If you think travelling by yourself is daunting, imagine rocking up to a family-filled theme park like a loser loner because none of your travel buddies share your enthusiasm for film and TV.

That was literally me last week during my first trip to Los Angeles.

Universal Studios Hollywood had been on my bucket list since November 2014, when I first learned of the studio’s magical plans to build a Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

As a (borderline obsessive) Harry Potter fan, I pictured myself walking past the giant, spiraling globe, strolling through ‘Springfield’ and fulfilling my Potter passion by pretending to be Hermione (I lie, pretending to be Bellatrix – what? she’s wicked!) shopping in Ollivanders, stepping onto platform 9 3/4 and sending a letter from the Owl Post.

My enthusiasm for the establishment kicked into sixth gear when Universal opened the ‘Fast & Furious Supercharged’ ride earlier this year, which utilises special effects, 3D audio systems and actors from the franchise to create a completely immersive experience – almost like you’ve actually teamed up with hottie Vin Diesel to speed down freeways and stop the bad guys.

Nothing was going to stop me from going to Universal (*coughs* entering Hogwarts)! Not bad weather, not sore feet (I’d just arrived in LA from Vegas…), not even a complete lack of friends.

So when all my friends turned down my invitation to visit the studio last week, there was only one thing I could do… suck it up and visit a theme park on my own.

And I did just that, I went to Universal Studios Hollywood all by myself and this is what happened:



Worried about getting there…


Such a wasted concern. Getting to Universal Studios Hollywood is incredibly easy, especially because it’s Los Angeles and everyone knows you need to catch a cab or an Uber everywhere you go. I caught an Uber from my hotel in West Hollywood and it took no more than 30 minutes to get there.


Worried about feeling alone…


I used the words ‘loser loner’ in the opening line for a reason, because that’s exactly how I felt passing through security and entering Universal alone, surrounded by groups of laughing friends and loving families.

I had to adjust myself and adopt a look of complete confidence, like this wasn’t my first time visiting a park by myself, in order to suppress the complete awkwardness as I made my way from the entrance to the Studio Tour.

But what I quickly learned is that nobody cares if you’re by yourself or surrounded by your cousin and your cousin’s cousins and a few of your cousin’s cousin’s friends. Everyone is in their own little world, especially when you’re on a ride, although that does bring me to…


Worried about screaming for my life while on a ride…


I’m a screamer. You could wrap your arms around me and pretend you’re about to lift me, and I will deafen you with my high pitched shrill. So can you imagine the sounds I make during a high speed ride? ‘The poor people next to me’, were the first words that popped into my head during the King Kong 360 3-D experience on the Studio Tour. I even felt a little sorry for the same park visitors during the Fast & Furious portion of the tour, but after a while I had to stop caring and just unleash the vocals – you should have heard me on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey 3-D ride, they were some serious screams. Everyone is there to have fun and chances are, at the end of the day, I was never going to see these people again.


Worried about standing in lines alone…


I was lucky here on several counts, the first – I went on a weekday, so the crowds weren’t as big as I was expecting.

Second – I had a Universal Front of Line pass, which gave me priority for rides and only cost around $180 (price varies depending on day and demand) – worth it BTW.

But here’s the best part, third – being alone meant I could even skip ‘Front of Line’ queues in cases like the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, where there needs to be four people on each carriage. Not everyone visiting the park is in groups of four or two, so I was able to stand in a special line and all I had to do was wait for the first group of three and I was flying on a broomstick with Harry.


Worried I wouldn’t have someone to mind my stuff while I was on rides…


Universal has you covered.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has special lockers that are free to use for two hours and then occur a small fee if you want to use it over the free period. It’s worth using, alternatively, there’s secure places to leave your bags, phones and other loose items when hopping on activities such as The Simpsons Ride, Transformers 3-D experience and of course, The Jurassic Park 84-foot waterfall – you have to do it, don’t think about the drop just hop on the river boat.


Worried I’d get bored…

Only a first timer would be concerned about this, because within seconds of picking up the Studio Tour map I realised there is just WAY too much to do at Universal Studios Hollywood to get bored whether you’re on your own or with a group of friends.

There’s immersive 3-D rides, a ‘The Walking Dead’ walking tour (seriously scary stuff, but amazing!), special effects shows, performances from animal actors, a crazy Jurassic Park water ride, oh, and don’t forget the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (*smiles with psycho eyes*).

And that’s not all, there’s also so much to see as you make your way from one section of the park to the other, whether it be singing in the Wizarding World or an ‘I Love Lucy’ Lucy and Enrico skit as you make your way down Universal Plaza.

The options at Universal Studios Hollywood are so vast, the real struggle is deciding what to do first. Lucky for me, I’d received some great advice from my LA-based cousin who suggested I tick off the Studio Tours before anything else. Best advice!


Worried I’d get lost…


If you’ve met me, then you’d likely have realised (although I try so hard to hide it) that I’m a ditz. I’m like the real life version of Cher from Clueless.

So for me to last an entire day at a theme park without something going wrong… it’s a pretty big deal.

In saying that, Universal Studios Hollywood is set up practically like one big circle. It was incredibly easy to get around and the map (I clung to throughout the day) came in handy whenever I felt like I may have walked off track.


Worried I wouldn’t be able to capture my presence in pics…


When you’re at a theme park, it’s not uncommon to find people are generally in a really good mood and willing to help. So I felt comfortable enough asking strangers to take my picture, or I turned to selfies because well, they’re nicer anyway :).


Worried I wouldn’t be able to decide what to eat…


Do I eat at Krusty Burger? Should I save myself for the Three Broomsticks Restaurants? You know I have to try that ButterBeer in the Wizarding World. Or wow that Plaza Grill looks good!

Deciding what to eat is tough when you have no options, now imagine when you have creatively-themed movie and TV options! I settled on chicken and chips at Cletus’ Chicken Shack in Springfield and of course, I had to try that ButterBeer, which was sweet and delicious!


Worried about dining alone…


I can barely sit at a cafe by myself, let alone eat a whole meal solo. But after deciding what I was going to eat, I found myself a little spot in the corner of Cletus’ Chicken Shack, watched snippets from the Simpsons, which was playing on the venue’s TV and planned my next move using my beloved map. Eventually, the people next to me did embrace me as one of their own, which was lovely.


So there it is, I did what I never thought I could do and I did it surprisingly well. It only took a little confidence, smarts and of course an incredible park like Universal Studios Hollywood, which has so much to see and do you forget you’re all by yourself.

Have you visited Universal Studios Hollywood lately? Share your experience with us below.