Many people think that Universal Studios Hollywood is just a smaller version of Universal Orlando, but in reality it is very different. There are some things that will be familiar, but overall it is a different experience. Have a listen and discover some of the main differences.
Studio Lot Tour
Universal Hollywood is the largest and busiest motion picture and TV studio in the world. There are sound stages, movie sets, and more that are currently in use. The park offers a Studio Lot Tour as one of its “attractions.” The tour takes visitors to the studio area and you may even catch something being filmed! If you do a VIP tour, you have even more access to the studio lot. This really sets the park apart from the ones in Orlando.
Movie fans will want to experience movie history moments by seeing the location where the clock tower scene in the Back to the Future movies was filmed and actual cars used in different movies.
Universal Hollywood is built into the side of the mountain, so the park is on two levels with an enormous series of escalators connecting them. There is an elevator for those unable to use the escalators. This is important to know for a few reasons. First, when navigating the park you need to know if the attraction you are going to is on the upper or lower level. Second, you should have a game plan on what level you want to start at and then try to complete it. It takes some time to go up and down the huge escalators.
Super Nintendo World
Universal Hollywood is the home of the new Super Nintendo World. This new land features the Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge ride and a fun restaurant, Toadstool Cafe. The land is very interactive and feels like you just stepped inside a game. You can even meet some favorite characters like Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach.
This is the only Super Nintendo World in the U.S., but not for long. It will be coming to Orlando when the new park Epic Universe opens in summer 2025.
One Park and City Walk
There are some familiar attractions from the Orlando parks, but combined into one park at Universal Hollywood. For example, there is a Wizarding World of Harry Potter very similar to Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure as well as a Jurassic Park area, although the rides are different. There is also a Revenge of the Mummy ride similar to the one at Universal Orlando and a Simpsons area too. Universal Hollywood is sort of a mashup of the two parks in Orlando with some new attractions.
You can take a stroll down City Walk located right next to the entrance to the park. It has some Orlando favorites, including Margaritaville, Voodoo Donuts, and the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium. Note the hours because City Walk closes about the same time as the park and does not have late night hours.
Express Pass Tickets
Universal Hollywood has Express Pass that works the same as it does in Orlando, but there is a significant difference in the way it is purchased. In Orlando, you purchase an Express Pass ticket in addition to your park ticket or have it included as a perk of premier hotels. In Hollywood, you purchase either a regular admission or an Express Pass. You do not purchase both. Although there are partner hotels in Hollywood, there are not any that include Express Pass as a perk.
Overall, Universal Hollywood has some familiar attractions, but you’ll find it is a much different park and experience than the parks in Orlando. Universal Hollywood is a working studio with a theme park attached to it. What makes it unique is the backlot tour and Super Nintendo World. You may want to spend a few days in the Hollywood area and include a day at Universal Hollywood along with a tour of the WB Studios and other local attractions.
We would love to hear from you if you are thinking of a California vacation to Universal Hollywood and the surrounding area.