Searching for Easter Eggs…

Avenger’s Campus is full of Easter eggs for the entire Marvel universe. Keep your eyes peeled and you never know what you might see.

In WEB, Worldwide Engineering Brigade headquarters teenage superheroes in training have been assembled by Tony Stark to develop new technology. On the way to your look for the hallway full of lockers. So many young heroes are taking part in the Campus, Miles Morales, America Chavez and Harley Keener have all decorated their own lockers.

While waiting for your turn, don’t forget to check out the bulletin boards.

Even the cleaning supplies in WEB Slingers may hide a secret. Do you know characters Monkey Joe, Wal Rus, and Goom? WDI 1401 is a reference to Walt Disney Imagineering at 1401 Flower Street, Glendale, Ca.

Over in the Web Supplies store, you never know what may be lying round in plain site. Look up high and read the labels.

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A Galaxy Not-So-Far Away

If you ever wanted to feel what it was like to be Luke Skywalker, look no further than Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Every inch of this land, is full of eye candy and Easter eggs. Build your own lightsaber or droid, rub elbows with other fans at Oga’s Cantina or fly the Millennium Falcon. This land is the stuff that 12 year-old me could only dream of.

One of my favorite Easter eggs is this transport parked on top Cookie’s restaurant. The 3 cargo containers are labelled with the year of the Original Trilogy’s release. “77” for Star Wars: A New Hope, “80” for The Empire Empire Strikes Back and “83” for Return of The Jedi”. Keep your eyes peeled for even more hidden details.

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Spirited Theaters

One thing London does not have a shortage of is haunted places. On my sprint through the city, I mapped out a few spooky locations. Due to the pandemic and the hour of my journey, I wasn’t able to venture into any of them, but they still have that sense of something other worldy lurking in the shadows.

In St. Martin’s Lane, it was originally called The New Theater in 1903. The Noel Coward Theater has the distinction of being the home of it’s original manager, Sir Charles Wyndham. Sir Charles managed both the New Theater and the Wyndham Theater, which sits behind it.

If you see a debonair gray haired man walking the hallways or entering the dressing rooms, say hello to Sir Charles.

Towards the end of WWI, a group of friends were enjoying a performance at The London Coliseum. They noticed a friend of theirs walking down the aisle. Strangely, he disappeared into thin air. On his last day before being deployed, this young soldier had seen a production at The Coliseum. Later, the friends were notified that he had been killed in battle. There were sightings of the young soldier for many years after.

For more stories about Haunted London check out this book by my good friend, Rob Gutro.

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A Sprint Through London

Travel in the time of Covid has been an adventure in and of itself. Flying over seas in a mostly empty plane and being locked in a hotel room for a 12 day quarantine made it all the more interesting. I was in the UK for work and had planned on staying in London for a few days, but the universe had other plans.

Even though London and the UK were emerging from lockdown, the country wasn’t necessarily open to foreign travelers. I had to cancel my plans and leave as soon as my work was done. Until, the flights home kept getting cancelled. In the end, I had about 4 hours in London the night before my flight.

I mapped out a route from Leicester Square down to St. Paul’s and set out to see as much as I could see.

To celebrate the 350th anniversary of Leicester Square, a series of statues depicting famous movie scenes were in stalled. If you aren’t looking for them, you may actually miss them.

A short distance from Leicester Square is where you can find Cecil Court. This hidden thoroughfare in London is the home to some of the most unique bookstores. Second-Hand books, Antiquarian books, even the residence of an 8 year old Mozart can be found on this narrow street. I didn’t get a chance to explore as most of the shops closed early or had yet to open from the lockdown.

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Frohliche Weinachten

Winter in Europe is a beautiful and magical time of the year. A dusting of snow covers the narrow streets as people scurry about preparing for the holiday. The city of Hamburg, Germany was one of the most wonderful Yuletide celebrations that I had seen. The city is home to over 30 different Christmas Markets where one can shop for unique gifts, enjoy homemade treats and have a warm mug of Gluhwein in a specially decorated mug. You pay a small deposit that gets returned if you give it back or you can choose to keep it.

