What to do at Universal Studios Hollywood?
- What's new in 2023
- Attractions and iconic areas
- Dining and shopping
- Seasonal events 2023
- Practical tips for the visit
Universal Studios Hollywood, located in the vibrant heart of Los Angeles, California, is much more than a simple amusement park. It's a window into the behind-the-scenes of the film world, offering visitors the unique opportunity to explore the backstage of their favorite movies and series. With its fascinating mix of thrilling attractions, live shows, and guided tours of filming sets, the park continues to attract millions of visitors each year.
2023 marks a pivotal year for Universal Studios Hollywood with the introduction of spectacular new attractions and enchanting seasonal events.
One of the most anticipated additions is undoubtedly the opening of Super Nintendo World, which promises to immerse visitors in the colorful universe of Mario and his friends.
Universal Studios Hollywood
From 96.37 € (or £80.42)
From £80.42 (or 96.37 €)
In this article, we will guide you through the exciting new features of 2023, the seasonal events not to be missed, the best times to plan your visit, and tips to make your adventure at Universal Studios Hollywood a memorable experience.
What's new in 2023
One of the highlights of 2023 is undoubtedly the opening of the Super Nintendo World, a universe that promises to transport visitors into the colorful and dynamic mushroom kingdom of the Super Mario franchise. Open to the public on February 17, 2023, this fantastic world offers a multitude of interactive experiences that will delight fans of the Nintendo saga.
Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge
The Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge attraction is one of the highlights of the opening of Super Nintendo World. This attraction, inaugurated on February 17, 2023, promises a thrilling adventure inspired by the Mario Kart video game series. It is located in the lower part of Super Nintendo World, inside Bowser's castle, and transports visitors into the legendary universe of Mario Kart where they can compete against Bowser's team.
This attraction is one of the largest and most interactive ever created, merging augmented reality with projection mapping technology and real decor elements. Visitors, equipped with an augmented reality headset, can board a Mario Kart vehicle and travel through iconic destinations in the Mario universe, while participating in exciting races, on iconic circuits, alongside their favorite Mario characters, against other visitors in a three-dimensional world. The AR technology used intensifies the experience by overlaying digital elements on the real world, allowing visitors to collect items and interact with the environment as they would in the video game.
The Super Nintendo World offers other interactive games scattered throughout the land. Visitors can test their skills and track their scores with a Power-Up Band, a technology that makes the experience even more immersive and fun.
Attractions and iconic areas
Universal Studios Hollywood
From 96.37 € (or £80.42)
From £80.42 (or 96.37 €)
Visitors can also look forward to a new attraction currently under development, announced after the closure of the areas hosting the "Animal Actors" and "Special Effects" shows at Universal, as well as the Production Central Store, at the beginning of 2023.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood is a magical experience that will delight fans of all ages. Upon entering this world, visitors will be transported to Hogsmeade Village, with its snow-capped roofs and cobblestone streets creating a charming and enchanting atmosphere. They will find a variety of shops, including Honeydukes, where they can indulge in famous magical sweets like Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans and Chocolate Frogs. They can also enjoy traditional British cuisine at The Three Broomsticks, a rustic tavern offering a menu consisting of roast beef and fish and chips.
The Flight of the Hippogriff attraction offers a colorful aerial escapade with Hagrid's beloved creature, while Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey invites you on a thrilling adventure through Hogwarts Castle, where you encounter all sorts of magical creatures.
Super Silly Fun Land
Super Silly Fun Land is an interactive area inspired by the Minions, recreating the seaside amusement park from the movie "Despicable Me". It includes Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, Gru's Lab Café, Silly Swirly, three carnival-inspired games, and a wet and dry play area. It's a colorful and playful place designed to entertain visitors of all ages, with a variety of rides and activities that reflect the cheerful and quirky vibe of the movie.
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is a motion simulation attraction where visitors can join Gru, his daughters, and the mischievous Minions in a heartwarming and exciting adventure.
The attraction requires a minimum height of 40 inches (about 1 meter) for participants, and those under 48 inches (about 1.2 meters) must be accompanied by an adult.
