Jump to content
  TPR Home | Parks | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram 

Photo TR: Adam's New California Adventure


Recommended Posts

Two weeks ago I returned to California for my annual Disneyland Resort trip, but this time around, we actually rented a car and ventured outside of the Anaheim city limits to visit a few additional highlights in California, some that I've never been to before, and others that I hadn't seen in many years. Sure, there'll be tons of Disney photos ahead, but let's start with the new and revisited experiences first...

 

SeaWorld San Diego was a unique experience for me. I grew up with SeaWorld Orlando in my backyard and I've had an annual pass there since the age of four. I remember the park in its old days--the days before Antarctica, Manta, Blue Horizons, Kraken, Journey to Atlantis, the Waterfront, Key West, even Wild Arctic. SeaWorld Orlando has evolved over the years and it with it, almost all of the park feels like it has been updated to match the times. SeaWorld San Diego has a VERY different feel.

 

This park felt like I was trapped in a time warp... But only half the time. New'ish additions like Explorer's Reef at the entrance, Manta and Journey to Atlantis stand out as more modern experiences dropped in place in the middle of more dated areas of the park that make you feel like you're back in the early 90's--things like the Aquarium de la Mer, Shark Encounter and Penguin Encounter.

 

This isn't to say the park is bad, nor that it is lacking in charm. I really liked SeaWorld San Diego. It was just so strange to see all of the differences in the park when compared to SeaWorld Orlando. You could say I felt like a fish out of water.

001.thumb.JPG.b33747e258ba0562de403f044e80cc9d.JPG

Driving into the parking lot I was greeted by a very different looking Journey to Atlantis.

002.thumb.JPG.b7067a7feafed8c97458c9e1665e186f.JPG

The park's new entrance...

003.thumb.JPG.ab1d353a4ac4099429217ae262e17164.JPG

Explorer's Reef is pretty neat!

004.thumb.JPG.5771b23586af8822e438095b34631751.JPG

The cleaner fish touch pond was seriously one of my favorite things in the park!

005.thumb.JPG.20c1ed1f6f1bd953a846f539e4215094.JPG

They have a shark touch pond!

006.thumb.JPG.85dd7c26471277c94c8379aaf79a6ac7.JPG

What's this I see?

007.thumb.JPG.af205fd2a25ef9836c8821c928fb7e1a.JPG

A very different Manta.

008.thumb.JPG.f60b09094cd0152f655f39e28d044d90.JPG

Very picturesque though.

009.thumb.JPG.b377fdc5046ecbea4b0999c7570a5a2e.JPG

I love how the ride weaves in and out of guest pathways.

010.thumb.JPG.216c0cb49955adce91a1e60e69c07490.JPG

Manta was much more fun than I expected! It was my first Mack launched coaster and for a ride that isn't even 30 ft tall at its peak, it packs in some quick airtime and two nice launches!

011.thumb.JPG.1b4dcb4b20479201aca8e8874c359513.JPG

Definitely a surprise hit for our visit!

012.thumb.JPG.7b11b686331191e60889439301242bd0.JPG

And fun for me to photograph too!

013.thumb.JPG.dd2dd12ae1edd3d89873f7f906c929c1.JPG

Dolphins just taking it easy!

014.thumb.JPG.ef9b5ca884869174e790827136455c35.JPG

Very interesting!

015.thumb.JPG.fd50825cd768f6b7773694c6f5c9b6ec.JPG

The park's Skytower is very old school, complete with the Christmas tree-style popcorn lighting in use year round.

016.thumb.JPG.abedb77a93e70dcc61e260804d4310a4.JPG

SeaWorld Orlando's Skytower complex was rebuilt from scratch when The Waterfront was being developed, but I strongly remember riding that Skytower when it looked much more like this. This was totally a blast from my past!

017.thumb.JPG.5d9c38b175d798c90a94a1e240050493.JPG

Okay, I can't stop. Do you blame me?

018.thumb.JPG.9d66a91268837a4b6fc6e790a25c4412.JPG

It really does take up a sizable plot of land in the park. I can't imagine what this park was like without Manta!

019.thumb.JPG.ee02e8f95c4f7bdfe8a0506dfb1661b3.JPG

Aquarium de la Mer is an old-school SeaWorld aquarium tucked in the back of the park.

020.thumb.JPG.bba294ef84382f34e533b1d65daa78e5.JPG

I loved revisiting the old-style black lit fish tanks!

021.thumb.JPG.8e4a4110dd07d3a1256494652893cdf9.JPG

I may have an addiction.

022.thumb.JPG.ffa0ae4f7bb995eb6ef9a196ec657c98.JPG

I was thrilled to get the chance to explore the park's former Hospitality House because I had so many fond memories at the one in SeaWorld Orlando.

023.thumb.JPG.1fd8407b20531a1c7c68727c1534ebfc.JPG

This one sports a beautiful interior!

024.thumb.JPG.944f8a7cef1a309e6fc8a8c0687b5c95.JPG

The old Hospitality House features several historic displays from the company's 50 year history.

025.thumb.JPG.b9d744f9e5d76f882423d7af297d2d3e.JPG

I was in awe of this place!

026.thumb.JPG.68a2388b6cca714f65a9ad892d903d35.JPG

I miss Shamu Rocks so much...

027.thumb.JPG.8839660acaf0841380ce3a6d6b99d439.JPG

028.thumb.JPG.9e50bf950993eda92657ecba091346e7.JPG

The infamous Baywatch at SeaWorld show!

029.thumb.JPG.7f10af0d9eb50a8a396bcfe84a5287f9.JPG

Time to try this out...

030.thumb.JPG.4692ccd06663229e2c6b8a949dacb6df.JPG

Journey to Atlantis was also an odd surprise for me.

031.thumb.JPG.5c5b1506174f40e563f83c29ee2dd8b4.JPG

The ride was fun...

