We recently went to Universal Studios Hollywood. I requested this trip as my birthday gift and I really loved the experience. I wanted to share some tips we learned while on our trip in this Trip Report Universal Studios Hollywood. I will also share the food we tried in a separate post.
Please note that we are in no way affiliated with Universal Studios or Harry Potter. This is just a report based on our experience. This trip was paid for entirely by us.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter
One of the big reasons I wanted to go to Universal Studios Hollywood was for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We visited Universal a few years ago for a very brief trip and I absolutely loved the detail of this land. If you are a Harry Potter fan this is a must see. There are many locations where you can use your interactive wand throughout the land. Once I got my wand, I thought it was fun to try them all out. There were two more locations added just after we left. The attractions include Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff. Forbidden Journey starts with a walkthrough of the Hogwarts Castle and the details are so much fun to look at and take in, but we were early so we basically raced right to the front of the line. The ride is a roller coaster style movement with a screen to take you through the story. I thought it was a lot of fun, but could be scary for younger children. Flight of the Hippogriff is a great ride for all, I just wish it was a little longer. With the line so short in the morning, you can just go on it again! We stayed until the Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle and I really enjoyed the show. The Gryffindor Lion steals the show.
The Upper Lot
The rest of the Upper Lot has quite a few other great attractions in addition to the Wizarding World. After Wizarding World, we went to get in line for the Tram Tour. It was already super hot and it was a decent line. The ride itself was also very hot, but this is a favorite attraction, the original, so it must be done. I especially love the King Kong section. After the tram tour we went to Walking Dead. This is a walk through attraction. If you are a Walking Dead fan you will enjoy this. It feels just like you are in the hospital where Rick wakes up to find himself in a whole new world. The walkers will jump out at you and it’s a lot of fun. Later in the day we also took in the Water World show as we really wanted to get wet. There are clearly marked wet zone so it was easy. This was a fun show we had not done before. We also saw the new Kung Fu Panda show, rode Dispicable Me Minion Mayhem and attended the Animal Actors show.
The Lower Lot
The Lower Lot is a favorite for our family. It includes our favorite ride, Jurassic Park. While we love this ride, we are excited to see what comes when they revamp it for Jurassic World. The lower lot also includes the Revenge of the Mummy and Transformers. We really like that the Mummy has a section that moves backwards. I also recommend stopping for the Raptor Encounter. My son was selected on a prior trip to help work with the raptor which he loved. Blue is now the star of the show.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Hilton. I liked that it was very close to the park, about a 10 minute walk. It is within the theme park envelop so it feels pretty safe and nice. The downside is it is extremely expensive. I would however stay here again given the close proximity. The staff were all very nice and helpful as well.
Since this was my birthday trip, I got a birthday button at guest relations. While there is no guarantee that this will have an impact on your trip, I feel it really was a benefit for our trip.
- First, many of the cast members will give you Happy Birthday greetings, very nice! I also had many other guests wish me Happy Birthday, it just made the day feel special.
- We went to Olivander’s to see the wand selection ceremony and I was selected as the “witch to receive my wand”. While I cannot state this was directly related to the button, I suspect it helped.
- We went to the Walking Dead attraction a little after it opened and there was a decent line. I was greeted with a Happy Birthday and the staff member directed us to a line. I realized later that we were put in the Express line. This was the first birthday benefit I was truly aware of.
- But the biggest benefit came when we went to the lower lot. Given the heat (113 degrees) there was a 60 minute wait for Jurassic Park. We were about take a restroom break when a wonderful staff member asked if we had been on the ride. When I said not yet, she asked if she could take us up front. Of course we said YES. She took us up the Express line and also took our picture by the ride sign, a location you can only get to with a staff member. We walked right on the next ride vehicle that arrived. She also gave us three more passes for the lower lot and one for a limited set of attractions throughout the park. She saved our day, we would have been miserable with the heat, but instead we had the time of our life. It was incredible. I just wish I had a way to thank her!
While no one came out and said any of these nice things was due to the birthday button, I just have a feeling it helped make our day much, much nicer and I had an amazing birthday trip.
Tips To Make Your Summer Trip Great
- Take advantage of early entry. Not only is the park not crowded, it is also the coolest part of the day. Enjoy the Wizarding World without the wait and when the rest of the crowd comes, you can move onto the rest of the park.
- Ask for ice water when you get your meals. Water is expensive to purchase, although plan to do that as well. The weather was so hot the day we were there, the park ran out of water bottles or had only warm ones (this didn’t last all day thankfully). That was pretty awful. We were happy to have an option in the restaurant for ice water.
- I recommend sit down meals. We ate at the Three Broomsticks for all our meals as the menu is varied and the food is yummy. In addition, you can eat at a sit down table indoors where air conditioned.
- Plan to travel to the lower lot just once. The escalators take quite a bit of time, so enjoy yourself in the lower lot for as long as you like, but only plan one trip down to ensure you have time for everything in the park.
- Go to the shows. Universal is known for entertainment and these shows are entertaining. We loved Water World. While I understand it’s been around a long time, it was new to us and the stunts were a lot of fun to watch. We had a couple of the actors in a fight scene right in front of us and while we knew they were not hitting each other, the fight was done really well and looked realistic.
- If you can afford it, get the Express pass. We got a taste for how amazing this pass would be with the nice benefits we received throughout the day. I’m not sure we would have made it otherwise and it definitely wouldn’t have been as fun.
- Plan to stay close by. You can enjoy the early hours and stay late in the park without having to drive. We also didn’t have to deal with LA traffic except on our way in and out, but during our stay we didn’t drive at all.
Upcoming Events at Universal Studios
We had such a good time, we are planning to return for Halloween Horror Nights and hopefully also for the Christmas season and decorations. Subscribe to the blog to stay in touch and hear about those trips as well.
Trip Report Universal Studios Hollywood Wrap Up
I hope you enjoyed our trip report. If you have any questions you feel I can answer about our trip to Universal Studios, please feel free to leave a comment or send an email and I will do my best to provide insight. There will be another post soon all about the food at Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a thing!
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