The last part of my visit to California was Universal Studios, this is also the original park and home to the famous studio tram tour. I was definitely excited to get the chance to ride the very first Jurassic Park ride as well. So let’s get started.
And here’s the first sign!
I of course parked in the Jurassic Park parking garage. Didn’t ask to park there it just ended up that way and couldn’t be more perfect.
Coming out of the garage, you walk right into Hollywood’s City Walk area. Definitely not as big as Florida’s version but still pretty neat way to get to the park.
And of course approaching the iconic Universal globe.
And here we go into the park!
The fountain statue’s depicting the magic of movie making.
Just like in Florida, the park has displays throughout the park stating next show times and ride wait times. Very cool, and very helpful to plan where to go next.
Hmm… wonder what’s going on over there?
It’s construction for Harry Potter of course coming in 2016!!!
And here we are, the best way to start the day at Universal Studios Hollywood. Plus it’s something the Florida park will never have.
Hollywood sure is hilly.
One more sign to get you ready for the tour and then we’re off.
Appears everyone is loaded onto the trams.
I’m definitely ready to get this thing started!
The first part of the tour is a bit of a drive and it chronicles Universal’s movie history along the way.
Universal Studios has their own fire station.
Of course the best sign on the whole tour.
There’s a boat for Jurassic Park: The Ride!
A cafe in the sound stage area for people working on the movies and TV shows.
As we drive past the sound stages, we are told to be quiet since their is filming in progress.
So many sound stages.
We’re approaching a creepy looking bridge wonder what that could be.
The bridge shakes and rattles while we drive over it, definitely a neat effect.
Next up Peter Jackson is going to give us some info on King Kong.
Here we go!
Sorry for the blurriness of the pictures but it’s obviously in 3D. 😛
Kong comes and saves the day! I was excited for the King Kong 360 part of the tour but felt a little let down. It was just giant 3D screens, nothing too special in my eyes. Neat but nothing to ride home about.
Next we pass by the vehicles of movies, and what better movie vehicles to show other than Jurassic Park!
And there’s the trailers from the Lost World that the T-Rex tore apart.
And a little dinosaur buddy decided to join the tour.
Next we were shown a typical western set used in many westerns. The blacktop is obviously covered up with dirt when the set is being used for filming.
Jimmy Fallon even gave us an example of how it’s shot and used.
Another big lake, a lot of these lakes back here are used for stand ins for other large bodies of water in film.
The water parts so that we can cross the lake.
Next up was another set, this one used in European or Mexican settings.
And next up anyone that’s been to the Florida park should surely recognize this. Wonder what’s gonna happen next?
Oh no everything starts shaking
- And finally a bunch of water comes crashing in to give everything a nice bath,
Hmm that’s a very nice set of teeth.
Oh good looks like they caught the shark. Nothing to worry about here.
Everyone say hello to diver Steve.
Oh no! Steve!!!!!!
We’re in serious trouble here as the dock is now on fire.
And here comes Jaws the only shark ever known to swim backwards. 😛
Alright enough of you, onward!
Next up is Wysteria Lane featured on….
Making a quick stop at the Bates motel. Anyone want a room?
Oh look there’s Norman Bates! Oh wait what’s he carrying?
Uh oh he saw us, we better get out of here quick.
He’s got a knife quick!
We made it out of there just in time to pull up to our next disaster set. War of the Worlds!
Part of the engine from the plane crash shown in the movie.
What a mess, let’s get out of here.
The blue screen is above a lake known as Falls Lake. This lake is used for open water shots as the blue screen can be edited to show open water.
And we’re given a little video showing how the process works.
And that brings us to the end of the tour. Jimmy Fallon plays us a song and tells us to have a tram-tastic day.
Another shot of the hills of Hollywood.
A wizard will soon be inhabiting this area I’m told.
Universal Hollywood is split into two sections, the Upper Lot and the Lower Lot and there’s a bunch of escalators to get between the two lots.
The inside of the building housing the queue is very detailed and themed.
The all spark has been stolen and it’s up to us to get it back.
Is everyone ready?
The other neat aspect is even though there was virtually no line, the workers dressed as Army men and women are shouting at you to keep moving. All keeps with the theme.
As for the ride itself, it’s a lot of fun. Similar ride system to Spider-man, though not as long or as good as Spider-man. Definitely worth a ride however if you’re at Universal.
Just like every other theme park, there’s a Starbucks here.
Now for the only coaster credit in the park.
Yup it’s a high speed roller coaster. Confirmation it’s a credit.
There’s a few things to look at during the outdoor section of the queue.
Into the tomb we go.
The ride again is a lot of fun, it’s a shorter version of the Orlando one but still retains most of the good parts of that ride as well. Definitely one not to be missed.
Now it’s time for the real event!
This ride actually has a little bit of a line.
I hope this guy gives us a great boat tour.
Here we go!
Entering Ultrasaur Lagoon.
And we have our first dinosaur.
Aww look at the baby Stegosaurus.
Uh oh don’t make mommy angry.
You don’t want to get smacked with that tail.
Hey these guys look up to no good.
Oh look another boat up ahead.
This lovely Parasaur greets us, though I think he may have knocked our boat.
Hmm we may be suddenly off course? Don’t remember the raptor paddocks on this tour brochure.
