Today is day to switch LA areas from Santa Monica to Hollywood and also check out Universal. With a plan to meet my cousin Adam there and his wide Anna, it is a bonus that I am able to get a free ticket through them as Adam works there. Leaving Santa Monica takes much longer than initially expected due to traffic as got the bus rather than the metro,but at least it is a good way to see some of the city. Arriving at USA Hostel Hollywood around 2pm, luckily it isn’t too far to Universal and only 1 stop from the nearest metro Hollywood/Highland and even considering walking as in London 1 stop is usually about a 10minute walk, only to find out that it would take hour half. So LA everything being so big! There is a shuttle that takes you up from the station as it is on a steep hill so after all the travelling and picking up the ticket I get into the park just before 3pm and as it shuts at 8pm Adam says that will be plenty of time.
First thing I hit is the studio tour, as Adam and Anna have both already done that loads of times and as it is a 50minute ride its good to get it out the way as it is also a 20minute wait. Quite good fun hosted by Jimmy Fallon, although there are some dated things like the jaws, but the tour does has some pretty good 360 Imax films where you go into a studio and the bus will rock side to side or up/down depending on what is going on. So King Kong – apparently the biggest screen in the world – is a fight scene with a dinasaur and for fast and furious there is a car chase and that is a the newest part of the tour so feels most like a ride out of all of it. It’s cool to go through all the stages as they have lots of ones pre set-up for certain countries,which are used a lot in things like New York, Mexico to Europe and the detail on them is really good – they just have to change aspects for whatever they are filming and on the mexico one has rain and flooding that they can just switch on so very cool. We go through the war of worlds plane crash, Norman Bates hotel and the famous Wysteria lane so all cool to see how detailed and big they are.
While I wait to meet Adam, the next couple of rides I squeeze in is the Simpsons and that is only a 10minute wait so not to bad and is a good rollercoaster and crazy funfair imax film so lots of rocking about. Then its the harry otter world and that is probably one of the better rides from the day, as it is so new and more like a ride than some of the others as moves through the castle and a few different screens. The whole Harry Potter world is very cool and you do actually feel like you are there and so the waiting for the ride is part of the experience and since it was also the longest waiting time it helps to pass the time. Although only after I realised you can go in single rider ques, which would have saved heaps of time, but for the rest of the rides Adam can get up to front as he works there.
So the Harry Potter is definitely the most popular and other than the ride, which is the castle and so you can go through all the different rooms like Dumbledors office, room of requirements, the halls where they have all the talking pictures and they actually do move and talk. Then in the outside area you have the village which sells everything from Harry Potter like the wands, butterbeer and has the joke sjop and sweet shop from the books too. You can just spend ages walking around this bit!
Once I get out of Harry Potter I meet Adam and Anna and head to the Jurassic Park ride, where outside there is a mechanical rapture dinasaur and Adam tells me how it is a suit and as it so heavy has to be guys who have all the muscle as a hard job. Since they know Adam the rapture starts trying to eat his head and mucking around with us while we get a picture,which is quite amusing! The ride it self isn’t too bad – a bit slow to start a you just cruise down on a water boat through the Jurassic park and then have the a big drop at the end where depending on the weather will either get totally drenched or just splashed as people need to be able to dry off. Adam sits in the spot where he got soaked!
The next ride we have time for before need to get to the waterworld show, is the mummy and this is my favourite of the rides along with harry Potter. The only one that is an actual ride it is basically a haunted house and you go on a roller coaster that zooms you forward and backwards and has some pretty cool drops too, as it is so dark you can’t see anything. Again fab special effects on the mummy coming at you and the beetles from the film coming at your feet.
Having to rush a bit to waterworld to make sure we get in, we just do, this is a stunt show and pretty impressive with the different things they do as have fire and explosions and stuff. probably the most fun job to have I would say working at Universal. Especially the main guy who has to get the audience wet by doing 360 turns in the jet ski.
After water world we catch the special effects show, which is good too see behind the scenes and has a few stunts like being put on fire and flying through the air controlled by an app so cool. It’s only half hour but takes us right to the end of the day as shuts at 8pm. So all feeling hungry we head to Saddle Ranch restaurant as Adam gets discount there too to catch up over some shared ribs, chicken and guacamole as been ages since we have as he has been in LA already 2 years. A really nice day in the park so amazing to have had that free and lovely evening hearing about what they been doing, their dog and filling them in any travels. It is quite late when we leave as walk about the outside city too and bump into a few people Adam knows. Getting a lift back is helpful too and doesn’t take long as no traffic so walk into the hostel around 11pm. There are a few people chatting on the cool seating area and so hang with them for awhile.
1st June 2016