Standing eight levels tall and housing nearly 5,000 parking space, the E.T. garage is as about the size of one half of Disneyland's Mickey and Friends parking structure. (E.T. has more levels, but isn't as long as Mickey and Friends.) And with new ramps connecting the garage to U.S. 101 via a short drive on Universal Boulevard, people driving to Universal from downtown Los Angeles should find it much quicker getting into and out of their parking space at Universal.
The E.T. parking garage stands east of the drop-off/pick-up circle, next to Buca de Beppo, just south of the Curious George parking garage and across Universal Boulevard from Jurassic Parking. It's a farther walk to the Universal Studios Hollywood front gate from the E.T. lot, but that's the trade-off for what should be a much swifter flow of traffic into the garage.
Universal's installed about a dozen parking toll booths on the garage's first level, which also includes bus parking and electric vehicle charging stations. The garage's pretty much empty now, as crowds continue to be relatively light in the park during this (relatively) rainy winter off-season, with construction ongoing in and around the park.
But when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens on April 7, expect the E.T. garage to start getting put to full use.Tweet
There was no good excuse for how poorly the parking was handled last summer during my visit.
Most Universal passholders no longer have parking included on their passes, as the old season passes were phased out last February, and the new levels of annual and season passes introduced since November do not include any kind of parking.
It would be like Disneyland telling all its annual passholders, sorry, you have to pay $18 for parking every time you visit.
I haven't checked the Universal fansite forums lately, but back in November passholders were up in arms and talking about getting Disneyland passes instead, rather than pay a lot more and get a lot less than before.
I feel like Universal is caught in a hard situation because they really don't know how many people will be buying tickets and coming to Universal City once Harry Potter opens. They have to try to limit annual passholders from coming on high attendance days like spring break and the summer (plus most weekend days) because it would be a bad situation having the gates and parking lots close every day because the park couldn't handle the demand. At the same time, passholders don't like how much their privileges have been reduced, both in terms of available days and parking included with the annual pass.
I have a feeling there will be many people taking the redline. Some may even park at the North Hollywood station & take the subway over. It's only one stop away.
Regarding APs, blackout dates, etc., something I think people forget about is that USH only has about 1/4 the capacity of the Disneyland Resort but they are already getting more than 1/4 the attendance of DLR and are opening the biggest attraction in California this year. If they were to offer a no blackout pass and/or season pass parking, I've got a strong feeling the park would close for capacity several days per week. A closed park isn't a big deal for a local, but if you're a tourist with one day to visit it could ruin your trip. USH is doing what is necessary right now, and if things calm down there will probably be another change.
As for the APs, it doesn't affect me, since I'd only be there one day to experience the park. But were I a local, I imagine I wouldn't be too happy about it.
I think it's interesting how differently USO and USH are run. Not unlike Disneyland and WDW. The good news is that all of the lacking parks can be brought up to the standard of the others. Universal can and hopefully will get their parking situation sorted out, just like WDW will stop dragging their feet and putting out subpar upgrades.
I look forward to going to USH again one of these days. :)
There are 2 stops that have ample parking & would viable for taking the subway.
Hollywood & Highland center (which does cost, but the max daily rate is lower than Universal's parking)
NoHo Arts District (which is free) and located on Lankershim.
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There was no simple flow of traffic once one entered the structure. Instead, the cars wound their way around cones which blocked off parking areas and were directed towards a specific area of the structure. There were employees telling drivers to turn where the cones were, but no employees actually directing cars toward specific spaces where the cars were currently parking, like at Disneyland's Mickey and Friends. So there was a long backup of cars where the spaces were open, which dominoed back throughout the queue of cars.
I sincerely hope that Universal has improved, or will improve the efficiency of the parking structure before Harry Potter opens, or there will be a parking fiasco come April 7, new parking structure or not.