal Studios theme park. Our hotel is cute - 1950's style, but updated in the 90's so it's got modern amenities. They also allow dogs for only $25 per stay which was as reasonable as we could find. They don't allow the dog to stay in your room without you, though, which makes us even more grateful for Universal Studio's free kennels. So, if traveling with dogs, these are the questions I recommend you ask any hotel:

1. Do you allow pets/dogs?
(Check for size according to your breed)
2. What is your pet fee?
3. Is the pet fee per day or per stay?
4. Can the dog be left in the room? In a kennel?
5. Do you offer any dog walking services?

We liked the Safari a lot, though, and we ended up leaving Chibo in the room when we went to dinner with no problems. We put him in the bathroom with his crate and blankets and he was fine. We tested knocking on the door before we left and had also learned from the night before to leave a fan running to help block noise. We decided to stay an extra night at the Safari.

But when we arrived Sunday, we just threw our bags in the room and headed immediately over to Universal Studios, which was only 10 minutes away. Parked in Jurassic Parking, walked through CityWalk to the gates and dropped Chibo in the kennel through guest services and then we were in the park with 3 hours to play. We managed to fit in a couple shows and rides before we collected our dog and went back to the hotel.

My mom had recommended we go to this restaurant built into the cliff face, but we weren't sure what it was called and couldn't figure it out, so we got cleaned up and headed over to Olive's Bistro down the street from our hotel. The restaurant was empty, and I mean empty, but the small bar was full of local flavor. Paul, our bartender, was friendly and expressive and told us all about the other characters in the bar, including an animator from Ren and Stimpy fame, a local couple he affectionately referred to as The Bickersons and others. A had a couple of martinis and was feeling pretty jovial by the time we left, but we tried to get to sleep so we could get up early and enjoy the park some more.

A was feeling slightly conflicted about our plans for Monday - having enjoyed the park on Sunday, we weren't sure if we should stay all day. We had the option of touring another studio and/or leaving town early. We needed to decide that morning so we could check out and pack the car or not. Our minds were made up when we realized some friends who were also vacationing in SoCal were going to Universal that day. We booked the hotel for another night and decided to visit Warner Brothers the next day. Since we were so close to the park, we just showered, ate and checked the dog in for an early start.

We found our friends right outside of the Shrek 4D Experience getting their pictures taken with Shrek and Fiona - Fiona has asked our friend Sara, "Is this your ogre?" about her husband. Hee hee! We enjoyed the day with them, riding all the rides and seeing the shows we had missed the night before. It was a fun day and we especially enjoyed the studio tour. By the end of the day, my legs were aching, though, from so much more walking around than I am used to doing! We closed the park and headed back to our hotel where we promptly fell asleep at 9pm.

The next morning, we headed over to Warner Brothers studio for an even more inside look at television and movie making. As our guide explained to us, most of the back lots and sound stages on the studio lot are used in television productions, because movie budgets have allowed locations to be used more extensively, but she pointed out the location of Spiderman's famous kiss, the casino from Ocean's 13 and we got to see the Friend's Central Perk set and even walk on the set of Chuck. It was really fun - they were filming the new Nightmare on Elm Street and she tried to let us see Freddy Kruger, but it didn't happen, much to A's regret and my relief!

After that, we headed east towards Arizona with plans to arrive while our friends were away at dinner. We were, however, delayed when our missing California hosts, my aunt and uncle, returned our phone call. They had been in LA for the weekend, but had just arrived to their home in the desert. As we were about 30 minutes away, we decided to stop in for lunch. It was great to see my family and A loved them, so lunch turned into dinner and we got out of their way late! A drove like a trooper, though and got us to our friends' home in Arizona about midnight without incident. Whew! Time for some sleep now!

No comments: