USA West Coast Travel Part IX (Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park)

USA West Coast Travel Part IX 

Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park

Day 10 (Sunday, 31 May 2014)

The theme park at Universal Studios Hollywood was opened in 1964. It is a popular place among the old and young alike as it offers rides, shows and entertainment. A few rides are rough and warning notices are put up at entrances for visitors, for example, a notice at the entrance to “House of Horrors” below.

Location of attractions at Universal Studios Theme Park

A warning notice at the entrance of “House of Horrors”

Water World

After the interesting studio tour, my wife and I looked for a ride or show that had a short queue at the theme park at Universal Studios Hollywood. It did not take long for us to find one. It was an action-packed show of Water World. Although we had seen one at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka in 2011 that was similar to that one, we would like to see it again.

Entrance to Water World at Universal Studios Hollywood

A large crowd waiting to watch a Water World show at Universal Studios Hollywood

The show attracted a large number of visitors and kept the audience enjoying it for 16 minutes. It was about a girl, Helen, who came back from Dry Land to Water World, “Atoll”, asking her friends to return to the Dry Land. But they were attacked by some bad guys. During the fighting, some awesome war actions, like the ones in a 1995 movie known as ”Waterworld”, were executed.

An action-packed stunt show at Water World site at Universal Studios Hollywood

An enemies’ seaplane exploded and crashed at Water World site at Universal Studios Hollywood

Explosions and gun-shots add to the thrill and excitement of the Water World show at Universal Studios Hollywood

They included death-defying stunts on water, land and in the air. Besides, loud explosions, noisy pyrotechnics, large flame effects, crash landing of a seaplane and splashes of water from jet-skis that got the front rows of spectators wet made the show more exciting and spectacular. Later, a hero came, fought the enemies and saved the girl and her friends. In the end, they returned to the Dry Land.

The hero and his girlfriend left the Water World for Dry Land after defeating their enemies at Universal Studios Hollywood

House of Horrors

House of Horrors was our next visit. It was “haunted” with real-life people dressed up as characters from horror films, such as “Dracula”, “The Thing”, “Para Norman”, “The Mummy”, “The Wolfman”, “Chucky”, “Frankenstein” and “Noseferatu” to name a few. As visitors were walking through a maze in the dark house in 8 minutes they were frightened by live scary characters whenever they appeared, suddenly, from their hiding places near them. That eerie attraction was not recommended for people with fear and health problems and children under 13 years old. While I was inside, I heard some visitors shouting and screaming. But I was cool and calm all the time as I knew there were many visitors in the house. I think it would be a different feeling for me, if there was nobody inside.

Entrance to the House of Horrors at Universal Studios Hollywood

“Dracula” in “House of Horrors” at Universal Studios Hollywood

“The Thing” in “House of Horrors” at Universal Studios Hollywood

“Para Norman” in “House of Horrors” at Universal Studios Hollywood


When we came out of the House of Horrors, we went to a theatre nearby to watch a 3-D Shrek show. It was about Lord Farquaad’s spirit from his tomb trying to kidnap Princess Fiona. He sent a stone dragon to kill Shrek and Donkey who were trying to rescue the princess. The stone dragon lost its wings while chasing after them. Later, Lord Farquaad caught and put the princess on a raft to float over a waterfall. In rescuing the princess, Shrek and Donkey found themselves on the raft with the princess. Then the raft fell over the waterfall. Luckily, Dragon came and saved them. It then destroyed the rogue’s spirit  with its fire.

A poster inviting visitors to watch a 4-D show “Shrek” at Universal Studios Hollywood

Visitors queuing up for a 4-D show, “Shrek”, at Universal Studios Hollywood

Shrek and Princess Fiona walking in a street at Universal Studios Hollywood

Although the show was 3-D, we felt some physical effects including our seats tilting forward and backward, shaking, moving up and dropping down, and our faces being sprayed with water. We enjoyed the hilarious show with those physical effects.

Photo-Shoots with Transformers

After the Shrek show, we went down by an escalator to the lower ground at Universal Studios Hollywood. We stopped at a cafe to have a light meal. While having the meal, I watched visitors who were mostly children taking photos with a giant, talking transformer, Megatron(the Decepticon leader). Later, Megatron left, and two different transformers, Bumblebee and Optimus Prime(the Autobot leader) took over the photo-taking session with visitors.

