Universal Studios, Hollywood Solo Trip
For those of you who often travel solo, you may feel a little odd going to an amusement park by yourself. After all, you’re surrounded by families and foreign tour groups and groups of friends. But, it you’re willing to take a deep breath and get over the idea that amusement parks are only for groups, you won’t be disappointed.
This morning, on a whim, I took a trip to Universal Studios by myself. And you know what the best part was? I got to skip the line for each and every ride. Whereas everyone else had a 35 minute wait for the new Transformer ride, I waited about 2 minutes. For older rides like The Mummy and Jurassic Park, I had absolutely no wait. It was phenomenal. In one hour of being in the park, I rode all of the “rides”. In another hour I managed the Tram tour and within one more hour I had seen the only show I really wanted to go to. I would say to do everything in the park, it probably would have been another couple of hours, if you’re planning for yourself, but I didn’t have that much time.
As for the rides, some are amazing and others are not quite worth the hype. Transformers, the newest ride, was a little less than incredible in my book. Perhaps if you liked the movies you’d enjoy it more. It was a creative attempt at combining a 3d movie,traditional ride, and hydraulic system, but aside from the technical aspects, it was only so-so. The Mummy is a fun, but very short roller coaster-type ride. You get shot forward then backward through a series of disorienting twists and turn. Jurassic Park is a personal favorite. It really captures the spirit of the movies. Just avoid it if you don’t like getting wet. Or if you can’t stand long drops. There’s also The Simpsons ride. It’s okay. I’m a fan of the show and enjoyed the ride, but I just can’t get over the fact that they got rid of Back to the Future and put this in its place. Back to the Future was a classic…as was ET, which is also no longer there. The must-ride no matter what is the Studio Tram Tour. Amazing. Ever since my childhood I have loved this. They’ve done a good job updating it following the fire on the backlot a few years ago. The new King Kong is surprisingly good (though I miss the nostalgia of the old-fashioned animatronic ape with strawberry breath). And there are a lot of older items that remain such as Jaws and the flash flood.
The shows at Universal are all pretty good. Shrek 4D and Terminator 2 are both interesting 3D hybrid shows which play frequently throughout the day. There’s a special effects show, an animal show, and the Blues Bros., all entertaining. My favorite is the Waterworld show though, and if you only have time for one, go to this one. It’s full of action and on a hot day, you can guarantee that you’ll get wet. The film it’s based on may have flopped, but the show does not disappoint.
In a separate note, I’ll mention the House of Horrors. This attraction is great fun, but I didn’t do this one alone. It’s better for groups unless you’re pretty brave. Old monsters from various movies throughout the years jump out at you as you walk through reproductions of sets from a variety of horror films. Good fun and great scare factor. But again, this is probably the one thing I would not do alone.
Universal is definitely one of my favorite solo trips in Los Angeles. There’s a lot to do and most of the rides are definitely geared to a certain type of audience, so it’s common to find other single riders due to someone having to watch the kids or not wanting to go on a disorienting ride, get wet, etc. So the next time you’re in L.A. alone on business or just on a getaway, give it a shot. It’s not the worst place to wander alone.