5 Things to see at Universal Studios Hollywood

A major player in the theme park world is Universal Studios Orlando. But did you know that Universal Studios Hollywood was the pioneer of the movie studio-turned-theme-park concept? Granted, it is cramped for real estate compared to its Florida big brother, but what it lacks in space it makes up for in creativity. Rent a southern California timeshare and visit Universal Studios Hollywood for a fabulous family vacation.

Universal Studios Hollywood originated the concept of using the actual movie studio back lot as a theme park to great success, and over the years has augmented its back lot tour with terrific one-of-a-kind rides and attractions. Brady MacDonald, a Los Angeles Times staff writer, offers these top suggestions:
  1. Waterworld - A great attraction for a hot day - there are clearly marked wet zones where you might get a drenching. This live-action stunt show features a war on the water with lots of explosions and special effects.

  2. Terminator 2 3-D - Based on Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1991 apocalyptic science fiction film, this is a true multimedia show that mixes acting, stunts, audio animatronics and special effects, along with a 3-D movie for good measure.

  3. Shrek 4-D - The kids will love watching Shrek and Donkey ride a fire-breathing dragon straight at them in this amazing special effects-laden 4-D film.

  4. Jurassic Park: The Ride - This river-raft ride starts out calmly enough as the raft goes through the front gates of Jurassic Park (see photo). Soon frightening things begin to happen, such as a crushed Jurassic Park tour jeep falling from the top of a wall overhead and nearly crushing the riders below (similar to the scene in the film). Brady suggests bringing along a rain poncho for the 85-foot finale plunge.

  5. Revenge of the Mummy - Brady rates this as one of his all-time favorites. Hang on while an intense special-effects roller coaster races through the dark at 45 mph past exploding fireballs and swarming beetles.
Or, plan your timeshare rental vacation for Universal Studios Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights. This annual October Fear Fest ranks among the best in the nation. Beware, however, that this gory and gruesome event earns an R rating. With buckets of blood, terrifying walk-through mazes, and chainsaw-wielding maniacs, you'll want to leave the kids at home.

(Photo credit universalstudioshollywood.com)
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