Sunday, March 5, 2017

Universal Studios Hollywood 2017 Part 1 (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

So it's been another boring week for me, so instead of hashing out those details, I thought I would get into the last day of my trip after the Star Wars Light Side Half.

If you want to catch up on the previous posts, here are the links.

I left the Disneyland Hotel on Sunday night and headed to Universal City.  I found a hotel, El Royal Hotel, less then a mile from the park and got an Uber there.  I got to the hotel and they told me that I didn't have a reservation.  What?!?  I had my reservation email printout with me.  They said that they did have a smaller room and they would knock some off my bill and buy me a pizza for dinner.  I asked to have the pizza the next night since I had already eaten at the Catal.

The hotel was nice, and my room was tiny.  Like enough room for a bed and a desk with not a lot of room to walk around the bed.  I didn't mind since I was really just there to sleep.  I got my plan together about what rides to hit when and what is a not to miss.

The park was open at 9 a.m. and since I bought my ticket online I got early admission.  I could get into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at 8 a.m.  The only time I have ever been to an amusement park when it opened was when I went to Disneyland a few days earlier.  There people were lined up an hour early and they let us in to wait on Main Street for 30 minutes.  I assumed it would be the same at Universal so I got there about 7 a.m.  Boy was I wrong.

I took an Uber to the park even though it was less then a mile away from the hotel.  My knee had been hurting all weekend from my fall and I knew I was going to be walking a ton throughout the day.  I got to the front of the park and there was no on there.  At all.

I wandered around and found the gates and where I would need to be.  Then I wandered down to City Walk.  I was hoping that something would be open, like a Starbucks to get something to eat.  No one was around and nothing was open.  This sure was not like my experience a few days earlier.  It was odd.

I had been to Universal Studios once and City Walk once on a different trip.  The first was when my friend was getting married and one evening we all went to Universal.  They had a bunch of front of the line passes and we rode a handful of rides.  I don't remember much of the park except maybe the Mummy ride as I was just following everyone else around.  The time I was at City Walk, I was there with the same friends for a premiere of a movie.  Maybe I'll do a Throwback Thursday about that, as it was a lot of fun.

I got back to the front gates and sat on one of the walls and waited.  Slowly a few people showed up and finally they let us through security.  Then we had to wait some at the front gates.  I talked a little to the lady as I was still first in line (weird, right?)  She exchanged my printout ticket for a real ticket and my front of the line lanyard.  About 20 till we were allowed to head in.  But like Disneyland they stopped us at the end of "Main Street".  When it was about 8 a.m. they walked us to the entrance of  The Wizzarding World.

I made a beeline to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  I have been to Universal Studios Orlando twice and this is the same ride that they have there.  It is an indoor ride.  Through a seated ride, it takes you through the Hogwarts Castle and over the grounds.  It uses a ride you sit in like a roller coaster but incorporates the 3-D screens to make you think you are in a different place.

The line getting to the ride was really cool, it had a lot of stuff you would expect to find in the castle like the moving pictures, Dumbledore's office, and the sorting hat. 

This ride is great, I ended up riding it 4 times in a row since I knew that after that the lines were going to get long.  I didn't even use my front of the line pass, just the single rider line. The only thing I did not like about the ride was that it spit in your face.  In fact all rides I went on, except 1 spit water in your face.  It's irritating and gross.  They are trying to incorporate that 4-D crap and really that's not worth it.

After that I headed to the only other ride in the Wizarding World, Flight of the Hippogriff.  It also is a ride at Universal Studios Orlando.

It's more of a kiddy ride, and is a real roller coaster outside.  It was still fun, but only a one time ride.  The best part about this ride was that it didn't spit on me.

By this time it was about the time the park was opening for others and you could tell it was getting crowded.  I decided to get some breakfast at the Three Broomsticks Restaurant.  I had the french toast and it was good.  I tried Pumpkin Juice for the first time and I have to say that stuff is sweet.

I went into all the shops.  Everything was like you were in the Harry Potter world.  There was also Ollivanders where they pick a kid from the audience and had them pick out a wand.

And there was the Hogwarts Express.

I decided to get a Butterbeer as I walk to the next ride.  Mmmmmm is that stuff good!

I headed down to what they call the lower lot.  You take 4 sets of stairs (or escalators) down.  Down in the lower lot are three more rides, the Mummy, Transformers, and Jurassic Park.

I do have to say the views are amazing. 

I went to see the Mummy first, I remember this not only from my one other time there, but also from Orlando.  It's a fun ride.  It's a roller coaster type ride inside.  It includes some fire special effects which was different.  And guess what, it spits in your face.

As I headed to the Transformers ride two of the Transformers were having a meet and greet.

The ride is also inside and it is a car like coaster which also uses 3-D technology to think you are helping to blow up and save a city.  I believe that it's the same ride as the one in Orlando.  And yes, the ride spits on you.

I then headed to the Jurassic Park ride.  I was a bit hesitant on riding this as it was a water ride.  It was getting warm and I was hoping not to get too wet.

I didn't get too wet and some of the robotics for the dinosaurs were really cool.  This ride really doesn't spit, but you still do get somewhat wet.

I decided that I was done with the lower level and started to head back up.  As I was getting to the stairs one of the dinosaurs was coming out for a meet and greet.  It looked like someone in a puppet type suit and was really life like.  They even played at the fact that he was dangerous and needed chains to keep from killing everyone.

This post is getting really long, so I'm going to split this into two.  I'll have the second half up next week.  Please come back to hear how I wrapped up the day and my trip to California!

Read it here!!

Also, check out my vlog about my day at Universal!

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.


  1. I have never been to any of the Harry Potter parks. That pumpkin juice sounds delicious. I wonder if it taste like the pumpkin spice creamer? That stuff is pretty sweet but I like it in my coffee. I have heard many people like that butter beer. Again something else I need to try!

  2. Wow! This sounds like a super fun trip!

    I Want to take my son do Disney and to Wizarding World of Harry Potter! were the line skipper tickets expensive?

    That really sucks that you had to wait around by yourself while the park open... why do you think there was nobody there early?

  3. Scott and I went to universal Orlando a few years ago but didn't spend a lot of time there for some reason. We did try the Pumpkin Juice but not the butter beer.

    Weird that there was no crowd in the morning like at Disney. Perhaps this park gets busier at night.

    I can't believe the hotel lost your reservation. That is NOT okay. Thank goodness they had an extra room. I wonder what they would have done if they didn't?

  4. We've been to Universal but it was about 6 years ago. I was shocked at how easy it was to ride everything in a both parks. I'm used to Disney crowds. We seriously could have done it all in one day. I stupidly insisted on drinking the butter beer with a straw, even though they told me not to. Live and learn. Thanks for linking, Heather.