Tips, Tricks and How-to's for fun, comfy and easy trips!

Universal Studio in California: tips, attractions and campgrounds!

Are you going on a road trip to Universal Studio, looking for tips about the destinations so you and your party can enjoy it, be comfortable and not spend a fortune?

Here are some of the top tips about visiting.

About Universal Studio

Universal Studios California is a film studio and theme park in Los Angeles County.

  • Universal Studios includes a 60 minutes visit to 13 city blocks on four acres of historic studio lot in the largest set construction project in studio history, built with creative consultation from Steven Spielberg.
    100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California just north of downtown Los Angeles.
  • Universal's rides

Daily hours are typically 9 am to 6 pm.

Contact info and prices

  • General Information: 800-864-8377
  • Tickets: 866-258-6546

Reservations are required due to COVID; to enter a theme park. 

In general ticket prices are very similar to Disney Land; roughly $99 to $300 per day per person, depending upon the level you select.

COVID

As of September 13, 2021, Universal says you must either be a California resident or an out-of-state visitor who is fully immunized (at least 14 days after final dose was administered) for the virus with an injection authorized for emergency use by the FDA or WHO, and party size for all visitors is limited to a maximum of three households. Also, face covering required for everyone and a temperature check is required for everyone. Guests with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater will not be admitted

Top Universal Studios California Tour Plan Tips:

Undercover Tourist website may have discount tickets that sometimes include Express Passes.

Follow a tour plan. These websites offer good free guide and plans:

Top Overall Tips

  1. Buy your tickets and get your reservation online.
  2. Buy tickets early and look for discounted Universal Studios tickets
  3. Go when the park is typically less crowded, typically April and May when you'll get the combination of the best weather and least crowds at the park. Of course, still avoid school breaks and holidays.
  4. Download the  Universal Studios Hollywood Mobile App
  5. Stay at a campground near by
  6. Stay off the StarWay, as much as possible; the elevators are very slow, so do everything you want on the Lower Lot at one time and do it as soon as it opens in the morning, while the lines are shortest
  7. Get to the parks early, before they open. And stay late; the first 2 and the last 2 hours of park opening are the least crowded.
  8. Don't forget sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, cell phone chargers and their cords.
  9. Bring your own snacks and water.
  10. Bring your own lunch and store it in a locker
  11. Use a Locker to store your food and gear.
  12. Go to shows and sit-down experiences late in the day when you are tired!
  13. Single Rider lines are always shorter and faster. (While COVID is still a problem and Newson is still in office, the Single Rider Line is unavailable). In normal times, it is normally offered on:
    Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
    Flight of the Hippogriff
    Revenge of the Mummy - The Ride
    Transformers: The Ride 3D
    Jurassic World - The Ride
  14. Use Dramamine - You WILL need it!
  15. Bring a sturdy collapsable water bottle
  16. If you want shorter lines, get the Universal Express Pass, an add-on can be purchased ahead of time, once you’re in the park, or comes free when you stay at a Universal Premier Resort . The lines are shorter inside the park.
  17. Universal Studios Resort hotel guests and annual pass holders one-hour early entry to Universal Studios or Universal’s Islands of Adventure
  18. Make dining reservations ahead and check the walk-up availability
  19. Allow at least 30 minutes for general parking and security
  20. Many of the restaurants around Universal will give you a 10% discount for AAA members
  21. Use the free WiFi
  22. Use the free lockers - at each ride there are free or paid lockers based on the size of your backpack or bag. Bring you small or medium sized backpack and rent a locker for the day
  23. You must have a “Park-to-Park” admission ticket to ride the Hogwart’s Express attraction.
  24. Exchange money at Gringotts Money Exchange for ‘wizard currency’ to purchase food at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Unused bank notes can be converted back to regular money at Guest Services.
  25. Ride breakdowns that happen while you are in line waiting for the ride mean consolation compensation, if you are polite and ask before you leave the line.

Visit the rides in this order

  1. Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the busiest part of the park. Go first thing in the morning, or after 4 pm.
  2. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.
  3. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.
  4. Transformers: The Ride - 3D.
  5. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.
  6. Shrek 4D.
  7. Revenge of the Mummy.
  8. The Simpsons Ride.
  9. Men in Black Alien Attack.

Universal Studio Seasons, bugs, topography and climate

Los Angeles County has near perfect weather, like a Mediterranean climate it is dry most of the year and rains in the winters, which are mild. Summers are long, and hot but with low humidity.

