My parents don’t like rides anymore, so on our first visit to Hollywood Studios, we were unsure if it would be worthwhile for them to come along. In the end, we decided that they should come with us and I’m so glad we did.
Universal Studios Hollywood is still a great place to visit even if you don’t like rides. There’s plenty of activities that don’t include simulation or rollercoasters such as the world-famous Studio Tour, shopping at CityWalk or meeting famous faces like Homer Simpson.
Sadly, there’s no discount for not going on the rides within the park and you’ll therefore have to buy a standard park ticket for entry like everyone else. Nevertheless, without going on the rides my parents had a wonderful day.
My mum particularly fell in love with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and my dad was really impressed with the World Famous Studio Tour – even if we didn’t see anyone famous.
Here are some of the best things to do at Universal Studios Hollywood if you don’t like rides;
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The Studio Tour is in our opinion at least the very best thing to do at Universal Studios Hollywood, full stop. This hour-long experience takes you on a tram ride behind the scenes of a real production studio which is home to some fantastic shows such as Desperate Housewives and The Good Place.
We’ve been on this tour three times now and every time it’s slightly different (yet we’ve still only seen one famous face in the form of Mario Lopez on our last trip). Sadly, this tour now includes a 4D cinema experience in which the tram pulls into a circular cinema screen which stretches the length of the vehicle. You can read more about this experience here.
The Studio Tour is suitable for all ages and accessibilities, although those in ECVs will be asked to transfer over. The wait time varies dramatically depending on the time of year, on our first two visits we waited around 40 minutes but on the most recent visit we practically walked on. You can check a crowd calendar in advance to see how busy the park is expected to be on your visit.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an immersive area within Universal Studios Hollywood which is designed to replicate Hogsmeade.
There are rides in this area including; Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff but the experience is just as magical without going on them. With live performances from the Frog Choir and Triwizard Spirit Rally alongside opportunities to select a wand of your own inside Ollivanders.
Be sure to taste some of the foodie delights here. For us, Butterbeer is a must, and a great way to get an affordable souviner in the form of a licenced Butterbeer cup, however, sweets from Honeydukes are just essential in ensuring that we bring a little bit of the Harry Potter magic home with us.
Special Effects Show
This incredible 25-minute show runs multiple times a day and provides a fascinating insight into the world of special effects in TV and film.
The demonstrations are performed by real-life actors and actresses and feature the exact same formats which are used on production sets around the world.
This experience is a great chance to sit down and rest your legs in the shade and be entertained by some of Hollywood’s finest. The exact times of the shows vary, you’ll be able to check on the website for the showtimes up to 30 days prior to your visit, otherwise, they’ll be shown on the screens around the park during the day.
Shopping, Dining & Entertainment At CityWalk
The CityWalk entertainment district located just outside of the Universal Studios park is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day at the park. There are no rides here just fantastic shops such as Hot Topic, Sephora, Fossil and Billabong alongside great restaurants such as Pink’s Hot Dogs, Taco Bell, Voodoo Doughnut and Bubba Gump Shrimp.
If you’re looking for entertainment then check out the on-site Cinema which shows the latest blockbusters on 18 laser projection screens which all feature Dolby Atmos multidimensional sound and reserved power reclining seats.
Looking for something really fun and special? Try the iFly experience. This wind chamber provides you with the opportunity to experience skydiving without the risk. Simply put on a flight suit and step inside. There’s little to no risk involved, especially when compared to actually skydiving and you’ll have a dedicated instructor by your side at all times.
There’s a whole host of awesome characters to meet at Universal Studios Hollywood including;
- Hello Kitty
- Marilyn Monroe
- Curious George
- Optimus Prime
We could easily spend the entire day taking pictures alongside our favourite film and TV-show friends. However, what I love about Universal Studios Hollywood is that you often don’t have to. The queues to meet characters are often incredibly short when compared to Disneyland.
Animal Actors Show
Animal Actors is a fantastic 20-minute show inside Universal Studios Hollywood which runs multiple times throughout the day. Again, this is the perfect place to be entertained while retreating from the sun and resting your legs.
The entertainment is my favourite form of entertainment… animals!
These animals are highly trained pets who perform regularly on TV shows and in films such as “Evan Almighty,” “Night at the Museum,” “Ace Ventura Pet Detective” and “Dr Doolittle”. In the show, they’ll re-enact some of the best scenes from The Secret Life of Pets film.
One of Universal Studios Hollywood’s best and most loved attractions is the WaterWorld Show. This show is a scene from the 1995 film WaterWorld and is full of action, flames and amazing stunts lasting 20 minutes.
There are multiple shows throughout the day so even if you miss one there are more chances to catch it again during the day. The show is one of the most popular attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood and is a great place to be if you don’t like rides.
Be warned that sitting in the ‘soak zone’ will literally mean you are drenched from head to toe. If you want to be close to the action but not get completely soaked, look at wearing a poncho.
If you are into dinosaurs or even Jurassic World you will love this experience. You can interact and meet a Velociraptor as well as some of his friends.
The dinosaurs are with their trainers so no naughty mishaps will occur and no snacking will take place.
This is a super fun and different attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood and one worth checking out. You can get up close and personal to see the amazing pattern of their skin and see what it would have been like to be around a real-life dinosaur.
Super Silly Fun Land
This is a super cool and fun area to visit especially if you have children (though adults shouldn’t be ashamed of visiting this colourful fun playground). Based on the cheeky Minions from Despicable Me, this colourful playground has plenty to offer.
It is primarily a water playground for children but there are dry areas in which you can find some arcade-style games where you can have a chance at winning your very own fluffy unicorn.
This is a wonderful place to hang out and enjoy the view over Los Angeles and play some super silly games. If the games don’t tempt you, there are a few good spots to get some cheeky selfies with Minions.
DreamWorks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda
If you don’t like motion simulation then leave this attraction out, technically not a ride as there is no carriage in which you sit and go round on a track it can still give you the illusion of such.
The DreamWorks Theatre is the latest addition to the park and is a huge success. In my opinion it is just like watching a highly technical and amazing film.
The theatre itself doesn’t move or jerk and is safe for small children and those with service animals. The theatre show is amazing to watch and is super fun and easy.
Though if you can’t watch anything with flashing lights, loud noises or don’t like motion simulation this is not for you.