Universal Studios: I’m never going on that Minion ride, ever

Alright so first of all I have edited two of my prior posts! On “Disneyland Tips” I added another tip, and on “Q’bu Tutorial” I added a rule I forgot, heh. Quotes of what I added below!

  • When you get a fastpass it will often tell you you can’t get a fastpass until an hour has passed – this only applies to one park, though! Meaning you can get a fastpass for California Adventure and the Magic Kingdom at the same time. Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin in Toon Town and Radiator Springs Racers are also not part of these systems either, so you can actually get four fastpasses all at once! Not sure why you’d want to, but that’s a possibility.

In addition, you can burn a card for someone else if you know their card matches the one just discarded. In turn, you can take one of your cards and add it to their hand. It’s kind of like burning one of your own cards, but also probably making their hand worse.

Alright into the meat of the post! Time to talk about my adventures on the first day of the trip to SoCal.

So as has been the norm for the last few years, we woke up at 4-ish to leave at around 5 am to try and avoid as much traffic as possible. So I woke up at like 4:03, slapped myself silly, and dragged myself out of bed and got some food in me before dinking around on the PHC for a bit and then getting in the car and feeling super out of it for the next few hours, trying to do various things but not focusing at all and kinda dozing off. Basically it was terrible.

We then stopped at a Starbucks near a Bravo Farms, I had a poppy seed muffin and a caramel frapaccino (I am the epitome of health), and then we continued on our way. Played a bunch of games, dinked around a lot, etc. Then we arrived at Universal Studios! And in we went.

So beforehand my mom said that someone told her that Universal Studios was more of a half-day thing, not even a full-day thing. After being there, I’d have to agree.

So we started off in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, of course. It looked amazing. Like we were really in Hogsmeade! We went on the two rides – the first one was Flight of the Hippogriff. It’s kind of short, tame roller-coaster, which is fine with me since I’m a wimp, but might be a little “meh” for people who like more intense things. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, on the other hand? Oh wow, that was amazing. The waiting line alone was immersive and super accurate to the movies. And the ride – oh wow, the ride! It was a rush and we got to go all over Hogwarts, which was super fun! It was a nice mix between animatronics and filmed sequences. It was also nice seeing younger versions of the cast (the bits for the ride were filmed during the sixth movie production). While the line is long, I recommend going through it at least once to experience everything – once you get into the castle part of the waiting line it looks particularly incredible! Single rider for every other time, I suppose.

We then got ourselves some butterbeer, which was delicious! Very good. We considered getting a wand, but decided not to – heck, just seeing them on display and getting to handle them was cool enough. We also stopped inside Honeyduke’s and other stores, where we decided that the pygmypuff stuffed animals have ridiculously soft fur.

After that I went off to see the Shrek 4D presentation. Nothing spectacular about it, though the pre-show presentation was pretty cool. My sister then went off to meet Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona – he sang to her, it was really nice. Too bad Donkey looks really freaky and reminds me of a FNAF animatronic.

We couldn’t think of anything else to do in the upper lot, so we headed down to the lower lot. When you go to the lower lot, be sure you get everything you want done there in one go, because you don’t want to have to go through all of those sets of escalators more than twice.

We went on Transformers: The Ride 3D. Let’s say it’s as violent and confusing as one of the actual movies. (ba-dum tish!) It doesn’t help that I don’t know too much about Transformers other than some rudimentary basics. My dad basically described his thoughts on the ride as “rock-em sock-em robots”, which was pretty accurate – the ride was move along, go to a screen, watch robots punch each other, have some jolting around to simulate movement, next screen. Confusing, not very exciting, and an easy way to get motion-sick. Good thing I don’t!

I’d talk about more rides here, but as I mentioned earlier I’m a wimp so I didn’t go on anything else in the lower lot, and I didn’t care for anything else in the upper lot. As a sidenote my sister asked how much she’d have to pay me to take a picture with a minion. I informed her that it would be a lot more than she’d be willing to pay.

Overall, it’s not much of an exciting park. I don’t really see the need to go more than once, and certainly not for more than one day. There’s not a lot oftheming other than the kiddy stuff seems to be in the upper lot and the adult stuff seems to be in the lower lot but even that isn’t really true if I think about it too hard. They put attractions of the same theme together, but that’s not really theming, that’s just convenience. Harry Potter Land is probably the best part of the park honestly.

While going throughout the park I noticed a lot of sound-bleeding, in that I’d hear sounds from one attraction when at another – while over by the Jurassic Park ride, I kept hearing noises of the Transformer animatronics. It kind of ruins the mood when you hear music outside of the areas it’s supposed to be in! I also heard some Harry Potter when waiting in line for Shrek 4D, that was a little weird.

Outside the park their version of Downtown Disney is called “Universal Citywalk”. It’s got a lot more shops with a lot more variation, but is a lot more… cluttered? Everything’s kind of shoved together without much room to breathe.

While leaving the park I saw Beetlejuice dancing to cha-cha slide. That was certainly something. All-Star by Smash Mouth also started playing as we exited the park. A pretty nice way to end the day.

So my basic review of the park is that there’s not a ton there, I wouldn’t suggest making a trip that consists solely of going to this park. You really only need half a day to hit pretty much everything. Harry Potter World is amazing, but nothing else is too spectacular – it’s entertaining, but not great.

Oh! Parking was terrible. They were really controlling with where to go to park and pretty much made their own traffic jam. They also had the entire first floor empty for like, clean air vehicles or something. The spaces weren’t being used! At all! Couldn’t you just… open them up to everyone at some point? So parking’s bad, not because it’s crowded, but because of its setup.

Anyways, after finishing up at the park, we drove over to a Denny’s, had food, drove to the hotel, and I’m now sitting on the bed typing this up, feeling tired since I’ve been awake for 18 hours. Whoof.

Into Disneyland tomorrow!