An escalator to the lower level of Universal Studios Hollywood

Two brave young girls posing with a talking transformer, Megatron, for a photo-shoot at Universal Studios Hollywood

A father and child taking a photo with two talking transformers, Bumblebee and Optimus Prime, at Universal Studios Hollywood

Transformer 3-D Ride

Later, we entered a theatre and lined up for another 3-D show plus some physical effects. It was called “Transformer: The Ride-3D”. As we were walking towards a boarding spot for the ride, we listened to a NEST transmission informing visitors that the bad transformers, Decepticons, from a planet, Cybertron, had come to our planet, Earth, to look for “AllSpark” which was “a source of pure and ancient power that could make them unstoppable”. The good transformers, Autobots who were from Cybertron too, had a mission to prevent them from getting it. (NEST stands for Non-biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty that includes USA, UK and Autobots to fight against Decepticons)

A poster inviting to watch “Transformers” and experience a ride at Universal Studios Hollywood

Visitors entering a large building to watch a 3-D show “Transformers” and experience a rough ride at Universal Studios Hollywood

Emblem of NEST(Non-biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty)

Visitors going for a 3-D show “Transformers” and a ride on Evac at Universal Studios Hollywood

NEST transmission informing visitors about the Autobots’ mission to destroy Decepticons on Earth at Universal Studios Hollywood

Soon we were riding on a transformer known as Evac(an Autobot). When Evac got “AllSpark” from Ravage, a Decepticon, some other Decepticons, especially Megatron, fought with him to get “AllSpark” back. They were fighting in a large city, fiercely, causing lots of damages and human casualties. When Evac managed to pushed “AllSpark” into Megatron’s body, both fell down from a tall building. Evac was saved by Optimus Prime but Megatron was destroyed by “AllSpark”. Later, Optimus Prime came close to Evac and told his riders, slowly, “Your bravery saves the planet(Earth). Well done, freedom fighters.”. Those were unexpected words to us, a human race, from a talking transformer, Optimus Prime.

A vehicle that will bring visitors for a 3-D show “Transformers” and exciting ride on Evac at Universal Studios Hollywood

“AllSpark” which Decepticons are looking for on Earth in 3-D show “Transformers” at Universal Studios Hollywood

During the ride, we approached several 3-D HD video screens showing different scenes of Decepticons fighting with Autobots for “AllSpark”. The ride was rough and scary. Besides, we felt wind, water, hot air, fog, air blasts, vibration and smoke at different times. The ride was similar to the one I had experienced in the show, “The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man” at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka in 2011. Those two rides were awesome.

 “Revenge of the Mummy”

When we came out of the “Transformers” building we entered another building next door. It offered a roller-coaster ride in the darkness encountering an evil-looking, talking mummy, Imhotep, who wanted the riders’ souls, huge fire-balls, swarms of scarab beetles and an army of warrior mummies.

Entrance to the “Revenge of the Mummy” theatre at Universal Studios Hollywood

Boris Karloff acting as Imhotep in the 1932 film. “The Mummy”

Imhotep, an ancient Egyptian priest who was mummified alive in the House of Horrors at Universal Studios Hollywood

I find that the two-minute ride itself was more frightening than the ugly images of the mummies we saw in the show. The vehicle we sat on sometimes accelerated backwards and forwards with a maximum speed of 72 km/h. Besides, it made a few unexpected twists, sharp turns and sudden drops in the dark causing some riders to shout and scream with fear. Anyway, most of us enjoyed it.

Panoramic View of the Universal Studio Area

Then we went back to the high level by an escalator. When I reached the high ground, I saw a panoramic view of the area where the studios were located and we had a studio tour earlier.Besides, there was a large picture of three actors in astronauts’ suits placed near the upper elevator. A notice said that those actors had acted in a film “Apollo 13” in 1995. The actors were Kevin as Swigert, Tom Hanks as Lovell and Bill Paxton as Haise. There was a space capsule placed behind the picture. It was the actual one used in the making of the film, “Apollo 13”.

In the film, “Apollo 13” was to sent the three men for a moon landing. On its way, an explosion occurred on board causing some loss of oxygen and electric power. NASA decided to abort the mission and tried to get the three astronauts back home. safely.

The actual incident of “Apollo 13” happened in 1970 and the three astronauts, Swigert, Lovell and Haise, came back home, safely.

A panoramic view of the area of studios at Universal Studios Hollywood

Three actors acting as Swigert(L), Lovell(C) and Haise(R) in a film, “Apollo 13”. in 1995 at Universal Studios Hollywood

The actual space capsule used in the making of a film, “Apollo 13” , at Universal Studios Hollywood

“The Simpsons’ Ride”

Then my wife and I looked around for another attraction and decided to go for “The Simpsons’ Ride”. That was a simulated roller-coaster ride lasting about 4.5 minutes.

Entrance to Krustyland owned by Krusty, the crown at Universal Studios Hollywood

Writer and others would be joining Simpson and his family roller-coasting at Krustyland, Universal Studios Hollywood

The ride followed a story about the attempt on the life of the Simpson’s family by Sideshow Bob at Krustyland. He escaped from a prison, went to Krustyland and took over the roller-coaster from Krusty. When the family, including Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa, were on a cart followed by the cart on which the writer and some riders were sitting. As the carts were moving on the track, Bob released a large iron ball and destroyed some parts of the track causing lots of accidents to both the Simpson’s family and other riders. After going through a series of mishaps, Simpsons, accidentally, caused Bob to be crushed under a couch on which they were sitting.

A picture of Krustyland roller-coaster built by Krusty, the clown, at Universal Studios Hollywood

Besides the 3-D animation show, riders could feel some physical effects including the effects of water, smoke, mist, lighting and scent, and the rough simulated roller-coaster ride. I enjoyed the thrill and excitement of the ride and loved the bright, large, colourful scenes of the 3-D show.

