Sunday, August 10, 2008

Day 9 - Universal Studios & LA Area

My least anticipated activity on the trip - Universal Studios. Dianna got excited driving to Hollywood and seeing the infamous "Hollywood" letters on the mountain. She also saw the Church of Scientology from the freeway and wanted to stop in and check on Mr. Cruise, but we didn't have the quarter of a mil to join. I told her he was fine and happily jumping over couches. Back to Universal Studios - I had low expectations, and they were not met. This park is not ideal for children under seven, although there are some character photo ops, most of the attractions are meant for older kids.
There was a Curious George play area, but a lot of it was water-related, and the girls didn't have their swimsuits, and they were not going to get their clothes wet. We did the studio tour, which was the most interesting thing. Here's a pan shot I took on the walkup to the studio tour:

The studio tour was quite lengthy but, it provided a many photo ops. We saw, from a distance, the aftermath of a fire on their backlot.
Luckily, Universal Studios has their own fire department:
During the studio tour we drove through various scenes. Here's a stuntman scene, in sequence:
And, here's a car scene from the Fast and Furious 2:

Here's some shots from the War of the Worlds set depicting the 747 crash scene:
This scene was a little too real

And, the most anticipated portion of the tour was this guy:
But, I took care of him, with some nunchuk skillz here:

Wisteria Lane set from Desperate Housewives:

And, the infamous Bates Motel set:

After the tour we were randomly selected for an Access Hollywood interview.

Here's M. letting me know she wanted a burger cooked by Elvis Costello:

Eating at Universal Studios was not fun...there were not enough tables in the food area, so we had to wait 15-20 minutes for a table. Waiting consisted of trying to beat someone else to a table that was vacating. People were hoovering around tables like vultures on the freeway. We also had wait in the food line for about 30 minutes. We only did Universal because it was part of our city pass. A cool thing that Universal does is lets you buy a souvenir cup with refills for 69 cents. At Disney, all drinks are 3 bucks each, with no refills. There was also a cool area at Universal outside of the park called the City Walk. They had all sorts of shops and places to eat. Kind of like an outdoor mall. Here's a pic of the girls in front a life size Barbie display:

Our original plan was to drive around Hollywood as we left the LA area to come back home, but we decided not to battle traffic as we did this morning on our way to Universal. This is probably not the best idea since it was Saturday night, and it was a busy scene. We then drove down Rodeo Dr. in Beverly Hills.
If only I had just little bit more cash

I guess the city of BH doesn't allow
the use of the phrase "Pawn Shop"

No sighting of Britney with her photo crew. We didn't stop since we figured they wouldn't let us into any of the stores, especially with two kids in strollers. But hell, they probably would have towed our car as soon as we got out since the make our car doesn't start with a "B" or "M". We started to drive closer to Malibu, but we only drove a little past Santa Monica and decided to make a U-turn. On the way, we talked about stopping at Santa Monica Pier, but that place was packed. Instead, we stopped at the beach area just south of the pier, and it was so cold A. was shivering - that's what 65 degrees does to you when you are used to the 105 heat in Texas. I love the beach/ocean and the mountains, too, but, unfortunately, I live in neither. I guess it's back to the lottery idea.

Here's a some photo of the girls just south of the Santa Monica Pier:

Here's a beautiful Santa Monica sunset:

I talked Dianna into letting me stop at Pink's on the way back to get a chili dog, and she said, "What is that?" This girls needs to go to South CA more often. When we got there, the line was wrapped around the building, probably about an hour wait. I didn't quite expect that - I figured everyone was getting ready to go to the clubs. Oh well, next time.

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