Going to Universal Studios alone was actually one of the most daunting solo experiences of my life so far.
In the past few years I’ve become a bit of a dab hand at doing things on my lonesome. Not because I don’t have friends, because I promise I do, but because what I want to do doesn’t always match up with what other people want to do. And I quite selfishly think why should I miss out?
Over the last five years I’ve managed to accumulate a total of just over 12 months travel and 1 year living abroad in 32 countries. And for most of it, I was on my tod.
So if I’m able to land in one of the most dangerous cities in the world alone at night (Caracas, FYI), survive getting myself kind of stolen in Nepal, and not die from the boredom of having only my own thoughts for company for 2 years, hitting an American amusement park-type thing (what even is Universal Studios?!) by my lonesome would be a walk in the park, right?!
Well, kind of wrong and kind of right.
I was A-Okay with my loner status, but I’ll admit it was quite embarrassing at first having to ask strangers and park staff to take my photo with the characters (check out my Simpsons family portraits here). I may or may not have used my unsuspecting niece and nephews as excuses once or twice – oh, my brother’s kids love minions, I can’t not get a picture with them. To the lady behind me in the queue who I spun that line to, I’m sorry for lying. They do indeed love minions but the photo was for me not them.
Character photos aside, the worst part was getting to the front of the queue and someone saying “how many, two?” assuming you’re with the family or couple behind you, then you sheepishly have to correct them and they look at you with that pitying look that says “aw you poor friendless thing”. Except the reality is they see thousands of people a day and they couldn’t care less if you’re there alone or with the Queen of England.
One of the biggest upsides about going to a theme park alone is that you are the master of your own destiny, the decider of your fate, and you get to choose when you start, when you end and what you do in between. No fights over whether to get hotdogs or chicken and no squabbles about who sits next to who on what ride.
I got there at about 10:30am and planned on staying until closing to make sure I got to do everything I wanted to do. I’d made a mental note of the rides I had to go on and the ones that didn’t matter so much if I missed them. By 4pm I’d been on every single ride, some of them twice. How so? I hear you ask. Well.
Single rider lines y’all.
Single rider lines are without a doubt the greatest thing to have ever happened to the world of amusement parks. They need to come to the UK!
They aren’t available on all the rides, but they’re there where it counts!
Attractions offering Single Rider Lines:
– Revenge of the Mummy
– Jurassic Park: The Ride
– Transformers: The Ride 3D
– Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
So what exactly does a single rider line entail?
Basically, if you’re there on your lonesome or just don’t mind being split up from your friends, you can skip almost the whole queue and jump straight to the front in no time at all!
I went on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey three times and admittedly I regretted the third because hey sick-inducing dizziness but if it wasn’t for the single rider line, I probably would have just about made it once.
The first time I went, the “normal” wait time was 50 minutes. I was on it in 10. The second and third times the waits were 25 and 35 minutes respectively, and both times I just strolled on up and was sat in my seat within 2 minutes.
It was bloody marvellous.
It was the same with Revenge of the Mummy – I just strolled straight on in and up.
Jurassic Park: The Ride was an absolute nightmare, though. There were about 20-30 people in the single rider line but only me and one other guy were actual single riders (aka friendless loners). All the rest were small groups or couples who were just waiting to get to the front to try and manipulate the system by swapping and changing with the mere peasants who had queued in the normal line, so they could still sit together.
Just don’t do that.
It’s cheating, it’s technically queue jumping and you make me want to punch you.
But yeah, all in all single rider lines are a little slice of heaven. Like I already said, with the help of my loner status, I was able to be done with all the rides by 4pm, leaving 4 whole hours to crack on with the ‘experiences’ – the Studio Tour, the Special Effects show and the water thing (I can’t for the life of me remember what it’s called!).
By the end of the day the only thing I hadn’t done was the animal actor show, and that’s only because really don’t like the idea of dogs doing people tricks.
Being a solo traveller certainly has it perks sometimes! And Universal Studios Hollywood is one of them!