This post is in partnership with Universal Studios Hollywood.
Let’s face it. Adults without children sometimes have to get creative on holiday events while the other adults take their kids for pictures with Santa and whatnot. This year, I invited my boyfriend, his mom and his sister for an adults only trip to Universal Studios Hollywood to get in on the fun (hey… kids shouldn’t have ALL the fun!!!) I had no idea what to expect as I have only visited the park one other time and that was when I was a child about five years old. I did my research and looked forward to visiting certain parts of the park, but I didn’t realize how much there was to do. More specific, I had no idea there was so much to do that adults would enjoy!!! Want to do an adults only getaway? Check out our 12 tips for adults to enjoy Universal Studios Hollywood during the holidays.
There is so much to do at Universal Studios Hollywood so we narrowed it down to twelve things to do at the park during the holidays. We found our favorite part of the park to be at the upper lot of the park, and that’s basically where we spent our entire day. We were at the park for about eight hours, and unfortunately, we ran out of time and were unable to visit the lower lot. Because of this, I highly recommend that you get to the park early and plan on staying until it closes to get the most out of it, or perhaps buy the annual pass. It’s very affordable! The annual pass starts at $149 a year.
Take a selfie with Santa at City Walk
When you park for Universal Studios, it will most likely be at the City Walk. You will need to walk through the shops corridor to get to Universal Studios. For the holiday season, you may visit Santa for a picture and there is also a Christmas tree next to Santa. Tip – if you are on a budget, take a selfie with Santa at no charge. The photographer will still take the main photo but you don’t need to purchase it. Visiting hours with Santa are 4-9pm Mondays-Fridays and 1pm-9pm Saturdays and Sundays through December 23rd.
Visit the Los Angeles Sock Market at City Walk
I am a sucker for socks so I wanted to make sure that our party made a stop at the sock store. I ended up purchasing a pair of yellow vegetarian socks for $9 and the featured “gangsta” socks worn by Beyoncé for $15. This store has been at the City Walk for at least ten years as I remember going there in my 20’s when I used to go dance the night away at Saddle Ranch which is also located at the City Walk. Socks are always a nice gift for the holidays and they have several options at this store.
Dress up as your favorite character
One thing I noticed as we were making our way into the park was the various Harry Potter costumes that guests were wearing. At first, I thought these people worked there but then my boyfriend pointed out other people dressed as other characters. There were people wearing Grinch shirts, Simpsons shirts and the one that stood out the most was Harry Potter. It really inspired me to dress up next time I attend the park. If I were to dress up, I would probably wear a Grinch shirt or Simpsons shirt since I really like both of them.
Visit Land of the Minions
When we walked over to the land of the Minions, I immediately noticed there were a lot of rides for young children, however there is also a ride by the name of “Minion Mayhem” that all folks can enjoy. It is a bumpy ride, so if you suffer from motion sickness, I would not recommend it. My boyfriend’s mom was a little scared, but the rest of us did perfectly well. It is also in 3-D so you can expect to feel like you are part of the action. There is also opportunity to take pictures with Minions characters in this area of the park. What I really liked was the Minions store because one of my friends is a huge fan and she can go crazy at this store when she visits. This place is truly a Minions’ fan’s dream come true.
Take pictures with characters
One thing we all noticed throughout the day is that there are so many different characters walking around the park who are super friendly and will take pictures with guests. I was awe struck with Shrek because I really like the Shrek movies. My boyfriend really liked the Scooby Doo cast as he was a huge fan as a child and had everything Scooby Doo. These characters will definitely bring back that nostalgic feeling from childhood. We were able to take a few pictures with a few of them since a lot of them were on the move.
Visit Harry Potter World
During the Christmas season at nighttime, you can see a light show at the castle that includes “colorful imagery and impressive dimensional animations that dance across Hogwarts castle in tandem to a musical arrangement from the Harry Potter movies.”
We got on the coaster and it was super fun and not scary at all. Next time we go, we want to get on the ride inside the castle. We ran out of time, so we missed the second ride but we did find out that it’s a ride where you sit and rock back and forth. It’s three stories high, without drops. You can also try Butterbeer in this area which is a popular Harry Potter -themed drink. It’s non-alcoholic and made with butterscotch flavor and sherbert. There are also wands for sale so you can pretend to be a wizard and they activate certain parts of the Harry Potter world such as the writing on one of the walls. I really liked Harry Potter world because the buildings were extraordinary and reminded me of the time I spent in London. The only thing missing was the London Fog, but every building, especially the castle, was astonishing.
