so anyway, last week we crossed another item off of the bean's summer to-do list:
by the way, if you're looking to visit universal studios hollywood anytime soon, costco is your best bet. their tickets are cheaper than any of the options from the park itself and rather than "buy a day, get the rest of 2014 free," costco's tickets get you a full 12 months from the date you activate the pass. i don't know how often we'll visit since it's a bit further away than disneyland, but as long as we go more than once it'll totally pay for itself. unlike disneyland though, adding an unlimited parking pass isn't an option. they'll extract an extra $16-$30 per visit from you for that, depending on whether you choose regular, preferred, or valet. another tip? the regular parking is just fine. you get to park in the structure, where your car won't be stuck out in the sun. preferred has you in an uncovered lot, albeit slightly closer to the park entrance. and valet...well, yeah. do you really need to valet at a theme park? we sure don't.
because we wanted to try and get onto the new "despicable me"-themed ride before the lines got crazy long, we headed out relatively early. parking was easy to find and the adjoining city walk was still pretty much empty.
we've taken the bean here before, but it was ages ago. like, she was just a wee little thing:
(that last shot. I DIE.)
so she remembers absolutely nothing about this place. for her this was all brand new, which could be good OR bad.
we tried to wait for this lady to get her picture and move on, but she wasn't budging. so i had the bean plop down to get our shot anyway. i'm sure she was thrilled, but i mean hey - get your photo and let the next person go, amirite?
in another episode of "you get what you pay for," check out the line we had to wait in to get our passes processed:
it was madness. but i gotta give them a little credit - despite the sheer volume of people going through that maze, they moved us along fairly quickly. it really only took about 10-15 minutes before we had our passes in hand. getting through the designated "annual passholders" entrance was another story. the guy must have reached for his water bottle for a drink about a dozen times in the time we stood there, and the line moved at a freaking glacial pace. ugh.
but despite those minor snags, we found our way to the minions ride easily and still managed to beat the crowds. the posted wait time was 35 minutes...not too bad.
there were lots of cute decorations from the movie throughout the queue, with numerous monitors showing movie clips and trivia questions.
just 15 minutes after we got in line, we were ushered into the holding area just before entering the ride itself.
it was a really cute ride, and we all loved it. the minions are our favorites, so we were fully entertained from beginning to end. and on the way out, you walk through a dance party and can see yourself on the giant screen overhead.
IT'S SO FLUFFY!!
the amusement park from the first "despicable me" is recreated right next to the ride. it's super cute.
there's even a fun little ride, similar to disneyland's dumbo.
and no shortage of minions to pose with.
there's also a fairly large water play area, perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day. the bean had come prepared, wearing her bathing suit under her clothes, but we saved that for a little later.
heading out into the park to explore, we walked through "france."
these two goofballs were heckling each other and making a spectacle of themselves. of course, they flipped on some music and started a dance party right then and there.
they spotted the bean and another little girl dancing along and pulled them from the crowd. i mean, my kid really needs to come out of her shell, don't you think?
when she was done shaking her thing, we headed over towards the entrance to the backlot tour. um, along with what seemed to be everyone else in the park. dang.
it was a long, hot boring wait. we were surrounded by similarly sweaty tourists who had zero sense of personal space, which is seriously one of my biggest pet peeves. it took lots of glances with dagger eyes and finally a polite request to back up a little to get some breathing room. and then finally, we were seated on a tram and getting the party started with jimmy fallon on the screen.
since it was a weekday, there were several film crews on set in various spots along the way. we saw this screen a few times:
and the tour was just as silly and cheesy as i remembered. oh no, a rainstorm followed by a flash flood!
we took a nice leisurely drive down wisteria lane to visit some housewives, who couldn't be bothered to stay home and greet us. never mind that they were cancelled ages ago.
and how very odd - did you know that the bates motel was right behind whoville?
and this place looked like a disaster. hardy har har.
after that long, sweaty wait and then 45 minutes on the tram tour, she had more than earned some water play time.
the teen hates getting wet and then walking around, so she stayed on the outskirts of the wet area. i'd worn some of my quick-dry lululemon gear for just that reason, so i hung out with the bean and enjoyed cooling off under the sprinklers. i didn't get soaked to the skin like she did, but i got wet enough to be comfortable again. we worked up quite an appetite, and after getting dried off and changed into dry clothes we headed to gru's lab café for some grub.
the bean's meatball slider:
the teen's "el macho nachos."
my pulled pork grilled cheese sandwich, with sweet potato fries:
a minion cookie that truly wasn't very good at all (don't get this!).
but how cute is our new refillable cup?
we watched all of the shows after that - the water world extravaganza, the special effects display, and the animal actors performance.
oops, i didn't mean to cut the trainer's head off. sorry, dude. thanks for the entertainment.
we capped the day off with a couple of games back in super silly fun land:
and one more run through the water play area.
we grabbed some dinner on the way home, but the bean passed the eff out before we even hit the freeway. she was so worn out from all the heat and walking and sweating and water play, she slept right on through the evening and didn't get up again till the next morning.
i'd call that one super successful silly fun land day.