032.thumb.JPG.86dce41e4f48b7b7dbb60b0d1e7f352b.JPG

Just very bizarre. There is no explained story for the elevator lift or anything that happens. But as long as you ignore the lack of story, the ride itself is really fun!

033.thumb.JPG.538add8792ce76f4d42819aa0786f394.JPG

I couldn't really figure out what was going on in here...

034.thumb.JPG.4b21a692617f85e36b35da222345659e.JPG

Or why a ghost was hovering over my mouth.

035.thumb.JPG.53609ff5f46ef623ec3c71351afdac6a.JPG

Journey to Atlantis has one main aquarium at the exit of the ride.

036.thumb.JPG.0fab132705e9c407a9881998f3d7ab7f.JPG

I figured Wild Arctic would be pretty similar to the one in Florida, but I wanted to check out the animal exhibits, so we took the Walking Tour option...

037.thumb.JPG.f105ddc14588c7f65753956bcd117af5.JPG

I was amazed to see that a full room has been designed to look like the inside of the simulator pods so guests could enjoy a stationary ride on Wild Arctic before moving into the animal exhibit space. Florida's Wild Arctic has a viewing space for the ride film, but it is nowhere near as themed as this, as far as I know.

038.thumb.JPG.d8b32aa13f18e5c038a7883fd2e62262.JPG

It was surprising to see the Wild Arctic animal exhibits are open air and not enclosed like the ones in Florida.

039.thumb.JPG.441ea02c743c00955fb7f5e48f03b04a.JPG

Here's a polar bear.

040.thumb.JPG.4fead649000d47bf247b4e158c380524.JPG

Baby... Baby beluga...

041.thumb.JPG.6d2a84348fd1d4c33008f1054809723f.JPG

Whoa!

042.thumb.JPG.46dafa331447f1b77ea1539cd23cf62a.JPG

Very old school!

043.thumb.JPG.3b41af6672b5b8867d7fc03ed3ce1f71.JPG

They even have penguins outdoors!

044.thumb.JPG.026df47e07e89bef236bb112a62aed9a.JPG

Turtle Reef is a newer addition to the park...

045.thumb.JPG.fdcc7eebe29a90d07ae7d2ecf9d8a201.JPG

I was a little concerned to see this was the area's entrance as I felt like I was being led backstage.

046.thumb.JPG.61efbb3e7c80ddcae1ce706ffbd6dd79.JPG

It has a nice space for the turtles though.

047.thumb.JPG.032887cc5154d035d16f02ff16b596f3.JPG

Didn't get to ride Riptide Rescue this time around as it wasn't operating during my visit.

048.thumb.JPG.2e9396e9668c97041e4348cfc73ad686.JPG

Time for something very different...

049.thumb.JPG.c2d8338a698ce44f0b88593b36aac0ed.JPG

You start out above the surface of the water looking down into the tank in SeaWorld San Diego's Shark Encounter.

050.thumb.JPG.4d7d62950f933c447a91493dcf4d1cdb.JPG

The tank is far lighter inside and a much shorter experience than the one in Florida.

051.thumb.JPG.897a4c82231c069112e3a3ee093a6f6b.JPG

He's just staring down his lunch.

052.thumb.JPG.d40be3dc8f8fb5d25416b2f8bd8ca936.JPG

The sea lion space was a little small.

053.thumb.JPG.ba8c9e3803f6d553e5ad197f35a2945b.JPG

Not this trip.

054.thumb.JPG.a6b199decf68cabce79bb12987458fae.JPG

The Killer Whale viewing area was nice.

055.thumb.JPG.0f5d2aaa38380ab08406aac5ecdd044e.JPG

Sesame Street Bay of Play looked nice from above.

056.thumb.JPG.c88fe2fdbda7f4fd2943e95836bd26ad.JPG

An overview of the Explorer's Reef entrance complex.

057.thumb.JPG.577bbfaaaeb1f57043c09f853ab3c25d.JPG

It amazed me that Shamu Stadium does not offer any covered seating.

058.thumb.JPG.360313e2bb348fe3e1c7b57f5e44bfc0.JPG

I'd imagine the Hospitality House would be the next thing to go if a new expansion were to be planned for the park, based on the sized of the land it occupies.

059.thumb.JPG.c38309ab2d4229c285017bd41cb4e014.JPG

Manta really was awesome!

060.thumb.JPG.ab77c9203cd5ebfb43901d95600b865b.JPG

One last visit to the cleaner fish fondle pond!

061.thumb.JPG.b23237ee2e4c4641bdc476190a807202.JPG

So fun!

062.thumb.JPG.590f644805c620797cf613730b8fbb4b.JPG

It was such a fun visit to SeaWorld San Diego... But this was just the start of our trip!

Edited by jedimaster1227
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 30
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I haven't been to SeaWorld San Diego since I was a kid, so it would be pretty much all new to me. Manta looks great, and the Atlantis-themed aquarium looks pretty cool, too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awesome TR! When I visited San Diego 2 years ago, I was pleasantly surprised by Manta. It's definitely in my top 15 coasters and may be one of the most underrated coasters that I've been on! The theming is out of this world and the coaster itself has some intense but smooth turns, not too forceful but not forceless. The best part is probably the unexpected second launch. This ride is (what I assume to be) a mini-Maverick, although I've never been on Maverick ; the first half is focused on airtime, dips, and banked turns, while the second half is focused on quicker transitions and tight turns. Here's a POV I found from TPR for more information:

One of the (few) things that SeaWorld does well at its parks is installing really good family multi-launch coasters (Verbolten, Cheetah Hunt, Manta).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fantastic report Adam! The GF and I will be visiting SWSD this coming weekend. Manta is a fantastic little coaster. Nice burst of speed, pops of airtime. In my opinion that is what KBF needed in lieu of Pony Express.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went to SWSD almost 20 years ago and the last time I went to SWO was 15 years ago. Even though it's been so long I was able to spot a lot of differences between them based on reading TRs on TPR! Manta looks like a really fun little coaster. I'll take a fun, launching coaster without crazy transitions any day over an intense ride that I can only tolerate once or twice per visit. Excited to read part 2!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I visited the park earlier this year for the first time in a long time. Enjoyed the visit but I liked Orlando better. Can't really put my finger on as to why except most of the people here are pretty much locals and in Orlando they are on vacation. Did like the new coaster a lot. Even my chicken wife rode it multiple times.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Continuing in my new'ish California Adventure was a visit to the San Diego Zoo, something I had never done before but had been eager to check out for a while. Growing up with Disney's Animal Park and Busch Gardens Tampa in my back yard, I've truthfully never been to a major zoo (short of the Lowry Park Zoo and Bay Meadows Petting Farm), so this was an experience of interest for me.

