Monday, July 28, 2014

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS (HOLLYWOOD)

Besides DISNEYLAND, the one place that I will NEVER get tired of going to is UNIVERSAL STUDIOS. Yup! By some stroke of luck, I've been to this famous theme park more than the wonderful world of Disney because every time I'm in the US, fate would always find a way to bring us to where movie magic comes alive! And I don't really mind. Though I am no Siskel and Ebert, I love movies (be it the classics or razzies)  and everything behind it.

Again, this will be a pretty long post as I would like to record here all the extreme fun we had in UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD. Though the theme park may not be as "complete" as we wanted it to be (some of my old favorites were missing in preparation for this boy wizard), there were still a lot of cool sights and attractions that made our visit truly fit for a blog entry.

Take a look and see what awaits you when you go to UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD!





UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD!





There is a special parking area provided by UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD. However, you have a choice to get the one closer to the theme or park at the area which will give your legs a good exercise. 

We chose the latter because it's much cheaper! Ha ha ha ha!

Here are the parking ticket prices... 

From universalstudioshollywood.com

He he he he! 




So after we parked our car at the top area of the UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD carpark (yep it's going to be a long walk), Mati asked me to take a picture of him acting all cool by our car. 

Of course, Andrei followed suit (without his brother knowing) and did a semi-Michael Jackson look. 




And after 10 years of walking (hehehehe), we were finally at UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD!




Yohoo! UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD baby!

We bought our tickets online which is more advisable for you to save some time from lining up!

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD prices!

One Day Pass (online prices)
Age 10+ = $82.00
Age 3-9 = $79.00

Two Day Pass (online prices)
Age 10+ = $109.00
Age 3-9 = $101.00


Fast forward shot
Special discounts are applicable to minion sized park goers! He he he he!




The boys were psyched because they are movie buffs like us. The most excited of all was Andrei because he wanted to see Bruce, the actual shark in JAWS (his favorite movie). Come to think of it, what inspired us to go the US for his 7th birthday is for him to see his favorite aquatic man-eater.




When we got inside, we were welcomed by statues of behind the scenes wizards. Take a guess which one is not a statue.

If you guess the guy doing the thumbs up, you guessed right! I think what gave him away was that he was not really doing anything except giving the hard working guys a thumb's up sign! Ha ha ha ha!




Soon Mati will be introduced to the greatness of Alfred Hitchcock!




This time, instead of renting a stroller in UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD, we borrowed one from my niece. 




It's really advisable to bring a stroller because if you're like me who packs an extra of everything (e.g. shirt, shorts, underwear, snacks, drinks), this handy "carrier" will be your best friend. 

Unlike in DISNEYLAND (SEE HERE), Andrei was more than willing to push the stroller himself instead of riding it. I guess he concluded that this little thing won't be able to carry him. 



 

The first stop we went to in UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD is the Studio Tour. I don't know about you but I always feel a tour around the area is the best way to get to know and prime my little family of the day to come. 




We were up pretty high so we'd have to go down an escalator to get to the UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD studio tour. 

I HATE ESCALATORS and UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD had an insane amount of them! GRRRRR!




Getting in line at the UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD studio tour!

Now I've been to this ride about 6 times but getting 3D glasses was a first! I wonder why??




Our studio tour tram!




Wohooo! So excited!




Before, I was used to one studio tour tram per driver and tour guide. Now there was about 4 or 5 trams attached to the next with just a monitor for the driver and tour guide up front!




I told Mati it was not yet time to wear his 3D glasses but still he wanted to act all cool with it. He he he he he! I guess it makes him feel like a grown up to wear shades. Yes I should buy his very own pair soon.




The UNIVERSAL STUDIOS movie that was being promoted at that time was A MILLION WAYS TO DIE and we saw a LOT of its posters everywhere.

Sadly it bombed at the box office when it was finally shown. He he he he!




For the UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD tram tour, they took us to their different outdoor sets. 

Here's Chicago!




Later on we saw a familiar sight...




If you've seen BACK TO THE FUTURE (who hasn't) and BRUCE ALMIGHTY, you'll be familiar with this red building in front of a mini-park. 