The largest of the Christmas Markets is in the City Hall Square. The ornate Rathaus serves as a backdrop for rows and rows of holiday booths and carnival rides for the children.

You can find everything from hand carved Nativities, decorated gingerbread cookies, handmade Kissing Balls and miniature replicas of the city’s famous buildings. The shops are laid out on different “streets”, Handwerskgasse for homemade crafts, Naschgasse for sweets and Spielzeugggasse for children’s toys.

Santa Claus is well represented in Germany at Christmastime. In most of Germany, Der Weinachtsmann is Father Christmas or Santa. He didn’t appear in Germany until the 1800’s but that doesn’t make him less important to the season. The Jolly Old Elf makes an appearance over the heads of the market goers on his reindeer driven sleigh.

There are other Christmas Markets throughout the city and it’s impossible to see them all.

Check out these links for more information.

https://www.hamburg-travel.com/see-explore/events/hamburg-christmas-parade/

Categories: Christmas, Europe, hdr, Photography, St. Nicholas Church, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Rise of The Resistance

SPOILERS AHEAD – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

The newest Star Wars attraction at Disneyland and Walt Disney World is the most technologically advanced ride ever.

After you’ve maneuvered The Millennium Falcon to safety, explore the temple ruins and current Rebel Base.

Board your own Transport and get ready! I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

After narrowly escaping the Empire, you have one final foe to face.

If you are planning to visit Disneyland or Walt Disney World, plan your day carefully. Rise of The Resistance is a hot ticket and there are limited opportunities to enjoy it!

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You’ll believe a man can fly!

The latest attraction at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA is a tribute to the superhero franchise, Marvel Studios. Whether you’re a fan of the comic books, TV shows or Movies, Avenger’s Campus is the place to be.

Situated in Disney’s California Adventure, this new land brings the stories of the Marvel heroes to life. Train with the Dora Milaje, watch your favorite superhero, like Shang-Chi, battle villains or just take in the atmosphere of this former Stark campus.

Okoye from “Black Panther”, Captain America, Gamora from “The Guardians of The Galaxy” and Thor’s little brother, Loki, share the stage with the one and only Spiderman.

If you’re quick you may just catch Spiderman leaping high above the crowd.

A visit to Avenger’s Campus is ultimate adventure for anyone.

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When Crypt Doors Creak

And Tombstones Quake

Spooks Come Out For A Swinging Wake

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Happy Halloween from Disneyland

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Haunts of Hollywood

Graumann’s Chinese Theater has been a landmark on Hollywood Blvd. since 1927. Since then it has played a part in many motion picture premieres. In 1973 it became Mann’s Chinese Theater until Ted Mann divorced the wife, Rhonda Fleming. A year later he went bankrupt. It reverted to it’s original name until TCL, a Chinese electronics company purchased the naming rights 2013, renaming it the TCL Chinese Theater.

West Side Story, Mary Poppins and even Star Wars all premiered at the Chinese Theater over the years. Today it is still a hot property that Motion Picture Studios still try to book the theater for new movie premieres.

One of the most famous features of the theater is the celebrity handprints immortalized in cement. There are a number of stories about how they came to be, but the most widely retold, involves an actress, Norma Talmadge, accidentally stepped in wet cement.

Here you can see the handprints of John Wayne along with his fist. Whoopi Goldberg pushed a dreadlock into her cement and Mel Brooks wore a sixth finger on his right hand. Not all of the handprints are on display at any one time. With several hundred prints having been done, there are always some being repaired and just in storage.

Like many historic landmarks, The Chinese Theater is also haunted. In 1982, actor, Victor Killian was bludgeoned to death in his nearby apartment in 1982. He is purported to search the streets looking for his murderer. Employees have also reported strange noises and movement behind the theaters heavy curtain.