 

The San Diego Zoo is absolutely huge! Sprawled out over a mountainous corner of San Diego not far from Mission Bay, it amazed me just how big the park really is. Even more impressive is the park's current effort to expand, with one new exhibit opening a day after our visit and several major expansions clearly under construction within view during our visit.

 

Overall, I'd highly recommend the San Diego Zoo for any animal lovers or for anyone looking for a good hike. The park has nearly no rides, save for a classic Von Roll-style sky ride and a 4-D theater, so don't expect this to replace a theme park for thrills. Fortunately enough, it is close enough to SeaWorld San Diego that you could split your day (like we did) between the two if you plan your day out well enough.

001.thumb.JPG.2ea74a20403cdf7c4ec78a19f2cbc09a.JPG

We're here!

002.thumb.JPG.ae326b3e77b93c2599bb9f0ddd3ef49c.JPG

I see pandas... I'm sold.

003.thumb.JPG.f5d4e288c15228298413d3825c7b3881.JPG

Is that a sky ride I see?

004.thumb.JPG.3cab2586936d5759d85724fcb53590c4.JPG

It is! And it provides a great view of all of the new projects going on at the San Diego Zoo!

005.thumb.JPG.bf803216f8bb3f2fa6abacc88e47e13b.JPG

Its a little cold up here!

006.thumb.JPG.35f2709b70173dad4cbe2f8d35bd89c3.JPG

In here, Dr. Grant and Billy fight off pteranodons all while trying to get to the shores of Isla Sorna.

007.thumb.JPG.f055df49bf023488a4a63b0f68da1934.JPG

From above the park is lush and filled with vegetation.

008.thumb.JPG.0fb9f7af52e9f5d331c9f74c3649bcd4.JPG

A free bus tour of the park is available for those that don't want to trek the mountainous terrain on foot.

009.thumb.JPG.ed15ac2bb1ea8f80fe3da8ae1cef3d00.JPG

More expansion in the works here!

010.thumb.JPG.38caeb04fbd2701af0971a8a2677744a.JPG

Just a peacock hanging out on top of one of the zoo's buildings... Nothing to see here.

011.thumb.JPG.203403d3289a060a4e6626a4e7d301d4.JPG

I don't know that I've ever seen an anteater this close before.

012.thumb.JPG.756408c3c6a726f32cab3872eca3b31a.JPG

I've got her attention...

013.thumb.JPG.83cd80899a43a3e946eaddb1aade4d43.JPG

Clever girl.

014.thumb.JPG.1901f439e1ebfd1dc72ad5a2b851f4e8.JPG

I found the Maelstrom polar bear!

015.thumb.JPG.0e85b5e6216ad0d6a254e3df0c18068c.JPG

Reindeers are better than people... Sven don't you think that's true? Yeah, people will beat you and curse you and cheat you. Everyone of em's bad except you.

 

But people smell better than reindeers. Sven, don't you think I'm riiiight? That's once again true, for all except you--you've got me, let's call it a night... Goooooodnight! Don't let the frostbite bite!

016.thumb.JPG.135f949256e85136d314501ce76323c0.JPG

Sleepy zebra...

017.thumb.JPG.8be5cda9b78772d2b85fa1eb64b9d726.JPG

This eagle was amazing to see in person!

018.thumb.JPG.a87ffc71568f95115b87c6910ccf02c1.JPG

You guys! Pandas! YOU GUYS!!! PANDAS!!!

019.thumb.JPG.1e761f63c6098cbac333a169a1fc6245.JPG

Okay, so the pandas were all sleeping and because of where they passed out, there was no good vantage point for photos, but PANDAS.

 

And here's a sleeping Red Panda.

020.thumb.JPG.d7a06a6e494297dd7d630f552ff0908d.JPG

021.thumb.JPG.c3204a6ec250387f249dc8d80619e8fb.JPG

So yeah, sleeping panda.

022.thumb.JPG.010a7aa22b06a900526d73047f4f2210.JPG

But with a name like Gao Gao, how could you be mad that it was asleep?

023.thumb.JPG.49afc46b8d28be10fc1ff3214b89a448.JPG

Here's another sleeping panda... Sleeping in a tree.

024.thumb.JPG.3e59bbb40624df21b469823a71a4dae7.JPG

But seriously, they have an escalator ride here.

025.thumb.JPG.b7f208c993c9558d1f67b5dfce001780.JPG

It isn't Parque Espana Escalator Ride-good, but it is still good.

026.thumb.JPG.0e3f2eee58a6e6786214a30bd0736e48.JPG

You can see another section of the park that that is about to be revamped for a new expansion... In the meantime, it makes for great The Lost World: Jurassic Park-style photos.

027.thumb.JPG.bfed2ac714fd9ba52708dbe69e446f91.JPG

Somewhere in here lurks a dormant pod of raptors.

028.thumb.JPG.2794f2174fc297c7d3ea44ea87c573cf.JPG

Other guests on the Escalator Ride.

029.thumb.JPG.f2ce73bed50e5fe87471071cb2ccd75c.JPG

The Pteranodon Aviary! (or just an aviary for regular birds)...

030.thumb.JPG.5b0b1c9c39dd3b1a5f3157d519929aa6.JPG

When elephants still ruled men.

