Universal Studios Hollywood

100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608, USA

Call it the magic of Hollywood: Since opening in 1964, this theme park has continued to reinvent itself, creating ever-more ambitious experiences inspired by blockbuster movies. For Harry Potter fans, a visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade is essential, while Peter Jackson’s King Kong 360 3-D, and the immersive Fast & Furious—Supercharged simulator ride will get the adrenaline going. To be truly swept up in the park, sign up for the VIP Experience. You’ll get a special escort to the front of the line for rides, along with breakfast, a private lunch prepared by the studio’s executive chef, valet parking, and backlot access, where you’ll see thousands of set pieces and props. (Production schedules can affect the availability of these tours.) The adjacent Universal CityWalk’s restaurants and massive movie theater make the destination worthy of even more time, especially if you visit around notable holidays, when themes take over in spectacular fashion, from “Grinchmas” to the Lunar New Year. Pro tip: Download the Universal Studios app, which you can set to send alerts when certain rides’ wait times reach five minutes.

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Studio Tours and Hollywood Magic

Universal Studios Hollywood is a premier tourist destination when visiting Los Angeles, and on the drive to or from it you can gawk at the elusive HOLLYWOOD sign in the hills. Unlike some of the other amusement parks, Universal Studios can definitely be completed in one full day. There are a number of attractions and rides, including those from the Harry Potter universe; several of the shows replay throughout the day. The World-Famous Studio Tour spotlights the various studios and sets that movies use, revealing some tricks of the trade, as well as glimpses of the many shows that are currently in production.

Me and Spielberg checking out the launch!

I loved the fact that at the red carpet launch of the new Transformers 3D The Ride at Universal Studios the great Steven Spielberg was enamored enough to film the proceedings on his iphone. You are never too old for Universal Studios!

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