Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Universal Studios

My 3rd visit to Universal Studios in Hollywood was accompanied by many fortunate surprises. I now think that this is the #1 resort for someone to go when he/she visits Los Angeles. I was happy to see that they constantly keep upgrading their shows so that they attract people back to the park. Among the new items I enjoyed were:

- Mummy: The ride. Although very short in duration, we went 3 times there and it was so much fun. I love indoor, dark roller coasters because of the element of surpise they always have. Also, this guy is the first forwards+backwards-moving roller coaster in the world, and they could only do that using electromagnetic propulsion rather than gravity (even the all-acclaimed X at Magic Mountain uses gravity). This allows for extremely new experiences: all the sudden you accelerate at high speeds while still on level ground, and after a few moments of ups and downs and turns you encounter a brick wall where you abruptly stop. While wondering what the heck is going to happen now, the same extreme acceleration forces you to move backwards through more twists and turns, while 200 speakers, water sprays and winds enhance the thrill even more. When the ride halts, it rotates 180 degrees while beimg blasted with steeming hot air before you exit. Woohoo!

- The War of the Worlds set, picture below:

I was amazed to see the set from the crashed airplane from the movie, where they dismantled a real Boeing 747. It looked so awesome.

- Only a few feet away from the airplane Wysteria Lane is located, a site that I immediately recognised since Desperate Housewives was onr of tmy favorite shows last year.

- Van Helsing's castle was ok, similar to the previous Mummy-scary type pyramid they had there.

- They have added some more extra stuff to their tours, like the rotating tunnel and the flooded Mexican city.

- Fear Factor Live was pure fun! Competition, special effects and various little gimmicks having 2000 in the auditorium was just awesome.

The classics of T2-3D, Shrek 4D and Waterworld are still amazing to watch repeatedly. Animal Planet, Back to the Future and Jurassic Park are old but nice attractions to fill the extra time. Finally, this time of the year (and weekdays!) is perfect to visit such attractions. Not too many people, and not too few. The wait times are 20min tops, while all the seats are still full.