Universal Studios/ Hollywood

Trip Start Dec 27, 2010
Trip End Jan 16, 2011

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

For our first full day in LA, we got up bright and early and headed off to Universal Studios theme park. It was an amazing day, the best weather possible for the occasion. As soon as we got to the park, we went on the backlot tour, which is a little trolley car through some of the sets on Universal's lot. There were a few changes to this since I was here a couple of years ago. Not long after my last visit, a large portion of the backlot burnt down so there were a few things missing (such as the set of the town square from Back to The Future). A new addition was the 3D King Kong section. This was awesome! The bus drove into a dark tunnel which turned out to be a 180 degree cinema. It showed images of King King fighting a T-Rex all around us while the bus shook in time with the action on the screen. It was actually pretty realistic. Some of my old favourites included the set from Hitchcock's Psycho and the set of War of the Worlds. On this occasion, there was an actor playing the part of Norman Bates, putting a body in the boot of the car as we drove past, which was a nice touch.
After this, we raced around the park, trying to see everything possible including a 4D Terminator show which was a mix of 3D film, actors, and special effects. That was a highlight for me too.
Not surprisingly, while I was wandering around, I heard someone call out, 'Oh my god...It's Kym from Adelaide!' Haha...I seriously can't go anywhere without somebody knowing me, even the other side of the world. Re-visiting the House of Horrors was another highlight for me although not quite as exciting the second time around.
We ended the day on the rides (Jurassic Park and The Mummy) and almost saw everything before the park shut at 5.
We then had to race off to Hollywood Boulevard as we had tickets to be in the audience of The Jimmy Kimmel Show.
This was an awesome experience. I love the Jimmy Kimmel Show and as a former film school student, I was loving watching the production of the show first-hand.
The guests on the show were the kids from the TV show Modern Family and an actress from Grey's Anatomy, and the band on the show were called Fits and the Tantrums. The show was hilarious and awesome fun, and they filmed the band in a different room at the end of the night as a mini concert (very mini...two songs). For the band, me and Nik were right up the front row so should have been pretty visible on TV, although we haven't seen it yet.

After the show, we did some late night shopping followed by a visit to the Famous Mel's Diner for a late dinner. being at this place was like being at Arnold's in Happy Days. Awesome atmosphere!
After this , we headed back into the Universal Studios area where the nightlclubs are to check out a band called Vains of Jenna. Similar to the Hard Rock Cafe in Vegas, there was a nice coffee shop vibe rather than the rock gig I was expecting. The band were different to what I was expecting. They hardly played any of their own songs and did mainly covers. It was more like watching a local cover band than an up-and-coming LA original band.
When they finished their set, the MC for the night announced that a bunch of guests were going to get up and jam. After the house band did a few requests, the MC announced the guests. During the night, various people got up onstage to play covers including Leif Garrett, guys from Saigon Kick, White Lion, and the Bret Michaels band. At 2am (Hollywood has a curfew since the riots a few years back) everyone got kicked out so me and Nik hit the road back to the hotel (we walked until eventually a cab appeared). An awesome and long day!!!
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