Thank you for showing me a great time. Beautiful weather, awesome people and fun memories. The trip was off to a good start with getting into town nearly an hour early, plus the fact a colleague from Birmingham was on the flight so we shared a cab and got dinner. I have to admit, Disney really intoxicated me with their magic. I couldn’t help, but smile the whole time I was there. I wasn’t even like a “Disney kid,” but I was hooked on Disney. The Disneyland Resort was a great place for the conference, all the meeting places were super close and we were right next to downtown Disney. My room on the 7th floor overlooked downtown it was excellent, I was able to see the fireworks clearly from my room (I often has the balcony doors open and laid in bed watching the show).
I was superbusy at the conference, having a mentor lunch with grad students (that may have been a conference highlight), leading a session for 2nd year grad students on job searching/interviewing, co-coordinating GOT Skills (an undergraduate leadership workshop), going to all kinds of network meetings (I am co-chair of the undergraduate student network), in addition to going to education sessions, presenting an education session on out of state students, going to speakers, meetings, banquets, etc. I love conferences, as exhausting as they are I get invigorated. This year was my 3rd NODA (National Orientation Directors Association) Conference and I really felt at home. I’ve gotten to meet and work with so many people from across the country and I love reconnecting with them face to face at conferences. I really tried to push myself out of my comfort zone in terms of networking with people as opposed to just sticking with friends.
This year’s conference built in time for us to explore Disney and southern California. Sunday night I headed to Disneyland with 5 other folks and spent 5 hours have a blast. Luckily we were all rollercoaster people so we did exactly that. First stop: Space Mountain, then the teacups (there was no line so Ella, Shasta and I went while John, Bart and Jim took pictures of us), Thunder Road Railroad (I think that is what it was called), Pirates of the Caribbean, The Matterhorn, Indiana Jones, Space Mountain (again), and Star Wars Star Tours. We had very brief waits at everything. We also grabbed a quick dinner in addition to watching the fireworks and Fantasmic show (craziness). Needless to say after a full day of conferencing and 5 hours in the park we were BEAT.
Monday afternoon Ella, John and I were headed to the City of Angels. I only took 45 minutes to get from Anaheim to Los Angeles and we got some great views along the way. The whole point of the trip was to go to the set of How I Met Your Mother thanks to my friend George from college who is an assistant writer for HIMYM. It was really exciting pulling into Fox Studios and having my name “be on the list.” As soon as we left the parking garage we were in the midst of studio lots. George gave ridiculously amazing directions and we went to the HIMYM offices. We were trying to keep our cool even though we all are HUGE fans of the show. We get to the reception area and have someone fetch George from a writers meeting. Out of all my friends with cool-ish jobs, George takes the cake. He gives us a brief tour of the office – writers room, cast dressing rooms (I took pic a pic of NPH’s) and then we head down to the set. I really had no idea what to expect. I had been to Jeopardy and Total Request Live, but those aren’t real “shows.” There was stuff EVERYWHERE, the studio seems like Woodshop-sets being built and props galore. George was full of fun facts and I had about 8,000 question and comments. First we saw a set piece being completed for a future episode, but I was sworn to secrecy until the episode airs. Next was Ted’s classroom – George told us they filmed Ted’s “wrong” classroom at UCLA. Then was XXXXXX’s office and XXXXXXXX’S XXXXXXXXX XXXXXXX. Finally was Ted’s kitchen and apartment. I can’t get over how small it was and how LOW the red couch is. I took a pic at the piano and one on the red chairs, but they are on Ella’a camera. There was SO much to take in, in the apartment. I was surprised how faux (is that the right word) things were. Everything was very I don’t even know the right word…like dinky. The walls were so thin and it was all about appearances instead of actual quality – which I expected to degree. Finally we made it to MacLaren’s. I think I was most excited about MacLaren’s. The booth, the table, the bar, the mural, too much. Got some sweet pics including George and me in the back corner booth by the mural. It was so interesting to hear all about how the show is made from George. Monday morning the cast does a read through, then the writers so revisions. Tuesday is blocking/rehearsal. Wednesday-Friday they shoot. I asked George about the hours and he was basically like we’re done when it’s funny enough and how we want it. It was cool to see all the casts’ chairs with the names on it. Seriously the whole thing blew my mind. While I was “interviewing” George haha Ella and John got to talking with Chico a set builder and learned some cool stuff too. We were prob on set for 30-40 minutes and in that time they had put all the chairs in Ted’s classroom. John said he noticed a book with pictures and diagrams of where everything goes. Oh and I also saw a script – I took a picture of it (that I can’t post until after it airs). I believe they had just wrapped on the 10th episode and were getting the set together for the 11th. This blog post doesn’t even so justice to how awesome it was to be on set. George had to get back to the meeting, but he directed us down the New York street (it has a real name that I can’t think of at the moment). We took pics on Ted’s stoop and the entry leading down to MacLaren’s. We also saw another part of the block outfitted to be Washington DC for Bones. I don’t watch Bones, but we saw the Founding Fathers Bar and a few other buildings that were impressive. George was such a gracious host and we are so thankful for the experience.
Me and George
On Ted's stoop
So we are driving around on like a HIMYM high trying to figure out what to do next, we so down Rodeo Drive and then we’re on Sunset Blvd at a light and we see a sweet Bentley next to us…all of a sudden Ella goes “Oh sh*t John Travolta.” Sure enough RIGHT NEXT TO US (I was sitting in the back right of our car and John was in the back left of his). John and Kelly Preston were in the chauffeured car all decked out. I was like OMG John Travolta has a movie coming out Old Dogs. It was too late for us to follow the Bentley since we were in a turn lane, but we decide to go to Hollywood Blvd/Walk of Fame area and sure enough half the street is closed for the Old Dogs red carpet. We park and like go to the red carpet area. We end up being by the doors of the theatre (El Capitan) past the red carpet. We were like 5 people in from the railing and I had a good view of the red carpet. The best part was the celebs were coming RIGHT OVER TO US. Travolta did it first and I was too shocked to get my camera. All in all we saw John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks, Robin Williams, Jenna Elfman, Dax Shepard, Seth Green, Kevin Nealon, Forest Whitaker, Lori Loughlin, John Voight – I’m sure there were more. The crazy part is we were practically leaning against the windows of a ice cream shop next door to the El Capitan and all of a sudden the entire cast is in the ice cream shop taking pictures. They closed the doors, but the regular people that were in there got to stay and Tom Hanks went and sat with folks because he was not in the movie, but there to support his wife. So crazy. We ended up driving around the Hollywood Hills in an effort to get a good picture of the Hollywood sign. Sadly it doesn’t get lit up at night and it was so dark for pics, but we were literally at the highest point we could get (legally). The view of the sign was sick and the view of LA was enchanting (smog and all…it made the lights twinkle). We had no idea where to eat, so after some phone calls we ended up back on Sunset at a place called Ketchup which was apparently on the Hills. It was very trendy, but good too. We headed back to Anaheim at like 9:30pm and I was actually up looking through my pics and watching a few clips of HIMYM from season 3 that I have on itunes just to solidify the fact that OMG I was just there and it was legend-wait for it…