Headed straight for the Kodak Theatre this morning because we wanted to get in on the earliest tour so we could spend the rest of the day at Universal Studios. Everything here opens at 10.00, so we managed to get on the first tour of the day at 10.30. The Kodak Theatre is where they hold the Academy Awards and will for at least the next 70 years. The tour was great! It took us through the same entry way that all the stars enter through, then we checked out the VIP lounge, the bar on every floor, the dressing rooms and then we got to stand on the stage. I took my award with grace (LOL) then went and sat down in the seat Nicole Kidman was sitting in when she won last years Oscar for best actress. We then went up to the balconies and checked out the sort of view Liz Taylor would have. Our tour concluded with a look at the hallway that the stars walk down after getting their Oscar on their way to the media awaiting in the Radisson Hotel adjoining. It was really interesting and well done and has peaked our interest again in the Oscars. As Pauline said “we’ll have to watch it next year”. 🙂
Next we headed for the Metro red line to catch the train one stop from Hollywood/Highland to Universal City. There were absolutely no ticket collectors or train conductors or anything in sight. Bought our tickets from the machine but virtually didn’t need to because not once did anyone check it. It was very clean transportation, but I don’t know if it was prompt because there wasn’t a timetable in sight, nor did the red flashing information signs display any train arrival/depatrure info. But it turned up after a few minutes and soon after we were at Universal City.
Took the free Universal Shuttle up the hill to Universal Studios and was stunned by the amount of people lined up to go in. There were like 20 ticket booths, and 30 people lined up at each of them. This was at 11.30 and the park opened at 9.00!! I should’ve then headed my gut instinct to upgrade our tickets to the front of line option, but instead we waltzed right in on the red carpet due to the fact that we had bought the citypass yesterday. The front of line ticket is a bit more expensive, but after our experience the money is definitely worth it. With the front of line ticket you get to line up in a separate area which virtually allows you straight in to any ride. That’s a difference of 5 minutes waiting instead of the 20 – 45 minutes it took us plebs to get in to any ride. So with that in mind, in our 8 hours at Universal Studios we went on the Studio Tour, Jurassic Park Ride, Backdraft, Sound Effects Stage, Spiderman Show, Animal Planet Live, Shrek 4D and Waterworld. We missed out on the Terminator 2 4D ride, the Mummy Returns Haunted movie set, Back to the Future ride and the Blues Brothers Holiday Revue.
Highlights for me were seeing the Bates Motel and Mansion, Jaws, the heat from the Backdraft show, the Animal Planet Live show with trained birds, dogs, monkeys and orangutans performing tricks. Let downs were the lines, the expensive food and the fact that all the stars filming on the lot were on hiatus until January. The best we got to see was Crossing Jordans car park, and the set for Princess Diaries 2. Didn’t see Julie Andrews much to Pauline’s dissapointment.
It’s funny when you go to places like Universal Studios and Movieworld how fake you think it all is, but when you realise this fakeness actually goes on screen to become almost real for you it’s mindblowing. A lot of the sets were reused, like in the one block area they had filmed the Back to the Future trilogy, Bruce Almighty and Dirty Harry.
I also had to laugh when went on the Jurassic Park ride, because all day Pauline had been complaining about how cold she was, and then we went on this ride after seeing that you “may” get wet, and we got soaked!!! Her facial expression was priceless, although I was just as annoyed and cold as she was. We quickly headed for the Backdraft show soon after so that we could try and blast out the water with fire. It sort of worked. 🙂 But geez, I was in trouble for making us go on the ride. It was worth it though, would’ve been great in the summer. LOL.
Tomorrow we head for Vegas after a quick tour of Griffith Park and the Gene Autry museum. They have forecast rain, and since we are sort of heading near San Bernadino I hope they don’t get any more mudslides. We’re off to lose our shirts!!!!