Universal Studios Hollywood: Is It Worth It? Maybe Not...

On September 12th, 2016...I experienced my first time at Universal Studios Hollywood. Although I've already been to the one in Florida, I honestly had no idea what to expect out of the one in Hollywood. Seriously...zip, nada, none. Other than Harry Potter, I knew nothing. I kept asking myself questions, "What are the rides like? What franchises do they still own? Do they have any good food options? Whats the energy like?"

Regardless, I knew I wanted to go. I mean, BUTTERBEER AT HOGWARTS? How can I pass that opportunity up? So I took the plunge and bought a season pass, considering it was only $20 more than a ticket. (Isn't that just weird? It's like there's literally no point in buying a ticket.)

So here I am, sharing my experience at Universal Studios Hollywood with the world. If you find yourself wanting to plan a trip to California or to Universal but seem hesitant, you might find this helpful.

Let me start of with this: I enjoyed my time at Universal. Don't get me wrong. I'm obviously going to go back. After all, I do have a season pass! But....there are just a few things you should know before pressing that "buy tickets" button. Shall we?

1. There's surprisingly not a lot to do.
Not kidding. We didn't even need half a day to do everything we wanted. This left me feeling empty. When I was looking at the map, I was like, "Wait, what? That's it?" Apart of me feels spoiled for saying that, but Universal offers way less attractions than other amusement parks.

2. It's REALLY tourist-heavy.
I'm talking cliche high-waisted cargo shorts tourists that don't know how to walk and take a picture of everything they see. The ones that seem like they're from a small Southern town and seem to be judging everyone because they don't look like them. I didn't even feel like I was in California. I'm used to tourists but this was some next level shit.

3. I wouldn't plan an entire trip around it.
Like I said before, there's really not a lot to do. You could get everything in the park done in one day without breaking a sweat. Because of this, planning an entire trip around going to Universal seems kind of silly, right? If you want to go to California, great. If Universal ends up on your itinerary, awesome. But don't go booking a flight JUST for Universal, trust me.

4. It's cheaper than Disney, but Disney is without a doubt worth the few extra bucks. 
This is why I imagine a lot of people choose Universal over Disney. That's why I first went to Universal in Florida years back...I couldn't afford Disney. I know the struggle. Especially when you're taking your entire family to an amusement park, saving a little bit of money counts, right? But let me tell you...no matter what amusement park you choose, you're still going to be spending a WHOOOOOLE lotta money, so might as well make it worth it. Universal is without a doubt NOT worth the amount you pay. Disney is worth the amount you pay and more. From the rides, to the parades, to the customer service, to the characters and the food...you'll see a significant difference.

5. The food is basic AF. Ugh.
There's no draw when it comes to food. It's just overpriced burgers, fries, and other basic American fair food. Again, this is why Disney slays and Universal doesn't. If you do end up going, just pack your food. (You're actually allowed to.)

6. The set up is messy.
There were several occasions where we were walking around and there was just...nothing. Sometimes I didn't know what the theme was supposed to be. Sometimes employees had no idea what they were doing and the lines got out of control. It made the experience sucky.

7. The characters interactions are awkward and slightly uncomfortable.
It's usually common for masked characters to uh...you know, not actually speak. But then the moment I heard Shrek speaking, I couldn't keep calm. What the actual hell? It didn't even sound like him and he was making people visibly uncomfortable. No thank you.

8. The rides were fun, but not believable. 
I have a pretty big imagination and usually, I can transport myself to other places. Whether that's because I'm on a ride at Disneyland, playing a video game or reading an amazing book - it's not that hard for me to go somewhere else. The rides at Universal just couldn't take me there and seemed cheaply done. It just needed some updating. On too many occasions I was just like, "I know I'm sitting in an auditorium. I know they are trying to make it seem realistic by spraying water on me and making my seat go up and down but it's soooo outdated." If Disney can transport me to other universes, why can't Universal even kind of take me somewhere else?

9. If you do want to go to Universal, go to the one in Florida.
You know, if you have an intense craving to go to Universal, go to the one in Florida. There's soooo much more to do and I felt the vibe was a lot better at this one. Plus they added Diagon Alley to the Harry Potter section at the Florida one, which makes it a must see!

If you have any other questions before planning your trip, please do let me know! I'm probably going to be going back soon to take it all in again to see if my opinion changes. But as of right now, I think they have a lot of improvements to make and Disneyland still owns my heart. 

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