Top 10 Must Sees at Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo courtesy of prayitno, Flickr

Universal Studios Hollywood is the only authentic, working movie studio and theme park in the world. It's as much a can’t-miss for visitors as it is a popular weekend attraction for L.A. locals. From the world famous Studio Tour to thrilling rides and family friendly attractions, the magic of moviemaking is made real for everyone who comes to experience it. We round up our top ten must-sees for your next visit.

1. VIP Experience

Book the VIP Experience for the ultimate behind-the-scenes visit to Universal Studios Hollywood. Limited tickets to the VIP Experience are $349 per person, and include exclusive features such as:

  • Tour the backlot in a special trolley that lets you disembark and explore areas not open to the general public.
  • VIP guide who immerses you in Universal Studios history, gives you no-wait, front-of-the-line access to all rides, and finds the best seats at any show.
  • Gourmet lunch in the private VIP dining room, valet parking, and VIP entry and exit from the park.

2. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem | Image courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood

Inspired by the blockbuster Despicable Me animated movies, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem - a 3D Ultra-HD movie motion-simulator ride - and Super Silly Fun Land, an outdoor family play zone, are now open.

3. TRANSFORMERS™: The Ride – 3D

Transformers™: The Ride-3D at Universal Studios Hollywood

TRANSFORMERS: The Ride - 3D is an immersive, next generation thrill ride that blurs the line between fiction and reality. Fusing HD 3D media and flight simulation technology, this epic ride creates an experience unlike anything this planet has ever seen. Based on the popular movie franchise, this mind-blowing Transformers adventure puts you in the middle of the ultimate war zone.

4. Jurassic Park® - The Ride

Jurassic Park the Ride | Photo courtesy of Terry G Alexander, Flickr

Jurassic Park® - The Ride is an exhilarating raft ride that brings visitors face-to-face with prehistoric giants like a 50-foot Tyrannosaurus Rex, before plunging them 84 feet down a wild waterfall. Getting drenched is guaranteed, so plan accordingly.

5. Revenge of the Mummy℠ - The Ride

Revenge of the Mummy | Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood

This catapulting coaster launches riders 45 miles per hour through near-darkness, before it reverses and takes them backwards through the entire route. With authentic Egyptian hieroglyphics etched into the walls, actual props from the movies, warrior mummies, a scarab beetle attack and much more, riders on Revenge of the Mummy  - The Ride won’t soon forget their encounter with Imhotep.

6. Studio Tour

Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood

The world famous Studio Tour is perhaps the most legendary attraction at Universal Studios. Narrated by Jimmy Fallon, the Studio Tour offers guests the chance to explore the working backlot of a real Hollywood movie studio. The tram ride takes visitors past sets from films like War of the Worlds, Psycho, Jaws and others, with a fiery special effect or two thrown in for good measure. The tour also includes filmmaker Peter Jackson’s heart-pounding King Kong 360 3D, the world’s largest 3D experience.

7. The Simpsons Ride™

Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood

A more family-friendly ride, The Simpsons Ride™ takes you on a simulator journey through Krustyland with fun animation in high-definition.

8. Halloween Horror Nights

Halloween Horror Nights | Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood

From the movie studio that invented the horror film genre, L.A.'s premier Halloween event turns up the terror like never before. Based on the best, most frightening films, television series and music, Halloween Horror Nights® features all-new mazes, scare zones and the Terror Tram on select nights starting in September.

9. WaterWorld®

WaterWorld® | Photo courtesy of prayitno, Flickr

If you’ve ever wanted to see movie stunts live and in person, this is your chance. The number one-rated WaterWorld® stunt show features wild jet ski tricks, pyrotechnics, air stunts and more. Don’t sit in the front “Soak Zone” unless you’re prepared to get waterlogged.

10. Special Effects Stage

The Special Effects Stage at Universal Studios Hollywood | Photo courtesy of Doris Boyd, Flickr

How do they make monsters come to life? What is CGI? And how do those 3D images pop out of the screen like that? Visitors to the Special Effects Stage find out all the answers when they get a behind the scenes look at these amazing filmmaking secrets and more.

BONUS: Shopping and Entertainment at Universal CityWalk

Universal CityWalk | Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood

With over 30 stores, 30 dining options, 6 nightclubs, live outdoor entertainment and a 19-screen movie theater - including a seven-story IMAX - Universal CityWalk is a one-stop destination for entertainment that's located just steps from Universal Studios Hollywood. Be sure to check out the state-of-the art 5 Towers concert venue which showcases live, free entertainment all year long.

For other great shopping malls around L.A, check out our guide:

TRANSFORMERS and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro and are used with permission. © 2013 Hasbro. © 2013 DreamWorks, LLC and Paramount Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Jurassic Park TM & ©2013 Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. THE SIMPSONS TM & ©2013 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved War of the Worlds ©2012 by Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks LLC. All Rights Reserved...©2013 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

L.A. is a city of stories. Not just screenplays and novels. But real life stories that can only happen in L.A. A close encounter with dolphins. A brush with a celebrity. A cupcake from a vending machine. It could be an event, an exhibit, a song. But the moment it happens, you can’t wait to tell everyone back home about it. What's your L.A. story?