Universal Studios Hollywood is celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year with a bang. In their central plaza you will find all manner of costumed characters from Universal IPs, such as Kung-Fu Panda, Curious George, and a whole lot more (my personal favorite was Woody Woodpecker). You will even find the evil Decepticon known as Megatron, arch-enemy of the Autobots, speaking Mandarin to guests in celebration of the holiday. Finally at the plaza area,  you will find an assortment of Chinese-inspired foods and snacks, as well as be able to write your own message of hope to add to the beautiful, blossom covered archways. I give a ton of kudos to the park designers as the plaza area is beautiful – they did a terrific job.

On the day we went, it was raining cats and dogs, the height of the most recent Southern California storm system, but we didn’t let that stop us. We purchased some Wizarding World of Harry Potter themed rain ponchos and had a terrific time. The lines and crowds were short, allowing us to get into anything we desired within a few minutes of waiting. The world famous Universal Studios Tour was even considerate and had vinyl rain flaps deployed on each side of the trams (although for us in the front corner, the rain came in anyway, lol).

I highly recommend checking out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the rain and wind. Nothing says real English weather like gloomy clouds and downpour, and it adds to the overall effect of being in Hogsmeade. Also, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has returned to its pre-eye strain 2D film mode. I couldn’t ride this enough! The goggles and 3D film during the attraction’s opening were not well-received and the park listed to its guests. The 2D ride film is plenty immersive, and waiting just a couple minutes to ride meant we could go on as many times as we could go through the rain to get back in, lol. It is not uncommon for the ride to have wait times in excess of 60 minutes – yet we rode the attraction seven times in a row! Thank you sweet, sweet rain!

I use any reason I can to get out to Universal Studios Hollywood. It is a terrific theme park and truly a Southern California treasure, reflecting our Hollywood history and providing hope for its future. The fact that the park is also culturally-progressive and forward-thinking enough to pay tribute to our Chinese American brothers and sisters with the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration is a testament to that way of thinking and yet another reason for us all to come together in unity. Get your butts out to Universal Studios and celebrate with them!

You can get ticket information and more at USH’s official website.

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Jennifer Paxton