Sunday, March 24, 2013

Charles Phoenix Downtown Disneyland Bus Tour

OK, so you should know by now that I'm a huge Charles Phoenix fan. The missing segment of my fandom has been joining in one of his Downtown Disneyland Bus Tours. Even though I've visited all of the planned places, today was the day to check something else off my bucket list. (Note that you don't have to be a Disney freak to get tons of history and humor from Charles and this tour.) We kicked the party off at Union Station (see April, 2009 post). If you haven't been, Union Station is deemed the last of the great railway stations and has remained virtually unchanged since its opening in 1939, well, except for the new plaza with some modern art and an aquarium (think submarine ride!).

From Union Station, we caught the Monorail/Gold Line to Chinatown, now referred to as Adventureland. This version of LA's Chinatown dates back to 1938. We were treated to an old-school egg roll at Hop Louie's (1941), plus firecrackers and a lion dance with drummers in the courtyard.

From Chinatown, we jumped on a big yellow school bus for the drive to Olvera Street (see March, 2010 post), which is considered LA's birthplace in 1781. Frontierland, if you will. First stop was the Plaza Firehouse Museum and some history, then a stroll through the Avido Adobe (LA's oldest existing house from 1818), viewing a restored 1932 banned and painted over mural ("La America Tropical"), and scarfing down a sizzling hot taquito from Cileto Lindo.

Next we took the short jaunt to Philippe's (see March, 2010 post) and the famous French Dip sandwiches. I went with my fave lamb dip, potato salad and orange soda. Delish!!

Properly fueled up, we jumped on the bus for Tomorrowland via The Bradbury Building. The Bradbury, completed in 1893, was inspired by a science fiction novel set in the year 2000. Too bad that  didn't work out for us! For some bonus fun, Blade Runner, with key scenes shot at the Bradbury, was on the marquee at the Million Dollar Theater across the street.

Next up was a short walk through the Grand Central Market (see August, 2009 post) and over to Angels Flight (see March, 2010 post) for the shorter ride to the top.

Then we walked to Disney Hall (see December, 2009 post), the castle of downtown if you will, for some modern architecture and a nod to Walt and the Disney family.

Back on the bus, our next stop was Carroll Avenue, representing Main Street USA. Don't you wish you lived there?! Strolling the street, it was great to see so much grandeur, with a few in progress.

Finally, we jumped on the bus to Bob Baker's Marionette Theater (see October, 2012 post), or Fantasyland. We saw a show with classic characters dating back to the 1940s. And, we can't forget the cake and ice cream in the party room. Woohoo!!

Six hours later, and we're back to Union Station, exhausted and inspired at the same time! Yes, I've been to all of these places before, and I've posted on most of them. But Charles put a wonderful new spin on things. Who wants to join me next time?!

Click here to go to Charles' Web site.

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