Universal Studios Hollywood updates, tips, & tricks from my February 17 trip.
With state and county restrictions lessening, the mask mandate for Universal Studios has been lifted. Masks are still required indoors, but you are no longer required to wear them outdoors. They also did not check for covid vaccination or negative test results when I went to the park on February 17. My understanding is that they still do require these on more crowded days, but they no longer check on the slower days.
As things stand right now, the COVID test site does appear to be closed.
Bring a Poncho
Bring your own poncho for Jurassic World (and the Studio Tour apparently). I recommend purchasing one at the dollar store or on Amazon. You can also purchase one at the park, and then just save it to reuse on every trip. That’s what I did.
Choose the Right Day to Go
If you can go to Universal during the week, I highly recommend it. Either way, you should check this calendar to see the crowd projections for the day. It’s best to go when it’s a ghost town, because most of the wait times will be 5-15 minutes. You’ll notice that this really only occurs during the week. If you find a weekend where this is the case, let me know.
There are however, weekends where it says, ‘hey, it’s all right”. If you cannot go during the week, then it’s best to pick a weekend day where it says this because wait times will be 15-30 minutes most of the time.
If possible, avoid the park on days that say, “Yup, it’s packed” or “Forget about it”.
Go When the Park Opens
If you are able to get there when the park opens or even a little earlier, you will beat most of the crowds there, especially on slow days. I had no wait on any rides until close to 3 PM.
If you are parking onsite (to save money, I recommend taking the train. It stops just outside of city walk, and a tram will take you the rest of the way if you don’t want to walk), I highly recommend premium parking. Premium Parking is $40 as compared to the $30 general parking.
For general parking, you will have to walk through city walk to get to the park, but if you use premium parking, it puts you right there where security is. I cannot imagine how front gate parking could improve on this (front gate parking is $60). For the $10 increase, it is so worth it.
For me, while I don’t mind the walk into the park, I’m usually exhausted by the time I am leaving. The closer parking is great for that, and it made finding my car much easier by the end of the day.
Start on the Lower Lot
Most people make a beeline for Hogsmeade when they first arrive or go on the rides on the Upper Lot. If you go to the lower lot first thing, you will be able to walk onto rides or have only a few minutes wait.
Blue the Raptor Interactions
This is usually just a photo op. You stand in front of Blue, and someone takes a photo, then you move on. Pro-tip: if you want more of an interaction with Blue, bring a souvenir with you.
When I went to Universal Studios in Orlando, I was holding a hippogriff stuffed animal, and the trainers asked me to ‘show’ it to Blue. This resulted in her snapping at me! It was hilarious.
On my trip to Universal Studios in Hollywood yesterday, I brought my plushy of baby Blue, which I made sure to have in my hand when I went to the interaction. As predicted, the staff asked me to show Blue the stuffed animal, and even to have it “roar” at Blue. It was an interesting standoff to say the least.
I haven’t tried it with a wand or anything other than a plushy, but I recommend trying out different things for a more interesting experience.
Talk to the characters. I haven’t done this as much as I would like, but I did have a conversation with Optimus Prime, and it was hilarious. I got a real kick out of it. Granted, Optimus just may have been chatty recently, I don’t know. I haven’t interacted with the Transformers before outside of Orlando, and that was a one time thing.
You Can Get Wet on the Studio Tour
I’ve been to Universal Studios Hollywood many, many times, and I’ve been on the studio tour several times. I even upgraded to the VIP Experience back in January, and I’ve never gotten wet on the studio tour other than just a quick squirt or little droplets. Well, yesterday, I got soaked. It was lucky that I was filming during the flood scene, because…right in my lap. The people at the other end of my row said that they had gotten soaked during the King Kong 3D experience.
Okay, so I wasn’t soaked from head to toe, but where the water landed, I was soaked. Luckily, it was warm out, and I was dry by the time I got off of the ride.
If you’ve been to Universal Studios Hollywood, then you know about the lockers. If you have not…you will be required to put your backpack in a locker on both Forbidden Journey and The Mummy’s Revenge. There are lockers at Jurassic World as well, but they are optional to use. For that, I haven’t had an issue with my belongings getting wet, but if you’re worried, you can put your things in a locker.
The lockers are operated by fingerprints, so you don’t need your ticket or pass or a room key if you’re staying.
Casting Spells is Hard
I’ve been casting spells in Hogsmeade ever since I bought my interactive wand in Orlando. However, I have been struggling to cast many spells in Hollywood.
The wand from Orlando does work in Hollywood, however, your moves need to be precise. If you’re flourishing your wand too much or even if there’s just too much sun, the spell will not work.