Grand US Tour 2010: Rainy Visit to Universal Studios

PauTravels in Universal Studios Hollywood with family

As we go through the second week of our month-long US trip, we now go ahead into visiting California’s theme parks.   We purchased the Southern California CityPASS that includes a 3-day park hopper to Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure, general admission tickets to Universal Studios and SeaWorld San Diego, and an optional admission to either the San Diego Zoo or the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.  The CityPASS is valid for 14 days from the first use.  It was a big discount compared to purchasing each ticket so we took it.

And the first park that we visited was the Universal Studios Hollywood located just northwest of the Hollywood Sign.  On that day, my sister Nina joined us for the day.

Unfortunately for us, it was a rainy when we decided to go to Universal.  The rains only started the night before.  But even with the rain, we still pursued on our visit since we only have limited time with a lot of places to go.  Anyways there were only drizzles every now and then.

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

Universal Studios globe

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

Universal Studios Hollywood sign

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

Jen with the camera crew statue

And so we brought our jackets for the theme park and blanket for Janine as it is already cold and the wet weather makes it colder.  We used my parent’s Toyota Sienna to drive to Universal and parked it there.  It was a very wet day with a few drizzle every now and then so we bought Janine a raincoat so she doesn’t get too wet.

Universal’s Christmas theme that time was the Grinchmas and so they had this big picture of the Grinch at the main entrance.   Well of course after purchasing our CityPASS, we took our opportunity of taking photos with one of the most recognizable structure of the park with is the Universal Globe.  And upon entry to the park we are greeted by the statue of a film crew with its director in green Christmas hat.

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

the 3 little pigs, Pinocchio and Gingy in the Shrek 4D show

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

Terminator 2: 3D

Due to the wet condition and some rain, we opted to visit the indoor attractions first.  We headed for the Shrek 4D attraction.  I didn’t have much photos as no photos are allowed inside specially during the 4D show.  But before the 4D show people are first led into the staging area where we are greeted by 4 speakers shaped as the Three Little Pigs in cages and Pinocchio caged upside down.  A TV screen also show some preparatory show that featured Gingy the gingerbread man.  After about 5 minutes at the holding area we entered the main theater and wore our 3D glasses.   Janine enjoyed the whole show specially when Donkey sneezes and she got wet due to sprinkles of water.

After that we also queued up at the Terminator 2: 3D show but unfortunately I forgot what the 3D show was about. It was raining still when we exited the Terminator show so we again looked for another indoor show.  So we headed for The Simpson’s Ride.  The ride is easy to find as it the entrance is a big clown face with the big name Krustyland on top.
Rainy Universal Studios Trip

Krustyland

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

me with Lisa Simpsons

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

with Homer and Marge Simpsons

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

a picture with Bart Simpsons

And so the ride was fun.  It is a virtual coaster where we rode this roller coaster car located in a room.  When the ride started, the coaster is raised up to a blue screen with projected image that mimicked a circus.  The coaster moved as the visuals did making you feel like you are really on a crazy roller coaster ride.  I know it was a crazy ride because I had to hold tight on the bars all throughout the ride. hehehe..  I’m not very fond of roller coasters.  I was not prepared for that one. 🙂

As we went out of the ride, it was very fortunate for us that all the Simpson’s mascots were out for photo shoots. We had photos with Bart, Lisa, Homer and Marge.
Rainy Universal Studios Trip

Jurassic Park Ride after the drop

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

Jurassic Park boat ride

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

Long Escalator path up to the Upper Lot of Universal Studios

Next, we headed for the lower section of the park where we had to use the long escalators down the hill.  Nina, Angel and Jen all went for the Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride and the Jurassic Park: The Ride.   For both rides, I skipped since Janine will not be able to enter for both rides.   Anyways, I was able to ride the Mummy ride twice before already and once for the Jurassic Park ride.  The rain has stopped by this time.

While waiting for them, I noticed that the Sound Studio that used to be located at that area was already closed.  I just remembered that a fire a few years back damaged the sound studios including the Backdraft attraction and the King Kong attraction.  Anyways while waiting, I saw the Mystery Machine and had the chance to have photos with Scooby Doo and the gang.

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

with Scooby Doo and the gang

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

with Spongebob Squarepants

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

Janine with Curious George

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

Jaws

After their ride, we once more headed to the upper lot to catch the Studio Tour.  But before queuing we got the chance to have a photo with Spongebob, Curious George, and the infamous Jaws statue.  Also, we stopped for photo at the Hollywood Sign board.

The Studio Tour basically led the visitors around the different studios and sets that are being used for different films whether for a city backdrop, a wild west backdrop, a Mexican or European backdrop.   Some of the notable attractions featured the different cars used in the Fast and Furious films, the Jurassic Park vehicles, Jaws, the War of the Worlds set that featured a crash site of a jumbo jet, Desperate Housewives‘ set in Wisteria Lane, and the Psycho House.  Also they had the King Kong attraction during the ride where the car is led to a huge movie room and they showed some scenes in the latest King Kong movie where the actress was being chased 2 tyrannosaurus rexes.  Honestly, I prefer the old King Kong attraction that was burned down.

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

at the Hollywood Sign billboard

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

Mr. Bean’s Car

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

miniature from the King Kong movie

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

plane crash site from War of the Worlds

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

the Bates Motel

After the 30-minute studio tour, we next jumped into the new Special Effects Stage.   This basically replaced the former Special Effects Stage that got burned down as well.  It basically is a single stage where they showed different special effects done in film like how sound is added, illusions, and other 3D effects.  Again, it’s quite a different approach compared to the one burned.

After the show, basically the rain has done throughout the night that the different mascots are all around.  So we took photos with Woody Woodpecker, Fievel from the An American Tail, and the lion and penguin from the Madagascar movie.

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

group shot with Woody Woodpecker and his girl

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

with Fievel of American Tail

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

Waterworld show

Rainy Universal Studios Trip

with the Waterworld star

It was a long stay in Universal but our last attraction to see was the Waterworld water show which featured different stunts, jet ski stunts, and some water and fire explosions as they depict a portion of the movie Waterworld.   And they did feature actors that actually had appeared in some Universal TV shows. It’s definitely a must see action-packed attraction every time I visit the park.

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