031.thumb.JPG.b1f1123dddea57d11be78f6d1025e663.JPG

They are incredible to see in person.

032.thumb.JPG.88b19c7c8a51804b875534bde31e0d53.JPG

And the San Diego Zoo has quite the collection of elephants.

033.thumb.JPG.fc61e09639ff693c38de20ee78b649c9.JPG

And we were able to see them at feeding time!

034.thumb.JPG.6a177310a2a3be8d9313bfed2251c160.JPG

Baby cheetah!

035.thumb.JPG.57f0d9c7249738313a07a8c2e3013746.JPG

So pretty!

036.thumb.JPG.cc2a0d1277654f87fefcca13d0424117.JPG

Those tusks though!

037.thumb.JPG.6fa0b86b6b1c40f5992d3dca2948620d.JPG

What day is it? What day is it?

038.thumb.JPG.130a4f60f8b5f9d3c9d087dd77cbe8a6.JPG

You can't help but melt over this sleeping koala bear.

039.thumb.JPG.de2350eae0803efe9d39cd8250f5b5cf.JPG

Lots of giraffes here too!

040.thumb.JPG.762d7bb4d5725302f89a2051b739e153.JPG

Its a carefree day here at the San Diego Zoo.

041.thumb.JPG.f01d1f471e643586ac917570a1e34b1c.JPG

This gorilla took it upon himself to smile for the camera...

042.thumb.JPG.8ebaf2f9875ddf392b3c7d1ae6cbdac4.JPG

See?

043.thumb.JPG.3bff3d0d3579ffa0d0a4da52a693e718.JPG

And this tiger stalked us as we made our way out for the day...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Haven't been there since the mid-1970s! Beautiful park and zoo, back then.

Miss seeing it, but this is a great TR to remind me of what made it awesome.

Thanks for it, Adam.

 

And as well - Happy 100th Birthday San Diego Zoo!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was there back in 2005 (during San Diego ComiCon). . beautiful zoo.

 

hope you took the trams to help save your feet a bit!

 

do they still have these guys?

0098657-R1-014-5A.jpg.b8e98c6165ba06310e14cdcc0fc8df77.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Following our day in San Diego, we spent a whirlwind day in Hollywood, visiting Universal Studios Hollywood, Oceanic Arts, Canter's Deli, Hollywood Boulevard and Fire + Ice. I had last visited Universal Studios Hollywood the year King Kong 360 opened. I really liked the park, particularly the unique experience that is the Studio Tram Tour, where there really isn't anything comparable around (no, I didn't consider Disney's Hollywood Studios' Backlot Tour comparable). The park's tiered layout (yay escalator rides) and unique versions of attractions found at the Universal Orlando Resort (like the bizarre version of Revenge of the Mummy) all make for more reasons why, when we were planning this trip to California, returning was a must.

001.thumb.JPG.f5a9e8e2a4f4ff829fab67a5e7f431b0.JPG

I seriously love Universal Studios Hollywood's CityWalk!

002.thumb.JPG.d30570feb359ceaf171347ccf71aeda7.JPG

I also love the classic Universal globe still in use here.

003.thumb.JPG.d1f82e515ac3c39b1586ce849ce8bb36.JPG

Last time I was here the Universal House of Horrors was still operating.

004.thumb.JPG.14309a2fca1d08efa33ee9addf84a79d.JPG

There's no shortage of character in this park!

005.thumb.JPG.0b64bd92eaf6f2957a9497282d327997.JPG

First stop!

006.thumb.JPG.1585e7038bf2593a4ef95a723f732969.JPG

The Studio Tour queue comes with a great view!

007.thumb.JPG.36eb7f811ae195e95b4e7b42abca0881.JPG

Jimmy Fallon hosts the tram tour currently, which is all kinds of awesome!

008.thumb.JPG.209cd7e357ba286b8b8403f6226eebfc.JPG

Almost time!

009.thumb.JPG.eff64829dedc90da8f9c7057c4055f16.JPG

This wasn't here last time!

010.thumb.JPG.8592936cde2b8e0f9784cffa0a31eb2d.JPG

Ready for a tramtastic tour!

011.thumb.JPG.15b81a8d05764f0d66f0351721fb4ec0.JPG

Courthouse Square still takes my breath away.

012.thumb.JPG.9a82693e1577a626006bf72c084af197.JPG

I love this so much!

013.thumb.JPG.bccdcbbed844dc4210b80fb02e3eeeb0.JPG

I just want to stay here forever.

014.thumb.JPG.4343d5d5365f1870dd5499cabc47bb41.JPG

Time to visit Skull Island!

015.thumb.JPG.cc51b756386cded7d7a9df65b75c4a03.JPG

Bummed the falling bridge wasn't in use during our visit.

016.thumb.JPG.0b01e596fe17684550a3c3a6544aa4c7.JPG

I would've liked to see the Nighttime Tour during our stay, but the daytime tour is still amazing!

017.thumb.JPG.7525945de3cdc5d8815fb1bba621ffbe.JPG

The miracle of Dino DNA!

018.thumb.JPG.393ed77a7e782eb611bfa4bdba148553.JPG

Flash flood!

019.thumb.JPG.4ef45d0ff4ac32efab2278a7259bc278.JPG

In the middle of the Big One!

020.thumb.JPG.c27d8902f98d06771537532409f8d576.JPG

Flash flood!

021.thumb.JPG.4210a49ef98f3f48e297367097305eca.JPG

EARTHQUAKE!

022.thumb.JPG.f47b94153ad5a747cddf51235ed0a8c1.JPG

Just reminds me how much I miss Jaws in Orlando...

023.thumb.JPG.87ed468328bd6d10568ec2de5e58d787.JPG

But this is just so fun!

024.thumb.JPG.827bf50e6b8eca1c65b169c5d6553f4a.JPG

And such a simple, cool effect!

025.thumb.JPG.dc1d458845f187e3a71c63707ceb86bb.JPG

Not as cool as a shark being electrified, but it'll do.

