January 7th, 2009
Located at tinseltown Hollywood itself, Universal Studios is one of the must-visit attractions on any visitor’s itinerary. This world famous attraction comprise both a real working film and TV studio as well as a theme park. Split over two different levels and set on a hillside, Universal Studios is considered by many to be the quintessential LA experience, although trying to catch the stars themselves probably requires a fair amount of luck. All of its rides, shows and thematic experiences are closely linked to either movies or television programmes.
Enough talk. Let’s roll the cameras!
Like any theme park, brightly coloured thematic decor abounds here.
This is probably as close to some of these stars that we can get!
Our first stop for the day was the world-famous studio tours, where we encountered innocuous looking boxy buildings like these studios here…
…as well as exciting movie sets and special effects. These cars actually “exploded” in flames and “danced” later.
Look out, the Hoover Dam has burst and we are being flooded over!
Movie realism never got closer than this, when an entire aeroplane was destroyed for the movie “The War of the Worlds”. Even the smoke seemed authentic.
Ending off the tour on a happier note were these performers recreating a scene from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” which seemed to be the holiday theme.
To experience the secret of Hollywood’s movie magic, we went on a tour of the Special Effects stage and were treated to quite a few laughs by the animated hosts.
This authentic inferno in an industrial warehouse was recreated in the Backdraft behind-the-scenes tour.
Naturally, we had to catch some of the shows and rides. First stop was the Terminator 2: 3D show which involved both real actors and a 3D movie.
Next was the multi-million dollar extravaganza WaterWorld, which impressed with real life explosions, water blasts, and even an aeroplane which came crashing through!
For the young and young at heart, there is the Shrek 4D show.
As well as the Simpsons Ride, which was one enjoyable and thrilling experience.
We also visited this House of Horrors, which featured many dark and sinister “characters” like Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, Zombies and Werewolves. Unfortunately, Ethan got really scared and we had to beat a hasty exit.
Being close to Christmas, everybody had to have some snowy fun and this was possible with a snow making machine on site.
These performers outside the Blues Brothers stage added to the yuletide cheer, involving members of the audience.
Of course, there were lots of mascots walking about. Here’s Sponge Bob…
…and Dora. Two favourites among pre-schoolers.
Well, Ethan preferred somebody more “docile” and less “active”.
At night, we went on tour of nearby Hollywood Boulevard, and took some pictures at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. This was the famous red-carpeted location for many glittery star-studded affairs.
We also took some photos as the Walk of Fame, where wannabe movie producer posed beside John Woo’s imprints.
We finally encountered some “stars” – in this case Batman and the Joker having a friendly chat. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the US$1 needed to take a picture with them (yeah these guys do this for a living).
Tags: hollywood, universal studios, us vacation