24 Hours In LA.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, November 21, 2011

We've been to LA before - in 1995. Ticked off Disneyland and some iconic beaches but then we couldn’t wait to get away due to the smog. Now with a stopover before taking our flight to NZ we thought we had better see some other attractions of the City of Angels. Our accommodation was at an airport hotel, and the travel desk sold some day tours that would tick off the other "must sees" of Houses of the Stars, Rodeo Drive, Kodak theatre and the sidewalk stars, Hollywood sign and then Universal Studio, but still get us to the airport in time for our evening flight.

The highlight of the very long day was the Universal Studios tour. Whatever you do in LA, Universal Studios deserves a full day rather than the 3 hours we had. Yes, there are crowds, waiting time and cattle races aka Disneyland, but well worth putting up with, for the experience. The actual tour of the back lots and sets is on a tram with an audio explanation. As we got on we were given 3D glasses which hinted there were some interesting things to come, on this 45 minute tour

It was fascinating to see and learn how sets are created, changed and reused. The surprises were classy and stunning. We were taken into a tunnel on the tram and, with our 3D glasses, experienced a huge King Kong lunging at us and fighting other beasts. Later we went into a simulated earthquake, used for an episode of “Bones” and also experienced a flash flood hitting our tram. Of course there was the great big mechanical shark from the Jaws movies to be overawed about.

We just had time for two more hour shows, one a 4D Shrek experience, (think 3D with water and movement!)  and another show on special effects. There were heaps more things to do and since we were fairly ambient about the rest of the stops on the morning part of our tour, wished we had just committed a whole day to Universal.

So why were we ambient about the morning part of the tour? Well we drove around the windy, narrow suburban streets of Beverly Hills and Bel Air for what seemed like hours, with our bus driver saying things like....

 “Look on the right after a count of three and you might see a little glimpse of the driveway, past the gate of the home of …….. who starred in……”.

I sort of feel a bit sorry for the stars having to put up with tourist buses filled with “gawkers!”  After a couple of hours of star “driveway peeking”,  we were plonked on the famous Rodeo drive for a gawk, then to the Hollywood Walk of Fame to see the footpath stars and handprints on the pavement. Just before our drop off at the Universal Studios we were taken to a view point to see the big Hollywood sign (which didn’t actually seem that big after all!) and to see Hollywood Bowl from above. Luckily we had a very entertaining and charming bus driver who made it a much better experience.

A torrid trip through heavy LA traffic delivered us back to our hotel in time to pick up our luggage and catch the hotel shuttle, the short distance to the airport, for our first Qantas flight in awhile to take us to New Zealand.    

And the smog this time did not seem as bad!?.
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