On Sunday, we reserved the day to go to Universal. Not gonna lie, after doing Disneyland we weren’t as energetic and even tried to see if we could refund our tickets to go back to Disney. No go. So we got an Uber and drove about an hour to Universal Studios.
It’s actually in an area called Universal City where there’s a bunch of shops and restaurants since the park is only open like 9-6pm. It closed even earlier when we went for their Halls of Horror event (that was a separate purchase to attend and I was like nah)
There were some cute shops and we got food pretty much right away and decided to wait and get Voodoo donuts for when we were headed home. I wanted one of those apples real bad tho but knew I would destroy my stomach if I got sugar that early.
Our first stop was the Waterworld stunt show, which was pretty amazing even if it’s been the same show for years. The pre-show guys were hilarious and we did indeed get wet. There were a few actors from shows and movies we recognized and the finale was pretty darn cool. Not bad for an old movie I wasn’t aware was that popular.
Next we went to the main event: Hogwarts!
I am not a big Harry Potter fan. And I’m going to get murdered but I’ve never been able to read or get into the books. Not sure why, but they were a struggle. I have seen all the movies though but that’s probably not that much better. But I do know enough to enjoy everything there. First stop, we got a frozen Butterbeer from the cart vendor and went exploring.
It’s pretty amazing all the work they put into the place. Everything looks real and most of the workers stayed in character. If you got a wand from the shop, there were certain areas where you could do movement spells to make things move.
First we rode on the Flight of the Hippogriff. The biggest props I can give Universal Studios: they put misters in all the lines. The was the worst part of Disneyland is waiting in the heat in those long lines. Here, they had giant misters all over the line area so you stayed cool. It was wonderful. After a bit of a wait, we got on the ride and then 15 seconds later it was over. It was very fun but yeah, not very long.
Next we went to Olivanders for the wand choosing experience. While we waited in line, all of us who didn’t know took our house sorting quiz. Alex’s sister was kind of over joyed to be chosen for Slytherin, Rony was proven to be a Hufflepuff, and me…okay, I got Hufflepuff which sounded really weird. We took the Buzzfeed one and some of the questions were weird so I took it again. Gryffindor. Ok. Then Slytherin. And then Ravenclaw.
Literally got all the houses.
Suffering an identity crisis, Alex made me do a percentage one. Yeah, I’m all four. Almost split evenly. Like WTF guys.
Finally, I signed up for Pottermore and took the official one. We all decided that whatever it chose, that’s what I would be. The questions were more understandable now and finally, I got my house.
So yep, that’s me. We had all 4 houses.
Alex’s sister mentioned wanting the full wand experience. She wanted one to be chosen for her and luckily, we ran into a super sweet, helpful worker there. She asked Elizabeth a whole bunch of really random, open ended questions for a while and then said she would be right back.
She came out with 3 boxes she had picked just for her. She went over what each were “made” of and their meaning and strengths. They were Hawthorne, Elder, and Alder. And each one she presented, Elizabeth got more excited. Finally she pulled out the Alder and it had a snake head with a skeleton sculpted into the end. She was told it’s one of the strongest and is very picky and even if another wizard one it, it may not like them. Like a cat.
Elizabeth was in love. Picture above was her face when she saw it. It was super wonderful to witness.
Afterwards they tried on some robes and we went outside to practice the movement spells. They weren’t as easy as they looked but a bunch of people were super helpful in teaching us.
Afterwards we went to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The line was neat and took us all throughout the castle and had little interaction points. The ride pretty much puts you in a harnessed four seater and moves you around in the air to simulate riding a broom. It was probably easiest one of my favorite rides of the whole trip. You dipped and got lifted and the 3D effects were pretty on point. It was super immersive.
We decided to take a break and go see the rest of the park. We went to a Special Effects show which was pretty cool and then got some snacks in the Simpsons area.
To get to the rest of the Universal lot you have to go to the lower level. It took 6 steep ass escalators to get there. SIX. It was ridiculous and not for people who 1) hate escalators and 2) don’t like heights.
We went to go ride Jurassic Park next and once again, bless those misters. It made the line wonderful. The whole area was just misty wonderfulness.
The ride needs updates. The animatronics are clunky and a few times we had no idea what some dinosaurs were meant to be doing. Compared to Disneyland, it’s very sad. The ride would keep taking us up these steep inclines only to do tiny small dips. It was more like the Pirates of the Caribbean ride but with less good animatronics.
Finally we got to the area where the T-Rex was broken loose and would pop up everywhere. It dropped down and yelled in our face and we started to go down a drop. So at this point, we’re pretty jaded on the drops. None of them have been that steep so we’re like, yeah whatever.
The drop is dark and we go down and we see the end light at the very bottom. Far away.
It’s a steep ass drop and none of us were prepared. So we get crazy splashed and I wish we could have been able to save the picture because for the first time this whole trip, Alex doesn’t have a perfect smiling face and is screaming like the rest of us. But nope we don’t have that picture so of course there’s no proof.
We got soaked in very cold water and then had to go walk around like that. After a quick stop by Starbucks to get more mugs, we went back to Harry Potter to quickly buy souvenirs before the place closed. There were a few other rides that we didn’t get to go on like the Mummy, Fast and Furious, and Transformers but we got to do the big famous ones so that’s all the matters.
We head back out to Universal City and explore, stopping by the biggest Hot Topic I’ve ever seen, a comic book store (because of course), and then wait in line for Voodoo Donuts for Rony.
The line is long. Like crazy long. But we’ve been in it for too long and there’s no going back.
Rony is obsessed with Voodoo. We go there every time we visit Austin and whenever Rony goes to Denver he visits it. He has a shirt, art, and a handmade vinyl clock I got one year for him. So we wait in line and take pictures with the giant statue and rest our feet because holy shit, three days of walking is awful.
This Voodoo Donuts layout is pretty neat and there’s some art and merch that’s not in the other ones. I’ve always been in love with their design and aesthetic so I’m perfectly okay waiting for donuts.
45 minutes later and we have donuts and are walking to the parking lot to Uber back home. The drive home is crazy and I feel like I had a handful of near death experiences. The whole time the guy talked about how sorry he was for us because we were missing all the good LA parties.
Hint: we aren’t that sorry. We aren’t “party” people.
45 minutes after that and we have never been so happy to be out of a car. We collapse all over the living room, eat take out Thai food, and watch Nightmare Before Christmas.
We get to sleep in a tad bit the next day and take our time packing. Our plane doesn’t take off until like 2 and we saved time to get through the traffic and get to the airport on time. We eat, draw, and read while waiting for our plane and then we’re headed back home.
The trip was pretty amazing and even if we were busy the whole time, I loved the whole experience. My feet were in pain, I was broke afterwards, but we got to be kids again and eat good food, and hang out with our friends.
Now we’re back home and dealing with all the Halloween craziness. I’m booked for two weeks with events and parties and birthdays and art. Holiday season is fast approaching, but it felt amazing to not have to plan or organize or deal with anything for a few days.
I need another vacation.
Expect a bunch of posts this week while we catch up. We had a Halloween party this past weekend, Rony’s been gone on TWO concert trips, I got to see my designs printed in a workshop, and we have a gallery and Ladies Night and I’m guest speaking at a creatives meeting Saturday.
So much craziness.
What are your Halloween plans or what is the coolest vacation you’ve been on?
Until next time ;)