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!
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!
3. Jurassic Park (the rest of the family wimped out - didn't want to get wet)
4. Studio Tour
For the full experience, I'd continue with
6. Special Effects Stage
7. Shrek 4-D
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney California Adventure
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Hollywood