The Frog Family follows a general touring plan when we visit Universal Studios Hollywood.
If you are like us and will be traveling with little ones, the attractions are a top priority. We suggest visiting these early before the shows begin when crowds are lowest. The Studio Tour is not to be missed! For TV and movie buffs, we recommend making this the first stop. If shows are a priority, we suggest identifying the must-dos and the times in advance. For the lowest wait times at Universal Studios Hollywood:
- Plan which day to visit using our crowd calendar (coming soon).
- Consider purchasing Front of the Line Passes, which include admission to the park. They provide guests priority access at each attraction and reserved seating at each show.
- Arrive at Universal Studios Hollywood before the official opening.
- Visit the Lower Lot first and experience all of those attractions before going back to the Upper Lot (the series of escalators connecting Lower and Upper Lot will take 5-10 minutes to traverse).
Universal Studios Hollywood Overview
The bright lights of Hollywood surround this theme park built around TV and movie-making. The theme park is but a small part of this sprawling working studio, where some of Hollywood’s most popular shows and movies continue to be made. The park got its start with the Studio Tour, which continues to this day, and guests can tour the sound stages and sets from some of the most famous Hollywood films and TV shows (“Jaws,” “Psycho” and “Desperate Housewives”) by tram. Guests might even catch a glimpse of a celeb or too working on one of the many sound stages!
The park is situated within the Hollywood Hills and is thus divided into the Upper and Lower Lots. To access the Lower Lot, a smaller area which houses a cluster of the park’s biggest attractions, guests must take a set of elevators down to the lower level of the park. It takes about 5-10 minutes to traverse the elevators, the so-called “Starway,” so guests will want to factor that into planning and, if possible, avoid making multiple visits to the Lower Lot. Guests at the gate before park opening can take advantage of this time by visiting the Lower Lot and riding Jurassic Park—The Ride, Transformers The Ride:3D and Revenge of the Mummy with the lowest waits. If waits are less than 25 minutes, we recommend visiting Despciable Me: Minion Mayhem, which opened in May, before visiting the Lower Lot. Because of its popularity, proximity to the park entrance and low load capacity, it is likely to see the highest waits of any attraction.
Along with the Studio Tour, Universal Studios Hollywood is known more for its shows than its attractions, although that is sure to change with the addition of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which doesn’t yet have an official opening date. The shows have fixed times throughout the day, and it is highly recommended that you plan your visit around the shows you would like to see. The most popular of the shows is WaterWorld. Based around the motion picture of the same name, the show features spectacular stunts, pyrotechnics and, you guessed it, lots of action on the water. We recommend arriving at least 20 minutes ahead of time for the best seating.
Universal Studios Hollywood is the most “grownup” of the theme parks we’ve encountered, with fewer attractions geared toward younger children. The majority of the rides have a height requirement of 40”, with Shrek4D being the exception. Still there is plenty to see and do, and younger children can cool off and burn off steam in the play areas as well as meet some of their favorite characters (SpongeBob SquarePants, Shrek, Donkey, Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, The Simpsons and more). A word about Front of the Line Pass:
This pass offers one-time, priority access to all of the park attractions as well as reserved seating for the shows in addition to park admission. It is only recommended during peak times, normally summer and holidays. We recommend purchasing it in advance, as Front of the Line Passes do sell out. A word about the VIP Experience:
TV and film buffs may want to consider the VIP Experience, which includes VIP parking, breakfast and lunch buffets and more perks. VIPs get personal tour guides through the back lot who are steeped in Universal trivia. They also get to tour areas not open to the general public, including the sound stages, sound department and prop warehouse. The experience also includes front-of-the-line access for all of the attractions.
Attractions with Single Rider Lines
Suggested Universal Studios Hollywood Touring Plan
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
- TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D