Category Archives: L.A. attractions

SK Band Does Disneyland

On Sunday, the band arrived in Los Angeles.

Waiting at the Terminal
Waiting at the Terminal

They had a busy, somewhat sleep-deprived day touring L.A. and Hollywood. They even got some props for their upcoming performance in the Rose Parade from a perfect stranger.

Today, they take in Disneyland. Tomorrow they play in the Disneyland parade.

Disneyland's Magic Castle
Disneyland's Magic Castle

Here’s some stuff you may or may not know about the Magic Kingdom, courtesy of a Disney-phile named Karen who cites the following sources: “Disneyland – Your Official Souvenir Guide” circa 1992, “Mouse Tales: A behind-the-ears look at DISNEYLAND”, David Koenig, Bonaventure Press, “Trivial Pursuit Featuring The Magic of Disney”, Selchow & Righter.

On Main Street U.S.A., “Walt refused to allow sharp 90 degree corners on Main Street sidewalks. He felt they would be too rigid and threatening, and therefore all curbs have gentle, rounded corners.” (No wonder visitors feel like they’re in a Disney cartoon.)

In Adventureland, “Original plans for “The Jungle Cruise” called for real wild animals, but zoologists warned Walt that the animals would always be asleep during operating hours.” (Plus the fact they were demanding overtime.)

In New Orleans Square:
* “Facial designs for the figures in the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ were modeled after staff members at Walt Disney Imagineering.”
* “The organ in the ‘Haunted Mansion’ is the same one used in the movie ‘20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.’”
* “The two rides that are actually haunted according to many of the park’s employees are ‘The Haunted Mansion’ and ‘Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.'”

In Frontierland, “In the early years of the park, the Rivers of America was stocked with catfish and fishing was allowed off the docks of “Tom Sawyer Island.”

In Fantasyland, “Walt Disney’s family crest can be seen above the archway at the entrance to “Sleeping Beauty Castle.”

In Tomorrowland, “In the early years of the ‘Submarine Voyage,’ ‘real’ mermaids could be found atop the coral reef in the lagoon.”

In General:
* “Wild cats are allowed to roam the entire park, coming out only at night, to kill the rats which once infested much of the park.” (This sounds like an urban myth. Band kids, check it out.)

* “One of comedian Steve Martin’s first jobs was as a clerk in the old Merlin’s Magic Shop.”

* “Disneyland greeted its one-millionth guest after only seven weeks of operation.”

Thanks, Karen.

A long but amazing first day.

So we woke up early. When I say we, I mean all of the band kids. It finally hit me when we were taking our tour of LA. The Rose Parade is such a big deal here and I am so excited for showing the people what our band is made of. As soon as we stepped of the plane, we were whisked away on a day long bus tour. We explored farmers market and then adventured through people-packed Hollywood. After taking tons of pictures we headed to the Pacific Palms Resort where after getting acquainted with our rooms, had dinner and now its almost time for bed. Tomorrow we explore Disneyland and watch fireworks to end our day.

SK Band Members Play Tourist in Hollywood

The South Kitsap Marching Band arrived in Los Angeles today for several days’ visit before playing in the Rose Parade New Year’s Day.

With some time to kill before checking into their hotel, the band hit the streets of Hollywood. The district northwest of downtown L.A. is the historical center of television and movie making. Although filming has expanded to other L.A. suburbs, and other cities around the U.S. and Canada, the word “Hollywood” is still used to represent the American film industry.

Hollywood Sign
Hollywood Sign

Attractions include the iconic Hollywood sign, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a tribute to stars past and present.

Here’s some information on Hollywood from Wikipedia:
In the early 1900s, motion picture production companies from New York and New Jersey started moving to California because of the reliable weather.

In early 1910, director D. W. Griffith was sent by the Biograph Company to the west coast with his acting troop, including Lillian Gish, Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore, and others. They started filming on a vacant lot near Georgia Street in Downtown Los Angeles. The Company decided to explore new territories and traveled several miles north to a little village called “Hollywood.” Griffith filmed the first movie ever shot in Hollywood called “In Old California”, a melodrama about Latino/Mexican-occupied California in the 1800s.

Biograph remained in Hollywood for months and made several films before returning to New York, where word of mouth drove many movie-makers west. Hollywood soon became the movie capital of the world.

The famous Hollywood Sign originally read “Hollywoodland”. Erected in 1923 to advertise a new housing development in the hills above Hollywood, it was left to deteriorate for some years. In 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce stepped in, offered to remove the last four letters and repair the rest. The same organization also manages the venerable Walk of Fame.

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The Holy Grail of Burger Joints

I noticed on the band’s itinerary that during their week in Los Angeles/Pasadena, they will get In-N-Out Burger not once but twice, including at the end of the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day.

Because my co-worker, Kitsap Sun reporter Steve Gardner is originally from Los Angeles, I know that this rates right up there with going to Disneyland or seeing the sights in Hollywood. In fact, mention In-N-Out Burger to anyone who’s had one, and you’ll hear reverent ooh-and-ahh-ing, akin to what we had when Port Orchard was rumored as the next location for a Sonic. That never materialized. Guess we’ll have to just let Buck’s A&W and Snap Dogs Diner battle it out.

Anyway, according to Gardner, In-N-Out is worth the rave.
“It’s not a big fat burger. It’s just really good,” said Gardner, who lived in L.A. from 1962-1983.

The menu is simple, just burgers, fries and shakes. The ingredients are fresh, he said. No shredded greens but “hand-leafed lettuce,” and no fries from a bag. You can see them cutting real potatoes destined for the fryer, Gardner said. The reason they’ve only expanded as far as Nevada and Arizona is that they don’t want to be too far removed from their meat source. (Hey, guys, we’ve got cows up here, too.)

Urban legend has it there’s a “secret menu” that only the locals know, but it’s not so secret. Right there on the menu you’ll see “double meat” means — surprise, surprise — two patties, a 3×3 is three patties, 4×4, four patties. The only odd term is “Animal Style,” a mustard cooked patty with pickles, extra spread and grilled onions.

According to the Web site, In-N-Out was founded in 1948 by Harry and Esther Snyder in Baldwin Park. Such was their attention to quality, the Web site says, that it was almost three decades until a second location was opened. The Synders’ sons Guy and Rich learned the business “from the ground up.”

When Harry died in 1976, there were still only 18 In-N-Out locations. Rich took over as President at the age of 24, and with Guy’s help, established a commissary at the Baldwin Park Headquarters. This new facility gave In-N-Out total quality control over all ingredients. They also created In-N-Out “University”, where new managers are trained and the In-N-Out formula for success is consistently reinforced.

While Rich was President, In-N-Out grew from 18 locations in 1976 to 93 locations at the time of his death in 1993. Guy Snyder became Chairman of the Board and CEO in 1993.

While in L.A., I will do my best to find out what’s the big deal with In-N-Out. The only question I must ask myself, “Do you want fries with that?”

P.S. Remember Best Burger in Port Orchard?