Unfortunately, the tell-tale clock tower was missing for renovations :(




After the different outdoor locations, the UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD tram tour took us inside to this dark tower. The guide then instructed us to wear our 3D glasses.

We were surprised to hear some loud growling and then the lights turned up showing a 360 3D scene. The mini-show involved dinosaurs and the great KING KONG battling it out in a wet jungle with us in the middle. 

So this was the award winning 3D experience that's new in the UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD studio tour!




At that point I remembered that this was supposed to be the dark set where you will be surprised by the roar of a large animatronic KING KONG. 

Awwww...

As entertaining and dazzling as this mini-3D show is, I somehow missed that big puppet of KING KONG. He he he! Sorry I'm sentimental that way.

For those who loved it, I don't blame you. This 360 3D show was directed by the LORD OF THE RINGS King himself, Mr. Peter Jackson!




Afterwards we passed by some prop cars...

FLINSTONES!




2FAST 2 FURIOUS! 

Awww... RIP Paul Walker :(




Next up, the studio tour brought us to the rustic areas in Mexico where it's sunny one minute... 




... then suddenly a flash flood comes in.




Yup! And suddenly it's raining. Now THAT'S Movie Magic!




Mati was all excited with everything he saw. He's so interested in what's going on behind the scenes that he often reads about movie trivia.

I think he's the only kid his age who knows what a "Wilhelm scream" is. When he hears it in a movie he would immediately point it out.




To our left there was a replica of the boat from.... Sorry I forgot. HA HA HA HA!




We also passed by an actual television shoot going on! One of the hosts got up and gave us a wave. 




Next up was one of the most memorable parts for me of the UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD studio tour! 

I apologize for the blurry pics but I just wanted to show you the subway scene where they showed how fast and quick UNIVERSAL STUDIOS could stage a fire, an electrical malfunction, an earthquake, and a truck crashing down supposedly coming from the road above. 




Yup! There's also an instant flash flood going on inside the subway! He he he he! The great thing was, UNIVERSAL STUDIOS was able to get the set everything back to normal in mere seconds!!




Next up is the moment that I was so excited for Andrei for. 

I'm sure that hanging fish by the right will give you a clue!




Uh oh... that swimmer seems to be in trouble...




... and then he was eaten!

JAWS actually passed by and showed his teeth to us but I was so slow to catch a picture of him. Andrei got so wide eyed and excited at finally seeing his "idol" but it was so quick for him. He wanted MORE! 





A moment later we passed by BATES MOTEL and see this guy looking for his Mom. 

He he he! Do you know who he's supposed to be?




Moving forward we saw the set they used for WAR OF THE WORLDS!




I'm sure I don't need to explain anymore what scene this is from the movie. 




It's great that UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD now included actors in their studio tour.

I'm sure that guy in blue is doing a great job! He he he he!




At the end of the tour, we received a song from THE TONIGHT SHOW host Jimmy Fallon.




Before parking, our studio tour guide explained to us that the reason why most of their rides and attractions were closed was because they're giving way to the construction to our right.

What is it you ask?



It's HARRY POTTERS WIZARDING WORLD baby!

And it's coming at 2016!!!

AUUUUGH! Why didn't we come here 2 years later?? WHY???

Oh well.. that's something to come back for then!




After the UNIVERSAL STUDIO HOLLYWOOD studio tour, we saw this little set on the side. I remember this to be set up in one of the main walk ways in the first level. Now it's at the corner and goes unnoticed by most of the tourists.

Well lucky for us I have big eyes so we were able to take a picture!

My husband and I were grateful with UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD that they have staffmembers to assist you in spots like these for pictures. They will happily take your camera for extra shots for no extra charge!



By the way, I fooled a lot of people with this shot and they thought we really had the famed Hollywood sign in the background. 

As you can see clearer here, it's only a tarpaulin! HA!




Going around UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD, we noticed that there was not a lot of tourists compared to DISNEYLAND.




Remember how much Andrei loved JAWS, I was looking for that classic big shark statue so that he could have a picture with it. When I asked information where it was, they said because of the construction for the Harry Potter world, they have to hide it away. 

BUM-MER!




