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Universal Studios

Los Angeles, California, USA


Universal Studios is the motion picture studio where many famous films have been shot. It's also an amusement park, with movie-themed rides and great shows!
-My favorite show of all is Waterworld, which takes place on the actual film set. The stunts are truly amazing, with people leaping from tall buildings into the water, doing aerial maneuvers on jetskis and dodging pyrotechnics. You have to see it! Seating is outdoors with slight shade cover.
-The Special Effects show is a great indoor show with air-conditioning. Hosted by two park staff members, it tells you how special effects are created. It's more surprising than it might appear at first and includes a man being set on fire- scary.
-Animal Actors has cute monkeys, dogs, and birds doing tricks.
-Some people like to see Ollivanders, which is a very short performance inside a wand shop in Harry Potter land. It is not worth the long wait in line.

-Go first to the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride because lines are long. It is a very jerky ride with blurry 3D imagery. If you don't want to ride it, you can stand in line with your loved ones and see all the cool stuff in the castle, and then exit before the ride.
-Ride the Flight of the Hippogriff outdoor rollercoaster early in the day over and over while lines are short. It is such a short ride that it doesn't warrant standing in line for. It's fun though!
-The Studio Tram Tour has been around since I was little. Go on it early in the day or at the end of the day because the line is LOOOOONG. The ride lasts for an hour. The tram shows film clips of movies while you ride through the actual movie sets. You will see the sets for Old Western movies, Desperate Housewives, Psycho, and Jaws. You will encounter 3D dinosaurs and King Kong (this part is the best!), and be part of a high speed car chase (Fast & Furious)! This part of the ride can jerk your neck around a bit. You will watch a flood pour down the street towards you. Very young kids may find it exhausting.
-Jurassic Park takes you peacefully through the primordial forest until at the end it suddenly drops you for a wet, scary plunge! Certain seats on this ride get more drenched than others, so watch the passengers at the end of the ride and choose your seat accordingly! During hot days the ride is set to 'extreme' and you will get very wet, but you won't mind. This ride is not that beautiful or amazing so if you're scared of hurting your back during the plunge, skip it.
-Revenge of the Mummy, a rollercoaster ride for thrill-seekers, takes you jostling through Egyptian chambers and passageways and terrifies you with laser images of skeleton warriors. This roller coaster is unusual in that there is no big hill it goes up to gain speed since it is indoors. It accelerates very rapidly- aaaah, watch out for the wall!
-The Simpsons ride is a humorous ride with an initial drop that feels like you are falling off a cliff. Our son was very impressed so we ended up going twice.
-Despicable Me Minion Mayhem (kids must be 40" to ride) is one of those horrible, jerky rides. If you don't like jerky rides or don't want a sore neck and headache for days after your visit, take one of the stationary seats and enjoy the visuals, which are impressive. I was so happy I did this!
-The Transformers 3D ride is another very jerky ride but kids love it.
-As you walk through The Walking Dead, zombies, flashing lights, guards with guns, and lots of creepy beings will terrify you.

For Little Kids
-Silly Swirly Fun Ride is a ride in two-seater insect vehicles. It goes round in a large circle and kids can control how high their vehicles go. It actually takes you pretty high for some great views of LA.
-Super Silly Fun Land is a waterplay area with a huge water dump, flying foam balls, and water guns!

Tips to Make Your Day Go Well
Remember: Get to Universal Studios half an hour before it opens to avoid long lines at the rides! Also, it's not always warm and sunny in LA like you'd expect- bring a sweater.
If you're hungry while in the park, eat at Three Broomsticks, in Harry Potter land, where you can get fantastic Butter Beer (a sweet drink) and delicious meat pies! Ask for a side of minted peas!
If you're hungry at the end of the day, there's a neon-lit strip called Universal City. Here you can go shopping and eat at restaurants such as Bubba Gump Shrimp Company or Hard Rock Cafe. Overall, you will be maxed out with stimulation by the time you leave, so count on a meltdown from your child!
A tip: In the afternoon when it gets too busy and wait times for rides are over an hour, leave the main park (get your hand stamped), catch a 3D movie, eat at Bubba Gump's, watch the sky divers do their amazing tricks in the sky-dive tube, and then return at 6pm. Wait times will be short again! And on hot days, the blistering heat will be gone!

Things to Do Nearby
Not too far away, another awesome place to go with kids is the La Brea Tar Pits, where mammoths and other ancient animals were preserved forever in the sticky tar seepage.
Other amusement parks to enjoy are my favorite Disneyland, and Six Flags Magic Mountain, a true rollercoaster park.

Photo Gallery

The Jurassic Park ride.

Movie set of a street scene.

Wild West movie set, as seen from the Tram Tour.

Bank and hotel on a movie set.

A Hollywood-generated flood...

Incredible stunts in the Waterworld show.

The fiery end of the Waterworld show!

Walking in Harry Potter land.

Flight of the Hippogriff rollercoaster in Harry Potter land.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride.

Stained glass in the waiting area for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride.

The amazing interior of the waiting area for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

The castle in Harry Potter land!

I love Harry Potter land!

The entrance to Harry Potter land.

Gorgeous architecture in Harry Potter land.

Love the curving chimneys in Harry Potter land.

Cruising in Harry Potter land.

More snow-covered rooftops.

The tram that takes you around the Studio Tour.

The tram enters a tunnel.

The cars from Back to the Future.

The car from Flintstones!

A wild west town.

Amity Island sign.

Houses from Desperate Housewives.

Another house from Desperate Housewives.

The ceiling and chandelier in the Three Broomsticks restaurant.

A little taste of France.

You're in Paris!

Water play area where a bucket dumps water on your head.

View from Silly Swirly Fun Ride.

Insect vehicles you board for Silly Swirly Fun Ride.

Super Silly Fun Land is very colorful.

The colorful store facades.

A band plays as people walk around.

Girl who does stunts in the Waterworld show.

Man hanging by his feet in the Waterworld show.

An airplane lands on the water in the Waterworld show.

Views of LA.

The people mover that takes you to the lower area way lower down.

Revenge of the Mummy entrance.

The Jurassic Park ride has a lush atmosphere.

Wet, scary drop at the end of the Jurassic Park ride!

Riders laugh at getting wet.

Transformers entrance.

Cool interior of the Revenge of the Mummy ride waiting area. Nice and air-conditioned too!

Views of mountains and blue sky.

What hanging baskets look like in LA!

Back in England again...

Harry Potter land never gets old!

E.T. painted on the wall in the parking lot.

Universal City is impressive.

Giant guitar outside Hard Rock Cafe.

Dancing fountain.

View above you in Universal City.

Jamba Juice, in Universal City.

Floating candles.

Ben & Jerry's Icecream.

A gorgeous view as you look up. California palms and impressive architecture.

The Universal globe fountain.


This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.

Universal Studios is located slightly north of downtown LA, at 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City CA.
From the 101 Freeway northbound, exit at Universal Studios Blvd- can't forget that! Follow the signs to Universal Studios. There is plenty of parking in their lots.
From the 101 Freeway southbound, exit at Lankershim Blvd. Turn right. Continue right under the freeway overpass. Universal Studios will be on your right side. There is plenty of parking in their lots, for $25.
Hours and Prices
Hours vary so check their website. If you buy your tickets at their website, you can save money and save waiting in line! Tickets are around $129 for California residents for three days. You can also buy tickets at Costco.
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