A fun attraction and play area that are perfect for families with young children.
Jurassic World: The Ride
Jurassic World: The Ride, nestled in the lower lot (Lot Lower Level) of Universal Studios Hollywood, invites visitors to dive into the thrilling universe of the fourth installment of the Jurassic Park saga: Jurassic World. The adventure begins in a lush tropical setting, where a few dinosaurs roam in apparent tranquility... for now. As the journey continues, visitors reach the Predator Cove, the scene of chaos caused by the escape of the Indominus Rex. In this area, a T-Rex and a Dilophosaurus also make their appearance, before a general recall sounds, alerting of a damaged gyrosphere and two dinosaurs fighting over a piece of clothing, the remnant of their recent prey.
The climax of the attraction unfolds in the Tyrannosaur Rex Kingdom. After a rescue attempt by Blue the Raptor, visitors find themselves trapped between a T-Rex and the Indominus Rex. They head towards an exit, but the Indominus Rex blocks the way. A breathtaking face-off ensues where the T-Rex and the Indominus Rex engage in a fierce battle, before the visitors escape by plunging down an 84-foot (about 26 meters) drop.
This breathtaking descent concludes the attraction, making Jurassic World: The Ride particularly popular, especially on sunny days. Nearby, the Raptor Encounter experience, the exotic Isla Nu-Bar restaurant, and the DinoPlay playground extend the immersion. All these attractions converge to transport visitors to the heart of the action, as if they were propelled to the center of the big screen.
Technical details and safety instructions:
- Minimum height required: 45 inches (about 1.15 meters)
- Duration of the attraction: 7 minutes
- Height of the drop: 84 feet (about 26 meters)
- Safety instruction: this attraction is not recommended for people with heart conditions.
Jurassic World - The Ride officially reopened after a long renovation in 2023. Although no new effects were added, a few adjustments were made to enhance the overall experience.
Transformers: The Ride 3D
Transformers: The Ride 3D is a major attraction that invites visitors to join the epic battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons. This breathtaking adventure immerses visitors in the heart of the action, allowing them to experience the thrill of being chased, targeted, and swept away by the evil forces of Megatron.
With 3D glasses, the Transformers appear larger than life, and visitors can feel the devastating effects of the battle around them like strong winds and heat. It has been rated as the most ambitious attraction that Universal Studios Hollywood has designed in over a decade and could well disrupt the park's attendance. The attraction draws considerable crowds from the park's opening, so it is advisable to go there immediately after opening.
The Transformers: The Ride 3D attraction opened on May 24, 2012, after two years of construction, replacing two old attractions, Backdraft and the Special Effects Stages.
Technical details and safety instructions:
- Minimum height required: 40 inches (about 1 meter)
- Universal Express Pass accepted.
- You can take your bags on this attraction.
The Simpsons Ride
The Simpsons Ride is one of the flagship attractions of Universal Studios Hollywood, offering a virtual roller coaster adventure with the Simpson family. From the start of the attraction, visitors are immersed in a story of sabotage within Krustyland, Krusty the Clown's budget theme park. They traverse the park with Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, experiencing an endless adventure full of twists and turns.
The attraction transports visitors to the city of Springfield, faithfully recreated, as if they had crossed their television to enter the long-running animated series, The Simpsons. This section of Universal Studios Hollywood also invites visitors to visit many of Homer's regular dining spots, which also make up a good part of the theme park's dining options.
The Simpsons Ride, which opened in spring 2008, is particularly popular with children ready for roller coasters, from toddlers to teenagers.
The attraction is a motion simulator located in the Springfield areas of both Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood. It was announced in 2007 as a replacement for the Back to the Future: The Ride attraction in both parks.
Revenge of The Mummy: The Ride
Revenge of The Mummy: The Ride is an indoor roller coaster based on the film franchise The Mummy. Visitors are offered a thrilling experience through a frightening adventure where they must escape the wrath of the Mummy, traversing ancient evils, flesh-eating scarabs, and fireballs.
The design of this attraction is highly thematic and technologically sophisticated, making it very popular within the theme park industry. It offers an indoor dark roller coaster experience that immerses visitors in the terrifying universe of The Mummy films.
