Sunday at the Los Angeles Music Center

Los Angeles Music Center – Downtown Los Angeles – Sunday Afternoon

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion – 3,197 seats:  Opened on December 6, 1964, with then twenty-eight-year-old Zubin Mehta conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

On Sunday, May 4, 1969, “Peace on Earth” by Jacques Lipchitz was dedicated in the plaza. His sculpture portrays a dove descending to earth with the spirit of peace, symbolized by the Madonna standing inside a tear shaped canopy, supported by a base of reclining lambs within the fountain. The architects of The Music Center, Welton Becket and Associates, opposed placing sculpture in the plaza between the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Mark Taper Forum. However after a two-year search, the Art Committee of The Music Center commissioned Lipchitz. Today, no work of public art in Los Angeles is more photographed.

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Mark Taper Forum Theatre – 739 seats:  Opened in 1967, and renovated in 2007, the perfectly circular Taper features a distinctive design of a decorated drum with its exterior wrapped in a beautiful precast relief by Jacques Overhoff.

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Downtown Los Angeles at night with City Hall in the background:

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ahmanson Theater – 1,600 to 2,007 seats based on configuration: Opened April 12, 1967 and renovated in 1994.

Walt Disney Concert Hall – 2,265 seats (photo from another day): Opened October 24, 2003, designed by Frank Gehry, Lillian Disney made an initial gift of $50 million in 1987 to build a performance venue as a gift to the people of Los Angeles and a tribute to Walt Disney’s devotion to the arts and to the city.

Disney Hall (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Walt Disney Concert Hall (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The L.A. Music Center (officially named the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County) is located in downtown Los Angeles. The Music Center is home to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Ahmanson Theater, the Mark Taper Forum Theatre, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Each year, The Music Center welcomes more than 1.3 million people to performances by its four internationally renowned resident companies: the L.A. Philharmonic, the L.A. Opera, the L.A. Master Chorale and the Center Theatre Group (CTG) as well as other performances, community events, arts festivals, outdoor concerts, participatory arts activities, workshops, and educational programs.

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Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show, Long Beach Convention Center

Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show at the Long Beach Convention Center

I registered online as “Trade” and was invited via email to attend as “Press”:

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Press and Trade Credentials for the 9th Annual Los Angel Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

So I got up very early on Saturday morning, got dressed, fed the dogs, had a cup of coffee, and traveled the 405 freeway south to Long Beach.

Saturday Morning in Long Beach (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Saturday Morning in Long Beach (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I arrived early and paid $10 to park far away in a parking structure next to the convention center. Then I walked a long distance up the block and around the corner.

Travel Show <– Left

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Then I climbed many steps and finally arrived at the Long Beach Convention Center

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Side Entrance at the Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Registration – I’m very early!

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Registration Check In

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

WELCOME!

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dining Area for Food Court near the Press Room at the 9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Empty Press Room and COFFEE at the 9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Complimentary Coffee and Pastries in the Press Room!

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Coffee and Pastries in the Press Room at the 9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Selfie with Pauline Frommer (Frommer's Travel Guides) - We had coffee together in the Press Room at the 9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Selfie with Pauline Frommer (Frommer’s Travel Guides) – We had coffee together in the Press Room at the 9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Press Tour – Credential Check

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Press Tour Credential Check at the 9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Press Tour Welcome with Pauline Frommer at the 9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Press time in the Exhibition Hall (no crowd)

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch Booth

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch Booth – 9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

************************************************************************************************

They still let kids play with shotguns!

Greenhorn Ranch 1978! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Skeet Shooting at the Greenhorn Ranch 1978! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

************************************************************************************************

Getting their Taiwan on!

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Taiwan Booth at the 9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Okinawa is OK. At the Japan National Tourism Booth (JNTO):

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

JNTO Booth at the 9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Korea – Be Inspired: VOGUE!

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Korea Booth at the 9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Mongolia!

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Mongolia Adventure Tourism Association Booth at the 9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thailand! The flowers smelled amazing!

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thailand Booth at the 9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Get down, get funky Thailand!

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Indonesian Dancers

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Celebrity Cruises’ (weird) 3D Talking Digital Video Standee:

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Go Climb a rockwall!

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Rockwall – 9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Run around in a big bubble!

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sorry no zip line because of new State of CA regulations, so ride a mechanical bull instead!

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Mechanical Bull – 9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

And it got really crowded fast! Great attendance on Saturday!

