We wanted to leave by 9 am, 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 hadn’t been in forever, so I was excited about seeing the new attractions and going to 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 Long gone is one of my favorite rides, Back to the Future, which has been replaced by The Simpson’s. This virtual ride was fun but didn’t pack the adrenaline rush of a traditional ride with heart-stopping dips and turns and loops.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 without 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 of 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.
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