Well to say I could not sleep is an understatement. There is always the fear I’ll miss the flight or wake up late, etc. Luckily I set both my phone and an alarm clock at my sisters and I was only flying in from San Francisco, so no huge time change. One of the best things I did on this trip so far was book Virgin America for my flight from SFO to LAX. All I can say is wow! The airline also had a few 1st class available for only a $50 upgrade charge so of course I had to do it. When you walk in all the cabin shades are shut and they have black lighting overhead so its almost like walking into a lounge or club. The stewards are all dressed in black on back with Red accents, even the pilots which was very contemporary and cool. The massage seats are amazing as are the video consoles in each chair. The 1st class seats even have a power outlet plug in for your laptop. I think this could become my new favorite airline for any cross country travel and will definitely compete with low cost carriers out west. And since it was Earth Day they handed out green reusable grocery bags with small gifts inside.
Ok – so now the fun stuff. I landed in LA and was greeted by one of our Adventure Guides Diana holding an ABD sign. She got my luggage and we headed over to Terminal 3 to wait for Beci to land from Seattle. We talked alot about ABD, Disney, family and had a lot of fun. Once Beci landed we were then met by our Towncar driver Nelo from ITS -Intl. Travel Services who wisked us off, as best you can in LA traffic to our hotel in Hollywood. The old Hollywood has definitely changed and cleaned up nicely in this area of town. The Renaissance Hollywood hotel sits adjacent to the Hollywood & Highland Center and Kodak Theatre, home of the Oscars, the Hollywood walk of fame, and is also across the street from the El Capitan Theatre, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and Jimmy Kimmel Live show. Great shopping and food area. This hotel is very comtemporary, with colorful geometric decor throughout, nice outdoor pool and brand new Spa opening May 1st. Request a room with a view of the Hollywood sign for added fun.
We meet with our second guide Quinn upon on arrival at the hotel. The ABD guides have a table set up in the lobby and hand us our Adventure Storybook (Daily Itinerary and Meeting time Bible!) and room keys. This is really the true plus of these vacations. You are pre-checked in to every hotel and they handle your luggage!! The rooms are nicely renovated with gold tones, and what they call modern comtemporary 50s style decor. There are gifts in your rooms from the Adventure guides but I don’t want to spoil all the fun of what’s included.
We have about 2 hours to relax, work, chat, work…before having to go to our first Meet and Greet at 4pm in the Twist lounge. This is a full Adventure with about 36 guests on it. We pick up an ABD lanyard, name tags and get some snacks provided by the hotel. The first icebreaker is fun and gets you moving around the room to meet other guests on the trip. The first people we meet are Brent and Brock both from Nashville, TN. Once that is over we all make our personal introductions add tell what we are most excited to see on the Adventure….
Moving from the ice breaker we head into the Highland center to our dinner spot Trastevere. We are escorted to a private room and sit down to tables decorated with toys and gifts, all from recycled material. Again, my second earth day theme for the day. They start us off with salad and breads and wine/ beer for the adults too. Our menu choices consist of Salmon, Veal, Chicken Marsala or a Pasta dish, I choose the Veal which was very good. We are seated with a family group from Massachusetts and again Brent and Brock. *spoiler alert* While waiting for our dinners we are entertained by a local comedian of is the host of a mock trivia game show set up. Matt, the comedian, is very funny and has the crowd definitely entertained while waiting for food. We also get our first Pin for the day! which is a really cool Mickey Mouse one. Once dinner is over and dessert served we sit around and chat with our new friends and Quinn. Lots of fun! Beci and I walk around the Highland Center more, then around the hotel to see the Gym, pool and other areas.
Back home now in our room, I’m very sleepy so will sign off until tomorrow and our first full day of studios and tours! Can’t wait!