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Universal Studios California shows--simply stupendous!

Types of shows at Universal Hollywood

Photo of the showtime directory and ride information sign board at Universal Studios Hollywood, California The Universal Studios California shows are numerous and varied. Rides are certainly NOT this theme park's specialty; but shows ARE.

The Universal theme park in Hollywood features several different types of shows. There are---

1.) Live action shows in huge outdoor arenas with stadium seating

2.) Movies in large indoor auditoriums

3.) "Demonstration-style" shows in specialty studios

4.) Walk-through exhibits

So, how do you keep track of all the shows that Universal Studios has to offer? There are so many that it isn't easy!

First of all, you'll be given a list of showtimes as you enter the park. Although ride-lovers should enjoy Universal's rides early in the day (before the lines build,) it's important to note show times for later in the day. Decide which shows you won't want to miss. Make a mental note of the last performances of the you won't miss out.

Secondly, you can check the "Showtimes" board located on the "upper lot" of Universal Studios Hollywood not too far from the entrance to the park. (To your right, you see a picture of the Schedule of Showtimes announcement board that you should look for.)

Water World Stunt Show

Universal Hollywood's explosively entertaining stunt extravaganza!

Of all the Universal Studios California shows, the Water World extravaganza is the "no-holds-barred" finale to the bunch.But, even though it would make a slam-bang ending to your Universal Hollywood visit, you may want to see it FIRST...because it's definitely a show you won't want to miss. And, although the younger members of your family won't even remember the movie on which it's based, no prior knowledge of the Water World movie is needed to enjoy the stunt show. While far from the only good show at Universal Studios Hollywood, "Water World" DOES deliver up the wildest live-action excitement that you'll see all day.

What is the Water World stunt show all about? It's a classic tale of good and evil...with the Good Guys triumphing in the end, of COURSE! You'll see REAL Hollywood stunt men and women strut their stuff in a water-themed spectacular involving jet skis, boats, fire, explosions, fire and...oh...did I mention, fire???

The Water World arena is huge, so there's no reason to miss this one! If you show up 15 to 30 minutes ahead of the next scheduled performance (depending on how big the crowds are when you visit the theme park,) you SHOULD be able to get into your first choice of showtimes.

Warning to asthmatics---a lot of smoke is generated in this show. You may want to sit towards the back of the arena...away from the thickest part of the smoke cloud. Also, if you don't want to be splashed, be sure to AVOID the first several rows of the arena.

Universal Hollywood's Special Effects Show

Learn how realistic-looking special effects are accomplished by actors, movie directors and behind-the-scenes illusionists!

Universal's Special Effects Stage: Although not as lively and action-packed as the Water World stunt show, Universal Hollywood's Special Effects show is absolutely fascinating! Your eyes will be opened to some of the "secrets" of Hollywood directors and behind-the-scenes specialists who add visual highlights, unusual sounds, and many "extras" to a movie that weren't actually a part of the action when it was being filmed.

Your eyes will REALLY be opened to some tricks you probably didn't know existed...and your jaw will drop when you finally understand how some of your favorite movie scenes were put together by combining live action along with specially inserted effects. If you don't say, "So THAT'S how they did it!" at least once during the presentation, then you'll be one of the few people who DON'T!

A few "lucky" people from the audience get to participate as volunteers. Volunteers find themselves acting as victims in a supposed movie-making scene; making noises (as if filming sound effects,) and other surprising activities.

Warning--These shows are educational in nature and, while they're quite enjoyably presented, they may be boring to young children. If your youngster squirms when he/she has to sit quietly, perhaps you'd better save this attraction for a few years down the road when your child is older.

Should you see the special effects show if you've already seen them before? Yes! The special effects shows are regularly updated to relate them to current hit movies. It's a win-win situation: You get to see new special effects shows on your repeat-visits to Universal Studios Hollywood...and Universal gets to advertise its latest theater and DVD releases!

House of Horrors walk-through attraction

Picture: House of Horrors at Universal Studio Hollywood Now, we come to a different type of Universal Studios California shows---the walk-throughs. Currently, there is only one walk-through attraction at the park: The House of Horrors!

Not long after you enter the park, you'll see a large, eerily-decorated building on your left...near the "Showtimes" sign board. That's it!

This building always seems to be a walk-through of one kind or another. They change the show fairly frequently. Each show only lasts a few years, so if you want to see this it now! It may not be here the next time you return to Universal Studios! (Not long ago, there was a Van Helsing-themed maze; and before that, there was a walk-through themed to the Mummy movie series.)

