Universal Studios Hollywood
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Movies and summertime go hand-in-hand. Theme parks are cashing in on the trend by adding new attractions based on some of the biggest blockbusters like Jurassic Park, The Mummy, Despicable Me, Transformers, and now The Fast and the Furious. There’s even a huge television presence with The Simpsons ride. Theme parks like Universal Studios (Hollywood and Orlando) offer new, innovative, and technologically advanced rides to satiate thrill seekers. In my efforts to provide an in-depth review of these rides, I naturally had to go test them out for myself.
Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood on a very warm Saturday afternoon probably wasn’t the best idea but I armed myself with plenty of water, sunscreen, and determination. I hadn’t been to Universal Studios Hollywood in over 14 years so understandably, I was nervous about some of the attractions. There are plenty of warnings throughout the theme park for those who have back problems, issues with motion sickness, or heart conditions. All I can say to those who dare to go—heed the warnings. I don’t get motion sickness—or so I thought. While I enjoyed most of the rides, I did have to sit for a minute or two after a few of them.
Here’s my report card on some of the attractions:
B+ —“Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.” I love these little yellow guys and upon entering the ride, you are greeted by attendants who hand you 3D glasses. You are then corralled through several lines to wait your turn. While you wait, you are entertained by Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and minions who tell you what is going to happen. If you are singled out, you may get blasted by the “Fart Gun,” but don’t worry, it smells like bananas. Once you are on the ride (four people per cart), hang onto your hats (and stomachs) because the 3D experience can be a bit overwhelming if you’re not used to it. The ride itself is quite fun. It’s almost like you’re part of a movie short where Margo, Edith, and Agnes, or “the gorls” as Gru calls them, try to give Gru a present for the anniversary of when he adopted them. It feels like you’re bumping into things and there’s one part that feels like anti-gravity. I wouldn’t recommend this ride for anyone who has a brain disorder like epilepsy. It can be a bit much with the 3D and lights.
A- —“Revenge of the Mummy Ride.” I’m a huge fan of the film franchise and when entering the dark corridors leading to the ride, you feel like you are inside the pyramid with Rick (Brendan Fraser) and Evie (Rachel Weisz) from The Mummy Returns. Once you are on the ride, fair warning—hold on tight. This isn’t a 3D ride but an actual roller coaster type ride. It’s fast and there are a lot of sudden turns. The baritone voice of an ancient mummy tries to frighten you but it’s only when you make a dead stop and hear the chittering of those scarab beetles that you really begin to panic. I wouldn’t recommend this for folks with severe back problems as it can get a little jerky. The only downside is this ride doesn’t last long.
A — “Transformers The Ride 3D.” If you know me, you know how much I love The Transformers. I even have an Autobot tattoo. Needless to say, I was super excited for this ride. As you walk in, the decorum has a very military and space age feel to it. As you climb into the cart, you are instructed to put on your 3D glasses. Hang on because the way this ride works, you feel like you are in one of the films, battling Decepticons and racing away at high speeds. There is one part where you feel like you are falling off the top of a building, plummeting to your death. If you have heart problems, think twice; this ride may raise your blood pressure. If you have a fear of heights, you might want to close your eyes. I don’t recommend this ride for anyone with brain disorders like epilepsy due to the flashing lights; it may be a trigger for some. I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would, although falling to my death did freak me out a little.
A — “Studio Tour and King Kong 360 3D.” If you go to Universal Studios Hollywood, you must take the Studio Tour. You’re taken by tram all around the back lot of the studio where you see a variety of sets, including Psycho (yes, we ran into Norman Bates), War of the Worlds, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the one with Jim Carrey). While on the tour, you get to experience King Kong 360 3D as the giant ape fights dinosaurs. You’ll even get a little spray of dinosaur spit when King Kong battles the fierce tyrannosaurus. If you sit in the cart, I recommend a window seat but hang on as the ride gets a little bumpy.
C — “The Simpsons Ride.” The weather was beginning to take its toll on me so I ended my day with this one final ride. There is a whole area dedicated to The Simpsons animated series, including a small piece of Springfield that features the infamous Kwik-E-Mart. “The Simpsons Ride” is a bit different than I expected. You are led to a room the size of a large closet. There is a television built into the wall where you watch an episode of The Simpsons (only a few minutes). Then the wall opens up and you climb inside a cart. This ride does not have 3D glasses but it’s a fully interactive experience nonetheless. Though you never leave the room, you feel like you have. Like the animated series, the ride is a tad outrageous with steep drops that put your heart into your throat and make your stomach do back flips. I strongly recommend you heed the warnings before entering the ride and do not eat before you get on. I do not recommend this for anyone with brain disorders as the visual effects can be a bit jarring.
After I cooled off at one of the many chilling areas (giant fans spraying ice cold mists of water), I got my bearings and headed to “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” shop. As you may have heard, Hogwarts is coming to Universal Studios Hollywood in 2016. I can’t wait!
If you do venture out to Universal Studios Hollywood, my advice is to go early, invest in the Front of the Line passes because as the name suggests, you go to the front of the line immediately. Make sure you eat light and drink plenty of water on hot days. The location of Universal Studios Hollywood is in the valley and the summer temps can get a bit warm. Also, check the air quality ratings on the days you attend – poor air quality will definitely affect how you feel when you’re riding rides on a hot summer day.
I wasn’t able to ride “Fast and Furious-Supercharged” as the attraction wasn’t open yet; it’s open now and I’ll be sure to head back to Universal Studios Hollywood to check it out. I’ll add it to my report card once I do.
Photos: ©2015 Judy Manning/Your Entertainment Corner. All Rights Reserved.
Thank you to Universal Studios Hollywood for the experience.
© 2015 – 2017, Judy Manning. All rights reserved.
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