So on our last day in California, we planned a day at Universal Studios Hollywood. We were up and going early so we could pack in as many rides and attractions as we could. I suppose being Sunday, the traffic wasn't too bad. We checked into the Universal Hilton, where we could leave our bags for the day while we are at the park. I love the service a lot of hotels have now that understand families need to check in during the morning so they can get to the parks and stay late without having to rush back to check-in at the normal check-in time mid to late afternoon. The also have buses that will take you to and from the park for free. This hotel was very upscale and usually beyond our budget, but I decided that I wanted to end our ultimate California vacation in style and take advantage of the convenience of being next door to Universal Studios. After all, how often would I get a chance to stand at the window of an amazing hotel room on the 30th floor overlooking Hollywood, LA, and Beverly Hills. Off to my left I could also see Hogwarts. I could have stood there for hours!
Backing up a bit, after we checked in and checked our luggage, we hopped on a bus and headed to the park. It was still hot but not as bad and the crowds weren't too bad for a Sunday. We enjoyed the Minion ride, even though the little one was skeptical at first and changed her mind at the last minute, we coaxed her aboard and she ended up loving it. We spent the morning and early afternoon riding rides and watching shows. I love the studio FX shows that show you how it's really done. After lunch we decided to head down the hill to check out everything at the other side of the park. I have to tell you that the escalators that take you down the hill were somewhat scary. They are very steep and very long. There are two levels and if you are afraid of heights you might opt for the steps down and then ride back up. The ride up didn't seem as scary to me. I was rather glad when we finally got to the bottom. Of course, the girls thought it was “cool”. Once at the bottom, you find the really popular thrill rides like Transformers, Jurassic Park, and Revenge of the Mummy.
The main attraction we were excited about and the highlight of this day would be Hogwarts. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was one of the main reasons we decided to include Universal Studios on this trip. We waited until later in the day because we didn't want to hurry. It was such a fun experience. We had Butter Beer (creme soda) and picked up chocolate frogs to try. Walking down the streets made you feel as if you were really there. The Quiddich ride was great and they had a cool show performed on an outdoor stage. The whole place was successfully designed to give you that feeling of being there and being a part of Harry, Hermione, and Ron's world. We took tons of pictures after dark of the Hogwarts castle spires. They were so magnificent.
As we were leaving the park we realized we were hungry, so we decided to go to City Walk and see what we could find to eat. City Walk is a large area, a stip, with shops, restaurants, and entertainment. We love seafood, so we went to Bubba Gumps. We had to wait 30 minutes to get a table, but once we did, we were served quickly. The food was good and we were starving by then. It was a great way to end our day.
The next morning we said our goodbyes to LA and Hollywood and headed back to Texas. First, we couldn't miss the opportunity of driving up to the gates of the Disney studio for at least some pictures. They don't give studio tours anymore so we had to settle for some pictures of the entrance area. The guard came out of his gatehouse and let us come in a bit so we could get some good shots. He was very nice of course as all Disney employee's are that we've encountered. The drive home was uneventful and we were ok with that as we were pretty tired by then. It was certainly a memorable vacation and I know the girls will always remember all the wonderful things they saw and experienced.