Welcome, fellow thrill-seekers and movie buffs, to another exciting adventure with your favorite travel guru! Today, we’re setting brooms into the magical world of Universal Studios in Los Angeles.
If you’re anything like me, you know that a day at the park can sometimes cost a pretty penny, or should I say, an Oscar-worthy fortune! But worry not, my dear readers, for I have scoured the depths of the internet, consulted secret agents (just kidding, it was customer service) and even had a rendezvous with the infamous Jaws to bring you the ultimate money-saving tips for your trip to Universal.
Hold on to your broomsticks, folks, because I’ve conjured up a spell to help you save at least $9 per person (and more like ~$40 if you are going for 2 days) on your tickets to this movie-themed wonderland. Whether you’re a wizard-in-training or a seasoned theme park enthusiast, prepare to be enchanted by this guide to unlocking the best deals in the land of cinematic splendor.
So sit back, relax, and grab some popcorn – it’s time for the show to begin!
If you are in a hurry
If you are here just to get your tickets, here are the cheapest links to do so – currently with a not-so-known-site called Ares Travel, they are an official authorized reseller, so no worries!
You are going to save at least US$9 per ticket and up to US$23 per person if you are taking a VIP experience ticket:
- Normal ticket – from $100
- 2 days tickets – (promo, more details in #1.2) from $106
- Express ticket – from $186 (skip the line to most rides!)
- VIP experience – from $346
|Adult Entrance||Kids Entrance||Universal Express||Cancelation Policy|
|Ares Travel||from $100||from $94||from $186||No Refund||Book tickets|
|GetYourGuide||from $106||from $100||from $195||>24-hour free cancellation||Book tickets|
|Official Website||from $109||from $103||from $199||No Refund||Book tickets|
|Viator||from $109||from $103||from $199||No Refund||Book tickets|
Why buy in advance?
Money, time and your good disposition! These 3 crucial things should be reason enough to buy your tickets in advance!
Universal Studios Hollywood is a huge attraction in Los Angeles that gets so many visitors (especially during peak season) so buying your tickets online in advance will help you save money, time and of course you won’t be angry that you’ve wasted your day waiting in line.
Ticket prices fluctuate a lot depending on the season, so especially if you know you’ll travel at summer, Christmas time, or during school breaks, buying your tickets early will guarantee you don’t pay the super extra price that they have for their last-minute entries.
1. Different types of Universal Studios Hollywood tickets
Buying your tickets should be pretty straightforward, right? Well, not really! There are so many things to consider when buying your Universal Studios tickets (we’ve got a post on the Singapore Universal as well) and I’m here to give you all the details.
I’ve searched the web for hours to find the best deals, and to give you all the tips and tricks on how to buy your tickets, so let’s get started because we’ve got a lot to talk about!
1.1 One day general admission
Ready for an unforgettable time at Universal Studios? Explore the magical Hogwarts castle and the world’s largest working movie studio with this 1 or 2 Days General Admission ticket.
These are the most common tickets and will offer you access to all the attractions in the theme park including, the World Famous Studio Tour, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, the Walking Dead and many other rides.
NOTE: while it says the tickets are from 109USD per person, those are mainly available in the middle of the week in slow months like October and November, a more average price would be 129USD, so I am going to take that price here.
With the 1 Day Pass ($129) you need to select and commit to the date which you want to visit, whereas the 2 Days Pass ($169) is a little more flexible.
While you’ll still need to book a specific date for the first day of your pass, for the second visit you can go wherever you want within 7 days. I really recommend this to families with smaller children as they are likely going to be pretty exhausted after one full day, so being able to have a couple of rest days in between would make the experience 10x better!
If you are planning on spending more than 1 day at Universal Studios Hollywood it is a no brainer to get the 2 day pass as it costs just $40 for the second day!
The cheapest place to buy these tickets are on Ares Travel or on GetYourGuide which is a bit cheaper than the official website. GetYourGuide also offers a 24h cancellation policy. Meaning that you can cancel your booking whenever you want up to 1 day prior to your visit and still get every penny back!
PRO TIP: If you are buying a 2 day ticket, another option would be to get the “Buy a day get a 2nd day free” ticket. I’ll talk more about this in section #1.4 but it’s basically an offer which grants you a 2 day visit to the Studios for the price of 1. The catch is that the second visit doesn’t work on black-out dates (I’ll explain more below).
1 Day – Adult $129, Kids $123 ( or Adult $119, Kids $112 through Ares)
2 Days – Adult $169, Kids $163 (or if you are located outside of USA and Canada, then Adult $106, Kids $112 through GetYourGuide as you will get a 2-day ticket for the price of 1)
P.S.: If the tickets are sold out here, check Viator.