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Big Crowd at the 9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Rick Steves’ morning presentation – Standing Room Only

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Rick Steves at the 9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Full house for the Pauline Frommer presentation

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Pauline Frommer at the 9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Travel Stories on the Destination Stage

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Destination Stage at the 9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

There was another event in another ballroom and it got a little rowdy in the lobby!

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

See you next year! Great show!

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

A beautiful sunny day in Long Beach!

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Terrace Walk at the Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

SWAG! Lots of free stuff and giveaway crap, candy and cookies, a ton of collateral material and a big stack of business cards.

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

SWAG! Collateral Material from the 9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

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Los Angeles Times Travel Show 2014

Saturday at the Los Angeles Times Travel Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Downtown Los Angeles: $15 Parking! West Hall LOT FULL so I parked across the street and walked in.  The lot was not full….

Welcome to the Los Angeles Convention Center!

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Well, I started this blog with a post about last year’s LA Times Travel Show in February, so it’s almost been a year!  I skipped the “Trade Day” on Friday this year (for a variety of reasons) and got a late start on Saturday.  After navigating traffic on the 101 freeway, I arrived at the Convention Center downtown, paid for parking, parked the car and headed for badge pickup.

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Trade Show Floor from the Media Room on the second floor

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I hit the Trade Show Floor and visited the exhibitor booths.  I collected collateral material, brochures, handouts, one sheets, business cards and a little SWAG.  And I said “HELLO” to some of the industry friends I’ve met over the past year who were exhibiting at the show.

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dunkin Donuts – Thanks for the Free Coffee!

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The ASTA Booth!  Book your next trip right there on the Trade Show Floor!

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

“Interactive” Booth: Have your picture taken in the newspaper frame!

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Cool travel gadget: Transport your breakables in a $20 inflatable protective Vinni bag!

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

TOO MANY SCAMS!, BAIT AND SWITCH!, and FAKE RAFFLES!
And NO, I DID NOT win a $75 gift card…Bastards.

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: There were too many “Timeshare” operations and not enough MAJOR VENDORS at the Travel Show.  I noted the same thing last year, and hoped this year would be better. Where were the major commercial airlines and hotel chains?  The cruise lines were represented but only with co-op exhibitors like Cruiseplanners.  After attending GBTA, LTX, and the Signature Sales Meeting (read my previous blogs), I’ve seen much better vendor attendance.  They really haven’t done enough to attract the major players to this show.

I’m going to rant a little now.  The high cost of parking is a major deterrent in getting the public to attend!  Parking used to be $6, then it went to $8, then $12 and now $15 for the event.  It’s too expensive, and then they charge the public admission ($10-12 per adult).  The show’s attendance reflects the high cost to attend, in that it wasn’t very crowded, which is nice if you do attend but it sure doesn’t help to attract big vendors and exhibitors.  I didn’t attend the “Trade Day” this year, but last year travel agent attendance was also a little light.  My advice would be to target the TRAVEL INDUSTRY and then allow the public to attend.  The other big problem, as noted above, were the SCAMS, BAIT AND SWITCH, and FAKE RAFFLES I witnessed walking the Trade Show Floor.  I wanted to call the LAPD Bunco and Fraud Investigators after seeing some of the blatant BS.  The show producers should monitor and control the “enticements” because when people feel ripped off they don’t come back next year!  There also weren’t enough MAJOR VENDORS and there definitely wasn’t enough SWAG!  I was able to completely canvas the Trade Show floor and see a few presentations in a couple of hours…it should have taken much longer.

There were some good speakers and nice presentations which were well attended, but the show could have been a lot more entertaining.

Mixing a Moscow Mule at the Taste Stage

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Let’s Talk Turkey!

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Great talk with Alyssa Milano in Petree Hall about her travels with UNICEF in Africa.

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

It was such a beautiful day in Los Angeles, it was almost a shame to have to be indoors.  I took this pic of the Convention Center, Nokia Theater, Ritz Carlton, J.W. Marriott and Staples Center from the “smoking” patio just outside the show floor on my way out.

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Walking back to the car. West Hall Parking

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

And just to add insult to injury, I had to walk all the way back to my car through the West Hall Parking Lot because a little lady in an orange vest didn’t know the lot wasn’t full.

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Food, Wine and Theatre in Ashland, Oregon with JoshWillTravel: http://www.facebook.com/theatreinashland

A Special Preview of Disney’s MagicBands!

