For all of the movie magic and animation at Universal Studios Hollywood, you can also catch plenty of live shows, which offer their own versions of behind-the-scene explorations of movie magic. Go to one of these shows and you’ll get a nice reminder that, beyond the theme park rides, this is still a vibrant working studio.
At the Special Effects Show, for instance, you’ll see live demonstrations of how digital and 3-D technology—as well as old-fashioned pyrotechnics—create vivid illusions for movies. Or, watch jet-ski stunts, perilous plunges, and a simulated seaplane crash at WaterWorld (the top-rated live show may now be more popular than the 1995 movie that inspired it). Kids and pet lovers, meanwhile, won’t want to miss the Universal’s Animal Actors show, which highlights the talents and charms of a variety of dogs, cats, and birds who have starred in Universal films—including a few of the owls who have winged their way into Harry Potter movies.
Download the Universal Studios Hollywood Mobile App to track the show times for various shows during your visit. Or, ask staffers about character meet-and-greets around the park, offering the chance to pose for a pic with the Minions, Shrek, the Simpsons, Scooby Doo, and more.