Universal Studios & The Playful Professionals
After writing about my epic journey to Los Angeles in February 2017, I was asked to write about my other trips I had made to the City of Angels. So I thought where better to start than with the place that made my heart explode with joy on my first trip to LA in 2012 - Universal Studios, Hollywood.
Universal Studios sits in the appropriately named Universal City and is made up of the Universal Theme Park and the Universal Back Lot - the working studios where the magic happens! These two things highly appeal to both my professional and playful sides! And they didn't disappoint!
My good friend Callum Blue joined me in my adventure to Universal and..well...if you've ever wanted to see two grown adults become 5 year olds, put them in Universal Studios! Callum has lived in Los Angeles for around 12 years now having moved out here pretty swiftly after we trained at drama school in London together. He's a great guy and, as I've said before, tends to bring out the big kid in me! He was the perfect person to revert to childhood with!
I had heard so much about Universal that I knew it was going to be somewhere where I was in my element. As Callum and I entered the Universal City Walk which leads to the theme park, I was already in awe at the giant illuminated signs on the shops and restaurants and giggled in delight as I spotted the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company sitting proudly in the middle of the walk - I don't even like shrimps!
We paid our entry fee (which by the way gives you another entry free within the same year -
nice!) and bolted into the theme park! The stage was set already as the first thing that greets you in Universal is a large fountain with statues of industry workers parked on top. You were in the movies now and Universal was going to make sure the experience stayed with you all the way.
Very quickly, we found ourselves outside the entrance to the 'Waterworld' show. 'Waterworld', you may remember, was a bit of flop starring Kevin Costner back in 1995. But while the film may not have been a spectacular success, the show inside Universal is!
The atmosphere was electric and the actors were having great fun with the crowd. Once the show got going it was clear how much rehearsal and safety was needed for this show as there are effects and stunts all over the place. Having seen the film 'Waterworld', I'd quite happily watch this show 5 times over instead!
We moved onto the 'Terminator 2' ride, which was my least favourite of all the rides as it was essentially just actors playing out what was happening on a 3D screen behind them, and from there, after a quick bite to eat, we made our way to 'The Mummy Returns' ride.
Now I should probably mention here that neither Cal nor I knew this was a rollercoaster...in the dark! So there we are cruising through the ride in our carriage, happily taking pictures, when the ride suddenly shifts into gear and speeds off at 100 mph! My sunglasses flew off my head, my camera fell to the floor clicking as it went (resulting in several very dark and blurry photos) and Cal and I were laughing uncontrollably as we struggled to sit safely in the seats! When the ride finally came to a stop we were laughing like two youngsters and begged the guy to let us go around again. He looked at us like we were a couple of losers and pushed the button...and off we went again!
Two of the highlights of the theme park for me were the 'Transformers' ride and 'Jurassic
Park'. First we hit the 'Transformers' which used motion and 3D together to make you a Transformer and help save the world! It was clever, technically brilliant and lots of fun! And then there was 'Jurassic Park', which literally took my breath away. It's a water ride, but instead of sitting in a traditional log flume, you are sat in the boat version of the 'Jurassic Park' Jeep! The familiar music plays as you cruise along towards a pair of wooden doors, and once those doors open...well the beauty is almost too much to bear. I audibly gasped, slightly at the beauty but more at the production value! Once a producer, always a producer! It was incredible! The detail of this world that you had just entered, blew me away. And then that very famous theme tune filled the area as you were greeted by dinosaurs large and small. The ride quickly changed course and you found yourself heading up a very steep incline into a steel structure. The dinosaurs have broken loose and are tearing up the ride - you have to get out of there! There's only one way; down an 85ft drop in your Jeep Boat! A huge Tyrannosaurus tries to stop you before you fall but down you go smack down into the water resulting in the traditional soaking! I loved every second of it!
Finally it was time to head to the thing I had been waiting for - the famous Studio Tour. However, there is SO much to say about this part of Universal that it really deserves it's own blog! So, till tomorrow folks!