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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Jam Packed Days of Fun in Los Angeles – California & The Canyons

Dear Families of California & The Canyons,

What a jam packed four days we had in Los Angeles!  We left the campsite and headed straight to Universal Studios. We started with a studio back lot tour where we saw a behind-the-scenes look where they filmed several blockbuster hits. Jack, Jason S. and Austin G. had front row seats as we witnessed the sets of famous films including How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Psycho. Our tour also took us through Wisteria Lane, the set of Desperate Housewives, where they were completing a live taping. Carly was really excited to see the trailers of the Desperate Housewives cast.  As the day continued, the group explored the rest of the park and went on thrilling attractions including The Simpsons and Jurassic Park The Ride. Marc, Brian, Dave, Eric, Emily, Ben and Alex P. particularly enjoyed The Mummy attraction and went on five times throughout the day!

After a fun filled day at the park, we ate at the Hard Rock Café, a restaurant notorious for the Rock & Roll memorabilia that decorate the establishment’s walls. While we were eating, Trip Director Jesse provided us with some dinner entertainment when he sang all of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” as the entire group cheered him on! After dinner, we had the opportunity to explore Universal’s CityWalk. Jake and Alex M. bought light up skate wheels and showed the entire group their impressive moves. Bobby provided some hilarious entertainment when he purchased a balloon animal of Elmo and Cookie Monster reenacting a scene from “Scarface”. With the help of Dave R., Marc, Brian and Alex P., they had fun asking passersby what they believed the balloon animals were doing and plan to assemble a short film with these entertaining interviews. Matt S. also put on his best Matt Damon impersonation as he posed for the cover of a fake magazine. At the end of the evening, Courtlyn, Arianna, Chloe and Nikki B. had a blast teaching staff Lauren and Kristen the dance moves to Miley Cyrus’ Hoedown Throwdown.

Our second day in LA started with a visit to famed Rodeo Drive where we were hopeful for celebrity sightings and were excited for some window-shopping. We then returned to UCLA where the trip members had a true taste of college life – after a visit to the UCLA bookstore, the group had the option of heading to the pool or the gym.  Everyone had a blast using the university’s facilities. While Adam F., Austin L. and Ben B. relaxed by the pool, others including Joelle, Alisa and Zach enjoyed the gym. Katherine, Adam, Matt L and Jacob also took full advantage of the gym and played a few rounds of racquetball.  Dan, Josh, Jack and Dave R. were psyched to have played basketball with the running back of the UCLA Bruins! To end the night, we shared some laughs at the LA Improv where Eric was all smiles as he was highlighted in the show. Once the performances were done, David Y., Jacob, Bobby and Dan were lucky enough to meet some of the comedians from the evening.

Our third day in LA began with a visit to the renowned Museum of Tolerance, which places a particular focus on political, racial and ideological tolerance. As we toured the museum, we learned about bullying, hate crimes from around the world and the problem of child labor that still exists today. The experience was truly eye opening and one that will surely not be forgotten. On the bus ride to our next activity (exploring Venice beach), we drove by Venice Beach High School which was the set of Rydell High where the classic motion picture Grease was filmed. As we sang our favorite songs from the musical, Raina shared that she once played the role of Frenchie in her school’s production of Grease!  The trip members had a blast exploring Venice beach as they admired the lively street entertainers and vendors. Julia and Joelle got colored feathers in their hair while Olivia, Cassidy, Sophie and Niki P. got artistic henna tattoos. Nick, Jack, Ben S. and Jason S. also had the opportunity to snap a picture with basketball player Wesley Johnson from the Minnesota Timberwolves! We then brought the day to a close by visiting Hollywood where we strolled down the Walk of Fame and saw Mann’s Chinese Theatre where we compared handprints with famous stars such as Julie Andrews and Harrison Ford. Risa enjoyed matching handprints with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rubert Grint, the stars of the Harry Potter franchise. As a late night surprise, we then went to Diddy Riese to indulge in their famous and extremely delicious ice cream sandwiches!

On our fourth and final day in LA, we visited the much-anticipated Disneyland. While some trip members including Jared, Matt L., Jason A. and Zach enjoyed rides such as Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Indiana Jones, others took more enjoyment in walking through the park in search of famous Disney characters. Carly was most excited about meeting a Disney princess and took a walking tour through Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Alysa put on her best princess impersonation as she wore the blonde wig from the film Tangled and posed in pictures with Alice who sported a pink tiara. Emily H., Gabriella and Olivia continued the dress up theme as they wore Minnie Mouse ears throughout the park. After exploring the park’s attraction, we all watched Disney’s unforgettable fireworks show that featured our favorite Disney tunes and characters – it was truly the perfect way to bring our magical day at Disneyland and unforgettable time in LA to and end!

All the best,

The Westcoast Blogger