Even when filmmaking was in its infancy, savvy entrepreneurs realized that people were just as excited about watching a movie get made as they were in seeing the finished product. Universal Studios has come a long way from its 25 cent tours back in 1915, but the "wow" factor is still the same.
If You Can't Take the Heat
While Southern California's weather is some of the country's best, summers can get toasty (high 90s and triple digits). The exception is "June Gloom, " when cooler temperatures in the 60s and 70s prevail and intermittent rain showers aren't uncommon.
Universal Studios draws heavy crowds during Easter and Christmas breaks as well as summer vacations. Weekdays, however, will be slightly lighter during these periods than on the weekends, when locals join the crush.
Weekday Best Bets
If possible, schedule your Universal Studios getaway for a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
Timing Is Everything
Universal Studios is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., with extended hours for special events. Try to arrive when the gates first open to take advantage of shorter lines. Another light slot is between 4:30 p.m. and when the park closes.
Break Up the Day
Take the tram tour and catch a live show before lunch. With Universal's in-and-out privileges, you can catch a nap at your hotel or shop the adjacent Universal City Walk, then return for more fun. You'll be a lot less tired than if you spend the whole day there.
Since the theme park is a working studio, you might score free tickets to watch your favorite TV shows being filmed. Crowds tend to spike when A-list stars are rumored by TMZ and other showbiz insiders to be somewhere on the lot.
- "Navigating Hollywood's Ground Floor: The Universal Studios Tour Guides' Survival Handbook"; Max Nichts; 2007
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