As many of you know, I am an actress. I have worked on a variety of televisions shows and films. Some of the TV shows I’ve worked on were filmed in the back lot of Universal Studios, located in Hollywood, CA. So, I have had the opportunity to explore virtually the entire park.
When I lived in close proximity to Los Angeles, many people that visited me would want to go to Hollywood. Of course, Universal Studios is a major attraction there, along with its CityWalk. In two and a half years that I lived there, I went to the theme park alone five times. I honestly can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in the back lot of Universal, filming something, as well as the CityWalk.
For all of you Southern California residents, Universal Studios is offering a buy one, get one free special. So, rather than paying $47 each, you’re really just paying $23.50. Add the $7 to park, and you’re still under $60 to spend the day at Universal Studios, not counting food and stuff.
Since the first time I went to Universal Studios, way back in 1989, things have really changed. Heck, things have changed dramatically since I went in August of last year! They still don’t have too many rides. The actual rides they have are as follows:
Back to the Future – a simulator where you travel through time with Doc Brown to catch Biff.
Jurassic Park – a big log flume (if you can call it that) that goes through Jurassic Park with a steep drop at the end. YOU WILL GET WET!
BackLot Tour – a tram tour through the backlot of Universal Studios. You also get to go through several movie effects, such as King Kong, The Mummy, Jaws and so on. It’s neat, but it kind of depends on how good your guide is.
And that’s it for rides. ET: The Ride is being renovated to put in a roller coaster based on The Mummy. But, there are several different attractions. Some of them include:
The Mummy – A haunted tomb that you walk through in the dark. Things, including real people dressed as creatures from The Mummy, jump out at you. It gets hot in there. They also just opened the second floor. It’s a lot better now than it was last summer.
Animal Planet – A live show with animals that perform tricks. Audience interactive. Excellent for animal-lovers and children.
Shrek: 4D – My new favorite attraction! A 3D movie with extras! Follow Shrek as he and donkey save Fiona from the ghost of Count Duloc. Lots of fun.
WaterWorld – Universal’s award winning stunt show based on Kevin Costner’s bomb, WaterWorld. Bad movie, exciting stunt show. People in the first few rows will probably get wet.
Terminator 3D – A live and 3D show based on Terminator. It’s really, really loud. I never fail to get a headache when I see this one.
Backdraft – An interesting look at the making of the movie Backdraft. Interactive. It’s a walk-through tour of a soundstage where lots of fire effects are demonstrated. Go to the bottom rafter at the end of the tour– you’ll get a surprise.
There is also a Nickelodeon area for the kids, filled with all sorts of water features. If it gets hot, anyone can play in the water. You can find the gaming area based on the film Viva Rock Vegas. What’s it called? Rock Vegas, of course.
Many street performers walk around, including a lot of look-alikes. Be sure to bring your camera– there are plenty of photo opportunities! Busines seems to be down there, too, so a lot of souveniers are on sale. Go ahead and take advantage of that.
For the adults, there is the adjoining CityWalk. Here you ca find 65 different places to visit, including 22 different places to eat. There is a Hard Rock Cafe right in the middle of it that is pretty good. You can also find Starbucks, Wolfgang Puck’s, Tony Roma’s, Jillians and many other places. There is a fountain in the middle of the area that kids tend to run through when it gets hot.
Oh, there is also a Cineplex Odeon, where Universal hosts most of its premiers. Last year, they had a huge premier for Austin Powers in Goldmember. You never know who you’re going to see when you go there!
In conclusion, Universal Studios & CityWalk is a great place for the whole family to visit. Hopefully, some more rides will open up soon. The shows are neat, but you can definitely do the entire park in 6 hours, and still have time to chill out on the CityWalk.