Hawaii Mom Blog: Visit California: Universal Studios Hollywood

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September 23, 2019

Visit California: Universal Studios Hollywood


The last time I went to Universal Studios Hollywood was over twenty years ago, so I was excited to return with the kids!


The iconic red carpet entrance led to a world of excitement.  We rushed to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Although our family only watched a few of the Harry Potter movies, I thought this world was just magical! 

Our first ride was “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey,” and then we hopped on the “Flight of the Hippogriff™” roller coaster.  Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey took us on a breathtaking, surreal ride through Hogwarts, while Flight of the Hippogriff was a very kid-friendly coaster.

My favorite ride was Jurassic World - The Ride, which opened up earlier this year. Jurassic Park - The Ride was my favorite ride on my last visit, but this updated version, which features a storyline from the epic film, Jurassic World, and some really cool effects, was awesome.  I thought the additions of the Indominus Rex and Mosasaurus were so cool, and of course I just loved the drop at the end (there's a good chance you will get wet!).


My kids loved visiting Springfield. They never watched an episode of The Simpsons, but after a visit to Universal Studios Hollywood, they are eager to watch the show! I thought Springfield and all of the shops and eateries from The Simpsons were just so neat to see.

“The Simpsons Ride” was quite fun too, as we went on a crazy virtual roller coaster ride throughout Krustyland.

Other highlights included Despicable Me Minion Mayhem,” an Ultra-HD adventure in which guests try to become minions by going through all sorts of virtual obstacles; the short, but very exciting Revenge of the Mummy - The Ride; Transformers: The Ride-3D, which puts guests in the seat of an elaborate flight simulator ride; and the DreamWorks Theatre featuring Kung Fu Panda Adventure, a multi-sensory attraction featuring many of DreamWorks' popular characters. 

The Studio Tour – Behind-the-Scenes Tram Ride has changed a lot since my last visit, and it's definitely a must-do while at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Guests get a behind-the-scenes look at backlot sets and famous cars, and they even get to experience earthquakes and floods!




My favorite moments included a drive by Jaws Lake as well as the Bates Motel.  You'll just have to take the tram tour to find out why...



Two immersive experiences included on The Studio Tour were King Kong 360 3-D, which put guests right in the middle of an intense battle, and Fast & Furious—Supercharged - a fast-paced, 3D-HD thrill ride.  

A lot of the rides consisted of virtual reality / 3D experiences, so for those highly sensitive to motion sickness - I encourage you to eat some ginger candy!

There are several shows guests can watch at Universal Studios Hollywood.  WaterWorld—A Live Sea War Spectacular, was full of incredible special effects and pyrotechnics.


My husband is a fan of The Walking Dead, so he couldn't miss The Walking Dead walk-through attraction (not recommended for guests under the age of 13). The attraction, which utilizes authentic walker make-up effects combined with animatronic walkers, puts guests amidst this popular TV series.

Dining options are plentiful at Universal Studios Hollywood. We ate at Krusty Burger for lunch, and got cool treats at Scoops Ahoy Ice Cream Parlor (from Stranger Things).

Chocolate Caramel Fudge Sundae

Stranger Things' Eleven's Waffle Sundae
The portions at Krusty Burger were enormous, and the sundaes were a treat, but I didn't like how the Scoops Ahoy employee tried to give me a pre-made, melted sundae that another customer failed to pick up from several minutes ago (I was there as he called out for the guest).  He reluctantly made me a new one. 

The kids loved all the Character sightings!  They took photos with Gru, Curious George, Minions, Bart Simpson, Shrek, and more! 

One of the highlights from our visit to Universal Studios Hollywood was when one of the Minions started dancing to YMCA (watch a video here).



There are a couple of playground spots in the park for kids to release some energy - Dino Play in Jurassic World, and one in Super Silly Funland from Despicable Me, which was also full of whimsical rides, games, and even a water-play area!  I just loved how Universal Studios Hollywood brought these movie settings to life!





The theme park was decked out in Halloween Horror Nights decor - one day I hope to get to experience the haunting festivities!


The Universal Studios Hollywood app came in real handy to find out wait times for rides.  We did have Universal Express tickets, which provides one-time express access for each ride, attraction, and seated show, but we used them just a handful of times, when the wait was longer than 30 minutes (yes, my patience threshold is quite low, but with three kids who constantly bicker, waiting in line for longer than 30 minutes was a deal-breaker).


Employees would even tell us to hold on to express access for certain rides if the wait was short so we didn't waste the express access.

I highly recommend getting Universal Express tickets if you have limited time to spend at the theme park or you go on a busy day.

We had such a blast at Universal Studios Hollywood.  The kids met some of their favorite characters, we rode thrilling rides and watched entertaining shows, and we all experienced some of our favorite movies and television shows in exciting, interactive ways.  

Be sure to download the Universal Studios Hollywood app before you go so you can plan out where to eat, shop, and ride, and consider getting Universal Express to maximize your time at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Universal Studios Hollywood
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608


Mahalo to Universal Studios for providing complimentary tickets!

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