Universal Studios Hollywood.
Adventures in the USA

Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood

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One quite memorable day for me in Los Angeles was visiting Universal City and Universal Studios Hollywood. Universal Studios Hollywood is a place where not only kids can have fun. The whole movie studio complex was like neighborhoods inspired by some movie. Each neighborhood had its own attractions and ways to have fun. We got to that amazing park with our Los Angeles Go Card. In July around noon, the place was filled with people. We could see many families and groups of friends walking around that park with a huge smile on their face.

Universal Studios.

Our first encounter with Universal City was totally different, though. On our second day in the States, we had gotten ourselves tickets to see The Voice. The studio of The Voice was in Universal City. Since we didn’t know the city at all, it took us some time to find out how to get up to Universal City and how to find the parking lot where we were supposed to go to get in the show.

So the first time we saw the Universal City, we basically just ran through it quickly, to make it on time to the show. When we finally found the right house (parking house), we had to go down to the parking lot with an elevator, to the right floor. Then we already saw people lining up so we just followed them. I am not sure, how did we manage to find that place but we did.

Universal Studios Hollywood

About a week later, we had planned another visit to Universal City. This time we decided to visit the Universal Studios Hollywood park. We planned to go there in the morning but still ended up arriving around noon. Lucky for us, there was no queue to the park because people had already entered the park in the morning hours.

Universal City.
Walking in Universal City.

The park was huge. We went on many attractions starting from Harry Potter World and ending with Silly Swirly Fun Ride. At first, we decided to take a look at the Harry Potter area. There were snowy rooftops of Hogsmeade, Hogwarts castle up on the hill and plenty of stores. There was even a sign to the Gringotts bank, but it was actually a cash machine.

Universal Studios Hollywood.
The snowy roofs of Hogsmeade.

Harry Potter World

The stores in Harry Potter World are filled with Harry Potter merch. In the sweets shop though, there were a lot of sweets from the Harry Potter movie/book. There were, of course, every flavored candies, a lot of cupcakes and chocolate frogs. The whole sweets shop was filled with colorful candies. In merchandise shops, there were brooms, wands, sweatshirts in the right color and flag as a concrete house. There were also capes and wizard hats that I saw a lot of parents buying for their kids. One girl looked exactly like young Hermonie from the back.

Little Hermonie and the Gringotts bank.
Little Hermonie and the Gringotts bank.
Hagrid's motorcycle.
Hagrid’s motorcycle.

In Harry Potter World, we also tried Butterbeer which was better than I expected. Since it was a hot day, the butterbeer was cold and with lots of ice. It tasted as caramel drink. Very sweet but tasty. Of course, there were also some rides in Harry Potter World. The first and the only one we tried there was a roller coaster. We had to sit into a chair that looked like a basket. To be honest, it was my very first roller coaster ride. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Maybe because it was mostly for families and children wouldn’t like a too scary roller coaster. The line to the roller coaster was quite long though. I think we might have waited there for an hour or even longer. The ride was great though. Not too scary but also not too boring. I think that Harry Potter World was one of my favorite areas when visiting Universal Studios Hollywood.

Harry Potter ride
Harry Potter ride.
Hogwarts castle.
Hogwarts castle.

The scary attraction of the Walking Dead

After walking around Harry Potter World for a while, we went to see the other parts of the park as well. Many attractions had so long queues that we decided to go only to those that have shorter waiting time. So we ended up going to the scary Walking Dead Attraction. This had a waiting time under an hour at the time. When we entered the house, we saw a white door with red blood stains with hand marks on it next to us. We also heard some screaming ahead of us. When we turned around the corner at the end of the corridor we saw that there was a long line. And one person had already threw up even though there hadn’t been anything scary yet.

Bloody handprints on the door.

When we finally got to the door where they let us into the attraction we had to walk in a dark corridor while we could hear screaming and live actors were frightening us. We tried to stay alive during this and also have fun. It was quite scary because I thought they were not supposed to touch us, but I guess it was only us who were not supposed to touch them. Gladly, they didn’t get hold of us, they just frighted. The scary corridor wasn’t very long. And when we finally got out, the bright sun hit us so hard that it seemed as no one else knew what happens in those scary corridors.

