Today, Denise and I got a chance to go to Universal Studios Hollywood with the EF group, and accompanied by our very good friend, Georg Hoglo. Since we enjoy movies, and are quite familiar with the movies produced through Universal, we looked forward for a fun day out. Doing Universal Studios also marks the last of the major theme parks in Southern California that we have visited, after Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Knotts Berry Farm. Since there are no amusement parks of note in New Zealand (sorry Kiwi’s, Rainbow’s End does not count), it has been a fantastic opportunity to experience these awesome parks over the last three years.
Situated near central LA in North Hollywood, Universal Studios began life as a bunch of movie studios situated on a 230-acre piece of land. In 1915, owner Carl Laemmle opened the studios to the public, as a way of making a few extra dollars. For an admission charge of 25 cents, people could come in, sit on the hillside and watch movies being filmed. Over time, Universal Studios has grown, and continues to grow in order to accommodate the popularity of the park, while still operating as a working movie studio.
The first thing we did after arriving was the very popular Studio Tour.
This tour is essentially an hour-long tour on an open tram, whereby visitors are driven through working backlots of real Hollywood movie studios, as well as seeing some sets from a few of the more well-known movies, such as Jaws, War of the Worlds, and Psycho. Recently added to this tour is a fantastic 360 3-D attraction, whereby you experience some of the heart-pounding action from Peter Jackson’s King Kong movie up-close and personal.
Throughout the day, we made our way throughout the entire park, and managed to get on most of the rides, and attractions, including the very entertaining live WaterWorld show. Based on the movie starring Kevin Costner, WaterWorld contained lots of action, stunts, jet-ski tricks and a bunch of pyrotechnics, during the 20-minute show. We really enjoyed this, and especially seeing all the public sitting in the “Soak Section,” get absolutely drenched. Although, we too got soaked on the Jurassic Park ride.
The weather was almost perfect for walking around a theme park, in that is was cloudy for some of the day, yet still a very comfortable 85-90 degrees (26-29 degrees Celsius). Towards the end of the day, we took a walk through Citywalk, which is an area just outside the main gates, and which contains dozens of stores, places to eat, and a seven-story IMAX theater complex and concert venue. We had a great day out and what better way to end the day, than with a Double Chili Cheeseburger from Tommy’s. We are really going to miss LA. We have had an absolute blast.