Differences between Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood

Universal Studios Orlando vs Hollywood

Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood are two iconic entertainment destinations that offer immersive experiences for visitors. While both parks share similarities in terms of franchises and attractions, there are significant differences between them. In this post, we will delve into the contrasting features and experiences offered by Universal Orlando and Hollywood, allowing you to make an informed choice for your next visit.

For detailed comparison of all Universal Studios parks around the globe read our post Globetrotting Universal: Hollywood vs. Orlando vs. Japan vs. Beijing vs. Singapore

Historical Background

Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood holds a rich historical background that predates its counterpart, Universal Orlando. In its early days, the studio welcomed the public to observe movie production up close, providing an unprecedented behind-the-scenes experience. Visitors could witness the magic of filmmaking and gain insight into the intricate processes involved in creating iconic movies. However, with the emergence of sound in the late 1920s, the studio made the decision to close its doors to the public, focusing on preserving the integrity and confidentiality of film production. This marked the end of an era, as the behind-the-scenes access that had enthralled visitors for years came to a halt.

It wasn’t until 1964 that Universal Studios Hollywood reemerged, this time in the form of a theme park. The transformation was remarkable, as the studio opened its gates to offer guests a unique blend of movie magic and thrilling attractions. It sought to transport visitors into the enchanting world of Hollywood, immersing them in the captivating narratives and iconic franchises they had grown to love. From that point forward, Universal Studios Hollywood became a destination where guests could not only enjoy thrilling rides but also experience the excitement of being part of the movies themselves.

Universal Orlando

In stark contrast to Universal Studios Hollywood’s evolution, Universal Orlando was conceived and designed as a theme park right from the start. When conceptualizing this new venture, the creators had a vision of crafting a world-class entertainment destination that would captivate visitors of all ages. One notable inclusion in the design of Universal Orlando was Nickelodeon Studios, an addition that showcased the park’s commitment to providing diverse attractions and entertainment options.

With the incorporation of Nickelodeon Studios, Universal Orlando aimed to create an immersive experience that would resonate with guests on multiple levels. The studio’s presence added an extra layer of excitement, bringing beloved characters and shows to life in a dynamic and engaging manner. Visitors to Universal Orlando could not only enjoy thrilling rides and attractions but also have the opportunity to interact with beloved Nickelodeon characters, fostering an atmosphere of fun and nostalgia.

Overall, the historical backgrounds of Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando highlight the distinct paths each park has taken. Universal Studios Hollywood’s initial focus on movie production and subsequent transition into a theme park created a unique blend of Hollywood glamour and thrilling experiences. Meanwhile, Universal Orlando’s deliberate design as a theme park from the outset, along with the incorporation of Nickelodeon Studios, showcases its dedication to providing a diverse range of attractions and entertainment options for guests of all ages.

Park Layout and Features

Universal Studios Hollywood

One of the standout features of Universal Studios Hollywood is its immersive backlot experience. Unlike many other theme parks, Universal Studios Hollywood offers visitors the unique opportunity to explore functioning studios and witness the magic of film production firsthand. This behind-the-scenes glimpse allows guests to get a deeper understanding of the intricate processes involved in creating blockbuster movies. Walking through the backlot, visitors can marvel at elaborate sets, iconic facades, and the bustling activity of crews preparing for filming.

In addition to the backlot experience, Universal Studios Hollywood also offers a renowned tram tour. This popular attraction takes guests on a guided journey through the heart of the studio, providing a captivating look into the world of Hollywood. As the tram traverses the backlot, visitors can catch glimpses of famous movie sets, such as the iconic “Psycho” house or the mesmerizing streets of “Desperate Housewives.” This immersive tour offers a unique perspective on the art of filmmaking and provides an unforgettable experience for movie enthusiasts.

However, due to the hilly terrain on which it is situated, Universal Studios Hollywood faces certain limitations in terms of space for expansion. The park’s layout is influenced by the natural topography, resulting in a more compact footprint compared to its counterpart in Orlando. Despite these constraints, Universal Studios Hollywood has managed to create an enchanting atmosphere that transports guests into the world of movies, making the most of the available space.

Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando distinguishes itself by offering a diverse array of themed thrills, highly immersive experiences, and a wide range of resorts and culinary delights. The park’s primary focus is on delivering unforgettable adventures within intricately designed themed lands. From exploring the magical world of Harry Potter to embarking on thrilling adventures with beloved characters, Universal Orlando is a haven for those seeking immersive and captivating experiences.

One notable advantage of Universal Orlando is its expansive layout, which allows for ample room for future expansion. This ensures that the park can continually introduce new attractions and experiences, providing fresh adventures for returning guests and enticing new visitors. The spacious nature of Universal Orlando allows for the creation of immersive worlds and detailed environments, enhancing the overall experience for visitors.

Beyond the thrilling rides and attractions, Universal Orlando offers a wide range of resorts and culinary delights. Guests have the option to stay within the resort area, with a variety of themed hotels available to suit different preferences and budgets. This proximity to the park provides convenience and the opportunity to fully immerse oneself in the Universal experience. Additionally, Universal Orlando boasts a diverse culinary scene, featuring a multitude of dining options that cater to various tastes and preferences, ensuring that visitors can indulge in delicious meals throughout their stay.

