Universal Studios Hollywood is one of the favorite attraction in California. People simply love rushing to this theme park! I have been to the Universal Studio Singapore and I want to find out the difference between these two theme park! Below are 7 tips to get around Universal Studio Hollywood.
Tips no 1 : Arrive Ahead Before Park Opening
The biggest tips is to arrive as early as possible. We arrived at around 8.30 am and there is some distance from the car park to the theme park. Make sure you are that early as there are also plenty of things to see in Universal City Walk. The operating hours varies throughout the year but there is an early park admission which means visitors can enter the park an hour earlier before the operating hours. Say operating hour is 10 am and we were allow to get in at around 9 am. Queue is effortless as it is not crowded in the morning!
Universal City Walk is for dining and shopping. Some shops has already open and you can see there are people dine in one of the Cafe. Yes, it was before 9 am.
As I was one of the early bird, I still manage to take picture in front of a huge Christmas tree without other photo bomber.
Hard Rock Cafe
Giant guitar fountain at Hard Rock Cafe and the Taj Mahal influence building which make one of the striking landmark here.
Other food available here are Taco Bell (Burritos & Nachos), Panda Express (Chinese) & Subway ( Sandwiches) at Universal City Walk. Note these dining places are not located inside the Universal Studio theme park, is outside the theme park.
Tips no 2 : Bring your own food/snacks
The best thing to do is bring your own food to the theme park as the line to the food stall are quite long and expensive too. That way you can save plenty of time and have a quick bite while queuing for your rides or shows.
Beside dining and shopping, there are also open-air leisure and nightlife happening here at Universal City Walk. This is a vibrant place, you could find many of the stores here are nicely decorated. Checkout Bubba Gump, (American Seafood Restaurant), cute Candy stores and go spot a giant gorilla hanging above welcoming the visitors.
Candy Apple Stores
That’s the Globe : Universal Studio Hollywood
After walking for about 20 mins, past through Universal City Walk, we finally saw the Universal Studio Globe and we knew we are almost at the entrance gate. Yes, there is a distance from the parking lots to the entrance of the Universal Studio Theme Park!
Saddle Ranch Chop House
A cowboy theme inspired steakhouse with a mechanical bull located right outside of Universal Studio entrance.
Tips no 3 : Buy tickets online to save
Buying tickets online can help you save both money and time. There is a discount if you purchase your ticket here, more than $10.00 discount per ticket. Plus you also do not need to queue at the ticketing counter if you purchase your ticket online. Just print out the voucher and show to the staff at the entrance so the staff can scan the bar code and let you in. I am really delighted that we purchased our tickets online and save up to USD 30.00 for three pax! There are a lot of queuing in Universal Studio so if you can avoid and save why not do it online? The crowd can be very scary too!
At Universal Studio Hollywood!
Tip no 4 : Download Universal Studio Hollywood Mobile App
Have the Universal Studio Hollywood mobile app downloaded, that enable you to navigate the theme park with maps, wait time and show time in the palm of hand.
Tips no 5 : The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – First to visit!
This is the park highlight! I suggest to visit this section first since it is located at the upper lot. We are entering from the upper lot. There is a lower lot too. The theme park is very huge so you need to plan your trip to maximize your day and fun.
This train transport students from London to Hogwarts sit at the entrance to Hogsmeade Village.
We were lucky as we did not have to wait for the most of the ride in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. When we were back again later in the afternoon, we saw the queue were so long up to 90 mins of waiting time. Waking up early and coming early do pay off.
Harry Potter Ride : Flight of the Hippogriff – Fun for Beginner!
This is kind of a mini version of the roller coaster. If you are like me, afraid of rides, then you should try this one out. This is really a beginner ride, suitable for first timer like me. But I was screaming like hell because I am really no good in rides.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – Must do!
In total, there are 2 rides in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Another indoor ride is the “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey”. This is a thrilling 6 minutes adventure which Harry Potter and his other friends will bring you in his broomstick through corridors of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft, soar above the castle ground and face to face to some magical creatures.
Ollivanders Wand pairing demonstration – Good for Die Hard fan !
In the afternoon, we went for Ollivanders Wand Demo because in the morning the queue was too long. After queuing for about more than half an hour in the afternoon, (still very long) we finally get to enter in a dark room full of boxes and inside those boxes are all wands. There is a wand keeper who dressed up like an old Englishwomen who will then show a wand pairing demonstration. She will choose someone among the visitors to participate in a wand pairing demonstration. If you are lucky, you get chosen and try out the wand. If you are die hard Harry Potter fans, you can purchase the wands in the wands store after exit the show. The queue for this Wand Demo is always long, should you wait? I suggest if you are not a die hard Harry Potter fan, you may consider skip this one. But the two rides, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff, you should not miss.
