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Old 24 Aug 21, 09:39 AM  
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The First Trip 1993 – Day Eleven – Universal Studios – 20th September 1993

A trip away from Disney today and we were heading to Universal Studios. I enjoy Universal as they don’t stand still and work hard to constantly improve their parks which sometimes means ripping out old favourites in favour of new and different rides. The whole Universal area was very different to what it is today in 1993. There was only one park, there was a large car park where all the shops and restaurants are now and there were no hotels. The park was very different as well and very few of the rides and attractions we experienced on this first trip remain today. In addition, The Hard Rock Café was attached to the park in a completely different location and you reached it by going out of a back entrance, so we had booked a meal there in the evening.

We managed to navigate our way up the I4 and into the carpark. We parked up and again boarded a small trolley bus that took us to the entrance where the big globe is. I was sure we took photos at this point, but the image I include here looks like it was taken in the evening, but I can’t recall that.

I still think they pack a lot into the space taken by Universal Studios and even today when you look at the attractions and rides in the park, there is so much to do – better value than Disney? The park at that time was also, similar to Disney MGM, a working studio as Nickelodeon Studios was based there and many of the attractions featured live actors. I remember we hadn’t had breakfast today so as soon as we were in the park we stopped for coffee and pastries in a small cafe just as you came under the main gate and archway. Fueled up, we went into the first ride we came to which was the Hanna Barbera ride with Dick Dastardly and Mutley. For those that don’t remember this or was before their time, it is the ride building that is now Minions and before that Jimmy Neutron. It was exactly the same layout then as it is now with seats facing a huge projection screen. It was a good show and played to the fact that The Wacky Races was a staple of Saturday morning TV.

We came out of there and walked over to Ghostbusters which was a mixture of live actors and special effects in a theatre style setting. The show was based on the first film complete with the marshmallow man but I remember thinking it was pretty rubbish to be honest, but it was all part of the trip to the park. I have covered our friends faces because I don’t have their permission to show photos of them.

Around this area there were three other attractions – Lucy – a tribute, based on Lucille Ball, Murder She Wrote and the Alfred Hitchcock Show. None of us were keen on the first two, so we decided to look in at the Hitchcock attraction, despite the fact that between us we had only seen a few films. We also knew that the Psycho house, the Bates Motel, was somewhere in the park as well. The premise was that the attraction told the story of the Psycho film, how it was filmed and there was a re-enactment of the famous shower scene. As we were queuing for the next performance two men rushed up to us and asked if my friend wanted to star in the scene – apparently, he was the right height and build. He was reluctant but after much name calling by the rest of us, he agreed. He played the starring role in the re-enactment and was the Anthony Perkins character in the shower scene and ‘stabbed’ a pretty actress behind the shower curtain. As you can see, they dressed him fully in character. When he was getting back changed the director (who you can see in the photo) gave our friend some food vouchers for us all for his participation, which I don’t think they would do now. Again, I have blanked out my friends face because I don’t have his permission to post and because he is now a VERY senior director in a very public company.

We decided after this to miss Nickelodeon Studios tour as it was very American and we didn’t know any of the shows on the posters outside, so we headed instead to the Monsters Show which eventually morphed into Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Review. It was okay as these things go and passed half an hour or so. We headed out of there and onto Earthquake which again was a mixture of live actors and eventually a ride on a subway train that gets caught up in an earthquake and then onto Kongfrontation. The images of the giant King Kong were used extensively in the travel brochures and the ride didn’t disappoint. By this point we were hungry and used the vouchers that had been given to us on burgers and chips, with a salad for our vegetarian friend somewhere near where Transformers would be now.

After lunch we headed onto Jaws, which again had been a prominent image on the brochures and a fixture in my childhood. I remembered queuing with my dad at the cinema to see the film in 1976. I even had a Jaws t-shirt as a teenager. The ride was really cool and probably state of the art at that time. Lots of screaming and terrified kids.

Around the top end of the lake to see the Wild West Stunt Show which was really good and I was sad in subsequent years to see that it had turned into a TV fake show where people ate stuff and from here we could see the Psycho House – The Bates Motel.

From there and onto Back To The Future which was another of the ‘big’ rides at Universal and again a really cool ride where you jumped into the DeLorean and chased Biff back through time. Somewhere here we also visited a props area where there were various Flintstones props and a giant piano on the floor that you jumped on.

It was getting close to our time to be at the Hard Rock Café, so we squeezed a ride on ET and sneaked into the last showing of the Horror Make Up Show which has become a favourite whenever we visit and we had photos with various characters who were in this area like Betty Boop and Rocky and Bullwinkle.

We decided that my wife and friends would walk back through the park, go out of the back entrance and get to the table at The Hard Rock as we were by now running a little close to our booking time and I would go and get the car and drive it down to the car park in front of the restaurant. It took me a good 20 minutes to get back and another 10 to find the restaurant car park and by the time I got there, they had ordered for me as the waiters were getting a little funny with them because they had been seated for 35 mins and hadn’t ordered. We had already spoke about what we wanted to eat so everything they had ordered was good, which was a rack of ribs. We had some great food, some drinks and it had been a great day at Universal. As you can see, there are probably only two or three attractions left now from that trip in 1993, which is what I enjoy about the Universal parks – they don’t stand still.
Trip report 1993: The First Trip 1993
Trip report 2008: The Stacey J Aswad Memorial Tour
Trip report 2013: What No Stacey?
Disneyland Paris 2000, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2014
Florida 1993, 1997, 2008, 2013
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Old 24 Aug 21, 11:11 AM  
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We took my parents in 1993 and my dad almost fell off the boat in jaws when the shark came out of the water , he leapt out of his skin it was so funny.
Our daughter was 11 and she got picked for the carousel scene in the Alfred Hitchcock show, I was the star of the horror make up years later . So many good memories
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