Though I’m going in order, I’m going to save the best for last and skip over to San Francisco. This had some great building representations of things like the Ghirardelli factory and parts of the wharf. It was fun to see how they took pieces of the Bay Area and made it into a theme park front.
The two attractions here are Disaster! and Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue. I only went to Disaster! This attraction has the story of being a studio within a studio. Christopher Walken plays the head of the studio, and we meet him after a preshow where volunteers are picked for various scenes. Once everything is in order, a show with Walken introduces more of the studio, then a stage set that has each of the actors being filmed for their parts of the final result. After that, it’s onto the main attraction part – a ride through a fake earthquake. It is very similar to the part of the studio tour in the Hollywood park, but with a bigger scale. The end film was hilarious, and that caught me by surprise. Many times these types of attractions are fun and enjoyable to watch, but are only hilarious for the families of the volunteers. This was hilarious to watch for everyone.
Though not the best attraction offered, I think Disaster is underestimated for its enjoyment. It’s nice and air conditioned for the Florida heat, and provides fun entertainment.
The last real city remake within the park is New York. It did look more like a backlot facade tour, but still had great style. Here the featured attractions are Twister – Ride It Out and Revenge of the Mummy.
Twister took the now classic film and put guests in the middle of one of the key scenes. I did watch a YouTube video of it before going to Florida and knew a little of what to expect, but this still blew me away…no pun intended. The effects were great, and really felt like there was danger in the room. No matter where you stood it felt like you were in the middle of a tornado storm. The dark atmosphere helped hide a lot of the strings to pull elements away. The only underwhelming part was the tornado itself, but only in the size. The effect was amazing, as it was not a projection, but a real simulated tornado!
Revenge of the Mummy was a roller coaster I went on a couple of times. I’ve been on the one in Hollywood and greatly enjoyed it, and thought this may be a little different. There were some different elements, mostly in the queue and the length of the ride. The ride seemed longer than the California version. The queue was a little scary as low lighting and ominous sounds permeated throughout. It seemed like a maze to get through, but wasn’t mesmerizing in the end. The coaster had great effects that I’ve never seen before, like a fire ceiling. Overall one of the finer attractions at the park.
Besides Wizarding World, this is the other big area full of attractions not to be missed. Transformers: the Ride, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Shrek 4-D, and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem are all found here. The only one I didn’t ride was Shrek because of having been on it here in California.
Transformers is one of the best simulator rides out there. Using similar technology to the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man in Islands of Adventure, the vehicles don’t stay in place with a screen. They travel through different real scenes as well as 3-D screens. It’s rather mesmerizing. Even the workers get into the act where they are dressed in military type uniforms and yell at everyone to get moving into battle…also known as the ride.
Minion Mayhem was not what I thought it was, and better than expected. It’s mostly in a theater environment, but the pods of seats move very well to a big screen. The idea is that we are turned into Minions and are in training. Chaos ensues, of course, and we careen through Gru’s main headquarters. It was a really fun ride, but its long line kept me from going on again.
Rip Ride Rockit is a unique coaster. For one thing a straight vertical lift hill takes guests on the track. The course is quiet, for a coaster. And good thing because the main feature is that it has a soundtrack the rider picks before taking off. It was fun to have Daft Punk playing while riding instead of possibly having an annoying song. Having been on so many roller coasters in my life, it wasn’t the most exciting for me. The usual twists and turns were found throughout, so the soundtrack was the most interesting part of the ride. But, that’s not quite enough for a run of the mill coaster, again for me.
Out of all the areas at the park, this was one of the ones that had a lot going on at any given time. Parades went through here. Dynamic buildings had either vehicles or signs moving around. Colorful images were found splattered throughout. It was a great place to just walk through.
Universal Cinematic Spectacular
Before going to the last bit of the park, Universal Studios has a nighttime show that features scenes from movies produced by the studio. Morgan Freeman narrates how Universal movies have touched different parts of us for the last 100 years. All of this is set on water screens while fountains dance. Fireworks also help set the mood during key parts.
It was a fun show with some good fireworks. It was great to see classic scenes and some dancing fountains.
Next we’ll finish up with the most spectacular area out of all the park – Diagon Alley! It’s not to be missed! Find out why.