Universal Studios Hollywood VIP Experience

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On Saturday 3/22, Palwasha and I flew to LA to start spring break the right way. We had been planning a Universal Studios trip for a while and it was finally happening!

The flight was delayed for just 10 minutes. Pretty soon, we landed at Burbank airport.

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We got to the Sheraton Universal Hotel at around 10:30 PM and checked in. The front desk told us there was a dinner party on the top floor. Too bad we weren’t invited…

At midnight, Palwasha ordered a pizza. It was the best.

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We ended up sleeping around 3 AM and watched a lot of bad movies that are on that late at night.

The next morning, Sunday, we headed to the theme park and checked into the VIP lounge where we had a small breakfast and were given VIP pouches with various items in it, including mints, chapstick, and hand sanitizer.

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The VIP experience started with Owen, our tour guide for the day. He was friendly and we talked about our respective interests in TV/movies. We met the rest of the group, 13 in total, and we headed to the Lower Lot where we rode Jurassic Park, The Mummy, and the Transformers simulator. I was very, very impressed with all three.

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“I applaud your bravery.”
-Owen, when we refused the water-proof ponchos

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We’re headed to Jurassic Park!

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“Welcome…to Jurassic Park!”

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-John Williams’ theme playing-

After those three amazing rides, the group headed back up to the Upper Lot where we did my personal favorite thing: walk through the House of Horrors. It was the most frightening of all the times I’ve been through it. I literally could not make it through the Chucky room, I was almost stabbed by Norman Bates, and the Michael Myers kept stalking us. Palwasha and I were at the front of the group, but we made a mother-daughter duo go in front of us. I give them props. The mother kicked at things that jumped out. The British ladies behind us kept grabbing our shoulders to scare us. It was great.

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After we made it through the House of Horrors alive, Owen led us to the Despicable Me ride, which hasn’t even officially opened yet. It’s opening in April and we were one of the first people to test ride it. The ride was adorable and really well-made. It’s another simulator where the audience gets turned into Minions and go through Minion training.

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Waiting to be transformed into Minions

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I think that Minion is touching my stomach…

The VIP buffet lunch came after. It was delicious. There’s no other way to describe it. For dessert, I had a passion fruit cake and I can’t put into words how delicious it was. Palwasha had the raspberry chocolate cheesecake. We were both in heaven.

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After lunch, the studio tour began. Unlike the VIP experience I did two years ago, this one combined two tour groups and the two different tour guides alternated narrating the tour. It was weird but it managed to work out. We saw the set of “Parenthood” and visited the prop warehouse. We got to get off at many sites, including the War of the World plane crash set. We also got to take a picture in front of the bell tower from “Back to Future” and the “Psycho” house.

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Set of “Parenthood”

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The New York skyline

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“A boy’s best friend is his mother”

The tour didn’t take as long as I thought it would. We also saw an Animal Actors show where we got to see the animals who have acted in movies. They were cute and very well trained. Afterwards, we rode the Simpsons ride, which would sadly be the last thing we would do as a tour group. After the ride, we said our goodbyes and took a picture with our awesome guide, Owen.

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After leaving the tour group, Palwasha and I went back to the Lower Lot to ride Jurassic Park, The Mummy, and Transformers again. It was that awesome. We loved skipping to the front of line with our VIP passes. The people in the regular lines glared at us.

After getting souvenirs for our families, we explored CityWalk for a bit and got dinner. For the longest time, we contemplated watching a movie but decided against it at the last moment. We headed back to the hotel and had a much needed relaxing night.

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This morning, we got to sleep in a little bit. As we were getting dressed to go to the airport, we saw the hotel employees setting up some kind of banquet on the front lawn. I think famous people were going to be there.

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At the airport, the flight back to Oakland was delayed for over an hour. It was annoying. I played a lot of Candy Crush. Palwasha and I got lunch there. $11 for some California Rolls! It was ridiculous. I was so happy when the plane finally got there and we got to board.

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We landed in Oakland in the afternoon today. It was a great start to spring break and I can’t wait for the rest!

See pictures from the first time I did the VIP experience 2 years ago with Sophia! It is at the bottom half of this post: https://reginakimblog.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/los-angeles-trip-11913-2/

62nd USHA National Collegiates (Told in pictures)

The 2014 United States Handball Association Collegiates was held at North Carolina State University from Tuesday, February 18 to Sunday, February 23. The CAL Handball team represented Berkeley with 5 players. This is the trip told in pictures.

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The trip started at SFO Tuesday morning, 2/18:

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Layover in Charlotte, NC

Arrived in Raleigh, NC at 9 PM Eastern Standard Time. When we got off the airplane, everyone there had Southern accents.

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We made it!

Checked into the hotel and noticed this in the elevator:

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The elevator was henceforth called “The Cherie Berry Elevator”

Wednesday, 2/19:

Since none of us had games until later that night, we went to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science in downtown Raleigh.

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The giant globe photobombed Skyler


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We explored the depths of the sea

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Knowledge

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Whale skeleton

I started in the Division I Open-A drop downs at 8 PM that night. Lost and dropped down into A’s.

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Thursday, 2/20:

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NCU Gym

I watched Yeena’s first game at 8 AM with Steve.

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Yeena and I played the Women’s A Doubles.

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I had my Single later that night.

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CAL victory over Texas

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The team went to a restaurant/sports bar for a late dinner.

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So excited that Fresh Prince was on that night

Friday, 2/21:

More games! What else?

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We sold some CAL Handball shirts at the tournament desk, too.

That night, we had a team social to see Frozen.

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 Saturday, 2/22:

Off day for me. Took this day to rest. Later that night, we had the handball banquet.

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We ready

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CAL Handball team

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After the banquet, the guys hung out around town and Steve, Yeena, and I went bowling.

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“The Alley”

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Steve “Strike” Chen

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We played 3 games

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Keeping score

After bowling, we went to a 24-hour IHOP.

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Back at the hotel, I ended the night with The Sandlot. So good.

Sunday, 2/23:

Last day in North Carolina. Got breakfast, then headed for the airport to get back to the Best Coast.

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Spent the morning at the airport

On the flight to San Francisco, I ended the trip in the most perfect way possible: by finally passing 100 on Flappy Bird.

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If you’re on the CAL Handball team, you know you are never safe when you fall asleep. Last year, Yeena fell victim to this. This year, guess who did? YEENA. Again. Although to be fair, it was because we shared a hotel room.

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Good night

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Sleep tight

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Don’t let the bedbugs

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bite

The boys’ room actually had bedbugs though, so they were moved to a different room during the week.

Overall, it was a great tournament. I enjoyed North Carolina while I was there and it was nice to have a break from school. It took me a few days to get adjusted to west coast time again. I went to bed before midnight and woke up at 5 AM for the next couple days. Did a lot of catching up on reading afterwards. Next year, Collegiates will be in Portland, Oregon. I am already looking forward to it!