026.thumb.JPG.cd90b007edf9dd57210115ece42dcd03.JPG

That'll do Bruce. That'll do.

027.thumb.JPG.6ab59612ac5b1fa7dc6819668e9c75cf.JPG

I miss this so much.

028.thumb.JPG.13fe0bbbff6eb602b8dca6f1e64f1eaf.JPG

Still my absolute favorite part of the tour.

029.thumb.JPG.7e3c9d36937bfe840ca41cad32ccfdd2.JPG

I hadn't noticed this last time around...

030.thumb.JPG.1059893fffef53c4395ce389f4116b0d.JPG

My favorite moment of the entire tour.

032.thumb.JPG.6840634ba678029130125fdbacc52767.JPG

The War of the Worlds set has held up well after all these years.

033.thumb.JPG.54874290c0d91d890b899d99d864e920.JPG

Have a Tramtastic Day!

034.thumb.JPG.93636492cb22caa7bfb4a59ef22b8798.JPG

The best.

035.thumb.JPG.c4aa4ec4629cfc2732eb7a77872dbffa.JPG

This version of Jurassic Park: The Ride is far more wet thanks to the Summer jets!

037.thumb.JPG.8faad2429d6da8e44f8d367739123b0f.JPG

I can't explain it... But I really do enjoy Revenge of the Mummy in Hollywood. I would never say it is better, but it is still very fun and unique.

038.thumb.JPG.9d1163fb5205f054339c23ce05f3d7be.JPG

This caught my eye...

039.thumb.JPG.4954da16ff2732f355505bc8232bd64f.JPG

And was well worth the visit!

040.thumb.JPG.51a58b12b7b6a87c828a917a748ab2a8.JPG

So much Universal history!

041.thumb.JPG.e8a8605d8b30b2dc6045e21ab5da0838.JPG

This game... Memories.

042.thumb.JPG.fdd0809f7630a80d937ffc0ec9785fe2.JPG

You were just a hole in the ground the last time I was here.

043.thumb.JPG.98f314f652c10c6ce7e74116f6e45630.JPG

Also very new since the last time I was here!

044.thumb.JPG.33113734aafd2f446dd3fe1fe97ef0d0.JPG

Different but oddly familiar.

045.thumb.JPG.4f75851786818551a37a67afe3d32729.JPG

I really love how they worked with the extra space they had here for Springfield.

046.thumb.JPG.1be3725bc73d1e8b53f39bcad67171f7.JPG

What have we here?

047.thumb.JPG.e257589cf4f9617c75b372ec82c5b94e.JPG

Proper satirical representation found!

048.thumb.JPG.7431acd57fcce88feb4fe0b7bbe33dec.JPG

Hogsmeade looks so close to being ready to open!

049.thumb.JPG.3b0ef319975a6d028bb66f5a1fbfe27d.JPG

Here you won't turn a corner to get your first view of Hogwarts Castle... It will tower over Hogsmeade from almost any angle!

050.thumb.JPG.cb8e3e2fc2ea900afaf95a2b21eb1d90.JPG

Super Silly Fun Land is a really incredible realization of a kid-friendly land concept.

051.thumb.JPG.6f4396cfdf8ddb27a4b6b09ee19c683c.JPG

BEE-DO-BEE-DO-BEE-DO!

052.thumb.JPG.b78500ac99b09ccccf5672706e9a3161.JPG

Looks like fun!

053.thumb.JPG.bf149c2b3d2878ab3d6a81b4670c95e3.JPG

Awesome details all over!

054.thumb.JPG.da42b690f445a954b3546643fcb27dc7.JPG

I so badly wanted these cupcakes but had to save room for lunch...

055.thumb.JPG.97204e72c21680fe5330fcc6e61901ba.JPG

The expanded street where Gru's house and other notable locales from the Despicable Me franchise is brilliant!

056.thumb.JPG.585ebbd8fb3d186f41567fbb2551d814.JPG

They have an evil Minion!!!

057.thumb.JPG.9d4167c3371f267d905a4a2e32f2bd0e.JPG

Oddly familiar...

058.thumb.JPG.8d3c7d5abccb89b07d594781afe535a2.JPG

Neat to see this very different location.

059.thumb.JPG.e34bb0a53668ba6c31081b8f776e12b1.JPG

The replacement complex for the previous House of Horrors plot looks like it is topped off.

060.thumb.JPG.02de873cfc2d23c35e4364709b3067c2.JPG

A really cool character interaction here!

061.thumb.JPG.b16825b44232151bc4e3d16d1e0ed5ba.JPG

Donkey spoke Korean in our presence!!!

062.thumb.JPG.ff8b111aa88e544f7662f35741a98059.JPG

Universal Plaza looks gorgeous!

063.thumb.JPG.9a86eb9e1e87ce65c4c5113651779803.JPG

The old entrance to the Gibson Theater remains quietly blocked off.

064.thumb.JPG.5f48049f62ad379f4ee11e1b8132e806.JPG

Waterworld is still amazing!

065.thumb.JPG.c5a5c2fdd56a58f62a16c8916d397e0f.JPG

A limited selection of merchandise The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is already available for purchase near the entrance of the park for those interested.

066.thumb.JPG.358c48ed914dd1a8d143bedff7a79ad5.JPG

They're happy to take your money now... They wouldn't want you to wait to give it up until next year when Hogsmeade opens.

067.thumb.JPG.b2438995241b8d2cf51d6757eb8b0c39.JPG

Standard wands already for sale (not interactive).

068.thumb.JPG.b22fbb981e7ff62ba81b6a7070bf58a8.JPG

Jurassic World merchandise aplenty!

069.thumb.JPG.768f16e2d7f445c428e93f88f70e0a44.JPG

I love this entrance fountain!

070.thumb.JPG.3b0b6865f712fbab4dd966f3931a2781.JPG

The classic Universal Studios sign... I so dearly miss the one in Florida.

