Day 07 - Universal Studios

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Submitted by brad on Sat, 10/22/2016 - 11:05
He Said:Today we hit Universal Studios. I don't know if I mentioned this earlier but we were scheduled for the Sunday we arrived and due to the delays, missed that. I was able to get them to switch the tickets to Saturday. Which is better than losing them but not ideal, as I'd already booked Medieval Times and we had to leave for that by no later than 3 or 3:30. We did the early morning admission and paid for front gate parking, which got us into Harry Potter early enough to be unimpressed. My family doesn't really know Harry Potter, at least not in any detail. It was impressive, the buildings and all, but it was entirely lost on me. If you're a fan I'm sure it's great. There were two rides - a really basic, and short, roller coaster and something completely different. Mara and Ryan refused to go on it, so G did with Shannon. She was not happy when she came out. Something about spiders. In any case, that was that and we were done with Harry Potter. The kids liked the tram tour. They have a new fast and furious section that's kind of cool. I think they're simply using see through movie screens, but it comes across as kind of a holographic, life size projection of the characters, standing there talking to you. One of these times I need to do the VIP version, as I really want to go walk around the clock tower from Back to the Future. Other than that, not much to report from Universal. We saw everything the kids were interested in; still never saw transformers or Jurassic or anything on the lower lot. We all would have done the tram a second time, but had to leave to get to Medieval Times. Saw a few characters, Ryan had a couple meltdowns...Mara won a Minion! I like Universal Studios for the movie aspect; I'm a movie geek and I find it cool that so many movies over so many decades, have been shot using the same 40 buildings and nobody notices. I'd go every time just for that. I hate their business model, though. Hate it. It's a complete contrast to Disneyland. Everything costs. The parking has three tiers of access. The park tickets have three tiers of access. There's at least two full midway/carnival sections where the games cost $5-$10 a pop. At Disneyland, at the end of buzz lightyear, you can get your picture emailed for free. At Universal studios they had the same kiosk, for $10. Even when we ate at Krusty Burger (because hey, Krusty Burger) the drink cups have a small sensor on the bottom. If you try to refill it, the pop machine refuses to work. "Maximum refills reached. Please contact staff". And while I find Disneyland food expensive, it's always excellent. Universal is expensive, and it is not. It's very disappointing. We left early and made it back to the hotel in time to pause for an hour or so before running over to Medieval times. The hotel was very nice, very modern, in a not so nice neighbourhood. Medieval times was about 30 minutes too long in my opinion, but overall a great time. It's a bit like WWE, you get assigned a knight to cheer for and they do staged, choreographed battles. The kids were really into it, cheering, booing, waving the banners, thumbs down, the works. It was great. Had a bit of a scare at the end. G got up early to use the washroom and left her phone behind. When we then went up to meet her, she wasn't there. I escalated pretty quickly to the staff, but I could not getting them to use the fricken' intercom. "She's 12, I just need you to page her to the knight's desk, she'll come right over". But they delayed, and got a security guy, and another, and they asked for a picture, and started fanning out. Eventually Shannon found her, but she was pretty upset. And it's always a tense moment. I wasn't too terribly worried she'd been absconded, but it's an arena sized area with another crowd waiting to go in, so there's easily hundreds, thousands, milling around in there, and a lot of ground to cover. You couldn't just point and say 'there she is'. Then it was back to the hotel to pack, pack, pack. We managed to fit everything in, and that wasn't easy. Even the candy. She Said