Saturday, May 12, 2012

Universal Studios: Part 2 - Upper Lot

It's time now to go back to Universal Studios Hollywood and take a look at their "Upper Lot." To see my recent post on the "Lower Lot," click here.

The Simpsons ride opened at Universal in 2008 and replaced the Back To The Future attraction. A souvenir store resembling the Kwik-E-Mart from the series sits next door to the attraction and the Simpsons family can often be found greeting guests nearby.

Moe's Tavern and the comic book store from the series are also a part of the shop's facade.

This is the show building for the Simpsons ride. Guests enter the queue through the open mouth of Krusty The Clown.

Itchy and Scratchy make sure that smaller guests are tall enough to ride.

Some attraction posters hang in the queue advertising rides and shows that can be found in Krusty's fictional amusement park, "Krustyland."

A large map of Krustyland hangs on the wall.

I wish I had gotten a sharper picture of the map and the listing of attractions. Next time!

Another shot from the queue.....

And a shot of the back of one of the ride vehicles.

The Simpsons attraction is a simulator ride, similar to the Back To The Future attraction that it replaced. I must say, that as much as I liked the "Back To The Future" movies, I was NOT a fan of the ride. For me it was a very rough ride and the projected images always seemed too dark and blurry. Supposedly, new hydraulics and a new projection system were installed for the Simpsons ride....personally, I thought the new attraction was a huge improvement over it's predecessor. Without giving too much away, I will just mention that guests get to go on simulated versions of several of the rides at "Krustyland" including the Tooth Chipper Roller Coaster which is condemned and has been slated for demolition. Note Sideshow Bob standing on the wrecking ball platform in the picture below.

The ride loads and unloads at several different levels, but I had never been sent down to the lowest loading area. When walking up the exit ramp, I was very surprised to see an open view underneath the foundation of the building.

There is a reason I'm including these pics in my post. The Back To The Future ride was built on the former location of "The Battle of Gallactica" show that visitors used to see during the tram tour, but that attraction had been built on the same hillside as the earlier "Rockslide" attraction. I guess I just got excited when I saw that the hill, and even the road itself aren't entirely covered over with the show building. And if I close my eyes, I can almost see those rocks from my childhood tumbling down that hill towards a Glamor Tram or hear the Cylon at the base of the hill shouting, "Halt, foolish humans!"

The picture above is from an old souvenir booklet and shows the Rockslide. And here's a photo that I took when I was about 15 years old, of the old Battlestar Gallactica setup. The large spaceship that the tram would drive through can be seen on the right.

And while we are taking a trip back in time, here is another picture that I took during that same visit. This shark was created using the same molds that were used to create the shark for the movie Jaws.

At some point, this shark was removed and replaced with the current one seen below.

Everything is calm and peaceful over at Amity Island!

This seating area is located just next door. Something about it felt very familiar. It didn't take long before I realized this was the area that used to display the miniature submarine and battleship and also the "rain" effect.

I've posted these next two shots previously. The first one is from an old souvenir guide and shows what the area looked like before it was filled in with concrete.

And this shot was taken by dad in 1967.

Going back to current day, we can see that they may have gotten rid of the miniature submarine and battleship, but they did leave the rain effect.

They just reduced the pool of water below.

I mean REALLY reduced it! :-(

And now for all you baseball fans out there, we have some original seats from Dodger Stadium.

Original from 1974 to 2005, that is.

Shrek has his own attraction at Universal too....."Shrek 4-D" (presented in OgreVision).

"Shrek 4-D" is a 3-D movie with in-theater special effects. In my opinion, it is far better than Disney's "Honey I Shrunk The Audience" or "Muppet Vision 3-D."

I like the artwork on these posters. They explain Shrek's backstory and let the audience know that Lord Farquaad has returned, but in ghost form.

Wanted posters for Pinocchio and the Three Little Pigs hang in the queue area. These four characters are also featured in a very clever pre-show. Sorry, no pictures were allowed once inside the building!

Universal has a House of Horrors that rivals any Halloween maze. I was surprised at how long it was. It takes guests through two different levels of horror movie scenes including the Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, Psycho and Child's Play with "Chucky." A portion of this attraction uses space formerly occupied by the old Victoria Station restaurant.

In addition to the Simpsons, guests can also meet The Lorax........

SpongeBob SquarePants....

Curious George.....

.....and Marilyn Monroe. Or is that Katherine McPhee? Sorry, but I'm totally addicted to Smash!

This poster was hanging in the stairwell of the Universal parking structure. I didn't even know that Universal and NBC had merged until it was mentioned on the Tram Tour. Hey, looky there in the lower right's the Supreme Leader from Captain EO!

Speaking of Marilyn Monroe, this sculpture made from jelly beans can be found at Universal City Walk.

She's located inside the "It's Sugar" candy shop.

I will be doing a separate post focusing just on the Universal Studios Tram Tour, so please stay tuned!