Universal Studios Hollywood: How the Star-Struck Save

When people come to Southern California, they typically want to know about the stars — where are they, how can we see them out and about? Whether you’re visiting or live in Los Angeles, sometimes it’s fun to play tourist in the heart of Hollywood.

While it isn’t all that easy to rub shoulders with Hollywood celebrities on a moment’s notice, there is an attraction for that: Universal Studios Hollywood, the film studio and theme park in Los Angeles, one of the most visited attractions in the SoCal area.

At Universal Studios Hollywood, you can see how and where your favorite movie and TV stars work, how movies are made, and all behind the scenes stuff that goes into Hollywood blockbusters.

Universal Studios LA Tram Tour

The original idea for Universal Studios Hollywood was to provide tours so people could experience the real Universal Studios movie sets. You can go behind the scenes by taking the studio tour.

Along with the movie tours, we liked the shows and especially the movie-themed rides and attractions, especially the Transformers Ride-3D and the Waterworld ride.

Universal Studios Hollywood: Wizarding World Harry Potter

Tips for Visiting Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter

My favorite attraction at Universal Hollywood is the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If you haven’t been to Universal, it may be time for a second look. Here’s what you need to know to go the savvy way.

Go to To Hogwarts Castle First

For the Forbidden Journey dark ride, of course. Get there really early if you can for the shortest possible line. As the train conductor invites you into this magical world, and the snow-capped set and Scottish shops beckon, stay focused and walk directly to Hogwarts’ Forbidden Journey (plenty of time to shop and browse later).

This place is a huge movie set, from script to screen, so enjoy the sights as you stand in line. You are in Hogwarts, so don’t forget to look around. Everything — from lamp posts to door knobs to rooftops — is part of the experience.

Put on The 3D Quidditch Goggles and Go

There’s a reason the Forbidden Journey ride won the Golden Ticket award for Best Dark Ride not once but five years in a row. Don’t eat first. Be very afraid.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem The Ride

Rinse and Repeat

Traveling sans tots? Head to the shorter”singles” line and go again. If you have kids that can’t go it along, you’ll have to use the longer main line.

Waterworld Stunt Show Universal Studios California

Skip the Flight of The Hippogriff Coaster and Ollivanders’ Wand Show

Just my opinion maybe, but the family rollercoaster is kind of a snooze, and the wand show is a long let down (much quicker to just pick out your own wand at the shop). Your littlest wizards might disagree with me. Your choice, of course.

Head Over to Hogsmeade Village

The gift shops and Harry Potter-themed souvenirs in this part of the park are really fun. Candy, cool games, and magical mementos are even better with a Butterbeer. The detail in this place is delightful, so don’t forget to have a good look around.

Then consider stopping for a proper British lunch at the Three Broomsticks.

Here’s an updated roundup of ticket deals, starting with the top three deals by popularity in the box below. Then scroll down for the full nine ways to save on tickets to Universal Studios, including combo attraction pass deals, AAA, Military, Student and Costco discounts.

Universal Studios Hollywood Discount Tickets 10 Ways to Save

These Universal Studios discounts listed below not only help you save on daily general admission tickets, but some also get you Front-of-Line access at each ride and attraction and priority seating at shows during peak season, depending on which offer you choose. Some offer a coupon or promo code to get the discounts., while others don’t.

As always, check for any fine print or exclusions before you buy your tickets.

Follow the links below for current prices from the authorized ticket sellers that work with Universal Studios Hollywood. They provide a variety of ticket types.

1. Universal Studios Hollywood (aRes)

These tickets via aRes Travel are convenient and they always try to get decent discounts from Universal Studios. Their fees are always only $2 (which is less than many others). Current offers include:

  • Save up to $39 per ticket on general admission.

2. California Residents Discount (aRes)

  • California Residents save up to $42 per ticket on general admission.

3. Universal Studios Hollywood (Getaway Today)

This ticket source always tries to get the best discount theme tickets. And on top of that, they’re giving Savvy California readers an extra $10 off package deals when you use our exclusive coupon code SVYCAL.

  • Follow this link to find GT current deals on one and two day tickets and/or packages (bundle your hotel stay and save), and use our code SVYCAL for an extra $10 off.

4. Halloween Horror Nights

Holiday ticket deals are often available from the usual suspects (see above) and will become available soon. Check this space for updates, or follow the previous links to see if they’ve already been added to those discount sites.

5. Attraction Combo Ticket Packages

Bundle Universal Studios Hollywood tickets with other SoCal attractions — Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, SeaWorld, or Warner Bros. Studios — and save on every ticket.

6. Southern California Attraction Pass

Save 15% to 55% Off Universal Studios Hollywood and one or more other top attractions with the Go Los Angeles pass.

Better than they used to be, the Go Los Angeles discount pass has a “build your own” feature that lets you choose as few as two attractions or as many as you want — the more you choose the more you save.

You can also print at home or show the card on your smart phone. (Now my favorite way to save in SoCal).

FYI, along with Universal Studios Hollywood, popular savings with this pass can include Six Flags Magic MountainKnott’s Berry Farm, and LEGOLAND.

7. Student Discount

California college students, faculty, and staff at many California can get a discount on Universal Hollywood tickets and annual passes. Check with your college or university for instructions on how to redeem the deal since they all have different rules.

8. Military Discount

Active and retired US Military, DOD personnel, National Guard, Reservists and their dependents can get $3 off general admission Universal Hollywood tickets at the gates, with ID. Even better, get tickets in advance from MWR/ITT offices for a higher percent off.

9. AAA Discount

American Automobile Association and the Canadian Automobile Association members can get $3 off at the gate. Or check for the occasional off-season online discounts on the AAA.com website.

Once you’re at Universal Studios, showing your AAA membership card may get you a 10% discount on food and beverages at many park and CityWalk locations.

10. COSTCO Discount

SoCal Costco stores sometimes have discounted Universal Hollywood tickets. They don’t always have them, but when they do they are good deals. If you order them on the Costco website, you’ll pay a shipping charge, plus an extra 5% if you’re not a Costco member.

Universal City Walk Hollywood

Hotel Deals Near Universal Studios Hollywood

1. Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City (1mi)
2. Sheraton Universal Hotel (< 1mi)
3. Tilt Hotel Universal/Hollywood an Ascend Hotel Collection Member (1mi)
4. The BLVD Hotel and Spa – Studio City (1mi)
5. Oakwood Toluca Hills (< 1mi)
6. The Garland (1.07mi)
7. Best Western Plus Media Center Inn & Suites (1.14mi)

Transformers The Ride 3D

Know Before You Go

Ticket Deals

See my Universal Studios discount tickets review (above) for the best available Universal Studios special offers and coupon codes.


Universal Studios Hollywood, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608.


Prices on site, last checked, are General Parking $18, Preferred Parking $25, Front Gate Parking $35. After 5pm General Parking $10, Preferred $20, Front Gate $30.

Official Info

For attraction details see the Universal Studios Hollywood website universalstudioshollywood.com. (But we found their best ticket offers here.)

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