Later on, we saw what replaced my favorite TERMINATOR and BACK TO THE FUTURE 4D rides...

THE SIMPSONS!!!!




My little lords spent a lot of time watching DVD's of THE SIMPSONS owned by their Kuya Chuck in my cousin's house. So seeing these sets was a big thrill for them! 




They LOVE Bart!

I mean, who doesn't?




KRUSTYLAND! I was sincerely hoping there were some krusty burgers here. He he he he!

Anyway, we heard that WATERWORLD will be starting in a few minutes so we just promised to go back to see the SIMPSONS later on.



So here we are at one of UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD'S most popular show which gave second life to a movie that bombed at the box office....

WATERWORLD!!!!

I was quite concerned with Andrei though because he HATED the explosions in the show when we saw it in UNIVERSAL STUDIOS Singapore. I just assured him this time that he's bigger, braver, and that we'll be hugging him when it gets scary.




The WATERWORLD cast!

Wow they have pretty good credentials!



And we're inside WATERWORLD!




WATERWORLD's very elaborate set!




We were able to get good seats in WATERWORLD that were not in the wet zone. He he he he!

Even if we were a bit early, we were not bored with the wait because WATERWORLD had these funny primers who energize the audience up and get us laughing!





And the WATERWORLD show starts!



Poor Andrei has not forgotten about his first encounter with WATERWORLD that he immediately covered his ears.




When the bad guy Deacon enters, there's always this bad-ass bass music in the background!




Everybody boos at him because he's all cocky and full of himself. 

Ha ha ha ha!




Even after I've seen it so many times, WATERWORLD still excites me especially when the plane flies out and lands on water.




The show ends when the lead guys Mariner and Helen escape with their boat while the fuel tank explodes. 




The UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD crowd breaks into a happy applause!

YEYYYY!




I was so happy not only with the show but also with Andrei who was not scared anymore!




Afterwards we were able to take pictures with the WATERWORLD cast. They were so nice to the kids!

Here was one of the characters who died early and our section's primer.




The MARINER!




One of the bad guys... obviously. Ha ha ha ha!




Another bad guy!




The DEACON! He he he he! He speaks just like Dennis Hopper!




Remember how disappointed we were that JAWS was tucked in a warehouse because of the Harry Potter construction?

Well THIS is the next best thing for now. Ha ha ha ha!




As I've mentioned that a big portion of UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD was closed because of the construction of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, there were not many tourists in the theme park.  Though we may have missed on some things, at least we were able to walk comfortably without bumping into anyone and there were short lines to all rides!




While we were walking in UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD, there was an abundance of mascots everywhere. The best thing was, there was also no line for pictures! 




We were also able to ham it up and joke with the UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD characters!




Same goes for Spongebob who really played with Mati and Andrei!




And he motioned master Mati to do this pose! Ha ha ha ha!




Yub and I also saw Scooby Doo and Shaggy! The dude also sounded like him!




Mati also requested to have a picture with the guys while Andrei was somewhere, not in the mood. He he he he!




The little lords were very happy that we were finally going to do the new ride at UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.

See? The newest attraction and there was NO lines! That's how much (or less) the people are at UNIVERSAL STUDIOS that day!




While we were waiting in Gru's living room, we were given some directions by the elderly doctor.




To which Mati listened word per word. My husband of course had something else in mind. 




The minions!!!




And finally it's Gru!




Awww... Check out Mati's smile!




And we are done!

I have noticed that most of the attractions now in UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD consisted of moving 3D rides. The same goes for this new one from Despicable Me. 

At the end of the day, I remember my husband complaining that he got dizzy from all the hydraulics and visual effects from all the rides we took!




At  the end of the Despicable Me ride and as we were going out, we got into this disco room where there's a big screen and you get to dance with minion special effects!




This was so cool! Could you see us dancing?




Going out... 




We then saw an actual Minion! Isn't he adorable???




I was contemplating between having a turkey leg (a very popular theme park grub) or PINKS!




There was a long line for that blasted turkey leg so we settled on some PINKS for now. He he he he he!

Blogpost soon to follow!!!




Let's eat!!!!



While Yub and I were still eating, the little lords saw this area with mini fountains. 




