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Old 18 Nov 23, 11:04 AM  
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HEMANCLOFTY
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HEMANCLOFTY's Reviews
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Huxwolds California Dreaming (Aug 23) - Day 13: Universal Studios & Evening at Ovation Hollywood

Huxwolds California Dreaming (Aug 23)
Day 13: Universal Studios & A Chilled Evening at Ovation Hollywood (Weds 30/08)


Index
Day 12: Venice Beach & Santa Monica Pier

NB - my trippie notes for today were written almost 2 weeks later, so are based on photos, receipts and memory

Our last full day…

I think I woke around 7am and got up at 7:20 to have my shower and get ready for the day…



I woke the boys around 8 and made a coffee, which I had with the Strawberry Crème Pie we’d got at Target last week…



The filling had a bit of a weird mousse texture, but it was ok.

By 8:20, we were all ready to go…



We went down to the lobby where Rich and Tom had a smoke / vape whilst I ordered our Uber to Universal Studios ($16.93).

It was 8 mins away, so I popped over the the Ovation steps to take some pics of the Hollywood sign (now that I knew it was there)…



We were on our way by 8:35 - The car was was bit old and run down, but our driver was really chatty and friendly, we we tipped him £5.

I managed to get some pics of The Hollywood Bowl as we were passing…





8:45 - We were dropped off next to City Walk / ET parking..







Rich and Tom had had a smoke / vape, then we wandered through City Walk…





The Universal Store had been branded up for Halloween Horror Nights…



We were through Security and taking pics by the Globe and on the red carpet by 8:55. Perfect timing as the park opened at 9 today…











This Chucky HHN had been there the other day, but I didn’t include the pics in the trippie…







We headed to the Lower Lot to start the day…



Views from the escalators, including the new The Fast & The Furious coaster construction…







We were at Jurassic World by 9:10 and it was a walk on…





We were on the first row and really liked the layout and the Jurassic World overlay. It’s much better than Orlando. We all got a light sprinkle, which was nice and refreshing

I wanted to do the Raptor Encounter, but the next one was at 10 am so we carried on to The Mummy (via the free lockers) which was also a walk on. Again, we preferred it to the Orlando version. Tom said it smelled of coffee, but I didn’t notice. I guess Brendan finally got his cuppa.

9:35 - we headed for Transformers, stopping for a minute to watch Megatron meeting some guests…









Transformers was posted as 20 mins, but even with a short breakdown we were off the ride and having a mooch in the store by 10am…





I’d checked the app for ride times whilst we were waiting for Transformers - Bowsers Challenge was 60mins, Forbidden Journey 10 and Simpsons 20. The first Water World of the day was at 12:15. It was also currently 27 and due to hit 34 by 12pm, so another hot one…



10:05 - We went back into Super Nintendo World for a look around (reservations weren’t required this morning)….









Tom popped to the loo whilst RIch and I watched the Mario & Luigi meet and greets…









Bowser was too long for us and we still didn’t fancy buying a Power Up band, so after 10 mins we’d seen everything we wanted and headed back out into the main park.

I wanted to try the Princess Peach Soda and Rich said I should get the Super Star Popcorn Bucket, so we splurged and got both ($56.93). We did get a big bag of popcorn and could get free refills for the rest of the day, worth $4 each, although we didn’t bother as one bag was plenty…





We found some seats in the shade down the side of Jurassic Park and shared the popcorn whilst I had the drink, which had juicy Boba pearls and some nice cream on top. Tom had a few sips, but I drank most of it. We all shared the popcorn.

10:40 - We we’re all done on the Lower Lot, with the exception of Raptor Encounter, but the dino had gone back in until 11 and we didn’t fancy waiting.

We headed up the escalators for the final time, getting a few more pics of the view over Burbank on the way…





Then we headed for Hogsmeade, via the Simpsons / back entrance after I’d nipped to the loo in Springfield…







We headed into Forbidden Journey, waiting about 10 mins, but most of that was walking through the queue line so it was effectively a walk on.

We got started, but the ride stopped as we were ascending towards the first screen. It was about 5 mins before we got moving again, and then the first screen wasn’t working so it was a bit discombobulating. The rest of the ride was ok though, and when we got off the team member offered us the chance to ride again, but Rich was feeling a bit queasy so we declined.

Rich went out for some air whilst Tom and I had a quick mooch in the shop - then we all wandered through Hogsmeade taking a few pics, but we didn’t bother going into any of the other shops…







It didn’t feel as immersive as the Orlando Hogsmeade. I think it was just too spread out. Also there were quite a few other guests just wandering aimlessness not taking notice of where they were going (one guy on crutches barged right past Rich at one point)…





11:20 - We left Hogsmeade and all agreed to give Simpsons a miss as none of us fancied another simulator ride. This meant that we’d ridden everything on the list for today, and we still had a bit of time until the 12:15 Water World show.