In summary, while Universal Studios Hollywood provides an immersive backlot experience and a tram tour, Universal Orlando focuses on delivering themed thrills, highly immersive experiences, and a wide range of resorts and culinary delights. Universal Studios Hollywood works within the constraints of its hilly terrain, creating a compact yet enchanting park, while Universal Orlando benefits from its expansive layout, allowing for future expansion and the creation of immersive worlds.

Jurassic World VelociCoaster

Shared Attractions with Differences

Rides and Attractions

Both Universal Orlando and Hollywood share several popular franchises and attractions. However, the execution and experiences can vary between the two parks. For example, the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World rides offer distinct themes and elements, tailored to the unique characteristics of each park. Similarly, The Simpsons Ride can be enjoyed in both locations, but each version provides a slightly different experience, adding to the overall excitement and variety.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

A major highlight of both Universal Orlando and Hollywood is the enchanting Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This immersive land allows fans of the beloved franchise to step into the magical world created by J.K. Rowling. While the Wizarding World is available in both parks, Universal Orlando features two connected lands – Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade – allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the enchantment of Harry Potter’s universe.

Duration of Visit and Range of Options

Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood is a compact park that can typically be explored in one day. It offers a condensed yet captivating experience, making it an excellent choice for visitors with limited time. However, due to its hillside location, the park has limitations when it comes to the number of roller coasters it can accommodate. The layout of the park is divided into upper and lower lots, providing distinct areas to explore.

Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Resort is a comprehensive family theme park destination that offers much more than just a single park experience. With onsite hotels and additional visitor benefits, guests can fully immerse themselves in the Universal experience. The resort provides an extensive range of options, including two theme parks – Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure – as well as a water park, Volcano Bay. This variety ensures that visitors have a wealth of attractions and activities to choose from, making it an ideal destination for longer stays.


In conclusion, while both Universal Orlando and Hollywood offer incredible experiences, they have their own distinct features and highlights. Universal Studios Hollywood provides an intimate glimpse into the world of movies and offers a backlot experience that immerses visitors in the magic of film production. On the other hand, Universal Orlando focuses on themed thrills, expansive resorts, and culinary delights, providing a comprehensive and immersive theme park experience.

When choosing between the two, consider the duration of your visit and your preferences for attractions, as well as the range of options each park offers. Whether you seek the allure of Hollywood’s movie magic or the thrilling adventures of Universal Orlando, both destinations promise unforgettable experiences that cater to different preferences and tastes.

For gerenal information about Universal Studios Hollywood and further navigation please refer to: Universal Studios Hollywood: Where Movie Magic Comes to Life

For gerenal information about Universal Studios Orlando and further navigation please refer to: Universal Studios Orlando: A Gateway to Adventure and Imagination


Can I visit both Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood on the same trip?

Yes, it is possible to visit both parks during the same trip, but keep in mind that they are located in different cities. Universal Orlando is situated in Orlando, Florida, while Universal Studios Hollywood is located in Los Angeles, California. You will need to plan accordingly and account for travel time between the two destinations.

Which park is better for roller coaster enthusiasts?

If you are a roller coaster enthusiast, Universal Orlando might be the better choice for you. Due to its hilly terrain, Universal Studios Hollywood has limited space for roller coasters. On the other hand, Universal Orlando offers a wider variety of roller coasters, including thrilling options such as The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.

Are the Harry Potter experiences the same in both parks?

While the Wizarding World of Harry Potter can be found in both Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood, there are some differences between the two. Universal Orlando features two connected lands – Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade – allowing for a more comprehensive Harry Potter experience. Each land offers unique attractions and shops, providing fans with a more immersive journey through the world of Harry Potter.

Can I experience the backlot tour at Universal Orlando?

No, the backlot tour is exclusive to Universal Studios Hollywood. It is one of the highlights of the Hollywood park, offering guests the opportunity to explore functioning movie studios and witness behind-the-scenes action. Universal Orlando, being primarily designed as a theme park, does not have a backlot tour.

Which park is better for a one-day visit?

If you have limited time and are looking to explore the park in just one day, Universal Studios Hollywood is a great choice. Its compact size allows for a more manageable experience, allowing you to enjoy many of its attractions and experiences in a shorter timeframe. However, keep in mind that Universal Orlando Resort offers a wider range of options and may require more than one day to fully appreciate everything it has to offer.

Do both parks offer onsite hotels?

Yes, both Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood offer onsite hotels. Universal Orlando Resort has several options, including the luxurious Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and the family-friendly Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Universal Studios Hollywood has the Universal CityWalk, which features a variety of dining and entertainment options, but does not offer onsite hotels within the park itself.

Is there complimentary Wi-Fi at Universal Studios?

Yes, both Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood provide Wi-Fi connectivity for visitors. This allows guests to stay connected and share their experiences in real-time through social media, access park apps, and stay connected with friends and family. The availability and coverage of Wi-Fi may vary in different areas of the parks, but overall, visitors can expect to have access to wireless internet during their visit to Universal Studios.