I spent a week in Los Angeles in February with friends who used to live in Boston, they’ve recently moved on the West Coast. We meet up just before 9am, 7 grown-ups and a baby to spend the day at Universal Studios Hollywood. I am not used to go to amusement park, I’ve never been to any DisneyLand; when I was young, my parents would take us on hikes or cultural holidays, which I didn’t like as a teenager. There was just this one time when I went to a park called “Walibi” with my godfather. I loved it!
I had a great time at Universal Studios, but don’t take my word too seriously: I’m a noob. 2 factors have also contributed to a great day: our friends, and friends of friends were super motivated and happy to be there, and the weather was delightful. Sunny and warm in the middle of February, coming from Boston, that was ideal.
Universal Studios Hollywood, what is it exactly?
At first, when Trish told me we would go to Universal Studios, I thought we would simply follow a guide in the middle of the sets and studios, maybe see a famous person or two. But it’s not exactly like that. Universal Studios is an amusement park, the theme is “movies”, big block busters. There’s also a studio tour, as part of another “ride”.
I’ll talk about the details of our day there, but first of, some info:
We can hear the very recognizable music from Universal when we step into the park
How much is it: there are many options, a day-pass ($109-119), 2 days ($139-169), the fast-pass ($179-259). I took for Manu and I a daily pass, and we had the time to do 5 rides, we could probably have done one more thing, but we left at 5pm. The parking isn’t free: 25$/car.
- Tickets are cheaper during the week. If you plan to go several times, the annual pass is a good deal.
- Weather: I was there mid-February, and the temperature was around 25C (77F). It can be really hot in summertime
- Crowd: it gets pretty crowded during the summer. Plan accordingly, and arrive as early as you can. The fast-lane tickets are pricy, their price tag starts at $179
- Family friendly: all the rides have a kids and switch room. We parted the group in 2, and when one group was done, we took care of the kid of our friends while they did their ride on their own.
- There’s food available everywhere, from the healthiest option to the greasiest.
There’s another Universal Studios in Florida, in Orlando, a much bigger version. The nice thing about the Hollywood park is that we are in the capital of the movie industry, in Los Angels, and therefore we can visit real studios.
The Harry Potter World
It’s weird to see some snow on roof in sunny California
Ollivander’s, the wand store
The flying blue car
While waiting, we can admire the animations and walls of the school
Special lift towards Dumbledore’s office
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- The studio tour. My favorite.
- Transformers. #2 favorite
- Jurassic Park. A water ride.
- Revenge of the Mummy. A quick and intense ride, in the dark!
- Walking Dead a short but realistic (too realistic) walk through activity
We didn’t have time to do these rides and shows:
- The Simpsons
- Special Effects Show
- Despicable Me
25 minutes way
Ultra colored world of the Simpsons
Old school water ride: Jurassic Park
One of my favorite rides: Transformers! I’ve never seen the movie, but I loved being in the middle of a robot fight
Almost like Montmartre
Walking Dead walkthrough
The studio tour
That’s not to be missed. I was so surprised to experience something more than just a train ride in the middle of sets.
On our train
Nice colors in this fake village
Real fake decors
Set of Jaws
Flash Flood Alert!
One of my favorite moment: the Bates Motel and the house! Scary!
A really impressive plane crash set from The War of the Worlds