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Universal Studios Hollywood?

(21 Posts)
Bellini81 Thu 28-Dec-17 12:35:17

Has anyone been?

We are thinking of taking our 16 & 11 year old next summer (3rd week in August) to L.A for a few days then fly to New York for two nights.

We usually do package holidays so my head is spinning with all the flight choices, looking for decent hotels in the right areas etc.

We were thinking of just going to Universal Studios in Orlando but we went to Disney world in May and I think we could do with a more sight seeing holiday this time as we just spent 7 days in the parks and although it was fabulous in every way I can't face the queuing again.

Has anyone been to L.A and the universal studios there?

OP’s posts: |
TefalTester123 Thu 28-Dec-17 13:04:28

Yes, did 3 weeks in California and the day spent there was the biggest rip off of the holiday. Queues for everything were massive. Studio tour was the best bit but still pretty poor unless you're under 12 or have very low expectations. Spend the day on the beach instead.

TefalTester123 Thu 28-Dec-17 13:05:58

Actually 'a few days in LA' seems a bad idea in itself. San Francisco more interesting.

Bellini81 Thu 28-Dec-17 13:16:26

Oh really. Ah well thank god I'm just in the looking stage. Would you recommend staying in San Francisco for a few days then flying to New York?

Me & my daughter went to New York in March a few years ago and loved it so much so we now want the other half of the family to go and I thought while we are flying long haul we might as well squeeze it in.

I was thinking of a fly drive holiday too but we don't have an unlimited budget so I'm just trying to find the best trip for us.

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Bubblysqueak Thu 28-Dec-17 13:19:06

We spent 2 days there and it was brilliant. Quest weren't too bad especially the second day as we had learnt to start at the back of the park which was empty and work your way forwards .

poisonedbypen Thu 28-Dec-17 13:31:58

We spent a day there in July (plenty). The queues weren't too bad in the morning, so plan the popular rides for then. Remember it will be very hot. I enjoyed it, the teenagers not so much, they would have preferred "real" rides. The Harry Potter bit was great.

poisonedbypen Thu 28-Dec-17 13:33:41

And you can easily do it in a day. If money is not object get the fast pass tickets if they do them in August. We didn't as they were so much more, but we did avoid some rides because no-one wanted to queue in the heat.

PutDownThatLaptop Thu 28-Dec-17 13:35:40

Yes, I've been there a few times. Universal was pretty packed and hot but the studio tram tour was interesting. Can I also recommend the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in Hollywood for a more authentic studio experience? Driving and parking there was very easy.

In California I have always stayed in Anaheim (even the older teens like Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm) and driven down the coast to San Diego.

Consideredintrusion Thu 28-Dec-17 13:42:19

As a family off six we had ten days in LA in summer 2016, with four days in Vegas right in the middle. We did Disney because it’s only right to visit the very first one imo. We also did universal. Having been to Orlando a couple times, LA’s universal (and Disney for that matter) really is a light version. It was ok, I wouldn’t go as far as saying it was great. we didn’t spend a whole day there. My best memory is if the views it position affords. We are considering going back to LA next summer or maybe Xmas, to do the less touristy things.

Bellini81 Thu 28-Dec-17 13:48:57

Thanks for the advice, do you think there is enough in L.A for us to do with two kids for 4-5 days? Or are we better off going somewhere completely different? I think I'm overthinking it all now tbh

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fridascruffs Thu 28-Dec-17 13:55:13

My brother works at Universal in LA, I've been there quite a few times. I prefer Disneyland really, but the studio tour on the bus is good fun and the Harry Potter bit is supposed to be great, i haven't been to that bit as it's relatively new. LA has lots to see but it depends on what you like. i like art galleries, so I always go to the Huntington Library when I visit LA, you have to book but you can do so online easily. They have beautiful gardens and a section on bonsai trees which is quite impressive. The Getty galleries ('new' one in Bel Air and the original down at the beach) are also good, with world class collections; you also have to book. Museum of Modern Art; also the science museum downtown, near USC, is great, you can see the actual space shuttle. Venice Beach is quite good fun to visit, as is Santa Monica pier. You can take a boat trip to Catalina Island if you have time, might see whales on the way across if you're lucky.San Francisco is a day's drive away (400 miles IIRC), but you could stop off en route overnight at the Sequoia National Park, it's an hour or two off the main route and is really worth visiting. Then head for the coast and drive the PCH to SF.

fridascruffs Thu 28-Dec-17 13:56:22

(Pacific Coast Highway- sorry!)

