As mentioned in the prelude I did go to Universal Studios in 2002 (I also went to the one in Osaka in 2005) but I wanted to return as of course things do change. On my birthday (8/8) myself and Ethan both re-vistited the studios amid sweltering heat. We went to the lower lot first and The Mummy ride was an unexpected thrill which we immediately rode again. The Jurassic Park ride followed which saw us get a good soaking from the squirting dinosaurs and the rides culmination which saw us take a “treacherous plunge straight down an 84ft vertical drop waterfall.” The NBC Universal experience was a minor pit-stop but I was delighted to see the red mini which was used in ‘The Bourne Identity’ in 2002.
Having ascended back to the upper lot (via stairs for exercise) I was disappointed that the ‘Back To The Future Ride’ was no more but equally interested to go on its replacement; ‘The Simpsons Ride’ which was a thrilling virtual rollercoaster ride. As a fan of that show I was also excited to see reconstructions of Comic-Book guy’s shop and the Kwik-E-Mart.
After a long, long wait in burning sunshine we took the Studio Tour which lasted longer than normal as there was some kind of problem with our train so we had to wait for a replacement one to be brought to where we had halted. After that we saw sets from ‘Jaws’ (below left), ‘Psycho’ (lower left), ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ (lower right), ‘Desperate Housewives’ (below middle right), ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘The Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift’ (below middle left), ‘The Mummy’ and the huge outdoor airplane crash set built for ‘War of the Worlds’ (below right).
Other parts of the studio tour included a flash flood, an 8.3 earthquake, an old west town (including a saloon and sheriff station) and King Kong 360 3-D which is the world’s largest 3-D experience and having put on our special glasses was good fun and probably the best example of 3-D I have witnessed. That’s not saying too much though as I am generally not a fan of the recent rise in films being made in 3-D.
I was so tired that I couldn’t even stay awake in the Shrek 4-D ride but managed to recover in time for our final attraction which was the Terminator 2: 3-D ride. As much as I enjoyed experiencing this again it probably is a bit outdated now given the time that’s lapsed since its incarnation as well as the aforementioned rise of the 3-D format in recent years. There was just enough time for a quick photo-stop or two on the way out at the book shop from Notting Hill and the Universal Studios globe at the entrance both of which I was photographed at nine years earlier.