071.thumb.JPG.16ff8950078f2a246178fc05d0ae9fd5.JPG

Oh yeah... I was actually here.

072.thumb.JPG.7a6adeec4514accd0cefcd22c350312c.JPG

They actually do live productions consistently at this Universal!

073.thumb.JPG.988d7e57effe50ca07ecf915a8680b2e.JPG

Can't get enough!

074.thumb.JPG.907b44ec7aace7b7571a0f95f1f08c4e.JPG

This place was incredible!

075.thumb.JPG.57aae150c59c7e6271d41ceddefbd6d9.JPG

I couldn't help but to bring back a giant amount of birthday cake popcorn home with me.

076.thumb.JPG.9b2ad20b9aba6bab617b2d0430af3a20.JPG

I love this place so very much.

077.thumb.JPG.bb07f555a9bc2224a798a68091ced1d8.JPG

It is just so different from what we have in Florida!

078.thumb.JPG.84deffde2280d4d565ef08611104977e.JPG

And they have a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., so it is even better!

079.thumb.JPG.ce6d66cc944c6d4abc983bc8d4272e9e.JPG

Butterbeer soda! Not official, but delicious!

080.thumb.JPG.f9ec7ef39f212f5a43e6de6e34be6ee3.JPG

Seems like something I should've gotten for Robb!

081.thumb.JPG.8c94ce56f8fef4e7f1ea34e2b417f7ab.JPG

Oy vey...

082.thumb.JPG.d2011122918137fc2b4259b5c1059c12.JPG

No words.

083.thumb.JPG.f4e0a780f8977cab6f9dca004129f27f.JPG

TACO TOWN GUMMIES!!!

084.thumb.JPG.76f214e46f309cf82fa40757533207c9.JPG

A neat display in front of AMC.

085.thumb.JPG.2df92ed52c9482afd8f1b705566d8c0f.JPG

A very tiny Hard Rock Cafe by comparison...

086.thumb.JPG.92bb48f3f16ad3b2cee38b9ab3e1c4bb.JPG

I love the set up of this iFly location at CityWalk with the clear flight tube!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

007.thumb.JPG.9a4d0cd66510166135264053f7a02654.JPG

Oceanic Arts was a new must-visit on my list for this trip... And well worth the drive to Whittier, California!

008.thumb.JPG.327284829dc4d8b3bec71342719c5de6.JPG

Time to go Tiki crazy!

009.thumb.JPG.b724346fa933f80227ea2ea5e59999da.JPG

So if you didn't know, I have a particular fascination for all things Tiki and Polynesian, and with my collection needing some more additions, this was the place to go.

010.thumb.JPG.58f0abb47b0cd966514aee430cb7314a.JPG

I was in Tiki Heaven!

011.thumb.JPG.423e935c494e9f94825bf130ac23d36c.JPG

So recognizable imagery that you can find throughout Adventureland and the Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World can be found in the store. Oceanic Arts is actually the primary supplier of the custom-made Polynesian theming found in the Disney parks around the world. Most recently they worked on the hanging glass floats that reside in the refurbished Polynesian Resort lobby.

012.thumb.JPG.3c2734fc24880be7569195de6a85294a.JPG

This original Trader Vic's sign was up for sale in the store during our visit... But sadly, well out of my price range.

013.thumb.JPG.9772e127d2e5d57af003ef57a658b704.JPG

This place is overwhelming!

014.thumb.JPG.88ce7b259136c8e9b130189584c216bc.JPG

I need these... Like all of these.

015.thumb.JPG.ceee178bfe43b0f93607ff73cc9e1e99.JPG

So many mugs to choose from for my mug shelf!

016.thumb.JPG.00e8cc19d1c3feecd10bc164c579abc0.JPG

This place is incredible!

017.thumb.JPG.67e7b04c8eee9352601654e886959c17.JPG

An actual sign from the Polynesian Resort!

018.thumb.JPG.19437685e47c56e0f57066e86aca7a92.JPG

Oceanic Arts has actually provided props for a significant number of movies and TV shows too...

019.thumb.JPG.9ed33bf3c3a4533044d7e75de93094e8.JPG

Lunch during our day in Hollywood was at Canter's Deli, which was highly recommended by some family in the area.

020.thumb.JPG.60ec4c5333dfed41d4362bc027551d2f.JPG

This was quite the knish!

021.thumb.JPG.1d48a1c1320a884eeb1b88cab11ed81b.JPG

Corned Beef and Pastrami piled high!

022.thumb.JPG.86f8b5f2497b8446ed85de389d99fa1c.JPG

We stopped by Hollywood Boulevard since I hadn't been since I was 13 (12 years ago).

 

024.thumb.JPG.8533a31fa3d32f909d4da905b3597522.JPG

I forgot just how much Disney dominates the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

025.thumb.JPG.5e98d46d847e5b48f5d7dbf763a40fa3.JPG

I mean... Disneyland has its own star!

026.thumb.JPG.7ee6cd07498c530c305d00f64dc63a86.JPG

I had never been in the Disney Studio Store and Soda Fountain (now Ghirardelli) so we went inside to check it out.

027.thumb.JPG.3d1a699eebf97815225b669fcc18cb36.JPG

I was surprised that it was a pretty standard Disney Store inside...

028.thumb.JPG.1294f8cd8aa7e5b6cfbe6ab8d7ec918c.JPG

But it did have a unique selection of home video options.

029.thumb.JPG.1ad786db57c0484676c231a0d3e0d955.JPG

Yeah... I liked the movie, which was probably the kiss of death for Tomorrowland.

030.thumb.JPG.f8cc4e8a69c930e4d62e5f222089eff1.JPG

Sadly they didn't have a themed ice cream sundae for Tomorrowland, so I skipped out on ice cream altogether for this visit.

031.thumb.JPG.d37f072e91cfbb6961d83f53f5539b2e.JPG

And we're moving on...

032.thumb.JPG.6a5ae89713fe16626158b564aceec5c5.JPG

YAY!

