Hi everyone! It’s Lily here — your tadpole-sized expert guide for the small and the tall. When our family visits Universal Studios Hollywood, one of my favorite things to do is meet characters. It's prime time for a hug and some photos. Tad likes the scary monsters and Transformers, and Mommy and Daddy Frog get a kick out of meeting the Simpsons. Trust me when I say meeting characters is fun for everyone (but especially me). For us, seeing our favorite stars brings the movie studio to life. Read on to find out which Universal Studios Hollywood characters you and your tadpoles may run into!
For little ones like me, meeting characters is a vital part of my visit to Universal Studios Hollywood. With two sections — Upper Lot and Lower Lot — there's plenty of hopping to do. Since I'm not quite tall enough to go on many of the thrills and attractions, I find my fun in other spots. While many people may be thinking about the Universal Studios Hollywood characters, I treasure meeting pals from familiar movies and shows. Not everyone is cute and cuddly either! It takes courage for a little tadpole to meet the imposing Optimus Prime. Never fear, friends. There is always another friendly character nearby who will be hoppy to meet you.
Tips for Meeting Universal Studios Hollywood Characters
Keep Your Eyes Open as You Wander the Upper Lot
Many classic movie characters blend in as if they belong on set. You’ll see the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Beetlejuice, Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, a Mummy, Doc Brown, Woody Woodpecker, Betty Boop and other characters in the Upper Lot. You'll find them walking the streets from the entrance through the Streets of Paris.
The Upper Lot is a fun and interactive area. We have even seen classic New Yorkers yelling out of their apartment windows to guests below. Be sure to catch a photo in front of the New York street scene. Another fun photo op that does not involve a character is the Hollywood sign backdrop as you exit the Studio Tour. It looks like you visited the sign!
Sometimes SpongeBob SquarePants stays moist by the fountains, but we’ve also seen him near storefronts on the way to the entrance. Scooby Doo and Shaggy have been spotted near the fountains and outside of Mel’s Diner … probably trying to scare up some Scooby snacks.
Keep your eye out for Curious George if you have a little one with you — he’s my favorite. (I am hopping with excitement just thinking of that silly monkey!) We've seen Shrek, Donkey and Princess Fiona too. I have been on the search for Dora the Explorer. I might have to use some tools in my backpack to track her down next visit. Backpack! Backpack …
Everyone will be excited to meet a Minion (both yellow and purple mutant) outside of Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. We have also seen Margo, Edith, Agnes, Gru and Dru meeting their fans outside of Miss Hattie’s Home for Girls.
The Simpsons family and other residents of Springfield such as Krusty the Clown and Sideshow Bob often make appearances in Springfield USA. Keep your eyes peeled for photo ops, especially as you make your way toward the Studio Tour.
Do Magic with Wizarding World Residents
The most "magical" character meetings happen inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Your first stop should be the Hogsmeade Stage for the Hogwarts Frog Choir and the Triwizard Tournament Spirit Rally shows. After each performance, they offer photo opportunities with the Hogwarts, Durmstrang, and Beauxbations students.
Another way to interact with wizards is by summoning them with your wand! If you've purchased an interactive wand (Tad has a post on that magical wand experience), you'll find helpful wizards at all of the interactive points. There are plenty of other magical folks working in Hogsmeade, such as the Hogwarts Express conductor. They'll be pleased to take a picture as they stare mesmerized at your muggle-made phone or camera. They're not the traditional Universal Studios Hollywood characters you think of, but they make the world feel lived in a real. Plus, you're in Hogsmeade. Come for the photo ops and butterbeer, but stay for the Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle show.
Meet Transformers and Dinosaurs in the Lower Lot
Down in the Lower Lot, you can meet Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Megatron outside of the Transformers: The Ride 3-D. These larger-than-life talking Transformers are the real deal. While visiting Jurassic Park, be on the lookout for a Raptor Encounter. The Velociraptors are out of their enclosure, so watch out! Those raptors are so scary but are strangely open to selfies.
Find Extra Fun Universal Studios Hollywood Character Spotting in Summer
Last summer, it was a dream come true to meet my favorite DreamWorks characters in Universal Plaza. You'll never guess who I saw!
- Branchi and Poppy from the Trolls
- Po & Tigress from Kung Fu Panda (show them your martial arts moves)
- Puss in Boots, Shrek and Fiona from Shrek
- Penguins, Alex and King Julian from Madagascar
The music in the area was thumping, and we could cool off in the fountains between characters during the day. That’s one way to beat the heat at Universal. At night they turned off the water, and they lit up the floor for a dance party. We loved meeting these DreamWorks favorites, and we hope they'll be back next summer.
Meet the Grinch at Grinchmas
The most popular Universal Studios Hollywood Character — by leaps and bounds — is The Grinch. The mean one drops in during Grinchmas, which is held certain days in December. The wait to meet him last season was over 45 minutes and for good reason. He is toadally animated, funny and spends a lot of time with each guest. Tad shot video of The Grinch in action, posing with guests last year. You can also meet many different Whos (citizens of Who-ville like Cindy Lou-Who) during Grichmas.
If you ever have questions about finding characters, just ask any park employee. They will be hoppy to fill you in on the Universal Studios Hollywood character appearance times and locations. We have noticed that there are more characters on crowded days. If you find yourself at Universal Studios on a popular day — check our Los Angeles Crowd Calendar to know when — consider all the extra character experiences one plus. Another great thing about meeting Universal Studios Hollywood characters is that the lines are usually very short (except The Grinch, of course — leave it to him to make trouble).
With so many opportunities to meet Universal Studios Hollywood characters, you're sure to hop away with many great photos and huggable moments. If your mom and dad need help, we've got more tips to maximize your time at Universal Studios.