Amazingly, we were lucky enough to encounter a soft launch of the new 'Wizarding World of Harry Potter', as the official opening was only on the 7th of April 2016. We were very happy and excited to be allowed to view and enter Harry Potter's world, and we made our way to the entrance of Hogsmeade Village. The first thing anyone will see when entering this place is the huge Hogwarts Train! I was greeted by the conductor, and I quickly got a photo with him before a queue line started to form.
Friday, April 22, 2016
[USA Travel] A day at Universal Studios Hollywood
I have never been to the Universal Studios from other parts of world, apart from the one in Singapore. I was excited when Baby planned it as part of our itinerary for our California Stay. Prior to our trip, we purchased the admission tickets online in order to save some money. The park's opening hours for that day was from 9am-8pm.
As usual, Baby woke up early to prepare brekkie for us before leaving for the theme park. He is my sweetest drug indeed!
Baby drove us to the park which is located within Hollywood and it only took us 30 minutes to get there. We parked our car at the parking compound adjacent to the Universal Citywalk Hollywood, and walked through the whole Citywalk to the entrance of Universal Studios Hollywood!
Upon entering the park, we decided to do the Studio Tour first, as this was the most popular attraction. It's also not found anywhere else in the world as the tour gives an insight and look to the real movie making studios and film stages in Hollywood! The ride/tour itself is about 45-60 minutes long!
We waited for about 15 minutes in queue, before boarding the tram to explore Hollywood's most famous backlot in the largest working movie studio. A video with well-known American Host, Jimmy Fallon, was shown throughout the ride to act as a guide.
The Studio Tour included many cool things, such as the 3-D experience with the 'King Kong 360/3D'
showcase, the encounter with the shark from the movie, Jaws, the meeting with Norman Bates at the legendary Bates Motel from Psycho, a plane crash scene from the movie, 'War of the Worlds', and lastly, a chase scene with the all new Fast & Furious: Supercharged Experience! All I can say is, the entire thing was AWESOME, and was the best part of my entire visit to the park!
We took the TRANSFORMERS The Ride-3D, and it was similar with the one I rode in Singapore. In fact, it was an exact carbon copy of each other!
We did manage to take a photo with a moving/talking Megatron after our ride! He basically insulted every guest in line who was queuing up to take photos with him, with line such as 'Bow down before your overlord, human worm!' I did think he talked way too much!
My other favorite ride was the the Jurassic Park - The Ride. I liked it so much that I rode it twice! The Jurassic Park Ride is much different from the one in Singapore, and the ride included a 84-foot vertical raft plunge!! If you ever have the chance to take this ride, be prepared to get REALLY wet! The ride uses about 81 million gallons of water, which is recycled each day.
We next entered the world of America's favourite family, The Simpsons! Downtown Springfield was very well done, and included many iconic places from the cartoon. Moe;s Tavern was there, and actually sold refreshments to guests. Apu's Kwik-E-Mart was also there, and one could buy various Simpsons paraphernalia and souvenirs. However, the main attraction here was The Simpsons Ride, a fast and realistic 3-D roller-coaster!
We met up with Bart and Homer after our ride, and they were kind enough to pose for pictures with us.
Next, We went to check out another area which was based on the popular 'Despicable Me' series. The hilarious and exciting 3-D ride featured all the characters, Gru and his daughters, and of course, all the minions! I would say that this ride was not bad as well.
We were lucky that there was a soft launch opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter though the official opening is on the 7th of April 2016.
Baby was also very excited to see a line/queue selling Ice Cold Butter Beer, which was a drink from the movie! He got a mug of Butter Beer at USD13 and he got to keep the mug as a souvenir!
There are two rides at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The Hogwarts Castle is where the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Ride is located. The interior of the castle looked realistic and detailed. The most fascinating part in the castle were the moving portraits.
The ride was pretty interesting and surprising as it is a 3-D simulator suspended coaster roller. If you are sensitive to simulator ride with 3D effects, then you might get dizzy as the movement was super fast!
The other ride we got to try was the 'Flight of the Hippogriff', which was a family friendly roller-coaster that lasted merely a minute long. It is short and simple ride, and it is mainly for children.
We left the park at 7pm and we walked down to Universal Citywalk Hollywood for some shopping. We settled down at an Italian restaurant called 'Buca di Beppo' for dinner.
Before we started our meal, complimentary bread was served. We ordered a bowl of Meatball Pasta that was enough to feed 2-3 people! The damage was USD26.
See how large the portion is! We had a hard time finishing the whole bowl, but we ultimately did, all thanks to Baby. If not, we most probably had to 'Doggy Bag' it, which is the equivalent of 'Ta Bao-ing' in Singapore.
Before I end this post, I want share on my love for collecting sipper bottles from theme parks, and the Bart Sipper which I got it from Springfield at Universal Studios Hollywood (USH) is the latest to my collection!
Thanks for reading and do stay tune for more of my experiences at the West Coast of the United States!