Universal Studios Hollywood is a lot of fun to visit, but with a little knowledge and planning, you can enjoy it even more. Try some of these tips from someone who's been there a dozen times or more.
Before you Go to Universal Studios Los Angeles
- Staying nearby is convenient. You can browse the top-rated ones in the guide to Hotels near Universal Studios Los Angeles, but they can be more expensive than elsewhere. Consider another area for lower rates, balancing that with driving time. To make that process easier, use the step by step guide to finding a hotel in LA.
- If you have children, measure their height before you go and tell them in advance if there are rides they can't go on. The list is here.
- Buy your tickets online before you go. To find out why it might save you money and where to buy them, check the Universal Studios ticket guide.
- Visually-impaired visitors can be accommodated, and signers can be provided with advance notice. Check their website for more information and call at least two weeks ahead of time to arrange for signers or to discuss any special needs you have.
- Here's a list of things to think about packing to take with you - based on times when I wish I had them:
- Something to amuse yourselves while standing in line. Waits can be more than an hour at peak times.
- Motion-sickness remedies for the rides, if anyone needs them.
- Comfortable shoes will make your day less painful.
- Quick-drying clothing, especially if you want to ride Jurassic Park - The Ride. Heavy cotton fabrics and jeans get soggy and stay that way for an uncomfortably long time.
- Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses, especially in summer.
- Glasses case to put your specs in during fast rides so you don't lose them.
- Warmer clothing for evening, even in summer, when it can turn chilly fast. Check the weather forecast for Studio City, which can be as much as 20°F hotter than the coast during the summer.
- In winter, if it looks like rain, Umbrellas are a hassle in a theme park. Bring a rain jacket or poncho instead . The rest of the year, overcast mornings don't portend rain later.
- And leave the library card, office keys and anything else you don't need at home. They take up space and weigh you down. A small waist pack or sling bag works well to carry the rest.
Special Tips for the Rides and Attractions
- Studio Tour Tips: Take it early. They stop running long before the park closes. Avoid the back row of the tram cars. The engine's under it, and your legs will feel scorched. You'll get an unobstructed view of more things if you position yourself last in a boarding line, ending up on the left side of the tram.
- If your child is too small for a ride, you don't have to stand in a long line twice just so the adults can both go on it. At any ride marked "Child Switch," ask an attendant for a pass for the second adult, who can wait with the child and then go straight to the front of the line as soon as the first rider returns.
- You can't avoid getting wet on Jurassic Park - The Ride. Very wet. Use ponchos when they're provided, and go early enough in the day so you can dry out before it cools off.
While You're at Universal Studios Los Angeles
- Before you head out to Universal in your car and pay to park, ask if your hotel has a shuttle.
- When you leave your car, write down the name of the parking garage and level you're on in it - or take a picture.
- Your bags will be inspected at the park entrance. Outside food is not allowed, except for water, fruit and baby food.
- If you need to buy tickets, are using a credit card and don't have coupons to redeem, bypass the lines and go to the self-serve machines instead.
- If you brought a lot of stuff but don't want to tote it all around, leave the extras in the car and go back for them, or rent a locker near the entrance.
- Don't let posted shooting schedules fool you. They let you know what's being filmed at Universal, but may give the mistaken impression that you'll be able to watch all of those filming sessions. However, at the Audiences Unlimited booth (which is straight ahead from the entrance) you can make a reservation to view a live filming of some shows during your visit
- Go shopping at the end of the day so you don't have to carry your purchases around.
- Food is expensive, and all-you-can eat dining passes are too, unless you're a big eater. Take a break and go to CityWalk to eat, but avoid noon when restaurants are busy.
- The only pets allowed at Universal Studios Los Angeles are service animals, but if you brought yours, Universal operates a free kennel service. Go to the Guest Services window outside the entrance to check in. They only provide water, so you'll need to bring your own food - and plan to return if you need to feed your pet(s) during the day.
Unless you want to get tickets to watch a filming (see how to do that below), consider arriving mid-day for shorter lines. For an attraction that has a 90-minute wait at noon, you may be able to walk straight in by 8:00 p.m.
More About Universal Studios Los AngelesRead about visiting Universal, when to go, what there is to do.
Find out how to buy Universal Studios Los Angeles tickets.
CityWalk, located just outside the entrance is a lively shopping and dining complex open to the public.
Find a hotel nearby.