Travel Reviews

Published on October 1st, 2016 | by gareth


Universal Studios: Hollywood

Recently we travelled to beautiful Hollywood to visit Universal Studios. Although staff had covered some special events in recent years, this was the first time that my wife and I had visited in several years and we were eager to experience the many new attractions that park has opened since our last visit.

Upon entering the park, we made our way to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and were instantly hooked by the highly-detailed and very immersive attraction combines the winter themed village of Hogsmeade and numerous shops and places to eat. We enjoyed the Three Broomsticks restaurant which had frozen Butterbeer and a wide assortment of dinners and desserts which made it the perfect spot to return to after a long day in the park.

Our first ride was Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey which combined 4D effects with a motion ride yet also features swooping turns not normally found in rides of this type. The highly detailed castle was a perfect replicate of Hogwarts and the cast from the films was on hand at various parts of our journey to accompany us. The thrilling ride gave us spiders, Dragons, soaring adventures, and a Quidditch match to boot.

Our next attraction was the Griffin Coaster. It is a family coaster that offers a series of tight turns on a short track but is a nice change of pace for those looking for something the entire family could enjoy.

Next up we ventured through Springfield and noted how much it has expanded since we covered the opening of The Simpsons Ride. Moe’s Tavern, Krusty Burger, King Toot’s, and the Quick E Mart have joined the landscape, along with numerous other locales and characters from the show. We picked up some amazing Nachos from the Bumblebee Man Taco Truck and there were some amazing other dishes offered as well as the great ride and various midway games all with a Simpson theme.

Up next we loaded on the trams to take the Backlot Tour. My son had never been on the tour before so he was there with his family which made for a very nice experience. We had worried that our infant Granddaughter might not handle it well but she pulled through like a champ. The tour takes you around the backlot to see actual sets from past and current shows and films and includes locales such as the Bates Motel, Jurassic Park, Jaws, and many other films. Our helpful guide and a video by Jimmy Fallon helped us along by showing us clips of the sets as they appeared in classic productions through the ages.

The big show was the King Kong attractions which were a 4D experience where we were caught in a battle between Kong and various Dinosaurs and spray would hit us when the punches landed. Of course the tram was rocking as well and the visuals were all around us. We had a similar experience to the famous earthquake simulator before we really revved it up for The Fast and Furious portion which featured Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriquez and other members from the series as we were whisked along on a high speed 4D adventure.

Following our tour, we made our way to the kid’s area where we rode the Minions attraction and delighted in the numerous shops along the way.

We were in the mood for more action so we made our way down to the lower areas where we experienced Jurassic Park The Ride, The Revenge of the Mummy ride, and the Transformers: The Ride. Transformers is a great motion ride which combines 4D effects with a thrilling story where you work with the Transformers to fight the evil Megatron and his allies. With twists, turns, and thrills galore, this visual feast has become a new favorite I cannot wait to experience again.

We completed our day with dinner, and some rest as we watched the people and entertainers throughout the park as we had to save our energy for Halloween Horror Nights.

I strongly suggest getting a front of the line pass as being able to jump to the front of the line was a huge boon as it allowed us a one-time experience of all the rides and shows without having to deal with the lines. I also suggest the annual pass for those who plan to spend multiple days at the park as it really does pay for itself after only a couple of visits.

We had such a great time we will not let so much time pass between visits again as the enjoyable time with family was a perfect complement to the amazing new and older attractions at the park and shows that Universal Studios Hollywood keeps growing and offers something for everyone and is a must  see attraction for those visiting Hollywood.


About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”. He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show. He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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