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Universal Studios Hollywood & Universal CityWalk

Attractions, Theme parks Universal City
4 out of 5 stars
(9user reviews)
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Photograph: Michael JulianoStudio Tour at Universal Studios.
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Photograph: Michael JulianoStudio Tour at Universal Studios.
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Photograph: Michael JulianoStudio Tour at Universal Studios.
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Photograph: Michael JulianoStudio Tour at Universal Studios.
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Photograph: Michael JulianoStudio Tour at Universal Studios.

Time Out says

Though the rides lack both Disneyland’s charm and the sheer terror inspired by Six Flags Magic Mountain, Universal Studios Hollywood’s hillside theme park offers some worthwhile thrills fueled by silver-screen memories and an illusion of Hollywood glamor.

The star theme park attraction at the century-old studio is one of its most recent additions: the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The lauded land is simply magical, overflowing with the whimsical charms (and sweets) of the iconic book series. Meander the witch and wizard suppliers in Hogsmeade Village and you’ll arrive at Hogwarts Castle and its thrilling Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. For Potterheads, this land alone may make a visit to Universal worthwhile, so make sure to dive into our full guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Elsewhere in the park, things can be a little hit and miss. Jurassic World: The Ride transports the beloved ’90s attraction into the newest phase of the franchise with a tiki bar out front and a mix of animatronic and digital dinos inside; what it’s lost in the spine-tingling wonder of the original it’s gained in loud, wet fun. Elsewhere on the lower lot, the Transformers ride is a slick but muddy crash course in Michael Bay robot carnage, while Revenge of the Mummy is a short but action-packed launch through a movie property you may have otherwise forgotten.

You’ll find a mix of 3-D movies and stage shows—of all things, Waterworld is an entertaining highlighton the upper lot, as well as themed areas and attractions for Despicable Me and The Simpsons. Kids will appreciate Minion Mayhem and the adjacent Super Silly Fun Land, though neither are as engaging as you’d wish. If you can stomach the highly nauseating Simpsons Ride, you’ll be rewarded with a bit of clever and wild entertainment. The adjacent restaurant-filled Springfield nails its Simpsons references but comes up short with its food offerings and some rather drab interiors. That seems to be the norm here: Everything feels about 80% of the way there—especially when taking into consideration the steep and still-climbing ticket prices—but the park continues to show some significant improvements each year.

Universal’s original attraction is also one of its highlights: the studio tour. Most of your time is spent carting through diverse backlot sets of New York, a mutt of European villages, the Old West and familiar movie landmarks—most impressively the 747 crash site from War of the Worlds. The majority of actual live filming is securely tucked away, but Universal compensates with preplanned encounters that mimic special effects: a wet and fiery earthquake simulation, a sudden flash flood and that delightfully rubbery, toothy grin on the face of Bruce—a.k.a. Jaws. While the 3-D motion simulation that replaced the iconically campy (and burned down) King Kong section is a welcome technical upgrade, the tunnel lacks the same immersion and charm of the original—the same can sadly be said for the similarly dizzying and ill-executed Fast & Furious: Supercharged segment.

Forget exiting through the gift shop: Here’s it’s the precise opposite. You can’t reach Universal Studios without strolling down CityWalk, a loud, colorful and confined pedestrianized street crammed with restaurant chains and souvenir stores. There’ve been some welcome additions in recent years, though, like LudoBird, Voodoo Doughnut and the Karl Strauss Brewing Company.

RECOMMENDED: See more studio tours in Los Angeles

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Details

Address: 100 Universal City Plaza
Los Angeles

Price: Universal Studios $109–$139; CityWalk free; Parking $27
Contact:
Opening hours: Hours vary by day: call or check online for full details, incl closing times. Universal Studios: Summer usually from 9am daily. Winter usually 10am-6pm daily. Citywalk 11am-9pm Mon-Thur, Sun; 11am-11pm Fri, Sat.
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  • Festivals Until Sunday November 3 2019

Users say (9)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|9
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Having grown in the valley US was always a stone's throw away from anything! 


I recently got a season pass for $110 from Costco and it was one of the best deals they had! This place has changed so much since I first came here as a kid but absolutely love it.


