We decided to do Universal on Tuesday. One thing John wanted to do was to go to TNA Impact! at Universal Studios. Whilst we were there there were two tapings, on the 17th and 18th. I reserved us VIP passes for both days (email email@example.com with "TNA TV Audience Tickets" as the subject, no more than a week before the show you want to go to). Entry is free whether you turn up on the day or pre-book VIP passes.
Because we had the VIP email, we had to set off extra early. When the gates open, there is a guy with tickets exchanging your email for numbered tickets. The earlier you arrive, the closer to the front of the queue you are. :) We were very close to the front.
Universal is another place where you park miles away from the park. It has multi-storey car parks, and again, it's about $14 to park for the day. By this stage we had given up on getting the free buses from the hotel, because the times sucked, and they always left the parks home way earlier than we wanted to.
We had pre-purchased tickets and printed out email versions, etc, so getting in was pretty quick. We had a good wander around the gift shops, and then came across Curious George!
Yes, I'm getting braver. I hadn't even seen CG until we went on holiday, and I found it on TV one morning.
The Simpsons' RV. Bart and Homer were wandering around. At Universal, the characters seem to just all be out at once, and then everyone disappears. We saw Curious George, Woody Woodpecker, Bart, Homer, Marilyn Monroe, a Blues Brother, Scooby Doo and Shaggy, loads of characters all out all at once, and pretty much in the same place, on their version of Main St.
We went looking for breakfast. Universal does not do breakfast very well. A lot of the food stalls aren't open when the park opens, and don't open until about 11-12. We eventually found a Starbucks, but again, they don't offer the usual range of breakfast stuff. Given that cereal is a breakfast food...I had a Rice Crispie treat the size of a house brick.
We didn't go on many rides at Universal, but it is a great place to walk around and just look at everything. After the window-dressing in the shops at MK, the windows in the New York area were a big disappointment. Everything was grubby and covered in dust, anything that maybe used to move didn't move any more...It all looked a bit old and tired. From a distance though, the streets looked awesome. There are also lots of props everywhere.
Doc Brown's Train. That's a loop of Rip Ride Rockit in the background.
A few shots of "New York"
New York, looking down towards San Francisco.
Bizarrely in the New York section, there's a Blues Brothers street show (maybe they didn't want to build Chicago just for one show?!).
They even had the car!!
This woman was probably the coolest part of the show...she was signing along to all the songs and managing to dance as well. Awesome!
Hehehe, outside the sweet shop in San Francisco. It's not on the map for some reason so I can't remember the name, but it was very expensive!
Beetlejuice's Graveyard Muscial Review staging.
The Beetlejuice show was one of the best that we saw, the actor playing Beetlejuice is excellent, and the rest of the cast (dressed as classic horror characters, vampire, mummy, Frankenstein's monster, etc) can actually sing really well. If we'd have had time, I would have definitely gone to see it again.
The queuing area for Distaster! The queue wasn't actually big enough for us to get redirected through the interesting area, so we just had to zoom in on it from afar.
Incidentally, before we went, everyone insisted that we just had to go on the Jaws ride. Turns out Universal pulled Jaws for good a few months before we went.
Disaster! is good, though the actual ride is REALLY short. The storyline is that you are starring in a disaster movie. You are taking through varying rooms by varyingly annoying guides ("casting directors"), and made to do sound effects, etc. The really cool part of that is Christopher Walken appearing on stage via magical trickery as the director, and interacting with the staff. The actual "ride" part (well, you're sat in a ride car) is actually probably less than 2mins long, and you don't actually go very far. I don't want to ruin the surprise! It's worth the wait, as long as it's not too long a queue.
After that, we headed to Richter's Burger Co. for lunch. The best bits about RBC are the Toppings Bar where you can put all kinds of weird and wonderful things on your burgers (they do beef burgers, veggie burgers, marinated chicken, or salads) and fries.
The other best bit (which is TOTALLY cool) is the 100 Sodas Menu. Yup, 100. I'm guessing there are actually more than 100, but that's just me. You go to the drink pump, and choose your brand from a screen (Coca Cola, Pepsi, Sprite, Tango, Mountain Dew, etc), then within that brand there are loads of flavours to choose from. It's awesome. I had a vile-coloured but delicious Peach Sprite. Sadly I can't find it anywhere else. :(
The view from the bridge from San Francisco to World Expo.
The Fear Factor studio. We didn't go in there, the timings didn't suit our schedule, lol! But at least we saved something to do next time we go. :)
KRUSTYLAND!! The Simpsons ride was one of the best that we went on in the whole two weeks. The queuing was MASSIVE, but all through the queuing area there are TV screens showing old Simpsons highlights. The actual Krustyland "rollercoaster" is another simulator, and an awesome one. You sit in a rollercoaster car, and then go "into" the screen, it's amazing. The gift shop for Krustyland is themed as the Kwik-E-Mart. They sold really cool Kwik-E-Mart employee name badges which I picked up as a souvenir, as well as all things Simpsons.
After The Simpsons Ride we walked through Woody Woodpecker's KidZone, which was cute. The Feivel's Playland is adorable, lots of giant everyday items turned into a playground.
There's also some kind of Barney show for little kids, and we found the Barney fountain outside. :)
From there we went to the E.T. Adventure. There wasn't much of a wait for the ride, and though the ride isn't that comfortable (fake bicycle seat, anyone?!) it is really cool, you travel through the forest, and fly with E.T. over...Wherever Elliott lives, I guess. It's pretty, anyway.
I didn't get any pics on the ride, but I did spot the awesome sign. Swap a Child for E.T.? Bargain!
From E.T. you head into Hollywood. This was the Monster Make-Up Show, we couldn't get in to see that one either, so add that to the list for next time too.
I got to meet The Lorax! Now, I don't really know much Dr Seuss, but the Lorax was cute. Now every time we pass the poster in the cinema, I have to poke John and say "I met him!" :)
To pass time before we went to TNA, we called in at Ben & Jerry's. It was so cool! They made the waffle cones fresh in store, and the smell was fantastic. They also had way more interesting flavours than we get, though I avoided the one with potato chips in it! :S
After ice cream we headed over to the base of Rip Ride Rockit to wait for TNA...Which shall be the next post, due to the amount of photographs and also the fact that non-wrestling people might want to skip it. :)