As it was hot, we headed to Super Silly Fun Land, where Rich went into the Splash Zone for a cool off…







Rich got soaked…



Tom and I didn’t want to get our trainers wet, so I just held my arms under a few of the sprinklers and got a light sprinkling…



We decided to fill the rest of the time mooching and enjoying the a/c in the Universal store. We saw Scooby Doo and Dracula on the way, and I met Hello Kitty…









We spent about 10 mins looking at the cool BTTF, Minions and Hello Kitty Merch…









The Chucky / Hello Kitty crossover was very cool…



Universal are definitely going all in on Chucky this year (the popcorn bucket launched a few days later and is awesome - it’s a shame we just missed it)…



I’d ended up split up from Rich and Tom the store. I found Tom, who said Rich had gone to the loo, and that he was going too, so I waited by the store entrance, taking a few more pics…





11:55 - We headed into to Water World waiting area and it was really baking by now…





We initially started moving at 12, but then they held us for about 10 minutes, so by the time we got into the arena Sarg was already out doing his intro.

We were still easily able to get Green (wet) seats though, sitting on the right hand side in row 2 - which ended up being front as there was no one in the disabled row in front of us...





We got a good hit by few buckets of water during the pre show. A few of the actors were different to Saturday, but Sarg and the main baddie were the same.

The show was really good again, although I did have to move my bag to behind me after the first jet ski splash which was huge. It stayed dry though, even if we didn’t.

It was nice to watch the show without thinking about photos, and being at a different angle I noticed a few thinks that I’d missed last time. I completely get why this show is still going so many years after the film flopped - it’s up there as one of the best theme park shows I’ve seen over the years.

12:40 - The show was over and we were hot, tied and very wet so (as planned) we called it a day and said goodbye to Universal Studios, only stopping to take some picks by the Power Up. Tom could reach it but I was way off…





Rich and Tom popped off for a smoke / vape whilst I took a few pics of the fountain sign..







We headed into City Walk for lunch at Pink’s Hotdogs (another A List stop) - arriving at 1pm…





Tom and Rich grabbed a table whilst I ordered - 3 Chilli Cheese Dogs (with onions and mustard) and 2 fries and 2 drinks to share ($43.83).

We were given a buzzer, so I sat down whilst Tom sorted the drinks and then collected the food, which took less than 10 mins…



The hot dogs were really nice and the fries were tasty too, and we had a nice 20 mins or so eating our lunch and chatting about which Universal parks and ride versions are the best.

We were pretty much unanimous that Islands of Adventure is the far superior park, but that Hollywood and Universal Studios are very close. Hogsmeade, Forbidden Journey and Transformers are better in Orlando, but Jurassic World and The Mummy are better in Hollywood. Super Nintendo World is ok, but too small and it needs more rides (so the Orlando version should indeed be Epic). We also agreed that it’s definitely possible to do Hollywood in 1 day, if you pick mid week. It’s just a shame it was closing before it gets dark today. We were happy with how we used our 2 day ticket though.

1:40 - We got a cheeky (possibly not allowed) top up of our drinks, and then mooched through City Walk for the final time.

I popped into the restrooms, and filled up my water bottle and the water fountain. We took some final pics of the Globe and the security area…





Then walked down to the Frankenstein Ride Share “Lounge” to order our Uber, which was a couple of mins away ($12.94 + $3 tip)…







It was still 34 degress, so definitely the right call to retreat to the hotel for the afternoon. I noticed that my trainers were absolutely filthy again…



Goodbye Universal…





2:05 - We arrived back at the hotel…



Rich watsapped our Huxwolds group a couple of pics he’d taken over the last few days.

I did some Insta reels and Stories and typed up the notes for Saturday (which ended up being the last notes I typed up until almost 2 weeks after we got home).

I did a time stamp screenshot at 4:30, which could either be when I settled down for a nap, or when I woke up.

By 5:50 we were all washed and changed and ready to head out for our final evening. We still had a couple of things on the to-do list (The Grove, Rodeo Drive, Nakatami Plaza and Sei Peizzeria), but we were all flagging so decided to stay local for dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, which was just downstairs at Ovation.

I took a few more pics whilst Rich and Tom had a smoke / vape…











We headed into CPK just after 6…



We were seated by just after 6 and our server Jessie looked like a stereotypical chilled out California dude

We ordered our drinks (Dr Pepper for Rich and Tom and Sprite for me) and Jessie brought us some bread and oil…



I went for the Hawaiian, Tom had Pepperoni and Rich had Mushroom, Pepperoni & Sausage (Total $77.02 + $12.66 / 18% tip)…







The pizzas were tasty, fresh and very good. I think mine at Pizza Press was better, but Rich rated it as his top Pizza of the trip. We had a couple of drink refills whilst we ate.