The rides are fun but are quite similar in which they're all the 3D style with the moving seats.  Harry Potter castle is a huge draw for this theme park and with the recent night time light show, it just makes it amazing! 

tastemaker

Universal is the park to go to. You can take the metro. It's reasonable. They have full bars all over the park. Food is amazing. And HARRY POTTER! Get a butter beer you won't regret it. The passes are really affordable and if you live in the area it's definitely worth it. I suggest buying a Gold Pass via Costco. You get free parking, food discounts and almost no blackout dates! Be careful on weekends and during the summer - the park gets very crowded and hot! Ps you can bring a drink on the tram and you definitely should because it's a bit of a long experience haha. Enjoy it!


A fun place to go! Shoot for a weekday or even a gloomy (possible chance of rain) day and the lines will be significantly shorter. The park is not incredibly huge and it's not full of roller coasters but they have some awesome special effects rides/tours. I'd definitely recommend the Jurassic Park ride, The Mummy ride and the Despicable me simulator. Also, if you're a fan of donuts- The Simpson ginormous donut is an absolute must (very Instagram worthy). Not to mention the infamous VooDoo donuts that will be located on CityWalk soon.

Tastemaker

So I'm a super big kid and having been to the Orlando one at the point when I visited I was really looking forward to this!

It didn't disappoint for me, as I'm fairly easy to please with things like this. We spent the best part of the day here, wandering around trying out different rides and taking lots of pictures with all of the different characters.

My favourite ride was the Mummy ride, scary and thrilling enough to whet my appetite. You won't get much more scarier rides here as its more of an all around attraction and a little less about the rides themselves. At least that's what I gathered.

I managed to get pictures with the Simpsons, the minions and various other goodies AND baddies throughout the day.

I unfortunately just missed the opening of the Wizarding World here, but have been the Orlando Wizarding world, since coming here so don't feel I've missed a thing.

Tips:

Pop into 'Moe's' in the Simpson world, it really feels like you could be a part of the Simpsons!

Try one of their donuts too, they're delicious!

Have a go on the Mummy and Transformer rides as they definitely the best on offer.

One of the best attractions in LA for me!

tastemaker

Probably the only reason why I returned after 10 years was to check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! However, it does fall short of the sister resort in Orlando where there is much more going on in terms of the butterbeer, getting sorted, etc. That being said, not too much as changed in the last 10 years. Some classic rides are the Mummy ride and Jurassic park. Unless you're willing to cough up the price equal to that of a plane ticket to somehwere nearby (which I prefer), you'll likely be spending most of your day waiting in line for 30 second rides. Enjoy! 

tastemaker

You’re still gonna cough up $100 + on tickets, but it might be worthwhile to upgrade to an annual pass if you’re a Socal Resident. It’s like $20 - $30 more for the full year vs just the one day admission. There will be a lot of black out dates, but at least having the annual pass gives you the option to go spontaneously on a Thursday or Friday night.

With the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter, there is definitely more incentive to go to the park. (and cheaper than Disneyland). Just a heads up – if your friends who’ve been to the Orlando Harry Potter have told you all these amazing things, believe them, but know that the Hollywood location is WAY SMALLER and not as magical. Two rides only (a Hippogriff one which can be skipped, and the Forbidden Journey one which is a 3D ride). Butterbeer is amazing. The interactive wands seemed to not be too interactive the day I went. It’s still worthwhile to browse the shops in Hogsmeade.

For other areas of the park, the Transformer ride is definitely the best. The lockers are also free and keyless which is great if you need to store a bag before a ride.

You can totally take food into the park (snacks, water) just to help lower your cost or prevent you from hitting up Cinnabon 3 times in one day J


I've Always Wanted To Do This And It Seems So Cool But I Need To Know Is It A Waste Of Money


Some real quality rides and good viewing of some iconic hollywood props etc. Very well laid-out especially how you access the lower-level attractions via a few escalators that decend to the backside of the studios. This is also where you take the back-lot tour- a very generous 90 min tram ride that is very fun. Comparable value to Disneyland however it is $$ and there is only one fixed price for entry per person; no child prices.