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Welcome to my blog. Follow along as we explore alI there is to see and do in SoCal including travel, events, food and all things autism friendly. 

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10 Tips for Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood

10 Tips for Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood

10 Tips for Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood

Jurassic World the Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood (c) Cleverly Catheryn

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 in the mix during all the fun and exciting changes happening at the lot. This summer brings guests new food offerings at the Jurassic Cafe, drink options at the Isla Nu-Bar along with a chance to experience the all new Jurassic World- the Ride. Nightfall brings The Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle light and projection show to those with a more sinister side. Visiting soon? Check out my strategies on getting the most out of your visit.


Explore the Spell stops within the Wizarding World . One of the most unique and interactive things to do within the Harry Potter area is exploring the various spell stops.  There are a total of 15 interactive wand experiences for your little Potter fan to practice. The latest ones to challenge your little potterhead are the Incendiofire-making spell and the Alohomora spell that 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 lights! Be sure to catch one of the “The Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle” shows. 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. Shows runs through August 11th.

Three broomsticks Universal Studios Hollywood

Food offerings: Three Broomsticks is hands down our favorite place to sit down and eat at. Find the following additions to the lunch menu along with Butterbeer Ice Cream, Frozen Butterbeer as well as cold Butterbeer. The Fish and Chips is my top pick for lunch but if you aren’t in the mood for fish, they have chicken, ribs and more to choose from.

The Best way to cool off this summer…. Frozen Butterbeer

The Best way to cool off this summer…. Frozen Butterbeer

Escape the heat! Pop into the Dream Works Theatre and experience “Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest”. This attraction will take you 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. Best seats to watch from? I prefer higher up as the effects wrap around the walls on either side of the theatre.


Be sure to head down to the Lower lot for everything Jurassic! Jurassic World- The Ride is a must do! There is also a new velociraptor Encounter you won't want to miss! Be sure to meet Blue from Jurassic World as well as the baby Raptor and Triceratops . 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.

Not too often you see a Triceratops roaming around! Get up close and touch this gentle giant!

Not too often you see a Triceratops roaming around! Get up close and touch this gentle giant!

Raptor Encounter Lower Lot, check show times on the marquee or the APP

Raptor Encounter Lower Lot, check show times on the marquee or the APP

Looking for something to graze on while on the lower lot, be sure to stop into the new Jurassic Cafe. There you will find several flavorful options from salads to burgers all with a Costa Rican flair. We tried the Isla Burger and Chorizo and Potato Empanadas, both were very good with a portion size that was easily shared.

Isla Burger at Jurassic Cafe on the Lower Lot of Universal Studios

Isla Burger at Jurassic Cafe on the Lower Lot of Universal Studios

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.

  1. 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!

  2. Hit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter first to ride the Forbidden Journey! If you purchased you tickets online through Universal you get a 30 minute jump on the crowds with early entrance to this area before the park officially opens. Get all the info before you visit about this area of the park HERE. After enjoying the ride I would return later in the day to explore the area shops. Head directly to the lower lot from here.

  3. The lower Lot usually opens an hour after the park opens so I would suggest going there after Harry Potter and experience Jurassic World- The Ride, the Raptor Encounter and the rest of the lower lot attractions.

  4. Return to the Upper Level, 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.

  5. Check wait times for the Studio Tram Ride. This is a must do and the tour can last from 45-60 minutes. If the stand by time is 30 minutes or less and you don’t have the Express pass jump in the line or hit the tour before the last tours depart! 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.

  6. Our favorite spot for lunch is Three Broomsticks hands down located within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

  7. Top treat of ours is the frozen Butterbeer. The fresh baked Cinnabon come in a close second!

  8. 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.

  9. Looking for a specific character? Just ask 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.

  10. First time visitor or celebrating a birthday? Get a FREE button at guest services!

  11. 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.

Dracula at Universal Studios Hollywood (c) Cleverly Catheryn

Visiting with a family member on the autism spectrum or other disability….No need to stress! 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. 

Where to buy tickets? Here are several options and ways to SAVE!

  • BUY A DAY, GET A 2ND DAY FREE SUMMER SPECIAL FROM $109 Return visit valid through 9/26/19.

  • California Resident 1-Day Starts at $99 (price varies depending on day)

  • California Neighbor Pass $149 Visit over 175 days, see site for details.

  • Universal Express Starts at $179 (price varies depending on day) Includes ONE-TIME express access to each ride, attraction and seated show

Get all the ticket options HERE

More info on what's happening at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk below! 

Running Universal Featuring Jurassic World 5K and 10K

Running Universal Featuring Jurassic World 5K and 10K

Free IT Chapter Two Carnival is Coming Your Way

Free IT Chapter Two Carnival is Coming Your Way