Whether you’re cruising along Sunset Boulevard or seeking out the rich and famous in the Hollywood Hills, there’s something that hits just a little different on the west coast and the same can most definitely be said for Universal.
You’d probably think you’ve done one Universal, you’ve done them all…however having visited three (Florida, Singapore and Hollywood) I can confirm that Hollywood is definitely a little special.
Tucked away in Universal City, don’t let that fool you – Universal Hollywood is the absolute hub of entertainment and a must-visit attraction when visiting LA. At the intersection of movie history, modern day thrills and future innovation, it’s so much more than a theme park.
Suitable for the whole family, Universal is a fantastic attraction that appeals to all ages. Nicely laid out, it’s not overwhelming and can easily be enjoyed at leisure over a couple of days.
A real highlight of the park is the backlot tour. Exclusive to Universal Studios Hollywood, it’s an hour-long shuttle ride that meanders through the working lots and sets on site (if you get lucky you may even catch a live shoot with a famous face or two!)
Jam-packed with history and all the behind the scenes gossip from the black and white era through to future TV and movie productions, it’s a carefully balanced tour that combines industry knowledge with fun, immersive experiences and a few hidden surprises – keep an eye out for the creepy guest at the Bates Motel from Psycho!
The constant drip feed of information and phenomenon scenery result in the fastest hour and only leaves you wanting more.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a breath-taking experience. Stepping into this area of the park catapults you straight into a scene from the popular movie franchise. Immersing yourself in the intricate details that align so closely to the film is phenomenal. Smaller than it’s Orlando counterpart, yet lesser crowds provide a more relaxed environment inviting you to really take in the sights, smells and tastes. Explore the village of Hogsmeade and grab a frozen butterbeer from The Three Broomsticks, some jellied frogs from Honeydukes and find a wand at Ollivanders for the ultimate keepsakes.
In addition there’s two fantastic rides – the mysterious Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey inside Hogwarts castle, and family-friendly coaster Flight of the Hippogriff. If you visit during the evening hours or over the festive season, you can also catch a special light show projected onto the castle.
This is Universal after all so of course we have to talk about the rides! In one of the most family-friendly theme park offerings in California, the park has taken some of it’s top productions, such as Jurassic Park, Despicable Me and Transformers, and turned them into some great immersive rides. 4D cinemas, coasters and thrill rides are plentiful but not too vast providing a good mix for the whole family to enjoy together.
A great way to break the day up for younger visitors is by taking in some of Universal’s high production shows. There’s a daily schedule to enjoy including our faves – Animal Actors learning how they train animals from some of their latest blockbusters, to Waterworld special effects stunt show.
If, and it’s a big if, you’re still after more, CityWalk comes alive at night offering a huge range of restaurants, shops and more entertainment options just outside the park. Whether you’re after an Insta-worthy cocktail, salsa in the street or some evening musical entertainment, there’s a decent selection of American restaurants, bars and nightclubs to keep the party vibes going!
A one-day ticket to Universal Studios Hollywood costs from £87 per adult and £82 per child aged 3-9, booking through AttractionTickets.com. Tickets are gate-ready offering instant entry to the park, bypassing the ticket and voucher lines. Tickets can be printed or shown on a smartphone and for a limited time, you can get a second day’s visit for free with AttractionTickets.com. The second visit can be taken any time within six days of the first visit.