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33 Insider Tips For Taking Your Kids To Universal Studios Hollywood

Have a blast at the place where movies come alive.

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2. You can rent a stroller at the park if you didn't bring one.

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They cost $15 for a single and $25 for a double. Look for this sign about 100 yards after entering the park.

3. The lines to meet a wide variety of characters — including Woody Woodpecker, Curious George, Spongebob, and Shrek — go much faster than at other theme parks.

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A big part of this is because most of the characters don't talk, and autographs aren't really a thing here.

4. Kids must be at least 40 inches tall to go on most of the rides.

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However, kids must be 42 inches tall to go on Jurassic Park... The Ride and 48 inches tall to go on Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride.

6. There are things your kids can do to increase their chances of being chosen to participate in Universal's Animal Actors show.

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The key is to sit near the aisle as close to the front of the stage as possible, and to be very loud and enthusiastic.

Kids who don't get picked should take heart in knowing they can meet the animals from the show next to the entrance afterward.

7. Before you get in line at Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, ring the doorbells and see what happens.

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Spoiler alert — Gru's voice will call out to you from inside the home.

8. Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem is also the least intense and most kid-friendly 3D motion simulator ride at the park.

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It's a good idea to start here and then assess your kid's reaction to see if they're up for the more intense 3D motion simulator rides.

What's a 3D motion simulator ride, you ask? It's a ride where you sit in a seat that stays in place, but tilts and jolts in relation to what's happening on screen.

9. While you can get a professionally-shot photo with a minion in Gru's Lab Cafe for $24.99, you can also get a free one using your own camera.

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Meet and greet-able minions are always in front of the ride. Gru and his daughters are often there, too.

10. Next door is Super Silly Fun Land, a play zone featuring carnival games where your kids can win their own "fluffy unicorn" like the one in Despicable Me.

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Be warned, though, parents — you must win a carnival game twice to earn the unicorn, and at five bucks per try things can get expensive quick (with no guarantee of actually winning one). If your kid is set on getting a unicorn, it's likely cheaper to skip the carnival games and buy one at Super Silly Stuff or the Universal Studio Store for $29.99.

11. The big attraction here, though, is the water play area.

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You'll want to bring swim suits and towels for your kids. Also, kids are required to wear shoes in the water play area, so consider bringing water shoes, too.

12. You can buy a Front of Line ticket which will allow you to skip the lines on most rides and attractions.

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These tickets aren't cheap (in fact, they cost twice as much as a regular ticket), but on busy days they can save you as much as four to five hours in line.

13. No Front of Line ticket? You can still cut down your wait times by visiting USHWaittimes.com while in the park.

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This website is updated every ten minutes with current wait time info. It also tells you what characters are in the park at that moment and where you can find them.

Speaking of Large Lad Donuts — they sell these giant donuts that will blow your kids' minds.

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These behemoths cost $4.99 each. You can also buy a regular-sized donut for $2.50 (but why would you do that?)

15. While in Springfield you can pick up a Simpson’s Sipper for $15.99, which can end up being a wise investment if you play your cards right.

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$15.99 (rightly) sounds pricey, but each Sipper comes with a free refill followed by refills for 99 cents after that. If you buy one at the start of your visit, it will keep your family affordably hydrated the entire day.

Inside the mart is all kinds of amazing Simpsons-themed memorabilia you won't easily find elsewhere.

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For example, you can buy "Greatest Guest Star" action figures of Tom Hanks and Hugh Hefner, or a can of Duff (Duff, in this case, is an energy drink; not beer).

17. If you have a hankering for an alcoholic beverage, you can get one at Moe's Tavern.

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There they sell — what else? — Duff Beer. You can get a regular or light beer.

The drink appears to be "flaming" thanks to dry ice which is safely hidden at the bottom.

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One more tip for when you're at Moe's — if you try your hand at the Love Tester machine, you just might fall victim to one of Bart’s infamous prank calls to the tavern.

18. Be warned — The Simpsons Ride is a lot of fun but might be too intense for little ones.

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Kids who were fine on the Minions ride should be fine here, but if your kid was scared by the Minions ride, this one will definitely scare them.

19. Pressed pennies are the cheapest souvenirs available at Universal Studios.

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Pressed penny machines — including this The Simpsons themed one — can be found throughout the park and cost just 51 cents each.

20. To save time, you should schedule your day so you only have to go to the lower lot once.

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The escalator ride to the lower lot is long — so long, in fact, that a round trip takes a full 15 minutes. Because of this, it's smart to check-out all of the things you want to see on the lower lot while you're there.

21. Jurassic Park — The Ride might be too scary for little kids, but then again, it might not.

Flickr: orchid9 / Via Flickr: aloshbennett

Parents should really use their own discretion in deciding if the ride will be too intense for their kids. In general, the ride is fairly tame, but there are two things that might scare them:

— The ride ends by plunging guests 50 feet into the water (often drenching them).

— There are loud noises and mechanical dinosaurs that may scare kids.

22. Next door to Jurassic Park —The Ride is Dino Play, a dinosaur-themed playground for kids.

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The area also has plenty of powerful water misters, which parents will appreciate on those hot days.

23. Kids will also love Raptors Encounter, where they can come face to face with a dinosaur.

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Located adjacent to Jurassic Park... The Ride, these 15-foot-tall dinosaurs make eye contact with guests and emit ear piercing screeches. You can take a "dino selfie," too, if you like.

24. Props and wardrobe from kid-friendly films and television shows are on display at The NBCUniversal Experience.

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The Box Trolls, Coraline, Peter Pan Live, and E.T. are currently represented.

25. Transformers: The Ride — 3D is definitely the scariest of the motion simulator rides.

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With that said, it is an amazing ride and perhaps the best one at the park. Kids 12 and up should be fine, but kids younger than that would be wise to try the similar but less intense The Simpsons ride first.

26. Kids of all ages will delight in meeting Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, and Megatron.

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Located in front of Transformers: The Ride — 3D, this meet and greet alternates Transformers every 30 minutes throughout the day. The coolest thing about this? The Transformers talk and interact with guests, commenting on their clothes and more.

27. There are a number of spots around the park that offer an incredible view of the San Fernando Valley.

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The best spots — behind Super Silly Fun Land, in Springfield, and half way down the escalators — feature coin-operated telescopes kids love to look through.

28. The legendary Universal Studio Tour of the backlot is the "can't miss" attraction for families.

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(On our recent visit my five-year-old deemed this the most fun thing at the park.)

The tour climaxes with the new Fast and Furious — Supercharged.

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This is a jaw-dropping simulated motion attraction that makes you feel as if you're zooming down a Los Angeles freeway.

29. You can help younger kids keep their cool on the tour by explaining to them what they're about to see beforehand.

Universal Studios

Parts of the tour, like Fast and Furious and King Kong 360 — 3D, may scare unprepared kids, so it's a good idea to have a chat in line explaining that what they're about to see are just projections on a screen and not — despite how it appears — actually happening in front of them.

30. Kids will love Special Effects Stage, a show that teaches the secrets behind how movies are made — and features an appearance by the Minions.

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They usually pick a family of four to five members to participate on-stage. If you fit that description and want to participate, get there early and be enthusiastic.

31. If a ride is too scary for your kid, the “child switch” program lets you and your partner each ride it without the double wait.

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Here's how the program works: One adult waits with the child in the attraction’s Child Switch room while the second adult experiences the ride. When the second finishes the ride, they switch places with the first parent who then can get on the ride without having to wait in line again.

The Harry Potter Store is open now.

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It sells everything from a Harry Potter-themed baby onesie to replica wands of the ones used by the film's major characters.

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