Going to California on Monday and the dds are really keen to visit Universal Studios. The only day we can go is on a Sunday and the reviews on Trip Advisor are really mixed: biggest issue seems to be overcrowding. The website is plugging their front of line passes which takes the ticket costs up from $80 to $160 each.
Is it worth the extra cost? I'm loathe to spend £429 for a day out!!
The last time I was there I visited on a Friday and a Saturday and I would say no, don't bother with front of line (although I would say that I was there in February so it was a quiet time of year anyway). Make sure you arrive before the park opens so you get in straight away, on the weekends the park tends to get a lot busier later on as locals with season passes often don't bother getting out of bed too early, many seem to just come for the afternoon. I would first head for the back lot tour thingy first (the little train thing), that takes the longest so you can get on it first and not have to wait. Don't get side tracked by shops or characters on the way, you can look at stuff like that when you get off. After that I would start heading for the bigger rides like Jurassic Park, The Mummy etc earlier in the day. The stunt shows and 4D show (don't miss this) you can do whenever is convenient to fit in since they have big seating capacity (especially the outdoor stunt shows). How early you show up to the stunt shows depends on how good a seat you want, most of the seats will have fine views so personally I wouldn't queue to be first in. Have fun, there are plenty of kid friendly restaurants and shops out the front of the park if you fancy staying there for dinner. Also, not sure if you are going by car or public transport, but if you go by subway then allow a couple of extra minutes since the station isn't in front of the park and you need to get a shuttle to the park gates.
We've done it with and without the front of line passes (have been in July once and on holiday three separate times in August). We always had front of line passes. Last year we returned and decided to see what it was like on one day and would upgrade for a second day if needed. It wasn't bad at all (this is peak time too) so we didn't bother. If Jurassic Park has extreme water features on then there's barely any queue. The Mummy and Transformers are down at the bottom lot and have fair queues but not too bad. Simpsons was probably the longest wait.