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. You’ll also experience attractions uniquely specific to the tram, such as King Kong 360 – 3D, Fast and the Furious: Extreme Close Up, and the now infamous JAWS.
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 The Furious, Earthquake, JAWS and more – and given the tentative nature of filming, it’s very likely that you’ll never experience the same tour twice.
Studio Tour Checklist
Duration: 45 minutes – 1 hour
Average wait time (not including peak days): 15 minutes – 30 minutes
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes, ask for assistance. Be aware that you will need to transfer from your wheelchair to the ride’s seating.
Flash Photography and Video Taping Policy: Permitted, but be aware of water effects and violent shaking.
Height Restriction: No, but children should be situated towards the center section of the tram, away from the outside gates.
Child Switch: No.
Child Friendliness: Parents should exercise caution. See the intensity meter below for an explanation.
The tour’s pretty difficult to gauge. While it’s definitely not “intense” when compared to other rides (such as Jurassic Park or Revenge of the Mummy), it’s 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. With an intensity rating of 7, we recommend that you exercise caution when bringing children on board.
Tour Tips & Tricks
Scheduling: The Studio Tour typically closes a few hours early before the entire park shuts down. As a result, we highly recommend you start your day with the tour, avoiding the mid-day crowds.
Restrooms: There are no restroom breaks during the hour-long tour. Restrooms are located next to the entrance for your convenience.
Personal Belongings: Belongings should be kept off the floor of the tram. Items are known to fall off.
Safety: Please remain seated during the entire tour unless your host tells you otherwise.
Viewing: Many believe trams 2 and 3 offer the best view.
Viewing: If possible, also try getting a side-seat, which gives you an unobstructed view of sets and attractions. Of course, should anything happen on the other side of the tram, you’ll have everyone to look over.
Strollers: Stroller parking is located near the entrance below the escalators.
3D Glasses: 3D glasses are only needed for the King Kong portion of the tour. For everything else, you’re fine without them.
Filming/Movie Stars: Filming typically occurs on the weekday. 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.
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. 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.
Like we mentioned earlier, trams 2 and 3 usually offer the best “balanced” view of the entire backlot.
As always, if you’re a premium annual pass holder, take advantage of your Front-of-line option by presenting your pass at Gate A near the entrance.
Our Take: From the Editors
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!
Jonathan Fu – Inside Universal Editor
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, 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.
Despite all 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.
“A fantastic – though sometimes impersonal – look at how the movie industry ticks. Highly recommended.”
Chris Lord – Inside Universal 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, 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.
“The Universal Studio Tour offers fun, thrills and excitement which other standard movie studio tours cannot compare.”
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