The heart and soul of Universal Studios Hollywood.
The world-famous Universal Studio Tour – the very heart and soul of Universal Studios Hollywood. Witness how a full-fledged movie studio operates and get the chance to see actual sets from your favorite movies and television shows.
Take a tour of the world-famous Universal Studios backlot – one of the world’s biggest and busiest filmmaking destinations in the world. As you board a tram with a live guide, you’ll take a journey through a variety of Hollywood sets, soundstages, and attractions that you can only experience in Hollywood. Sights include Universal’s large collection of soundstages, various streets of the world, King Kong 360-3D, Fast and Furious: Supercharged, Earthquake, JAWS, and more – and given the tentative nature of filming, it’s very likely that you’ll never experience the same tour twice.
The Studio Tour usually lasts from 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Yes, ask for assistance. Be aware that you will need to transfer from your wheelchair to the tram’s seating. Simply request wheelchair assistance and Universal team members will be able to load your wheelchair at the Studio Tour’s departure station. Wheelchairs are usually secured in the first car.
Flash Photography and Video Taping Policy
Flash photography and video taping are permitted, but be aware of water effects and violent shaking. Just a friendly note that flash photography is not effective during the Studio Tour’s 3D segments (such as King Kong 360 and Fast and Furious: Supercharged). Be kind to your fellow guests and don’t use flash!
The Studio Tour does not have a height restriction, but children should be situated towards the center section of the tram, away from the outside gates.
The Universal Express entrance has its own designated entrance near the beginning of the tour’s main queue. Simply display your pass and you’ll be directed to the queue.
The Studio Tour does not offer Child Switch.
Parents should exercise caution. The Studio Tour includes violent shaking, loud noises, fire and water effects, and is a prolonged experience that may last up to one hour (keep in mind there are no restroom breaks during the tour). Most teenagers and pre-teens should enjoy the tour, though babies and young children may be frightened by some segments. Be sure to read the intensity meter below for a detailed explanation.
The tour is pretty difficult to gauge with regard to intensity. While not traditionally intense like Universal’s other thrill rides (such as Jurassic Park or Revenge of the Mummy), the Studio Tour definitely not for the faint of heart. Expect very loud sounds and intense shaking, coupled with water and fire effects. So in that sense, we don’t recommend the Studio Tour for very young children. You should exercise caution when bringing children on board.
Tram seating – as easy as 1, 2, and 3.
Each tour is comprised of four trams. Stars on the floor, representing a seat on the tour, are situated to the left of the tram for guests to stand on as you enter the main loading dock. Standing on a star guarantees you a seat on the tram.
Once signaled to do so, enter to the left of the tram and find the seat that corresponds with your star.
Did you know Universal also offers the Nighttime Studio Tour?
Offered during select days when the park operates at night, the Nighttime Studio Tour is an excellent way to gain a new perspective on an otherwise classic attraction at Universal. Not only are Hollywood’s most iconic sets illumined with bright lights, but the stars literally come out at night – bringing Hollywood magic to life in front of your very eyes.
Be sure to use the restroom before you board the tour!
There are no restroom breaks for this hour-long tour. Restrooms can be found next to the Studio Tour’s entrance, as well as on the boarding level as you head down the escalators.
Belongings should be kept off the floor of the tram. Items and personal items are known to fall off during the tour, so we suggest placing all your accessories on your lap and in hand.
In addition, young children should be placed in the center of the row away from the outside gates. The tram does experience sudden movements and excessive shaking, so be mindful of your young ones.
If you’re looking for the best seat on the tram, we suggest aiming for the third or fourth car. The first and second car are located near the tour’s power unit, which does have a tendency of making loud noises. The third and fourth car are placed far enough from the tram’s engine to avoid any excessive noise.
Want to catch a movie star or see a famous set?
Filming typically occurs on the weekday on the Universal backlot. If you want to view as much of the backlot as possible, go on a weekend – with the tradeoff being that your chances of seeing someone famous are further reduced than on a weekday visit. So while celebrity sightings are more uncommon than you might think, your chances improve during the weekday during normal studio operating hours.
Do keep in mind that the majority of filming does take inside soundstages, which are not available for public access on the regular Studio Tour.
The Studio Tour – the ride that literally started it all. Among Universal’s many changes over the years, the tour has always managed to preserve the rich history of Universal Studios within the larger context of the movie industry. Considered one of “the greats” at Universal, read on to see what our editors have to say!