Disney MagicBands!  Now testing at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Disney MagicBands

New Disney MagicBands! –  They also come in blue and yellow.

I’m a Disney “Destinations Genius” Travel Specialist!

Disney Destination Genius Travel Specialist

Disney Destination Genius Travel Specialist

Contact me for all your Disney Travel Planning!

Disneyland, California Adventure, Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World, EPCOT Center, Disney Animal Kingdom, Disney Cruises, Disney Adventures, the Aulani Resort in Hawaii.

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Signature Sales Meeting and Trade Show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas!

The Signature Sales Meeting and Trade Show 2013 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. (See other peoples posts and pictures at #Signaturesales2013 on facebook)

NOTE: This Blog post is currently UNDER CONSTRUCTION!  I want to put it up now, but please come back and check it out again when I finish it!  You can get updates if you “LIKE” my facebook travel page: http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravel

Wednesday 1pm:  Road Trip!  Off to Las Vegas, Nevada for the annual Signature Sales Meeting and Trade Show! Finished my last minute work and ran a few errands, packed up the car and hit the highway. 101 south to the 134 east to the 210 east to the 10 east to the 215 east to the 15 north.  Other people from my office chose to fly but I prefer to drive.

Road Trip to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Right Time to Road Trip to Las Vegas! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Going east to Nevada, with the setting sun in the mirror (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Going east to Nevada, setting sun in the mirror (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Stopped in Barstow for gas and a Double-Double burger at In-N-Out.

In-N-Out Burger, Barstow, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

In-N-Out Burger, Barstow, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Road Trip to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Road Trip to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Road Trip to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Road Trip to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Weird rainbow and purple desert skies at sunset and the approaching lights of Stateline:

Sunset! Road Trip to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sunset Behind Us! Road Trip to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Road Trip to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Road Trip to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Stateline - Primm, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Stateline – Primm, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

“Vegas Baby, Vegas!”

MGM Grand, Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand, Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

New York-New York and the MGM Grand Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The first thing you notice about the MGM Grand is it’s money green color.  The second thing you notice is that it’s HUGE!  You’ll notice this as you drive around the self parking structure and as you try to navigate your way to the registration desk, and as you stand in the long line to check in.  You’ll be reminded during your stay of how huge it is just trying to get from point A to point B, in particular the distance from your room to the Conference Center where your sales meeting and trade show is being held.

It truly is a “mega-resort” and has something for just about everyone.  It also has the two biggest problem of a “mega-resort” operation: nobody is directly in charge and the important details get missed and/or overlooked!

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lobby of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Wednesday 6pm: Standing for 30 minutes in line at Check In until an “on the ball” Manager came and helped speed things up.  You can see your tweets on the big screen while you wait…

The line at Check In at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The line at Check In at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

There was a good Group Rate offered to our convention with substantial savings on the Friday and Saturday rate, but the Casino Rate was better for Wednesday and Thursday night. Be sure to get your “M Life” Players Card to take full advantage if you’re a gambler!

Lobby at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lobby at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

After finally checking in, I checked out my Grand King room (with a view) on the 24th floor. It was down a very long mega-hallway.  I had requested a refrigerator with my reservation, which was promptly delivered, as were the extra towels and pillows when I called down to Housekeeping.  The room was very clean and comfortable, but the bathroom was a little small.  I was also comparing it to my recent stay at the Venetian in an Executive King in September for LTX (the Luxury Travel Exchange) which was great.  See the Blog!

I want to compliment everyone at the MGM Grand.  Everyone I talked to in person or on the phone was friendly, courteous and professional.  When I complained about a problem they were quick to apologize, tried to correct it or offered a F&B Credit.  Eventually, my F&B was comped by my “M-Life” Casino VIP Card, so I made the request and they comped one night of my stay instead.

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hallway at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand, Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

I went to get my luggage and when I got back to the room, a Welcome Amenity was waiting!  Snacks and bottled water from the “on the ball” Manager at Check In, very well done!

MGM Grand Welcome Amenity (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Welcome Amenity (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

I had a $50 Food and Beverage Credit so I decided to try the MGM Grand Buffet $30 plus tip paid in advance. I was left wondering who oversees the food quality.

(IMPORTANT NOTE: BAD FOOD ALERT!!!)

