If you’ve already read my blog post on our magical days at Paris Disneyland, you’ll know how much Craig and I enjoyed ourselves, without any kids. In fact, you should preferably do it without kids first. That way, you get a feel for the park and come better equipped when you have rugrats in tow. Well, that’s my theory at least. Universal Studios Hollywood was just as fun as Disneyland Paris.
[bctt tweet=”Whoever thinks theme parks are only for kids, or parents with kids are sorely mistaken.” username=”theglobediary”]
How to get there:
We travelled by the metro, and you can plan your route here. It was super easy to do; way cheaper than an Uber from Downtown and it bypassed all the morning traffic so I’d highly recommend this.
If you’re travelling by car, you’ll want to check out the parking situation here. Plug this into your GPS, to make sure you don’t get lost: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608. I’d also recommend getting there early as the parking fills up quickly!
Plan your Visit:
Park hours depend on the day, and you can double check it here. We won’t went in for one day as we had limited time in Los Angeles. That being said, I doubt we (as adults) would have needed a second day, in any case.
Also, consider which day you go. Usually the waits are shortest in the fall, winter and spring. Obviously, try to avoid public holidays and school holidays. Weekdays are often less crowded than weekends.
You can buy tickets in advance here. If you buy online, it is cheaper by $5 – 15 than at the actual gate to the Park. Plus, you don’t have to wait in line to buy tickets. So, I’d say, online all the way!
You can also buy “Front of the Line” Tickets which allows you to skip the lines on most rides. I would definitely consider this during the busiest seasons.
But if you don’t want to fork out for these extras, there are some other tips in order to maximise your time in the park:
- Arrive as the park opens! The earlier, the better = the less people. But remember to plan for extra time if you have to park or walk up to the Park.
- Similarly, eat breakfast before you come so you don’t waste this valuable morning time eating as opposed to making use of short wait times.
- Hit the Wizarding World first, to get those rides done early, then try the other rides in the Park (while still early, and still empty) and only come back to the Wizarding World later for shopping, exploring and lunch.
- Check the wait times online at USHWaittimes.com while in the park and try plan accordingly. Bonus, there is free wifi in the park!
- Go as single riders. When you enter the queue as a single rider, you’re essentially used as fullers in seats of rides which are left open due to odd numbers. We only realised this later in the day and skipped a 120 minute wait at Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey! Other rides that include single rider lines are: Jurassic Park – The Ride; Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride and Transformers: The Ride 3D.
What to bring?
- Comfortable shoes. My feet were aching in slops (flip flops) and we didn’t even spend all day there.
- Sunscreen definitely. And even a hat.
- Bottled water if you don’t mind carrying it, or else bring a backpack too. And in that case, you could even bring small snacks.
The Walking Dead Ride:
I shit you not, this is the scariest thing in the world. You can repeat to yourself all you want that the ‘zombies’ aren’t real, but every time they jump out and try touch you, you will freak out. This was the shortest wait time I saw in the Park so we did this when all the others were peaking. Top tip: Make someone else go in front of you. Don’t be an idiot and be the first one of the group, again, like me.
This is a really cute simulator 3-D ride, which if you get really car sick, you might not enjoy. It really throws you around so you might end up leaving with whiplash but it’s still fun.
We didn’t know but you can actually ring the doorbells outside of the ride and grub answers back! This would be a fun ride for the kids.
Jurassic Park – The Ride:
I had been on this ride at the Orlando Park before so I sort of knew what was coming (bear in mind, that was 12 years ago). But I will say this, it involves an 84-foot drop. You will get wet if you are in the front – like we were. You can buy waterproof jackets but we just used the lockers just outside the ride to lock away our phones and then waited in a really long queue. In fact, it was the longest out of the rides we went on. But this was before we knew about single riders.
Tranformers 3-D Ride:
We didn’t do this one, but I wish we had. If we hadn’t been so hungry, and unsure about wait times, we probably would have. So like I said, rather be prepared so you don’t miss out on rides. This ride is in the lower lot – which is a bit of a mission to get to. There are about 4 sets of elevators to go down. On the way up, we took the stairs, with ice creams in hand, because you know, calories.
Harry Potter & the Wizarding World:
The Harry Potter ride called the “Forbidden Journey”. It was by far my favourite ride out of the lot. For a more in-depth look into the Wizarding World, check out this blog post here.
A new spectacle the Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle is launching June 23rd and is not to be missed! It is exclusive to Universal Studios Hollywood and will run multiple times a night during its summer run. I’m especially excited to return for this – because if you can remember, I turned into an excited little 5-year-old at the Disneyland Fireworks Display in Paris here.
In addition to the above rides, there is also the Simpsons Ride; A Studio Tour; and even a Water Park for kids. But we didn’t have any time for these. Let me know if you went on any of these rides. We definitely would love to return again.
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You might also want to check out my blog post on where we ate in LA here.
Love from the child in me,