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The Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour — Celebrate Its 60th Anniversary, Starting April 26

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Calling all film fans! Take a trip to the Entertainment Capital of the World, Universal Studios Hollywood. Located right in the heart of Hollywood, the park combines the awe-inspiring elements of American cinema with the thrills and frills of theme park fun. While the whole park is filled with attractions and experiences themed after popular film franchises, one ride, in particular, stands out above the rest: the Universal Studio Tour! We have hopping news: The Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour turns 60 in 2024, with a special celebration and a tour stop from April 26 through Aug. 11, 2024.

Everything to Know About Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour

 

Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour 60th Anniversary Celebration

Everything to Know About Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - 60th anniversary Glamour Tram and Psycho House

Before we jump into the normal studio tour information, we need to interrupt our tour (of the tour) to tell you about the anniversary celebration. It takes place from April 26 through Aug. 11, 2024. When I was a young tadpole, the Studio Tour would stop in the backlot at iconic sets so you could step off the tram to see movie sets up close and take photos with props. Part of that experience is coming back, along with some red-and-white, vintage Glamor Trams! We frogs took an early trip on the tour.  Here's what to expect.

The Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour and its 60th Anniversary - Shark at Glamour Tram

Photo-Ops

The Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - Bates Motel Photo op

The Studio Tour's 60th-anniversary celebration treats guests to the unique opportunity to step off the tram and onto a legendary movie set of the Bates Motel. An original, fully restored 1964 vintage Glamor Tram awaits.

The Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - Normal Bates puts knife away

The area provides plenty of photo opportunities and social media posts, including movie props, a replica of the Hollywood sign, the Bates Motel (keep an eye out for Norman Bates) a giant King Kong backdrop, some cars from the Fast and Furious franchise as well as the theme park’s original hanging "Jaws" shark.

The Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - King Kong Photo op

 

Courthouse Square

The Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - Doc and DeLorean in front of courthouse

The Studio Tour visits Courthouse Square, where scenes from "Back to the Future" movies were filmed. Keep an eye out for an original DeLorean time machine picture car near the live Doc Brown character.

“Earthquake—The Big One” Attraction

For this diamond anniversary, the simulated natural disaster attraction has been fully refurbished, top to bottom. It debuts new technology and aesthetics.

Runaway Train, Props and Former Parts of the Tour

The Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - Hollywood Sign with tram

You'll spot additional surprises from tours past such as the temporary return of the 1976 Runaway Train. Listen for warning bells and sirens alarm from the stationary location. Nostalgic moments are featured aboard the tram’s monitors, showing clips of former Studio Tour attractions. Universal Studios is pulling out props from the archive, including a behemoth Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur display used to promote "Jurassic World." Encounter a scaled replica of the iconic Hollywood Sign (and take photos and selfies)!

The Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - Lyon Estates signs from Back to the Future

As you wait to board the Studio Tour, enjoy the archival images and videos detailing its incredible history, along with an all-original augmented reality Studio Tour trivia challenge. It tests your knowledge of the iconic attraction through the years, and you can even share your results on social media!

Special Merchandise, Food and Beverage

 

Once you are off the tour, indulge in special themed, retro-style food and beverages, and shop for themed merchandise and memorabilia.

A special anniversary Dining Pass is available for purchase. It allows guests to choose six menu items: a choice of two entrees, plus a choice of four snacks, sides, desserts or beverages at participating restaurants or food carts. Select in-park venues and food carts are excluded. The Dining Pass is valid only on the day of purchase.

The Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - Woody Woodpecker branded into BBQ bun

Items at select locations will include the following (plus other locations as well):

Hollywood & Dine

  • BBQ Brisket Sandwich
  • BBQ Cheeseburger
  • BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich
  • BBQ Chicken Sandwich
  • Summer Strawberry Salad
  • BBQ Corn Dog
  • Film Reel Cookie Sandwich
  • Chilly Willy Funnel Cake
  • Themed beverage

The Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - Chilly Willy treats

Mel’s Diner

  • Mel’s Classic Burger
  • Beyond Meat® BBQ Cheeseburger
  • Chili Cheese Dog
  • Tuna Melt
  • Chicken Caesar Salad
  • Two entrees inspired by iconic mid-century, TV dinner-style tray: the Meatloaf Combo and Fried Chicken Combo

Studio Scoops

  • The Glam Tram Ice Cream Cone
  • Kong Size Sundae for Two

The Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - 60th Anniversary pretzel in front of snack cart

