Our Handy 2-Day Guide to Universal Studios Hollywood

Los Angeles , Travel Advice
Family jumping on the red carpet in front of the large white stone entrance sign with Universal Studios Hollywood logo on. The family has dad on the right, one girl and one boy in the middle jumping and the mum crouched on the right.
How to get the most out of your day at Universal Studios Hollywood!
Are you heading to Universal Studios Hollywood? Take a look at our guide so nothing stands in the way of your perfect visit...

From thrilling roller coasters and mesmerising shows to exciting behind-the-scenes tours, there really is something for everyone at Universal Studios Hollywood! We generally recommend that first-time visitors plan two days so that they can see everything without any stress. 

Our first top tip for your adventure is: book your tickets in advance. This will save you money and time. The tickets come as e-tickets, so if you decide to book at the last minute, that’s fine! Plus, if you book with AttractionTickets.com you’ll get your second day completely free


The early bird catches the worm! It's best to start your day early in the morning so you don't miss any highlights.

If you're a Harry Potter fan (and let's be honest, who isn't?!) you definitely need to start with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. However, this part of Universal Studios is quite popular and you will find a lot of Muggles there, so it's best to get to the park early and head straight to this area. One of the top rides is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey - this attraction is a real highlight for all visitors and should definitely be on your to-do list! It's especially perfect for adrenaline junkies, as you soar above Hogwarts with Harry and his friends.

If you're visiting the park with little wizards, try Flight of the Hippogriff - a ride that will enchant the whole family.

Grey Hogwarts castle sat on rocks with trees and small coaster in front. In the background there is a pink sunset and large mountains.

After the excitement of the rides, it is now time for the perfect selfie! Head to Hogwarts Castle and grab a snap of what is sure to be your most magical holiday photo!

That's a lot of thrills for one morning - time to relax for a moment and grab a refreshing Butterbeer (non-alcoholic of course) and watch the Frog Choir show, which is usually performed for the first time at around 10:30 a.m. Or, take some time to discover the shops in Hogsmeade for a bit of souvenir shopping. Any big Harry Potter fans need to visit Ollivanders wand shop. The highlight here? You don't choose the wand, the wand chooses you - a truly magical experience not to be missed!

Next we suggest heading straight to Springfield:

Here you can check out The Simpsons Ride, which combines the funniest animations with the best digital technology - you will find yourself right in the middle of the world of Homer, Marge, Krusty & Co.

Top Tip: Always have your camera ready as there are lots of surprises waiting for you! And what would a visit to Springfield be without a proper doughnut? The tastiest ones are at Lard Lad Donuts, with a menu based entirely on Homer's favourite food!

Seeing as we're in Hollywood, there's one thing that shouldn't be missed: films!

The most unique thing about Universal Studios Hollywood is that it also operates as a real film studio. So don't miss the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes and get an insight into everyday life on a film set with the studio tour - we’re sure everyone will love it, but film enthusiasts will get a kick out of this tour in particular. 

Included in the tour is King Kong 360 - 3D, an attraction that has won awards for its uniqueness and realism. It takes you into a fight between Kong and an 11 metre tall T-Rex. But that's not all, at the end of the tour there will be a grand finale, themed as a Fast & Furious race.

We recommend that you do the tour in the morning when the park is not yet very crowded. In total, the tour will last 40 - 60 minutes and is perfect to fit in before your well-deserved lunch.

Want to get even more up close to these iconic tv and film sets? Consider purchasing a Universal Studios Hollywood VIP Experience ticket for an exclusive guided tour with the opportunity to disembark your trolley and see sets not open to regular park guests. You’ll also get Express Ride Passes, a gourmet lunch, and access to the VIP lounge included in your ticket! 

Lake with a large car with rows of people on, on the side of this vehicle it says 'Universal Studios'. Over the water there is a wooden pier which is exploded on fire.

You definitely won't go hungry at Universal Studios Hollywood! If you're just looking for a quick snack, Springfield is the place to be. Your favourite Simpsons characters await you at Krusty Burger, Suds McDuff’s Hot Dog House or the Bumblebee Man’s Taco Truck. If you fancy something more than a light snack, head back to Harry Potter World and enter the Three Broomsticks. Here you can enjoy classic British cuisine such as Shepherds Pie, Fish & Chips and Bangers & Mash.

Now your tummies are full, it is best to avoid extreme thrill rides. Instead, keep your eyes peeled for your favourite iconic movie characters and you might be lucky enough to grab a selfie with them or have a quick chat. We recommend saving all photo sessions for the afternoon, as the lines for the rides are longest at this time.

Top Tip: Download the Universal Studios Hollywood app before your visit so you know where everything is in the park. This will also help you keep track of where you're most likely to find your must-see characters. 

After a fun photo with the Minions from Despicable Me, hop on the Minion Mayhem Ride and immerse yourself in a 3D world where you can explore Gru and his assistant's laboratory. After this tour you can join the Minions again and dance together at the dance party.

