Day Trip to Los Angeles and Then Some

As I write this I am (was) aboard Virgin Australia Flight 12 from Los Angeles, CA to Melbourne, Australia.  It’s been an uneventful flight so far, which is exactly what you want when you’re flying at 30,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean.  The information screen in front of me tells me we have 5 hours left to go, and that it’s 7 a.m. in Los Angeles.  That means we have been flying for about 10 hours so far.  I feel fine; just the same as if I had not gotten a good night’s sleep.  Tony and I were able to catch a few winks, maybe about 5 hours, and Amy’s still sleeping.  Maybe in a while I’ll try to get a few more hours.

There is plenty of entertainment on board, you can pick from a bunch of movies, music, games, etc.  But the sound in Tony’s seat went out suddenly and we haven’t been able to get it back on.  If he wants to watch a movie he will have to move up to an empty seat.

Our day yesterday was really nice!  We got to do everything we wanted, we had a great day with my cousin Lizzie, her husband Jason, and daughter Sara.  They picked us up from the airport, and we went up to the Disney Studios in Burbank, where we met my new friend Tom Stauffer.  Tom walked us all around the studio lot for more than an hour and we finished up our tour with lunch in the commissary.  No stars to be seen, because everything’s on hiatus.  I did get to peek into the set of Flash Forward and see the lobby of the FBI Building, the conference room, Mark Benford’s office, and the stairs.  We also saw a couple of other sets, but no telling what they were for.  We walked through the old Animation building and went into the lobby of the new one.  In the new building we saw some art from the newest animated feature, called Tangled.  It’s the story of Rapunzel.

The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank is a whole different culture and vibe than anything we have in Orlando.  Not better or worse, but just so different.  The sense of company history and tradition is strong there, while at Walt Disney World we have different traditions, and different history, but we celebrate the new every day.

After leaving the studio lot, we drove down to Long Beach, and stopped in at Lizzie and Jason’s home.  They live in a cute bungalow with solar panels on the roof, a rain barrel and gardens in every nook and cranny of the yard.  It was great to see how they are practicing “green.”  Their electric bills are only about $7 a month with their solar panels.  Amazing.

We went from there over to the Queen Mary which was something Tony really wanted to do.  It was a fantastic self-guided tour of a really marvelous work of engineering.  It’s too bad there’s not a lot of the “real” interiors left any more.  In one of the main hallways, there were cheesy gift shops that reminded me of a flea market.  The exteriors, decks, and the Engine Room are still very much as they might have looked in the day.

I asked Sara what her favorite part of our day had been, when we were relaxing in the bar having a chat before leaving to go back to the airport.  She said the big boat was her favorite.  Sorry Mickey!  For me, the best part was re-connecting with Lizzie, meeting Jason and Sara for the first time and getting to know them, and making a new friend at Disney.

After getting to the airport we had a looooonnnggg wait in line to get through checkin and security.  We boarded our flight after a short wait and we were off to Australia.  At this point I still have 4 hours and 44 minutes to go so I might try to see if I can catch another sleep (even though it is 10:23 a.m. in Orlando – and my body says I should be wide awake).

Continued:  Now it is Thursday (for us) and we are in our hotel in Melbourne after spending the day out and about on the town.  It’s been a beautiful day, and we’re really tired.  Tomorrow we take an all-day tour of the Great Ocean Road.  When I get home from that I’ll update you on today’s activities and the tour.  Now I’ll just leave you with one impression:  Melbourne is a lovely city.  One thing that I have noticed is that we have heard almost no “city noise.”  By that I mean, honking horns, sirens, etc.  The people are so friendly and courteous that someone even backed up their car to let us pass on a sidewalk when they were exiting from a parking garage.  Amazing.

Stay tuned, and check out my pictures on Shutterfly that I have posted so far.

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