Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood

Carl Laemmle opened his 230-acre Universal City movie-studio ranch to visitors on March 15, 1915, but the advent of sound in motion pictures forced the studio to close the lot to those noisy visitors. Universal reopened to visitors in 1961, outsourcing tours to the Gray Line bus company. Following a feasibility study by Buzz Price - the same man who helped determine the locations for Disneyland and Walt Disney World - Universal decided to start its own tram tour, and what is now Universal Studios Hollywood opened on July 15, 1964.

Universal Studios Hollywood stands atop the Hollywood hills and is divided into an Upper Lot and a Lower Lot, connected by a giant, four-part "Starway" escalator. In addition to its regular attractions, the park hosts Halloween Horror Nights on select evenings in September and October, closing early on those days for this after-hours, hard-ticket event.

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New for 2023

Super Nintendo World - The first U.S. installation of Universal's Super Mario-themed land includes the Mario Kart Bowser's Challenge augmented reality interactive dark ride. Opens February 17.

Rides

Top 10

  1. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ★ ★ ★
    Indoor Kuka-arm dark ride inside Hogwarts Castle in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. [Note that it is no longer presented in 3D.] Height requirement: 48 inches

  2. Waterworld ★ ★
    Live stunt show that far exceeds the Kevin Coster movie upon which it is based. Located on the Upper Lot.

  3. Studio Tour
    Narrated bus tour of Universal's front and back lot film and television production facilities. Includes King Kong 360/3D, Fast & Furious: Supercharged and Jaws, shown below.

  4. Transformers: The Ride 3D
    Motion-base dark ride on the Lower Lot. Height requirement: 40 inches

  5. The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!
    An animatronic and mixed-media dark ride in Pets Place

  6. Jurassic World: The Ride
    Animatronic dinosaurs on a shoot-the-chutes flume ride on the Lower Lot. Height requirement: 42 inches
    Read Robert Niles' review of Jurassic World: The Ride.

  7. The Simpsons Ride
    Motion base show in Springfield. Height requirement: 40 inches

  8. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
    Motion base show on the Upper Lot. Height requirement: 40 inches

  9. Revenge of the Mummy
    A 1,906-foot indoor Premier rides coaster with a 40-mph launch and height of 44 feet. Height requirement: 48 inches

  10. Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle
    Projection show in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Shows vary by season.

Other Attractions

Upper Lot
  • Kung Fu Panda: Emperor's Quest: movie in the DreamWorks Theater
  • Flight of the Hippogriff: Mack Rides Youngstar coaster in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Height requirement: 39 inches
  • Ollivander's Wand Shop: live show in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Super Silly Fun Land: water play area, playground, and spinner
Lower Lot
  • Raptor Encounter: life-sized dinosaur character encounter
  • Dino-Play: playground

Where to Eat

New for 2023

Toadstool Cafe in Super Nintendo World serves burgers, salads, a chef's special, and desserts in a Chef Toad-themed indoor restaurant.

Also Recommended

Buy Tickets

Park Map

Universal Studios Hollywood is located just off US 101 in Universal City, California - 10 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.

Strategy

Universal sells date-specific tickets but no longer requires reservations for annual passholders. Be sure to download the official Universal Studios Hollywood app before you visit, because that will save you time and get you to the front of the Virtual Line that USH may use for Super Nitendo World as well as The Secret Life of Pets ride.

Try to make your Virtual Line reservation through the app ASAP when you arrive at the park if you are not there before opening. As always, try to arrive before the park's official opening time, then head first to Super Nintendo World on the Lower Lot and go on Mario Kart before trying the interactive elements within the land.

Universal's official app will tell you current wait times for rides throughout the park. If the wait times for other Lower Lot attractions are not bad, stay on the Lower Lot after you have finished in Super Nintendo World and go on Jurassic World - The Ride, Transformers and Mummy before returning to the Upper Lot.

If the wait times are significantly shorter for the Upper Lot attractions, head back up and complete those before returning to the Lower Lot at the end of the day. You want to minimize the number of time you go up and down the long Starway escalators between the lots, so do not bounce back and forth too much chasing short wait times. Universal Studios Hollywood is a relatively easy park to complete in one day without having to buy the upcharge Universal Express pass. But if your time is limited, Express might be a good investment.

The Studio Tour also is a must-see here, but its line typically moves swiftly, so it's a good choice for when you return from the Lower Lot. Secret Life of Pets is a fun dark ride, but you might need to make a Virtual Line reservation early in the day on busy dates, as standby access might not be available then.

Otherwise, Minion Mayhem has two theaters here, making it a much shorter wait than in Orlando. Waterworld is a great show, and it has huge capacity, so pick a showtime most convenient for you and arrive about 20-30 minutes before then if you wish to avoid the soak zone.

Once you've gotten the biggies out of the way, head to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Hogsmeade in the evening is simply, well, magical and highly recommended, especially if one of the castle projection shows is running. Aim for later in the evening if that is the case, as the crowd will mob the earliest shows.

Universal Studios Hollywood News