Special Effects Show

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Special Effects Show

At Universal Studios Hollywood, anything is possible.

The new and improved Special Effects Show – an exclusive look into the secret world of movie magic. With stunts, practical effects, and cutting-edge technology, the newly updated Special Effects Show takes guests behind-the-scenes of some of your favorite Universal Blockbusters.

The Special Effects Show has been a long established part of Universal Studios Hollywood’s Theme Park history. With various different renderings over the years, the newest update features some fan favorites from past versions and some brand new, never-before-seen special effects, including a thrilling stunt performers by some of Hollywood’s best. Currently located on the Upper Lot between Universal’s Animal Actors and Springfield, the Special Effects Show is certain to entertain everyone in your family.


» Checklist
» Intensity Meter
» Tips
» Our Take: From the Editors
» Video Preview
» Photo Gallery


The hosts of the Special Effects Show


The new Special Effects Show generally lasts between 25 to 30 minutes.

Wheelchair Accessible

Yes, ask for assistance. There are designated seating areas painted blue that allow for a guest in a wheelchair to sit with their families. The accessible seating is located to the left and right of the center stage.

Flash Photography and Video Taping Policy

Because this show takes place in a theater style, flash photography is generally frowned upon. However, guests are welcome, and even encouraged, to take pictures and video as long as flash is not involved.

Gate A Entrance

The Gate A – or Front of Line – entrance is located to the left as you enter the Special Effects Show queue. Show the employee your Front of Line or VIP Experience badge, and they’ll direct you to the left side of the show building. Gate A guests typically get let in first and have the choice to sit anywhere in the show building, including a special reserved seating area that provides a perfect view of the entire stage.

Stroller Parking

Stroller parking is located outside to the right of the theater by the staircase. Just ask an employee for assistance and they will direct you on where to go.

Child Friendly?

While the show does have many elements suited for children, parents should exercise caution. The Special Effects Show includes loud noises, fire effects, and movie blood, among other things. Most teenagers and pre-teens should enjoy the show, though babies and some young children may be frightened by some segments. Be sure to read the intensity meter for a detailed explanation.

Intensity Meter

Intensity Meter

Like the Studio Tour, the Special Effects Show is difficult to gauge in regards to intensity. While not traditionally intense, like Jurassic Park or Revenge of the Mummy, those who are faint of heart or easily made queasy by the sight of blood should exercise caution. Expect very loud noises throughout the show, simulated fight scenes, the use of movie blood, and even fire effects. For this reason, we encourage parents to exercise extreme caution with very young children. The show, in general, is child-friendly, but the effects mentioned above may be shocking to children.


The best seats in the house

It all depends on your preference! In order to give you an idea of some of the best seats in the house, our editor’s provided a bit of their preference. Jonathan Green, a contributing editor, prefers to sit by the Audio and Video booth, which gives you a center view of the entire stage. Our newest editor, Tyler Crouch, prefers to sit in the very back row for the back rest! Again, it all depends on your personal preference. But we encourage you to arrive early to ensure your access to your favorite seat.

Pick me, pick me!

Like the Universal Animal Actors show, the Special Effects Show features three different opportunities for audience participation: the Foley Stage, Movie Blood, and the Flight Control Simulation.

The first audience participation segment features a family of four as they recreate the Foley sound effects in a scene from popular Universal movie, Identity Thief, starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman. The Movie Blood segment typically involves a young woman willing to sacrifice her arm for the sake of entertainment. Plus, it makes for a great photo opportunity! The final segment generally involves a couple, where the male counterpart is dressed in a space suit, and his significant other is finally in charge of the remote.

If you want the chance to participate, the best thing you can do is to arrive early. Prior to the show, the hosts, or someone involved in the show, walk around looking for participants. Sometimes it involves pure luck, others require a bit of an audition. Whatever they ask of you, make sure you do it loudly and with lots of energy!

Don’t try this at more…try it at a friend’s house

With the proper equipment, most of these effects can be recreated at home. For example, the Foley effects can be recreated with various household items and the movie blood segment can be recreated with a plastic knife from your local party store and a bit of ketchup.

However, we do not recommend attempting to recreate the stunt performances, including the fight scene, the propelling, and definitely not the fire effect. These are performed by highly trained professionals who have many years of experience in this field. So, again, we HIGHLY stress that you should not try these stunts at home, or even at a friend’s house!

Our Take: From our Editors

The Special Effects Show – a movie-lover’s dream! Among Universal’s many shows, the Special Effects Show gives guests an insider’s look into the world of movie magic. With its recent update featuring never before seen stunts and effects, is the new Special Effects Show better than its predecessors? Read on to see what our editors have to say!

Kaley Cyrino – Inside Universal Editor

The magic of movie-making has always been something that interested me. Because of this, the Special Effects Show had always been a must see whenever I visited Universal Studios Hollywood. In fact, it was one of the many reasons I fell in love with Universal in the first place! Second only to the back lot, the Special Effects Show quickly became a favorite of mine because of the behind-the-scenes access it gave me to how my favorite movies were made.

However, after many years of the same version of the show, and I had finally been chosen for all of the audience participation segments, I grew tired of the Special Effects Show. It wasn’t long before I started reciting the host’s lines as I watched the show. So when it was announced that the Special Effects Show would be closing temporarily for a refurbishment, I was anxious to see something different.

The hosts of the Special Effects Show

I was thrilled when it was announced that they were revamping the show, complete with brand new Stunt Effects and even a hint at some of our favorite bits from the past. So when the show finally opened to annual pass members, I had to be among that group so see it first! And I was definitely not disappointed.

Obviously, the “new” show isn’t drastically different from its previous version; however, it managed to take that show to a whole new level. Many of the familiar sketches were carried over into the new show but enhanced with new technology and a new script. I found the new show to be highly entertaining and I can officially say again that the Special Effects Show is a must see for me whenever I visit the park.

If you are anything like me, and you love learning about the movie industry, and how your favorite movies were made, I highly recommend checking this show out! Similar to the Studio Tour, this show offers guests another glimpse into the world of movie-making. And who knows? You may even get chosen to participate!

Video Preview


Photo Gallery