Saturday, July 4, 2015

Universal Studios Hollywood: Riding the Movies (Fun and Exciting LA Blog Series 10)

Universal Studios Hollywood 
Riding the Movies 
(Fun and Exciting LA Blog Series 10) 

I cannot remember how many times I have been
to Universal Studios Hollywood for the past
twenty years, but let me count on  this post.

I have been here in 1995, I was still single and  visited the 
park  with my US based relatives. I returned in 1996,  with  
my parents shortly before getting married. I returned again in
 1998, this time with my wife few years after  getting married.

^^^ taken in 1995

I visited the park again in 2004 with my seven year old
daughter who traveled alone with me as my wife could
not go with us as she just delivered  our second child. She
was excited as ut was her very first visit to the theme park.

^^^ taken in 2004

We traveled all together as a family to  Universal Studios Hollywood 
in 2011, and my son's very first visit to this original facility though he 
had already been to Universal Studios Singapore few years earlier.

^^^ taken 4 years ago

…and this time we returned again after four years, still
with the same level of adrenalin rush, the same level of
excitement and enthusiasm that never waned during our
last six excursions in this popular and iconic theme park.

We bought four Front of Line Pass Tickets at
the hotel, that would assure us that we would
not have to fall in line to enjoy the attractions.

We woke up early in the morning, and
took a heavy breakfast ad the hotel buffet,

…and off we went to the
hotel shuttle waiting area,

…that took us to the Universal Citywalk,
where we walked our way to
the Universal Studios Hollywood.

We took photos at the entrance,

…and went into the park Upper Lot, 

…taking more photos with the different
movie characters we met along the way

…on our way for the Backlot Studio Tour.

We were looking for the Hollywood Sign Backdrop,
which is a very popular photo site in the theme park,

^^Nicole @ 7 with my US based  uncle during her first visit

…where we never miss taking our photos
in every visit for the past twenty years,

^^^Nicole and Tim on the same site 4 years ago

…and we felt sad to learn that it has been dismantled
to give way to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, 
a new movie- themed zone, set to be completed on 2016.

Armed with a front line pass, 
we bypassed the long  queue,

...and we were immediately seated on our tram 
for the popular Backlot Studio Tour. This is
 the first thing that we always do whenever 
we are at the Universal Studios Hollywood.

It is a tour to the real working studio where most of
the Universal Pictures movies are made and  shot.

This is something not found in newer Universal Studios 
in Orlando, Florida, Osaka, Japan and Singapore that
are nothing but theme parks and not movie studios at all.

This Backlot Studio Tour is the reason why people
kept on coming back to Universal Studios Hollywood, 
as tourists really feel the real Hollywood, and get to see
where to movies are made.It is like going behind the 
scenes on the world’s largest working studio,

The first zone that guests see is the Courthouse Square 
that had 13 city blocks that could be made to look like 
NewYork, San Francisco, Boston or even Paris in a movie.

There is also the Wisteria Lane from
ABC’s  hit series Desperate Housewives.

Also a popular attraction is the location of the fictitious 
Amity Island used in the Steven Speilberg movie Jaws,

…and you will have to brace yourself to
see the killer shark lurking in the water.

This was also used as the location shoot  for 
Angela Lansbury’s Murder She Wrote.

It also had a European block that could be made
to look like medieval and gothic cities of the past,

…and the site of most horror
and Dracula movies in the past.

An old time favorite is the Old Mexico 
that experiences a sudden thunderstorm,

…and a massive flash flood follows.

This would then lead to Six Point Texas where
most of Hollywood’s Western films were shot.

The legendary Bates Motel,
is another old time feature,

…where one comes face to face
with Psycho’s Norman Bates.

There were old time favorite that we 
miss like the old creaky falling bridge, 

^^^1995 photo was still there but the tram 
does not pass there anymore.

The lagoon that used in the movie Ten Commandments 
that was make look like the Red Sea parting upon Moses’
(played by Charlton Heston) commanding “part the water”,

^^^1995 photo

...was turned into a miniature mysterious Indonesian island
and SS Venture  for the recent remake of King Kong 3D. 

Also missed are the Earthquake: the Big One and the original
gigantic  King Kong robot used in the  original1970’s movie,
 both of which were apparently reduced to ashes during the back
lot studio fire in 2005.They were however replaced by new
attraction of King Kong in 360 3D fiercely fighting a T Rex.

Also on the back lot is an intensive collection of vehicles used in 
popular movies from Back to the Future , Jurassic Park, Fast
 and the Furious, Magnum PI and Knight Rider to name a few.

Newer studio attractions are the Whoville from
the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas,

…and the eerily realistic crash site of a hit
Tom Cruise movie, War of the Worlds.

Guests would laugh along with comedian Jimmy Fallon 
as the new video host of the studio tour, who took over 
Whoopi Golberg, the host during our visit four years ago.

From the Back Lot, we proceeded to one of the longest
and highest elevators in the world leading to the Lower Lot

 …where most of the Theme Park rides are located.

Three of the best rides here
are Jurasic Park the ride,

Transformers 3D, the Ride, 

…and Mummy the Ride, which replaced
the more benign classic ET Ride in the past.

My son also had a photo- op with Dora, the Explorer, 
one of characters that he dislikes, as we let him watch her
in favor of his favorite Barney  whenever he misbehaves.

From the Lower Lot, we returned to the Upper Lot  

....where we enjoyed the Simpson’s Family Ride, 
 simulated roller  coaster ride that replaced 
the very popular  Back to the Future, the Ride.

We then visited the parks’ newest attraction: 
Dispicalbe Me: The Minion Mayhem, 

… the outdoor ride Silly Swrily, 

…and new Super Silly Funland playground. 

It was already late in the afternoon when we realized 
that we had not eaten any meal, so we had 
burger and fries for a late lunch at Mel's Diner, 

…before watching the tremendously popular 
Water World Live Sea War Spectacular Show. 

We also had a chance to have photo- op
with the very talented cast after the show.

We later watched the Shrek 4D, 

…and ended our day at the park with 
Universal’s Animal Actors Show. 

The park closed early at 7PM, we were tired weary,
and everyone a hotdog dinner at Jody Maroni’s
Sausage Kingdom at the Universal City Walk,

…except for my daughter who was still not hungry
from the late afternoon lunch we had at the park and
settled to a cheese flavored popcorn at Popcornopolis.

We have been visiting Universal Studios Hollywood for the past
two decades but we never get tired of coming  back again and again,
as it a repository of the movies of the made past, present and future,

…it bridges the generation gap and there is always something
for everyone of all ages that they could relate enjoy and have fun.

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