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Family Fun at Universal Studios Hollywood

We visited as a guest of Universal Studios

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For my birthday, my children wanted to go to Universal Studios Hollywood.  Yes you read that right correctly, they wanted me to take them there for my birthday.  I hadn’t visited Universal in close to 30 years so it was time that we took a trip up to Universal City.  The drive up to Universal can be jam-packed and I wasn’t in the mood to sit in traffic for 3 hours which is why we decided to make an overnight mini vacation of it.  We stayed at the Omni in Downtown LA which was only 9 miles away, a 15 minute drive.

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I decided that with the 100 degree summer temperature, arriving as early as possible would be best and wow that was a great decision.  The park opened at 9 but we were there at 8:15.  As you drive up the hill, you can see construction on a new ride.  Well it’s not just a new ride it’s an entire world, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and by the looks of it they are right on time for the opening in 2016.  Before you park you are given the option to park in regular parking or VIP.  We chose VIP and parked right up next to City Walk (totally worth it).  Universal wasn’t nearly as busy as I expected it to be.  We took pictures, looked around and still were the first in line.

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At 8:40 they started letting people into the park, but not to ride on rides, just to wait inside the park.  By 8:45 they had announced a soft launch of the new Despicable Me Minion Mayhem which meant that it would be the only ride open until 9am.

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We quickly walked to through the park to the ride.  The park is beautiful!  They have a section dedicated to London which made me homesick, a Parsian street filled with mimes and then we came upon the cutest pastel colored land ever, Super Silly Funland.

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Super Silly Fun Land is an all-new elaborate play zone adjacent to Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.  Before I go into details about it I just wanted to give my opinion of the newest ride at Universal, it is awesome!  Universal really knows how to make 3-D rides.

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You enter a room and sit in your section.  Before you is a giant screen.  Once you put on your 3D glasses, your adventure in Gru’s home begins. You are being recruited for Gru’s latest scheme, turning the audience members into actual Minions.  After making it through “Minion training” things don’t go as planned and you’re launched into an unforgettable trip through Gru’s super-villain laboratory.  Once the ride ends you walk into a disco playing room and have a Minion-inspired dance party.

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As you walk out of the ride you walk out into the colorfully themed, interactive Minion-inspired outdoor venue which is a literal interpretation of the seaside carnival from Despicable Me.

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If you love Minions like I do then this place is the perfect place to play and have fun. Make sure to pack an extra set of clothes or bathing suit because Funland has a free wet zone with more than 80 different water-play features.

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 If you don’t want to get wet, the dry zone has boardwalk style games that you can play to win a big fluffy unicorn or Minion of your own as well as the Minion-themed Silly Swirly Fun Ride.  Hands down the new Super Silly Fun Land was my favorite part of the park and I could have stayed there all day.

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Unfortunately it wasn’t my call (even thought it was my birthday) and we headed to Krustyland.  My husband is a huge Simpson fan so Krustyland was his eye candy.

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The 3D roller-coaster was so realistic that my 6-year-old was screaming for dear life.  She didn’t believe me when I told her it was a movie and to this day tells everyone it was a crazy rollercoaster that had her do loops.

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My cousin had just been to Universal and recommended we ride Transformers so we took the escalators down to the lower level to check out the ride. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  The 3D ride has you fighting alongside Optimus Prime as you try to survive and protect the All Spark from Decepticons. I couldn’t tell what was real and what 3D but I’m pretty sure the Transformers and Decepticons were real – I think.

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Next we hit Jurassic Park the Ride and came face-to-face a 50-foot T-Rex which ended in an 84-foot plunge, one of the largest theme park water descent ever constructed!  Expect to get wet on this 81 million gallon water ride.

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Coming off the ride we saw that the 15 minute wait for Revenge of the Mummy was now 30 minutes so we walked quickly to the line.  Before you can go on the ride you need to place all items in the lockers provided unless you are part of child switch which we were because my daughter was less than 48 inches tall.

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When you get to the front of the line, the staff directs the child switch parent and child to a nice air-conditioned playroom.   Once you get off the ride you go to the room and switch parent/child.  It’s very organized and quick.  This ride is my son’s favorite ride in the park.  I’m not giving any surprises away so that you can fully enjoy the terror of the Mummy!

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Our day at Universal came to an end after we explored the back lot via the Studio Tour guided by Jimmy Fallon.  The tour had changed quite a bit from when I was a kid but luckily they still had the hooky Jaws shark (Bruce) make an appearance that made my kids scream.

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The Studio Tour explores Hollywood’s most famous backlot in the world’s largest working movie studio, we actually saw a two commercials being filmed and needed to stay quiet for them to shoot.

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The Studio Tour also includes King Kong 360 3-D created by Peter Jackson, as well as Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives and Bates Motel from Psycho.

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Informative and fun the tour is still a must after all these years.  There were so many other things to see and do at Universal but we wanted to get home before rush hour traffic so we couldn’t stay to watch any of the shows.

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Luckily Universal Studios offers by a day and get a year free so we will definitely see the rest of the park in the upcoming year.  Universal Studios is located at 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608.  For more information or to buy tickets please visit their website  www.universalstudioshollywood.com.

I’m an OC mom of two and photographer. I love living in Southern California and want to expose my children to all that it offers. I love taking my kids on adventures and capturing their every moment so much so that my kids find it odd if I don’t take their pictures. You can see my work on facebook.com/photosbynaz.
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