The idea behind Universal Studios is that it is a film studio, so there is a mock-up of Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, and an area themed like New York streets. Once again I was slightly sceptical about another Theme Park. But, I’m glad to report I actually enjoyed Universal Studios!
We wandered through “LA”, and into a rather bizarre Simpsons Land. This was a bit contrived (as one might expect, being as it is a cartoon!), but if you want drink Duff Beer in Moe’s Bar just like our favourite characters do, this is for you! The Simpsons ride was A 3D rollercoaster ride just like the Harry Potter ride – which was cool, but just like the Harry Potter ride I suffered from really bad motion sickness. But most people were saying words like “Awesome!” so I guess I’m in the minority there.
I enjoyed the ET ride, which as you “fly” above the town at night is really pretty with lots of little lights. However, I have to be honest – I also thought “this is so tacky, how on earth do they make so much money from this?”. Just my thoughts!
As you round the lake, you come to the Jaws section, which is meant to be themed like the fictional town of Amity from Jaws – ie. a New England fishing village style. I just remember this section for buying candy floss and seeing a (live) squirrel running in the sweet shop!
For me the piece de resistance was the New York section – this really looked exactly like New York and you felt like you were on a film set (which I guess is the whole idea!). I half expected Carrie Bradshaw to walk down the steps.
We perched on the kerb and watched the parade. This was a confusing experience – the characters went past, but unlike Disney characters which I am familiar with, these characters were like random giant toys and grinning adults in weird fancy-dress waving at me. I didn’t know if they were part of the parade or on day release.
There were various other rides like Twister (which somewhat underwhelming), and my BF went on Rip Ride Rocket and The Mummy. We queued the longest for Despicable Me, which was fabulous even though I hadn’t seen the film at that point (We were turned into Minions!)
We stayed for the fireworks show at the end and I must say I was disappointed. It was basically a load of film clips played with fountains and lights. That makes it sound quite good, but I’m afraid my overwhelming feeling was that it was boring. It went on for way too long and focused more on the film clips than the fireworks. Disney have defo got the fireworks right – people want an aesthetically pleasing show, maybe set to beautiful music. I don’t see how this is difficult for Universal, since they must own some rousing music and some great film clips, but it fell flat.
Overall, I much preferred Universal Studios to Universal Islands of Adventure. Possibly as I don’t like “themed” places as I don’t understand why anyone would travel to America, just to go to a place themed like France (ahem-Epcot-ahem). But this being themed as New York felt more passable – like I was on a film set which was meant to be a film set, rather than a themed place that was purely for tourists. Does that make sense? Anyway, if you’re not as sceptical as me you will love it I’m sure!
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