7:00 - We left CPK and Rich and Tom went for a smoke / vape whilst I took a few more pics…









A couple asked me to take some of them with Hollywood sign in the background, so I did. They offered to take one for me but I was fine with my selfies.

Tom went into Shoe Palace (the store of the trip) then came out to tell me he was going to look at the top floor, so I went in with him. The had some different bits from the previous stores, but Tom resisted buying anything else this time…



7:15 - It was getting close to sunset time now, so Tom and I left Rich chilling on the chairs in Ovation and went up to the top floor to get some pics. We got some good ones of the Hollywood Sign and looking over Ovation…











Whilst we were up there, we walked over to the other side to take some of Hollywood Boulevard, which was a fab view with a hazy Downtown LA in the distance…























We noticed a little pathway down the side of the Dolby Theatre, so we mooched down and ended up getting a really great view looking down into the Chinese Theatre Plaza…





We look a lots more pics as it was such a lovely view…









It was a really fab 10/15 mins or so and a great / chilled out way to spend our final evening.











7:35 - We headed back to Rich and, as it was still early, we decided to walk down to Target for a mooch, stopping to watch a robot outside the Chinese Theatre on the way…















We spent about 20 mins looking around Target, which was on 2 floors and had a funky escalator for the trollies…



We got a 6 pack of Cokes and a box of sweets each for the flight tomorrow (Mike & Ikes for me, Milk Duds for Rich and M&Ms for Tom). Rich also got a Turtles candy bar, and a Funko Christmas Vacation Video Case and Tom got a Mini Batman collectible (Total $30.90). For some reason I only took pics of the Coke…





We popped into CVS after Target, but didn’t buy anything…





We anlso popped into Marshall’s on the way back to the hotel, which was a bit like TK Maxx..



We mooched in Marshall’s for about 15 minutes. They had a few Toy bargains, but we resisted as case space was already going to be a challenge. Tom did get a Jack Skellington baby sensory plushy for Lolo’s nephew Bhodi though ($10.94 - No pic) and the two of us spend a god few mins looking at the very cute Nike and Timberland baby clothes.

I was on the lookout for a gift for our cat sitter Jackie, but couldn’t find anything suitable. We looked in a few more tat hoodie / souvenir shops on the way back to the hotel, but things were either too cheap and tacky or overpriced.



We stopped for a smoke / vape just outside Ovation…







Rich got accosted by SpongeBob, who was actually really funny, jumping up and down stamping his feet when Rich said No Thank-you. In hindsight we should’ve tipped him and played along as he was really funny, although he was chasing a few people down the Boulevard. Tom did get a sneaky video of him, which is one of the best Insta Stories of the trip…



A few more pics as we walked through Ovation…









8:55 - We we’re back in the hotel, with Tom and Rich mucking about on the walk down the corridor to our room…



I was tired, so decided to leave the rest of the packing until tomorrow morning, knowing I’d probably be awake early, and I’d already got quite a bit done earlier. Rich and Tom sorted out what they wanted to wear tomorrow and what they needed for the flight and put in their Hand-luggage, so that I could crack on as soon as I was up in the morning…



Tom popped out for his usual Face Time with Lola, and around 10pm Rich popped out for a smoke. When he came back he told Tom that Kendrick Lamar was in the Lobby - he’d managed to take a pic of his car, but couldn’t get one of him…



Tom’s a fan so went downstairs to have a look, but he’d just missed him.

Because of this, I had to use a Kendrick Lamar song for tonight’s Insta Reel, and it turns out he’s got one called All The Stars, which was very apt.

Tom had a shower and came out wearing the hotel robe, which he’d claimed when we’d checked in but then forgot about. He mucked about for a bit, pretending to order room service…



I double checked our flight time for tomorrow - it was 4:30pm, so we decided we’d get our Uber to LAX around 11:45 / 12ish to give us some buffer time incase of traffic.

We agreed the plan for tomorrow morning, would be to sort the packing, then head up to Hollywood Burger for breakfast and a final mooch on Hollywood Boulevard, and to be back at the hotel in time for 11am checkout, which would mean no need to check the bags with Bel Hop.

I also had an email from Uber, saying I’d reached 100 trips (Inc Orlando last year and 1 or 2 back home).

I did a final timestamp screenshot at 11:50 and settled down for the night.

Total steps today - 13,824 / 9.5km 👣

Day 14: A Very Sad Travel Home Day

Edited at 10:06 PM.
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Old 30 Dec 23, 05:57 PM  
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This looks like a great day.
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