Tips For Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood

Tips and tidbits to make your visit to Universal Studios Hollywood a little easier!

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Last summer on our gigantic California road trip, we made a stop in LA to take in all the major attractions, and the first place we visited was Universal Studios Hollywood!  This place was by far one of my most favourite of the summer, and we can’t wait to go again, especially now that Harry Potter has opened up, and The Walking Dead is coming!

It was such a great day that I wanted to share a bit of our visit with you, then at the bottom of this post I’ve got some tips for making the most of your own visit to this amazing park should you go!

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This park is amazing.  It’s so interesting to see how movies are made and see movie and TV sets from our favourite shows.  The park also has some of the best rides we were on this summer…it’s a fantastic place and we can’t wait to go back.

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There is a lot to see and do here at Universal, so we arrived as soon as it opened and left when it closed, so needless to say it was  a long and jam packed day, but we wouldn’t do it any different!  We only had one day to visit so we had to maximize our time.  But we came prepared (see tips below) and enjoyed our day very much.

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The first thing we did when we got here was visit the Despicable Me ride/exhibit and it was a perfect introduction to the park.  It is awesome!  I think I laughed from the second we entered the house until we left.  Seriously so funny, we had to go twice!

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Which brings me to another thought…the great thing about this park is that it’s fun for everyone…all ages.  Us adults loved it, my teens loved it and my grade one-er loved it…

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Our next stop was the Jurassic Park ride because we heard this one was busy and we had hoped to miss a lot of the line.  No such luck (we waited an hour and a half!), BUT it was well worth the wait.  Yes it was.  If this picture below doesn’t say as much, I don’t know what does.

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It was SO fun.  SO FUN.  As you can see from the looks on all of our faces (we’re in the second row from the bottom) we had quite the experience on this ride. (my daughter is screaming, I’m looking down, my youngest son is in shock, my husband and other son?  I’m not sure…stomach drop, terror maybe?!)  We have laughed at this picture more times than I can count…seriously just look at us!  HAHAHAHA

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Another area we really enjoyed was Krustyland and The Simpsons ride…

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…maybe because it was so recognizable, or maybe it was because it got all of your senses going, including smell…it was a sensory stimulator for sure!  And funny.  FUNNY.  And a tip?  You must get a Homer Simpson donut here…they are ginormous and delicious!

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My biggest tip/tidbit is that you MUST do the Lot Tour.  On this tour you will see SO many recognizable behind-the-scenes TV & movie sets and buildings, and learn about how some of your favourite movies are made…it’s an amazing experience.  And it’s a great chance to sit down after walking around so much!  But really, this tour is great.

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This is the Jaws set that you get to see on the lot tour.  Keep your hands in the trolley.  Just sayin.

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All around the park there are tonnes of things to see, and maybe you’ll even get to see a star!  Oh hai Brad.  Sadly, this is likely the closest I’ll ever get to Mr. Pitt.

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Adorable.  We went on every ride we possibly could during our visit.  Our favourite rides were the Lot Tour, Transformers, The Simpsons, Despicable Me, and Jurassic Park.  We’re SO bummed that we missed Harry Potter and The Walking Dead by a year!  UGHUGHUGH  Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to go back 🙂

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After spending over 8 hours here at Universal Studios we learned a few things, so I thought I would share them to help make your trip a little easier!

Tips for Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood

Tips and good things to know for your visit to Universal Studios Hollywood

  • If you don’t want to wait in line to buy entrance passes, consider buying them online ahead of time.
  • Be prepared.  Make sure you have sunscreen and hats. Drink a lot of water.  Wear comfortable shoes, and take a sweater/coat in case the weather changes.  Take your camera, have your phone fully charged.
  • Get a park map as soon as you enter, so you can plan out your visit.
  • Get there early so you can get to the most popular attractions before they get too busy.  The busiest attractions were Jurassic Park, Transformers, The Mummy, The Simpsons and I’m sure the new Harry Potter is now too!
  • There are food and drink restrictions when entering the park.  You can bring in some food and drink items into the park (things like bottled water, baby formula, small snacks).  For a full listing you can see them here.  
  • You can buy a reusable drinking container at kiosks in the park for around $12, and refills are free all day (you can all share it too – we just refilled it and shared it amongst the 5 of us)!  It’s cheaper than buying $6 disposable water bottles every hour for all of us!
  • Make sure to take the site tour!  This is a must.  You will see and learn so much about the park…this tour was a favourite with our family.
  • The line ups to the popular attractions were huge.  Huge.  BUT, I do have to say that they were managed really well.  Sometimes we were waiting for over an hour (close to 2 for some), but they felt fast.  In most of the line ups there are kiosks to buy food and snacks (even beer!), often there are some activities and entertainment to keep you occupied, and there are misters to help keep you cool while you wait.  Line ups are no fun to wait in, but honestly Universal Studios managed them the best I have ever seen.
  • Speaking of line ups, you can check attraction wait times online at  This was really handy to have access to!
  • If you want to skip most of the lines and get to the front of the line, you can purchase ‘Front of the Line’ passes for an extra $100/person.  Yikes.  We didn’t do this and even though the lines were long, we still wouldn’t buy them.
  • You can see the whole park in one day, but get there early and stay until it closes.  It’s a long day, but it’s worth it!

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In case you missed any other posts from our California Road trip, you can see them here (click on the picture or link):

Oregon Farms  {A Pretty Life}

Driving the Oregon Coast

Visiting Alcatraz Island

Visiting Alcatraz Island

Tips for Visiting California Adventure  {A Pretty Life}

Disney California Adventure Park

Vineyard Tour at Kendall-Jackson

Our Kendall-Jackson Winery Tour

Tips for Visiting Disneyland, California

Tips for Visiting Disneyland

Have a great day!


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  1. I am jumping for joy over this post and so glad you shared. The last time I went was 19 years ago so I’m so excited to surprise my Little Man with a one week California adventure coming up in August. Cannot wait and now I’m more excited than ever!

  2. Some food and drinks ARE allowed in the park. It says so on the park website, Acceptable items:
    Bottled water
    Small snacks
    Any food required for special dietary needs
    Any food required for medical purposes and medically-indicated nutritional supplements
    Baby food/baby formula
    Soft-sided insulated bags no larger than 8.5” wide x 6” high x 6” deep

    Im planning to bring a backpack full of water for my family and save a bunch of money. You should updated your website to reflect this.

  3. I’m visiting Universal Studios Hollywood for the first time in a few weeks. What can you bring on the rides? Will a hat fall off? Are bags and purses allowed on rides? Thanks!

    1. Hi Liz! We carried on purses and backpacks on all of the rides – most rides have space at your feet to store them. I wouldn’t recommend wearing a hat though, if you can hold on to it or store it in your bag. Have a wonderful time…it’s such a fun place to visit!