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Universal Studios Hollywood reviews

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Posted: July 3, 2013

Universal Studios Hollywood might be the nation's most unusual major theme park. USH evolved from its famous Studio Tour, the tram ride through Universal's back lot that remains the heart of the park. At 45 minutes (give or take a few, based on what's filming on the back lot), the Studio Tour lasts far longer than your typical theme park ride, which are over in anywhere between one to 10 minutes. Universal Studios Hollywood is also unusual in that it's not built on some huge flat lot in the suburbs, but on the side of a mountain just a few minutes from downtown Los Angeles, California.

Making movies isn't merely the theme of this theme park - it's what Universal does here, every day. There's no nightly fireworks or laser show, and no daily parade. You won't find any carousel or flat rides in the park, either. But if you're a movie fan who wants to see the actual locations where some of Hollywood's classics were created, there's no more authentic experience anywhere in the world.

The park's layout divides into two major sections, an Upper Lot at the entrance, and a Lower Lot at the bottom of a series of long escalators. Go ahead and start your day with the Studio Tour and its new King Kong 360: 3-D experience, then head to Lower Lot for Transformers: The Ride 3D, Jurassic Park and Revenge of the Mummy. (If you've been to the Universal Studios park in Florida, be warned that the Mummy ride here is much shorter than the Orlando version, and skips many show elements that Florida has)

Return to the Upper Lot and visit The Simpsons Ride, Special Effects Stage, Shrek 4-D, and the park's best show, Waterworld. Yes, it's based on the widely-derided Kevin Coster movie, but here's one example of a theme park attraction that far surpasses its source material.

In 2014, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem will be opening, replacing Terminator 2 3D. A version of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be coming to the park, but no timeframe has been announced.

Buy your tickets online to get the best deal and avoid lines at the gate. The park's open 365 days a year, but check Universal's website for specific operating hours. You can get driving directions to Universal Studios Hollywood on our Google Map of America's top theme parks.

Universal Studios' Park Hours are:
Off Season Sep-Mid March 10:00am-5:00pm (Weekdays)
(Weekends)10:00am-7:00pm
On Season: Mid-March to August, October, and December (Weekdays) 10:00am-7:00pm (Vary by crowds or holiday)
(Weekends) 9:00am-8:00pm (Varys by crowd or holiday)

Scroll down to links for Theme Park Insider readers' reviews of Universal Studios Hollywood attractions and restaurants. Or search our archives for more news about Universal Studios Hollywood.

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Readers' reviews:

Attractions
Lower Lot(Rating)(Height)
Transformers: The Ride 3D940
Jurassic Park - The Ride942
Revenge of the Mummy848
The Universal Experience6
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter(Rating)(Height)
Harry Potter Ride
Upper Lot(Rating)(Height)
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem1040
Waterworld9
Super Silly Fun Land Playgrounds9
The Simpsons Ride940
Studio Tour9
Silly Swirly8
Special Effects Stage8
Universal's House of Horrors8
Shrek 4-D7
Universal's Animal Actors6

[Add a missing attraction]

Dining
Lower Lot(Rating)
Jurassic Cove Cafe8
Panda Express7
Springfield(Rating)
Krusty Burger
Luigi’s Pizza
Moe’s Tavern
Upper Lot(Rating)
International Cafe9
Pink's9
Flintstone's Bar-B-Q9
Palace Theatre Cafe8
Gru's Lab Cafe8
Hollywood Grill8
Louie's Pizza and Pasta7
Mel's Diner7

[Add a missing restaurant]

Stories from a Theme Park Insider

Stories from a Theme Park Insider

What's it like to work in a theme park? Stories from a Theme Park Insider takes you inside the famous tunnels and backstage at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom for a look at how theme parks really work, sharing the funny moments and embarrassments that can happen when your job is someone else's vacation.
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