Birthday Weekend in LA

Universal Studios Hollywood

December 5-6, 2015

Last weekend, I heard, was cold in the bay, so it was nice to get away from the fog and spend time in Southern California for my birthday. It was a beautiful weekend and the weather was perfect: sunny during the day and cool at night.

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Early Saturday morning, Angela and I flew down to LAX. We arrived at 9 am on the dot and no, surprise, the airport was already hustling and bustling. It looked like a lot of college kids were flying back home for the break.

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We somehow found the shuttle that took us to the rental car place where we hopped into an Uber vehicle. (That Uber-LAX agreement has gotten nowhere yet.) The driver turned up the hip-hop radio station, and we were off!

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It was only about a 15 mile trip but with the traffic, it took us an hour to get to Universal Studios. It didn’t help that it was a nice day and everyone seemed to be heading there. When we arrived around 10:30 am, the place was already crowded.

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We headed to Springfield immediately. I hadn’t been to Universal Studios in a couple of years and was super excited about how much they’ve built. The last time I was here, literally the only things they had were the ride and the Kwik-E-Mart gift shop. Now, they have the whole town, including Moe’s, Krusty Burger, and Lard Lad Donuts.

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We went on all the rides multiple times, got soaked on Jurassic Park, and did the studio tram tour twice: once during the day and once at night. Surprisingly, the two differed greatly. I also experienced the Fast & Furious portion of the tour, which was new. They did a great job with all the effects, but it was more of the same.

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Of course, I was giddy at the sight of the ongoing construction of Harry Potter World. Hogwarts’ towers loomed over the rest of the park, reminding all of us to come back when it opens, and with a lot of money.

The infamous Bates Motel
The infamous Bates Motel

Last Saturday was also the first day of Grinchmas so the park was overrun by Whos, who actually annoyed us to the core. Christmas songs blared over the loudspeakers. Fake snow fell from the sky.

Jaws
Jaws

We stayed until it got dark and took advantage of the fact that the park closed late that day. One mistake was going on Jurassic Park when the sun was gone but we braced the cold until we dried off. At night, all the holiday lights came on and I felt so much holiday spirit that I almost bought something at the gift shop. Almost.

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The next day was my actual birthday so we spent the day as a family. We hit up Hollywood Blvd early in the morning where many of the costumed characters were already out, vying for tourists’ attentions.

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Afterwards, we toured Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, UCLA, and Koreatown before driving to the coast. The Santa Monica pier was great that day and of course we had to get some ice cream. Lots of people were on the beach, swimming and surfing, and others tried their hands at the boardwalk games.

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It was a relaxing way to end the day and the quick trip to LA. It was definitely a fun birthday weekend and much needed after the long weeks at work. Here’s to turning 23!

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