Last year Costco had Universal Studios Hollywood annual passes available for $109. When you look at prices online you can see that $109 is the average price per day at the park so we thought, why not? Our daughter was still the age you can go for free so we thought it would be cool to experience another park other than Disneyland every time we would visit Southern California to visit family.
We’ve gone 3 times already(last summer, holiday time and a couple of days ago) You do get your own set of block out dates but the block out dates do not count on your first time. Our passes are blocked out for the whole month of July so this was ultimately our last time before our passes expire.
Tip: Your passes do not come with parking so expect to pay around $20 for parking.
Reasons Why I Like Universal:
- Fan/Misters in mostly every line queue. Yeah, I’m not gonna lie… now that I have a kid I’ve realized small things like this keep them happy in hot weather!
- Free Wifi. Unlimited wifi is a luxury in this household. (Also, when will Disneyland get this memo?)
- It’s not too big. I don’t feel rushed (and flustered tbh) to make it through the whole entire park in one day because there is only a handful of things for toddlers to do. I like being able to take our time and stopping at places my daughter enjoys.
- Meet & Greets with characters don’t feel as chaotic. Whenever we’ve stood in line it’s always gone pretty fast and there’s always someone to take a photo for you.
Benefits of your pass: (taken from Costco.com)
- Come any date on the first visit
- Valid for 12‐consecutive months from selected first visit date
- 219 or more available days for return visits, including 37 weekend days¹
- Special event access and sweepstakes opportunities
- 10-20% off at participating CityWalk® locations
We love eating at the Three Broomsticks in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I personally think it’s great quality food. The only downside is that it IS pretty pricey. My Sunday beef roast was $22.99 (right) . My favorite platter is still the Lemon Herb Roast Chicken Platter $13.99. The Kids Mac n Cheese (with grapes, celery and carrot sticks) is $7.29(left) and the Fish & Chips are $15.99(top). Look at that kids menu item though… my kids favorite (mac n cheese) and then my favorite (fruits & veggies) instead of the regular junk carb food!
Shows I’d Recommend:
Animal Actors- Cute 15 minute show about animals(dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, etc.) they train for movies. The show is fairly entertaining and not too long for your toddler.
Studio Tour– Proceed with caution. We thought this would be a good idea but we haven’t been on the ride in years… We didn’t realize how scary the King Kong vs. Trex would be and Emma cried through it all. (#1 Parenting Award, I know.) However she was pretty OK with the rest of the tour. The time wait said 40 minutes but I knew it was one of those queues that would be constantly moving and honestly? It didn’t seem that long. There’s also a bathroom near this queue which is a plus if your toddler needs to go to the bathroom often. The tour lasts about an hour.
There are other 3D shows to enjoy however my daughter hated Shrek 3D. After that we decided not to do any of the other 3D rides.
My Toddler’s Favorite
If you ask my daughter her favorite part of Universal, hands down, Funland! If your kid loves the Despicable Me series, this is the best area for kids. There is an outdoor play zone, carnival games, photo ops with characters, silly swirly fun ride and a small water park. This is always our last stop because Emma never wants to leave! The line never seems to be long for the silly swirly fun ride so we let her rotate between that, the playground and the water area.
(There is also another play area- Dino Play Zone near the Jurassic Park ride. Great for kids & toddlers)
Tip: Bring your toddler’s bathing suit and a towel(at the park they are $24.99+tax) and possibly water shoes if your kid likes all things water. You’re not allowed to be barefoot inside (luckily she had on sandals that I didn’t mind getting wet) so if you’re a tennis shoe person, I’d recommend bringing another pair.
During the holiday season they also change the park to feature Dr. Seuss and Grinchmas on select days. There are special shows and more meet & greets to do around this time. We didn’t bring Emma that time because we went on a fun mom & dad date but I would’ve liked to bring her back if the crowd was less busy.
I’m contemplating buying another pass this year because I think they’re available at Costco again. (They have also been doing special showings after hours in Wizarding World so I think this might be a new upcoming night time show. We weren’t able to grab special tickets this time but I’m hoping it will become a permanent thing for other guests to enjoy later this year.) Do you enjoy Universal Studios with your toddler? I’d love to hear any suggestions or tips you might have!