Universal Studios Hollywood: A Fun Day With The Stars
This post is in collaboration with Klook, however, all thoughts are my own.
As soon as I started planning my trip to California I knew that I had to include a trip to Universal Studios in Los Angeles. Home of Hogwarts and Springfield, it felt like the perfect place to go and live out my childhood dreams for the day. Luckily, the 3-Day Klook Pass includes Universal Studios, which meant I was able to enjoy the park as part of the one-off cost of the pass.
What Is Universal Studios Hollywood?
So, for those of you that don’t know, Universal Studios has a number of different theme parks in several incredible locations across the world. From Orlando and Los Angeles in America to the Universal Studios parks in Japan and Singapore, each location is 100% worth a visit if you’re in the area.
Although not all parks have the same, each park has attractions that are centred around some of Universal Pictures biggest hits. From Jurassic Park to the Fast and Furious Franchise, there are so many fun things to see and do. In Florida, you can also visit Islands of Adventure if you buy a park hopper ticket.
How Do You Get There?
As we didn’t rent a car during our time in California, we booked ourselves an Uber from our hotel. We stayed in Hollywood and with the studios located in Burbank, it was just a short 10-minute drive that cost roughly $12.
There are lots of other ways, however, to get there.
If you want to take the train, the Metro Red Line train from both Downtown LA and Hollywood stops at Universal City station. Once you exit the Metro station, you will see a Universal Studios shuttle which provides complimentary shuttle service to the front gate of Universal Studios Hollywood. This service runs every 10-15 minutes and stops two hours after the park has closed. If you want to walk from the station, it’s about 5-10 minutes uphill.
If you would rather drive and park up, the theme park is located just off of the 101 Freeway in Universal City north of Hollywood. The northbound exit is Universal Studios Blvd; the southbound exit is Lankershim Blvd. From there, you will need to follow the signs to the Universal Studios parking.
If you’re staying in the Anaheim area, a number of hotels offer a shuttle service to and from the park. This might be something you want to check before you book your accommodation.
Address: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608, United States
Buying Your Tickets With Klook
If you’re looking to save money on your trip to California, buying a Los Angeles Travel Pass that lasts longer than three days is 100% worth it when it comes to Universal Studios.
For example, a three day Los Angeles Travel Pass on Klook costs roughly £190 per person. This includes entrance to Universal Studios Hollywood, which costs up to £105, depending on the dates you choose to visit. Once you have visited the park, you have two full days to make use of all of the other included attractions, which are likely to total more than the remaining £85 if you were to purchase separately.
Not only is it cheaper, but you’re also able to skip the line for tickets and go straight to the gate. Your Los Angeles Travel Pass QR code will scan right away, without having to be converted into another ticket (which applies for a number of the attractions included).
So, What Can You Do At Universal Studios Hollywood?
Universal City Walk
Before you enter the park, you have the opportunity to walk around Universal City Walk and honestly, it’s 100% worth it. From the exclusive stores to the incredible restaurants, you could easily spend hours walking around before you even enter Universal Studios Hollywood itself.
Although we didn’t spend long walking around, we made sure we stopped at the famous Voodoo Doughnuts for breakfast. I had the 8-Mile doughnut which was, you guessed it, covered in M&Ms. I also couldn’t resist picking up a hoodie from Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, as I used to work in the London branch when it first opened.
Other places to explore include Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs, Margaritaville, Sephora, Hot Topic and The Dodgers Clubhouse.
If you’re pressed for time, you may want to consider exploring Universal City Walk whilst you’re on your way out as it remains open after the park has closed.
The Universal Studio Tour
One of the biggest attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood is the World Famous Studio Tour. As the hub for film and television production, Universal Studios Hollywood gives you the option to explore a live working studio during your visit. On this incredible 45-minute tour, your hilarious guide will take you on a behind-the-scenes ride through both the front and back lots, showing you exactly what it is like to work on a real movie set.
Once you have driven through the front lot, where you will see all of the active stages, the tour starts to become a little more interactive. The backlot starts with a drive through what can only be described as car-enthusiast heaven. With cars from Back To The Future, Fast And Furious And Jurrasic World, you get a glimpse at what goes into creating some of the world’s most recognised cars.
As you finish looking at the cars you can see a cart, much like the one you’re riding in, that has been crushed in the distance. I knew EXACTLY what was coming next and as I have a fear of practically everything, I had to brace myself for the first 4D experience of the tour.
When we turned the corner to face the dismantled cart, ours started to rear itself onto the tracks that had been put into place. We were told to put on our 4D glasses and as we entered the dark room, the screens started to display a stunning forest. I had a few seconds to enjoy the stunning view before out of nowhere, Kong jumped onto our cart and started causing havoc. I have to admit, I couldn’t keep my eyes open much longer. As soon as our cart was hurled through the air and started falling, I tapped out and closed my eyes as the special effects were so incredible, I genuinely felt as though I was dropping deep into the forest. Although I could still feel the cart moving about on the tracks, closing my eyes made it a little bit easier for sure. For those that love the thrill of being hurled around by an ape, however, this is definitely the experience for you.
