Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hollywood, Day Three – Universal Studios

I know I haven’t updated for a wee while – Internet access has been a bit tricky for the last few days.

Since my last post, we’ve been on a LA tour, gone to Disneyland, visited San Diego Zoo and have just left Las Vegas and are currently staying in Death Valley.

Zipping back to last Sunday, we took the metro to Universal Studios and arrived not really knowing what to expect.

Overall, the whole experience was amazing and most of our photos don’t do it justice. It is better experienced first hand, nonetheless, the highlights were:
  • The Studio Tour where you get taken around in large carts with running commentary and get to see some classic exterior sets including the hotel from Psycho, War of the Worlds and Desperate Housewives (not that I uhhh, watch THAT show...but if I did, I would recognise them...somehow).
  • The Simpsons Ride – Mein Gott, this was AMAZING. Basically a computerised roller coaster with super awesome graphics and physical responses based on what happens on screen. Wow.
  • Terminator 2:3D. Terminator but in 3D. And live action combined with video combined with 3D. Truly Awesome. This and the Simpsons ride were our favs of the whole place.
  • Universal’s Animal Actors (animal trainers exploiting, uhhh, I mean showing what their well trained animals can do). Fun for all the family, I mean kids.
  • Jurassic Park water ride – a heart stopping 60 foot drop at the end, impressive sets, excellent dinosaur work, but up close…well, as stated in Monty Python and the Holy Grail “it’s only a model”.
  • The House of Horrors – not truly scary, but very impressive in the level of detail. They had recreated a very impressive mummy bride set as well as a Chucky room filled with the psychopathic killer doll (Stacy would love this). Also hanging bodies wrapped in plastic and scary masked butchers moving around. Maybe we were walking a teeny bit too fast.
  • Waterworld – a nicely choreographed water show, very wet…in fact, it was probably better than the actual movie, but that’s not hard. One of the actors was in the movie, Meet The Spartans, which was also better than Waterworld. Actually, that’s a lie - Meet the Spartans is one movie I’d leave off my CV. 2%. Ouch.

Mmmmm, Flintstones B-B-Q.

The food here was very poor and oh so stereotypical American. Don’t get me wrong, Americans can do some spectacular meals but this was poop.

Apart from that, nothing else to complain about!

Photo time:

One of these four statues is a real person

Hmm, I've seen that shark somewhere before

Gabrielle Solis's house from Desperate Housewives

Norman, is that your mama? Naughty boy!

War of the Worlds - what it looks like when a jumbo jet falls on your street

Waterworld performance

I think they escaped from the TV

A few tips if you ever plan on going to Universal Studios:
  1. If you want to see and do everything on offer, you will need to be there early i.e. 9am (they close at 6). We got there at 11am and didn’t have time to do everything.
  2. Don’t eat at Flintstones B-B-Q. Ever. In fact, consider your food choices carefully, as they might come back to haunt you later in the day.
  3. The Front of Line pass is worth it, even on a quiet day. It does cost a little bit more, but it means you get to skip queues and even get to see behind the scenes on certain shows.
After we left, we checked out the Universal Studios City Walk, which was a collection of stores, entertainment and eateries. Saddest moment was seeing a Doctor Who Dalek collectable model made by NZ Weta for $330 US but with 40% off! I cried. I wanted it so badly but this thing was big (nah, HUGE) and there was no way I could take it to the UK with me.

We also checked out a store called It’Sugar. Imagine a department store but filled with candy. Soooo much candy. I was overwhelmed. Here are two lovely pics:

Sha confounded by choice

Wow, that's a lot of M&Ms

All in all, a magnificent day. I put Universal Studios on my must see list.

Coming soon...more LA sightseeing and we get to spy on the paparazzi spying on stars houses.

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