033.thumb.JPG.5909b9f975ccd59e87a189e2541ab91f.JPG

I would've liked to have seen it here but we had to keep moving...

034.thumb.JPG.b2e8e798d20fa26d0cd2cee6a8d791f3.JPG

The underside of the entryway to the El Capitan is absolutely gorgeous.

035.thumb.JPG.6587999afd967ab880d64727b1727622.JPG

The Dolby Theatre complex is awesome!

036.thumb.JPG.0d867c818895659a7d23cda77463f04a.JPG

And it isn't a trip to Hollywood Boulevard without stopping by the TCL Chinese Theatre... Which isn't blocked by a sorcerer's hat.

037.thumb.JPG.6da38d381d9f047aa254dedcab187b6b.JPG

I can't wait!

038.thumb.JPG.3bef6246dd20fdc0f2964c1dc881ba10.JPG

So beautiful!

039.thumb.JPG.e10b893347fba84f21037eca3ba5b892.JPG

I really love this place!

040.thumb.JPG.aa37efad3579228c29b7d6ce79db5078.JPG

Delicious and refreshing!

041.thumb.JPG.3b6e7dd597bea593922101980206529f.JPG

Hiya Jimmy Kimmel!

 

043.thumb.JPG.8d31230aafb522604461b4a3a65b0e7b.JPG

044.thumb.JPG.9a362113b2f0c07e365587f8709db25a.JPG

045.thumb.JPG.81133b7cbe051c0c88b2ec6c0281828a.JPG

The Dolby Theatre courtyard was dressed up with this insane marketing design promoting Jurassic World... I absolutely love it!

001.thumb.JPG.6b1325e76b45ad275892375a0278dea5.JPG

After driving back from Hollywood we were able to visit Fire + Ice Grill + Bar for the first time ever, based on Robb's strong recommendation.

002.thumb.JPG.6df6a2f2530be7e3c9c383335dfc712a.JPG

You choose your noodles, veggies and protein along with a sauce...

003.thumb.JPG.6d5a71589c59c95d33812fabe6fbb2bb.JPG

Give it to the chefs to cook on the hot plate...

004.thumb.JPG.b37a145981fbc6236ad5223816808ee0.JPG

And then you can enjoy so you can go back for plenty more!

005.thumb.JPG.b51ae6a683989351fd4ce3d1baa8bd67.JPG

A Grand Marnier Margarita? Consider me sold!

006.thumb.JPG.556471a5174f1086cc7ab5c380d12c8e.JPG

And it is all you can eat!

Edited by jedimaster1227
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing I like about USH vs. USO is how completely different they feel. While I can't say USH is the better park over the ones in Florida, I definitely think their City Walk is superior.

 

Awesome report. I lived in California the first 26 years of my life and still have never walked around Hollywood or seen the walk of fame. USH was always good enough for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After our new adventures in San Diego and Hollywood, it was finally time for my favorite part of the trip, the Disneyland Resort. With the 60th Anniversary of Disneyland taking place this year, there was plenty of new entertainment, updated attractions and a few special experiences that I had never had before...

 

DSC01490.thumb.JPG.c91b809367831834447b58865b6adffb.JPG

Nothing more welcoming than seeing the Disneyland Resort sign for the first time of the trip...

DSC01498.thumb.JPG.d151348474528cfef7fa4ef819b29ff3.JPG

We were hungry (when am I not) so we started with a visit to my favorite Jolly Holiday Bakery on Main Street USA.

DSC01504.thumb.JPG.0025bdfaddca32382bea20b6fea14b46.JPG

Nothing beats their Jolly Holiday Combo!

DSC01509.thumb.JPG.6a742419aeafc1af6e68dd622f0c1b5a.JPG

Since this was my girlfriend's first trip to Disneyland, I made sure to cover all of the experiences she would be interested based on her favorite Disney movies. Tarzan is one of them.

DSC01514.thumb.JPG.a8c92618d8534bd30c5c1492b28a0c22.JPG

Tarzan's Treehouse is always worth at least one visit if you have the time and don't mind the climb.

DSC01517.thumb.JPG.e3b65257e9d87b4beb188a3bf4ef2ee0.JPG

Some cool details.

DSC01530.thumb.JPG.398180ca943b304c32935e4fd821e44e.JPG

Next up was dinner (shortly after lunch) at Cafe Orleans, an absolute favorite of mine. We shared a bowl of Gumbo as a starter, which is always a great choice.

DSC01535.thumb.JPG.390bec5af6abeb79174cf0b88f0a8b01.JPG

But the real reason I come here is for the classic Monte Cristo sandwich, and it never disappoints.

DSC01545.thumb.JPG.8a9df10e0730c8cec9bb56c7e70e0112.JPG

That evening we were able to catch a viewing of the brand new Paint the Night Parade.

DSC01553.thumb.JPG.46a8ea8c095b080e9cbfd4c066eb2f37.JPG

This parade is absolutely incredible.

DSC01576.thumb.JPG.d829165f585b1975edce79ebf771aa6d.JPG

These high resolution screens and LED lights really glow down the parade route in a way that the Main Street Electrical Parade never did.

DSC01582.thumb.JPG.b9005acf1185313fcd7d52db47a8bad1.JPG

The parade features many contemporary Disney and Pixar classics mixed in with the traditional characters of the earlier Disney animation successes like Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid.

DSC01585.thumb.JPG.c897816f5057752d9c6003a673f0d0f5.JPG

The costumes on all entertainers have unique elements that can display a full range of beautiful, glowing color.

DSC01586.thumb.JPG.91cc49e0e59d053bcd942f6f7fbd34ec.JPG

The Mack truck float is absolutely stunning in person!

DSC01587.thumb.JPG.dde2adb4cf8750cd97d7bc203da156ed.JPG

The lighting patterns inside are mesmerizing!

DSC01594.thumb.JPG.a899a21f90c7c7b88ca29a4d4f2efc5a.JPG

The Little Mermaid float lead-in characters have neat coral affects that glow with the music.