Once we made it out of the forest, the drive continued through the backlot and into Mexico. With sets that had been used in lots of movies I know and love, I loved driving around this little area. Here we were also given examples of how they make it rain as well as how they would create a flood, which was pretty awesome to see.
If you’re a fan of The Good Place, the next stop on the tour will probably have you freaking out as much as I did, as I couldn’t believe we were able to drive through the ACTUAL GOOD PLACE SET. Honestly, I was so happy and felt as though it made up for the traumatic Kong experience moments before. Or so I thought…
After a drive past Whoville, The Bates Motel and Amity we arrived at our next interactive experience. This time, I KNEW I wouldn’t be able to open my eyes at all as it would mean living out one of my worst fears of being trapped on an underground train during a disaster. Although I can’t give you many details as I held on for dear life with my eyes closed, what I can tell you is when I opened my eyes and saw what had happened, I’m glad I didn’t have to go through that. What it was supposed to be for those that watched, was an example of how a set can be ready to go at any time.
After a couple more stops, we had our final 4D experience, this time courtesy of the Fast and Furious franchise. The clip started with a warehouse party that you’ve been invited to, it doesn’t take long, however, for things to heat up. I actually ended up keeping my eyes open for this one and loved the thrilling car chase through Los Angeles. The effects were incredible and although we weren’t moving at all, I really did feel as though we were speeding through the streets.
Despite fearing for my life on more than one occasion, the Universal Studios tour was actually my favourite part of the day. It was so informative and our tour guide made it super fun and educational.
Universal Studios Hollywood Highlights
The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter
If you’ve followed me for a while then you will know that I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan, which is why I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to dress up in my Hufflepuff uniform for my first-ever (!!) visit to Hogwarts. Having only seen the ‘tip’ of the castle in Orlando whilst visiting Universal City Walk, seeing one of the replica castles for the first time was something I had been dying to do for YEARS.
We arrived at the park before the gates opened so as soon as they let us in, we made sure we ‘briskly walked’ to Hogsmede. Despite being one of the first sets of people in the park it was already starting to get busy so skipped past the stores and walked straight to the castle to look around and take some photos. There was music from the film being played through the speakers and the whole thing was so so so magical, I loved it. After we were done at the castle, we slowly walked back through Hogsmede, looking in all of the shops to ensure we didn’t miss anything. Of course, that means trying a famous Butterbeer too.
If you wanted to go on any of the rides, you will find both Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey and Flight Of The Hippogriff here. At night, you will also be able to see the popular light show on the castle.
The Simpsons: Springfield
Who knew that just around the corner from Hogsmede is Springfield, the home of The Simpsons. Although I haven’t watched The Simpsons for years, I loved seeing all of my favourites from a series I grew up watching each and every day. From Moe’s Tavern to The Kwik-e-Mart, the theming was absolutely incredible. We spent some time here looking around all of the stores before grabbing some fried chicken and a Slurpee at Cleetus’ Shack.
For those that love rides, you have The Simpsons Ride.
The Lower Lot
After taking a million and one different escalators down to the lower lot, we were immediately greeted by a park ranger from Jurrasic Park and Jurassic World. He was holding a baby velociraptor and trying to get my friend, Kaye, to stroke it. I was filming and as he knew I wasn’t paying full attention, he decided to turn the miniature dinosaur to me and fake an attack. I swear I was becoming more and more traumatised as the day went on.
Okay, I’m kidding, but it did make me jump…
Although we didn’t spend a lot of time in the lower lot, it looked like there was a lot to do. From the Jurrasic World ride to the Transformers 3-D experience, it’s definitely worth spending an hour or two exploring. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see Megatron…
Throughout the day there are various different live shows that you can go and watch, from learning the secrets behind training pets to finding out how some of the most popular special effects are created, you can learn a lot during your visit to Universal Studios Hollywood. As we were walking past as the show was about to start, we went to see The Secret Life Of Pets. Although mainly aimed at kids, it was super fun to watch all of the animals on stage.
Other rides and attractions include Revenge of the Mummy, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Super Silly Funland, DinoPlay, Dreamworks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda, The Walking Dead Experience and WaterWorld. Although I wish we had time to do everything and explore all of the lands, there was just too much to choose from!
Food & Drink
Although we didn’t get to eat and drink as much as I would have liked during our time at the park, I thought it would be rude not to mention some of the amazing places you can eat during your visit to Universal Studios Hollywood. Some of the must-try food and drink includes:
- Butterbeer from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Bangers and Mash from The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter
- A Giant Donut from Springfield
- A Blue or Red Slurpee from Springfield
- A Krusty Burger from Springfield
- A Dino Sized Burger from The Lower Lot
- A Milkshake From Mel’s Diner
You will also find a Starbucks and Panda Express on site.
Have you ever been to Universal Studios in Hollywood before? Which ride would you go on first?