A Tourist's Guide to Universal Studios Hollywood

During my (two-month) long winter break, I did nothing but watch Netflix and sleep...and go to Universal Studios.

I am a proud USH annual pass holder, and I've definitely gone enough times to breakeven the cost of the pass itself. Here's my guide to making the most of your trip to the entertainment capital of the world!


1. Get the Universal Studios App

This app will save your life! It shows you the wait times for every ride, show times for their live performances, and even dining and shopping options. The park also provides free Wi-Fi, which is a great bonus!


2. Go straight to the Lower Lot

If you go on a weekend, it's going to be packed. The best thing to do is finish everything in the Lower Lot and work your way up. I know it's hard to just breeze by all the sights as you make your way down, but you'll thank me later! Because everyone's too caught up in The Wizarding World or Springfield, there's hardly anyone paying attention to the Lower Lot. Jurassic Park is currently being turned into Jurassic World, so half of the Lower Lot is blocked off and you've only got The Mummy & Transformers rides to get through. If the lines are short enough, you can even ride them twice!!


Character appearances:

People on stilts!! They're SUPER cool! Optimus Prime AND Bumblebee together? A rare and wonderful occurrence.


3. Lunchtime!

You can either go to Panda Express or the Studio Cafe, or back up to the Upper Lot to enjoy some more great food! My personal favorites include the Chicken and Waffles Sandwich from Cletus' Chicken Shack, and anything from The Three Broomsticks (don't forget the butterbeer!).


4. Studio Tour

Let the food settle while learning the history behind some of Universal Studios' most iconic film sets! Take a butterbeer to go, and make sure to go to the bathroom before this hour-long tour. Take lots of pictures!


5. Simpson's Ride or Despicable Me!

These rides are pretty much the same thing: both are motion simulators with a large screen, but with different characters. The Simpsons moves a lot more than Despicable Me, because you are actually lifted off the ground. Also, both sets equally qualify for great photo ops!


6. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

The moment everyone's been waiting for: THE WIZARDING WORLD! There's the main ride: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and the other ride: Flight of the Hippogriff. The Forbidden Journey is super fun, and I'm not going to describe it because it ruins the surprise! You'll definitely want to ride that multiple times. The Flight of the Hippogriff is a super short mini-coaster!

Don't forget to walk around Hogsmeade: buy some sweets from Honeyduke's, check out the Hogwarts gear, and even get your wand chosen for you at Ollivander's! There's plenty of photo ops around.

Character Appearances:

The Beaubatons & The Durmstrang performers! The Hogwarts Frog Choir!


7. Don't forget the shows!

Try watching WaterWorld for some cool action and pyrotechnics, the Animal Actors show, or the Special Effects show! They're all equally cool, but make sure to keep an eye on the showtimes so you don't miss them.


8. Thrills & Chills

A maze that never closes, The Walking Dead maze is not for the faint of heart! I personally hate being scared, but I did fall into peer pressure when all my friends went together. Some of the actors followed me, and I'm pretty sure they could smell my fear.


9. CityWalk

After a day at the park, enjoy the night lights at CityWalk! It usually closes hours after the park does, which is a great way to unwind and enjoy the stores and food!


I wish you all the best of luck with your trip!