Harry Potter Drink : Butterbeer – Go Try!
There is long queue just for Harry Potter famous drink, the Butterbeer. In Harry Potter books, butterbeer appears often and have an inebriating effect, but the version sold in Universal Studio is non alcoholic.
Well, how was the taste? To me, it tasted more like a Root beer with some cream on top. Pretty sweet and not cheap too. About USD 8.00 for that small cup.
Tips no 6 : Wear like Harry Potter
If you have any related Harry Potter clothes, Harry Potter scarf, socks, t-shirts, this is the place to wear them here.
I use to watch “The Simpsons” so I love this place. You get to see Homer and Marge’s hometown, including Moe’s Tavern Duff Brewery and Krusty Burger.
At “The Simpson” you are kind of stepped through TV, go for the ride, which rocket through Krustyland, the fantasy amusement park created by creepy Krusty the clown. I am a fan so I get to enjoy many of the unique essence of the show.
Boarding on the Simpson Ride
Homer Simpson Picture Session
Exploring Lower Lot of Universal Studio Hollywood
While you are still at the upper lot, you can enjoy the stunning mountain views here.
There is sheltered escalator up and down the upper & lower lots.
Tip no 7 : Bring along a Poncho
At River Adventure Ride in Jurassic Park, you may get wet, especially you are at the front row. Do bring along a poncho or you can choose to sit at the back rows. Beware of the dinosaurs as they will spray water at you.
Revenge of The Mummy – Similar to USS
The ride was thrilled and kind of too much for me, especially when there were cold water dripped from the top to my face during the dark ride. Queuing time was not long as it was still in the morning, before lunch time.
Transformer 3D Ride – Similar to USS
The Transformer Ride in Universal Studio Hollywood is similar to the one in Universal Studio Singapore.
The crowd were still at the upper lot, not yet coming to the lower lot!
Hot dogs & Drinks
Bought this package, a hotdog and a Doritos cost me USD $ 8.20 drinks not included.
Universal Studio Tour – Highlights!
This is a must queue item and the line is kind of scary but moving fast. The studio tour is about 45 mins to an hour full of fun and thrill!
This is highlight I would say, after all you are at Universal Studio Hollywood, a place to make movie!
You will queue to board into the studio tour trolley bus without windows. You get to see all old classic firms banner along the road when the trolley bus started to move to the movie sets scene.
Stage 20 at Universal Studio Film Sets Area
Some of these building (below picture) has already turned into an office but long time ago used to be a resting place for some big stars. There are private car park with name at the parking lot too. Go check if you could spot Steven Spielberg private parking lot?
Other Film Sets
Fast & Furious
These were the real cars used in the movie.
Beware of the cute little dinos, they also spray water out!
Flash Flood Attraction
Jaws Shark Scene
A moving sharks will suddenly pop out in the water and visitors all scream!
Desperate Housewife Neighborhood
Inside the trolley bus, there is a guide who will explain everything about the film sets.
Plane Crash at The War of the Worlds
This is one of the amazing piece, it is a real plane crash which Steven Spielberg bought it and cost $2 million dollars transportation fees to bring back to the studio.
After the studio tour, we are going up again, this time you are seeing the crowd are coming down to the lower lot but we have already done with it.
Super Silly Fun Land
This ride is just right for me, not too scary!
Queuing to get into Funland and get up close with those silly minions!
Walking Dead – Scary!
This is like a haunted house, there are real people acting and walking dead around in some of the popular scene you saw in TV. Beware, they might grab you.
Special Effect Show – Professional!
At the special effect, you get to learn how movie were made behind the scenes, it is both fun and entertaining.
Animal Show – Funny!
Animals, such as birds, dogs, pelican, cat all come into acting! You get to see how the dogs act in the movie too. I need to train my Japanese splitz like so in the animal show too!
Parking at Universal Studio Hollywood – Expensive!
The parking fees is not cheap, there are different type of parking such as valet parking etc. We choose the normal parking, which is also the cheapest which cost USD$25.00. I don’t think there is other place to park other than Universal Studio Hollywood parking. If you choose to park outside, I don’t think you are able to walk in as the distance is just too far, probably more than 2 hour of walk uphill to reach Universal Studio theme park!
There are different parking section, such as ET, Curious George, Frankenstein, Jurassic, King Kong & Woody Woodpecker. Just remember which character and come back to get your car.
Parking Space in Universal Studio Hollywood Car Park
Final tips : No 1 of all tips is come early, half an hour before the theme park opening. As there is a distance from the car park to the theme park. You will also walk pass Universal City Walk before that and get distracted and stop by taking pictures etc. We were able to finish our day by 4 pm before sunset and before it get really cold (winter). The first part to visit is check out the Wizarding of Harry Potter World. Another highlight not to be missed is the Universal Studio Tour!
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