Last weekend, Bill’s parents spent Saturday at Universal Studios. The tickets they were using were 2-day tickets… the second day “expires 7 days after first use.” So, this Saturday, Bill and I went with Louie and Nicole to Universal Studios. This was my first visit and Bill hadn’t been since he was a kid. Louie and Nicole are amusement park aficionados, so they’ve been many times. Nicole works at Knotts Berry Farm and Louie worked there before he worked for jetBlue. I think he still does some part-time work at Knotts.
We arrived late in the morning and had breakfast at the Saddle Ranch restaurant in the Universal City Walk near the park entrance. We ate there in January with James and Kristen and enjoyed it. James riding the mechanical bull made it more enjoyable. This time we planned to have Louie ride the bull. The food this time was good, but the service was pretty terrible. Our waiter seemed to be bored and wandered off, after we got our food, we never saw him again. There were plenty of waitstaff and only 8 or 9 tables with customers. We had to ask for drink refills and the check from a different waiter. Then it took forever for anyone to take the check back. In the end we just left cash and took off. Needless to say he received a very crappy tip. I wanted to leave no tip at all. We probably could have left no money and no one would have noticed. It kind of soured the mood so no one felt like riding the bull. We probably won’t eat there again.
On a much happier note, we got into the park for free and had a good time on the rides and attractions. First off, we rode the Studio Tour. It worked out well to have a 45 minute ride where we’re sitting down to let our large breakfast settle. I really enjoyed the Studio Tour because I was expecting it to be cheesy. And, that’s exactly what it was. We saw the sets where they film many of the prime-time dramas like CSI, Ghost Whisperer and Crossing Jordan. We saw the plane crash set from the more recent version of War of the Worlds. Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives, which is the same street where they used to film Leave it to Beaver. The Bates Motel and Norman Bates’ house from Psycho. A few buildings from Hooville from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. We were also participants in an earthquake in a knock-off of a BART station and we were all cursed by the Priest Imhotep from The Mummy. And, of course we were attacked by Jaws.
It was a lot of fun.
Afterwards we rode the Revenge of the Mummy ride and the Jurassic Park ride. The Mummy ride was a lot of fun, but way too short. The Jurassic Park ride was fun except for the big drop at the end… which everyone said wasn’t that big. I thought it was pretty big.
This is from inside the Jurassic Park ride:
Next we rode the Back to the Future ride. It was a lot of fun. It’s similar to Disney’s Star Tours where the ride gives the illusion that you’re flying across the sky thanks to the large screen that fills your peripheral vision and some strategic movement of the seats. We watched the Terminator 2 3D show that was pretty fun. Shrek 4D was really cool too. Although I learned that too many 3D attractions in one day create one hellava headache.
We couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather. It was warm (in the mid 80s) sunny and unusually clear.
The closest I can get Bill to a Halloween costume.
On the highway heading home, a pretty shot of downtown LA:
Yes, we even have traffic at 5:30 pm on a Saturday. It’s LA!
We went home and BBQed some hamburgers and watched Nacho Libre. It was a fun day overall.
On Sunday, Bill and I took full advantage of the extra hour of sleep thanks to Daylight Savings time ending. I finished up painting Mom’s Halloween costume (stay tuned for photos, it’s pretty cool.) We did some grocery shopping, Bill made funnel cakes that were pretty tasty and we had a nice and quiet day.