A Trip to Universal Studios Hollywood

Rachael and I had an opportunity to visit one of the biggest names in amusement parks while in LA for E3 2010. We spent a day out at the park and tried to explore all of their feature attractions, so I’m going to break it down into sections. Enjoy this buffet-style review!

Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride

  • The line for this kind of sucked at first, being mostly exposed to the sun. Fortunately, you’re only outside for the first few minutes of waiting until you reach the mouth of the “temple.” This leads you through a series of hallways and small rooms that are all designed to seem like an ancient Egyptian Tomb. It was all pretty cute and well thought out, except for one small thing. On the ancient Egyptian Plasma Screen TV, they looped a video explaining the storyline of the ride. Here’s my issue, the lady narrating it looked just like Darth Sidious. Not just similar, but nearly a perfect match. That blew my mind. Anyway, the ride itself is an indoor roller coaster and is primarily just twists and turns in the dark, with the exception of a part where the ride stops and you do the remainder of the track backwards. It was lit up by glowing drawings of a sand-skeleton swinging a sword, very common in Egyptian myth, I’ll have you know. Overall, the line was short, the ride was shorter, and the seats in the ride had very little space for the gentlemen, if you get what I mean.

The Simpsons Ride

  • The Simpsons Ride is a large building designed to be a cheap theme park run by the character Krusty. It’s got a long, elaborate line that is lined by televisions playing Simpsons’ clips and special cartoons made for the ride. You know, the videos being played were actually funny and made the line a little more bearable. Also, I waited for a good twenty minutes or so and never saw the video loop. Kudos to you, Universal. Anyway, the storyline of the ride is that you’re following The Simpsons on a trip to Krusty’s theme park and the serial killer Sideshow Bob is on the loose. So, the simulator is all about the antics that ensue from the Simpsons being taken hostage by Sideshow Bob. The simulator is inside a huge dome, which you’re raised up into. The CGI animation of the ride’s simulated portion was decent enough to create an enveloping world while you’re on. I honestly don’t have any complaints about this ride, it was well done, fun and worth a bit of a wait.

Shrek 4D

  • Yuck. Oh, you want more? Allow me to pause for an exasperated sigh….Ok, so this “ride” was actually just a 3D movie set in between the first and second movies. The plot revolves around Lord Farquaad’s ghost returning to steal Fiona away from Shrek on their way to the honeymoon. You have to wait in line for quite a bit, which snakes around the building the theatre is in. It’s not that miserable, but there is no breeze because of the building. Also, there are only four or five signs to read during the entire wait. Anyway, you get into a waiting room before the theatre and are presented with a lengthy video narrated by the Three Little Pigs and the Gingerbread Man. By the way, this damn room is so dark, everyone is stumbling around trying to find the line! Also, there is literally no direction for you once you’re inside, so just hope you beat the crowd. Generally, I’m a fan of Shrek, I really am. Sadly, I’m not his biggest fan, either. The intro video was a little too long for something that could be explained in about 2 minutes. You’re finally seated into a very large auditorium, with some fairly funny commentary by the Mirror on the Wall. The main presentation is a fifteen to twenty minute movie. I mean, it’s a lot of rehash jokes from the first movie, like anything to do with “Waffles!” or Shrek “saving his ass”. I can’t really judge this like a movie because it’s not really supposed to be a movie. Just a temporary entertainment. The 3D wasn’t particularly integrated into the movie, but more of a dated series of things reaching out at you. The theater seats knocked you around like a N64 rumble pack, and were rigged with things that whip your legs or spray your face when the story called for it. If you’re sensitive to 3D, becoming sick or getting headaches from it, this show isn’t for you. I had a massive headache after getting out of Shrek 4D. I didn’t really think this was worth the wait, but it was dark and cold, something you may appreciate on a hot day. Overall, it’s something your kids will enjoy and you won’t be tearing your eyes out during it, but it’s not a necessary stop during your visit.

Jurassic Park: The Ride

  • Finally! The best was most definitely saved for last, because Jurassic Park is the bomb. The wait was supposed to be fifteen minutes, but we ended up waiting for about twenty-three minutes. You know what? I totally didn’t mind waiting and neither will you. Because Jurassic Park is the bomb. The “plot” is you’re taking a tour of Jurassic Park when the raptors get loose and you have to escape on your boat. So, it starts out with a peaceful float down the river, seeing the peaceful herbivore dinos and occasionally being squirted with water. Once you reach the raptor pen, which you’ll know from the classic raptor sound effects, you see that some fences are damaged and there is a chewed up boat similar to the one you’re riding. It then goes into a faster paced escape through industrial water filled tunnels with raptors popping out of vents and one particularly quirky raptor who slid on his belly out of the ceiling (my God, they’ve become like penguins!). All of this leads up to the 80-something foot drop while a T-Rex tries to eat your brain. You could tell there was effort put into this, it was well done, fun and absolutely worth the wait. I’d easily say that this is the best attraction for Universal Studios Hollywood. This ride was comfortable, exciting and great for the whole family to cool off and enjoy fantastic setting. By the way, Jurassic Park is the bomb.

Universal Studios Hollywood is a great place to stop by while you’re on vacation or if you decide to take a trip. While they do have a wide selection of things to do, I wish they had more attractions. You can practically count them on one hand, which doesn’t seem worth charging the high ticket price for. With stronger attractions like the Simpsons Ride and the Jurassic Park Ride seem to make up for some of the weaker attractions. The up side is that if you would rather see some fun shows or movie magic features than ride coasters, then this place is for you! Hopefully the new King Kong ride that is scheduled to premier in July will be a strong addition to the list of actual rides. Angela has more information about King Kong’s arrival to Universal Hollywood.

I give Universal Studios Hollywood 4 “Huge Escalators ” out of 5

by Blake Edwards

Blake

About Blake

Hi...I'm Blake and I'm a Cinephile. I've been this way since I can remember, although the environment I grew up in certainly contributed to my condition. As much as I love writing about films, I hope you all know that I write this for you. Look at me, Readers. It's all for you!

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