Located in Universal City, Universal Studios Hollywood is much more than a theme park. It’s a working studio where you can see how movies are made. In addition to a behind-the-scenes studio tour, live action shows feature amazing stunts. With shows, themed areas and thrilling rides, it’s good to have a plan in place. Buying tickets online and downloading the app are among our 7 family-tested suggestions for visiting Universal Studios Hollywood.
7 Reasons to Visit Universal Studios Hollywood
At Universal Studios Hollywood, you can visit movie lots, experience thrilling 3-D rides, and watch amazing stunt shows. Located in Universal City, Universal Studios is the only working movie studio that doubles as a theme park. Unlike many theme parks, Universal frequently updates or replaces attractions so there’s always something new to see. Although there is a lot to see, our 7 family-tested suggestions make visiting Universal an easy walk in the park.
Over the years, my family has seen many rides come and go. We’ve been there for the premiere of many popular rides and attractions. We still miss E.T. and some other attractions that were replaced. But we love the long-standing Jurassic Park – The Ride and Revenge of the Mummy. And, of course, the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter is outstanding. When we have out-of-town guests, we always bring them to Universal. The studio tour and 3-D attractions give them a good look at Hollywood’s special effects. Sit back and enjoy the ride with our 7 reasons to visit Universal Studios Hollywood.
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When we have out-of-town guests, we always bring them to Universal. The studio tour and 3-D attractions give them a good look at Hollywood’s special effects. Sit back and enjoy the ride with our 7 reasons to visit Universal Studios Hollywood.
1. Buy Tickets Online
Before we even get to the park, we buy tickets online. That usually saves us about $10 per ticket. The Front of Line passes cost more but save a lot of time. You bypass long lines and get priority seating at shows. Ticket prices range from $179 to $254 depending on the day you go. They are definitely worth it, especially during the busy summer and holiday months. They’re also available for the annual Halloween Horror Nights.
2. Download the Universal Studios Hollywood App
You can download the app at home or in the park. It’s a helpful, easy-to-navigate app. I like that it’s loaded with interactive maps, wait times, show times and more.
3. Explore the Universal Studios Hollywood Upper Lot
Since you enter Universal on the upper lot, it makes sense to see these attractions first. One of our family-tested suggestions is to go straight to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Your online ticket gives you early park admission to this themed land. You may want to save the Front of Line pass for a repeat visit later in the day. The most thrilling ride is the 3-D Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Familiar with the stories? You’ll recognize Dumbledore’s office, the Room of requirement and much more. Then hold on tight for a wild ride above castle grounds.
The most thrilling ride is the 3-D Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Familiar with the stories? You’ll recognize Dumbledore’s office, the Room of requirement and much more. Then hold on tight for a wild ride above castle grounds.
Next, head over to Flight of the Hippogriff, a mild, family-friendly roller coaster. Afterward, explore the many nooks and crannies in this cozy themed land. Peruse the shops with Harry Potter names, such as Owl Post. An outdoor stage features Potter-themed choirs. For dining options, enjoy a meal and butterbeer at The Broomstick and Hog’s Head Pub.
For dining options, enjoy a meal and butterbeer at The Broomstick and Hog’s Head Pub.
The upper lot also houses several 3-D attractions. These include Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, the Simpsons Ride, and a Walking Dead maze. In addition, there are many shops, eateries, and shows. However, after Harry Potter, our 7 family-test suggestions include doing the Studio Tour next.
TravelingMom Tip: Stow all your belongings in the free lockers before riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This ride will toss you around. Your pockets are not a safe place for cell phones.
4. Behind-the-Scenes Studio Tour
Also located on the upper lot, the Studio Tour gets packed quickly. Definitely use the Front of Line pass for this popular attraction.
The approximately 45-minute ride takes you behind the scenes of movie making. You’ll ride through 13 city blocks used for countless movies and television shows. Have your cameras ready for the smoldering wreckage of the plane from Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds. You’ll also ride through sound stages for King Kong 360 3-D, and Fast and Furious.
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5. Universal Studios Lower Lot
Numerous escalators transport you to the lower lot. Along the way, you’ll get great views of the San Fernando Valley. The lower lot features Transformers: The Ride-3D, Revenge of the Mummy SM – The Ride, and Jurassic Park – The Ride.
Here’s where Front of Line passes really come in handy. Stowe your belongings in the free lockers and do all three attractions in about one hour.
TravelingMom Tip: Since you get very wet on the Jurassic Park attraction, save it for last. Otherwise, you’ll have wet clothes in the cooler temperature attractions. Another option is to wear a poncho on the ride if the weather is cool.
6. WaterWorld – A Live Sea War Spectacular
Universal’s interactive shows are a lot of fun. They’re a great way to see Universal’s outstanding stunts and special effects. If you see just one show, make sure it’s WaterWorld. This action-packed stunt show has been around for about 20 years. WaterWorld features jumping jet skiers, various stunts, firefights, massive explosions and a plane crash. Front of Line pass holders get priority seating.
TravelingMom Tip: If you like being part of audience interaction and getting soaked, sit in the green seats. Otherwise, avoid these soak zones.
7. It’s a Wrap at Universal CityWalk
Although CityWalk is the first thing you see after parking your car, save it for last. Since CityWalk stays open later than the park, we walk straight to the park.
Afterward, we can take our time to browse the many unique shops. It’s a good place to buy souvenirs. Also, there are numerous dining options. From small eateries to hopping places like Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, there’s something for every budget.
We’ve celebrated a few birthdays in CityWalk. Hard Rock Cafe is always a good time. CityWalk also features Universal CityWalk Cinemas and the “5 Towers” state-of-the-art outdoor concert venue.
What is your favorite reason to visit Universal Studios Hollywood?