10 Tips for a Universal Studios Hollywood Vacation!

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10 Tips for a Universal Studios Hollywood Vacation!

Have you been to Universal Studios in Hollywood California before? It's such a fun vacation spot! I've been twice now and both experiences were very different. I'm going to tell you all about it and give you ten tips so you can plan the perfect vacation experience. 

This is considering just a one day experience at Universal Studios--tell me in the comments if you have a tip too! Check out my previous trip at this post.

I was not compensated for this trip. I bought the tickets at full price online. All opinions are mine.

Tip #1: Fast Pass versus General Admission:

Trying to decide on getting the fast passes versus the general admission. The first time I went to Universal Studios, I got the Express Passes. This allows you to go through the Express line one time per ride. This is helpful to keep you moving through the park quickly and being able to get through all the desired rides, plus time for more rides.

This time with my kids and husband, we opted for just the general admission lines. The lines were long and brutal. We waited in line for 2 hours for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey...and it was rough. However, by the end of the night the line was only 15 minutes, so we rushed through it a second time.

The biggest factor is price. It's nearly $100 bucks more per person for the Express pass. So I didn't justify that price increase. It's pretty nice if you can swing it though! We were able to go on every ride we wanted and a couple of them twice without the Express pass.

Use the Universal Studios app and keep tabs on which lines are the fastest...they tend to slow down near the end of the day, so maybe wait and see.

Tip #2: Which Ride First?

Okay, the majority of people enter the gates and make their way around the upper level. Or they head straight to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Instead of going from beginning to end...just head to the Lower level first, then go to the Upper level after lunch. You'll get the most out of the wait times if you go the distance first.

Tip #3: Going to the Shows!

We love going to the live action shows. Get to the shows early (Waterworld is lots of fun!) people in green seats get soaked--even on January 2nd! The shows fill up like lines, but they are a great break from standing in lines and walking on your feet. It's just nice to give your legs a break.

However, if show's aren't your thing...during shows is a great time to hit big rides, because there will be less people waiting in lines.

Tip #4: FOOD at Universal Studios

Can we say Hangry? All the walking, standing and waiting can really wear you out. It's easy to get a little bit irritable. I wanted to bring in some food, but I read somewhere that you can't. So let me clarify...you can bring in food...just not coolers. So load up your backpack with some PB&J sandwiches, granola bars and snacks!

Food all around Universal Studios is expensive! Of course we bought a few things, but couldn't justify the amount of snacks we would have liked. A single hot dog is 12 bucks. So pack some snacks, but plan on a yummy meal at the 3 Broomsticks in Harry Potter land.

We got the family meal at the Three Broomsticks, it's perfect for 4 or more people. It was a lot of food, but my kids were so happy to have a really delicious meal instead of deep fried junk food.

A giant fresh salad to start with and then ribs, chicken, corn on the cob, roasted potatoes and vegetables. This was worth the money for sure!

Tip #5: Wear Good Shoes

I cannot emphasize this enough. My legs were so hurt and tired by the end of the night, we were at Universal Studios from 9 AM to 10 PM. Plus walking in and back to the parking lot is another trek. Wear the most comfortable shoes. Bring some moleskin if you are prone to blisters, it's a good idea to keep some in your backpack just in case.

Tip #6: Bring a Phone Charger to Universal Studios Hollywood

My phone is the worst and the battery drains down so fast. However, it's fun to play phone party games while waiting in line, so make sure you have some battery back-up! 

Check out this one from Amazon

Tip #7: Playing Games in Line!

We played a lot of games while waiting in lines. We were in some pretty long lines during the afternoon. Here's some games we came up with to play in long lines: Heads UP (guessing game phone app), hand clapping games--like the elementary school chanting games, slapping games--we ended up with red hands, Would you Rather, Guess Who, 20 Questions, hand ocarina, and finger whistles.

Tip #8: Motion Sickness at Universal Studios Hollywood

Okay, right off the bat we went to the Kung Fu Panda theater ride and everything was fine. After that we headed to the Simpsons Ride. I totally forgot that my husband gets super motion sick...this was a mistake! If you get motion sick, do not ride the Simpsons Ride or the Harry Potter ride.

However, they sell dramamine at each of the gift shops--it's about 3 bucks for 2 small pills, but worth it if you are super sick. My husband struggled for a couple more hours with us, but ultimately left the park and walked the 5 miles back to our Airbnb. I know, crazy, right!?

Do you get motion sick?

Tip #9: Weather Appropriate Clothing

Depending on the time of year you go to Universal Studios, it can be cold. Early morning and late nights were cold and day was warm. My daughter was the only one with a jacket and we passed it around to keep warm at night.

There are lockers for storage and it's easy to tie around the waist, so make sure you are prepared if it gets cold.

The Jurassic World ride has the potential to get you wet, so keep that in mind when riding it in the cold. The back row is the "driest", that's where we sat but still got some spray.

Tip #10 of Universal Studios Vacation: Enjoy the City Walk

The City Walk is a giant outdoor mall that leads you from the parking lots to the theme park. There's restaurants and stores. It's great if you need some comfy shoes or sunglasses. Better if you have a couple days at the park so you don't waste ride time though! 

All the stores are open after Universal Studios park closes, so plan on shopping around and eating to wait out the parking lot crowds. Prices at the stores we went to were the same as if we were shopping at our local mall.

That's it! 

Those are my tips! Do you think I missed anything? 

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Here's my Universal Studio post from 2017 when I went on a Girls Trip.

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