Need advice for Dec 30 visit to Universal Studios Hollywood

December 6, 2017, 10:26 PM

I would never have voluntarily chosen to go on this day, but our family bought Gold Passes at Universal Hollywood from Costco for 2018, and the first use for the passes needs to be no later than Dec. 31st, and there's just no other day we can all make it besides Sat, Dec 30th (probably one of the worst days of the year to visit).

I already know that it's best to arrive extra early, but what are some other strategies for dealing with the crowds? Would it be better to avoid the parking garages entirely, and instead take the Metro Red Line and walk up the hill instead of waiting for the shuttle tram?

I think we'd like to: take the studio tram tour, walk around Hogsmeade and the Harry Potter ride, see the holiday decorations and some shows if possible. The nighttime show on Hogwarts Castle is also something we'd like to see, but not a deal breaker. We'd be willing to exit the park in the afternoon and come back for the nighttime show, but I'm afraid the park might close because it is at capacity.

I'd appreciate any general or specific advice on how to best manage visiting that day. Thanks in advance!

Replies (3)

December 14, 2017, 10:25 PM

Unfortunately, you'll be visiting on one of the days the park may hit capacity. As a result, make sure you get there very early (an hour before opening if possible) and do your must-see attractions as early in the day as possible. Since you have passes, focus on what is only available for a limited time, as you'll be able to come back and experience everything else on a less crowded day in the future.

Because you will not have early access to Wizarding World of Harry Potter, head here immediately upon opening and go straight to Forbidden Journey. After you ride, exit the area and do the Studio Tour. If they are distributing return tickets for Harry Potter, grab one for later in the day and see other attractions until then. If not, you may want to just visit Harry Potter until it gets too busy, then work in shows and other attractions throughout the remainder of your day. Shows will play to capacity, so get there 30-40 minutes before to guarantee a seat.

Due to the limited attraction count, if you're at the park for a full day you can probably fit everything in. However, be prepared for 90 minute waits on most may just want to leave after doing the holiday attractions and come back a different day.

December 17, 2017, 12:11 PM

If you get there early there is no need to avoid the parking garage. If you leave at closing you'll hit crazy traffic, of course, but they manage it quite well. There are advantages to taking the Red Line so it that's convenient for you it may be a great option.

Since you'll be back using your new Gold Pass there is no reason for you cram in everything. I recommend seeing the last Night Time Lights show. They just started doing a 5:10 that people don't know about so that is also an option. all the others get too crowded to even enjoy.

December 17, 2017, 10:00 PM

Thank you, AJ and Parker. Great advice for planning the day.

I think I read elsewhere in these forums about the unannounced early Hogwarts show. It sounds like it's worth getting to Hogsmeade a little early and waiting for the early show.

Thanks AJ for the advice about Forbidden Journey and the Studio Tour. I assume there is nothing different about Forbidden Journey for the holidays (I read about a few holiday decorations in the queue), so we might head for the Studio Tour first, then try to enjoy walking around the park and seeing the holiday shows/entertainment, particularly in Hogsmeade village.

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