Before we left for America our Dad asked us if we would prefer Universal Studios or Warner Bros studios to do a tour on. He said we couldn’t do both because he wanted to book the VIP EXPERIENCE!! I couldn’t believe it! The VIP experience is the best you can get! We chose Universal because there were some cool rides and also a couple of cool shows shoot there and we hoped we might get a glimpse at their sets. Best. Decision. Ever.
The day started as we arrived at the front gate and were greeted by the giant Universal Pictures globe. Of course we had to get a photo (We got a lot of photos on this day, apologies in advance)…
Then we were taken up to a holding room for the VIP’s where we were given a lanyard with VIP written on it and a little day kit including a rain poncho, a box of mints and some lip balm all in a little see through toilet bag type thing. We then got to eat some breakfast from a buffet. I had some fruit salad and orange juice and sat there so excited to get on with the day!
After meeting our tour guide (who was Ben Affleck’s long lost brother I swear) we made our way into the park and straight to a special effects show. We then went down a series of long steep escalators that overlooked Universal City. The view was awesome and you could pretty much see all of Burbank. At the bottom was where all the rides were. We went on The Mummy, Transformers, The Simpsons and Jurassic Park. Jurassic Park was definitely my favourite because we got soaking wet despite our ponchos and the dinosaurs were actually quite scary!
Lunch time! There was a delicious buffet and we chose a seat outside with a view looking over Universal City.
We were free to roam the park for a little while before meeting back up with our tour guide to go on the 4 hour guided tour of the studios! (VIP guests get a double length tour and go places where normal tours don’t !!!!) We decided to go into the haunted house which was probably the best decision ever. You go in thinking, oh how can this be scary it’s not real blah blah blah but I’ve never heard my Dad and brother scream more like girls in my life. It was AWESOME. My whole body ached after I came out the other end because it was tensed the entire time. It was better than a gym workout! I would definitely recommend this ride!
I got some photos with different characters and we had a look around at all the different “picture cars” (My Dad pictured here with the car from the Blues Brothers movie!) and went into all the gift shops. The park was nice and quiet because winter break was over so everyone was back in school.
The tour was phenomenal. The group got into a what I would call an extended golf cart? type thing and set off around Universal city. We past the main gate where all the actors enter each day, the offices of Mr Alfred Hitchcock himself and so many more awesome buildings that I couldn’t believe I was seeing!
One of my favourite parts was seeing the Bates Motel and the house on top of the hill from Hitchcock’s “Psycho”. They had actors there pretending to be Norman Bates and Marion Crane!
We also saw a courtyard that has been featured in films such as Princess Diaries 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean!!
Another AWESOME part was visiting the REAL set of the show Parenthood! SURREAL moment because I actually watch this show!! I got to be inside the “houses” of characters I’d seen on TV. SO SO AWESOME.
Something that I didn’t know we’d get to see but I’m so thankful we did was the Universal Prop warehouse. It was filled with props and set pieces from countless Universal productions over the years… including the “real” E.T!!!!! This was extra special for me as my “major” at film school was Production Design!
The final part of the tour was to the set of War of the Worlds. It was literally a 747 airline, smashed into pieces and thrown everywhere. The normal tours just drive past it but we got to get out and walk through it! We were a part of the set!
I couldn’t believe the day I had. I’m so thankful for my Dad getting us the VIP tour because I got to experience something that I never thought I would and it was… life changing. It made me more inspired to finish my degree and get a job in the industry.
SO THAT’S LOS ANGELES. All done! It was without a doubt the most amazing 10 days of my life so far. I saw so much and experienced so much and was almost moved to tears on a number of occasions. I’d already caught the travel bug but this trip just further fed my wanderlust.
It truly was the trip of a lifetime.