Friday, April 14, 2017

California Trip: Universal Studios, Hollywood

Dennis and I moved to the state of New York 13 years ago, but we still consider California "home." I managed to secure really inexpensive direct JetBlue tickets from Buffalo to LAX, so we made a trip to visit our parents in August 2016.

The Monday after we flew in, we took a trip to Universal Studios, Hollywood to see the new Hogsmeade themed land and the other rides in this park. I hadn't been to Universal Studios since the early 1990's, when the "big" ride was E.T. - the park has grown a lot since those early days!

We went to Hogsmeade first, but just walked through briefly. We headed to the studios tour, and had a good time seeing different film sets and going through the 3D King Kong set and the Fast and the Furious tunnel. After the tram tour, we had lunch in the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade. This place was beyond cool.

We managed to get a big, round table in front of the fireplace. The kids were very happy to have butter beer!

The food was a cut above generic theme park food. I was pleased with my stew in a bread bowl. It was nice to get out of the heat and hubbub of the park to have a (relatively) quiet lunch.

The kids liked their lunches, too, but they liked sharing the day with grandparents and uncle/aunt even more.

After lunch, we went down the very long escalators to ride the Mummy coaster, the Transformer's ride, and Jurassic Park. Transformers was an amazing ride and we really enjoyed it - the boys also liked the raptor encounter by the Jurassic Park ride.

After the rides, it was time for churros. No theme park visit is complete without a churro!

We returned to Hogsmeade and went to the wand ceremony in Ollivander's shop. I was actually chosen to try out the wands - it was a very cool ceremony. Uncle David and Aunt Mary Ellen bought the boys interactive wands and they had a fantastic time trying them out all around Hogsmeade. We still have the wands and can use them for future visits to this park or the one in Florida.

We wanted to ride the main Harry Potter ride, but the ride broke down and we were never able to ride it. A big shame, but we still had fun exploring the village of Hogsmeade.

We left as evening arrived and had dinner outside the park. We had a fantastic day and will probably return to the parks in Florida to get the full experience.

We had several fun days coming up: the beach, horseback riding, surfing lessons, Disneyland, hiking, and an air show were on the agenda!

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