Universal City, CA 91608United States
Activities & Resources
Universal Studios Hollywood050in Universal City, CA 91608
Universal City, CA 91608United States
about Universal Studios Hollywood:
Start with the world-famous BackLot Studio Tour, a 45-minute tram ride which takes you to sets of hit movies and TV shows, and also brings you face-to-face with flash floods, the shark from Jaws, and a fiery car explosion. Trams leave frequently, and it should be noted that, if at all possible, it's best to avoid the first car, which houses the engine (that makes for a very loud ride). The best bet is the third car, starting at the third row from the front.
Newly opened in 2010 is the King Kong 360 3-D, touted as the "largest, most intense 3-D experience on the planet" and designed to replace the old King Kong attraction lost in the 2008 fire. Clearly, The ape returns bigger and badder than ever. (If you have wee ones with you, you may want to shield their eyes; the effects are vivid, amazing, and ... scary!)
After the tour check out Shrek 4-D, a hilarious interactive film that includes "seat effects." The initial holding area may seem scary to little ones as there's lots of talk about torture, and it is rather dark. Reassure them that it's only a movie, with seats that jiggle a little, and all will be well.
Fans of The Simpsons find Nirvana on board the virtual reality roller coaster that is The Simpsons Ride. Guests and the animated Simpson family cruise through Krustyland together and encounter many hilarious mishaps along the way.
Another favorite is Terminator T2:3D, a 3-D virtual adventure show that riders must be at least 40" tall to ride.
Jurassic Park - The Ride offers a short, wet and wild river-raft ride with realistic dinosaurs (kids must be at least 46" tall). You'd be well advised to bring a raincoat, or save this ride for last - you will get wet!
Kids smaller than 46" have no problem getting a soaking , too, of course. The Adventures of Curious George takes care of that, with a five hundred gallon water dump, as well as thousands of flying foam balls and a wild play area just for the younger set.
And then there's Revenge of the Mummy, the first attraction in history to feature a fusion of threshold technology, high-speed roller coaster engineering, CGI, and other movie-based immersive storytelling techniques. In other words, it's a really fast indoor roller coaster, and it has quickly become one of the park's most popular attractions. Plus, it goes backward.
Live-action attractions also dazzle, including WaterWorld, a stunt-driven show based on (and far better than) the Kevin Costner film. The splash zone seats live up to their name - bring a poncho and prepare for a deluge if you choose to sit in them.
Universal's Animal Actors is an interactive animal show, featuring Tinseltown-trained critters putting pet tricks to shame. It's a big crowd pleaser and well worth a visit.
Plan to spend six to eight hours if you don't want to miss anything; longer if you want to eat and shop at Universal CityWalk before calling it a day.
Universal is stocked with plenty of restaurants, though we found them expensive and disappointing (and not nearly as clean or friendly as one might hope). Those who do take the fast food plunge have an option of buying "all-you-can-eat" tickets that can be used at five different restaurants within the park.
Since shoes are required, we recommend that families carry a pair of flip flops for each child - lots of water play areas offer great relaxing fun, and no one wants to walk around in soggy sneakers. A change of clothes, and light weight rain ponchos are also a good idea.
Strollers and wheelchairs rent for $7-$10. Coin-operated lockers are available just inside the park.
TV tickets are offered at the Audiences Unlimited Ticket Booth inside the park.
Ticket options include the Annual Pass: park entry for one year, pre-boarding on the Backlot Tram Tour, and many discounts inside the park and at CityWalk. The regular Annual Pass offers 333 visits per year with some black-out dates, at a fee of $74. The No Blackout Annual Pass offers unlimited admission for a full 12 months for $84.
One of the most useful of the special passes are the Front of Line Passes ($139), which allow priority boarding on all attractions. Rides such as Revenge of the Mummy can have waits of 45 minutes or longer, and these special passes cut those wait times down to no more than 15 minutes - often less.
And then there's the VIP Experience: for $239 a person (ages 5+) you'll get a behind-the-scenes, personalized guided tour, access to studio production facilities, priority boarding on all attractions, and the best available seating at all live shows.
Southland residents should always check the website for special deals extended to locals only at various times of year.
Universal Studios is a participant in CityPass, a convenient, cheaper way to visit Los Angeles attractions. Other participating attractions include: Hollywood Entertainment Museum, Autry Museum of Western Heritage, and Starline Tours.
Within walking distance from the main entrance to Universal Studios are the Universal Sheraton and the Universal City Hilton, both good choices if you're looking for a place to stay near the Park.