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Fête LA: Universal Studios Edition

We’ve waxed poetic about the organization Fête LA in the past. Not only is it THE event industry group to belong to in Los Angeles, it also puts on semi-annual events for members that give new meaning to the word “experience” in experiential marketing.

In January 2024, several hundred event industry insiders descended on Universal Studios for an evening of networking, cocktails, rides, backstage tours, and five star catering. The evening started just as the general public was exiting at 6pm (we had the entire lot to ourselves!) and for the first half hour mingled at the entrance with impersonators (Marilyn blew us a kiss and Santa Claus sipped some cocktails with us now that he’s done with his busy season) before filing into the famous Universal trams for an hourlong backstage tour.

PopUP CleanUP CEO Kenetia Lee with a Marilyn Monroe impersonator at Universal Studios during a Fête La Event

While I’ve been to Universal Studios during daylight and seen the Psycho house, Murder She Wrote’s Cabot Cove (also the Amityville installation for the Jaws shark attack) and the bungalows where Alfred Hitchcock did some of his best work, I’ve never had the experience at night. Admittedly, the whole of the tour is probably better in daylight where you can see the facades and some of the attractions more clearly. But there is something to be said about the eeriness of the Jurassic World dinosaurs fluttering in the dark shrubbery and the fire igniting over the lake after the mechanical Jaws attacks the tram ride.

A giant blue and red Transformer character on the Universal Studios Lot

The best part of the ride and the entire evening really was the tunnel where you watch through 3D glasses King Kong fight a T-Rex. It’s a testament to both the cinematographic and tech wizards as well as human biology how much it actually feels like the tram bus is being crunched about and falling through the jungle. Epic.

After the tram tour, the entire party made its way to Super Mario Brothers Nintendo World where we were treated to four separate catering areas: a ramen noodle bar, a falafel truck, a raspberry meringue flambé station, a tea and dessert cart, and a meat and (vegan) potatoes and asparagus spread. Also, more alcohol. Homer Simpson and Beetlejuice made the rounds, and if you wanted to learn how to tame a raptor or high five a transformer, you could.

Nighttime view of the Krustyland Ride at Universal Studios looking into Homer Simpson's open mouth

Four rides were open to us: The Mummy, Jurassic World, Mario Brothers, and Transformers. No lines. As I walked through the five minute trek from entrance to ride, I thought, “Wow. This is incredible. NO LINES!” I’ve never had an experience at an amusement park where I didn’t have to stand in line—which is why I no longer go to amusement parks. And which is why if you can rent out an amusement park for your experiential marketing event, I highly recommend it. The entire night was memorable, entertaining, and just wholly well executed.

PopUP CleanUP is a member of Fête LA. We offer pre, live, and post-event cleaning experiential marketing events, galas, sporting competitions, festivals, and other large-scale non-wedding extravaganzas.

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