Universal Studios

When in Hollywood, visitors should make their way to one of the most unique theme park experiences in the nation, Universal Studios.

Combining traditional theme park attractions and shows with a functioning film and television studio as well as their famous Backlot Tour, Universal gives guests a unique look at the world of movies.

The first stop was the brand new Simpsons ride, which is a motion simulator ride that features the cast of the show who entertain you through segments while you wait to board. The midway themed attraction is amazing and Guests climb aboard a cart to help save the worlds most beloved dysfunctional family from Sideshow Bob in his grandest revenge scheme ever. The ride is a true delight as riders twist and turn through a series of encounters with Bob during a visit to a theme park. Sensory effects abound from smoke to water effects to truly enhance the experience. I expected the ride to be very good but it surpassed even my wildest expectations.

The next attraction we visited was the Revenge of the Mummy ride which is a chilling indoor coaster that rushes forward and backwards in what is billed as the fastest indoor coaster. No arguments from me, that ride is a blood draining good time.

One of my favorite attractions at Universal is the Terminator 2: 3D show which combines live action with footage shot by Academy Award winning director James Cameron and Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong and Robert Patrick. This is an amazing entry into the series with simply the best 3D effects I have ever seen.

Younger guests will want to take in Skrek 4D and the Nickelodeon Blast Zone as well as Universal Animals as they offer family friendly entertainment that will keep the young ones captivated.

Of course no trip to Universal would be complete without the famous Backlot Tour and as usual there are no shortages of thrills and amazing sets from numerous films and television shows. Guests ride in a tram to experience not only sets and memorabilia, but get some up close and personal time with some incredible experiences that will give new meaning to movie magic. While on the tour, we were able to view the area that had been damaged by the fire, as well as see the new Fast and The Furious display that illustrated how robotic vehicles are used to create some of the most intense sequences ever put to film.
The tour was enhanced by the inclusion of video monitors that featured clips from classic Universal films and featured Whoppi Goldberg. It was nice to see how the sets we were touring had been used in the classic films. The Earthquake simulator is still amazing as is the War of the Worlds jet crash site and the countless other suprises.
The Jurassic Park attraction still packs a punch as it mixes a water ride with some incredible thrills as riders attempt to escape a myriad of dinosaurs and survive and encounter with T-Rex before taking a drastic plunge.
There are also other attractions to see such as Backdraft, and the Waterworld stunt show amongst others. I have also just scratched the surface of what the park has to offer as the Blues Brothers were on hand doing live shows for guests and faithfully recreating their on screen counterparts.

Guests with children will want to take them to the Curious George area for a playground filled with places to climb and explore as well as a number of water events to cool off with.

The House of Horrors was a nice feature which is located in the former Van Helsing locale near the main entrance. Guests walk through a haunted house complete with some great sets and some incredible décor. This is a great intro to the pending Halloween events at the park which we hope to cover next month.

Alot has been made of the high cost of food at the parks, and Universal is to be applauded for their efforts in this matter. They offer a $19.99 all you can option that allows guests to load up on burgers, chicken sandwiches, and fries from numerous locales as well as a popcorn bucket with free refills and a guest soda cup with .69 refills.

During my visit I learned that the new “Land of the Lost” movie as well as other productions such as Desperate Housewives and “The Fast and The Furious” were filming at the various soundstages and locales on the Universal lot.

The park now offers front of the line passes for guests who wish to get around the lines and onto the attractions faster.