The Upper Lot
The Universal Studios Hollywood theme park area is divided into two main areas: the Upper Lot and the Lower Lot. It's easy to travel between these two areas by taking a series of escalators, and the journey takes about five minutes. An elevator is also available. The Upper Lot holds most of the park's attractions, including the following.
Back to the Future…The Ride
Although it has been around for a few years now, Back to the Future continues to be an extremely popular attraction, so be prepared to wait to ride it. Fortunately, the waiting area is mostly covered, so you'll stay out of direct sun or rain. Inside, a video preshow featuring Doc Brown and Biff from the Back to the Future movie trilogy sets the stage for your travels. After the preshow, smaller groups watch an additional four-minute video that continues the background story. Finally, you board the time-traveling vehicle, Doc Brown's latest invention. The ride combines a flight simulator, surround audio, and an Omnimax movie shown on an eighty-foot-tall projection screen. The vehicle jumps and jolts, and although there are no real drops, it feels as if there are. Guests must be at least 40 inches tall.
The Blues Brothers
A twenty-minute show presented several times a day in an outdoor stage area, the live musical performance stars the Blues Brothers, Jake and Elwood, who perform popular musical numbers.
Fear Factor Live
An audience participation show based on the popular reality series, Fear Factor Live pits contestants against each other as they attempt stunts and face up to creepy creatures.
Hollywood Ticket Office and TV Audience Ticket Booth
Universal Studios, along with all the other nearby studios and television networks, offers free tickets to see tapings of popular sitcoms, game shows, and other programs. Pick up tickets for these events, as well as shows at the Gibson Amphitheatre here.
Nickelodeon Blast Zone
This kids-only attraction is a colorful, interactive play area complete with shooting fountains and other water-based activities to enjoy on hot days. Children like this attraction a lot, and they're going to be completely soaked when they're done, so dress them in something that dries quickly or bring a change of clothing. Besides the water play, you'll find the Wild Thornberrys Adventure Temple (containing over 25,000 foam balls and other activities) and Nick Jr. Backyard (designed for kids under the age of six), which are totally dry areas for children to explore. This is the place to meet characters from Nickelodeon's most popular shows.
Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona take off on a new adventure in a 3-D show with some “fourth-dimension” surprises.
Terminator 2: 3-D
If you saw the Terminator 2 motion picture, you know it was jam-packed with nonstop special effects and plenty of action. This twenty-minute 3-D movie, shown in a custom-built theater continues the story. The show combines three-dimensional filming with lasers, live actors, robots, indoor pyrotechnics, and state-of-the-art sound effects. Your adventure begins outside, with a visit to Cyberdyne Corporation headquarters, where Kimberly (the director of corporate affairs) provides a brief presentation about the new Skynet system. Stand near the middle of the room for the preshow and be sure you can see the Cyberdyne logos on the large video monitors overhead. The movie portion of the attraction transports guests to the year 2029 and reunites Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, and director James Cameron for an exciting adventure. The entire attraction takes place in an air-conditioned building. The waiting area to enter the ride, however, is outdoors (but covered).
Due to the violent subject matter (and the loud explosions), it may not be suitable for young kids. If it were shown in traditional theaters, it would have a PG-13 rating.
Universal's Animal Actors
A twenty-minute show features animal trainers and a cast of animals you've seen on popular television shows and movies. Exotic birds, trained monkeys, snakes, and famous dogs are among the animals that perform in a show that's both extremely cute and enjoyable. The show appeals to small children in particular, but it is suitable for all ages. It's presented in a large theater so there's seldom a wait — assuming you arrive about fifteen minutes before showtime. Showtimes are posted in front of the theater, on information boards throughout the park, and in the printed park schedule available from the ticket booths. The theater is covered, so you'll be sheltered from direct sunlight or light rain.
Van Helsing Fortress Dracula
Based on the vampire-hunter motion picture, this self-paced, walk-through attraction re-creates sets and props from the movie, creating an experience that's a bit like a classic carnival fun house, but with much better effects. Like the movie, the attraction is not suitable for young kids.
Based very loosely on the WaterWorld motion picture, the fifteen-minute, high-energy live show features exciting motorboat stunts and extreme Jet Ski action. They combine with pyrotechnics and other special effects that create realistic explosions designed to keep you at the edge of your seat. The loud explosions may frighten young children, but most kids aged five and older, teens, and adults will enjoy the show. When the park is crowded, arrive at the theater at least fifteen minutes before the posted showtime to ensure getting a seat, and pay attention to your hosts, who will help you locate the seats that are going to get wet. It's up to you to decide whether you want to sit in them or not.