Jon Fu – Inside Universal Editor-in-Chief Emeritus
I’ve always considered the Studio Tour to be the very core of Universal’s entire theme park. Now, I know that’s a very blatant statement to make, but I really doubt there are many fans out there that’d disagree. Quite frankly, it’s what makes Universal Studios Hollywood, well, Universal Studios Hollywood. If you were to ask any well-traveled theme park goer what makes this park unique – they’d most likely point at this tour. It’s that significant.
That being said, I know countless friends, family and guests who skip the tour altogether because of its tour like nature. After all, you go to a theme park to have fun, right? And surely, after going to parks like Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida (which, as of this article, no longer actually even offers a tour!), tours are tedious and oftentimes educational – and who would want to experience that.
Well, let me be the first to say that this tour is far from that. Yes, it is an hour long, and yes, it is at times educational, but to skip the tour based on that alone is missing the point. The Studio Tour contains half of Universal’s attractions – such as King Kong 360, Earthquake, JAWS, and Fast and Furious – which make the tour far more interesting and entertaining than one would lead you to believe. Above that, the Studio Tour actually takes you through one of Hollywood’s busiest and biggest movie studios. And while that phrase probably has a jaded meaning, Universal Studios is truly a filmmaker’s destination – which means you’re almost guaranteed to see a set or prop from a movie you’ve seen in the past.
Now, despite the positives, the tour has shifted to a more impersonal approach over the years. While the additions of a camera and monitors allow you to view your tour guide live, the guides themselves have come to rely more and more on prerecorded content and virtual hosts. And while this is certainly not a negative thing in itself, it does feel like you’re rushed in and out without much care. And for what it’s worth, the guides always seem compelled (or ordered to, depending on your point of view) to push for the longer, more expensive VIP Experience, which features a group of individuals on a trolley touring the backlot with a more intimate feel.
So with that in mind – see the tour, and make it the first thing you do when you enter the park. It’s truly a fascinating attraction like none other in the world. Just don’t be surprised if you’re in and out before you really know it.
Chris Lord – Inside Universal Contributing Editor
Universal’s Studio Tour is history in itself. Learning more about Universal’s rich history will give you much more appreciation and excitement while experiencing the world famous Backlot Tram Tour. First of all, Universal is a movie studio! This is where you get to see where your favorite film and television studios are filmed. This is where the movie stars and production crews work day after day. This is the experience that you will not get anywhere else in the world, including Orlando. To love Universal, is to love the Studio Tour and all that it has spawned into the theme park experience. With classic attractions such as Parting of the Red Sea, Flash Flood, The Spinning Tunnel, and JAWS, the Studio Tour gives you an appreciation for what film makers can do to fool the audience with technology and special effects.
For those guests who are looking for theme park thrills and excitement, the Studio Tour does offer some very unique attractions which you cannot see anywhere else. However, it does not have the punch and thrill of a roller coaster or simulator. It’s a tour! Many people who are very familiar with the standard “theme park” experience compare Universal for the same. They expect rides to be great and shows to be terrible. In reality, Universal offers a different experience from its theme park counterparts and excels where other parks fail. Instead, I would compare the Studio Tour to other movie studio tours instead of comparing it with theme park attractions. The Universal Studio Tour offers fun, thrills, and excitement which other standard movie studio tours cannot compare (Paramount, Disney, Warner Bros. etc). Universal has taken their tour to theme park heights and now have a large amount of guests to move throughout the backlot in a short amount of time.
With the latest addition of King Kong 360 – 3D and Fast & Furious: Supercharged, the Studio Tour has been given a breath of fresh air and has returned as a viable queue line wait to the theme park. Something new and technological has been long overlooked for the backlot tour for some time and it is nice to see people lining up for the tour once again. In the 70s and 80s, all effects were practical, and the Studio Tour was a great medium to experience those effects. With the world of CGI, it is very difficult to give a live audience that experience, but King Kong has done a great job bringing the tour back to a superior experience.
For fans of classic attractions and history, the Studio Tour is for you! I highly recommend the VIP Tour for anyone who truly wants to see inside the movie studio and get the full effect of what a tour has to offer. For fans of thrill rides, the Studio Tour may lack some of that punch with the total length of the experience and possible delays which can happen during peak periods. Overall, this attraction is rated high by me for originality, uniqueness, and high re-ride value because of on site productions.