Studio Tour

We had planned to definitely visit the Studio Tour when visiting Universal Studios Hollywood. I have to say, it was a good decision. Even though we might have waited in a long line for a couple of hours on a hot day, it was worth it. The Studio Tour itself lasted for about an hour. We were arranged into a 3-or 4-wagon train on the wheels and given a pair of 3D glasses. I and my friend got the seats in the last wagon. None of the wagons had any glass as windows. Open air flew through the window holes. On the screen in front of the wagon, we saw a man (the guide) talking through the microphone. He was actually at the front of the train, in the first wagon, our guide.

We rode through different movie sets. At some times there came a sign to the screen “Please be quiet, filming in progress!”. Then we had to be really quiet because people were working in some studios. We even saw one group of people sitting in together on a set. I don’t know if they were actors or directors or whoever but they saw us and waved at us. We saw the New York street set and lots of other street sets.

Hot set.

The Bates Motel

At one point we passed the Bates Motel which is a motel which belonged to Norman Bates, a serial killer with multiple personalities from the movie “Psycho”. When we were passing the motel, a guy (probably an actor) came out of the motel and carried a dead body which was wrapped into a black plastic bag, into his trunk. Then he saw us. We went very slowly with our train. Our guide was playing along and telling us that he thinks we have to get out of there before he gets to us. Bates was coming closer with his knife. Since we were in the last wagon on the last seat, he got to us so close. Disappointed look in his eyes he turned back to his motel.

Mr. Bates with a knife.

The World’s largest 3D experience

Many times we rode inside some kind of huge garage and the guide told us to put our 3D glasses on or as he would say “Oh no, something’s going to happen, put you protective glasses on”. Then we stopped in the darkroom and the real show began. At first, we saw as the huge King Kong coming straight at our way and screaming, the ground was shaking. It looked so real with the 3D glasses and the shaking. Also, a T-Rex came somewhere and I  don’t remember who but someone tossed one wagon down the cliff. When we exited the huge garage, we saw the fuming wagon outside of the garage. No one was inside of this wagon in reality. I later read that this is the World’s largest 3D experience. I am so glad we got to experience that when visiting Universal Studios Hollywood.

More movie sets

We rode through the set where they film plane crashes and catastrophe movies. The guide told us, that this was a real Boeing 747 that had been crashed for a movie. Another set was from children’s movie “How the Grinch stole the Christmas”, the village set. There were a lot of other sets from the movies I haven’t even seen or just don’t remember right now. The same way as the psycho Norman Bates just casually acted on the set for us, we passed another set where something odd was going on. There was a lake where a man was surrounded by a shark. It swam around him a couple of times until it dragged him underwater and the man disappeared.

Plane crash set.
Plane crash set.

Another 3D experience

The last thing we experienced before the tour ended was a mission with the Fast & Furious cast. Dominic told us to work with him against the bad guys. I don’t quite remember what did he want us to do but it went into action quickly after that. We wore our 3D glasses again and it all seemed as real as it could get. Like we were in the movie running along with the crew. The wagon moved along when we were supposed to drive away in some car very quickly and when we crashed. It was very interesting to be in the whole experience.

I think that I liked these 3D experiences most in our Studio Tour. Anyway, the whole Studio Tour was so amazing that I would go there again if I got the chance. Even if I would have to wait for an hour or two in a line, again.

Universal City

It was sad to leave Universal Studios but we had other plans for the day as well. If you ever plan to visit Universal Studios during the summer months, plan this for the entire day. I still liked walking around Universal City. It looked like a huge open-air shopping area. There was even music coming from the speaker. The whole atmosphere seemed so happy and chill. Didn’t really want to leave this entire area. We walked on the main street, shops on both of our sides, no cars to disturb shoppers. There were also many restaurants and cafés, but for us, those were far too expensive. Universal City with its Universal Studios Hollywood and the whole atmosphere made me feel very happy. I’m so glad we had planned for almost a full day for visiting the Universal Studios Hollywood.

Universal Studios Hollywood.
Universal Studios Hollywood.

Keep traveling!

Another article you might like: Explore Los Angeles without a car.


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