Are we now in a backstage area?
Holy cow what happened to the people in that boat?!
Uh oh who knocked the car off?
We’re going up there?!?
I really don’t think we’re supposed to go in here.
Uh no please don’t squirt me.
There’s another one of those guys.
Up we go.
A Raptor greets us from the ceiling.
Holy cow look out!
Before the final hill, there’s one more visit from our T-Rex friend.
He tries to eat us all before we slide down the hill just in time to escape his jaws.
Whew we escaped that nasty T-Rex!
There’s where that Barbosal can ended up!
Jurassic Park The Ride is incredible still one of my favorite rides at any Universal park. Hope this one stays around for a very long time.
Now time for one of the most spectacular live shows in a theme park! See the sign even does saw #1 rated show in the world. 😛
The cast has actually appeared on various TV shows and movies and this sign gives you an idea of where you might have seen them before.
The crazy set for the show.
Before the show starts there’s three guys that entertain the crowd by having them make a bunch of noise or throwing water into the crowd as a fun joke.
The show begins with one of our heroes riding in on a boat.
Before long theres an explosion and…
The bad guys show up.
There’s a bunch of antics just like other stunt shows.
And one of our heroes is captured.
As they begin to threaten her to give up information on dry land….
The Mariner comes in to save the day! Although this time he’s not played by Kevin Costner. 😛
Of course there’s fire….
The fuel starts leaking…
And then a fight with a rocket launcher….
Ends up hitting this plane which…
Creates a huge explosion and…
Crash lands onto the set!
Uh oh someone is on fire….
That might be a problem……
Oh no the fuel is still leaking.
And that is how you end an incredible stunt show.
Let’s hear it for the cast!
And for our heroes!
The next show I checked out was Animal Actors.
Typical animal show but the neat thing was they would show how the animals star in the movies.
Green screen plus flight equals this shot.
Pretty good show nothing really new or exciting here.
Alright enough shows for now, onto some more rides.
Time for some Despicable Me fun.
Rode the Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem back in Orlando when it opened and thought it was a lot of fun. Definitely looking forward to riding it again.
There’s a few fun references to the movies inside the queue.
During the first preshow Dr Nefario explains how to wear your minion safety goggles. Which are really just 3D glasses.
During the second preshow (Yes there’s a lot of preshows on this ride) Gru explains the minion transformation process.
The girls interrupt and it’s finally time for the ride. It’s another simulator but has great 3D and good motion. Definitely better than another simulator I’ll be riding later.
Outside the exit of the ride is more of Super Silly Fun land which is now the kids area of Universal Hollywood with a few kid friendly rides.
The area is pretty decently decorated even down to the trash cans.
See ya later Super Silly Fun Land.
The city landscapes are more familiar territory for a Universal park.
Lot’s of shops to browse around in.
I stopped to take a picture of this great prop that’s promoting the upcoming Halloween Horror Nights.
Hmm wonder if I can get a room for the night? 😛
Next we wandered into a show about movie magic which since we were late we didn’t get the best seats.
First up the ask for a volunteer from the audience.
To show how the magic of movie knifes work.
Oh no! Her poor arm.
Next up was a green screen demo.
And here’s the result.
Our hosts give us a little more info on the magic of movies and computers.
Finally the show ends with some green screen demos of flying through space.
Fun and interesting show, I can guarantee you’ll learn some new things about movies.
Now onto my least favorite part of the Universal parks. Don’t get me wrong I love the Simpsons but the anchor ride is just awful.
The ride takes you on a virtual journey of Krustyland.
I waited 90 minutes for this ride back in Orlando and thought it was the biggest waste of time. Granted the line was much shorter here, I think 25 minutes but still I don’t get the draw of this ride I really think it’s not fun at all.
After a few preshows it’s time to ride. Like I said not a fan of this simulator the start of it is very claustrophobic and just seems like a waste of time. Granted I didn’t wait nearly as long for it here as I did in Florida but I’d still pass on this ride on future Universal visits.
At the exit of the ride was a gift shop in which they sold energy drinks which looked like Duff Beer! How neat!
After now finishing all the shows and rides for the day I had about an hour left in the day so what to do? Well marathon Jurassic Park: The Ride of course!
This gave me some more time to notice the little details around the ride such as this Spinosaurus.
This is really cool! Steven Spielberg signed this plaque when the ride opened in 96! Totally awseome!
Also digging the Raptor outside the gift shop.
Alright let’s go in! Still love this entrance.
10 Minutes! Awesome!
Well the end of the day had come and it was time to make it back up to the Upper Lot and exit the park.
This park has a Pink’s Hot Dogs as well, which was incredibly busy during the day.
Box Office is closed, move along.
Right at the exit of the park is your last chance to buy any souvenirs.
Here’s the classic Universal Studios sign, definitely looks retro now.
Back to the City Walk I’m sure the area restaurants are about to get a rush of people.
Well it’s been a great day but time to head back to the hotel and grab some more In N Out burger before heading back home.
While Universal Hollywood is not as big as Universal Orlando it still makes for a great day. The studio tour is really unique that it’s still totally worth a visit to this park. Plus there’s Jurassic Park: The Ride and you can’t go wrong there. 😛