Universal Studios Hollywood
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100 Universal City Plaza · interesting places nearby
Universal Studios Hollywood information
One of the world’s oldest continuously operating movie studios, Universal presents an entertaining mix of fairly tame – and sometimes dated – thrills, live-action shows and a tram ride. It is a working studio, but the chances of seeing any action, let alone a star, are slim to none.
Try to budget a full day, especially in summer. To beat the crowds, get there before the gates open or invest in the Front of Line Pass ($139) or the deluxe guided VIP Experience ($349). Some rides have minimum height requirements. Buying online tickets usually yields discounts and coupons.
First-timers should head straight for the 45-minute narrated Studio Tour aboard a rickety tram that drives around the sound stages in the front lot, then heads to the back lot past the crash site from War of the Worlds , vehicles from Jurassic Park , and the spooky Bates Motel from Psycho . Also prepare to brave a flash flood, survive a shark attack, a spitting dino and an 8.3-magnitude earthquake, before facing down King Kong in a new 3D exhibit created by Peter Jackson. It’s a bit hokey, but fun.
The most popular thrill ride is Jurassic Park , a gentle float through a prehistoric jungle with a rather ‘raptor-ous’ ending. Revenge of the Mummy is a short, but thrilling, indoor roller-coaster romp through ‘Imhotep’s Tomb’, that at one point has you going backwards and hits speeds of up to 45mph. A ride based on The Simpsons sends guests rocketing along with the Simpson family to experience a side of Springfield previously unexplored. You can also get a flight-simulated thrill on the new 3D Transformers ride. Another 3D ride certain to get the kids smiling is the delightful Despicable Me Minion Mayhem .
In late 2013 the park launched a $1.6 billion expansion that has already inflicted collateral damage. The Gibson Amphitheater, a 40-year-old live-music institution, which hosted countless sold-out shows and had a particularly strong connection to Latin Pop, was shut down in favor of a coming Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction.
Snack food and drinks, including beer and margaritas, are available throughout the park, although you’ll have more choices at the adjacent Universal CityWalk, a promenade of restaurants, shops, bars and entertainment venues. Be sure to get your hand stamped for re-entry. Parking costs $10 to $16. Opening hours vary by season.