Thinking about a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood? You definitely should! Today I’m sharing the top 10 things to do at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Where else can you go on an adventure with Harry, Hermoine, and Ron, eat at The Three Broomsticks and indulge in your favorite drinks and food from the Harry Potter Books, tour working movie studios, get up close and personal with a velociraptor, become a Minion for a day, and so much more?
We recently visited there as a family, and if a trip there is in your future, then you’ll enjoy our top 10 things to do at Universal Studios Hollywood. Keep reading to the end of the post for my favorite tips for making the most of your day there and traveling with kids!
Thank you to Universal Studios for providing us with tickets!
Top 10 Things to Do at Universal Studios Hollywood
#10 Springfield / The Simpsons Ride
You’ll be amazed at how accurate the colorful and vibrant town of Springfield is, home of the famous Simpsons family. You can grab a burger at Krusty Burger, enjoy a giant pink cupcake covered in sprinkles at Lard Lad Donuts, or devour a slice at Luigi’s Pizza.
Escape from Sideshow Bob’s evil clutches in The Simpson’s Ride, which was created in collaboration with “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening, and features many of the characters from the show, all voiced by the original actors.
My son was on the search for Sideshow Bob all day so that Bob could be captured by the police once and for all. 😉
#9 The Walking Dead
If you’re a fan of the most-watched show in cable television history, The Walking Dead, then you will love The Walking Dead walk through attraction where you will face real and animatronic walkers as you walk from recognizable scene to scene from the show. Universal Studios even partnered with “The Walking Dead’s” creative team, including Greg Nicotero and KNB Efx to create detailed walkers for the attraction and to make it as realistic as possible.
The attraction can be a bit intense and isn’t recommended for kids under 13. My 16 and 14-year-old loved it!
#8 Despicable Me Minion Mayhem / Super Silly Fun Land
As soon as my daughter saw Super Silly Fun Land, she excitedly said that “it looks just like in the movie!” Super Silly Fun Land is a colorful and fun interactive area based on the seaside carnival from the blockbuster movie “Despicable Me.”
The main attraction inside Super Silly Fun Land is Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, a 3D Ultra-HD adventure where riders become Minions for the duration of the ride. Each rider wears 3D “Minion goggles” to completely enjoy the experience.
We especially loved all the decor and special touches we got to see while waiting in line that were straight from the movies, like the kids’ drawings, the large family tree, and more!
#7 Raptor Encounter
If you’ve got a dinosaur fanatic like I do, then the Raptor Encounter is a must-do! It’s #7 on our top 10 things to do at Universal Studios Hollywood list. Come face to face with a 15 foot tall velociraptor, guided by their skilled trainer standing nearby to make sure that there aren’t any incidents.
The raptor encounter is a wonderful photo and video opportunity. My son was absolutely convinced that the raptor was real, and couldn’t believe that he was able to get so close to a real dinosaur!
#6 Transformers: TheRide-3D
This motion based thrill ride is based on the “Transformers” movies and is filled with non-stop action. My teenage son was in complete awe of the ride, and was able to laugh at himself after the ride because he kept ducking out of the way during the ride to avoid the 3D objects that looked like they were about to hit him!
If you’re lucky, you can meet one of the Transformers that are outside the ride throughout the day. We met Megatron, and he was truly impressive!
#5 WaterWorld—A Live Sea War Spectacular
The WaterWorld show was absolutely incredible and definitely needs to be on your Universal Studios Hollywood list! The show features jaw-dropping high-tech special effects, pyrotechnics, flames, and human stunt work that are incredible to watch. The show captivated and impressed our whole family!
Giant fireballs rising 50 feet into the air, a seaplane that swoops directly in front of the audience, and actors falling from very high platforms into the water below are just a few of the things that impressed us the most during the show.
One of the biggest highlights, however, came after the show for us. We got to meet Daryl’s stunt double from The Walking Dead, who was an actor in the WaterWorld show! You just never know who you’ll run into at Universal Studios Hollywood, which is all part of the magic at this theme park.
#4 Revenge of the Mummy- The Ride
We loved the exciting interactive elements of Revenge of the Mummy roller coaster ride!
From the unexpected launch at the beginning of the ride to the feeling of beetles on your legs to riding backwards, this ride is filled with multi-sensory experiences that will leave you wanting to ride again and again.
#3 Jurassic Park- The Ride
This classic ride based on Steven Spielberg’s epic movie is about to get a Jurassic World makeover later this year, so we were excited to go on the ride again before the change.
Guests ride into Jurassic Park and behold huge five-story high dinosaurs. My little ultra dinosaur fan was in heaven. If you go on this ride, just be prepared to get wet at the thrilling drop at the end of the ride!
#2 Studio Tour – Behind-the-Scenes Tram Ride
You absolutely have to go on the Studio Tour Benind-the-Scenes Tram Ride! It’s #2 on our top 10 things to do at Universal Studios Hollywood list.
The iconic Studio Tour has taken more than 150 million visitors behind the scenes of the movie and tv industry’s biggest hits. Jimmy Fallon narrates the videos shown on the monitors inside the trams, and shows many of the sets in their movie and tv show glory.
