Diana P

About Kwik-E-Mart

”Fun and creative, this shop is a must-see!”

The Kwik-E-Mart, located on the Upper Lot near the Simpsons ride, is a small souvenir shop that sells everything from Simpsons-themed clothing to Duff Energy Drinks. The outside is stylized like the cartoon and includes a fake display case. The inside is more like a classic souvenir shop but with Si..mpsons merchandise. One of the most unique things about this shop is that they sell giant Simpsons donuts fresh every day. Definitely worth trying at least once. They also sell Duff and Flaming Moe Energy Drinks. I wish they actually sold it as alcoholic beverages instead of energy drinks (I'm not a fan of energy drinks), otherwise I would have tried those as well.

Summary (1= worst, 5=best)
Creativity: 5
This is a really fun shop to explore. Even if you don't plan on buying anything, it is fun to look around and see the Simpsons theming.

Price: 3
It's a theme park. Average theme park prices are expected. I wish I could remember how much the large donut cost, but I feel like it's worth it to try it at least once.

Variety of Merchandise: 4
There are lots of different things you can buy in the shop, but they are all Simpsons themed. If you are not very familiar with the Simpsons or are not a fan of the show, you probably won't be interested in buying anything here.

Overall: 4
If you've watched the show, you'll enjoy the humor and in-jokes sprinkled throughout the store (Bort license plates, anyone?) If not, it's still fun to look around. Don't forget the giant donut!

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About Jurassic Park: The Ride

”My Favorite Universal Studios Hollywood Ride”

I absolutely love the integration of animatronics in theme park attractions, so I was super excited to ride Jurassic Park. Jurassic Park is a water raft ride that ends with an astounding 84 foot drop. The wait is never very long, and a single rider line is available if you really need it. The ride b..egins with an introduction to the world of Jurassic Park, but you soon realize that things are not all under control at Jurassic Park. The animatronics themselves are mostly good quality. There were a few times I visited and the water level was low enough that you could clearly see the metal supports underneath which took away from the illusion. I love some of the humor thrown in (the Mickey Mouse hat in the water), and the car sequence was really frightening. There were a few animatronics on the climb up the mountain that looked a little too simple, but the T-rex animatronics made up for it.

Summary (1= worst, 5= best)
Wait for Ride: 5
Most of the time you can just walk on. Normally it takes less than 10 minutes to get through. If you are really impatient, a single rider line is available.

Length of Ride: 5
The total time on the ride is 5 minutes 30 seconds. Definitely worth the wait.

Quality of Ride: 3
The animatronics are really awesome, but there were a few times the animatronics were not working and so they had to box them off. There were also several effects that were not working when I rode. In fact, I can't remember a single time when all the animatronics and effects were working at the same time. So, because of the inability to maintain the effects, I'm giving it a 3.

Overall: 4
The number of animatronics and effects make it my favorite Universal Studios Hollywood ride, but because the effects are never fully functional, it can only receive 4 stars.

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About Universal Studios Hollywood

”Entertainment Capital of LA: Good quality, insufficient quantity”

I had always been interested in visiting the so-called "Entertainment Capital of LA." All I knew about Universal Studios Hollywood was that there was a Jurassic Park ride with animatronics, and that alone sold me. I researched to find the lowest price ($69 at Costco) which also included the entire y..ear free. That sounded a little suspicious to me (why is the cost of one day the same as the entire year?), but I decided to buy it anyway since I wanted to visit at least once.

The theme park is situated in Universal City, easily accessed by Highway 101 or public transportation. While I had my annual pass, I mainly took the Metro to Universal Studios since the cost of parking is, like all theme parks, ridiculous. If you do take public transport, be prepared for a hike. Situated on the top of a hill, the path from the rail station to the entrance of Universal Studios is a 15-20 minute walk. If you're lucky, you may be able to ride the free shuttle that goes from the bottom of the hill to the entrance. Parking is situated on the top of the hill though, and it will most likely require you to walk through Citywalk, a series of shops and restaurants along the way to Universal Studios (think Downtown Disney).

The entrance to Universal Studios Hollywood is complete with red carpet and photographers as well as the famous globe fountain. Inside the park is divided into an upper and lower lot. The upper lot is composed mostly of restaurants and shows like Waterworld and the Special Effects Stage. There are a few rides, such as the Simpsons ride and Shrek 4D, but they are more like simulation rides composed of a screen and a chair that moves back and forth.

It takes several minutes to get down to the lower level (by escalator or stairs) which is the level I stayed on mainly when I was there. The lower level houses the Jurassic Park ride, Revenge of the Mummy, and Transformers. These rides made the price well worth it. There is also a studio tour I would highly recommend that is accessible on the upper level that takes about an hour to go through. You are on a tram the entire time though, so you can't get off to look through the back-lot. Sometimes they are filming and so you can see that from a distance which can be pretty cool.

Overall, my first experience was fantastic. The quality theming really impressed me. However, after you have gone once, going multiple times can get boring. There isn't a lot there. But I would much rather go to a park with good quality entertainment than a park with lots of mediocre things to do.

Summary (1= worst, 5= best):

Cost: 4
Without a discount, the cost of going is $92. That is really pricey considering the amount there, but since they automatically upgrade it to an annual pass, I'll give them a 4.

Ride Quality: 4
There are some rides that have awesome special effects and animatronics, and there are others that feel a little dated.

Ride Quantity: 1
This can easily be done in a day. I guess that is why they are selling their day passes as annual passes.

Typical theme park food. Nothing special. They sell large Simpsons donuts at the Quik E Mart which is surprisingly good, and fresh!

Entertainment: 4
Even though there weren't many rides, I still had a fun time. Sometimes that have street performers come out and do skits which can be fun to watch (for instance, dancing janitors).

Overall: 4
A smaller more mature-themed Disneyland that you should visit at least once.

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