Tuesday 28 March 2017

Universal Studios - Hollywood, California

As you know I'm a very lucky girl and one of the highlights of our California trip was a day out at Universal which was a Christmas present from my lovely family.  Now as most of you regular readers know the highlight for me was not only having my American Mom with us but also the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which I have posted about separately. Now most of the time you can guarantee the weather in LA but not at the start of the day we went it was drizzly to say the least.

First things first is parking. We got there in time for the park to open at 9am however opening times change throughout the year so best to check this on their website. Parking was easy, well marked, themed and very organised however it did cost us $20 for general parking on top of the ticket price. It was only probably a 10 minute walk to the entrance from here:

A nice rainy welcome from Universal Hollywood:

Usual bag checks and security are in operation but it wasn't too invasive and we were in!! We were advised to start at the back of the park which we were going to do but we got temporarily sidetracked by the Grinch doing Christmas. We met the Grinch - it was hilarious but I can't bring myself to talk about Christmas in March...... 

Now we had queue jumping passes and if you were to spend your money on one thing then I would spend it on this. The passes meant that the longest we waited for any ride was 15 minutes and bearing in mind that some of the queues were 90 minutes long this was a god send and enabled us to get on every single ride in the park. The front of line passes cost around $100 depending on time of year, which is a lot of money but like I say we felt they were worth it as we only had enough time to spend a day there. However if you are here for a few days and want to spend a lot of time here then you're better to buy a season ticket which is only about $20 more than normal entrance fee depending on the time of year you visit as there are black out days in peak seasons.

We decided that we would head on the studio tour first as this lasted about an hour and we assumed would get pretty busy. This is the more traditional side of Universal and if I'm honest the first 20 minutes was, in my opinion, pretty boring as it was just looking at back lots etc. If you want to get off and explore then you need to upgrade to VIP.

I honestly didn't take too many pictures of this mainly because it was raining and the splash guards were down so I figured they wouldn't turn out well anyway and I was too busy being entertained but our crazy tour guide!! I did enjoy touring Wisteria Lane and seeing bodies being carried out of the Bates Motel. The fun for me really started when we got to the action rides and although it's probably a bit outdated now my favourite was Jaws:

Some of the more modern interactive, virtual experiences were cool too. My favourite of these was definitely the Fast and the Furious one as you felt like you were flying. The King Kong and dinosaur fight one made me feel a bit sick but that's more down to my ear problems than the actual experience.

From here we headed to the back of the park and did Jurassic Park log flume which was brilliant, the Mummy rollercoaster (not for me!!) and Transformers ride too. The man and the girl enjoyed these whilst I visited with my Mom. We may have found some time to peruse the giftshops too. I am loving these photos and the ridiculous happiness of them:

This one of O is pretty much my favourite of her from the whole trip and it makes me giggle everytime I look at it:

We then headed back up top to Harry Potter and food at the Three Broomsticks (AMAZING!!). We spent quite a lot of time at Harry Potter mainly because I am huge fan! From here we took in the waterworld show which we loved so much we watched it twice, both times sitting close enough to feel the spray but not close enough to get absolutely drenched:

We also spent some time in Springfield meeting the Simpsons:

The man went on the Walking Dead walk through attraction which he said has a lot of the sets of the key scenes from the film. The animatronics are decent and the actors jump out at you. It was shorter than he expected it to be and if you have slow people in front of you then you know what's coming. It's certainly not for youngsters (or for me) but he said it's not that scary. We attended a civilized story telling session with Cindy Lou whilst he was scaring himself!!

Then we moved on to Despicable me:

 From here we went on a couple of the rides that were meant for smaller kids and then hit the gift shops. As it started to get dark we went back to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter so that we could see everything lit up at night including the castle. It's just so damn magical and my photos in no way do it any justice:

At this point it was getting towards closing time but as we were heading back there was a concert taking place back in Grinchland so we stayed and watched that for a while before heading back to the car. We'd taken a picture of our car parking details so that we knew exactly how to find a way back. Getting out was easy and no traffic hold ups.

Overall I would say that the majority of the park is getting a bit outdated now (Waterworld is from the 1990's!!) however that it no way detracts from what a brilliant day out it is or how much fun we had. In mine and O's opinion it was worth it for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter alone however the man isn't that big a fan. 

It is an expensive day out though although on a par with Disney! Have listed costs above to give you a rough idea but these are based on December 2016 prices and do change depending on the season and how far in advance you book. It's also cheaper to book the entrance and front of line passes together as you can save yourself about $30 each by doing this.

Do let me know if you are planning a trip!

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