When you're exhausted from dancing, hop into a cardboard box on The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash ride, where you will get to explore the streets of New York City with your favourite characters: Max, Duke, Gidget and Snowball! Watch as you get transformed into an adorable puppy and prepare for your own adoption day! 

If you’re not completely worn out by now, spend the evening at Universal CityWalk. There are all kinds of themed restaurants to choose from for dinner, like The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. There are plenty of shops to explore as well, from Abercrombie & Fitch and Billabong, to the Universal Studios Store for any souvenir needs! 

Two young women strolling through City Walk with bags on their arms. In the background there are many restaurants and shops, one with a blue gorilla sign and another with a large Bubbagump sign in red.


We highly recommend arriving at the park early again to ensure you can experience all of the wonderful attractions Universal Studios Hollywood has to offer.  

Once the park opens, we recommend heading straight to the escalators which take you to the lower lot section of Universal Studios Hollywood. This is where you’ll find the large green warp pipe entrance to Super Nintendo World! Enter this green tunnel to journey into an alternate realm, the vibrant land of Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and their companions.

Two men walking through green tunnel with multicoloured lights on the ceiling. Both laughing and wearing lanyards, with one wearing a large green Luigi hat.

As you enter through the tunnel of multicoloured, dazzling lights, you will exit into this incredible themed area - you really will feel like you’ve stepped straight into a Super Mario game! If you head straight to the back of this land, you will find the entrance of the Mario Kart™: Bowser’s Challenge attraction. Jump into the queue for this attraction as soon as possible to avoid longer queue times, as this ride is extremely popular.

Once you have boarded the ride vehicle, make sure to put on the special goggles and battle team Bowser alongside your favourite characters, Mario and his friends, racing through multiple different courses and collecting coins in order to win the Golden Cup. This immersive attraction is definitely worth the wait and provides new thrills each time you ride as there are multiple possible outcomes… No wonder it is so popular!

TOP TIP: We recommend you purchase a power up band from either the vending machines or the 1-UP Factory as soon as you enter Super Nintendo World in order to interact with all elements of this area and compete in the Bowser Jr. Shadow Showdown! 

After you have defeated Bowser in the high-speed go-kart race, relax at your own pace whilst exploring. Take a look through the AR binoculars and if you have purchased a Power-Up band, punch the coin boxes dotted around the themed land to collect as many digital coins as possible! Or if you choose further thrills, participate in one of the four mini-games!

Man wearing green shirt and green power up band punching underneath a large box which is floating that says 'POW' in white writing. In the background is a brown hill with green grass style decorations, green pipes and small turtle shaped characters.

You haven’t truly been to Super Nintendo World if you haven’t met any of the characters! Throughout the day you can spot your favourite characters around the land, including Mario, Luigi, Toad and Princess Peach. 

Usually you can find Mario and Luigi by the warp pipe in the centre of Super Nintendo World, whereas Princess Peach stands under the gazebo, next to her castle entrance. This is where Toad usually appears too. If you are lucky, you can talk to these characters and even grab some photos with them!

TOP TIP: Check the timings of these characters at the start of the day and arrive at the meet and greet spot early if you are determined to see them as they are exceptionally popular and sometimes the queue is cut off if demand is too high!

Princess Peach, a blonde character with pink princess dress, stood underneath a white and pink gazebo with four guests around her taking a picture with her. In the background is the brown land decoration.

You must be exhausted from rushing around Mario’s world and battling Bowser! You definitely deserve a treat, so head to the Toadstool Cafe for lunch where Toad and his friends have been cooking up some delicious Italian cuisine. 

TOP TIP: The Toadstool Cafe is always very busy so make sure to book a reservation so you can take a bite of the incredible food they have to offer! Reservations must be made on the day you are visiting when the park first opens. You can also join the waitlist inside the park.

Now you have defeated Bowser and filled your tummies so you are ready to explore the other attractions and shows the park has to offer!

In the afternoon, we suggest feeling the thrills...

There's no way you can leave Universal Studios Hollywood without trying out the following three rides, which are located on the lower lot right next to Super Nintendo World:

  • Revenge of the Mummy - This ride really has it all, from special effects in the dark to unexpected twists and breakneck speeds.
  • Jurassic World - The Ride  - This water ride shoots you towards a 16 metre tall T-Rex until something else suddenly appears... One thing is for certain: you won't stay dry!
  • Transformers 3D Ride - Finally, you need to experience the Transformers 3D Ride. You will fight with Optimus Prime to save all of humanity. So make an effort and leave the park as a hero!
Four people laughing and smiling in shock on the mummy ride with fire pyrotechnics in the background and statues of mummies. A large scary face is projected in the back.

Your truly unforgettable day at Universal Studios Hollywood is now coming to an end and there is only one way to finish a day like this: with a magical show!

On select days, Universal Studios Hollywood enchants its visitors with The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle. This show will outshine anything you have ever experienced before! Accompanied by live music, Hogwarts Castle shines in the colours of the four houses, offering you the perfect end to a wonderful day.

So now you have the perfect guide! Now all that's missing are the tickets…



Los Angeles , Travel Advice