Universal Studios Orlando, Hollywood Studios, Universal Studios Hollywood… Did you know that these are all separate theme parks in the United States?
Due to their similar names, these three parks are often thought of as being the same or affiliated, and it tends to cause a lot of confusion when planning vacations.
Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood Studios are both parks located in Orlando, Florida but are not affiliated with one another. Universal Studios Orlando is a theme park from Universal Studios Resort, whereas Hollywood Studios is a part of the Walt Disney World Resort.
For more information on these parks, see our post comparing the two here: Universal Studios vs Hollywood Studios: Which one is Better?
Let’s bring Universal Studios Hollywood back into the conversation. Now, Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood are affiliated parks, and both are a part of the Universal Studios brand; however, they are two separate parks located on opposite sides of the United States!
Today we are going to be breaking down the differences between the two parks and what you can expect when visiting each – and which you should choose if you can only visit one!
Highlights of Universal Studios Orlando
Universal Studios Orlando, or Univeral Orlando Resort as its collectively known is in Florida.
Universal Studios Orlando is located on Universal Blvd in Orlando, Florida off the I-4 Highway. The park is relatively easy to access once you are on I-4. Basic directions include:
1) Take SR-528 West to I-4 East (11 miles)
2) Take I-4 East to exit 75A (2 miles)
3) You will see signs that will guide you to the main parking garage
Coming from Disney/Lake Buena Vista/Kissimmee Areas
1) Take the interstate I-4 Eastbound all the way until you reach exit 75A
2) You will see signs that will guide you to the main parking garage
Coming from Downtown Orlando
1) Take the interstate I-4 Westbound all the way until you reach exit 74B
2) You will see signs that will guide you to the main parking garage
Top Rides and Attractions
Universal Studios Orlando property features two separate theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, as well as a water park.
Within the two theme parks is also the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which draws a lot of popularity amongst travellers. Some of the most popular rides and attractions include:
- Jurassic World VelociCoaster – Fly through the raptor paddock as you race alongside the apex predator of Jurassic World, the velociraptors.
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – Join Harry Potter and his friends as they embark on a journey through the halls of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
- The Simpsons Ride – Climb aboard this indoor rollercoaster as you ride through Krustyland and the city of Springfield. Keep an eye out for some familiar faces from the Simpsons tv show!
- Revenge of the Mummy – Want an adrenaline rush? How about racing for your life as you try to escape the evil Mummy Imhotep? Just when you think you’re free, you will plummet into a pitch-black abyss, never knowing when you will be released!
- E.T. Adventure – E.T. needs your help to save his home planet from dying. Climb aboard your flying bicycle to race to aid in the saving of his planet! E.T. is one of the oldest rides at Universal Orlando and one that you cannot miss.
How Long Do You Need at Universal Studios Orlando?
While you can see a large portion of the park in just a single day, we recommend spending at least two days in the park for a full experience, spending one day in each (and a third day if you want to add Volcano Bay water park).
There are a lot of crossovers between the two parks, especially with The Wizarding World being split across both parks, so we find it is best to visit for at least two days with a park-to-park pass on both days. Remember, Universal’s Islands of Adventure has several water rides you might want to factor into plans.
Best Places to Stay at Universal Studios Orlando
There are a number of excellent choices for on-site hotel accommodations at the Universal Orlando Resort. Some of the most popular options include:
- Endless Summer Resort (Surfside Inn and Suites + Dockside Inn and Suites) – A part of Universal’s Value Resorts lineup, starting at $96.00 per night + tax
- Cabana Bay Beach Resort – A part of Universal’s Prime Value Resorts lineup, starting at $140.00 per night + Tax, great for your tweens and teens
- Universal’s Aventura Hotel – A part of Universal’s Prime Value Resorts lineup, starting at $140.00 per night + Tax
- Hard Rock Hotel – One of the three hotels in the Universal Studios Premier Resort lineup, starting at $372.00 per night + tax
We’d also suggest you look at hotels near Universal Orlando that offer a shuttle service if you’ll be doing more than just the theme parks in Orlando, this will give you a bit more flexibility.
Highlights of Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood is in Universal City, a suburb of Los Angeles, in California.
