Catching Up – Universal Studios Hollywood

This is a second try to write this entry. While Helaine and Stef went to sleep last night, I sat on the bathroom floor typing away. After an hour, I went to save the entry, but -poof-, it was gone!

Frustrating? Tell me about it.

So, where were we? When last we spoke I was complaining about not having enough time to write after visiting Universal. It was an exhausting day.

This was our fourth time to Universal and, maybe, there should be a three visit limit. I’m not saying it wasn’t nice or fun, it just wasn’t as special as it had been and the satisfaction of many of the attractions is based on surprise.

It took us about 20 minutes to drive from Century City into Hollywood and then to Universal City via the Hollywood Freeway.

Though the park is billed as Universal Studios Hollywood, it is not in Hollywood. Considering the large percentage of Hollywood that’s less than lovely, it is surprising how many people use “Hollywood” for added glamor.

We could have and should have bought our Universal tickets before we left Connecticut. Helaine thinks there was a pretty decent discount to be had at AAA. There was a chance we’d get freebies (we did not), so we held off.

Standard daily tickets are $53&#185, and our AAA membership saved us $3 each. That’s nearly enough to pay for $10 parking. You probably already know how I feel about paying for parking at a commercial establishment.

From the 1950s:

Palisades has the rides,

Palisades has the fun

Come on over

Shows and dancing are free

So’s the parking, so gee

Come on over

Palisades from coast-to-coast

Where a dime buys the most

Palisades Amusement Park

swings all day and after dark

We walked in and headed right to the Studio Back Lot Tour. This is always fun, and it was today. It’s just that we had seen it all before. So when King Kong swatted at a helicopter in a 1970s New York City (grungy, with lots of subway graffiti), there was no surprise factor. Same thing on the collapsing bridge and San Fransisco earthquake.

We also knew what was missing. Desperate Housewives is in production, and we didn’t get to go to the street that houses its suburban street. On the other hand, we did see a very cool ‘airplane disaster’ set from the upcoming remake of “War of the Worlds.”

Next, Steffie convinced me to ride “Revenge of the Mummy.” This is an indoor roller coaster. I had taken Dramamine and knew the coaster didn’t exceed 45 mph, didn’t turn over and did go backwards.

As I sat in my seat, waiting for us to take off, I knew I had made the wrong choice. I was right. I got queasy, though it didn’t last too long. I think I’ve ridden my last ‘new style’ roller coaster. The old ones aren’t too bad, it’s the upside down or backwards moves that knocks me down.

Later we rode Jurassic Park, a water flume type ride. As it plunges down the falls, heading toward the big splash guaranteed to get everyone on board wet, a camera takes a picture (which Universal will gladly sell you). Everyone in our car was excited. Steffie was smiling. Others had arms raised in the air. I looked like I had just eaten sun dried mayonnaise.

Universal is more of a theme park than amusement park. There are more attractions than rides.

We took in the live animal show, which was great. In the weeks leading up to the trip, we all joked about this show, creating an imaginary bird named “Tweet.” The first part of the show was… of course… a trained bird.

I would recommend Universal to anyone visiting the Los Angeles area, but it’s just not a place that has the ‘legs’ for multiple visits. I don’t expect to be going back.

We left Universal around 5:00 PM and headed to City Walk. This is a large open air pedestrian mall with lots of restaurants, shops, movies and neon signs. Each and every business has some sort of artsy sign.

Helaine and Steffie turned into the UCLA store. Yup, UCLA is a name worth marketing for merchandise. Stef ended up with a sweatshirt, which we then found out qualified her for a free UCLA t-shirt.

Maybe they could give out a scholarship for random visitors. Now that would increase foot traffic!

We had dinner at Wolfgang Puck Express. This is a fast food restaurant usually found in airports. The menu features simple thing like pasta and pizza. It was very tasty, but there’s no way I’ll be able to look at ingesting any carbohydrates for the next few months. This trip has definitely added pounds to me.

&#185 – There are all sorts of ticket plans available, including one that gets you ahead of the lines. That wasn’t necessary, though it was still on sale.

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