My children being under 48", we noticed immediately that there was lots they couldn't go on. That turned out not to be a problem, since what we did see filled our entire day nicely.
First, we purchased "All-you-can-eat" passes and immediately proceeded to the nearest participating restaurant to gorge ourselves on burgers, onion rings, KFCesque chicken tenders, giant cookies, all manor of ludicrously fast food (so fast it was sitting there before we ordered it).
What we saw:
An animal actors show, with dogs, birds, monkeys, etc that have been in movies. One of those amusingly cheesey shows. The chicken changes the special to pork, the pig changes it to chicken sandwich. Oh the hilarity! Jadzia loves animals, so she especially liked the part when we got to meet one of the dogs and have our picture taken.
A Curious George water play area. I took the kids through while Adam stood with our camera equipment and stuff. 90% of the fountains, squirt guns, and buckets, were kid-operated and kids will always aim for the nearest grown-up, so I probably got wetter than my children (luckily I brought my swimsuit). Every so often a countdown would start and all the kids would run under a rocket ship which would "blast off" with water and mist spraying out in place of flames. William wouldn't run under the rocket. In fact, he seemed adverse to anything that would get him wet. Next to the water area, there was another Curious George sponsered attract which involved small foam balls and various methods of shooting them, vacuuming them up, and air-blasting them. William really got into vacuuming, perhaps I can put this interest to use when we get home.
2 "4-D" shows. A Shrek 4-D and a Terminator 4-D. They were very different, though both had the same basic framework. First you are given 3-D glasses and are lead into a room that you think is the ride but is actually a longish pre-show, which involves recapping the original movie, ignoring all sequels. Then, you go into a movie theatre and proceed to watch a short 3-D movie. The 4-D comes in because of all the ridiculous effects, shaking your chair, spraying you with water (in Shrek, this was Donkey sneezing, while in Terminator it was a T-1000 getting destroyed). I had to sit in a stationary seat in Shrek to have Jadzia on my lap, but in Terminator there was no such restriction. Terminator had the extra bonus of real actors coming in to play the parts at various times. Arnie's double didn't really look like him though.
The Universal Studio tour. This is the real reason anybody goes to Universal and as such it had the longest line-up, which zig-zagged annoyingly so I never quite knew whether we were at the front. By the time we did get on the tram (a train-like tour-car thingie) Jadzia in particular was ready to riot, and I had to nurse her while the tour was going on. We actually did drive through sets that were used in movies and TVs, most impressive to me was the giant crashed jumbo jet, used in War of the Worlds. Every once in a while they would cheesily pretend that something was going wrong and shake us, spray us with water, and show us cool special effects. Jadzia got scared when the subway station started to come apart all around us, but I snuggled her and kept her safe.
We stayed until the park closed. Then, since we were in Hollywood, I decided that we should find the Hollywood sign and take a picture. The GPS lead us up the side of a mountain, on a route that was so winding that it looked like the GPS screen had been scribbled on. The narrow, residencial streets (yes, people live on the sides of mountains here) were quite beautiful, and we both agreed that even if we didn't make it to the sign the route was well worth it. When we did get close to the sign, I was totally geeking out about it. We weren't the only ones there taking pictures, which was a little surprising since we were the only ones on the road the whole drive up. We took some pictures of the sign, and each other, and a stranger took a picture of Adam and I while the kids were in the car. (Jadzia was comatose by this point). The Hollywood Sign! Awesome.
What a great day!