Of course, they went for it. Ha ha ha ha!




The two had a lot of fun playing and getting wet!




As much as Yub and I were worried that they'll get drenched and cold, we don't have the heart to put a stop to those happy smiles!



So if you can't beat 'em...

JOIN THEM!

Ha ha ha ha!




Afterwards I just changed the kids' shirts and I swapped jackets with Andrei because his green one was so wet.




I forgot to mention that it was jacket weather in UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD even if it was sunny!




Awww... ain't my bunso so cute??? I love his beanie too!




Going down UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD to check out the other rides there!




Inangko! We're so high!




If you're wondering why we always do this pose whenever we're in theme parks it's because we started doing it in UNIVERSAL STUDIOS IN SINGAPORE in 2011. 


HERE IT IS!

I entered a contest in 96.3 WROCK and it won an award for their Valentine photo promo! Ha ha ha ha ha!

So since then my husband I have been doing it ever since. We're not really taking pictures of the same pose to join another contest but it's more repeating and honoring something that gave us so much fun before. He he he he he! 




Yub and I were checking the MUMMY characters mingling with the tourists. 




I didn't know that one of MUMMY foes was already behind me!!! 

Inangko! But I was still smiling! Ha ha ha ha ha!



Yub's lady was very behaved! He he he he!



Yes! Andrei couldn't go on the MUMMY RIDE but he could join us for TRANSFORMERS 3D!!!!!




So it's on our way for us to TRANSFORMERS 3D!




Hmmm... It's a clear walk going to TRANSFORMERS! Now THIS seems promising! If only the other popular theme parks were all like this too!




Now we heard and read a lot about this TRANSFORMERS 3D ride. We were all excited because we loved the franchise!




There was a line at TRANSFORMERS but it was bearable.




Besides, the boys had a lot of fun with the monitors preparing us what we had to do for our "mission"!




Cool!



But we're cooler... HA!

Awwww... do you see the little cutest photobomber??




There were also some TRANSFORMERS movie props that were on display that really piqued the boys' interest. 




Almost near... 




And here are we!!!




Sorry for the blurry picture but the place was really dark save for the screen. 

We were made to sit on this steel "ship" that could fit about 20 people. 




The TRANSFORMERS 3D ride was not your ordinary visual effects experience. The ship REALLY does move from one point to the next and doing 360 degree turns even. This gives that illusion that you're really going around Chicago lurking under the building rubble while the giant robots fight it out. 



And it's all in 3D!!! WOOHOO!

When it was all done and we were able to protect the Allspark from the Decepticons, we were almost jumping from excitement.

I remember before when we were so mind blown from the TERMINATOR 3D ride because it was one of the newest attractions at that time. This TERMINATOR 3D gave us the same excitement and state of disbelief. Yes it was not your ordinary 3D ride. It was SO much more! Do line up here when you can!

If you don't believe me on how good this ride is, check out the awards received by TRANSFORMERS 3D!!!

Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement, Attraction –Themed Entertainment Association
International 3D Society Lumiere™ Award -Outstanding Achievement, Themed Attraction
Best New Attraction – Theme Park Insider Awards

!!!!




After the TRANSFORMERS 3D ride we saw the evil Megatron having pictures with the crowd. Unlike in UNIVERSAL STUDIOS SINGAPORE who I heard would just move, this Megatron would really interact and talk to the crowd. Kudos to the person inside who would say a lot of witty things in true Megatron character.

Ha ha ha ha! He got so angry when I took out the monopod! He said "SELFIES??? THERE WILL BE NO SELFIES IN THE PRESENCE OF MEGATRON! HOW DARE YOU!"  

Ha ha ha ha!



Now Optimus Prime was MUCH more nice! He noticed that Andrei can't stop looking at him. 




He gently told Andrei to look at the camera!




I think it's the same guy inside Megatron but using a different voice changer. He he he he!




Afterwards we went to the mini museum of UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD. There we saw the Delorean from BACK TO THE FUTURE!




Yup! It's the original one!




More BACK TO THE FUTURE goodies!




Andrei, being the true blue JAWS fan, cannot stop looking at its display.