Categories: Haunted Travel, hdr, Hollywood, Theaters, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hooray for Hollywood

You can’t pay a visit to California without catching a glimpse of the Hollywood Sign. For the more adventurous among you, you can hike close to it via several trails. Be aware it could be a three hour undertaking. There are a number of stories about the sign and how it came to be. The publisher of the LA Times had the sign erected to advertise his upscale subdivision.

In 1923, the Hollywoodland Sign was erected on Mount Lee overlooking Lake Hollywood. Each letter is 30 feet wide and 43 feet tall. It was originally meant to last about a year and a half to advertise the new subdivision. It has been in place for over 80 years.

In the spirit of Halloween, the sign is said to be haunted by the ghost of an aspiring young actress. Peg Entwistle. On Sept. 18th 1932, a hiker found a woman’s shoe, jacket and purse under the sign. When she opened the purse, she discovered a suicide note signed P.E. Having climbed up a workman’s ladder, she threw her self off of the letter “H”.

Numerous hikers have reported seeing the figure of a beautiful blonde woman in 1930’s clothing. She is often seen on very foggy nights. Some say, they were overwhelmed by the aroma of Gardenias in the air. They were Peg’s favorite perfume.

Check out this website for more information about the Hollywood and how you can visit it.

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A Walk Down Hollywood Boulevard

The Hollywood Walk of Fame features over 2,700 stars and almost half of them are in the Motion Pictures category. Anyone can nominate someone for the honor, but the honoree (or their agent) must provide a letter of agreement to be considered. Each application also requires a sponsor to pay the $50,000 for the creation and upkeep of their star. The star is also obligated to appear at the star’s unveiling ceremony. Barbra Streisand was the only star that refused, however she did show up years later when hubby, James Brolin was honored.

Over the year’s four stars were stolen. Gregory Peck, Kirk Douglas, Jimmy Stewart and Gene Autry all were the victims of star theft. Gene Autry had 4 other stars on the walk, so it wasn’t a big deal. Douglas and Stewart’s stars were recovered from the home of a construction worker who was hired to secure them.

Gregory Peck’s star on the corner of Hollywood and Gower, was stolen in broad daylight. Men wearing orange construction vests cut a perfect square around the star, loaded the 300lb slab onto a truck and never were heard from again. The star has never been recovered.

The Hollywood Property Owners Alliance is responsible for the upkeep but today many stars in poor condition. The pink terrazzo and brass stars are sometimes cared for by the celebrities fans. You would think that the 20 stars issued ever year at $50,000 each, there would be plenty of money to keep Aerosmith’s star in good condition.

You don’t even need to be a real person to get your star on The Walk Of Fame. Mickey and Minnie Mouse have their own stars, so do Godzilla, Alvin and The Chipmunks and Shrek. Animal actors including Rin Tin Tin and Lassie have been honored with stars.

For more information check out this official website.

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Here’s A Story….

Driving around Los Angeles, you may have a sense of deja vu when you pass 11122 Dilling St. in Studio City. Here is the house where Mike and Carol Brady lived with their six children, their dog, Tiger and their housekeeper, Alice. Sometimes cousin Oliver was there too.

The Brady Bunch house was sold to HGTV for $3.5 million and subsequently renovated by the original Brady kids. Former N’Sync member, Lance Bass, had put an offer on the home, but it was turned down when someone said they wanted the house at any cost.

After The White House, it is the second most photographed house in the United States. The house at 11222 Dilling St. was only used for the exterior shots. The interior of the Brady abode was done on a soundstage at Paramount Studios, in reality it only had 3 bedrooms.

During the renovation, the house was remodeled to look like the classic show. HGTV hosted a very Brady scavenger hunt for fans to help source the many bits of set decoration necessary. Among the props that were found were the Horse statue in the living room, a stuffed giraffe from the girl’s room and that flower covered couch in the sitting room.

Next time you’re in California, take a trip back to the 70’s and say hi to Alice.

https://www.hgtv.com/shows/a-very-brady-renovation

Categories: Los Angeles, Photography, Studio City, The Brady Bunch, TV Houses | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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