Universal Studios Hollywood (The Park)

Years ago, when I was only about 14, my family and I were lucky enough to go to Orlando, Florida, to do the whole Disney/Universal stint. The two weeks we spent there produced some of the happiest memories of my childhood. So, in an attempt to relive them, I just had to go to the Hollywood Park.

To that end, it was our destination of choice for our third and final day in Los Angeles.

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After two packed days exploring Hollywood and Beverly Hills, it was a relief that the park had great public transport access from where we were staying on Hollywood Boulevard, Just two stops away on the tube – or ‘subway’ as its called in the States.

We brought our tickets online before leaving England – which I’d advise to anyone thinking of going as its not only quicker (as you don’t have to queue when you arrive) but also massively cheaper. In addition, we opted for’front of the line’ passes – which at $179 per person compared to the general admission tickets of about $110 were expensive but, definitely worth it as I’ll explain later in the post.

On entering the Park, I was immediately taken back to my childhood, seeing the universal logo spinning at the entrance (if you will excuse the corny phrase) made me feel like a kid in a candy shop!

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Thankfully, the day unquestionably met my high expectations. Being a bit of a nerd, I immediately convinced my family to head straight for Harry Potter World. As soon as you step through the stone arch way, you’re as close to the Wizarding World as us muggles are going to get. An, illusion which was somewhat shattered by the eye-watering price of $12 for a stein of butterbeer but, when in the world of Harry Potter it’s surely an experience you can’t miss…

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For me, another hit attraction was the newly opened walking dead experience . Which, is sure to get your adrenaline pumping. You have to slowly make your way through various different scenes from the show, such as a replication of the hospital that Rick wakes up in, obviously in the pitch black, while actors and actresses jump out at you – in full zombie makeup. Being a fan of the series, it was fabulous to be immersed in the story line, getting a taste of what the characters go through. It was a truly nerve wrecking yet surprisingly fun experience, even for my brother whose never seen the show.

Despite the amazing time we had, the park did have a few downsides. I’ve always been a fan of  roller coasters and so was rather discontented  by what the park had to offer . The only one, being ‘the flight of the Hippogriff’ within Harry Potter World. Advertised as ‘family friendly’ its probably not one for those seeking an adrenaline rush, instead its a little bit of harmless fun.

However, it most defiantly would not have been worth the two hour wait for standard admission tickets – this is where having the front of the line pass really paid off, meaning we only had to queue for about 15 minutes.

This said, you can only use the pass to go on rides/attractions once, meaning that if you want to go again you have to join the normal queue. Due to the price we paid for the tickets this seems rather extortionate and out of line (if you will pardon the pun).

Further, in terms of other ‘rides’ the attractions at the park were mainly simulators – which I guess is due to the size of the plot. Although highly enjoyable, it would have been nice to have more of a variety.

Adding to this, many of the simulators, such as the Simpsons ride, were exactly the same as the ones at Orlando. None the less, being years since we’d been, they were still entertaining. with the sudden drops and turns still taking me up surprise. Thus, in the grade scheme of things it didn’t really take away from the enjoyment.

We also went to see of all of the shows that the park has to offer such as the award winning waterworld performance and the special effects show. Both were somewhat cheesy but also, funny, captivating and knowledgeable – offering a glimpse into how the worlds biggest movies are made.

For us this was were the front of the line passes were invaluable, as they allowed us to skip the queues for the shows as well. Having only one day to see the whole park, and do the studio tour, we were worried that we’d run out of time to do everything we wanted. But, with the front of the line passes we were able to make our way round the park at a leisurely pace and see/do everything.

 To sum our experience up, it was an incredible day out, great for family and friends a like and without a doubt, it added to my childhood memories of universal.

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Our next post will be a review of the studio tour (as this post would otherwise be too long) – so make sure to follow our blog for the complete review of Universal Studios Hollywood

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