Bellini81 Thu 28-Dec-17 13:58:10

Thanks fridascruffs that's all amazing to consider doing smile

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MaverickSnoopy Thu 28-Dec-17 15:02:21

Fridascrufs gives great advice there. Quick reply from me as I'm just going out. LA is pretty rubbish as a tourist. You need to know where to go. I'd avoid Hollywood Blvd and the like which is filthy. You need to go to places that a local would. Love Balboa Island and Fashion Island, as well as the places Frida mentioned. I was 17 the first time I went (my sister 12) and have been back many times since. I love the place! Universal is great but agree that you need low expectations. It's a quiet day out, not the high point of the trip. Love Disney at Anaheim though.

carbuncleonapigsposterior Thu 28-Dec-17 15:11:45

I took one of my children to Universal Studios, Hollywood in the October half term about twelve years ago when he was mid teens. We'd previously done the much larger one in Orlando. It was fairly quiet at that time, I think he was slightly underwhelmed having been to theme parks in Florida, this was a very much scaled down version. I think "Desperate Housewives" was about to be launched in the UK and we did a back lot tour where among other film sets we saw the one for that show. I remember enjoying that tour about half an hour duration on a small train. Most of the other rides such as "Back to the Future" we had already experienced before I can't remember how much entry cost for the two of us. My husband opted out and played golf instead, at a course somewhere near the Griffin Park Observatory, the one that featured in "LaLa Land". We met him at the "Hard Rock" just outside the gates of Universal afterwards for a meal.

We went down to San Diego for a few days on the advice of a couple of people we know who said Los Angeles isn't great and a stay there should be brief. Conversely I liked LA a lot, far more than San Diego. I particularly liked the Doubletree Hotel we stayed at in Santa Monica. The accommodation was in the form of 2 room suites which was good as my son at that stage in his life where he was more interested in tv surfing and watching wall to wall rubbish American tv. Very thankful for an adjoining room where we were able to read in peace

fridascruffs Thu 28-Dec-17 23:10:16

Oh yes, Griffith Park observatory, off Los Feliz- once a month they have amateur astronomers gather on the lawn outside and you can see whatever there is to be seen, maybe Saturn with the rings, or Jupiter's moons. The interior has great displays on astronomy too. And you can go up to the top of Mount Wilson which overlooks LA from the north.
I'd avoid summer if possible, it's too hot. You could go skiing for a day in the winter, in the mountains around LA. For queues in the parks, try to choose a day when the local kids are still in school. They don't have exactly the same holidays as us so should be possible.

fridascruffs Thu 28-Dec-17 23:16:48

Oh and a public tour of Jet Propulsion Laboratory. You have to book. they do all the space travel stuff- Curiosity, Cassini etc. Old Pasadena's nice to visit as well.

MaryPoppinsPenguins Thu 28-Dec-17 23:23:48

I just went to LA for a week with two kids... we go to Florida a lot but the Disney parks in LA are quite different and very worth a visit... we drove to San Diego and went to the zoo which was amazing... knots berry farm... Warner brothers tour, a day and a half of touristy Driving around, and Universal Hollywood. It’s very small and aside from the tram tour (which is brilliant!) absolutely no where near the standard of Universal Orlando. I’m glad I’ve been but I wouldn’t go back... I think Disneyland is my favourite if all the Disney’s I’ve visited though.

somewhereovertherain Fri 29-Dec-17 12:30:46

Enjoyed universal but queue where massive

My tip is go for two days complain on day one about the queues.

We got enough fast passes by complaining and arrived early on the second day that we did they whole park by lunch. Rather than the three rides in 6 hours on day one.

Bellini81 Sun 31-Dec-17 10:02:35

Thank you for all your helpful replies, we have decided to book a trip to Boston instead then get the Amtrak to New York for a few days there too. Im looking forward to not queuing in the blistering heat.

OP’s posts: |
carbuncleonapigsposterior Sun 31-Dec-17 10:58:40

Hope you enjoy the Amtrak trip Beillini, it's quite an experience, we got an Amtrak a few years ago, New York to Savannah, left mid afternoon and got to Savannah 6 am following day, we did have a sleeper compartment I might add. It was light just beyond Washington so managed to see a few places until then.

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