Universal Studios Hollywood

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Things To Know About Universal Studios Hollywood:

Studio Tour:

  • One of the most unique aspects of Universal Studios Hollywood is the Studio Tour attraction. It is totally worth the wait and should be near the top of your list if you only have a limited amount of time at the park.
  • This is Universal Studio Hollywood’s longest attraction(about forty-five minutes to an hour), which means you have to get on the ride a certain amount of time before the park closes(like around an hour and a half).
  • The attraction includes a tour of the working NBCUniversal lot, including working sets, sound stages, and production offices. There are also set ups that display past sets and props from NBCUniversal television shows and films(the neighborhood from Desperate Housewives, the cars from the Fast and Furious franchise, etc.).
  • Besides the general backlot tour, there are also two separate rides incorporated into the attraction, Fast and Furious Supercharge and King Kong 360 3-D. For these two “rides” the tram basically drives up to an enclosed building with screens around you which make it feel like you are actually on a ride. The tour takes place entirely on a tram with a driver and a guide. You never have to get on and off or walk anywhere, but this also means it is an exterior tour only of the backlot. If you pay for the VIP Experience package, then one of the perks is being able to walk around for some interior tours of the backlot.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter:

  • This is Universal Studios Hollywood’s most recent major addition to the park. Similar to other aspects of the Hollywood park, this Harry Potter World is smaller and has less attractions than the Harry Potter World in Orlando, but it is still an awesome addition.
  • There are two Harry Potter themed rides. The Flight of the Hippogriff is more of a family roller coaster, smaller and all outside. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a mix between a roller coaster, with physical props that pop out at you, and digital effects. The Forbidden Journey incorporates different aspects and characters of the film, and is impressively designed. It is set up to feel like you are flying, so your feet dangle and you lean at different angles as you are moved through the air.
  • Besides the rides, you could probably spend a good amount of time walking through the shops. The wait just to visit the Ollivander’s Wand shop is usually about twenty minutes. Even if you do not like to get on the rides, or if your children are too young to get on, there is plenty of interactive things to do in this section of the park.
  • The only restaurant in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the Three Broomstick. The food is all themed from the movie, and overall has a British inspired menu. It is probably one of the best restaurants in the park for a well-rounded meal that is not simply amusement park food(Try their lemon chicken with corn and roasted potatoes!). It gets packed here during traditional lunch hours, with a line out the door, but try eating lunch earlier than usual and you will barely have to wait.
  • Of course a visit to Harry Potter world is not complete without Butterbeer. There are two carts outside that sell Butterbeer, as well as inside Three Broomsticks. The best description of it is a butterscotch sweet drink. It is served hot, iced, or frozen.

Simpsons(Springfield U.S.A):

  • Similar to Harry Potter, the Simpsons TV show gets its own major section of the park called Springfield U.S.A.
  • There is one Simpsons ride, called The Simpsons Ride. Eight people to their own “carnival seat” which is lifted in front of an IMAX-sized screen and the ride simulates movements of an actual roller coaster.
  • Springfield U.S.A. has the most eateries in one section, from donuts and pizza to hot dogs and burgers, so basically carnival food. Also, the beer from Moe’s Tavern appears incredibly popular since it looks like every fifth person is carrying one around the park.
  • There are also a handful of Simpsons themed, and probably overpriced, carnival games.
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem: This is one of the best rides for children. It takes place in what looks like a large theater or auditorium while everything is projected on the screen. The seats move in simulated motions, but it is pretty minimal compared to other rides. After the ride you exit through a Despicable Me gift shop, which is mostly taken over by Minion items.
  • Jurassic Park–The Ride: I do not exactly know what the Jurassic Park ride entails, but this is because you can see the ending of the ride involving a big drop into water and I did not want to get wet. From what I can tell, it is a more traditional roller coaster, and probably scary with dinosaurs popping out at you. In front of this ride there is also dinosaur character interactions.
  • Transformers–The Ride 3D: This is the most action packed ride. It makes you feel like you are part of the film as you move past screens with Transformer characters talking and interacting with you. This ride goes backwards and makes quick movements at times as it feels like the Transformers are chasing you. Outside this ride they have a Transformer character interaction with lifelike Transformers who interact with the crowd.
  • Revenge of the Mummy–The Ride: This ride is the most traditional roller coaster at Universal Studios. It runs on a track, there are different turns and drops, and it is probably the scariest. It can be pretty aggressive for people who are too young or have sensitive necks, back problems, etc.

Shows:

  • Universal Studios currently has four really great shows. Make sure you take note of showtimes when you first get to the park so you can plan ahead and get there early for seats, as sometimes the shows fill up quickly.
  • Out of the four shows WaterWorld was my favorite. It is more of a stage production as it involves action, tricks, and really cool stunts with water and fire.
  • I would confidently say Animal Actors is a crowd favorite. Trained animals, including pigs, dogs, birds, etc., show off really impressive tricks. If you have a fear of birds flying over your head then maybe skip this one.
  • As already described in its title, the Special Effects show describes the mechanics behind some special effect techniques, using humor and science to help break it down.
  • The Shrek 4D show can basically be described as a deleted or extra scene from Shrek but 4D elements are incorporated into the viewing experience.

General Info:

  • Overall Universal Studios Hollywood is a great theme park for the Southern California area. It is a smaller version of Universal Studio’s Orlando location, with less attractions and square footage, but does have the unique aspect of the studio backlot.
  • The tickets have been steadily increasing in price to make it comparable with Disneyland, especially with the addition of Harry Potter World. Similar to any theme park, Universal Studios Hollywood is usually packed, and you have to purchase a Front of Line pass, which is good for every ride and even shows at the park.
  • Besides regular tickets, there is also the VIP pass. Perks for this overpriced ticket include unlimited front-of-line access, valet parking, a personalized backlot tour, and some sort of tour guide.
  • If you purchase Annual Passes, they scan your finger print for park entry. They do allow you to bring backpacks and bigger bags into the park, they just have to get through inspection first.
  • Universal Studios Hollywood is located in Universal Studios, California. It is about thirty minutes from Beverly Hills, forty minutes from Santa Monica and LAX, ten minutes from Griffith Park, and across from Warner Bros. Studio.
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