This touring plan outlines the best possible way to see the best Universal Studios Hollywood has to offer in a single day.
This plan is written for those who do not have Universal Express or VIP passes. On a very busy day, however, an upgraded pass may be necessary to experience everything included on this list. You can learn more in our guide on upgraded tickets.
There are information booths situated at high traffic areas throughout the park for any guest inquiries. You can also check current wait times, showtimes, and character greeting times on your mobile phone at universalstudioshollywood.com/ushwaittimes or by downloading the Official Universal Studios Hollywood mobile app on iOS and Android devices. Note that should you experience slow cell service, free WiFi is offered under the network name UNIVERSAL and xfinitywifi.
#1 – Park Entrance
Aim to be at at the Universal Studios Hollywood turnstiles at least forty-five minutes prior to the posted opening time. Allow at least twenty minutes to park walk through Citywalk, and get through security. A turnstile attendant should provide you with a map as you enter.
#2 – Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey
For guests who have purchased tickets through the Universal Studios Hollywood website have early entry access to the land beginning 30 minutes prior to posted park hours. The ride is located inside of Hogwarts Castle. Make a bee line for Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey as you enter The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Restrictions and Access: 48 inches; Universal Express, VIP, and Single Riders lines offered. The Bottom Line: Soar above Hogwarts Castle and experience an unforgettable thrilling adventure with Harry Potter and his friends. Wait Times: Up to 15 minutes on slow days, up to 240 minutes on the busiest days.
#3 – Flight of the Hippogriff
For guests who have purchased tickets through the Universal Studios Hollywood website have early entry access to the land beginning 30 minutes prior to posted park hours. The ride is located across from Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
Restrictions and Access: 39 inches; Universal Express, VIP, and Single Riders lines offered. The Bottom Line: Fly high over Hogsmeade in Universal Studios Hollywood’s first and only outdoor family roller coaster. Hop in a basket-woven ride vehicle and meet Buckbeak, Hagrid’s famous hippogriff.
#4 – Universal Studio Tour
Head straight across the Simpsons Ride plaza to the Studio Tour entrance. If you would like a tour in another language, check the tour times by the entrance of the attraction and adjust this plan accordingly. Note: The Studio Tour lasts anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour and runs continuously, so make sure everyone is well-fed. Restrooms are located directly next to the tour entrance.
Restrictions and Access: Universal Express and VIP lines offered. The Bottom Line: The crown jewel and foundation of Universal Studios Hollywood, the world-famous Studio Tour allows you to visit the venerable backlot, front lot, and numerous other experiences, including Fast & Furious: Supercharged, Kong 360, and more! Wait Times: At this point on most days, the posted wait time will be in the neighborhood of 30 minutes. The line moves quickly and often the wait is less than advertised.
#5 – The Lower Lot
Head down to the lower lot, located to the left of the Simpsons Ride. Home to Transformers: The Ride 3D and Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride.
Note that the lower lot attractions open one hour after official park open.
#6 – Transformers: The Ride 3D
Bear right and head toward the unmissable Transformers mural upon reaching The Lower Lot.
Restrictions and Access: 40 inches; Universal Express, VIP, and Single Riders lines offered. The Bottom Line: Prepare for battle with the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, as you evade the nefarious Megatron in a 3D motion simulated dark ride. Wait Times: Up to 30 minutes on slow days, up to 140 minutes on the busiest days. Hit it first to avoid these waits.
#7 – Revenge of the Mummy
Head across the square to Revenge of the Mummy, storing your bags in the adjacent free lockers if necessary. Note: Sometimes Revenge of the Mummy will open up to thirty minutes later than the rest of the park. Should you reach it before it opens, enjoy another ride on Transformers or Jurassic Park; alternatively, grab coffee at the nearby Starbucks.
Restrictions and Access: 48 inches; Universal Express, VIP, and Single Rider lines offered. The Bottom Line: Escape Imhotep’s cursed tomb in a harrowing roller coaster-dark ride hybrid. Travel up to 45 mph traveling forward and backward as you escape scarab beetles, warrior mummies and other ancient dangers! Wait Times: Up to 45 minutes on slower days, up to 120 minutes on busier days. The Single Rider line will dramatically reduce wait times if you’re willing to split your party.
#8 – Return to the Upper Lot
Get any re-rides of your favorites in, as this is the last time you’ll be in The Lower Lot. Head back up the StarWay.
#9 – Lunch at Springfield U.S.A. or at the Three Broomsticks
After your tour, enjoy a much-needed lunch break at the adjacent Springfield U.S.A. restaurant complex. Options include Krusty Burger, Cletus’ Chicken Shack, and Bumblebeeman’s Taco Truck. Or enjoy authentic British fare at the Three Broomsticks at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Have a look at your showtimes guide and consider which you’d like to see.
At this point in the touring plan, interrupt the plan as needed for scheduled shows you’d like to see. This includes WaterWorld, Universal’s Animal Actors, Special Effects Show, The Walking Dead, and Ollivander’s Wand Experience.
#10 – Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem
Assuming there isn’t a showtime directly after lunch, head across the park to Despicable Me. While you’re here, check out Super Silly Fun Land and the Silly Swirly Fun Ride if you so desire.
Restrictions and Access: 40 inches; Universal Express and VIP lines offered; stationary seating available. The Bottom Line: Based on the blockbuster Despicable Me franchise, careen through a delightful 3D motion simulator ride where you, the guest, are recruited by super villain genius Gru to become new minions. Wait Times: Between 10 and 30 minutes on slower days and up to 60 to 70 minutes on busier days.
#11 – The Simpsons Ride
Return to Springfield U.S.A. and cap off your day with The Simpsons Ride.
Restrictions and Access: 40 inches; Universal Express and VIP lines offered. The Bottom Line: A gut-busting, hilarious motion simulator crash course through Krustyland, a parody of theme parks everywhere. Wait Times: By this time, it’ll likely be early evening. Wait times should slow by now, no more than 30 minutes on most days.
#12 – DreamWorks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda
After experiencing The Simpsons Ride, make your way towards the front of the park and experience awesomeness at the DreamWorks Theatre.
Restrictions and Access: Stationary seating available; Universal Express and standby lines offered. The Bottom Line: Join Po and the gang on an epic journey to the spirit realm in this fully immersive adventure using the first-ever integration of interior projection mapping. Wait Times: By this time, it’ll be close the end of the park’s operating hours. Wait times should be minimal, no more than 30 minutes on most days.
#13 – Revisit your favorites, grab dinner in Citywalk
You’ve now experienced every major attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood! Enjoy any other scheduled shows you’d like to see, revisit favorite attractions, and head out to Citywalk for a great dinner. Note: Most in-park counter service restaurants close at least an hour before the posted closing time. There are no full service restaurants inside the park.
#14 – Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle
Located inside of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Restrictions and Access: None; no Universal Express Pass or VIP Experience access. The Bottom Line: On select dates, Hogwarts Castle (home of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey) is illuminated in a whole new light into the canvas for a magical projection-mapping show. With the musical accompaniment of the iconic score, this is an experience not to be missed. Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle is an unforgettable way to end the day at Universal Studios Hollywood.
We hope this tour guide helps you have an excellent day at Universal Studios Hollywood.