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Universal In The Right Direction!

By Gordon Durich

Universal City, CA (The Hollywood Times) 3/30/24 – With Spring in the air in North America, it’s a perfect opportunity for a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood.  The nonprofit New Directions Travel for folks with disabilities scheduled the fun trip, timely because March is National Disabilities Awareness Month.

Universal Studios Hollywood is a working film (and TV) studio lot. Open to all and inclusive.  And what’s even better is this iconic theme park/back lot is located in the heart of Los Angeles. Many groups flock to Universal Studios to have non-stop fun, eat (especially at Production Plaza and City Walk), enjoy thrilling rides for all ages, and just hang out with the “Stars.”

New Directions trips are for people with physical, mental, emotional disabilities. New Directions Travel has in its long history conducted trips everywhere from Australia to Alaska. New Directions was the brainchild of Dee Duncan, who is always enthusiastic, fun, warm and flexible.

As a volunteer tour guide, I’ve already experienced a New Directions’ venture during the holidays to Disneyland Anaheim. At Universal, it was a tonic to see folk from all over converge and enjoy themselves and one another.  One regular New Directions traveler, Michael from Pasadena, said of his Universal experience, “It was awesome!”

In “Tinsel Town” (Hollywood) Universal Studios is literally many worlds.  Why?  There is so much to experience and it’s huge – think bigger than a dinosaur. After all, Jurassic Park is one of its most popular attractions.  The famous tour by tram takes it all in, the theme park and the back lot, current and past productions are filmed.  The New Directions Travel group experienced everything from the tram tour and rides classic and new.

Including Springfield USA (home of the Simpsons), Transformers the Ride 3D and in my opinion The Star of the “show,” Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  The authentic little village offering butter beer and your own personal wizard wand.  The other park features included Kung Fu Panda at the Dreamworks Theater and movie props and shops.  Also, excited New Directions travelers enjoyed the new production plaza with Paris and New York – replicating these famed cities with props, cafes and characters such as Marilyn Monroe and Scooby Doo.

We stayed not at Hogwarts but at the wonderful nearby Garland Hotel, a blast because of its original décor, food and warm atmosphere.

Discover this Hollywood theme park where you too can expect the unexpected. You don’t even need a passport!