Visit Springfield, city of the Simpsons
This part of the park was one of my favorites. They covered all their bases in this area such as having several character statues positioned throughout the park for pictures. They also had a large area dedicated to arcade games and carnival games. One part of the city of Springfield was called KrustyLand. This is a great place for kids to hangout, but they also had more adult appropriate areas such as Moe’s bar. I thought it was hilarious that they actually recreated Moe’s bar. There is also donuts as we all know that Homer loves donuts!!! We saw a group of people celebrating a birthday with a large pink donut. They were even blowing out a candle on the donut. It was super cute.
For adults, you can also get on the Simpsons ride which is similar to the Minions ride but a lot more motion. It is also 3-D and it did get me a little dizzy but overall it was fun and the story line made me laugh. We rode this ride towards the end of the night and only waited ten minutes to ride. We also went on a Sunday so most of the families leave earlier and you can enjoy less wait time for rides towards the end before closing.
Take a picture with the Grinch and view the tree lighting ceremony
One of the highlights during the holiday season is the “Grinchmas” experience that includes a tree lighting ceremony and pictures with the Grinch. You can also catch Martha May Who-vier and the Who Dolls taking center stage by “performing energetic musical sets to usher in the Christmas season with style.” The Who-liday singers “will perform nightly a cappella concerts featuring a mix of Christmas favorites and pop rock.” My favorite part of Grinchmas was all of the above!!!
I highly enjoyed the Christmas music, taking pictures with Who-ville Whos, the tree lighting ceremony which happens every half hour in the evening and also taking a picture with the Grinch. We did wait 90 minutes to take a picture with the Grinch, but I highly recommend you wait in the evening when lines are shorter and also while there are tree lighting ceremonies that way you have something to watch while waiting in line. You are able to take a picture with your own phone and don’t need to purchase a picture with the Grinch unless it’s what you choose to do.
Have dinner at Mel’s Diner
We all decided to have dinner at Mel’s because… burgers. It has plenty of outside seating and the food came out pretty quickly and we all enjoyed it very much.
Attend the Waterworld show
One of my guests really wanted to see this show, and by this time our feet were hurting so we just wanted somewhere to sit. I have never seen the movie, Waterworld, but from what I gathered from this show there is a lot of action in that movie. There were a lot of stunts, fire, water tricks and just plain good acting during the show. I enjoyed it very much and the best part is that the actors do a meet and greet after the show and guests are able to take pictures with them. It was a very special experience.
Ride the world famous Studio Tour
We waited to take the studio tour until the very end and I do not recommend that at all. It’s an amazing experience, however, I highly recommend you take the tour during the day because if you take it at night you won’t get to see everything and you won’t be able to take good pictures. There is so much fun stuff on the tour like the classic Jaws experience, the King Kong experience, War of the Worlds and Fast and the Furious to name a few. You will learn so much about film making. It truly made me appreciate all the hard work it takes to make a film or television show
Enjoy a cup of coffee or some dessert
There are so many options for coffee and dessert and a few good places include the Starbucks store and Cinnabun to name a few. I opted for “French Street Bistro” and they served fresh coffee and hot chocolate. It was the perfect way to end the day to some warm drinks and dessert.
We had such a fabulous time at Universal Studios and we can’t wait to go again! The Universal Studios Christmas season will take place during December and the festivities will end January 7th. I highly recommend you visit the park and we loved it so much we are already planning a birthday there next year. Whether you are taking the kids or not, there is something for everyone.
Park Hours: Please check website as they change frequently due to the holidays. There will be extended weekday hours during the holidays.
Parking: $10-$30 after 6pm, $25-$50 before 6pm, $5 parking with movie ticket purchase
(The show times and ride wait times are also found online. It is the best way to keep track of where you need to be. My phone had excellent service while I was there, and there is also park Wi-Fi available.)
We were provided with media passes to attend the park. All thought and ideas remain my own.