In our first adventure, we had just dipped our toe into the magic of Hollywood at Universal Studios. To start from Part 1 click here. Now we’re checking out the park.
Divided into Upper and Lower Lots, Universal Studios Hollywood encompasses acres of real estate chock full of restaurants, boutiques and of course, exhilarating theme park rides and shows, each one featuring a unique aspect or theme.
As far as the rides, Jurassic Park – The Ride was very cool. An al fresco meandering ride, “explorers” navigate in 25-seat rafts that delve into an Amazon-like environment teeming with Pterodactyls, Allosaurus, Stegosaurus , T-Rexes and of course, Velocoraptors lurking around every corner.
In addition to the soggy mists, stream squirting mammals and intermittent waterfalls, the ride encompasses an 84-foot vertical plunge that takes you completely by surprise. Despite the potentially heart-stopping finish and our semi-soaked clothing, we couldn’t wait to get back on!
Revenge of the Mummy is another heart-pounding thriller, this one (unbeknownst to me or I might have chickened out) happening in virtual darkness. True to the movie, your senses are assaulted with a plethora of special effects, cryptic warnings, mysterious Egyptian hieroglyphics and unexpected twists at speeds somewhere around 45 mph (did I mention that this was while completely in the dark?) “Heart-stopping horror” indeed.
If a virtual roller coaster is more your speed (but still with a few jarring moves), try the animated world of The Simpsons. From the Kwik-E Mart souvenir shop out front, to the humongous caricatures of Bart, Lisa, Homer Marge, Maggie, Krusty the Clown and others, video episode re-runs, tons of Simpsons memorabilia and “Bart-isms” flanking all areas of the ride queue area, to the flying and crashing scenes in the ride itself, this section of the park is really its own astonishing attraction.
Depending on the show, audience members experience a range of special effects in including gyrating seats, surround sound action, and intermittent and very unexpected spurts of air and streams of water from above, below and in front of you—together bringing the action to life.
I think my favorite attraction is Shrek 4-D, a hilarious adventure taking off from the end of the first movie after Shrek and Fiona get married and embark upon their honeymoon. I won’t spoil it, but suffice to say that Lord Farquhar is still wreaking havoc on the happy couple, Donkey, and the other characters from Far Far Away.
Terminator 2:3D is also highly entertaining, as it incorporates state-of-the-art technology with live actors (that really look like the characters from the Terminator movies!) into what really is more like a state production. Whether you’ve seen the movies or not, this show is one not to be missed.
Other worthwhile shows and attractions include the Special Effects Stage, Universal’s Animal Actors (held in an outdoor amphitheater), the walk-through House of Horrors, The Blues Brothers, The Adventures of Curious George, Transformers The Ride: 3D, and Water World, among others.
Next up, we’re embarking upon the Universal Studios Tour. To start from Part 1 click here.