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!


outsidetheberm said...

What a fun post! I like the detective work you did under the Simpson's Ride - hunting for the 'ghosts' of ancient boulders!

Major Pepperidge said...

I had a LOT of fun on the Simpsons ride, but admit that I missed "Back to the Future"; you are right about it being kind of dark and not as crisp as it should have been.. Love the map of Drustyland!

I don't remember the rock slide, did they just send foam rubber boulders down the slope towards you? Sounds a little chaotic, if so. I remember one cylon in the Battlestar Galactica thing, it split right down the middle as if hit by a laser blast.

A sculpture of Marilyn made from jelly beans? That's the sort of stuff you see inside the "Ripley's Believe it or Not" museum on Hollywood Blvd!

Major Pepperidge said...

Arg, "Krustyland"....

Unknown said...

I remember as a kid both the rock slide AND Battlestar Galactica. Are you sure they were in the same spot? We didn't go more than once or twice....
I remember being there in the rain, and the boulders being shrunk and slow, as they were foam rubber and soaked up all that water.

jedblau said...

Man, I LOVED the rock slide as a kid; thanks for the great memory and the shot of the hill!

K. Martinez said...

I remember the rock slide and those Glamor Trams. Was the glacier ice tunnel there before Battlestar Galactica? I can't remember if it was the same location or not.

TokyoMagic! said...

OTB, thanks! I like that....."ghosts of ancient boulders"!!!

Major, that is exactly what they were....foam rubber boulders. The TV commercials and publicity photos always showed them bouncing down onto the road and also hitting the tram. In reality, they all came to a dead stop as soon as they hit the ridge at the bottom of the hill. It was rather tame. I also remember that Cylon that split in half!

"Unknown", We went to Universal quite a bit and yep, I'm sure....the Battlestar Galactica set was built in the exact same spot. There was outdoor patio seating just above that spot and we used to sit there and watch the boulders "reload" after the trams drove away and in later years we would watch the trams get "stopped" by the Cylons in the same spot. ( even backs me up on this as they cite one as a replacement for the other on their studio timeline). You might be remembering the Glacier, which was also referred to as the "Avalanche." That was located in a different spot, and both did coexist together. In fact the Glacier tunnel is still there and is now the "Curse of the Mummy's Tomb."

Jed, I'm glad you enjoyed the vintage pic. I have a postcard and an artist's rendering of the Rockslide that I will be posting in the future!

K. Martinez, as mentioned above, the glacier ice tunnel is still there today (in a completely different location than where the Battle of Galactica was) but now it has been given a "Mummy" theme.....sort of like a sandstorm that rotates around the trams now.

Dan Alexander said...

The whole Simpsons Ride experience is hilarious, even the stuff on the screens waiting in the slow moving line (I love this attraction, but it does suffer from a very slow loading process it inherited from Back to the Future).

From what I understand, anything is fair game for removal for the Harry Potter expansion. I bet stuff just gets relocated, because USH actually does have a lot of room to expand.

Great Universal story, TokyoMagic!

Anonymous said...

I remember the sea battle and rain effect most vividly. Too bad that's gone, it had a kind of "old time movie magic" about it, before we had to have everything perfect. Like Krusty says, sometimes "it's not good, but it's good enough."

I found my old pics of that area recently, taken about the same time as your Dad's.

Thanks for the trip back.


Snow White Archive said...

I dig the comparison pics between the Battle of Gallactica show and the Rockslide attraction. There's some real history there underneath the Simpsons.

K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic!, I'm kind of late, but thanks for answering my question about the glacier ice tunnel.

BTW I've posted the "arcade" photo you requested at the other blog site.

Disneydevotee said...

I enjoy the vintage Universal Studios photos posted such as the falling rocks and the Battlestar Galactica portion.

I found a photo posted by you somewhere with a seated Anamatronic Abraham Lincoln at Disneyland's Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. I wanted to know what year that photo was taken?



TokyoMagic! said...

Hi Bill, Thanks for commenting! If it's the picture I think it is, that was from a souvenir slide they sold in the park. I'm not sure what year the photo was taken. I bought the set of slides sometime in the early eighties.

Disneydevotee said...

I'm really interested in that Abe Lincoln slide that you posted from the late 70's or early 80's. In fact, I searched for the Abe Lincoln AA that was used from 1975 to 1984 prior to the 1984 newer Lincoln with the paper in his hand. Your photo is the only one I've found that seemingly represents that middle time slot when Lincoln returned to the Opera House after that 2 year hiatus from 1973 to 1975. Do you happen to still have the actual slide of Lincoln? I love the photo but I would love a real sharp image of that photo? I'm just curious... Also, did those slide set also contain additoinal photos of Lincoln from the show?

Thanks again for posting that photo: I've searched for years to find that particular model of Abe Lincoln.