DSC01600.thumb.JPG.6f44a116d235b6aba8abba4792c80bf6.JPG

King Triton's face uses projection tech to allow him to be fully animated with eye and mouth movements.

DSC01602.thumb.JPG.fba774a259b9319d567551f1bd3c9b65.JPG

It is a really neat float.

DSC01603.thumb.JPG.b837bfab208a5ee580282c7e7024f197.JPG

These twirling jellyfish were awesome to watch in action.

DSC01611.thumb.JPG.4735bf6f5e2b9a444b354e1bd472fea1.JPG

The Slinky Float features cool spinning lights as well as glowing lite-bright pegs.

DSC01627.thumb.JPG.99296a64dbf8d62d0a1e39891de9aabd.JPG

The princess float is led by Belle from Beauty and the Beast, with an incredible rose flanked by powerful video screens depicting imagery from the screen.

DSC01636.thumb.JPG.554c0851c179b700d2193b95334e97e5.JPG

Unlike the Hong Kong Disneyland version of the Paint the Night Parade, this one features two additional floats.

DSC01639.thumb.JPG.41baf98aca0777019ec46308f5d6090b.JPG

The first is the variation of the classic Main Street Electrical Parade drum (seen earlier in this report) and this Frozen float featuring Elsa's ice palace...

DSC01644.thumb.JPG.fdc0902e8c6c4c29ae214d9be9700eb7.JPG

And of course, Olaf.

DSC01653.thumb.JPG.2430e64a89721ead50327465bfa0dd06.JPG

Another throwback to the classic Main Street Electrical Parade is the inclusion of these personal whirlybugs that Goofy, Donald and Minnie ride in advance of the finale float...

DSC01665.thumb.JPG.88aa66da9c956421caf4342a932a8d08.JPG

The finale float features Sorcerer Mickey dancing to the music with a dangling LED string screen spelling out the words to the Mickey Mouse theme song.

DSC01686.thumb.JPG.9023a5eb798879b2b65cb1ca04541fc1.JPG

This stunning orb is impossible to describe its motion... So here's a vine to show it off!

 

[vine]

[/vine]

 

DSC02950.thumb.JPG.6d7628d4da0c02369cd3892125283c8a.JPG

The following morning we returned to see my favorite daytime parade, Soundsational.

DSC02953.thumb.JPG.044c43ade86a4c59af140acf5fcdaeb9.JPG

As much as I love Festival of Fantasy at the Magic Kingdom, and I dream of seeing Happiness is Here in Tokyo, this is my favorite daytime parade that I have seen with my own eyes.

DSC03001.thumb.JPG.6d76a29fc68320cf2c1f13f84b1fedba.JPG

And some of the floats are really impressive even when compared to some of the newer parades that have debuted since Soundsational.

DSC03009.thumb.JPG.59533da2977a4168fd7bbff007effa71.JPG

I always love that Terk is included in the parade... I really appreciate how certain characters and films are used in California (Mary Poppins and the Heffalumps and Woozles similarly) when compared to how little they are used in Florida.

DSC03015.thumb.JPG.d84d544c0f188e37f98274f0ac25228a.JPG

Hands up if you love this parade as much as I do!

DSC03021.thumb.JPG.75e5240198cbdf3898791512062eaeb1.JPG

The Princess and the Frog is one of my favorite Disney animated films and this specific section of the parade is easily my favorite.

DSC03025.thumb.JPG.e499d9553c7d22d5ac8a5e33cedcae86.JPG

I absolutely adore this float!

DSC03035.thumb.JPG.6af08748abc48cfd496672eae6b9817b.JPG

Always fun to see Pan clash with Hook...

DSC03048.thumb.JPG.b9dfb6e796cc8ad4ef2b104914e487a3.JPG

Step in time!

DSC03052.thumb.JPG.d6bb6c390b4f56ba7bc21099f4b96e92.JPG

How often do you see Bert in Florida?

DSC03055.thumb.JPG.3fc76291ba7470507c6db02d5bb65393.JPG

The Mary Poppins float is an incredible final to Soundsational.

DSC03060.thumb.JPG.80c44d8e86cf3dde38d5b19185079f07.JPG

If you know Steve Davison's work, you know that he has a thing for including the Man in the Moon in his parade designs.

DSC03070.thumb.JPG.d48f7f4d8a45d7eff9f1cd0a0b9749db.JPG

I followed Frank Walker's steps into "it's a small world..."

DSC03074.thumb.JPG.c0494d3a6a51ad93b2f42418a02cf42a.JPG

I was looking for Athena but no luck...

DSC03084.thumb.JPG.e369c15e068af34186e41e0521ae3042.JPG

The alternate track leading to my trans-dimensional trip to Tomorrowland never activated, so I was stuck at normal Disneyland...

 

DSC03090.thumb.JPG.cd483519751e1641f37c7df72e08d6dd.JPG

We decided to give the Wine Country Trattoria a a shot for dinner. I've dined at Trattoria plenty of times before, but always as a part of the World of Color dining package. I don't remember what exactly I ordered, but it had clams, pasta and a nice kick to it so I was satisfied.

DSC03092.thumb.JPG.32dbd954701f9b1d4ff9e4057f9b52d8.JPG

I never get tired of looking at this.

DSC03108.thumb.JPG.3facf01c4360e0959bba86514789285b.JPG

That evening I showed my girlfriend the California version of Fantasmic!.

DSC03115.thumb.JPG.87502c0eb64c3ad4225c3db8cdd2864e.JPG

Interestingly enough, she liked the Florida version more.

DSC03116.thumb.JPG.eb524699e192214980e4a7f87d8de241.JPG

I'm torn myself.

DSC03117.thumb.JPG.73cad8d19c35b4a69fb64a3c1b96f31c.JPG

I like both for different reasons.

Edited by jedimaster1227
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use https://themeparkreview.com/forum/topic/116-terms-of-service-please-read/