After visiting Universal Orlando a few times recently with my family, I was excited to head back to Universal Studios Hollywood so I could compare the two locations. I already knew the Hollywood park is much smaller having visiting it as a kid. Smaller park means fewer attractions but more isn’t always better in my opinion. So I am sharing 5 reasons why Universal Studios Hollywood is better than Universal Orlando.
Why Universal Studios Hollywood Is Better than Universal Orlando
1. Universal Studios Hollywood: The Studio Tour
The iconic Universal Studios Tour is not offered at Universal Orlando making it a must visit attraction for all guests. Jimmy Fallon acts as the video host in conjunction with the live tour guide that offers insight into the various sets and sound stages along the tour.
There is no guarantee that you will see anyone famous but because it’s a working studio lot, it is possible. We saw George Eads from the tv show CSI once while taking the tour. There is always TV shows and movies filming so there’s always a chance you can see a famous actor at work. The tour guide will point out active sets during the tour.
The one hour tour has been upgraded over the years and now includes a few 3D experiences including one from the Fast & the Furious franchise. Personally I am not a huge fan of 3D/4D rides but I think this addition is great for everyone else.
2. Universal Studios Hollywood: Super Silly Fun Land
Both parks offer the 3D minion ride but only Universal Studios Hollywood has Super Silly Fun Land. What is Super Silly Fun Land? It’s an interactive kids playground and splash pad and includes Silly, Swirly Fun Ride. It can be a quick stop for little kids that can’t or don’t want to ride Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.
My kids love visiting Super Silly Fun Land and have no problem playing there for most of the day. Be sure to bring a towel or change of clothes if you plan on letting them loose in the water area. Otherwise, yourself buying obscenely overpriced Despicable Me towels in a pinch, don’t ask me how I know this. 😉
3. Universal Studios Hollywood: The Walking Dead Attraction
The Walking Dead Attraction is awesomely fun for any fans of the The Walking Dead or zombies in general. It takes less than 5 minutes to walk through the attraction but includes live zombies and is not for the faint of heart. The attraction also includes 18 artifacts from the TV show for super fans of the show to spot. Keep in mind that this attraction will be closed on certain days during the Halloween season, basically any day that a Halloween Horror Nights is scheduled. Apparently they don’t have enough zombie actors to work both the day and night shift.
The Walking Dead Attraction very close to Super Silly Fun Land and the 3D Despicable Me Minion Ride, making this a great area for the whole family to find their version of fun. By the way, the line for the attraction tends to get smaller later in the day.
4. Jurassic World: The Ride
Jurassic World: The Ride opened last summer at Universal Studios Hollywood. We rode it during our fall break trip last month. The ride is updated with references to the new movies but the gist of it is still dinosaur scares and getting wet. In fact you get wet pretty early on in the ride, it was unexpected and hilarious. I don’t want to explain exactly how it happens and spoil it for you.
Definitely wear a poncho! It will help minimize how wet you get. Also if you will be there when it’s busy or if you are short on time, be sure to buy a Universal Studios Express Pass. The Express pass grants you express access to each ride, attraction and seated show one time, basically it minimizes your wait time.
5. Universal Studios Hollywood: Lard Lad Donuts
Springfield, U.S.A. is a great stop in either park for any Simpsons fan. The whole area is completely immersive, featuring locations you’d expect Homer or Bart to visit on the show. The Lard Lad Donuts in Hollywood features the iconic Big Pink donut, plus several other gigantic varieties that change daily.
We tried a couple of different crazy huge donuts during our visit, they were delicious. Lard Lad Donuts in Florida only offers the giant pink donut, you can also buy other varieties of regular sized donuts in Florida.
Super Nintendo World – Under Construction
Bonus Reason – Super Nintendo World is under construction right now in the lower lot at Universal Studios Hollywood. We caught a sneak peek of the work underway behind the Halloween Horror Nights Stranger Things maze entrance. My boys are super excited about this new area coming to Universal Studios Hollywood. An opening date hasn’t been announced yet, I will update this post when we have a better idea on when Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood is set to open.
Why Universal Studios Hollywood isn’t better than Universal Orlando
If you haven’t been to Universal Orlando to see their Wizard World of Harry Potter, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood will be amazing. It features two rides, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff, Plus Hogwarts Castle and the shops of Hogsmeade. Any Harry Potter fan would enjoy immersing themselves in Hogsmeade at Universal Studios Hollywood.
1. Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando is so much better though. Universal Orlando offers many more amazing experiences for any Harry Potter fan. The Hogsmeade locations in Hollywood and Orlando used to be the same but that all changed this summer with the opening of a new ride in Orlando. Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure just opened up in Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando and while I haven’t ridden it yet myself, it looks super fun.
Plus at Universal Orlando, there is a second Harry Potter ‘land’. You can also explore Diagon Alley which is full of different shops, experiences and the ride, Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts. Diagon Alley is actually way cooler than Hogsmeade in my opinion.
With two distinct Harry Potter areas at Universal Orlando, comes an additional ride. You can actually ride the Hogwarts Express train between Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. At Universal Studios Hollywood you can only take a picture with a conductor in front of a replica Hogwarts Express train.
Is Universal Orlando better than Universal Hollywood?
Beyond the additional Harry Potter rides there are quite a few additional attractions at Universal Orlando that just aren’t available in California. In fact Universal Orlando is so big, it is actually two different theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. Three parks, if you count the water park, Volcano Bay.
I won’t declare either a true winner over the other though. I think which park is better for you really depends on your family. What your family likes, where your family lives, and how much time you have to visit the park, all factor into which park experience is best for you.
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I received complimentary media admission in order to share my experience with you.