1.2 Buy a day get a 2nd day free ticket
This is how it works – basically you buy one ticket and you get to visit the theme park for 2 days, and the second visit is for free.
You’ll have to pick a date for the first visit but for the second one you can visit whenever you want (at the moment it is within 7 days, but you’ll have to check as this changes).
The small catch is that when you go for your second day, it can’t be on one of the blackout dates (26-31 December). But that only goes for the second day, for your first visit it’s okay to go on a blackout date.
Now, the only place I saw this really cool promo is on GetYourGuide BUT there is a catch – it is only available if you book it outside of USA and Canada (cough cough, VPN – no one is going to check your residency at the entrance).
The price on the official website it 149USD for 2 days, the price on GetYourGuide is USD106 (starting from, the price will increase for both depending on how popular your dates are), so your saving will be about 43USD per person (!!). Not bad, huh?
PRICE: Adult from $106, kids from $100. If you don’t use the promo the normal price will start from $149 for adults and $143 for kids
1.3 Express tickets (skip the line for most rides)
Got no time to waste? Well, there’s always a solution! And Universal Studios came up with these express tickets that grant you one-time express access to each ride, attraction, and seated show. I personally ALWAYS buy the fast track tickets now and I think it is completely worth it!
With the express ticket you’ll be able to skip the line for a particular attraction just once. So for example if you want to go on a ride you really liked twice you’ll only get to skip the line the first time, then on the second or third time you’ll have to wait in the usual queues.
NOTE: If you’d like to actually have unlimited express access to the attractions then you might consider getting the VIP Experience, which offers that plus many other perks. I talk all about it in section #1.4
The best place to buy this ticket is currently Ares Travel, the price starts at US$186 (both kids and adults). The price includes entry to Universal Studios and also the express access to the rides (everything except Mario Kart)
No matter which tickets you want to buy, I recommend buying them early in advance, but with these express ones it’s even more important to do that as they only offer a limited quantity each day.
PRICE: from $186
1.4 VIP Experience
Who’s up for a top-notch experience and is ready to be treated like all those Hollywood celebrities?
This VIP experience is super special and it includes:
- 1-Day Park admission
- Unlimited express access to all attractions
- Guided tour
- Light snacks and refreshments
- Exclusive VIP gourmet meal (in a VIP dining lounge)
- Complimentary valet parking
- Guided tour of the Universal Backlot and a working sound stage (not open to the general public)
NOTE: Only kids 5+ can participate in this activity
Again, the cheapest place to buy your VIP tickets is through GetYourGuide. There you’ll find the tickets at US$362 (instead of 369) and with a much better cancellation policy than the official website.
Once you’ve selected the day you’ll also have to select the time for your VIP tour experience.
Usually there are 5 time slots to start your tour but this can change so always double check.
2. Go City Pass – is it worth it?
Planning to visit a couple of attractions while you’re in Los Angeles? Well, then you might consider buying the Go City Pass!
First things first, let me quickly explain what a City Pass is. It’s basically one big ticket that offers you entry to many attractions in LA, and which if used correctly should also help you save quite a few dollars.
So make sure you always check before buying one because now you’re probably thinking this is a super amazing thing but trust me, sometimes there’s really no point in getting one. But today you’re lucky because I’ll help you figure out if it’s worth buying the pass or not and which one is more convenient for you.
Depending on how long you’re in town you can buy different passes from 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 days of validity:
You can check all the prices below:
- 1 Day Pass* – US$99
- 2 Days Pass* – US$149
- 3 Days Pass – US$254
- 4 Days Pass – US$304
- 5 Days Pass – US$329
- 7 Days Pass – US$384
*NOTE: This is super important! Universal Studios Hollywood is a premium attraction included in the Go City Pass only in the 3, 4, 5 or 7 passes. Meaning that if you want to visit Universal you’ll need to buy one of these 4 passes.
There are 39 attractions included in the pass, which is definitely a lot. So to help you I’ve decided to narrow down that list and only include the most important attractions that you shouldn’t miss out during your visit:
The price of the first 2 attractions varies depending on the date, so we will take an average
- 1-Day Universal Studios – $129
- LegoLand California with Sea Life Aquarium – $94
- Hollywood Sign Tour – $55
- Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus 1 Day Tour – $52
- Madame Tussauds Hollywood – $30
- LA Zoo – $22
- Grammy Museum – $18
Now, the ultimate questions are how many attractions can you see and in how many days?
After doing all the calculations I think the 4 days pass would be the perfect option. That’s how much you’ll need to visit all the attractions I mentioned above without rushing to get from one place to the next one.