An attraction for those seeking thrills.
Technical details and location:
- Type of attraction: indoor roller coaster
- Launch: Linear Induction Motors (LIM) propel visitors from a complete stop to a top speed of 40 mph (about 64 km/h) in a few moments.
- Location: Lower Level Lot, right across from Jurassic World: The Ride.
The queue for this attraction can vary from 15 minutes to 1 hour or more, depending on the park's attendance. It is therefore advisable to plan your visit accordingly.
Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular
Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular is an attraction based on the 1995 film, offering visitors an immersive experience in a post-apocalyptic world where the earth is submerged by the oceans. This attraction stands out for its live water show, spectacular waterfalls, and thematic environment.
In an unspecified future, the Earth is almost entirely submerged by the oceans due to the melting of the ice caps. The survivors live on floating metal structures called Atolls. The show begins with one of our heroes, Helen, returning to the Atoll with big news: she has found Dryland (dry land). However, she is closely followed by the Smokers, threatening aquatic bandits, leading to a 20-minute stunt show where the Atollers and the Smokers fight for the mythical Dryland.
The show is an epic battle between the Atollers and the Smokers, led respectively by the Mariner and the Deacon. Among the highlights of the show, there is a 50-foot fireball that bursts into the sky, a seaplane that crashes before your eyes, a character who catches fire and dives into the sea, and a massive fuel tank explosion that takes out the Atoll.
WaterWorld is the highest-rated show at Universal Studios Hollywood, recognized for its stunning stunts, its thousands of pyrotechnic effects, and its 50-foot fireballs (about 15 meters). It is described as completely different from any other theme park attraction.
It is recommended to arrive 20 minutes before the showtime to ensure a seat. Once seated, visitors are treated to a pre-show entertainment by some of the Atollers. The front rows of each section are designated as the "SPLASH ZONE" where visitors can expect to get wet, especially when seated in the central section.
Opened in 1995, the show Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular is also present in the Universal Studios parks in Japan (2001), Singapore (2010), and Beijing (2021).
Dining and shopping
Universal Studios Hollywood is a playground not only for thrill-seekers, but also for foodies and hunters of unique souvenirs. The park offers a palette of flavors and shopping items that promise to make your visit even more memorable. Here are some suggestions for 2023:
The culinary exploration at Universal Studios Hollywood is an adventure in itself, with a multitude of options to satisfy all cravings:
- Super Nintendo World: Immerse yourself in the colorful and playful universe of Nintendo at the Toadstool Cafe. Taste the "Toadstool Cheesy Garlic Knots", cheesy garlic knots, or the "Tomato Soup in Super Mushroom Bowl", a tomato soup served in a super mushroom-shaped bowl.
- Flavors of Mexico: For a Mexican culinary getaway, head to El Compadre. This restaurant offers a variety of Mexican delights, with a special offer on tacos every Tuesday.
The park offers a range of restaurants offering a variety of cuisines from around the world. Whether you're craving sushi, pizza, or something sweet, you're sure to find something to savor.
The shopping experience at Universal Studios Hollywood is an opportunity to bring back unique souvenirs from your adventure:
- 1-UP Factory: Located in Super Nintendo World, this shopping paradise for Nintendo fans offers a multitude of merchandise inspired by the Nintendo games universe.
The park houses several shopping areas where you can find a variety of products related to your favorite movies and series, from clothing to collectibles, toys, and household items, there's something for all tastes and ages. Each corner of the park offers themed shops that allow you to bring a piece of the Universal universe home with you.
Seasonal events 2023
Seasonal events at Universal Studios Hollywood are an integral part of the park experience, bringing an extra touch of magic to the already festive atmosphere. Among the seasonal events planned for 2023, we find:
Halloween Horror Nights 2023
The Halloween Horror Nights event is a tradition at Universal Studios Hollywood, transforming the park into a terrifying playground for thrill-seekers and horror fans.
This year, it is scheduled to take place on selected nights from September 7, 2023, to October 31, 2023. This year's program includes 8 haunted houses, with the flagship attraction being the Terror Tram themed around Stranger Things.