Food

It's no secret that food at theme parks is incredibly overpriced!. Here are the UO rules for bringing in food:

Acceptable

  • Bottled Water (maximum 2 liters)
  • Small snacks that do not require heating
  • Any food required for medical purposes and medically-indicated nutritional supplements
  • Any food required for special dietary needs
  • Baby food/baby formula
  • Soft-sided insulated bags no larger than 8.5" wide x 6" high x 6" deep

Prohibited

  • Glassware or glass containers
  • Open containers or drinks containing alcohol
  • Hard-sided coolers
  • Soft-sided coolers larger than 8.5" wide x 6" high x 6" deep
  • Picnic lunches; any food that requires heating or refrigeration; folding chairs

Parking

Don't overlook parking, it can really add up! In 2021, Universal Studios California charges about $15 - $50 per day for daily (no overnight) parking for most vehicles,

Hotels - On the park

There are no hotels on the property so click below to find accommodations nearby:

Bundled packages may work for you.

See this page for Universal Studios vacation packages.

Universal StudioCamping tips

First, get reservations ASAP. They usually fill up weeks in advance. And while there are a few last minute cancellations, those go instantly. If you want to visit Disney, also, a campground between would work. Universal Studios Hollywood is approximately 35 miles from DisneyLand, and the drive is about 45 minutes. There are paid shuttles between the 2 parks, like Starline Tours which costs about $45 per adult and $35 per child.

Campgrounds near Universal Studio in California

Universal is downtown, so there are no campgrounds next door.

  • Caravan Mobile Home Park - 30 miles away
    600 W Gladstone St, Azusa, CA 91702. Phone: (626) 334-2306.
  • Castaic Lake RV Park - 30 miles
    31540 Ridge Rte Rd, Castaic, CA 91384. Phone: (661) 257-3340.
  • Hollywood RV Park - 15 miles away
    7740 Balboa Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91406. Phone: (818) 785-0949
  • Malibu Beach RV Park - 35 miles
    25801 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265. Phone: (310) 456-6052.
  • River’s End RV Park - 33 miles
    13130 Soledad Canyon Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91390. Phone: (661) 888-4272.
  • Valencia Travel Village - 29 to 30 miles to Universal Studios Hollywood
    27946 Henry Mayo Dr, Castaic, CA 91384. Phone: (661) 257-3333.
  • Walnut RV Park - 20 miles away
    19130 Nordhoff St, Northridge, CA 91324. Phone: (818) 775-0704.

Campgrounds between Disney and Universal

  • Anaheim Harbor RV Park -
    1009 S Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92805. Phone: (714) 535-6495. The the closest campground to the park, less than a mile away.
    The Anaheim Resort Transit shuttle stops just outside of our park at a green city bus bench on Harbor Blvd and comes by approximately every 30-40 minutes. The shuttle runs to and from the Disneyland® Resort, Angels Stadium, Anaheim Convention Center and other local attractions. Passengers ages 10 and over will be required to have an adult ART pass. Children ART passes will be required for all children ages 3-9. Children ages 2 and under are free. You can purchase tickets and find more information at www.RideART.org . Please note, downloading the TripShot app will be required to use the shuttle. Anaheim Harbor RV Park is pet-friendly. discount for AAA, US Military or Seniors 55+. The discount is applied at check-in with a valid ID or membership card. They only have 2 tent sites (about $45 per night in 2021). In 2021, short term RV rates for 2 people were $55 to $71 per day plus $4 per extra person over age 9. Long term was $320 to $437 per week , plus $25.00 per person, per week, over 32 people, over age 9.  Located about 36 to 43 miles to Universal Studios Hollywood
  • Canyon RV Park -
    24001 E Santa Ana Canyon Rd, Anaheim, CA 92808. Phone: 714-637-0210. A huge (795-acre) campground in a natural wilderness area next to the Santa Ana River. They have a swimming pool, a store, cabins and campsites. They are farther away, about a 30-minute drive.
  • Orangeland RV Park -
    1600 W. Struck Ave, Orange, California 92867. Phone: (714) 633-0414. Email: contact@orangeland.com. They claim to be the highest rated RV Park in the Anaheim and Los Angeles Area! Park your RV here and visit Disneyland Resort, Angel Stadium, Honda Center, Old Town Orange, and the many Anaheim attractions. Our location in Orange, California is ideal for visitors to Los Angeles and all of Southern California. Orangeland RV Park has the friendly ‘a-peel’ of an old fashioned family-run business. The park was built in 1972 on an orange orchard and the same family still operates Orangeland today. We welcome you to come stay with us, pick fresh oranges off of our trees, relax in the sun and enjoy. RV Park Amenities include: Wide premium pull-thru RV Sites, Large Heated Swimming Pool and Spa, Free Wi-fi, Cable TV, Full Hookups, and a Central Southern California Location. The resort facilities are maintained with the care you’d expect from a dedicated staff who are committed to guest satisfaction. The RV park sites are manicured, the interior roads are in great shape, the wi-fi works, and our recently renovated swimming pool is large, blue and refreshing. Click here to see our Amenities page with more about our many guest amenities.

 

California has both state parks and private campgrounds..