Universal Studios Hollywood just keeps upping its game. The theme park that sprung up around its famed Studio Tour (which remains the park's signature experience) continues to grow with bigger and better attractions, including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Transformers: The Ride-3D, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and the newly evolved Jurassic World — The Ride. There are plenty of not-to-miss Universal Studios Hollywood attractions and shows to experience. Hop along as we explore our frog squad favorites.
For us, Universal Studios Hollywood is one of our top Los Angeles quintessential experiences. That's partly because of its working studio, the oldest in Hollywood, and the glamour and mystique of Hollywood that surrounds this theme park. Plus, we love the themed lands and getting to try our hand at being wizards for a day! The thrills and the red carpet of Universal Studios Hollywood await you!
Here is our list of not-to-miss Universal Studios Hollywood attractions and shows:
1. Studio Tour
The heart of Universal Studios Hollywood, the Studio Tour began almost 100 years ago when the park first opened as an outdoor movie studio. Guests were charged 25 cents to walk around the studio and watch films being made. Today, the Studio Tour is a 60-minute tram ride through the back lot, where guests might catch a glimpse of a real movie star. You are likely to see Norman Bates, Jaws, Wisteria Lane and the plane crash from "War of the Worlds." You'll also experience the 3D magic of Peter Jackson's King Kong 360, experience an earthquake and go for a high-speed chase in Fast & Furious — Supercharged!
While the film was a box office flop, WaterWorld the show is absolutely not to be missed. Set largely on crystal blue water, the show features plenty of stunt work, pyro-technics and, if you're in the soak zone, a good soaking.
3. Transformers: The Ride-3D
This immersive, multi-sensory 3D flight simulation experience based on the blockbuster film series will have you battling Decepticons alongside Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. Even if you are not a fan of the films, you'll be awed by the 3D special effects.
4. Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem
One of our favorite attractions is a 3-D experience the whole family (or at least those over 40 inches) can enjoy. Join Gru, Margot, Edith and Agnes for a fun-filled, at times death-defying, adventure with the Minions. It is every bit as sweet as the films.
5. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Start your journey by walking through Hogwarts castle, visiting Dumbledore's office, the Defense Against the Dark Arts Classroom, the Gryffindor common room and much more. For Harry Potter fans that is exciting enough! Then you'll board the ride as Hermione casts a spell to send you airborne, so you can follow Harry and Ron on their broomsticks. You'll twist and turn, weaving through Hogwarts, encountering dragons, giant spiders, dementors and a game of quidditch along the way. You'll want a butterbeer to settle your stomach after this harrowing journey.
6. Revenge of the Mummy — The Ride
This enclosed coaster brings as many scares from Imhotep as it does from the hairpin curves and deep drops (in the dark!). While it shares the same name with its counterpart in Orlando and a similar storyline, the two rides are not replicas.
7. Jurassic World — The Ride
Board a boat for a an adventure through Jurassic World — The Ride. Be ready to make a splash (poncho anyone?) as you encounter dinosaurs and characters from the movies along with a few surprises along the way. The ride has evolved from the former Jurassic Park water ride to include new scenes, dinosaurs and even an underwater view. Of course, things don't always go as planned in the movies or on this ride.
Prepare for a drop! You'll plunge 85 feet down into a pool of water while narrowly escaping a Tyrannosaurus Rex. If you like to control how wet you get, consider the front seats a soak zone whereas the back seats are more of a splash zone. After exiting, be sure to meet a dinosaur and try some Costa Rican-inspired food while you are in the area.
8. Special Effects Show
Go behind the scenes to learn how movies are made. With a little help from the hosts and even a few audience members you'll learn how film makers add sound, stunts and other special effects to their films.
9. Universal's Animal Actors
What's almost as exciting as meeting a movie star? Meeting four-legged and winged animal movie and television stars. Learn how trainers work with animals and watch them in action. You're sure to laugh and "awww" over their hilarious animal antics.
10. The Simpsons Ride
No visit to Universal Studios Hollywood would be complete without a visit to Krustyland for a 3D roller coaster, simulation ride gone very wrong!
We hope you've enjoyed our look at the not-to-miss Universal Studios Hollywood attractions. Ready to go? We've got a suggested one-day Universal Studios Hollywood Touring Plan all mapped out for you! If you're looking for help planning your trip, start with our Los Angeles Planning Guide, which includes all of the area major attractions.