We wanted to leave by 9am, and at 10:30
we were on our way.  In that 90-minute
time frame, the lines for the rides got longer and the day – expected to be the
hottest of the year
so far – got even hotter. It was definitely a scorcher, and
since there was not much in the way of shade unless you were on a ride, we made
sure to hit all of the cool zones we passed around the park, keeping cool as we
waited in line.

USH is spread out between the upper lot
where you find the classic rides and attractions, and the lower lot where the
newer things are located, with the lots being connected by a series of
escalators.
I haven’t been in forever, so I was
excited about seeing the new attractions and going on some old standards. Long
gone is one of my favorite rides, Back to the Future, which has been replaced
by The Simpson’s. This virtual ride was fun, but didn’t pack the adrenaline
rush of a traditional ride with heart-stopping dips and turns and loops. Enter
The Mummy and the new ride, Transformers 3-D.
The Mummy really scared the little
ladies and their invited guest, Miss J, bringing a couple of them to the verge
of tears. But after collecting themselves, they realized that being scared out
of their minds was part of the thrill
, and went on for a second time. 
Jurassic
Park
didn’t provide a heart-stopping dip as much as a body-soaking one, which
on that incredibly hot, summer’s day, was a welcome relief.
Transformers 3-D was like being in a
video game
, or more accurately, a 3-D movie. The simulator ride jerks and spins
you around, using elevator lifts to transform you from one action scene to the
next. 3-D glasses make the “actors” and the action jump right out at you. This
was the last ride of the day and though I was sick of the 3-D glasses by this
time (you need for almost every ride and attraction), the special effects and
3-D on this ride were pretty spectacular and didn’t feel gratuitous like it did
on some of the other rides. 
As great as the rides were, we probably
enjoyed the shows even more! Terminator 2 is still drawing crowds more than 15
years after it first debuted at USH and is as entertaining as I remember. 
Shrek
was a hit with the little ladies, but based on the oohs and aahs, I think the
show they enjoyed the most was Animal Actors.
No trip to USH would be complete with
out the tram tour.  Upgraded and updated
since the last time I was there, it still gives you a glimpse of the magic of
Hollywood
while never revealing the magician’s secrets. 

Along with sets from more
current movies and television shows such as War of the Worlds, The Grinch and
Desperate Housewives
you get to experience an earthquake and tidal wave, 
see
the Bates Motel and get a glimpse of Jaws.
But don’t worry. I think it’s pretty
safe to go back into the water. The antiquated, mechanical shark has definitely
lost his bite.

Note: A big “Thank you” to Universal Studios Hollywood for providing me with complimentary park passes.  I was not asked to express any particular point of view.