An Englishman in California, Day 11: Universal Studios Hollywood

Today was Universal Studios!  Told the children the day before (they didn’t think we were going into any theme parks) and there was Much Excitement.p1060537First, a great buffet at the hotel to fortify us.  After gorging we rolled onto the hotel shuttle service to the park so we didn’t have to deal with driving in LA or the “Theme Park Parking Shuffle” when we got there.

We were pretty lucky to straight off the bat;  we got the optional “Front-Of-The-Line”p1060414 tickets which allowed you to skip the queue on each ride once plus the nice people on the gate let us in an hour early (normally reserved for people that buy their tickets on-line).  This only gives you early access to the World of Harry Potter part but those rides were some of the most popular so we got to do Forbidden Journey without needing to burn our one pass.

The ride was great and we p1060422followed it up with Flight of the Phoenix and some lovely, lovely Butter Beer.  Forbidden Journey and Butter Beer were the two things on my wife’s list so we were already ahead of the game 🙂

We Pottered around the land for 30 mins (don’t kill me) until the rest of the park opened at 9.  The park is on two levels with most of the other big rides down in the Lower Lot.  You need to descend several long escalators to get there so you don’t want to repeat the process too often (if you can help it) as you lose a bit of time.

p1060467So we got there as soon as we could and did Transformers and The Mummy.  Both pretty cool thrill-rides;  Transformers was an awesome simulator / 4D hybrid-ride.  Ironically I found the fight sequences easier to track on a ride than I did in the actual films 🙂

The third ride in the Lower Lot was Jurassic Park but it wasn’t running yet.  It was a splash ride so they may have been waiting for the day to get hotter so they didn’t have wet, miserable people walking around.  It was a shame as we’re English and are quite used to be wet and miserable for a majority of the time. p1060434

So next was the Backlot Tour.  Being a film-geek this was one of the highlights of the day for me;  lots of cool film locations and memorabilia to see as you trundle around on a bus.  It’s a nice hour-long sit-down too so good to recover a bit from the frenetic start.   They’ve managed to integrate a pair of really cool thrill-sequences too which was unexpected!

We still massively full from our feast of a breakfast so we all just got an ice-cream for lunch.  (In the UK our bodies were temples.  In the US they became theme-parks).

Jurassic Park was open so we headed back the Lower Lot and used our pass for it.  Got pretty wet but as it was just after midday it was getting fairly hot.  While we were down there we used to passes to ride The Mummy and Transformers again.p1060513 p1060508

In the afternoon we did some of the brilliant live shows they have;  a massive Waterworld re-imagining, a film special effects demonstration and a show with animal actors.  The Waterworld show was spectacular, the FX demo was fascinating and the animals were cute so all a success with various family members 🙂p1060529

There was a cool Walking Dead experience too;  wander around a hospital under zombie attack and have them jump out at you.  The actors threw themselves into it with aplomb and the set itself looked brilliant.  Eldest daughter got plenty of jump-scares so mission accomplished…

Late in the day we got some great Chinese food, had a browse around the shops and took the Harry Potter rides again.  Had a last look around the shops outside the park before getting the bus back home at night.

Brilliant day;  we were all pleasantly exhausted 🙂

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