Our hotel in Hollywood literally stank (The Liberty, in case you’re wondering). I brought in a magic tree from it’s duty trying to tackle farts in the car to try and tackle the stench of stale piss in the room. I hasten to point out the room smelled that way when we walked in, so we cannot be blamed. Either the tree worked or we got used to the smell.
The reason we stayed at the Liberty was the price and particularly the location. It is adjacent to the Kodak theatre complex – I think Hollywood had gone to my head, as I couldn’t stop calling it the Kojak theatre. This location meant we were about 30 seconds away from Graumans Chinese Theatre – the one with the hand and foot prints of the stars and the walk of fame. The Hollywood sign also stood proudly on the hill in the distance.
We checked out the hand prints – I had my photo taken next to Steve McQueen, Rob went for Cary Grant. I also discovered that my hands and feet are about the same size as McQueen’s and Adam Sandler’s…I’m not reading anything into either of those facts, mainly because of Sandler, otherwise, I’d be stating that the “cool” gene gives us all the same hand and shoe size.
It’s obviously a busy place, bustling with tourists, as you’d expect. There are also numerous people dressed up as different film and tv characters for tourists to have their photos taken with. There are also a lot of souvenir shops, bars and tattoo parlours – pretty much standard fare.
The walk of fame was a little bit disappointing. Sure, the legends of the silver screen are present, but so are many names I had not heard of, which is no great shakes in itself, but the hap-hazard layout of the slabs seems to devalue what they represent.
We only had a couple of days in Hollywood, so we acted quickly to ensure we had tickets to Universal Studios [thanks to Joe Berardi for letting me print off the tickets]. Universal Studios was one stop on the metro away and a good walk up a steep hill, although there are shuttle buses available.
Universal Studios was one of the main players with regards to the development of the cinema industry as we now know it. The tours of the studios were actually started in 1964 and I’m sure it was a far cry from what we see today.
It’s a vast theme park covering a large area over different levels. We entered the park and were immediately taken with the look and feel of the place. A hug spinning globe, the original logo of Universal greets you as you arrive. It was pretty busy, given that it was also a Saturday, but signs indicate waiting times for everything. The Simpsons ride is the latest attraction and had a waiting time ranging from 45 mins to an hour – I think it was the only thing we missed.
We made straight for the tour. This covered the site of the recent fire, numerous sound stages and back lots, as well as a few experiences to excite us all. These include, Jaws, The Fast and the Furious and Earthquake. Sets include Desparate Housewives and Psycho.
The tour was great fun. The tour guide was funny and informative and the places we visited were very interesting. I hesitate to call Jaws, etc rides, as you sit on the tour bus and it all goes on around you, but you do feel as if you are part of it.
Tour over, we ate at the Flintstones BBQ and then we started to take in the shows; including Backdraft, Waterworld, Special Affects, Terminator 2. And the rides; including Jurrasic Park, The Mummy’s Revenge, House of Horrors.
The shows were really good, particularly Waterworld – much better than the film.
The rides were terrifying! I won’t give too much away, but we discovered the following from the photos:
Jurrasic Park: I cling on like mad and let out an excited scream, whilst only the left side of Rob’s face is visible and we think it looks like he’s enjoying it.
The Mummy’s Revenge: I cling on like like mad and let out and excited scream. Rob looks terrified. He also admitted that the photo (right at the beginning of the ride) was the only time he held his head up. The rest of the ride was spent focused on the floor of the carriage.
Universal House of Horrors: No photos on this one, but we did find out that we both laugh when something makes us jump, that the experience is a bit too much for young children and that for some reason, despite knowing nothing about it, I adopt a kung fu stance when suddenly challenged.
We orignally thought we would spend a couple of hours there and stayed all day. We even ate dinner there, at Bubba Gumps, as there is a pretty cool shopping and restaurant walkway just outside.
I think Rob might have found the metro ride back to the hotel the scariest ride of the day!