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2.5 days with 2 teens, go to universal or skip?

new jersey
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2.5 days with 2 teens, go to universal or skip?

Hi everyone,

Looking for some advice, planning a family trip with teens...

We have two teen daughters (15 and 17), they are not into thrill rides but they do enjoy moderate rides. They haven't been to a Universal park yet but we only have 2.5 days in LA so wondering whether Universal is a must or perhaps we can skip it and take the Warner Brothers studio tour.

West Hollywood...
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1. Re: 2.5 days with 2 teens, go to universal or skip?

Apples and Oranges.

Universal is a theme park. The rides are, for the most part, not what I would call thrill rides -- in fact, some are really tame and rely upon special effects to simulate movement'. But, visiting Univeral is an investment in true money since you'll have rides, shows and the 50-minute 'studio tour' which is really a 25-minute 'special effects' ride (you get 'attacked' by the shark from Jaws, for example) along with a 25-minute 'drive by' tour of exterior sets and sound stages. The tram never stops and you never get off to explore the inside.

Warner Bros, on the other hand (along with Paramount and Sony) offer a 2-hour TOUR of their studios, conducted in small groups (Universal's tour includes 250 people!; the other studios' tour sizes vary between 11 and 30 people). On these non-Universal tours, you actually enter studio buildings, e.g. sound stages, foley studios, prop houses, movie-themed museums/gift shops as well as see a brief history of the studio.

So, it really depends on whether you want a theme park (which will take 5 or more hours) or a 2-hour close-up tour of the behind the scenes at a studio at a cost of about half of what Universal charges.

What would interest you and your teens, the most?

By my way of thinking, there are no 'musts' in L.A. We have hundreds of attractions. Customize the vacation that's right for you. Can you see the TOP QUESTIONS BOX at the right side of this page? (You need a computer -- not a phone -- to see it). Also look at the 'things to do' link at the top of this page. Click on the name of the attraction for a brief description. Have a look and decide what you like.

Vancouver...
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2. Re: 2.5 days with 2 teens, go to universal or skip?

Personal choice. But if you need help deciding, and don't want to flip a coin, here goes: Skip it. Chuck.

San Francisco
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3. Re: 2.5 days with 2 teens, go to universal or skip?

Perhaps they've changed that "Jaws" ride but I went on it 25 years ago and it was LAME! Really not scary at all and the most obviously fake shark ever.

Santa Monica, CA
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4. Re: 2.5 days with 2 teens, go to universal or skip?

There isn't a "jaws" ride, but it is part of the back lot tour, which has evolved a lot over the years. I'd have the teens look at the website and decide if it's something they'd like to do or not. Universal Studios is a great deal of fun if you want to go to a theme park, but can be a crowded ordeal if you don't want to do such a thing, so you'll have to decide if it fits your family's plans.

Santa Monica...
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5. Re: 2.5 days with 2 teens, go to universal or skip?

I absolutely abhor theme parks and Universal, in particular, because it's not thrilling and not all that interesting. It depends on your teens interests, though, ultimately.

Edited: 8:09 pm, May 18, 2014
new jersey
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6. Re: 2.5 days with 2 teens, go to universal or skip?

Thank you all. If we were to go, I was thinking of getting the front of line passes. But I just checked and the cost is double compare to the regular ticket ($179) for the Summer dates. That means we would be buying regular tickets :) So how bad are the lines and how hot is it during the first week of August? I am thinking we should consider that as a factor in our planning

Manhattan Beach...
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7. Re: 2.5 days with 2 teens, go to universal or skip?

The Warners tour and the other studio tours are definitely a more mature activity than Universal. Another good feature of these tours is getting to check out the sets and props from movies and TV shows you enjoyed. I loved Harry Potter so I enjoyed the part of the tour at Warners where we saw the props and costumes from the movies. The downside though is that you need to arrive at the studio at a specific time, which may be difficult with traffic and late sleeping teens.

Universal is good in that you don't have to show up at a specific time. There are also good things to do at Universal Studios - shows, the theme park, and the shopping district. You can stay there late into the evening. So schedule may dictate where you visit.

Santa Monica...
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8. Re: 2.5 days with 2 teens, go to universal or skip?

it will be extremely hot in August. Lines will be long.

Rancho Santa...
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9. Re: 2.5 days with 2 teens, go to universal or skip?

Where are you staying? What else are you planning to see and do? With so little time, both Universal and the Warner Tour seem less than ideal given your ambivalence about them.

Carmel, Indiana
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10. Re: 2.5 days with 2 teens, go to universal or skip?

I went to Universal in Florida and absolutley hated it. The attractions were so lame and only a few thrill rides. I refused to spend more on the fastpass type tickets than the actual tickets themselves. Disneyworld (and probably Disneyland) are far better then Universal IMHO. I would have liked to gone to Warner Bros. and I think my kids would have also (20 and 17 yr old sons), but when I looked at the shows where you see the sets...those aren't ones any of us watch. I've watched Pretty Little Liars, but that's it. For $54/person, I don't think it would be worth it. However...you might look to see the reviews on Warner Bros and if they have the TV shows that you and your family have watched, you might really love it. I would do that before Universal.

Edited: 12:42 pm, May 21, 2014