Saturday, April 27, 2019
Universal Studios Our First Family Visit - All You Need To Know Plus Autism Tips & Something I'd Never Do! #UniversalStudios
First Visits Are Always The Best... We've waited a while to visit Universal Studios Hollywood as a family.
It's a big step to take to enjoy everything Hollywood Movie Magic with kids and one on the Autism Spectrum.
Thank you to Universal Studios for having us out to experience Dark Art show on the Hogwarts Castle. Not only did we enjoy wizarding entertainment but we explored the park early beforehand! All Opinions are my own.
Since it was our first visit I thought it would be fun to do a complete separate post on just that! Tips and feedback on our 6.5 hour day at Universal Studios Hollywood. You can find our blog post on all things Wizarding World of Harry Potter here.
The lay out and navigating Universal Studios
There is really no way to start or finish as we found that returning to all the lands or parts of the park were a must to see more.
When you enter the main gate and of course take that iconic shot... grab a map and pick a starting point. Snaps some photos of your favorites along the way!
Upper and lower lots are filled with things to do but main events and shows are on the upper lot.
We were told by a Universal team member that it's best to take the Studio Back Lot Tram Tour during the day so that we would be able to see everything. So I'm passing along that tip.
The lower lot is stair or escalade accessible. If wheel chair is needed you can take an elevator down one leave then catch a bus ride to the bottom. Always a way to help everyone enjoy.
Jurassic World will be open later this year but you can peek at the construction going on coming down the escalators or riding up.
Lower lot you will find Transformers and Mummy Rides. Both are amazing and the whole family rode them.
We totally loved both rides. Lockers are available to store your goodies.. do it.. not only is it asked and suggested but the ride is super bumpy and crazy fun so just keep your bags safe!
Catch that Studio Tour Tram and enjoy an hour of so much interactive movie set history it will keep you on the edge of your seat. So much so that my son had to swap over to the middle from the window seat.. haha!
I love that I now know how my parents felt watching my face as Jaws went by the tram when I was a kid. Priceless really!
Growing up the Simpson's were always a comedic relief weekly from school or soccer so of course we had to introduce the iconic funny family to our family.. right!? Yes.
Everything you can imagine seeing on TV is exactly what you walk around on site at Universal Studios.
My sons favorite is the Despicable Me movie line... he's a huge fan. Who am I kidding we all are.
We walked into the set of the girls birthday surprise and quickly became one of them... by them I mean a Minion!! You have to ride to find out what I mean but my son was totally loving this. He gave himself a reality check and looked and me looked and himself to make sure we weren't minions in the end! Yes! Parenting win. His face of happiness was my whole heart.
So many interactive moments all over the lot... here is a fun video of us in some random spots on the lot from Instagram.
Hogsmead and Hogwarts Castle, inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, are another level that have totally earned a post of their own. You can find that post here. I can not rave enough about it.
One thing I would never do... is miss this Wizarding part of Universal Studios!
There are multiple shows too so if you need a break take one. They are super entertaining and again filled with movie magic and special effects from the pets to the stunts!
Dining and Shopping
So much food, sweets and themed eats it's a foodies dream!!
With the delights of the themed areas there is no shortage of flavorful and pretty themed specialties.
What's your flavors what's your taste?! From beer at Moe's to donuts that Homer would steal out of your hand there are many things that your can try that take you back to your childhood.. well okay mine cause I'm an 80s kid.
Krusty burgers and a dessert or baked good from a Paris Café... so many cute stops you can make to grave a bite, drink or treat.
Next time we visit I want to just eat and drink anything and everything in sight. Don't judge me haha!
The shopping is beyond what I ever expected. The specialty shops in each area of the park cater to it.
From hats to hoodies and key chains to candles there's something for everyone to browse and want.
Trust me on that one.
Tips... Make The Most of Your Visit
Need a family break or special needs sensory halt.. head to the family station area. A whole section dedicated to giving you just what your family may need.
Check height requirements or maybe someone isn't ready to ride a ride yet.. it's okay. If you have a need to parent swap just ask the tram member. They will kindly do the family waiting area parent swap help for you so that everyone can ride the attraction. Bonus help!
Autism or special needs friendly....
There is an attractions assistance pass. This works similar to any other parks disability pass but I loved it a bit more. There is a bar code to scan and there are only return times for rides over 30 minutes long. All other attractions and rides under 30 mins long are immediate entrance.
This is brilliantly helpful since there is a lot to see and do when walking around you can easily spend 30 minutes doing so before your wait time is up! Very helpful.
For any show arrive early and make sure you get the spot you may need for visual or use of exit as needed.
Also you can pack snacks, waters unopened and whatever for dietary. That is great for us since my son only eats a variety of things when we are out and about!
Some of the shows have loud noise and special effects so if there is any sensitivity to that please be mindful of what your personal family needs may be. Sometimes we need headphones at let's say monster truck show but my son was good to go on everything we did no unexpected issues.
We Can't Wait To Return
It's really mind blowing how real everything can come to be with the creativity and special effects of Universal.. they are masters of this for a reason!
We had so much fun my kids were skipping on the way in and on the way out to the parking lot.
We looked at some of the AP options and will be looking more in detail since it seems reasonably affordable for a family of 4. Also since there's is plenty to do that you can enjoy a few hours and return a few months later when something is new and or you have those Studio Tour Tram Ride withdrawals hoping you will see a celebrity. Oh just me?!
You can get more info on passes and tickets on line here. They always have special pricing deals too.
Follow along on social media with #universalstudios #universalstudioshollywood .