Universal Studios Hollywood is a film studio and theme park in Los Angeles, California.
About 70% of the studio lies within the unincorporated county island known as Universal City while the rest lies within the city limits of Los Angeles.
Universal Studios Hollywood is one of the oldest and most famous Hollywood film studios.
It is also one of the oldest theme parks in the world and has evolved considerably since it first opened its doors to the public. It was initially created to offer tours of the real Universal Studios sets and is the first of many full-fledged Universal Studios Theme Parks located across the world.
Universal Studios founder Carl Laemmle opened his 93-hectare (230-acre) Universal City ranch on March 15, 1915, offering visitors the chance to walk around his outdoor movie studio, and to watch the filming. Admission was just five cents, which also included a boxed lunch with chicken. There was also a chance to buy fresh produce, since then-rural Universal City was still in part a working farm.
The practice of filming in front of an audience worked fine until the end of the silent film era when “quiet on the set” became necessary to filming with sound. The original tour was discontinued in around 1930.
Shortly after Music Corporation of America took over Universal Pictures in 1962, accountants suggested a new tour in the studio commissary would increase profits. On July 15, 1964, the modern tour was established to include a series of dressing room walk-through’s, peeks at actual production, and later, staged events. This grew over the years into a full-blown theme park.
In 1965, the War Lord Tower opened as one of the first attractions in the theme park. The opening of the Animal Actors School Stage in 1970 followed it. In 1974, the Rockslide staged event was added to the Studio Tour, and the following year, The Land of a Thousand Faces opened on the Upper Lot. In 1979, The Battle of Galactica replaced Rockslide as a staged event on the Studio Tour.
The Flintstones Show opened, replacing the Star Trek Adventure. In 1991, E.T. Adventure opened as the park’s first “dark ride,” an industry term for an attraction that uses ride vehicles to take passengers through an indoor show building.
In 1993, Back to the Future: The Ride opened, replacing Battle of Galactica. In 1995, Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular opened. In 1996, Jurassic Park: The Ride opened. In 1999, T2 3-D: Battle Across Time and a Chicken Run Walk through opened on the upper lot.
In 2000, many Nickelodeon themed attractions began taking over the park. Some of these were the Rugrats Magic Adventure, the Nickelodeon Blast Show, and Shrek 4D which replaced Rugrats Magic Adventure when it opened in 2003.
In 2003, Universal Studios Hollywood closed E.T. Adventure to make way for Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride, which opened in 2004.
The Upper Lot features Springfield, themed to The Simpsons television show. This area contains comedic motion simulator The Simpsons Ride, along with multiple eateries themed to the show, a gift shop themed to The Kwik-E-Mart, and several character meet and greets.
Transformers: The Ride 3D opened in 2012. The ride consists of motion platform-mounted vehicles which follow a 610-meter (2,000-foot)-long track. Throughout the ride, screens up to 18 meters (60 feet) high project 3D images of various Transformers characters as the Autobots attempt to protect the AllSpark from the Decepticons.
The Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem motion simulator ride also has its own themed area that contains a large outdoor dry and wet play area for children called Super Silly Funland, in addition to a flat spinner ride called The Silly Swirly. Gru’s Lab Cafe and Despicable Delights are the two themed eateries in the area.
King Kong: 360 3-D opened in 2010. The attraction takes guests to a recreated version of Skull Island from Peter Jackson’s 2005 award-winning blockbuster remake King Kong. It employs 3-D HD imagery on two 61-meter (200-foot) wide screens, tram motion, wind, water, and scent resulting in an immersive two and a half minute film.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened on April 7, 2016, and is the largest themed area in the Upper Lot, featuring the animatronic and screen based thrill ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which is housed in a replica of Hogwarts castle, featuring actual props from the films in the queue.
The Studio Tour is a 45 to 60 minute ride which uses tram vehicles to take the visitors from the Theme Park’s Upper Lot to the back-lot where actual filming of many shows and movies take place. The tour is the signature ride at the theme park and the wait time varies by day and seasons.
Universal Studios Hollywood is split into two areas on different levels, connected by a series of escalators called the Starway. These areas are known as the Upper lot and Lower lot.
Universal Studios Hollywood’s back lot has been damaged by fire nine times throughout its history.
Universal Studios Hollywood is owned by NBC Universal.
Universal Studios Hollywood’s official marketing headline is “The Entertainment Capital of LA”.
In 2016, the park hosted 8,086,000 guests, ranking it 15th in the world and 9th among North American parks.
Outside the theme park, a new, all-digital facility near the Universal Studios backlot was built in an effort to merge all of NBCUniversal’s West Coast operations into one area.