Universal Studios Hollywood

(note: this is one section of a much longer California TPS Report. Click here to start from the beginning)

Our last full day in California was reserved for Universal Studios Hollywood. I was pretty excited about going there, as I’m a fan of the Florida parks and I’ve always wanted to take the original tram tour. It seemed like a great capper to an already great trip.

Toll Plaza Universal Studios Hollywood

Yikes. Apparently everyone else had the same idea. No worries.

Morning at Citiwalk Universal Studios Hollywood

Much like the Florida parks, you pass through the Citiwalk district to get there. I definitely thought their Citiwalk was more impressive than Florida (ironically the complete opposite of how I felt about Disneyland’s Downtown Disney district)

Universal Studios Hollywood signage

I forgot to ask for Babs, but they probably get sick of that gag anyways.

Universal Globe Universal Studios Hollywood

I love this version of the Universal globe.

Filmmaking Statue Universal Studios Hollywood

This filmmaking statue is pretty cool too, though let’s call a spade a spade and admit that any director taking that kind of stance is a complete and utter douchebag.

Upper Lot Crowd Universal Studios Hollywood

Whoa. This place is ridiculously packed. I didn’t get a picture of the information board, but every attraction was rocking at least a 60 minute wait. Luckily you couldn’t throw a brick without hitting a Universal employee trying to sell Express Passes. We really didn’t want to, but we ended up having to buy them (at $85 a piece, which is just obscene).

The goddamn escalator ride Universal Studios Hollywood

The park is divided into two lots – the upper and the lower. To get from lot to lot, you have to take ridiculously long escalators. This is just one section of them.

Apollo 13 capsule Universal Studios Hollywood

At the midway point of the escalators, there was a nice landing with an Apollo 13 prop.

Panorama from halfway through the escalators Universal Studios Hollywood

From the landing, you could get a good view of the surrounding area. At the far left, you can see the “Black Tower” and the lower lot. Over on the right is the backlot area.

The Escalator from Hell Universal Studios Hollywood

This is just the second half of the escalators. The layout of this place is ridiculous.

Jurassic Park entrance Universal Studios Hollywood

The lower lot houses three major rides. The oldest is Jurassic Park – The Ride.

Spielberg's signature Universal Studios Hollywood

This is the original version of the ride, opened in 1996. Since then, very similar versions have opened at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Japan.

Jurassic Park splashdown Universal Studios Hollywood

Neither of us really felt like getting drenched in the ride’s splashdown finale, so we opted out for the time being. It was still early, and walking around wet sucks.

Transformers Universal Studios Hollywood

The newest ride at the park was Transformers. An updated version of the Adventures of Spiderman attraction at Islands of Adventure, the ride is a combination of multiple systems. It’s a clever mix of a dark ride, a 4D movie, and a motion simulator.

Megatron outside Transformers Universal Studios Hollywood

Characters regularly appear outside the attraction for photo opportunities.

Karen inside Transformers Universal Studios Hollywood

So I griped a bit about the price tag for those Express Passes, but at least we were able to bypass the crowd on this one. As we walked through the empty express line, however, we started to wonder if we were the only people to buy the things.

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