We’re Heading to Universal Studios Hollywood

I’m taking my kids out to Los Angeles for a combination vacation and visit to my Dad, and as is typical with trips I have time to organize, I try to mix up things so that we aren’t living out of suitcases in a hotel while flailing daily to figure out what we’ll do to fill that particular day. This time we’ve used one of my favorite travel sites — Vacation Rentals by Owner — and are renting a condo just north of Dana Point Harbor, walking distance to a beach and just a few minutes drive from my Dad’s place. Should be fun and not having to go out for breakfasts? Terrific.

But still, what are we going to do while we’re there? The last few years we’ve gone to Seaworld San Diego (see: Our Visit to Seaworld) and last time we were all out we had a great time at Disneyland (again, see: Our Visit to Disneyland). This time it was time for something different, and recognizing both that my kids are “Hollywood” and celebrity obsessed (somewhat to the frustration of my Dad, but that’s another story) and that these parks are rather crazy expensive when you’re bringing the family, but… so this time we decided to aim for Universal Studios Hollywood.

 Universal Studios Hollywood: Studio TourThe studio backlot tour: I know I’ll enjoy it!

I dropped a note to their media relations group and they have very generously agreed to comp us five “front of line” passes, which is great because it helps out with the expense of going (those tickets are $129/person, so that’s a big savings. Of course, we’ll spend plenty of money on food, snacks and the inevitable souvenirs, but that’s okay. We’ll manage. 🙂

Oh, and I should mention that my strategy for dealing with the non-stop requests for me to buy things at a place like Universal Studios Hollywood is that when we arrive I buy my kids gift cards for $20 or $25 and tell them “that’s your souvenir fund. Spend it wisely.” That’s it. No hassles, no barrage of requests for sweatshirts and the biggest stuffies they can find.

Anyway, so I have a few weeks to start studying up on what they have at Universal Studios because I haven’t been there for literally decades. In fact, last time I was there the Jaws shark leaping at us in the tram was the highlight of the entire tour. Now a quick glimpse at their site reveals it’s been kicked up quite a few notches in excitement and action. Which is a mixed bag for me because while my kids — and my sister — like roller coasters and thrill rides, I’m much more plebeian in my tastes, and will skip all those rides in the interest of enjoying the entire day. My kids? They’ll be on Transformers: The Ride 3D, King Kong 360 3D and Revenge of The Mummy, no doubt. Possibly multiple times!

Universal Studios Hollywood: Bates Motel, PsychoOur alternative vacation rental, and Mrs. Bates was so friendly on the phone…

So you can see why I need to be studying up. What rides, what shows, what activities do they have at Universal that don’t involve being flipped upside down, zooming around curves at 75mph or being strapped into a chair that’s then flung side to side, up and down?

However we split up our rides and show attendance, we’re all very excited to get there and enjoy the park! Now if I can just explain to my 9yo K- that just because it’s called Universal Studios Hollywood, it doesn’t mean it’s actually in Hollywood. 🙂

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