5 Tips to Navigate Universal Studios without a Fast Pass

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5 Tips to Navigate Universal Studios without a Fast Pass

You’re travelling to LA and naturally, Universal Studios is on your list. But do you need a Fast Pass? Or do you need to do the VIP tour? I say you can do it without either, so long as you follow these five tips to navigate Universal Studios Hollywood.

VIP tickets essentially get you a special Studio Tour, VIP access to the shows and front of line to all the rides, so it’s a good package.  But that good package comes at a pretty hefty price tag so it doesn’t always fit in with people’s budgets.

A Front of Line ticket gets you front of line to all the rides and shows but also comes at a pretty hefty price.

Universal Studios is achievable at all budgets, and here are my tricks-of-the-trade to help get you around the amusement park with minimum waiting times.

  1. Buy Tickets Online Before You Go

It will save so much time at the gates and so much effort.  Be sure to print your tickets before you go.  Most hotels and accommodations have printing facilities. Decide what date you’re going and book it well in advance. Universal Studios is now selling a limited number of tickets per day at the discounted rate so the earlier you do it, the more you will save. Tickets can be purchased here.

  1. Get There Early 

I can’t stress enough how it will change your experience − the earlier you get there the better.  If you are driving, get there 30 minutes before it opens. This gives you plenty of time to wait in the queue to pay for parking fees, and walk to the amusement park.

  1. Go During the Week (If You Can)

Three reasons to go during the week:

  • It’s cheaper
  • It’s less busy
  • You get to see more in the Backlot Tour

The Backlot Tour is active all the time, but it is most often in actual use for shoots − ads, TV or movies) during the week.  That could mean that you are diverted from seeing certain parts of the Backlot but knowing that they’re shooting something will feel more like you’re in Hollywood.

  1. Go On The Rides First

I recommend going on the rides in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter World first. Being the newest attraction in Universal Studios Hollywood, Harry Potter world is the busiest − and with reason.  My advice is to make a beeline there first and beat the crowds.

The Minion ride is also pretty new and gets crazy busy. If you have arrived right on the opening time, this is a safe ride to start with.

The other rides that you should go on and check out while you’re there include The Mummy, Transformers, Jurassic Park and The Simpsons rides.

The only other ride I haven’t mentioned is Shrek.  We only did it the first time we went.  Don’t get me wrong we enjoyed it but it can be quite a wait.  The upside is the attraction fits a lot of people so a lot of people get in at once.  The drawback is the number of Front of Line pass holders that jump the queue and get in before you.  If you miss out because there are a number of them then the wait for the next time around seems like an eternity.  It’s not always the case. Fingers crossed it’s OK for you.

  1.  Eat early

Come 12:00 everyone’s body clocks are telling them it’s time to start thinking about food, but they hold off because they’re having so much fun.  But …  come 1:00 everyone is eating, or trying to get food and trying to find somewhere to sit.  So eat before the masses eat and avoid the queues (not to mention get a table) then ride the rides when the masses are eating.


Universal Studios is a lot of fun.  You’ll notice after about 1:00 that the sea of people grows and it becomes harder to walk around.  That’s your cue to exit stage left.  Not really but if you’ve done most of the attractions and you don’t need to battle it out and stand in lines then it’s a much, much better experience.  Have fun, I’m jealous, I still love going.