Universal Studios and Disneyland

Both theme parks, the main attraction of Los Angeles, and both are starkly different. I outline below the basics of both parks, what to pack, and how to make the most of your day.


Dinsneyland is truly where all your dreams come true, like walking in a movie or a dream. The park attracts all ages: toddlers, teenagers, couples and large families alike, and rightly so. The park is wonderfully organised, with restaurants posted throughout the park, cleaners always at the ready and water fountains here and there.

Things you should know

  • You can take food into the park,but too much and you get referred to the picnic area. A few water bottles, snacks and a couple of sandwiches will get you a pass. Be crafty if you wish to get more in with the way you pack, but security gives all bags entering the parks a thorough check.
  • If you have children, take a stroller/pushchair. The long days at the park which can last up till 11pm is the surefire way to tired kids. Having a stroller will allow them periods of time to rest to rejuvenate and allow you to hang your many bags.
  • DO NOT MISS THE PARADES. The parades are the highlight of the park, especially the Paint the Night parade. Many will take there places a full hour before the parade is due to start, you may wish to do this if you feel that this  hour will give you time too eat, rest, picnic, but for many waiting for this long is not an option. Be aggressive if you must, to secure yourselves the best seats. Be sure to ask a warden to confirm the route of the parade. The route is also marked on the park map with dots.
  • Come to the park as early as possible, and ideally give yourself 3 days to complete both parks.
  • California Adventure Park can be completed in one day.
  • However Disneyland Park takes at least 2 days to complete, and this is in power mode with no dilly dallying.
  • capture
  • Use a Dineyland FASTPASS to save time (it’s free): visit https://mickeyvisit.com/disneyland-fastpass/   for more information on fastpasses.
  • If you don’t mind riding separately to your family and like skipping queues then you can be a single rider. Most major attractions within the park accomodate single riders, simply notify the warden and they will direct you to a single rider line. Visit: http://blog.touringplans.com/2014/06/26/disneyland-single-rider-lines/ for more information on single riders.
  • Download the Disneyland App for accurate waiting times and information on where you can meet your favourite character. Meeting character


Universal Studios – Only one visiting day is required. Any more is excessive.

Often many go to LA for the Hollywood experience; to understand the booming movie industry and the thought process around it.

Universal Studios Studio Tour – one of the ‘rides’ at the theme park is around a 45 minute tour of the Universal Studios back lots. Though you can not enter the actual studios themselves where filming takes place without purchasing a VIP ticket (more expensive might I add) for any person interested but not a hard core movie hand this is a great experience. Whole streets e.g. New York Street which feature in many movies are shown in it picturesque Styrofoam, yes, Styrofoam glory and the studio tour is narrated by Jimmy Fallon.

For more information on the Studio Tour and ore on offer at Universal Studios visit:


If you are searching for a much more in depth movie production experience visit the Warner Bros Studio following this link:


However if you have children (including teenagers), we recommend Universal Studios.

Visit https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g32655-i61-k3519555-Warner_Brothers_vs_Universal_Studios-Los_Angeles_California.html for a comparison of the two in terms of studio tours. Make sure to read up to the fifth response for a better understanding.

Warning : The Warner Bros Studio tour focuses heavily on American TV shows, unless you are familiar some production sets may be lost on you.


Tips for having fun:

  • You can take food into the park,but too much and you get referred to the picnic area. A few water bottles, snacks and a couple of sandwiches will get you a pass. Be crafty if you wish to get more in with the way you pack, but security gives all bags entering the parks a thorough check. With Universal Studios, try to smuggle as much in as possible, the food on offer is not fantastic and only  located in very few places throughout the park.
  • If you have children, take a stroller/pushchair. Having a stroller will allow your child periods of time to rest to rejuvenate and allow you to hang your many bags.
  • Universal Studios is separated onto the Upper and Lower lot, the only point of crossing being a group of what, 4 escalators. Going from one lot to the other can take up to 10 minutes, 4 minutes whilst sprinting. Finish all rides on the lower-lot before preceding to the upper-lot to stop the wasting of unnecessary time.
  • Single riders and child switch is available at almost every ride. Ask the attendant right at the start of the ride and they will be sure to point out the way.
  • Try the butterbeer in the Wizarding world of Harry Potter
  • Visit the shows, some of which are offered more than once throughout the day for a better understanding of the movie world. There are pyrotechnic shows which demonstrate how to light a person on fire safely, how sound effects are created along with animated movies and currently the Waterworld show, a demonstration of pyrotechnics put to practice. Be sure to visit.


Though the information above may seem brief, there are entire blogs dedicated to both parks which will provide a whole host of information.

The main priority before entrance into either park is to book tickets beforehand. Though tickets are available to purchase on site, queues can be long and take up time better spent in the park.

Book tickets online for Disneyland via the following link:




Book tickets online for Universal Studios via the following link:

https://store.universalstudioshollywood.com/PurchaseTickets.aspx – Ticket prices vary according to days.

N.B Universal Studios is very much an older child, teenage and adult themepark. There are very few rides on which 4 years and younger will be able to go on. If you are travelling solely with preschoolers and only have the time to do either Disneyland or Universal Studios choose Disneyland. In fact I would say, eve if you are an adult,choose Disneyland. It is an experience like no other and so much more than your average theme park.

Blogs for more information:

Visit:(for Disneyland, Anaheim)

http://www.disneytouristblog.com/disneyland-planning-guide/ for a whole blog dedicated to Disneyland with many many useful tips. – Much better than the quick summary that is my own, above

Visit:(For Universal Studios, Hollywood)



Disneyland  –  1313 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802, USA

Universal Studios, Hollywood – 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

(Parking can be bought on site but we recommend buying parking online before hand – be sure to print your tickets out:

Parking Tickets:

Disneyland – https://disneyland.disney.go.com/tickets/parking/

N.B Parking can no longer be bought online for Universal Studios, Hollywood



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