You can see all my calculations below:
1-Day Universal Studios ($129) + LegoLand California with Sea Life Aquarium ($94) + Hollywood Sign Tour ($55) + Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus 1 Day Tour ($52) + Madame Tussauds Hollywood ($30) + LA Zoo ($22) + Grammy Museum ($18)
129 + 94 + 55 + 52 + 30 + 22 + 18 = 400
You save $96 (400 – 304 = 96)
So the 4 days pass costs US$299, which means you’ll have to see 6+ attractions during your trip, for the pass to be worth it. You can always add more days or even get the 3 days pass but I think that wouldn’t give you enough time if you want to spend a whole day at Universal.
3. Buying tickets at the entrance (not recommended)
Honestly, I hope at this time and era no-one buys their ticket at the gate anymore. Not only it is more expensive than online (I’ve been told it is 159USD at the entrance, not cool!), you will also need to waste time queuing to get it!
Usually people who buy their tickets from a website in advance benefit from an online discount, which doesn’t apply to tickets bought on-site. So I would definitely consider all this before leaving it to the last minute.
PRO TIP: If you decide on the day that you’re going to visit, I would still recommend buying the tickets online (either from GetYourGuide or the official website) just make sure it’s at least 2h before you visit the park, as after that time you may not benefit from the online discount.
Things to know about Universal Studios Hollywood
Now that we have gone through all the details or how and where to get the best tickets, here is some more info for you trip!
1. How far in advance do you need to buy your tickets
Since the prices fluctuate so much I’d recommend buying as early as possible especially if you’re traveling during the peak season (June – early September).
Usually the tickets don’t sell out, but you will find them at a higher price, on some days. That’s why it’s important to plan and book at least a couple of weeks ahead.
NOTE: If you’re thinking of buying your ticket right when on the day of your visit. I recommend doing it at least 2h before you want to enter the park, to benefit from the online discount. Otherwise you may end up paying the same price if you were to buy the tickets from the gate
I would buy the tickets the moment you get the plane, hotel, etc just to be sure.
2. Opening hours of Universal Studios Hollywood
The opening times for Universal Studios Hollywood vary a lot depending on the season so I recommend checking their official website so you can see the up-to-date schedules for when you’re visiting.
But usually these are the regular opening hours:
- Summer (June – August): 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
- Fall (September – November):
○ Weekdays 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
○ Weekends 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
- Winter Holidays (December): 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
- Spring (March – May):
○ Weekdays 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
○ Weekends 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Peak season at Universal Studios Hollywood is usually in Summer (June – early September). But there are also other times of the year when you can expect a super big crowd like school breaks, Thanksgiving week, last 2 weeks of Dec and first week of January.
PRO TIP: If you can, I’d recommend visiting the theme park on any days except those that I mentioned above. But that’s not always possible, I know, so whenever you’re going make sure to get an early start, and go to the park right when it opens. I also recommend going straight for the most popular rides so you can avoid the lines which will get bigger throughout the day!
3. How to get to Universal Studios Hollywood
Let’s help you find the best way to get to Universal Studios! Whether you’re traveling by car or public transport, I’ve got all the important details for you:
- By bus – From Downtown Los Angeles you can use the 150, 155, 224, 240 and 750 buses to get to Universal Studios and stop at Cahuenga, Universal Studios
- By subway – Take the B Line (formerly Red Line) of Los Angeles Metro from UDowntown Los Angeles to Universal City/Studio City Station (then take the park’s complimentary tram service to get to the Park)
- By car – The park offers parking spaces starting from US$10 to US$70 per day, and you can find all the information on their official website
4. What to bring (and not bring) to Universal Studios Hollywood
Traveling is usually pretty hectic, especially when you’re doing it with your whole family. So if you need a quick checklist of what you need to bring with you, and what you should definitely leave at home, check the one below:
✅Tickets – The staff at Universal recommends printing your tickets, however you can also show them on your phone (or download the app, and I’ll talk about this in the next section)
✅Camera – You can take photos and videos inside Universal Studios Hollywood
✅Selfie Stick – You can also bring your selfie stick with you
✅Food & drinks – Visitors are allowed to bring small snacks and a bottled water (maximum 2 liters)
❌No Large Items – Don’t bring with you any suitcases, and bags with wheels
5. Download the app and plan your route
Since this theme park is absolutely huge I think you’ll definitely need to organize your time there before going, since it’s kind of impossible to do everything in just 1 day.
So I’d recommend downloading the Universal Studios Hollywood app before you visit the park and have a proper look at everything you need to know before going there. That way you can decide which rides you definitely want to go on, where to go first and which is the most convenient route.
The app has pretty much everything a tourist needs to get around Universal Studios, including a map, park hours, alerts for when the show will start, itineraries plus many other things.