The worst buffet ever!  Everything was overcooked and under seasoned!  I really didn’t eat that much, but I tried to taste most of the food and ended up feeling sick to my stomach for all three days I was there.  When I say everything was bad, I mean EVERYTHING WAS BAD except the fried chicken.  Here are pics, the food looks okay but it had little to no taste and wasn’t prepared well (mostly overcooked or cold).  How do you ruin crab legs?

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi and Crab Legs at MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Mexican chicken and rice, pepperoni pizza, pineapple, and a roll at the MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Baby back ribs, macaroni and cheese, oriental chicken, corn on the cob, and mashed potato at the MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Steak w/peppercorn sauce, chicken potstickers, and one crab leg at the MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Fried chicken, mashed potato with brown gravy, turkey with gravy, and mashed potato at the MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Desserts: various types of flavored plastic cup desserts, baked goods (brownies, cupcakes, muffins all overbaked, hard and tasteless), shortcake, and ice cream.

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Quite a selection, and I love dessert, but I tried a lot of different things and was amazed that even the deserts were mediocre to just plain bad.  As I told my friends, there are great buffets in Las Vegas, this isn’t one of them.

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Leaving the MGM Grand Buffet! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

After dinner I explored the hotel and casino, went across the street to the Tropicana and eventually ended up “working” back in my room.

Tropicana Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Tropicana Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

New York-New York Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

New York-New York Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Yes, I did a little gambling. Played some video poker and had some fun winning:

ACES! Video Poker at the MGM Grand Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

ACES! Video Poker at the MGM Grand Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Working in the Room at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: The pillow stuck in the bedframe!  I banged my shin on the sharp corner twice, the second time drawing blood!  So, I was forced to improvise and used the pillow to prevent further injury.  When the room service waiter came she laughed when she saw it…because she and everyone she works with have banged their shins too.

Must Prevent Further Injury! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

DANGER! Sharp Corner! Must Prevent Further Injury! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Day One – Thursday – Signature Sales Meeting and Networking Session #1

Woke up to find out the TV and WiFi wasn’t working hotel wide.  No internet makes my work as a travel agent very difficult.  I got ready for the first day and walked the mile to the Conference Center and arrived at Registration at 8am.  There was a continental breakfast buffet and coffee service for attendees.

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Breakfast was hosted by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and offered muffins, danish, fruit, and fruit juice served on carts in the event lobby. Coffee and tea was also available all day long.

Thursday 8:30am: Workshop #1 – The Inside Track on Signature’s 2014 Hotels and Resorts Program.  Industry trends, recent hotel additions to our consortium, updates regarding to our hotel programs, and special offers and amenities for our clients were the topic of the seminar. After the first session there was a break with refreshments hosted by Hertz (baked goods, soft drinks, bottled water, and coffee/tea service).

Thursday 9:45am: Workshop #2 – Mexico: Grow Your Business with Destination Expertise presented by the Mexico Tourism Board.  More Americans travel to Mexico than any other destination! After the session there was another break with refreshments hosted by Hertz.

Thursday 11am: General Session (welcome) and Lunch hosted by Classic Vacations.  There was a general update, a tribute to Michelle Morgan the past President who recently died from cancer, and a keynote address by Shawn Achor “The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance”.   

Lunch: Cheddar cheese, ham, swiss cheese, and turkey slices; bread and butter, lettuce, a quarter hard boiled egg and tiny tomatoes with an iced tea. Red velvet cheesecake (made with cheesecake flavored whipped topping not cream cheese).

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Networking Session

Thursday 1:45pm: Networking Session #1 with our Vendor suppliers.  I was assigned Blue Table 172 and was seated with three other agents.  We stayed seated and the vendors moved from table to table and gave a short 8 minute presentation and then answered questions before moving on.  At 4:15pm the session ended and there was another break.

Thursday 4:30pm: Workshop #3 – Selling Travel to the Millennial Generation.  A panel discussion moderated by Paul Wiseman the President of Trafalgar

MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sunset View from my room at the MGM Grand – the mesh is the colored green screen over the window (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Welcome Reception on Thursday night hosted by Mexico Tourism:

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Open Bar!

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Mexican Food Buffet!

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Mexican Dancing and Live Musical Entertainment!

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Day Two – Friday – Sales Meeting and Networking Session #2

Breakfast, Sales Seminars,

Lunch

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Networking Session

Cocktail Party hosted by Tauck and Switzerland Tourism

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Cocktails and Appetizers for invited guests.  Cheese, crackers, crudite’ (carrots, celery and dip) and an open bar. Networking, short host company presentations and someone won a trip to Switzerland, but it wasn’t me.