Among the novelties of the 2023 edition, three new haunted houses have been announced - in addition to the Terror Tram - based on popular films and series such as The Last of Us, The Exorcist, Evil Dead Rise and Chucky, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the universe of their favorite horror works.
The three new haunted houses and the Terror Tram promise visitors a scary experience with a renewed dose of horror and chills for this edition.
The event begins each evening at 7pm, although the closing time may vary depending on attendance and other factors.
Grinchmas and Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The end-of-year celebrations are particularly special at Universal Studios Hollywood. Visitors can dive into the magic of Christmas with two beloved events: Grinchmas and Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
These festivities will begin on November 24, 2023 and will continue until January 1, 2024, allowing visitors to experience the magic of the holidays in breathtaking settings and attend specially designed live shows for the occasion.
To celebrate the New Year, Universal Studios Hollywood organizes EVE on December 31, 2023. This special evening offers visitors an unforgettable experience with music, dancing, fireworks, and access to certain park attractions and rides.
Admission to EVE is included in the park entrance ticket price, making it a festive and affordable way to celebrate the New Year.
Grad Bash 2023
Grad Bash is an annual event dedicated to high school graduates, taking place on several dates in May and June 2023. The specific dates are May 12, 25, 26 and June 2, 9, 2023. During these evenings, the park closes at 8pm, participants can then enter, and the party starts at 9pm. It's a memorable way for young adults to celebrate the end of their school journey by enjoying the attractions and festive atmosphere of Universal Studios Hollywood.
These seasonal events add an extra dimension to the overall park experience, allowing visitors to create memorable memories while enjoying the usual attractions and shows.
Practical tips for the visit
Preparation is key to maximizing your experience at Universal Studios Hollywood. Here are some practical tips for planning your visit in 2023:
- Purchase your tickets in advance: it is advisable to buy your tickets online in advance to save money and time. Tickets purchased online are often cheaper than those bought at the park entrance. Moreover, by purchasing in advance, you avoid the queue at the park entrance, allowing you to enjoy the attractions more quickly.
- Choose the right dates: as with any amusement park, some dates are busier than others. Weekdays in January (except for New Year's week and days around MLK Day) and February (except for days around Presidents Day) are recommended to avoid large crowds and benefit from shorter waiting times. The period between September and February, especially from Monday to Thursday, is often less crowded, except for holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. January is mentioned as the best month to visit the park.
- Download the mobile app: download the Universal Studios Hollywood mobile app to save time when searching for shows, booking seats, and locating restaurants and attractions.
- Park Smartly: parking at Universal Studios Hollywood ranges between $30 and $70 for a full day, with reduced rates for arrival after 5pm. The "General Parking" area is the cheapest but also the furthest from the park entrance. There is also a dedicated area for rideshare services like Uber.
- Book your accommodation in advance: if you plan to stay near the park, book your accommodation in advance. This will help you avoid peak hour traffic, especially if you are driving before 6am or after 9pm. It is also recommended to consider alternative transportation options like the Karmel Shuttle service between Anaheim hotels and Universal Studios Hollywood.
- Prepare for security checks: all theme parks in Southern California have security checks at the entrance. At Universal Studios Hollywood, your belongings will be scanned through an X-ray machine.
Universal Studios Hollywood
From 96.37 € (or £80.42)
From £80.42 (or 96.37 €)
Universal Studios Hollywood transcends the traditional concept of an amusement park to offer a fascinating dive into the world of cinema and television. Here, each attraction is a gateway to fantastic worlds, where the adrenaline of roller coasters meets the magic of live shows.
The year 2023 promises innovation with the arrival of new attractions and seasonal events that will enchant your visits - whether it's the enchanted universe of Harry Potter, the effervescence of Super Nintendo World, or the guaranteed thrills on roller coasters. A bit of planning is enough to make your visit a memorable adventure, optimizing every moment and every expense.
Between culinary delights to savor and unique souvenirs to bring back, each visit to Universal Studios Hollywood is an opportunity to create unforgettable memories with your loved ones, exploring together the multiple facets of entertainment that the park offers.