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First trip to Universal Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood: I'm taking suggestions for my first trip to Universal Studios Hollywood in September!

From Lori Schueren
Posted June 6, 2012 at 5:51 PM
My husband and I will be heading to Universal Studios Hollywood for the first time ever this September (we live in Indiana). We only have one day to spend there. The one thing we KNOW we have to do is Transformers. If you only had one day to spend at the park, what would be the "musts" to do? Is the cost of a VIP pass worth it? Or would you buy a front-of-the-line pass? Any suggestions are welcome!


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Jay R.
Posted June 6, 2012 at 6:55 PM
Hey Lori,

If you are going to be coming in September, the summer crowds will be gone & you'll have time to do everything in a relatively easy fashion (Especially on a weekday) That would be the best time to go if possible.

This past May, I rode Transformers (twice), Jurassic Park, Mummy, & finished T2 all by noon (It was 12:00 sharp when T2 ended)

Arrive when the park opens & head directly to the lower lot. That's where Transformers, Jurassic Park & Mummy are located.

Once you're down there, you should ride those attractions as many times as you like. Just take advantage of being down there & get multiple rides in if you can. By doing that, you'll save a lot of time if you don't have to return to the lower lot.

Then you can do the studio tour, the shows, simpsons, T2, etc. all when you return to the upper lot.

Enjoy your trip & have fun!

From Lori Schueren
Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:53 AM
Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it!!

From cynthia henisey
Posted June 12, 2012 at 9:32 PM
The Mummy ride has a single rider line which goes really fast. There are a lot of rows in each car so you may even end up in the same car as your husband. I think Jurassic Park has a single rider line as well.

Simpsons ride is kind of fun but the line is really long. Waterworld show is fun too. And we like the Special Effects show.

But you really can't go to Universal Studios without taking the tram ride tour of the backlot!

From Robert Niles
Posted June 12, 2012 at 9:30 PM
Here's what we did yesterday:

1. Transformers
2. Mummy
3. Jurassic Park (the rest of the family wimped out - didn't want to get wet)
4. Studio Tour
5. Lunch

For the full experience, I'd continue with
6. Special Effects Stage
7. Shrek 4-D
8. Waterworld

Add the Horror walk-through if you're into Halloween-style haunted mazes. Families with kids might enjoy the Curious George playground, too, on a hot day. (September could go either way.) Skip Terminator 2: 3-D. It's in awful shape. This park is very do-able in a single day, and the extra access passes are unnecessary unless it's a very busy day (holiday or summer weekend).

Have a great time. Welcome to LA!

From Dominick D
Posted June 13, 2012 at 8:07 AM
This would be my touring plan:

1. Ride Transformers.
2. If you don't mind getting wet, go on Jurassic Park.
3. Go on Mummy.
4. Head to the Upper Lot and ride The Simpsons and Studio Tour before they get crowded.
5. Have lunch.
6. See if Waterworld is performing soon. If not, go to Shrek 4D, Curious George, or the Horror walk through.
7. See Waterworld.
8. Do whatever you want.

From Lori Schueren
Posted June 13, 2012 at 9:26 AM
Great tips, thanks everyone!

From AJ Hummel
Posted June 13, 2012 at 1:10 PM
In September, Universal Studios Hollywood is rarely very busy. Even on a weekend, you'd be able to do everything in about 2/3 of a day without the Front of the Line pass. It is nowhere near the size of the Florida Parks and only has a few actual rides (4 or 5 depending on if you count the Tram Tour as a ride). Everything else is a show. Last time I went in the off-season, the longest line was 10 minutes (for Simpsons), and this was on a Sunday in November.

I don't know if Transformers will change how Universal operates, but in the past the Lower Lot doesn't open right at park opening during the off-season. If this is still the case, do The Simpsons Ride first, then wait for the Lower Lot to open. If it does open with the park, however, go down there and do Transformers, Revenge of the Mummy, and Jurassic Park (in that order). If the water effects are off on Jurassic Park, you will not get very wet, but if they are on, you'll get soaked. Then, head back to the Upper Lot, ride Simpsons if the line isn't too bad (if it is, come back later), then do the Studio Tour. Once you get off this, grab lunch.

During (or after) lunch, you should consult the show schedule and plan the remainder of your day based on what shows you want to see. Waterworld is the absolute must-see show at the park, and is likely the best stunt show you'll ever see. The other show I definitely recommend is the Special Effects Stage. It is a comedic show that demonstrates a number of actual filmmaking techniques. Terminator 2:3-D and Shrek 4-D...you could go either way on those. They aren't bad, but they're not great either. I think they are probably more entertaining if you are into the Terminator or Shrek film series, respectively. Finally, skip the Animal Actors show. It's definitely the worst show at the park and is pretty boring unless you've never seen an animal show elsewhere. Other than the shows, the only other non-kids attraction is House of Horrors, which is definitely worth checking out if you're into scary mazes and almost never has a line.

Overall, just get the rides done in the morning and you'll be good. Last time I went, I did everything (including a couple re-rides on Mummy) and was done by late afternoon (this was a weekday last August).

Enjoy your visit!

From Brad Jashinsky
Posted June 13, 2012 at 1:27 PM
I have a season pass to Universal Studios Hollywood and I go a couple of times a month. I've found that no matter the day of the week or time of the year, the first hour or two of the mornings are rarely busy.

As others have suggested, ride everything in the lower lot first, which is accessed by going down 4 sets of escalators near The Simpsons Ride. Ride Transformers 2-3 times first. The main queue for Transformers is worth experiencing for your first ride. After that use the single rider. Use the single rider for both Mummy and Jurassic Park.

The Simpsons ride can get very busy and has a long load time. Ride that immediately after the rides in the lower lot. Then check out the studio tour.

Have lunch at the International Cafe or Doc's Fried Chicken (They also have grilled chicken). Wolfgang Puck's Bistro just outside the park in City Walk is also great and fairly inexpensive.

By this time it will probably be fairly warm so check out Shrek 4D, Terminator 2D, Horror Walk Through, Water World, and the Animal Actor's show. Since this is your first time to the park I think it's worth checking out Terminator 2D. This may be your last chance since it's rumored to be replaced soon.

From Manny Barron
Posted June 13, 2012 at 9:12 PM
Touring Plan:

1. Ride Transformers 5 times
2. Anything else is a bonus, you'll get your moneys worth on that ride alone.

Seriously though, unless your going on Labor Day weekend you should have some leisurely touring conditions. No front of line pass is necessary. You should be able to fit in every attraction at the park. Have fun!

From Lori Schueren
Posted June 14, 2012 at 8:13 AM
Thanks everyone! We aren't going Labor Day weekend, so we're OK there. And we plan on going on a Tuesday. Is the Simpsons ride the same as the Simpsons ride in Orlando? We did that one a couple years ago.

From Dominick D
Posted June 14, 2012 at 9:01 AM
Yes, it's the same ride as in Orlando.

From Christopher J
Posted June 15, 2012 at 10:11 PM
I went there a couple of years ago in mid-September and it was surprisingly hot. It was well over 100 degrees. Just check the forecast before you leave. We left Oregon and it was about 50 degrees, so we had to wear cold weather clothes on the way there, but packed all shorts, sandals and t-shirts.

Lines were pretty short for everything and we did what others suggested, going down to the lower level first thing.

We are planning on returning soon to try out Transformers, but we had to finally get to Disney World this year for Star Wars Weekend last month.

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