Picture: House of Horrors at Universal Studios California What's in the House of Horrors---and is it very scary? The House of Horrors is similar to a Halloween house of fright. The effects are more expensive-looking than what you might find in your local Halloween Haunted House, but the idea's the same. You'll see skulls, bones, evil-looking dolls, and other "scary" scenes. Beware for costumed creepies to pop out at you!

How scary is the House of Horrors? If you go through when many other people are both ahead of you and behind you (which is most of the time!) it's not very scary at all. You'll already know where the spooks are going to jump out at you. And, it's hard to think that fake skulls are scary when there's a crowd around. On the other might send quite a chill up your spine if you could go through it alone!

How popular are the walk-through attractions? When they first debut, they're VERY popular. For example, when the Mummy attraction was new, all the day's passes to the attraction would be given away by early afternoon. Same with the Van Helsing show. The longer the attraction has been around, the shorter the line becomes. Just don't take any chances. If visiting the House of Horrors is important to you, check it out EARLY in the day!

"Shrek 4D" and "Terminator 2--3D" shows

Photo: Sign for the Shrek 4D attraction, Universal Studios Hollywood, California One of the Universal Studios shows which can accommodate a crowd quite effectively is the humorous "Shrek 4D" movie.

"What's 4D?" you ask. Interesting question. Well, it's a 3D movie---that will "jump off the screen" at you---with ADDED special effects to make you feel "a part of" the movie. Hint--this may involve getting just a TAD wet, because a little spray of water just MIGHT be one of those special effects!

You'll see your favorite Shrek characters---Shrek the ogre, Fiona, and Donkey---in a short flick using themes from the original motion picture. Go---you'll have fun!

Photo of a metal skeleton, Terminator 2--3D attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood, California The other one of the 2 movie-based Universal Studios California shows is "Terminator 2--3D." As with the Shrek 4D attraction, the Terminator show takes place within a large movie-theater style auditorium. On busy days, shows run continuously one after the other, as with Shrek 4D, so getting in to see either of these fun shows isn't a major tie-up of your time.

You'll view a pre-show while waiting for the group ahead of you to finish in the auditorium. Once they leave, your group will be shuttled in, and live announcers will get the show rolling.

You will undoubtedly enjoy this show. I must, however, give a warning to asthmatics. There are noxious, smoky smells in this show. I felt my lungs tightening up and had to reach for my inhaler immediately. If you think this may happen to you, you'll want to be sure to bring your inhaler with you to the theme park.

Universal's Animal Actors show

Photo of a chimpanzee actor in the One of the Universal Studios California shows that is sweet and endearing...and always leaves the audience cooing "Oh, how CUTE!" the "Universal Animal Actors" show. This entertaining live performance is a can't-miss attraction for animal lovers. Even your children will sit still when they see the adorable cats, dogs, birds, chimps...and more...acting on stage. A few lucky kids even get to act as volunteers!

This adorable attraction takes place in a large arena, so it's another great probably WILL get into your desired show if you head to the arena 15-20 minutes ahead of the next performance.

Street Entertainment at Universal Studios Hollywood

Picture of street band at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park On a busy day at Universal Studios Hollywood, you may bump into more entertainment than you see listed on the schedule! That's because you may run across some "street shows" here and there around the theme park.

In the picture of a street band to your left, you see a group that was part of the "extra" entertainment on a busy day last year. Standing near the Shrek 4D movie theater (in an ogre-themed alcove!) these fellows were playing a happy mix of favorite oldies.

Other bands playing at the Universal Hollywood theme park recently have been a jazz band and a mariachi group. (You can see pictures of these musical groups in the slide show at the top of the page.

THE BLUES BROTHERS music & comedy revue is another show that music lovers won't want to miss. It's been around Universal Studios California for a number of years, and still remains a crowd pleaser this year, as well. The Blues Brothers revue takes place near the House of Horrors, and its schedule is available on the master schedule signboard on the upper level of the park.

Picture of man in Valentine's Day boxer shorts Why is this man wearing heart-covered boxer shorts in the picture to your right?

Because he's a part of a zany street show comedy routine! Acting as if they live in a New York City tenement, a man and his wife hang their heads outside their windows and throw verbal darts at one another (and sometimes at the crowd, as well!)

Beneath them hangs laundry lines laden with the morning's fresh load of wash. The accents...and the insults...are thick. And somehow out of this scenario, the wife dared her husband to appear in his underwear. And he did! (On top of his clothing, of course!)



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