Disneyland Resort and Southern California LIVE! Guidebook
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Best Times to Visit Universal Studios Hollywood
Best Times to Visit Universal Studios Hollywood
BEST TIMES TO GO
First, know that Universal Studios Hollywood is open every day, except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Park hours vary—check for hours at http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com or call 800-UNIVERSAL (800-864-8377). The park usually opens between 8:00 am and 10:00 am and closes around 5:00 pm in the fall/winter or around 10:00 pm in summer. Generally, we suggest you arrive at least 30 minutes before park opening, as the gates may open as early as 15 minutes before the posted time. Like Disneyland, Universal Studios attracts many locals, so it’s always best to avoid weekends, holidays, and school vacations. You shouldn’t need more than a day to experience this park—estimate seven hours to see most attractions and ten hours to see everything. Note that the ticket window may close earlier than the park (around 4:00 or 5:00 pm), and the last tram of the studio tour leaves about 3–4 hours before the park closes. If you visit the park on a day it receives more than 1/8" of rainfall, you may request a rain check good any time in the following 30 days—see staff at the time of your visit for further details. That said, this isn’t a bad park to visit on a rainy day, as many attractions are indoors. If possible, plan to stay until closing at this park so you can enjoy the city lights after dark and/or take advantage of CityWalk in the evening.
Universal Studios Hollywood frequently offers great deals on tickets. Admission is $90–$105/day for guests ages 10 and up—guests ages 3–9 are about $84–$89/day. Expect to pay at the higher range during busier times (kids under 3 are free). Tickets with extra perks such as Front of Line Passes ($179–$239) and extra days are typically available online if you can purchase in advance. Annual passes are available for about $289 (gold annual pass with blockout dates), $199 (California Resident Plus annual pass with blockout dates), and $139 (California Resident Annual Pass with more blockout dates).
Don't like lines? Consider forking over quite a bit for a Front of Line Pass ($179–$239 at the gate, or $20 off if bought in advance online). This pass gives you one-time priority access (entry via an attraction's "Gate A" entrance) to all rides, shows and attractions (with the exception of children's play areas). This includes reserved seating at the shows. The good news? The Front of Line Pass includes a one-day park admission. The bad news? These passes have limited availability and may sell out at the front gate ticket booths (however, when you buy online these sellouts will not affect you). Also, Front of Line pass only gives you access to each attraction’s "Gate A" entry once, unlike the VIP Experience ticket (see below), which gives you unlimited “Gate A” access. Arriving later? On some days, a discounted Front of Line Pass for use after 2:00 or 4:00 pm may be offered at a discount. Check with the Universal Box Office underneath Universal Plaza upon your arrival for availability.
If you want to feel like a star and you’ve got money to burn, consider the VIP Experience for $359/person—you get a behind-the-scenes guided tour which goes into actual soundstages and sets, a Front of Line Pass for all attractions (with unlimited "Gate A" entry throughout the day), access to a special VIP Lounge, and one day’s admission. You must make reservations for the VIP Experience at 818-622-5140 in advance, as space is limited. Universal Studios general admission is included in the Southern California CityPass (see page 86). Discounts on admission may be available in the Entertainment Book, through aRes Travel, Costco, and AAA (see page 11 ). For more deals, check http://www.mousesavers.com.
Top Photo Slice: (℗ 52872) Photo contributed by © Jennifer Marx
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