Oh let me tell you what an amazing day we had at Universal Studios Hollywood and it is the perfect time of year to bring all the family, enjoy the sites, the rides and the characters visiting around the park.
On Saturday December 14,2013 I packed up the family and made a 2 hour drive to SoCal to visit a park I had only visited once in my life and my kids had yet to enjoy. Enjoy is the term I use as the kids anticipated this trip since I had informed them I was offered a trip to the park for the day. I had been offered a day, after thinking and rethinking(I wanted Halloween, but a bit too scary for my little ones) I chose Christmas Time and the Merry Grinchmas was absolutely perfect for the kids as well as the adults involved.
Parking starts at $15 for general parking and there are multiple parking areas to park in, in which we chose Jurassic Park, only because we were driving in that direction. It was still early in the morning(930am) with parking still available but I can seriously see how parking would become a problem on more busy holiday offerings. We exited our vehicle parked in level 2L and had to locate an elevator which we walked all the way around the level and later learned there was an elevator close to where we parked.
We got off on the level marked by elevator and ended up on City Walk, ahead of us you could see the many shopping stores(still closed) and eateries and you got the sense that Christmas was upon us, even with KingKong looking down at us on City Walk. Not to mention the Dinosaurs that were overlooking the restaurants all were dressed festive and bright. We located a map to find our way to the front gate, which are very well placed and easy to navigate.
The weather was awesome, it was slightly cool but the sun hung over and remained in the 60's that day, a far cry from the weather we have at home. The front of the ticket counters and booths were already full of tourists and visitors and we knew it was going to be a busy day.
I was super stoked when I went to the Will Call office to pick up my awaiting tickets because I had no lines ahead of me. I had to provide ID and my confirm# but was super easy and speedy process, the gentleman was very friendly and helpful. Since I was offered the tickets to visit, thank you again to XXXXX :)(sorry you know anonymity), I was expecting general admission not realizing she HOOKED ME UP..yayyyy.. I had the Front of Line passes, totally unexpected but super appreciated. If it was just me going I could wait but with kids, there is NO waiting.
Front of Line passes give you just what they say, the ability to enter through the marked star entrance and get in with a handful of people "first". I felt like i was cheating(but I LOVED IT) and it made it possible to ride multiple rides without missing out on our day.
The kids were in awe, seeing all the movie characters they recognized walking around and able to be touched, kid friendly and enjoyed the pictures visitors were taking.
The highlight of Christmas 2013 most definitely is "GrinchMas" which runs through Jan 4th 2014, with the season approaching I can say I have seen The Grinch on TV more times that I can count. This was the favorite part for my kids as this is one of the things they were looking forward to only because we knew this to be the center of all things involving Who-Ville and the Who-bilation.
From the trees to the characters, music and festivities there was no way you could not feel the Who way of life, it was so animated and creative. They light the Christmas tree at night in the center of WhoVille and sing the day away.
The part I thought the kids would enjoy was the rides, backlots, TV sets and shows that they knew of or heard of. The Studio Tour had changed a bit since my last visit as now it has some 3D and 4D added, for instance KingKong and Jurassic Park on screen(I seem to remember it differently) equally as heart stopping though especially when you get squirted. The Jaws was what my son was excited about and my daughter couldn't stop talking about the divers blood. Desperate Housewives was new to me on the tour so cool since it is labeled with cast members and the Fast & Furious cars were so cool to see sitting there. We can't forget the Who-Bilation on the tour of which our tram stopped so we could sing along with the characters, so cheery and upbeat. They LOVED IT!! The Grinch, my daughter noted, was not as mean as seen on TV.
We went on many rides as well as the House of Horrors
Many rides prohibit the use of cameras or video cams therefore we didn't want to break any rules. The Shrek 4D was cool for my older kid, but the younger ones were scared so I did use the emergency exit :( The Simpsons was so cool.
If you are looking for that vacation or get a way to remember give it a shot, the tickets in Hollywood run from $84 and up and your price up guarantees a much better time but doesn't change the visit or attractions. The lines are quicker with Front Pass and you also have an option for a personal tour (hint, hint..maybe next time).
**I was given the tickets to visit with my family in exchange for the review. I am not compensated in any other way outside of what I had received. My opinions are my own and everyone has different opinions. Your enjoyment of visit depends on weather.**
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