Universal Studios Hollywood worth the wait times?

April 9, 2014, 10:23 AM

We're thinking of going to Universal Studios Hollywood on a Tuesday in June (June 17). I have mixed feelings because of possibly horrendous wait times for each ride. My husband wants to use the So Cal City Pass, but if we go I want to buy the Front of the Line pass for Universal right from the start, online. Does it help at all going on a Tuesday, though it's summer, so we won't need the FOTL pass? Are all rides going to be 1+ hours or are some better like at Disney? Would they actually run out of FOTL upgrades for the So Cal City pass if we decided later to get it? Any advice?

Replies (7)

Edited: April 10, 2014, 4:11 PM

Don't worry, you won't encounter 1+ hour waits for everything at USH on a Tuesday in June. Despicable Me is brand new, so that one will probably have a long line, and Transformers will probably be pretty busy as well due to the new movie this summer, but everything else typically peaks around 30-45 minutes on summer weekdays. Personally, I would advise you not to get a Front of the Line pass as there are only a handful of actual rides in the park and even without one you can typically do everything in 6-8 hours.

I would recommend you arrive before opening (about 20 minutes should be good) and at opening immediately go to Despicable Me. After that, head to the Lower Lot and ride Transformers, Mummy, and Jurassic Park in that order. Head back to the upper lot and do Simpsons Ride, then ride the Studio Tour and you'll be done with rides. On most days, this can be accomplished before lunch (note: not sure how Despicable Me will affect wait times, so this could take a little longer). For the shows, just show up 15 minutes before show time and you should have no problem getting a seat. Waterworld is an absolute must see and the Special Effects Stage is pretty good as well. Shrek 4-D is decent, but if the line is long it can be skipped, and Universal's Animal Actors isn't worth it unless you've done everything else. I'd also recommend checking out Universal's House of Horrors if you like that sort of thing, as it is quite good and there is rarely a significant wait for it (it does take about 20 minutes to go all the way through, however).

If for whatever reason the park is insanely busy, you can purchase a Front of the Line pass at the park. I don't know how quickly they sell out, but if you go in the morning you'd probably be able to get one. I wouldn't recommend buying one in advance as they are quite expensive. Also, if you would mainly be re-riding the lower lot rides, note that all of them have single rider lines so if your group is willing to split up you can use these and almost always get on in 10-15 minutes or less.

April 11, 2014, 5:47 AM

Thanks AJ. That is very reassuring.

April 11, 2014, 11:53 AM

How would you expect the wait for the Studio Tour to be like, if done it that order?

Edited: April 11, 2014, 1:57 PM

Last time I visited was a weekday in June just after Transformers opened. Based on my experience then, assuming you arrive sufficiently early I would estimate the following wait times:

Despicable Me: 10-15 minutes (this could vary a lot and WILL probably be over an hour if you aren't in the park for rope drop and/or don't head here first).
Transformers: 45-60 minutes (could be shorter, but probably won't be longer if you get down here by 9:30 or so)
Mummy: 10-15 minutes
Jurassic Park: 15-20 minutes (temperature dependent)
Simpsons Ride: 30-45 minutes
Studio Tour: 20-30 minutes

In the afternoon, Despicable Me will probably be 60-90 minutes (estimation based on Transformers opening year crowds), Transformers will be around 60 minutes (use single rider if you want a re-ride), and the other rides typically peak in the 30-45 minute range.

April 27, 2014, 11:20 PM

All the things AJ said. Especially about getting down to the rides in the lower lot first. And Waterworld is a fun show. Only thing I would add is that sometimes the studio tour tram ride line can get long so you might want to be prepared (have something to eat in line, go to the bathroom ahead of time.)

April 28, 2014, 8:36 AM

Thanks for starting this thread Kathy. Our family will be at USH on June 18th for only one day; I have some of the same concerns as you about FOTL tickets and wait times. We are coming from Hawaii so needless to say we want to make sure to get the best out of our visit to the park, as all of do I am sure.

I think we may wait on the FOTL ticket to see what we can accomplish based on the game plan some of the others suggested in your thread. Until I found your thread I was going to pre purchase the FOTL tickets. We have been on the studio tour before and really love it a lot. My daughter is all into 'Bate's Motel' on TV right now and is excited to see that attraction along the tours route. I do remember standing in line for a considerable about of time for the tour though on previous visits.

How much quicker do you get on the rides, attractions and shows on average with the FOTL ticket? Anybody have an idea?

Edited: April 28, 2014, 1:52 PM


With FOTL passes, you'll certainly get on the attractions MUCH faster.....with very little wait. However, that also means you'll be able to finish everything in just under a few hours. There are about 15 attractions at USH (including shows & kids areas).

The other options as others have said, is to wait until you're actually at the park to decide if you'll want / need a FOTL pass. The fact that you'll be visiting in June, during "summer vacation time", you might find the park to be busy, BUT if you arrive before the park opens, & hit the most popular attractions first, you might find that the FOTL pass isn't needed.

Also, you'd want to do Despicable Me first. This past weekend, the wait times were pretty long, but we waited less than an hour (maybe 45 -50 min) & that was mid day (of course it could have been longer during other parts of the day), but I suggest doing that first, since it's somewhat close to the entrance.

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