Hollywood Celebrates 50 Years of Movie-Making Magic
Story by Greg Aragon
reat Movies and television can take us away from our daily lives and
transport us into fascinating different lands and realms. And when masterfully
combined with state-of-the-art thrill rides and special effects, these
cinematic experiences can be magical. Such is the case with Universal
where film making history meets modern day technology at the summit
A friend and I recently escaped to Universal Studios
to experience some of this magic, and to help the park celebrate its
50-year anniversary this year.
Universal Studios Hollywood is where film making
history meets modern day technology (picture courtesy
of Universal Studios)
Our getaway began when we picked up our "Front
of the Line" tickets and headed straight for Transformers: The
Ride-3D, an immersive thrill ride blurring the line between fiction
and reality. Fusing HD 3D media and flight simulation technology, this
epic ride took us into a futuristic world where alien robots from the
planet Cybertron fight it out on earth.
The Park not only features Transformers: The Ride-3D,
but also gives guests a chance to meet the mechanical monsters
Based on the popular movies, this mind-blowing ride
is so real, it had me screaming and dodging car parts, robot pieces
and other objects as they flew at my 3D glasses, while fighting alongside
Optimus and trying protect the AllSpark from Decepticons over four stories
tall. Out in front of the ride, we encountered a couple of the huge
transformers interacting with guests and taking pictures with youngsters
and their families.
From battling transformers, we went thousands of years
back in time to experience Revenge of the Mummy The Ride.
This heart-pounding roller coaster begins by slowly creeping past an
ancient Egyptian tomb full of gold artifacts and hieroglyphics before
catapulting riders 45mph in virtual darkness. And when the train stops
and guests try to regain their composure, the Mummy returns and the
coaster zips in reverse for a thrilling climax.
Revenge of the Mummy zips past ancient Egyptian
artifacts and hieroglyphics
After the Mummy, we went back even further in time,
to the era of dinosaurs and experienced Jurassic Park The Ride.
This wet and wild adventure begins with a peaceful boat trip through
the park to get look at gentle herbivore giants such as the brontosaurus.
But things quickly go wrong when the raft plunges 84 ft and crashes
into a building full of vicious meat-eating monsters like a 50-ft-tall
T-Rex. From here it's a race for survival and a lot of fun along the
Jurassic Park The Ride is a great way to come face
to face with your favorite dinosaur
Safe from dinosaurs, we hopped on a tram for the legendary
Studio Tour to explore Hollywoods most famous backlot, in the
worlds largest working movie studio. As one of my favorite theme
park attractions, this behind-the-scenes experience takes guests through
the neighborhoods of the eerie plane crash from the movie War of
the Worlds, and the television series Desperate Housewives.
The narrated tram ride cruises past the Bates Motel
from the classic movie Psycho and riders are greeted by a knife-wielding
Norman Bates; and then travels to the set of Jaws for an up-close
look at the mechanical monster from the 1975 thriller.
The Studio Tour tram ride is a trip through some
of Hollywood's best movies
and TV shows
The Studio Tour also features a journey into Skull Island
and a an encounter with King Kong 360 3-D, the worlds largest
3-D ride experience. Created by film producer Peter Jackson, this adventure
begins when the tram enters a darkened soundstage and guests are caught
on a bridge, in the middle of a mega-fight between a menacing 35-ft-tall
T-Rex and massive King Kong. We got so close to the action we could
feel the breath of the monsters and water as it flew from their bodies.
To create this attraction, the studio literally surrounds the tram with
two 187-ft-wide by 40-ft-high curved screens, representing the equivalent
of 16 movie theatre screens.
The tram also takes guests to Skull Island for an
encounter with King Kong and the worlds largest 3-D ride experience
(picture courtesy of Universal Studios)
To celebrate 50 years, the park is adding an all-new
grand finale Fast & Furious Supercharged! On
this adrenaline rush, which begins this summer, guests will ride along
with the cast from the hit movies on an exhilarating, 120-mph high-speed
chase into the high-stakes underworld of fast cars and international
crime cartels. The attraction will of course boast the most high-tech,
advanced special effects, including 3D-HD imagery projected onto expansive
After the studio tour we headed to Krustyland and the
boarded The Simpsons ride. With show characters Homer, Marge,
Bart, Lisa and Maggie by our side we rode through a kaleidoscope, carnival-like
midway off a giant roller coaster and through a lake with boats and
a killer whale.
You never know what or who you will encounter at
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios is located at 100 Universal City Plaza,
Universal City, CA 91608. The Studio Tour is included with all theme
park admission. For more information "Front of the Line" tickets
or general admission, current pricing, specials and hours, visit: www.universalstudioshollywood.com