Universal Studios is one of those theme parks that always seemed better when you were younger. As a child, I went several times and I got used to the rides they had so when I go now and I see that certain rides have been replaced, I can’t help but be disappointed. At the same time, however, when I go on the rides now that I used to ride when I was younger, I’m also disappointed. Some things are just better when you’re a child.
The park is set up into “sets” of different areas. Like a giant movie studio come to life. The first is the Production Central. The title is as vague as the theme. In this section of the park you’ll find the Jimmy Neutron Ride and the Shrek 4-D show. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s a 3-D show with a few special effects here and there, not unlike the Terminator 2: 3D ride. Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast is the best of the two, taking you on a journey through Nickelodeon studios. It is a fun ride for kids and adults and is basically just a 3D movie that you watch from a moving stage to add to the flying effect.
Next you will be in the New York part of the park. Everything is themed to look like New York. Here you will find Twister, which is a pretty boring attraction when you really think about it. You are standing and seeing special effects that make your surroundings feel like a tornado. You’ll also find the first show, the Blues Brothers. Here you will also find one of the newest rides, Revenge of the Mummy. This replaced the King Kong ride, which although I miss dearly, is a worthwhile switch. The ride takes you through the tomb of a mummy who doesn’t want you there. The ride was designed beautifully, with tons of surprises and special effects. It is a unique ride, because it is an indoor rollercoaster. In the middle of the ride you are plunged into total darkness and you really start to feel some speed.
After New York, you walk into the San Francisco/Amity backlot. Here you can enjoy Fear Factor Live, and even participate in it as well as Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue, another one of the shows. You can also enjoy the classic Jaws ride. This is one of the ones that isn’t so scary as an adult. It’s actually kind of boring and ridiculous. You will also find Disaster!, which replaced Earthquake! but is the exact same ride. It’s not so much a ride, as it is another demonstration of how movie magic can create havoc.
At the World Expo lot, you’ll find the interactive Men in Black: Alien Attack. Even being in line for that ride is fun because you walk through the Men in Black headquarters. The ride itself is fun because you get to shoot the aliens yourself. You battle with the cart riding opposing you and at the end of the ride, the ones who killed the most aliens wins. Wins what? Nothing but bragging rights. In this section you will also soon find the Simpsons ride which is set to open this year. Another addition to the park will be coming next year in the form of a roller coaster called the Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit which claims to be the most technologically advanced coaster in the world, which includes letting guests pick which song they want to hear while on the ride.
You will find KidZone after the World Expo. Here you will find several attractions that your kids will probably enjoy more than you. The iconic ET Adventure ride is another one of the rides you will probably wonder why you loved so much when you were younger. There are several playgrounds in this area including Fievel’s Playland which shows you the world from the point of view of a mouse. You can also ride the Woody Woodpecker Nuthouse coaster, which is also for small children and families.
Following that, you’ll be in Hollywood, or the Hollywood back lot rather. Here you will walk on a replica of the Walk of Fame and see all your favorite stars’ stars. The only worthwhile part of this section is the Terminator 2: 3D ride which after all these years is still spectacular. I can still never figure out how that motorcycle comes out of the screen like that.
As with any park, it’s better to go when it’s less crowded sometime not in the summer and on a weekday. Though, the lines weren’t too bad. If you’re going to make the trip all the way there, I suggest not only going to Universal Studios. You can usually find two park deals for it and the adjacent park, Islands of Adventures, which is much better. Another good time to go is for Halloween Horror Nights. Though it is always packed, it is a good way to effectively spend your money so you can enjoy the haunted houses and the Universal rides.