Entering Universal Studios Hollywood came with a hefty price of $80 for an adult ticket, but our determination to experience the Hollywood version of the park knew no bounds. In fact, we took lengths to get there–from Allan’s car to the train station then to the Metro Red Line subway–it took us at least two hours to beat the infamous LA traffic until we finally arrived at Universal City station.
Across the station, a free Universal Studios shuttle bus drove us up to the main entrance of the “Coolest Place in the World”. The park opens at 9 but there were already a number of people waiting at the bus stop by then. Nobody wanted to miss a second of the world-famous theme park and movie studio, obviously.
Universal Studios Hollywood reminds me of Ocean Park in Hong Kong. It is also split into two levels, the Upper lot and the Lower lot, which are connected by long flights of escalators called the Starway.
The Upper Lot
As advised by Allan, the first thing we did as soon as we entered the park was to join the Studio Tour, because this ride is based on a schedule and closes earlier than others. Needless to say, it is their signature attraction and you haven’t gone to Universal Studios Hollywood if you don’t experience this!
The Simpsons Ride
Another ride located at the Upper lot is the Simpsons Ride, which is a family-friendly, 3D-ride adventure through Springfield. It replaced Back to the Future: The Ride in 2007, and although The Simpsons is actually one of the best rides here, we still feel a tiny bit disappointed for missing a ride based on one of the most iconic time-travel movies of the 80s.
The ride was a good four and a half minutes long with not just the regular roller-coaster thrill of simulated seats and 3D screen, but it was also laugh-inducing because of the usual Homer and Bart Simpson antics. The Simpson family was also in their own theme park, Krustyland, riding a roller coaster, as Sideshow Bob who escaped from prison, chased after them doing lots of crazy stuff that only cartoon does best. After the ride, we visited the gift shop modeled after Kwik-E-Mart, Apu’s store.
The Lower Lot
Jurassic Park: The Ride
An amusement park is not complete without getting wet, so we put on our ponchos (Oh, wait, we didn’t have any!) and ventured into the Jurassic Park water adventure, the only water ride at the park. Universal Studios Singapore also has this attraction and their boat is the 9-person circular raft. Here in Hollywood, the boat is the long, rectangular type that can carry up to 25 guests. The water ride lasts for five and a half minutes, and is very similar to the one in Singapore, except for the last part, which ends with an 84-foot plunge splashdown.
Revenge of the Mummy
This two-minute indoor ride from The Mummies is almost exactly the same as the one in Singapore–except for the immediate 45-miles per hour acceleration right at the start! It had the same forward and backward car motions and all those breathtaking drops, climbs, and turns.
Transformers: The Ride
We loved this in Singapore, we still love it now! There were many suspenseful moments when both the on-screen animation and car simulator take you for a spin, but they are just fun and not scary (well, maybe a little bit). Even Mama took on this ride without even letting out a shriek!
If you’re gonna ask us the most memorable part of our Universal Studios trip, we would have to say it’s the Studio Tour. It’s such a mind-boggling experience to see a simple location transform into something like the wild, wild west or New York City. It’s crazy how film can take you somewhere far but, in reality, it’s just cardboard and wood. It’s really the magic of movies.