Universal Studios Hollywood Tips: How to Make the Most of Your Visit

October 30, 2019

Fun for visitors of all ages, Universal Studios Hollywood offers dozens of entertaining attractions.

Of course, no matter when you go, you’re bound to have fun with family and friends. But with so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming to figure out the best time to visit, where to stay, which tickets to purchase, and what to bring. Read below to see our top Universal Studios Hollywood tips so you can have the best experience possible.

Universal Studios Hollywood Tips

Prayitno / Flickr

Universal Studios Hollywood Tips: Advice Before You Go

Visit During Off-Season When Possible

During winter break, summer, and the holidays, Universal tends to get fairly crowded because of long school vacations, which creates longer lines and more expenses. Flight, hotel, car rental, and park costs can soar because of tourists. However, California’s rainy winter season can place a damper on outdoor ride fun, while summer provides longer, warmer daylight hours, so guests should consider their options. In addition, weekdays and non-holidays generally result in fewer crowds. Regardless, you can find optimal discounts on hotels, parks, and vacation packages via Tripster Los Angeles.

With that being said, Universal Studios Hollywood presents several amazing seasonal events, including:

Where to Stay

Dozens of accommodation choices enable guests to opt for hotels that meet their comfort and budget needs. Depending on your transportation methods to the parks, consider staying in a hotel nearby. That way, a short drive via rental car, shuttle, or ride share options won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Additionally, numerous hotels provide free shuttle services to the parks for guests’ convenience. Furthermore, many hotels feature complimentary breakfasts, pools, WiFi, restaurants, fitness facilities, and much more. You’ll feel as if you’re at home after a full day of fun and thrills.

Universal Studios Hollywood Tips

Stuart Sevastos / Flickr

Ticket Options

How long are you spending at the parks? Are you a California resident? Do you live nearby and go often? Take advantage of ticket discounts and reflect on ticket options based on your vacation needs:

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California Resident: California residents can look into discounts on one-day and express tickets (available online only and valid for the date you purchase them).

1-Day General Admission: Perfect for one specific day of admission for all rides, shows, and attractions.

1-Day Anytime: Optimal for guests unsure of when they want to visit but note that guests will pay gate prices.

2-Day General Admission: Save money when attending for two days so you can space out what you wish to experience rather than rush through rides and attractions.

Universal Express Pass: Slightly more expensive than a general ticket, but you can skip lines. Priced by age, kids ages two and younger get in for free. Read below for more details.

VIP Experience: Go behind the scenes with guided tours and receive priority access to all rides, shows, and attractions.

Season Passes: Travel often or live nearby? It can be worth it to purchase a season pass. Note that details vary and season passes can grant added perks such as free parking.

In general, note that kids ages two and younger get in for free. Also, those who purchase tickets online can access Wizarding World one hour before the park opens, although most people tend to buy online these days.

Universal Express Pass & Go Los Angeles Card

Universal Express Pass

Depending on how you prefer to spend your day at the parks, a Universal Express Pass may be the right option. They cost more than a normal ticket, but the benefits make it worth it if you and your family want to ride and see everything. And if you’re visiting during peak season when crowds make wait times longer, we recommend looking into the pass options. Rather than waiting upwards of two hours for some popular rides, you can pretty much walk right onto the ride! Also, guests with passes can arrive early to shows.

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Furthermore, guests possess multiple choices and can upgrade their ticket at any point in the park. For instance, the Express ticket can only be used one time per ride, so if you want to use an Express pass for rides multiple times, choose the Unlimited Universal Express option. That is not to say you can’t ride the ride again if you don’t get the Unlimited option–you may just have to wait in a long line. Also, you can upgrade an Express ticket, regular park ticket, or season pass. However, passes are limited, so consider buying them in advance.

Go Los Angeles Card

The Go Los Angeles Card enables guests to maximize savings during their vacation. Guests can save up to 50% off retail prices on admission to over 30 popular attractions and tours, including Universal Studios Hollywood. All 3, 5, o4 7 day passes include one-day general admission to Universal Studios. If you plan on doing more than the parks, give thought to this option.

Jeremy Thompson / Flickr

What to Pack for A Day at the Parks

Bring whatever items make your trip more convenient, and note that if you forget something, you’re likely to find it in any gift shop. With that being said, here is a list of potentially helpful items to help you save money, time, and stress.

  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hand wipes
  • Poncho or rain jacket
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Extra cash
  • Headache medicine
  • Fanny pack
  • Motion sickness remedies
external view of Harry Potter's Castle at Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida, USA

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

General Universal Studios Hollywood Tips

To guarantee a fantastic visit to the parks, consider these insider tips:

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1) Arrive when the park opens.

2) Eat breakfast before you arrive.

3) Download the app so you can check showtimes and line waiting times, as well as purchase tickets.

4) Don’t purchase souvenirs until the end of the day so you don’t have to carry them around all day.

5) Grab a bite to eat during off times for shorter lines.

6) Ride water rides in the morning or mid-afternoon so you can dry off, or bring a poncho.

7) Guests with special needs can be accommodated and should call at least two weeks ahead of time to ensure their needs are met.

8) Take advantage of single rider lines rather than waiting in large groups when possible.

9) Use Child Switch rooms for various rides so you can wait in line together and then swap when the first adult returns from riding. You can find out which rides have this option on the park maps.

Have the Best Time at Universal Studios Hollywood

Now that you know the top Universal Studios Hollywood tips, you’re ready for your next family adventure. Which rides are you excited to experience?

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