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Posts Tagged ‘Tourism’

On one of the recent sunny warm LA spring days, I decided to head over to Universal Studios to take their studio tour — I’d heard that they had recently completed all the construction on their backlot (they were still rebuilding from the 2008 fire when I went with Arden) and I hadn’t been on it since they added the King Kong 3D experience.

Here are some highlights of the tour — just think of me as your own personal tour guide!

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Arriving at Universal Studios Hollywood

The view on the way to the studio tour — backlot sets below, with Warner Brothers Studios in the distance.

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PULL CORD IN EMERGENCY!

Part of the newest areas on the backlot — the rebuilt city streets. We were told that the new Spiderman movie would be using some of this area for filming!

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The new courthouse, where the courthouse from Back to the Future once stood:

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I was surprised they didn’t rebuild the courthouse in the same look as before, since they continue to make such a big deal out of the fact that Back to the Future shot there, but it doesn’t look like itself anymore. I feel like the original courthouse (below) was just as multipurpose as the new one!

I have never heard Peter Jackson name dropped more than I did on this tour. He probably tied with Spielberg (which is slightly more expected, but still). Way to not be subtle, Universal!

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Seems like something BIG got here before us...

Just another pleasant day in Amityville:

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I’m incredibly proud of this next shot, because I just about jumped out of my skin in the middle of pushing the button.

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JAWS!

Meanwhile, it’s been snowing on the northern parts of the lot in Whoville:

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Some of these tour stops really prove that Universal used to be the King of Horror. Case in point:

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Anyone wanna check in? Seems Norman is helping the last guest out...

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So. Much. Debris.

And just because I like that they added it to their Universal Experience display (not on the tour, but in the Lower Lot area of the theme park):

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I just finished Bossypants and LOVED. IT.

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This past weekend, Jeremy and I went to Griffith Park to see the Merry-Go-Round.

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Got our tickets!

This is not just ANY carousel, either. It is a gorgeous, vintage, pretty gigantic, carousel. The organ that accompanies it is one of the oldest of its kind, and has one of the widest ranges of music — over 100 songs!

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They're in the middle of refurbishing the ride

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It’s surrounded by playgrounds, and picnic areas in a still-secluded-feeling area of the Park.

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The Griffith Park Carousel is ALSO the place where Walt Disney used to take his two daughters on the weekend — and the place where he sat on a bench and dreamed up the idea for a place that had more rides, was cleaner, and that parents could enjoy too…DISNEYLAND!

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I'm blinking...but the Disney bench picture HAD to be included!

I’m a huge fan of carousels in general — I love the craftsmanship that goes into a lot of the older ones, and they just have a great sense of nostalgia surrounding them. Though I’m not exactly discriminatory in my carousel-riding — whether it’s horses, giraffes, whales or dinos, if it spins in a circle and plays tinkly organ music I. AM. THERE.

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A simple, classic, fun way to spend a sunny weekend afternoon!

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One of the last things we did while my parents were in town was to visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. It was only about a 45-minute drive up to Simi Valley, where the museum/library is located, and was a GREAT way to spend a fairly-dreary overcast day.

I’d never been to a Presidential library before, so I can’t speak to how this one compares to others, but the Reagan library is very well laid-out and has some great interactive elements and unique memorabilia.

First, the views from where the Library sits are fantastic.

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The museum walks through Ronald Reagan’s life from birth to death; has some extra exhibits devoted to The White House and his presidency; and has a room dedicated to Nancy’s early life, and her interests as the First Lady.

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Probably some delicious recipes in here...

They recreated the Oval Office, with replicas of the furniture the Reagan’s used.

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Nancy’s room included many of the iconic outfits she worn as First Lady:

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That  included this dazzler… (worn as a joke)

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One of the most unique aspects of the museum is that it includes the ACTUAL Air Force One that the Reagan’s flew on. They were able to include it because they were upgrading planes and weren’t going to be using it anymore anyway — Reagan was actually the one who ordered new planes to be built and used…but they weren’t completed before the end of his terms!

You can walk through the plane, but alas, are not allowed to take pictures. They have a typewriter sitting at one of the desks on the plane — apparently they have had to explain to multiple elementary school students exactly what a typewriter is and why it was used. That was mind-boggling to me, as I actually owned a typewriter in middle school, and played with my grandfather’s as a kid. I really shouldn’t be surprised, given how fast technology moves lately, but I definitely was.

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I took this picture of a picture (as ridiculous as that sounds) because they are in front of Ashford Castle in Ireland, which is where my family stayed during part of our visit back when I was in high school. This photo was in the large room holding Air Force One, as the room was dedicated to Reagan’s foreign travel during his presidency.

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One of the interactive-ish elements to the museum was in the room dedicated to Reagan’s love of horses and his ranch.

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You could go horseback riding with Reagan!

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One of the last rooms of the museum had a mini in-depth replica of the White House – it travels so it’s actually up-to-date decoration wise, and includes decorations that the Obama family have implemented in their personal quarters.

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Overall, I would highly recommend a trip up to visit if you’re in the Southern California area and looking for an engaging afternoon activity.

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