See? Even if I told him already to look at the camera, he cannot stop looking at the UNIVERSAL STUDIOS display. 




The mini museum also showed the UNIVERSAL movies that were awarded the Oscar for best picture!




Hmmm... I thought there would be more...




Yub said he and Mati could go on UNIVERSAL STUDIO HOLLYWOOD's JURASSIC PARK ride.




Uh... no for me! I got to stay behind and guard Andrei... yes! That's it!




Mati was not really 100% excited to ride on it but he WAS a bit curious.




It's a good thing though because Yub said the lines were SOOO long on this UNIVERSAL STUDIO HOLLYWOOD popular attraction and we were nearing closing time. 




With that, it's time to go up again.




EGAD! I HATE the escalators of UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD! It's just SO HIGH!!! When I'm on it, I feel like I'm going to fall on my bag and tumble down up to Jurassic Park!




Escalator railings as far as the eyes can see...  To think you have to go on 3 escalators like these to go on the next level. 




Wow! These standees of Kevin Bacon, Tom Hanks, and Bill Paxton for APOLLO 13 have been there forever!



Hmmmm... I bet they were using glutothione at that time. 




The boys and I snacked on some churros, cotton candy, and ice cold drinks while resting. Andrei also got himself a Bumble Bee thermos head after finishing his fluffy treat. 




Later on we watched this mini show that taught us how UNIVERSAL STUDIOS do their special effects. The kids liked it and thought it was pretty cool. 




Mati and Andrei's favorite in the show was this guy because of his comical antics. 



For our last ride, there was a choice between THE SIMPSONS and SHREK.

Since it was 3 against 1 (Me, Mati, and Andrei versus Yub), we went straight for THE SIMPSONS RIDE!

Sorry Shrek... we'll just go back for you next time. 




Again, there was no line at THE SIMPSONS RIDE. But even if there was, I don't mind watching the different booths which featured the  show's characters making funny comical quips!

Hello there Apu!




The kiddies were very excited since they have been long time SIMPSONS fans. They would only forget about the show when there's a new flavor of the month for them. But when they have nothing to do, they go back to it.

Wow! All throughout our US vacation, Mati kept saying D-OH!!!




The setting of the SIMPSONS 3D ride was in a carnival and Side Show Bob was chasing us. 




It WAS quite entertaining! Yub complained though that he had stiff neck afterwards from all the jerking movements of our vehicle.

Naaah... he's just sour graping that he didn't get to ride SHREK. Buti nga. H aha ha ha ha!




From what I remember, UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD last ride was at 7pm. But we still stayed behind to take some pictures.

The park usually closes at 10:00pm!




And since we almost got UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD to ourselves, we took MORE pictures!




Here's Master Mati!




Andrei with his laffy taffy!




And me and Yub!!!



Finally, the UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD moving logo (almost) all to ourselves!




THE YAPPY BUNCH was here and we will be back again!



As usual  my emotional self got so sentimental remembering how 11 years ago it was just me and the Chinese Adonis who went to UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD. We daydreamed back then that yes, we will return to this theme park favorite  when we already have children. 




I never thought in my wildest dreams that my husband and I will be returning with our very wonderful blessings, Mati and Andrei. They make our liveS more funny, meaningful, and full of love -- we cannot ask for anything more.

Perhaps ANOTHER trip? He he he he!




We L-O-V-E family bonding trips!

Yes, we L-O-V-E UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD!

We will DEFINITELY return for Harry Potters Wizarding world! He he he he!



UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD
 100 Universal City Plaza, 
Universal City, CA 91608, United States
+1 800-864-8377


UNIVERSAL STUDIOS WEBSITE
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD FACEBOOK PAGE



PEEEE.... ESSSS!



Besides the UNIVERSAL STUDIOS theme park, you should also check out the UNIVERSAL STUDIOS CITYWALK.



There are a lot of colorful sights to ogle at plus shopping and eating stops!




We wanted to stay some more but we had to be somewhere!



The UNIVERSAL CITYWALK is more a feast for the eyes at night because of the flashy lights!



Oh well... again... we will just do this again next time. He he he he!

So. There. 

:)

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