City Snack Shop (This standalone food cart is transformed into a Glamor Tram)

  • Glam Tram Cookie
  • Film Reel Cookie Sandwich
  • Giant 60th Pretzel
  • 60th Celebration Cookies
  • Banana Breath Popcorn

Glamor Tram popcorn Bucket

 

The Studio Tour 60th anniversary merchandise collection includes:

  • 60th-anniversary popcorn bucket shaped as a Glamor Tram (Woody Woodpecker is the driver. Push the button on top for a fun surprise!)
  • Retro-themed souvenirs, including a Glamor Tram-themed pillow, drink vessel, blanket, backpack, jacket, tops, T-shirts, hats, mugs, keychains, salt and pepper shakers, chocolates and candies
  • Glamor Tram Refillable Cup (for fountain drinks at Universal Studios)

The Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - Merch in store

Overview of Universal Studios Hollywood’s Studio Tour

 

The Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood, along with the park itself, debuted in 1964. After taking on many forms throughout the park’s history, in the current day, the tram tour takes guests on a classic, cinematic journey approximately 45 minutes to one hour long. During the tour, guests are shuttled around the studio lot. Guests enjoy seeing countless movie sets, sound stages, themed 3D attractions, props, animatronics and special effects — all used in the creation of timeless films. Now a world-famous attraction, The Studio Tour provides park guests with exclusive insight into the Hollywood show business. It features actual filming sets from iconic movies and television shows, immersive experiences and more!

You do not exit the tram during the tour (though as stated above, you will get the chance to do so during the 60th Anniversary celebration). Only the VIP Experience trolleys make stops to get a closer look at the sets.

The Studio Tour is located in the Upper Lot of the park, across from the escalators leading to the Lower Lot. Because the attraction is a mild tram ride, it does not have a height requirement. This means you can enjoy this ride with your whole frog squad! It also means that there are no Single Rider or Rider Switch options for this attraction. Although the tour is mainly given in English, some trams hold special tours in Spanish and Mandarin. Ask an employee if you'd like to experience the tour in one of these languages.

Without further ado, let’s hop into all of the important details of this frogtastic attraction. Lights. Camera. Action!

History of the Universal Studio Tour

Everything to Know About Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - Studio Tour

Before it was a theme park, Universal Studios Hollywood was a giant studio property (known as the Taylor Estate) — purchased by a German American immigrant named Carl Laemmle in 1914. Even in its early days, a simpler version of the Studio Tour was available for guests wanting to visit the "Movie City." At that time, the tour included a Western stunt show, the demolition of a bridge and a simulated flash flood. Those served as the foundational pillars of the tour. For 25 cents, guests sat in outdoor bleachers cheering on the actors filming on set. The unwanted noise from the crowds caused the lot to close its gates for three decades!

In the 50s and 60s, the studio lot faced financial hardships due to the rise of television. As a result, the studio lot charged Hollywood tour bus companies to drive onto the property as a way to increase revenues. Soon after, NBCUniversal purchased the lot, and a permanent studio tour was established. It wasn't until 1964 that the studio lot was transformed into an amusement park, boasting the first official version of the studio tour! Despite some hiccups in creating it, the attraction quickly became a success. At the time, the tram tour lasted about 90 minutes and included a make-up show and a stop at the studio commissary (to encourage guests to purchase lunch). Eventually, to keep up with popular demand, Universal expanded by purchasing the land that now forms the Upper Lot of the park.

Some of the original Frog-Favorite attractions were the Submarine Attack, the Avalanche, the Runaway Train, the Burning House, the Ice Tunnel and the Battle of Galactica. Although many of these early attractions in the tour did not stand the test of time, such as the King Kong Encounter, some famous attractions from the past are still a part of the Studio Tour today. This includes the Flash Flood, Amity Island from "Jaws" and Earthquake.

Universal Studio Tour Queue and Wait Times

Everything to Know About Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - Studio Tour entrance

The queue for the Studio Tour is relatively simple. As you walk through the line for the ride, you can see various iconic movie posters and special pre-ride footage playing on small TV screens overhead. Nonetheless, the amount of time you'll wait in this queue can vary drastically based on the time of year (and even the time of day) you visit.

In the summer, the Studio Tour is a hot commodity at the park. To stay out of the harsh SoCal sun (and rest the flippers), most frog families hop over to the Studio Tour for 60 minutes of relaxation. Throughout the rest of the year, the wait for this ride tends to be shorter. We recommend getting in the queue for the Studio Tour either in the morning, late evening or before the last tram of the day to experience the shortest wait.

