During our visit to Los Angeles, it was essential for us to plan a visit to at least one movie studio. Our choice was the theme park: Universal Studios Hollywood.
Today, I’m offering you my feedback with advice to help you prepare for your future visit to Universal Studios in Los Angeles.
How to get to Universal Studios Los Angeles?
Universal Studios Hollywood is in Universal City, a small city 3 miles north of Hollywood Boulevard and west of Griffith Park.
Its exact address is: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608.
There are several ways to get to the entrance of the studios.
Universal Studios Hollywood is easily accessible by car via Highway 101, which runs through Los Angeles.
There are 3 paid parking lots available, ranging from $25 to $50 per day depending on the location. The closer you park, the more you pay.
The city of Los Angeles is served by 6 subway lines. Depending on your location, you can easily get to Universal Studios by this means of transportation. It’s also the cheapest way to get there; today, a ticket costs $1.75, or $3.50 round trip per person.
The B line, known as the Red Line until 2020, serves them with the Universal/Studio City stop.
Cab or Uber
If you don’t have a car when you visit Los Angeles, you can also choose to take a cab or an Uber to Universal.
We had chosen our accommodation in Los Angeles in the downtown area, because it was closer to the Lakers Crypto.com Arena. To go to Universal Hollywood Studios, we took an Uber. It was faster and more convenient.
Our apartment was in downtown Los Angeles, 10 miles from the Studios. The ride took about 20 minutes to Universal in the morning (after 9a.m.) and 50 minutes to get back in the late afternoon (rush hour).
The price was less than $35 round trip.
How much does it cost to visit Universal Studios in Los Angeles?
To visit Universal Studios, you have the choice between 3 types of admission:
- General Admission: this is the standard admission to visit the park and access the attractions over 1 or 2 days.
- Universal Express: this is a ticket that cuts through the line, which is very useful on busy days to avoid waiting in line for hours at all the attractions and shows.
- VIP Experience: This ticket allows you to enjoy the benefits of the Express, a guided tour (including backstage), a meal and a snack as well as a valet service.
Prices vary depending on the day and time of year. They are higher during peak periods, especially during vacations and weekends.
|1-day General Admission||2-day General Admission||Universal Express (1 jour)||VIP Expérience (1 jour)|
|Adult : 10 years and +||From $109||From $149||From $199||From $369|
|Child : 3 to 9 years||From $103||From $143|
|Baby: 3 years or less||Free||Free||Free|
What are the opening hours of Universal Studios Hollywood?
Just like prices, the theme park’s opening hours can change. The hours are updated on the Universal Studios Hollywood website. The park opens at 9 or 10 a.m. and closes at night between 6 and 10 p.m.
How long to visit Universal Studios Los Angeles?
I advise you to visit during a whole day to discover the park.
We went there during the week in October, and it was still crowded even if it was far from being crowded like in the summer. Except for 1 or 2 popular attractions, the access was quite fluid, and we did not have to wait long. If my memories are right, the maximum waiting time we had at an attraction must have been about 30/40 minutes.
We stayed in the park all day, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., having done all the attractions we wanted to do.
During vacations and weekends, it is better to plan to arrive at the opening of the studios and do the most popular attractions first (the Studio Tour, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, etc.). Then, you do the rest until closing time.
Can I eat at Universal Studios Los Angeles?
Of course, you can eat in the park. You can bring your own picnic in your backpack or you can buy food in one of the shops. You have a wide choice of snack bars and restaurants and they often use the image of the park’s heroes like Harry Potter and The Simpsons.
We didn’t stop for a real meal. We simply bought a donut at Lard Lad Donuts in Springfield U.S.A. I did say a donut, for 2! And strangely enough, we weren’t hungry afterwards…
The main attractions of Universal Studios in Los Angeles
I am not going to list all the attractions available at Universal. And, some change may exist since your visit. Nevertheless, I’m going to focus on the main places of the park, the ones we particularly liked during our visit.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Do you like Harry Potter? As a fan myself, I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed. The world of Harry Potter at Universal Studios is a large part of the park dedicated to the wizard saga. We discovered there:
- very realistic sets and reconstructions of Hogwarts, Crossroads, Hogsmeade…
- two attractions,
- animations like in the Ollivanders’ store,
- beer and many other dishes from the books,
- stores from the world of Harry Potter: Zonko, Honeydukes…
Springfield U.S.A. – The Simpsons
Another great part of the park, Springfield U.S.A. immersed us in the Simpsons universe. The scenery is beautiful, colorful and crazy, just like the TV show. This part of the park offers in particular :
- The Simpsons Ride attraction,
- Apu’s Kwik-E-Mart,
- 9 food and beverage outlets including Moe’s Tavern and Krusty Burger.
The World-Famous Studio Tour
The Studio Tour is a must to discover the sets of many movies and TV shows. It’s a mix between studio visits and attractions. During nearly an hour, we went on board the little train which made us discover
- the studios and sets commented by a video,
- a demonstration of special effects
- animations with extras at the time of the passage of the train,
- an action-packed finale on the theme of Fast & Furious
WaterWorld is THE big show proposed by Universal Studios Hollywood. Based on the 1995 film of the same name, it offers impressive action scenes for 20 minutes. Between water, explosions and fire, stunts and special effects are numerous to ensure an entertaining show.
At the beginning, we were circumspect by the choice of WaterWorld, an old movie that I didn’t even watch (Denis dit it, but he is older than me) … But it is an excellent idea. Even without knowing or loving the movie, the show is immersive.
Our opinion about Universal Studios Hollywood – Los Angeles
We are not very used to theme parks, and we really enjoyed this playful discovery of the studios. The sets are magnificent and the attractions really make us feel the different universes. We had a very good time.
Nevertheless, we saw some negative points:
- the price: at $100 or more per person per day, the budget for a family vacation can quickly be high.
- the crowd: even outside of the vacations, it’s very crowded. I think that especially in the middle of summer, it must be quite frustrating to spend hours in the queues.
There are tickets available for those who want to cut the line, but they are more expensive.
To conclude, we do not regret at all our choice to visit Universal Studios Hollywood rather than another studio when we came to Los Angeles. Whether you’re two lovers, a bunch of friends or a family, this is a theme park to do once in a lifetime, but not necessarily more. If you can, make your visit during a workday and arrive early in the morning.
If we were to return to Los Angeles, we’d be more tempted to check out other more traditional (and less expensive) studios like Warner Bros. and Paramount rather than to visit a second time Universal Studios.