1. Catch a glimpse of Mario Lopez shooting Extra
I know, this is such a LOL but it’s a welcome freebie to visiting Universal Studios Hollywood. The globe fountain is the new set for the Hollywood news show and if you happen to be there between 9:00-4:00pm you can catch any of the show’s hosts and some other Hollywood celebrities. Plus you may have the chance to be part of a small skit or survey or even get a freebie from the show. Check HERE to see the Extra shoot schedule.
2. Experience everything Minion
I’m pretty sure the next Despicable Me movie will be one that will be all about the minions. They pretty much overshadow every other non-minion character in the movie. Can anyone even remember that Margaux had a romantic fling in the second movie?
So do yourself a favor and experience the park’s latest ride: Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. It’s mostly just a simulator ride with 3D glasses on but it’s the best of what I’ve experienced so far. The drops are realistic and give you a feeling of vertigo and not just the bland forward tilt of a hydraulically powered platform. My Aunt actually was legitimately dizzy after the ride and I see where she’s coming from.
Then buy minion things, pose with evil minions, play in the Minion playground, play the Super Silly Fun Land midway games and play in the water park. Get all minioned-out. If there’s a place to do it, it’s here in Universal Studios Hollywood.
3. Take the Studio Tour
For those who frequent the Universal Studios in Singapore and Japan will not be familiar with the Studio Tour “ride” of the park. But this is actually the park’s signature ride. It has evolved from a harmless ride throughout actual working studios and park lots and sets to being a ride with a need to have 3D glasses on.
The latest incarnation of the Studio Tour is hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and will bring you through some of the classics – Jaws, Earthquake, Back to the Future and Psycho (Bates Motel) sets – as well as some newer ones – King Kong (Peter Jackson version), War of the Worlds and Desperate Housewives (Wisteria Lane).
The tour is best taken in the morning because it’s one of the most popular rides in the park and the lines can get pretty long. The ride itself lasts about 45 minutes.
4. Experience the Simpsons
The Simpsons ride is great simulator ride, however, in my opinion the whole small room ante-room and small room for the simulator itself takes away from the magic of riding a “rollercoaster.” The ride itself, is fun with a cute storyline where Sideshow Bob basically tries to kill everyone. So yea.
I guess the main Simpsons highlight, more than the ride itself was to be able to visit the Simpsons sets. We were lucky enough to have a photo with a few Simpsons in front of the Qwik E Mart.
5. Get Transformed
With a new Transformers movie just blazing through the screens lately, this ride definitely getting a spike on the excited ride-goers scale. In addition to the ride, take the time to line up for awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping Optimus Prime and Bumblebee “mascots” and you’re good for the day.
The Transformers ride is similar to the one in Singapore and same ride but different storyline as the Spiderman one in Japan. Just in case you were wondering.
6. Check on your Mummy
The Revenge of the Mummy ride in Hollywood has the tallest height requirement, 48”. So, Tonie wasn’t able to ride this one. However, they do have a great alternative for those vertically challenged, they have a very tame Jurassic Park themed play area.
This ride is also similar to the one in Singapore.
7. Get wet on the Jurassic Park ride
After visiting the parks in Singapore and Japan, this was our first time to finally try out the Jurassic Park ride with Tonie. She knew what was ahead of us: a slow stroll down the park and then a huge giant drop at the end. She’s watched the drop on Youtube videos and in real life. And for several times while we were in line, I asked her if she really wanted to ride this. She said, “Yes.” She barely grazed the height requirement, even being measured with a yard stick just before getting on the ride (and after being in line for about half an hour).
Post-drop, she claims that she never wants to ride Jurassic Park ever again. LOL.
I’ll check back on her when she turns 13 or something.
8. Chow down in Gru’s Café
Get the Macho Nachos. Them are good. Honestly, I ate the whole thing myself – unassisted.
9. Bring extra clothes for the little ones
Call us lucky that we were in Universal Studios when the sole 3-day heat wave came down upon the Southern California spring weather. This is a great water park for the kids, big, with plenty of Mom-and-Dad seating areas around.
For those who are unprepared, they actually sell swimsuits, swim shorts, towels, clothes and sunscreen in a kiosk right in front of the park but not a lot of people are keen on dropping $20 for a towel that you could’ve just brought from home.
This isn’t part of the water park. These are just misting fans – on steroids –
because they’re in a theme park, of course.
10. Have a hotdog at Pink’s
If you don’t have the time to visit this Hollywood staple, settle for the branch they have in the park. I wouldn’t plan on getting a Pink’s sometime in the middle of the afternoon though. Like its Hollywood counterpart, it also gets quite a line – for hotdogs. Consider lining up for Pink’s as an attraction itself.
THIS IS ACTUALLY NOT PINK’S.
But I don’t have a photo of Pink’s.
And I took a photo of this Flinstone style restaurant.
It seems to be waiting for its fate to be decided because it sticks out like a sore thumb
being the only Flintstone themed ANYTHING in the whole park. I just thought it was odd.
11. Watch the live shows
By live shows, we mean the Movie Magic show (comfortably in an air conditioned studio) and everyone’s favorite awful movie turned theme park regular attraction: Waterworld.
ADDITIONAL PARK TIPS
- You really wouldn’t need a Front of the Line pass tickets for the park. We went there on a Saturday (the weekend before Memorial Day) and as long as you get there during opening time, you can pretty much get through the upper lot before lunch time and the lower lot will still have tolerable wait times in the early afternoon. Although I don’t see Studio Tours having a tolerable line after lunch time.
- Check for ticket promos. We had no intention of returning back to the park in the next 364 days from our visit but the Annual Pass tickets had a promo and we actually ended getting them cheaper than the regular tickets. Annual Pass tickets also give you a discount on souvenirs and food in the park.
- Universal Studios isn’t as big, vast or magical as Disneyland, which is a good thing to be considered. Compared to Disneyland, the lines are shorter, the walking isn’t as much as it is in Disneyland and there aren’t a lot of park secrets to be known or hidden gems/Mickeys to discover.
That being said, Universal Studios Hollywood is a Los Angeles institution and is a requirement for all those who will be going by the area. It’s a great way to spend the day and a good mix of fun for both the smaller and bigger people in your group.
What’s a visit to LA without experiencing the famous LA traffic???
Nothing like the sound of a sleeping 5-year old all tuckered out from a whole day of theme-parking.
There was nothing in the world that could wake her.
And then to come home to this, a bucket of Jollibee Chickenjoy and cups upon cups of grayveeeh.
So now that we’ve checked off Universal Studios Singapore, Japan and Hollywood, the only one left to tackle is the one in Florida!
Thanks to HilariousGifs.com for that Emma Stone stunner. My thoughts EXACTLY.