If you want to bypass the line for the Studio Tour, there are a few special options you can explore.

Universal Express and Express Unlimited 

With the Universal Express Pass, guests can enjoy admission to the park AND one-time (per day) front-of-the-line access to each attraction (excluding Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge) and seated show. The Express Pass also includes one-time (per day) reservation-free entry into Super Nintendo World when Virtual Line reservations are required to enter the land.

Want to take it a step further? At the gate, you can upgrade your Express Pass to an Express Unlimited Pass! This will provide you with unlimited front-of-the-line privileges for all attractions and shows. It also provides one-time (per day) access to Super Nintendo World. Keep in mind that both the Express Pass and Unlimited Express Pass do not include access to the ride in the land, Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge.

Early Access Ticket

This special ticket allows guests to access Super Nintendo World an hour before the park officially opens. Prices for early access tickets can vary from $20-$30 and are limited (due to high demand). However, you reap the benefits of exploring the entire land at its emptiest and can join the waitlist to dine at Toadstool Cafe.

Now, here's the extra hoppy news: Early Access tickets include one-time Express access to the Studio Tour (valid until 11 a.m.)! That way, you can visit the new land and breeze by the standby line for the Studio Tour.

Universal Studio Tour Attractions and Movie Sets

Everything to Know About Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - Jupiter's Claim

Over the years, the Universal Studio Tour has included many iconic movie sets and sound stages to immerse guests into the world of Hollywood cinema. As guests are shuttled around acres of production sites, a Universal tour guide plays hilarious clips related to films created on the lot (which also presents Jimmy Fallon as your virtual host) and narrates the tour with film facts they curated themselves. This way, each tour given is perfectly unique!

In Universal Studios Hollywood's studio backlot and front lot, there are about 30 film sets and 35 working sound stages where hundreds of famous movies and TV shows have been filmed. In fact, these sets comprise most of the tour. Some of the most notable films made on the lot include "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," "Back to the Future," "Jaws," "Bruce Almighty," "Jurassic Park," "Cast Away" and many more! A few of the popular television and reality shows filmed on these sets include "Desperate Housewives," "The Good Place" "and "The Voice."

Everything to Know About Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - Wisteria Lane homes

Due to the ongoing television production at the Universal Studios Backlot, the Studio Tour is constantly changing. While some sets and sound stages are in use on certain days, trams will have to skip said attraction or halt the tram until filming ends. While this may seem inconvenient at first, it can also be a great opportunity to experience movie magic in action. You just might spot a few celebrities!

Everything to Know About Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - Jaws attraction

Here is the lineup of major movie attractions (which are subject to change daily) that the Studio Tour usually includes in 2024:

  • Timeline Drive
  • Fire Station 51
  • The Front Lot (35 soundstages)
  • Metropolitan Area (including New York Street, Brownstone Street, Courthouse Square, but keep in mind that this is often skipped due to filming)
  • Collapsing Bridge (you only pass by it without comment before entering King Kong 360)
  • King Kong 360 3-D Created by Peter Jackson
  • Picture Cars
  • Jurassic Park Sets

Everything to Know About Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - Flash Flood

  • Flash Flood
  • Mexican Street
  • Six Points Texas
  • Denver Street
  • Little Europe / Court of Miracles
  • Mediterranean Square
  • Earthquake
  • Jaws
  • Chicken Ranch
  • Colonial Street / Wisteria Lane (if not in use for filming)
  • Bates Motel
  • Psycho House
  • War of the Worlds Plane Wreck Set
  • Falls Lake
  • Jupiter's Claim from Jordan Peele's "Nope"
  • Fast and Furious: Supercharged

The Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - Earthquake

Some stops on the Studio Tour are fun attractions, which include loud sounds, special effects and some rough movements. The Flash Flood and Earthquake attractions mainly utilize physical sets, props and effects. Others, such as King Kong 360 and Fast and Furious: Supercharged are tunnel attractions. Those require 3D glasses to get the full experience!

Everything to Know About Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - King Kong entrance

Tips to Know Before You Go

Here are some important tips and tricks to note before getting on the Studio Tour:

  • Some of the attractions that the tour experiences can be loud with lots of rough movement and special effects, so prepare your tadpoles for this in advance! You can even watch our YouTube POV video below to set those expectations.
  • Don't froget to grab your 3-D glasses while in the queue. If you happen to board the tram without the glasses, get the attention of an employee and they will hoppily provide you with a pair before beginning the tour.
  • Use the restroom just before getting in line for this ride! The tour's wait time combined with its long duration means it will probably be a while before you have another chance to go (and you do not want to get stuck on the Studio Tour with a full bladder).
  • Look for Norman Bates himself at the Bates Motel (from the classic thriller, "Psycho"). You might just catch him red-handed!

