At Universal Studios Hollywood, movies come alive all over this theme park that revolves around the studio company. From how to pack to where to eat, this post is full of tips to maximize your next day (or three) at USH.
1. Plan ahead.
Sensing a pattern between my posts? There can be a lot of fun in spontaneity, but if you're trying to hit every ride or even just stay sane in the crowds, some proper planning can save you HOURS in the long run. At the very least, write down all the rides you want to hit and create a basic schedule to follow.
2. Figure out your packing strategy.
Because of Universal Studios' no bag policy on some of its more intense rides, you'll need to decide how to approach your packing strategy. If you're traveling with kids under 12, you'll probably need some essentials that are non-negotiable, so just plan on using ride lockers. If you're visiting during the off-season you're probably fine to use ride lockers as well. But if you're at the park during peak season and you can manage it, take as little as possible. Especially at rope drop, a few seconds at a locker can lose you an hour or more of precious park time.
You can carry small, secure fanny packs or bags on these rides. When I visited last Christmas, each person in my family had a small belt pack that held tickets, chapstick, money, and our phones. It's easier to have a lot of gear, but the only reason we hit every ride during the busiest time of the year was because we hardly ever had to deal with ride lockers.
3. Get to Lard Lad's ASAP.
You can't visit Universal Studios without trying one of these enormous pink doughnuts in Springfield. You gotta get there quick though--they often sell out in busy seasons.
4. Make Minions your first 3D motion simulator ride.
Virtual rides are becoming more and more popular across theme parks, and Universal has plenty of options. They can be more hectic than they sound, though, so if you've never tried one before your best bet is to start off with Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem. It's the least intense of the virtual rides.
5. Decide if Express Passes are worth it.
Express Passes put you in your own line with a very short wait. During off seasons they're usually not worth it, but having one during peak seasons could potentially save you hours of waiting in line. But beware: they're expensive. Like, double the price of a regular ticket.
6. You can get beer at Moe's Tavern.
7. Dress up if you want to be picked for the Ollivander's wand ceremony.
This is a tip from personal experience. I was 22 when I visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time, and you'd better believe I was decked out in my Ravenclaw robes. When I went to Ollivanders there were a couple of kids in my group, so I assumed I wouldn't be picked for the wand ceremony. But I was the only person in the group with any sort of costume on, and I got picked! It was an amazing experience. I can't guarantee it will work every time, but your chances will be higher if you're prepared.
8. Try the Butterbeer.
There are only a few places in the world that sell the legit J.K. Rowling approved stuff, so try it while you have the chance.
9. Hit the Lower Lot in the morning.
It'll be uncrowded with minimal wait times.
10. And plan on visiting only once.
The StarWay that connects the Lower Lot to the rest of the park can take a long time! Do everything you want in the Lower Lot one time so you don't waste time going back and forth.
11. Enjoy every minute.
More of a tip than a reminder: things are never going to go exactly how you plan. When something less than ideal happens, you can either pout and let it ruin your day, or you can roll with the punches and find the best in the situation! Visiting Universal Studios can be stressful (especially for people who have "one shot" at doing it right) but letting a mishap ruin your trip is the worst mistake you can make. Go into each day knowing not everything will be perfect, and be prepared to shake it off and move forward!
Need help planning your next Universal Studios or Disney trip? Learn more about custom trip itineraries here!