Interesting Characters at Universal Studios Hollywood

There were many popular characters from animated and non-animated movies around at Universal Studios Hollywood. Visitors loved to take photos with them. The photos below show some of them at Universal Studios Hollywood. including Shrek, Minions, Scooby-Doo, Curious George and transformers.

Shrek and Donkey at Universal Studios Hollywood

Purple Minion, Gru and Stuart at Universal Studios Hollywood

Scooby-Doo and Curious George at Universal Studios Hollywood

Bumblebee and Optimus Prime at Universal Studios Hollywood

Marilyn Monroe and her girls dancing away at Universal Studios Hollywood

A female Pharoah with a little girl at Universal Studios Hollywood

Construction-workers at Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo-Taking Session outside Universal Studios Hollywood

Coming out of the theme-park in the evening, I started to count the number of places my wife and I had visited at the park. We had gone for a studio tour and six other attractions in one afternoon. We enjoyed every moment at those places and felt it was quite an achievement for us. In fact, both of us watched a grand parade and spectacular firework, and visited 10 attractions at Disneyland Park at Anaheim in one whole day on the previous day. That is our record so far.

When all our tour-members were out of the theme-park, we had a photo-taking session in front of the iconic globe of Universal Studios Hollywood. The photos below are some that had been taken there.

Group photo of the Malaysian tourists including writer and wife at Universal Studios Hollywood

Wai Yean and wife at Universal Studios Hollywood

Richard Ong and wife at Universal Studios Hollywood

Jun Pow and wife at Universal Studios Hollywood

Poh Boo and wife at Universal Studios Hollywood

Chee Meng and wife at Universal Studios Hollywood

Writer and wife at Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal City Walk

After the photo-taking session, we walked to Universal City Walk next to Universal Studios Hollywood. It was a place where visitors could go for shopping, dining and entertainment. There were more than 30 eating places, a 19 screen-movie theatre, 7 night-spots, indoor skydiving place and more than 30 stores.

We went to Tony Roma’s Restaurant for dinner. It provided us steak, potato-chips, vegetables and soft-drinks, generously.

A busy street in Universal City Walk

Universal City Walk is a place to shop, eat and enjoy entertainment

Tour group having dinner at Tony Roma’s Restaurant at City Walk next to Universal Studios Hollywood

Tour group having steak, chips and vegetable for dinner at Tony Roma’s Restaurant at Universal City Walk

A musician blowing a pand flute and selling his music CDs at Universal City Walk

When we came out of the restaurant, we saw a street-musician playing a nice piece of music with a pan flute. His music CDs on the table behind him were on sale.

Los Angeles International Airport

At 7.30 p.m. we, finally, left Universal Studios Hollywood for Los Angeles International Airport or LAX which was 36 km in the south.

At about one in the morning(LA time) at LAX, we boarded a Taiwan plane, EVA Air(B777-300ER). Then we left the airport at 1.35 a.m.(LA time), crossed the wide Pacific Ocean and landed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 6.20 a.m.(Taiwan time), a long flight of 13 hours!

Tour group leaving Universal Studios Hollywood for Los Angeles International Airport before flying back to Malaysia

Los Angeles International Airport, California, USA

Jay Ho, the group-tour guide, and others waiting, patiently, to check in at LAX before flying home in Malaysia

Writer and wife at Los Angeles International Airport, USA, waiting to go back to their homeland soon, Malaysia, after 10 busy tour days on the West Coast of USA

At the Taiwan airport, we waited for another EVA airplane to take us back to our country, Malaysia. After waiting for 3 hours, we finally, left Taiwan at 9.40 a.m. The plane took about 4 hours and 30 minutes to reach our country. The moment our plane landed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport(KLIA), Malaysia, we heaved a sight of relief as we had reached home, safely, and would never forget the USA tour and the new Malaysian friends we had made.

Air route of EVA Air from Los Angeles, USA, to Malaysia via Taiwan

It is dawn when we reach Taiwan after 13 hours of flying from Los Angeles in USA

Touch-down at 6.20 a.m. at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport

This plane at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport getting ready to bring the tour group back to Malaysia

Well, that is all about our unforgettable USA West Coast Travel experiences in 10 days. My wife and I hope to go to the east coast of USA next year and learn more about the country which is well-known in the world.

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U.S.A West Coast Travel

Part I    San Francisco City

Part II  San Francisco, Fresno. Las Vegas

Part III Grand Canyon

Part IV  Las Vegas City

Part V   Premium Outlets in S, California

Part VI  Disneyland Resort, Anaheim

Part VII Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles

Part VIII Universal Studios Hollywood

Part IX   Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park



Thanks to a Kuala Lumpur tour agency, Travelcaya International Sdn. Bhd., for organising the interesting, educational and enjoyable USA West Coast tour. Thanks also to its diligent tour guide, Jay Ho, for taking good care of all of us during the tour. Last but not least, thanks to all the fellow-tour members for being so friendly and caring.


Written by Choo Chaw, Kluang, Johor, Malaysia

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