7. Facilities inside the attraction
Toilets – You’ll find toilets through the theme park and all of them have wheelchair-accessible facilities and diaper-changing stations.
Accessibility – Most rides, shows, attractions, escalators and parking structures are designed to accommodate visitors in wheelchairs and with other disabilities
Wifi – There is free wifi inside the theme park, just join the XFINITY WiFi network
Lockers – You can store any stuff you don’t need in their lockers for a small fee, and the prices start from US$8 to US$15 (depending on the size)
ATMs – You’ll find atms at the front gate, throughout CityWalk, next to Kwik-E-Mart by the Simpsons Ride, near Jurassic Café on the Lower Lot
Gift Shop – You can find Universal Studio Store right at the park’s entrance
- Three Broomsticks (The Wizarding World of Harry Potter)
- Krusty Burger (Springfield USA)
- Luigi’s Pizza (Springfield USA)
- Hollywood & Dine (Near Universal Blvd)
- Panda Express (Near Jurassic World – the Ride)
8. How to save money at Universal Studios
Visiting any theme park, especially one as big as Universal Studios Hollywood can definitely leave a big mark on your wallet, especially if you’re traveling with the whole family.
So if you’re looking for some ways to save some money, have a look at the list below:
- Bring your own food and drinks – you’re allowed to bring small snacks and water bottles inside the park so that will definitely help your budget
- Buy your tickets in advance – you’ve probably got the gist by now, but yes, buying your tickets online in advance will help you save a few bucks
- Pick a hotel outside the park – most hotels inside the parks are pretty expensive, so I’d go for a hotel in Los Angeles that’s not too far and maybe offers a free shuttle bus there
- Buy souvenirs online – Although the USH merchandise is pretty tempting to buy the costs are super high, so you might consider buying the Harry Potter robes or other things from different sources like Amazon. They’ll definitely be less expensive and I’m sure the differences won’t be noticed by the little ones
9. Height requirements for the rides at Universal Studios
Before you plan this trip properly and get the kids all excited for all the rides, make sure you check all the height requirements for the rides at Universal Studios, to ensure that your little one can go wherever they like!
Below I’ve added everything you need to know but you can check their official website incase there are any updates:
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey: must be 48″ (122 cm) tall
- Flight of the Hippogriff: must be 39″ (99 cm) tall and children 39-48″ (99-122 cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion
- Jurassic World — The Ride: must be 42″ (107 cm) tall, children 42-48″ (107-122 cm) must be accompanied by a parent or companion
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem: must be 40″ (102 cm) tall and children 40-48″ (102-122 cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion
- Transformers: The Ride-3D: must be 40″ (102 cm) tall and children 40-48″ (102-122 cm) must be accompanied by a parent or companion
- The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash: must be 34″ (102 cm) tall, children 34-48″ (102-122 cm) must be accompanied by a parent or companion
- The Simpsons Ride: must be 40″ (102 cm) tall, children 40-48″ (102-122 cm) must be accompanied by a parent or companion
- Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride: Must be 48″ (122 cm) tall
|👩 Adult Price:||$126|
|👧 Kids Price:||$120|
|💲 Cheapest Tickets:||GetYourGuide|
|🎟️ Skip the Line Tickets:||GetYourGuide|
|🎤 Guided VIP Tour:||GetYourGuide|
|🕖 Best Time to Visit:||Mid-Week|
|🤫 Quietest time:||Morning|
FAQs about Universal Studios Hollywood tickets
💰 Where is the cheapest place to get Universal tickets?
The cheapest place to buy tickets for Universal Studios Hollywood is Ares Travel.
🎟️ Is it cheaper to buy Universal tickets at the park?
No, it’s actually more expensive to buy your tickets at the park, than purchasing them online in advance.
🥑 Can I take food to Universal Studios Hollywood?
Yes, you can bring small snacks and bottled water with you when visiting Universal Studios Hollywood.
🤔 What does general admission include at Universal Studios Hollywood?
Usually the general admission to Universal Studios Hollywood includes access to all rides and attractions.
Wow, I definitely outdid myself with all the information this time. But at least, now, everyone who’s read this post is an expert on how to buy Universal Studios Hollywood tickets.
Because we’ve got so much to digest, I think a small recap will definitely help us wrap up today.
You’ll find the cheapest tickets for Universal Studios Hollywood on Ares Travel, GetYourGuide, which also has an amazing cancellation policy. But in case you won’t find a particular day that you want to visit there you can also get your tickets from Klook or the official website.
Since I might’ve already scared some of you with all the info, I decided to keep this recap as brief as I can. But don’t forget that if I missed anything you can always leave me a comment below and I’ll make sure to answer it ASAP.
Enjoy your time in the fantasy world!
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