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AutoMatters & More: Movie Cars & What’s New at Universal Studios Hollywood + A Very Special Announcement

WaterWorld stunt show
WaterWorld stunt show

Universal Studios Hollywood

I love Universal Studios Hollywood but, due to its closure for COVID-19, I have not been there in a very long time. I jumped at the chance to return when I was invited to their summer Media Days. By the end of my wonderful, sunny day, I had taken almost 3,000 pictures throughout the park and Universal CityWalk, gotten soaked on “Jurassic World—The Ride,” barely escaped the shark from “Jaws” and was utterly exhausted.

The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!
The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!

There is so much to see and do, including elaborate themed rides, movie and TV sets — and cars, spectacular live shows, a studio tour, tempting dining options, shopping and more — even a waterpark for the kids. One day is not enough! Thankfully, Universal Studios Hollywood is still affordable, offering not only day tickets (for the best prices, buy them online) but also ANNUAL PASSES.

Inspired by the films, “The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!” is a new, family-friendly ride attraction that answers the question: “What are your pets really doing when you’re not at home?” To see for yourself, you will begin by walking through their New York City apartment building into their homes, and then take the ride — all while their humans are away.

Encounter with a dinosaur on “Jurassic World—The Ride”
Encounter with a dinosaur on “Jurassic World—The Ride”

With live action enabled by technologically-advanced animation and state-of-the-art projection mapping, 64 lovable characters interact with each other and you.

Minimize waiting in line by using their app-based Virtual Line technology — at no extra charge.

Massive splash at the bottom of the waterfall on “Jurassic World—The Ride”
Massive splash at the bottom of the waterfall on “Jurassic World—The Ride”

Get close to Blue, if you dare, at the Raptor Encounter. Then intensify your Jurassic experience on “Jurassic World—The Ride.” Prepare to get very wet — as I experienced first-hand while riding it three times! Spectacularly introduced in this 2019 online video, a rampaging Tyrannosaurus rex sends the terrified casts and crews of several film productions running for their lives through the Universal backlot and out the main entrance, as the dinosaur smashes through it in hot pursuit:

The climax of the ride is a truly epic, animated battle between the huge, hyper-realistic Tyrannosaurus rex and Indominus rex that tower above you in the darkness (which I needed to shoot at 108,000 ISO!), just before you plunge down a giant waterfall in a desperate effort to escape! Sitting at the front, with my Nikon D5 wrapped in part of my poncho, I was thoroughly drenched by a wall of water.

Minion Café is a new place to eat, adjacent to “Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem” and the “Super Silly Fun Land” waterpark.

Minion Cafe next to Super Silly Fun Land
Minion Cafe next to Super Silly Fun Land

From 3 p.m. daily, check out NBC Sports Grill & Brew — CityWalk’s newest dining establishment. It features high-definition big-screens inside and out, a food menu curated by Universal Studios Hollywood’s Executive Chef Marie Grimm, a wide selection of alcoholic beverages, shuffleboard and foosball tables.

To see many additional photos, visit AutoMatters.net, and for additional information, visit: https://www.universalstudioshollywood.com/web/en/us

A Very Special Announcement — Many Years in the Making!

Since writing my first column about 20 years ago, I intended for “AutoMatters & More” to have its own website where you could see all of the columns (now over 700), complete with my extensive collection of photos — many of which are of people, places and events that are no longer with us.

I embarked upon this ambitious project long ago, carefully choosing a website building program that I thought was likely to be around for many years to come: Microsoft’s FrontPage. It was not a particularly easy or user-friendly program for me to learn, and the process to add each column was convoluted and complicated. It took months to accomplish but, eventually, I overcame these and other obstacles. My website went live, for all the world to see, at AutoMatters.net.

My website gained in popularity and its rankings grew. I continued to write new columns and take more photos, adding them to the website. All was going well and as planned — until Microsoft discontinued FrontPage, along with the support necessary to enable it to work with new versions of computer operating systems. Microsoft had killed FrontPage, and with it my website.

Fast-forward to today. Here, in column #701, I am proud to officially announce my brand new “AutoMatters & More” WordPress website, live now at AutoMatters.net. Over 400 of my columns have already been uploaded to there, and more will be added.

To explore AutoMatters.net, simply type a topic in the website’s Search Bar, or click on one of the blue ‘years’ buttons below that Search Bar, at the bottom of the Home Page. Welcome!

Copyright © 2021 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #701


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