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

They took all the chairs out of the room, so it was a standing event after a long day and lots of walking.  There were two food tables and two bar stations, but the lines for food and drink got long very fast as the guests arrived.  It quickly became a lot of people in too small a space.

There was a guy blowing a Swiss horn for entertainment and he let a couple agents try to play it.

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Swiss Horn at the Party hosted by Tauck and Switzerland Tourism at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner hosted by Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara Cruises

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Presentations by the Host Companies and Dinner

Dinner at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Two offensive cruise comedians and the BeatleManiacs entertained us!  The travel agents went wild, rushed the stage, and danced to the (almost) Beatles!  The guys were good musicians and the tunes were catchy, but their resemblance to the actual Beatles was questionable.  Great wigs and costumes!  Go ahead sing along, they know you want to.

BeatleManiacs! at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

BeatleManiacs! at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Room Service!

Bacon Cheeseburger and fries for breakfast! $18 plus tax and $4 room service fee and a $5 tip = $29 Craving for good food at 5:30am.

Room Service Cheeseburger and Fries at the MGM Grand (copyright 203 JoshWillTravel)

Room Service Cheeseburger and Fries at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Day Three – Saturday – Sales Meeting and Trade Show

7:30am Breakfast Session

Breakfast Seminars at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Breakfast Seminars at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Breakfast Seminar at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Breakfast Seminar with Lindblad Expeditions at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Trade Show

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch

Late Check Out at 2pm done by telephone with Guest Services, long walk back to the car and so looking forward to Saturday night in Las Vegas!

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Off to the Rio! COMING SOON: the next blog – the Rio All-Suites Hotel Saturday night and Sunday afternoon adventures in Las Vegas.

Business Cards, Collateral and SWAG from the Signature 2013 Sales Meeting and Trade Show (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Business Cards, Collateral and SWAG from the Signature 2013 Sales Meeting and Trade Show (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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Luxury Travel Exchange (LTX) Trade Show in Las Vegas

The Luxury Travel Exchange (LTX) Trade Show at the Venetian Hotel and Sands Expo in Las Vegas – September 10-12, 2013

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

St. Mark’s Square at the Grand Canal Shoppes:

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

King Suite (upgrade)

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

View from the 29th floor

View from my suite on the 29th floor

View from my suite on the 29th floor

View from my suite on the 29th floor

LTX - Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

LTX – Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

LTX - Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

LTX – Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

LTX - Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

LTX – Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

LTX - Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

LTX – Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

LTX - Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

LTX – Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

LTX - Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

LTX – Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

LTX - Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

LTX – Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

LTX - Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

LTX – Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

LTX - Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

LTX – Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

Expo Floor:

LTX - Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

LTX – Luxury Travel Exchange at the Sands Expo

Outside the hotel:

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Late Night at the Grand Lux Cafe (pizza to go):

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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08-JUL-13: Turn on the Wayback Machine! World Cup USA ’94 “Soccerfest” and The Grand Finale Party!

08-JUL-13: Turn on the Wayback Machine! World Cup USA ’94 “Soccerfest” and The Grand Finale Party!

World Cup USA '94 "Soccerfest" and The Grand Finale Party! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

World Cup USA ’94 “Soccerfest” Ticket, The Grand Finale Party Ticket and Program! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

03-JUL-12: Downtown Los Angeles from up high!

Downtown Los Angeles from up high!

That’s a new Courtyard by Marriott being built.

Taken from the 25th floor of the Ritz Carlton L.A. Live in Downtown.

Downtown Los Angeles from up high!

Downtown Los Angeles from up high! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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Happy 4th of July Weekend!

Lee Vining, CA

Happy 4th of July Weekend!

Lee Vining, CA Happy 4th of July Weekend!

Lee Vining, CA – Happy 4th of July Weekend! (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

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17-JUN-13: Staples Center at L.A Live – Downtown Los Angeles

Staples Center at L.A Live – Downtown Los Angeles

Staples Center at L.A Live - Downtown Los Angeles

Staples Center at L.A Live  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

And here are a few more random pics from Staples Center and L.A. Live:

Staples Center (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Staples Center (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Staples Center - Chick Hearn Plaza

Staples Center – Chick Hearn Plaza (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Staples Center - view from above (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Staples Center – view from above (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Plaza - L.A. Live

The Plaza – L.A. Live  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grammy Museum at L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grammy Museum at L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

In the Lobby of the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

In the Lobby of the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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