10 Tips for Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood
10 Tips for Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood
It's never been a better time to visit Universal Studios Hollywood, no really! This is our second year being pass holders and we enjoy being witness to all the fun changes happening at the lot. This summer brings guests new food offerings, more wizarding spell stops and an abundance of Kung Fu Panda to partake in along with a chance to bid Jurassic Park the Ride farewell before it closes on September 3rd to undertake a "World" size renovation.
All things Wizarding! Looking for the perfect high-end costume replicas? Look no further than Gladrags Wizardwear for the newly added Severus Snape’s robe and Hermione’s Yule Ball dress, available in adult and kid sizes. And if you are looking for compliments on your new garb, Madam Malkin's Talking Mirror makes quite a reflective entrance this summer, located in the corridor between Dervish and Banges™and Gladrags Wizardwear. Speaking with an English accent, the Talking Mirror will have you blushing with a variety of complimentary remarks.
New spell stops: This summer’s installation of two additional spells ups the tally to 15 interactive wand experiences for your little Potter fan to practice. The Incendiofire-making spell will conjure flames of varying size based on skill level ,and the Alohomora spell will unlock a series of intricate locks that may reveal the fiery breath of a creature hidden behind a secret door.
Summer nights are all about the nighttime light! Be sure to catch one of the “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” shows now through August 19, and September 1-3. Check the official Universal Studios Hollywood App or ask a cast member for nightly show times. Tip: I suggest lining up early as this show is very popular OR plan of viewing the last show as there are less crowds later in the evening.
New Food offerings: At Three Broomsticks find the following additions to the lunch menu along with Butterbeer Ice Cream, Frozen Butterbeer as well as hot or cold Butterbeer.
- Ploughman’s Lunch, featuring an imported selection of ham, salami, country paté, English cheese, homemade pickles and a warm scotch egg served with bread, cranberry chutney and grain mustar.
- Cheese Toastie with Chicken, featuring grilled English Cheddar cheese with chicken, crispy bacon, mustard and sliced tomato topped with a sunny side egg served with a fresh salad or potato wedges
- Sunday Roast Sandwich served on a freshly baked baguette filled with warm prime rib, caramelized onions, English Cheddar, horseradish sauce and homemade garlic pickles served with fresh salad or potato wedges
The all new Dreamworks Theatre: This completely new theatre replaced the Shrek 4D experience and is currently host to “Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest”. Creating the perfect place for DreamWorks Animation hit films and the global blockbuster franchise Kung Fu Panda, this attraction will take guests on a thrilling journey that combines edge of your seat storytelling with state-of-the art visual effects for a highly engaging experience. Show run time is aprox. 5 minutes. FYI: To access the disability entrance enter to the far right and keep to the far right upon entering the "lobby" of the theatre.
Want more Panda? Get it at the Universal Plaza: Meet Po and Tigress from Kung Fu Panda at the park’s Universal Plaza and stop by Mr. Ping’s Noodle Shop. Enjoy his authentic Asian fare and a selection of hot and cold Asian beverages. You can also get your "Chew" on with the Goose himself! Not sure what to say to Mr. Ping, ask him what the secret ingredient is in his noodle soup.
Be sure to head down to the Lower lot for everything Jurassic! Jurassic Park: The Ride has been a major thrill seekers favorite since it's debut in 1996. Be sure to take your last journey by September 3rd before this iconic attraction undergoes a renovation to emerge in 2019 as the Jurassic World Ride! There is also a new velociraptor Encounter you won't want to miss! Be sure to meet Blue from Jurassic World. Check show times on announcement board located directly after exiting the escalators or ask a cast member. TIP: Line up ahead of the scheduled time to be one of the first to get up close to Blue. Did you know? The latest movie is the saga has passed the 1 billion dollar mark worldwide becoming the 35th film to to hit this achievement!
Summer is a very popular time to visit Universal Studios so here are a few ways to make your visit smoother and insure you see everything during your visit plus a few must do's.
- I highly recommend upgrading to the Universal Express Pass. It gives you 1 priority boarding to each of the attraction assuring you don't miss out on anything. FYI: Pricing varies daily, check the website HERE or ticket booth for pricing. FYI: If you have an annual pass you can also "upgrade" and get the pass for the day, just pay an upcharge. They also offer a Platinum annual pass that includes the Universal Express Pass during each visit with no blackout dates!
- Hit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter first! If you purchased you tickets online through Universal you get 1 hour early entrance to this area before the park officially opens. Get all the info before you visit about this area of the park HERE.
- If you are planning on getting a wand within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theres an extra fun way to do it. Enter through the shops secret passage via the wand makers hub, there you may just be selected to have the perfect wand choose you. Be measured, fitted and test a few wands out if you are chosen. (there is a line just to the side of the entrance where you will be taken in and the best part, the groups sizes are kept small) located between Ollivanders and Three Broomsticks.
- The lower Lots opens an hour after the park opens so I would suggest going there after Harry Potter as that area get busy later in the day.
- Return to the Upper Level and hit a couple rides and plan on seeing the shows in-between (check the app or daily schedule for times) Must do's are Waterworld and the Special Effects Show. Animal lover? Check out the Animal Actor's show as well.
- Check wait times for the Studio Tram Ride. This is a must do and the tour can last from 45-60 minutes. Best car to sit in? 3rd one near the back Imo. Right or left will get you different experiences, both are fun! Be sure to check the filming schedule located to the left before entering queue entrance line on upper level for the day, you never know who you might see.
- Our favorite spot for lunch is Three Broomsticks hands down located within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
- Top treat of ours is the frozen Butterbeer. The fresh baked Cinnabon come in a close second!
- If you are getting a pass, I recommend adding parking. You also get discounts on food and merchandise with a pass as well as exclusive pass holder invites and offers.
- Looking for a specific character? Just as a cast member or at Guest services upon entering the park. Characters are located throughout the park and are one of our favorite things to do! See the complete list of characters at Universal HERE.
- First time visitor or celebrating a birthday? Get a FREE button at guest services!
If you are visiting with a child with autism, in a wheelchair or special needs, be sure to read my guide on how the parks Guest assistance program works HERE. FYI: We have found their system to be very accommodating.