Day 58 – Universal Studios And Citywalk

Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Miles To Date: 
8 314

Today we visited Universal Studios, which was our third Southern Californian theme park. We had an early start and were out of the house by 8.30am. The usually 30 minute drive took about 75 minutes because of rush hour, but we still arrived just in time for the 10am opening.

Our first stop was the Universal Studios tour, which takes visitors around the film sets, and now features a King Kong 3D movie section. We managed to get on the FTD (first tram of the day), which apparently holds the most surprises because they never know what might be filming that day. The tour took us around sets from as far back as the 1920s, and it was interesting to learn how the same sets are used in numerous films. Noteworthy sections of the tour took us through sets from Jurassic Park, Transformers, Jaws and Psycho. Some had gimmicks installed for the pleasure of the tourists, such as ‘spitting’ dinosaurs, a giant mechanical shark swimming around, and Norman Bates wielding a knife coming out of the Bates motel. Overall it was good fun and probably the highlight of the day.

Next we explored the rest of the park and I went on a couple of more intense rides. Due to miserable weather, and it being late in the tourist season, there weren’t any queues for the rides or shows – a major plus point. As a result I didn’t feel bad leaving Lauren for a few minutes while I went on the Mummy Returns rollercoaster, and Simpsons simulator ride. Both were fun, with the rollercoaster taking riders first forwards and then backwards in the dark, and the simulator taking riders on a cartoon adventure around Springfield.

The other main thing to do at the theme park is see the shows. We saw two main ones: one about the animals featured in films and one about special effects and CGI. The animal show had a variety of trained species performing tricks; from racoons to an orang-utan. The special effects show gave examples of how various effects are used. This included the use of animatronics and an amusing piece about motion-capture CGI. After, we experienced the Shrek 4D movie and explored more of the park. The park was covered in gory props put out especially for Halloween – scary stuff!

Tonight we explored the Citywalk area of Universal Studios, which is a new development containing shops and restaurants. We had dinner at a delicious Italian restaurant, before heading back in time to catch a second dinner with the cousins to celebrate Maxine’s birthday.

Photo(s) of the day: Universal Studios, and both of us enjoying the Mummy area a bit too much!