Famous Movie Sets
There are so many cool elements to the tour! We loved seeing the famous sets from the airline crash scene in “War of the Worlds,” Whoville from “Dr. Suess’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” the Psycho House and Bates Motel from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic “Psycho,” the clock tower and city hall from “Back To The Future,” and more.
This was definitely one of my favorite parts of the tour. A simulated downpour of rain begins on cue, then a huge flash flood appears right before your eyes with 40,000 gallons of water come crashing down.
Earthquake- The Big One
The tram goes inside a two-story sound stage to feel the effects of an 8.3 magnitude earthquake and see the fully-dressed subway station movie set ready for filming.
It’s really cool to watch the pavement collapse above you, witness the sparking power cables, a crashed 18-wheeler with flammable contents, and a huge 60,000 gallon flood take place right before your eyes!
#1 The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
At the head of our list of top 10 things to do at Universal Studios Hollywood is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The world is masterfully created down to the last detail, from the snow-capped roofs to the cobblestone streets, and you’ll love immersing yourself in all it all!
Stroll through the streets of Hogsmeade village, take your photo with the train conductor, and enjoy your favorite wizarding world shops and restaurants.
One of the higlights for us was the wand experience at Ollivanders. Guests are let into a room into small groups, where a young witch or wizard is magically paired with their perfect wand.
Guests can choose to buy a large array of wands after the experience at Ollivanders.
Most wands come in an interactive form as well, which can be used to cast spells throughout Hogsmeade. When cast correctly in the right location, each spell creates certain magic spells, such as opening a large chocolate frog box outside Honeydukes, etc. It’s definitely worth it to buy an interactive wand so your kids can experience this magic!
We bought Chocolate Frogs, Pumpkin Juice, Peppper Imps, and more at Honeydukes, the candy store from the Harry Potter books and movies. We loved experiencing our favorite wizarding treats in real life!
The coolest place for us in Hogsmeade was Three Broomsticks, where we ate delicious traditional English pub food, as well as drank the iconic butterbeer and pumpkin juice drinks from the books and movies.
Since there were six of us eating (not including our baby), we opted for The Great Feast, a huge tray filled with flavorful roasted chicken, ribs, roasted potatoes, corn, vegetables (we opted for more potatoes instead of the vegetables), and huge salad.
All six of us couldn’t even finish our meal there was so much food! We were impressed with the good quality and flavor of the food.
The atmosphere looked and felt very authentic at Three Broomsticks as well. It truly felt as if we were stepping inside the real pub! I highly recommend eating here to anyone planning a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood.
There is a TriWizard Spirit Rally show that we really enjoyed watching. Students from the magical schools Beauxbatons and Durmstrang show off their skills and legends in an exciting, fast-paced show!
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was our absolute favorite ride of the day. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a thrilling ride that takes you on a daring adventure with Harry, Ron, and Hermoine through Hogwarts and above the castle grounds.
We loved this amazing ride! Even my 16-year-old daughter said that it was the best ride she had ever been on. We ended up riding it multiple times throughout the day.
Is it any wonder that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter tops our top 10 things to do at Universal Studios Hollywood?!
Universal Studios Hollywood Tips for Making the Most of Your Day
Besides sharing our top 10 things to do at Universal Studios Hollywood, here are some bonus tips that we learned on our trip that will help you have the best day possible at Universal Studios Hollywood!
Tip #1 Get there early.
If you buy your tickets ahead of time online through the Universal Studios Hollywood website, you can get into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour early, which is a great way to beat the crowds!
Even if you buy your tickets the day of or from somewhere else, the gates to the park usually open earlier than the listed opening time. When we went the park was supposed to open at 9 am, but we were there by 8:45 and were let in early. It’s a great way to get to your favorite attractions, like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, early before most guests get there.
Tip #2 If traveling with kids, use the Child Switch program.
Since we were traveling with our three-month old, we weren’t able to take her on most of the rides. The Child Switch program at Universal Studios Hollywood was so helpful!
Here’s how it works: All of your party, including the kids not riding the ride, wait in line for the ride. At the front of the ride is a child switch room, where an adult or two can wait with the child (or children) not riding. Once the riders get off the ride, they wait with the kids. It’s a great way to save time and let both adults ride the rides.
Tip #3 Use the Single Rider option when possible.
If you have older kids and the ride lines are long, you can split up and ride as single riders. The single rider line is very short, so if you’re okay with splitting up with your group, this is a great way to save some time!
Tip #4 Get the Express Passes if you can afford them.
We had Express Passes and they were absolutely worth it!!
We went to Universal Studios Hollywood in the beginning of June, when it was hot and busy due to kids getting out of school. With our Express Passes, we were able to walk onto many of the rides and wait a much shorter time on the other rides. This also minimized our time in the hot sun, which I appreciated.
The good things about the Express Passes is that they only sell a certain amount per day, so you don’t have to worry about there being too many people with them. Our Express Passes let us go to the front of the line for each ride one time. They also give you preferred seating to the three main shows at the park, which is a nice added perk.
If you are going when the park is very busy, like during the summer or the holidays, I highly recommend upgrading your ticket to an Express Pass. You will save so much time and will be able to do so much more at the park.
I hope you enjoyed our top 10 things to do at Universal Studios Hollywood, as well as our extra tips we used to make the most of our day at the park.
If you have any questions, I’d be happy to try to answer them in the comments!