Our entire family was on pins and needles all day, we expected this trip to be the most magical and rewarding trip we had taken, thus far, as a family. Adventures by Disney has “a way” of doing that. Mike and I learned that last year, and we were eagerly anticipating our kids’ responses to the type of vacation we were about to begin. And how to describe this type of trip? A land based cruise with every imaginable excursion included, maybe? But that doesn’t begin to describe the bonding between your family members whom you are traveling with, the new friends you meet, and the types of experiences you are exposed to. I am not sure where to even begin to start… but I will try….
We arrived at the Hollywood Loews Hotel far earlier than we anticipated. Our flight landed on time at 10:15am, and there wasn’t any delay getting our bags or arriving from LAX to Hollywood (which, from what I understand, is not the norm). We were greeted by one of our Adventures Guides, Lauren (Lo), as we departed our SUV (private transfers are included with your ABD vacation) at the front of the hotel and she escorted us upstairs to their desk on the 2nd floor, where we met our second Adventure Guide, Michael. From there, they gave us a few instructions as to what to expect, took our lunch order for the following day, and helped us find our way to the Hard Rock Hollywood where we were meeting friends for our lunch reservation- of which we were really early for, but after a cross country flight, we were starving and we have really understanding friends who hopped in their car immediately to meet us.
I have to say, we were pleasantly surprised how convenient the hotel was. We were adjacent to a mall, El Capitan Theater was right across the street, the Dolby and Gruman’s Chinese Theaters were on the same side of the street, less than a 5 minute walk away, and we were right on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. That latter part was super neat as we walked to the Hard Rock- positioned between the Dolby and Gruman’s Chinese Theaters.
Our first impression of this area of Hollywood was that it was not unlike NYC’s Times Square, but brighter. They had the same street peddlers, same non-licensed characters looking to take pictures, but the buildings are not as tall- hence allowing for more sunlight to shine in.
We arrived to the Hard Rock, checked in and had a minimal wait before we were seated. We ordered drinks and some appetizers while we took turns exploring a bit. Our burgers for lunch were outstanding, as usual. (Going to the local Hard Rock is tradition for Mike and I for whatever reason while we are on vacation. On our last ABD we went to the ones in Rome, Florence, and Venice)
After lunch, we headed back to the hotel, as our rooms were now ready and Tricia’s family had arrived as well and all 3 families wanted to meet up for a quick “hi & bye”. We had our Welcome Dinner to prep for that night and we were still trying to adjust to the time difference (CA is 3 hours behind of NY).
We arrived upstairs to the 5th floor and our connecting rooms. Mike and I had a king bed while the kids had 2 queen beds. The rooms are decorated with a modern flair, a little sterile for my taste.
But the view was one we had dreamed about…
Stay tuned for our welcome dinner and an after dinner surprise!