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Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood Review
While most first-time Los Angeles visitors consider this to be a must-see stop, bear in mind there many other attractions that define Hollywood that aren't a tourist trap with steep prices. Despite the amusement park clichés, hard-core sightseeing and entertainment junkies will make this required visiting. If you get here when the park opens, you'll likely save yourself from long waits in line—arriving early pays off.
The first-timer favorite is the tram tour, during which you can experience the parting of the Red Sea; duck from spitting creatures in Jurassic Park; visit Dr. Seuss's "Whoville"; see the airplane wreckage of War of the Worlds and the still-creepy Psycho house; be attacked by the ravenous killer shark of Jaws fame. The trams have audio-visual monitors that play video clips of TV shows and movies shot on the sets you pass. This tram ride is usually the best place to start, since it's on the lower level of the park, which gets really crowded in the afternoon.
Many attractions are based on Universal films and television shows, designed to give you a thrill in one form or another. Take your pick from the bone-rattling roller coaster Revenge of the Mummy, The Ride, or see Shrek 4-D, a 15-minute trailer of 3-D animation shown in an action simulation theater. Fear Factor Live and the House of Horrors are guaranteed to provide screams, while the Animal Actors show offers milder entertainment courtesy of some talented furry friends. The attraction based on the Simpsons animated series takes you on a journey like no other through their Springfield neighborhood in a ride that only the beloved, albeit cantankerous, Krusty the Klown could dream up. Look for a new thrill ride based on the popular "Transformers" movies in 2011.
Throughout the park you can wander through prop-style settings of a French Village or a travel back in time to the good ol' '50s, as costumed characters mingle with guests and pose for photos. Aside from the park, CityWalk is a separate venue, with shops, restaurants, nightclubs, and movie theaters, including IMAX 3-D.
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