Everything to Know About Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour - Norman approaches tram from Bates Motel

  • An Attraction Assistance Pass (AAP) can help guests who find it difficult to wait in a standard queue. People with disabilities and health problems can register for the card in advance to get return times and come back to rides at a later time.
  • Request a tour in Spanish or Mandarin if you prefer another language over English.
  • If you want to see the Studio Tour in a completely different light, get on at night (or in the evening). You will have a different experience depending on the time of day you choose to ride.
  • Be the first one to enter your row. We prefer the right side of the tram (around the third car).
  • Avoid the back row of the tram if you like your feet to reach the floor.

Do you have any questions about the Universal Studio Tour? Please drop them in the comment sections below. Looking to visit the world-famous Universal Studio Tour? You can save on some green by purchasing discount Universal Studios Hollywood tickets through Undercover Tourist. 

Related: The Best Times to Visit Universal Studios Hollywood in 2024 and 2025

Related: Universal Studios Hollywood Tips to Maximize Your Time

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Apr 9, 2024 at 6:17 p.m. Paul Says...

Years ago I visited the Hollywood park. It was nice but I was disappointed that the “parting of the Red Sea was not working. Since then I’ve checked and it seemed like it was never running. Why whet someone’s appetite and never have it? I was pleased with almost everything else.

Reply
Dec 4, 2023 at 8:42 a.m. Kelsey Says...

Hey!

Do you know if they allow you to bring food onto the tram during the tour? Would love to kill 2 birds with one stone and have lunch at the same time as the tour.

Thanks!

Reply
Dec 4, 2023 at 6:04 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kelsey!

It is allowed, though you may want to finish lunch while in line or save for later. The ride has some spots with rough and jerky movements, making it easier to spill your food or drink. Also, you may be shoulder to shoulder with seat mates, so we'd recommend something without a strong smell and is easy to hold or put away if needed.

Keep hopping!

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Nov 26, 2023 at 9:07 a.m. Chrissie Atkinson Says...

Hi, we are looking to take a trip from the uk, however, our main purpose for the visit is to see The Good Place set! Please could you advise if there are any plans for it to be closed/taken down in the next couple of years at all??!

Many many thanks! Chrissie xx

Reply
Nov 27, 2023 at 1:29 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Chrissie!

"The Good Place" set is actually a backlot that's used for many other shows and movies. Some "The Good Place" references have been removed from this backlot, but the set itself is considered a permanent set called "Little Europe." Sometimes the Studio Tour may go around it if it's in the middle of shooting a different project. If it is unused at the time of your visit, the Studio Tour guide will point it out as you ride through it.

Keep hopping!

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Oct 21, 2023 at 9:58 a.m. DE ARO Says...

Hi!

I’m going to the studio for the first time on October 28th and I have seen there is also the Universal Studio Lot but this is where the offices and Amblin headquarters are right? So it is completely different from the Universal studio where I am going to have fun? There are nit connected?

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Oct 24, 2023 at 2:26 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi De Aro!

This blog post is all about the Universal Studio Tour within Universal Studios Hollywood, the theme park. It is a 45-minute to an hour-long tour of the Universal Studio Lot via tram (you don't get off the tram, unless you're doing the VIP Experience or Terror Tram during Halloween Horror Nights). You're driven through the backlots, where you can see working sets and soundstages, which features scenes from famous TV shows and movies, such as "Jaws" and "Psycho." When sets and sound stages are in use, trams may skip around them. So if you're going to Universal Studios Hollywood, the Studio Tour is included with general admission.

Keep hopping!

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Oct 12, 2023 at 5:04 p.m. Lars Says...

Hi, im going 25 October to Universal. Im a big fan of the four Psycho movies. Is it also possible to visit the Psycho set? Like to have a pictice on the stairs for the house.

Reply
Oct 12, 2023 at 3:02 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lars!

Typically, you're just driving by the sets and sound stages during the normal Studio Tour. The only time you're able to hop off the tram would be during Halloween Horror Nights as part of the Terror Tram, or if you're doing the VIP Experience.

Keep hopping!

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