The Oscars’ Insanely Delicate Parking Dance

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The Oscars are like the prom; formal wear is required and a king (best actor) and queen (best actress) are crowned. A limousine is also usually part of the deal, but for some humble attendees, that’s not the case.

Hundreds of private vehicles pull up to the curb in front of the Dolby Theater, right next to the limos carrying the Spielbergs and Clooneys of the world. Thankfully, folks in gowns and tuxes aren’t forced to descend to the cavernous garage below the Hollywood & Highland mall and ride the tourist-packed elevators.

“People driving themselves don’t park themselves,” Natalie Kojen, a senior publicist for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, says.

Even with Hollywood Boulevard closed to all vehicular traffic not related to the Academy Awards, valeting all those vehicles takes an impressive amount of coordination and precision. A company called Valet Parking Service has handled the multi-pronged Oscar parking effort for more than two decades. Not only do they deal with the cars that drive-in, but they help manage the limousines, too. Upon arrival, limo passengers are given a ticket to claim their ride and chauffeurs are directed to the Hollywood Bowl Terrace where they park, watch the show, and eat a catered meal. After the ceremony, limo passengers present their ticket at a table at the Dolby and their drivers are alerted that their passengers are ready to go.

The folks who drove their own vehicles also receive tickets upon arrival. When they go to the claim their cars, they’re directed to individual floors of the subterranean parking structure (elevator rides required). Retrieving your car from the Oscars sounds like a nightmare, but we hear it’s amazingly efficient, with short wait times. Patience is never a virtue when the Vanity Fair party beckons.

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