By the time your kids hit their teen years, they've probably seen it all when it comes to roller coasters, carnival games, and cotton candy. If you really want to show them something new, that's where a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood comes in. More than your typical amusement park, Universal Studios Hollywood offers them a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how some of their favorite movies and TV shows are made.
Behind the Scenes Shows
Starting with the famous Studio Tour, they'll see the sound stages and sets for class movies like Jaws, Psycho, and War of the Worlds (wreckage above). There are also plenty of special effects surprises along the way including floods (yes, you will get wet), subway fires, 3D attacks on the tram by a T-Rex and King Kong, and a high-speed car chase with Vin Diesel and his Fast & Furious crew. [I'd share more pictures, but the tram was so realistically shaking and the action was so fast during the 3D attacks that all I captured was a blur of open T-Rex jaws. We all definitely thought that was cool!]
Another great way to experience movie magic is to see the Stunt Show, where live actors recreate impressive stunts for movie fans (warning to teens, don't try these at home), the must-see big splashes of WaterWorld, or the high-jinx Animal Actors show featuring the star of A Dog's Purpose (below) and many other feathered and furry friends.
For fans of Harry Potter, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter offers a soaring immersive flight in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (not for the queasy), a life-like recreation of Hogsmeade village including the Hogwarts Express, and a roller coaster ride on the Flight of the Hippogriff with great views of the village.
Other teen favorites are thrill ride Fast & Furious Supercharged and the scream-inducing Walking Dead attraction where we came face-to-face with real "live" Walking Dead characters (by far the best jump scares in the park).
Fan Meet and Greets
Throughout the park, you'll also run into slightly less terrifying movie characters, like a gregarious Beatlejuice, the Scooby Doo gang, a larger than life Japanese-speaking Transformer, a cuddly Kung Fu Panda, and a flirtatious Marilyn Monroe (another highlight for my son).
Fans of the Simpson's will want to eat like Homer in a Springfield USA fast food joint (like we did) or one of the many other themed restaurants in the park such as Three Broomsticks or the Jurassic Cafe. On the way home more sophisticated palettes can dine at one of the many famous restaurants (Bubba Gumps Shrimp, Tony Roma's, Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, and more) in Universal CityWalk, a dining and shopping complex just outside the park's gates.
Before You Go
Although the Jurassic World Ride was under construction during our visit, dino fans like us only have to wait a little longer before the ride reopens in 2019. To avoid lines at the entrance, advance online tickets to Universal Studio Hollywood are recommended and can be purchased at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com.
More Top Tips:
1. Plan your day by using the Universal Studios Hollywood Mobil App. In addition to an interactive map, the app provides updates on wait-times and allowed us to set an itinerary around scheduled show times and ride opening times (which may vary).
2. To save time, carry-out your lunch and eat while watching one of the shows.
3. Although pricey, Express tickets will give you a front-of-the-line access and maximize your time at the park (especially if you're visiting during busy peak season).
4. If you're traveling with small children, review the park's family amenities and be sure to check out Super Silly Fun Land!
5. For up-to-date park info follow Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook and @UniStudios on Instagram and Twitter.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and do not reflect those of Universal Studios Hollywood. For purposes of this review, our family received complimentary passes to the park. All rights reserved to GoKidTrips.com (c) 2019.
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