Things to Do In Southern California: Universal Studios Hollywood

This is part of a new series called: “Things to Do In Southern California” to document some of the geeking out you can do with trips in Southern California. If you’re visiting or live here, here’s a review from QuadZ of some of our favorite places.


Universal Studios is one of those theme parks that gets better with age. Hollywood itself is often disappointing to tourists. As a local, I know the disappointment — I see it a lot on friends who come into town. Hollywood itself is not a bustling movie town where you can run into celebrities and see stuff getting made into movies. A way to remedy that disappointment? Go to Universal.

Universal is nestled in Universal City, right next to Hollywood. It’s also the only theme park within Los Angeles (the others are all pretty far car rides away). It also has a great view of nearly all of the Burbank studios (Disney, Warner Brothers, etc.). Up in the hills (nearby are Dodger Stadium, the Hollywood Bowl, and the Griffith Park Observatory all nearly), Universal Studios Hollywood is really a unique spot.

I think the thing I like the best about Universal Studios Hollywood is it feels like a whole family park. With some of the other parks it feels like rides are either made for little kids OR adults. With Universal Studios most of the rides are great for the entire family to ride together.


Minion Mayhem Ride (Image Courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood)
Minion Mayhem Ride (Image Courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood)

One of the newest attractions at Universal Studios is the Minion Mayhem ride. Based on the Despicable Me movies, this ride was really well thought out and planned. The premise for the ride is that you’re going to be turned into minions, Gru’s little yellow adorable helpers. The entire wait in line is made much more bearable by the funny “propaganda” posters like this one. Ryne did say though that if he didn’t come out the other end as a little yellow guy, he’d be upset.


Inside, the ride looks like Gru’s living room with pieces from the movies. Gru, some minions, and the girls give you instructions on being a minion. It’s pretty hilarious! The ride itself is a 3D simulator, but it’s easy to forget that you’re not actually moving forward. The story of the ride is adorable and felt very true to the movies. The ride was smooth, fun, and I really wanted to do it again! Sadly it was a popular ride and everyone seemed to have the same idea.

I also loved the facade for the ride, it looks exactly like Gru’s neighborhood! The front of Gru’s car is clearly seen and, when you’re inside, you can see that the car is inside as well!

grucarNext to the Minon Mayhem ride is Super Silly Fun Land, based on the aquatic theme park you see in the first Despicable Me film (where Agnes gets her IT’S SO FLUFFY I’M GONNA DIE unicorn). Since we went in July this was a VERY popular feature for the park. If you have little ones, I highly recommend bringing a swim suit along with you and a towel or two.


Of course, my favorite part of the park is the Universal Studios tour! You board one of these wonderful trams and are carted around the back stages and studio space for Universal. This includes possibly hot sets (i.e. someone’s filming there, not the temperature). So it’s possible you can see folks working making TV and/or films (especially in the middle of the week). Even if you don’t though, there’s a lot to see — including the famous Universal Back Lots, which you can see in many different TV shows and movies. Within the back lot are enough different facades to make you feel like you could be anywhere in the world.

For the nerds among you here’s the stuff you need to see:

  • The Delorean from Back to the Future (this is currently in the museum by Transformers Ride.
  • One of the frakking toasters (Cylon) from  the original Battlestar Galacticia (also in the museum).
  • Two sets of costumes from Warehouse 13 (also in the museum).
  • Baker Street (right by the Minion Mayhem ride)!
  • Jurassic Park Ride (dinosaurs everywhere)!

Also, coming soon is a Harry Potter attraction, which we saw them working on. Reportedly the outside will look like Hogwart’s.

All in all, we had a really fun day! Universal Studios is a must stop for folks who enjoy films and a much better destination than the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Find out more and buy your tickets at Universal Studios Hollywood’s website


QuadrupleZ did receive complementary passes for Universal Studios. Regardless of this, all our opinions, statements and comments are our own. Photos are property of unless otherwise noted.