Universal Studios Hollywood is located in Universal City, California off of the 101 freeway. General directions to the park include:
1) Take the 101 Hollywood Freeway North directly to exit 11B – Universal Studios Blvd
2) After exiting, turn right onto Universal Studios Blvd
3) Continue to follow signs to Universal Studios Hollywood general parking
From the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
1) Take the 105 Freeway East to the 110 Harbor Freeway North
2) Get on the 101 Hollywood Freeway North
3) Continue on the 101 Freeway to exit 11B – Universal Studios Blvd
4) Turn right onto Universal Studios Blvd
5) Continue to follow the signs to Universal Studios Hollywood general parking
1) Take Interstate 5 Northbound and Exit to the 101 Hollywood Freeway North
2) Continue on the 101 Freeway until you reach exit 11B – Universal Studios Blvd
3) Turn right onto Universal Studios Blvd
4) Continue to follow the signs to Universal Studios Hollywood general parking
Top Rides and Attractions
Universal Studios Hollywood is different from Orlando because the park is just a single park, but there are several lands to explore throughout the park, including
- Minion Land featuring the Despicable Me movies,
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Hollywood,
- Jurassic World featuring the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films,
- Production Plaza, Studio Tour Plaza, Super Nintendo World for all gamers, Transformers Metrobase, and WaterWorld.
Top attractions across Universal Hollywood park include:
- The Famous Universal Studios Tour – One of the coolest things about Universal Studios Hollywood is that it is located on site of the Universal Studios Hollywood Backlot. This attraction will have you board a trolley as it takes you through the lot, and you can see what a behind-the-scenes filming lot looks like.
- King Kong 360 3-D – During this 3-D Motion simulation ride, you will be caught between two of the most deadly creatures of the jungle, the T-Rex and the huge and mighty King Kong. Both are hungry, and they’re willing to destroy anything in their path, including each other and even you!
- Jurassic World – The Ride – On this boat-type ride, you will race through the jungle as you are chased by the Indominous rex. She has her sights set on you until she is faced with her ultimate rival, the T-Rex and you get the chance to witness an epic battle between the two.
- WaterWorld – WaterWorld is a stage show on the upper lot that you cannot miss out on! This show features incredible water stunts, explosive pyrotechnics, and more!
- Mario Kart – Bowser’s Challenge – A ride through Mario Kart – Bowser’s Challenge will take you right back to childhood. This is a 4-D ride experience where you will climb into your own kart and get transported directly into the game for your own race experience.
How Long Do You Need at Universal Studios Hollywood?
Although it is just one park, there is so much to see at Universal Studios Hollywood. In order to get a full experience, we recommend spending a minimum of 2 days exploring the park, but you could easily spend up to 3-4 days in order to see everything.
Best Places to Stay at Universal Studios Hollywood
While there are no on-site hotel accommodations at Universal Studios Hollywood, there are a number of Universal Partner hotels in the area ranging from value to luxury to accommodate any budget. All of the following hotels are available to book as a vacation package with Universal Studios Hollywood:
- Hilton Los Angeles – Universal City – within 1 mile of Universal Studios Hollywood
- Sheraton Universal Hotel – Within 1 mile of Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City
- The Garland – Within 1.5 miles of Universal Studios Hollywood in North Hollywood
- Best Western Plus Media Center Inn & Suites – Within 3 miles of Universal Studios Hollywood in Burbank
- Comfort Inn & Suites Near Universal North Hollywood – Within 4 miles of Universal Studios Hollywood in Hollywood
Other Universal Studios Parks Worldwide
In addition to the parks located in the United States, there are also three other Universal Studios parks worldwide. These are:
Which is Better? Universal Studios Orlando or Universal Studios Hollywood?
The challenging question comes about…which USA Universal Studios park is better? Of course, there can’t be any right or wrong answer to this question because it all comes down to opinion. We have had the chance to visit both parks and had a blast at both.
If you enjoy the Jurassic Park/World Franchise or Nintendo, you may find that you would like Universal Studios Hollywood better; however, if you prefer a park that has a larger focus on things such as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or the Marvel universe, Universal Studios Orlando may be a better choice for you.
Which Universal Studios park do you prefer? We would love to hear from you!
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