The World Famous Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood is a 60-minute tram ride to explore a real working movie studio behind the scenes.
It is also known as Universal Studios Hollywood backlot tour or the studio tour.
During this tour, you will visit 13 city blocks of the studio (also known as backlot), built with creative consultation from Steven Spielberg.
It is one of the most important experiences at the Los Angeles tourist attraction and is included with every Universal Studios Hollywood ticket.
Table of contents
- Studio Tour’s timings
- How long does the Studio Tour last
- Best time to take the Studio Tour
- What to expect on the backlot tour
- Celebrity guides of the studio tour
- VIP Backlot Access
Studio Tour’s timings
The Universal Studios Hollywood opens at 9 am every day of the year and its closing time varies seasonally, from 6 pm in winters to 11 pm during peak summer.
Studio Tour trams start an hour after the park opens and end an hour before the theme park shuts down for the day.
How long does the Studio Tour last
The Universal Studios Hollywood tour lasts about 60 minutes, during which you get a peek into the world of movies.
The tram travels through the Front Lot, Backlot, and various attractions, passing sets and props from numerous movies.
Some tourists have claimed that their tours lasted only 45 to 50 minutes, which is possible during really crowded days.
Best time to take the Studio Tour
The best time to take the Universal Studios Hollywood Studio Tour is late morning, afternoon, or early evening because that’s when the temperature goes up, and waiting times for the Universal rides are high.
It is better to go on the Studio Tour mid-way through your visit when you are tired and would prefer to sit down and enjoy the 60-minutes of the tram ride.
The World Famous Studio Tour trams stop before Universal Studios Hollywood closes, so don’t wait till the last tram departure.
Buy tickets in advance
The General Admission ticket helps you skip the ticket counter lines and save money. If you want to skip both the ticket counter lines and the queues at the rides, select the Express Ticket on the booking page. Follow the link to find out more about Universal Hollywood Express Pass. If you are on a budget holiday, there are many ways to score discount tickets at Universal Hollywood.
What to expect on the backlot tour
Universal Studios Hollywood is a must-visit for movie buffs, and the studio tour is the closest visitors get to movie making.
It takes you behind-the-scenes where movies are made and where Hollywood’s biggest stars work daily.
During the world-famous studio tour, you will learn about Hollywood’s filmmaking secrets and see the world’s most extensive street movie set.
Here are some of the highlights of the backlot tour –
King Kong 360 3-D
The award-winning King Kong 360-3D created by Peter Jackson is the world’s most enormous 3-D experience and is included with every Universal Studios ticket.
During this experience, you will get caught in the middle of a terrifying struggle between a 35-foot T-Rex and King Kong.
During the Universal Studios Hollywood’s King Kong ride, your heart will pound, and you will be scared, but you will ask for more when it is over!
Fast & Furious – Supercharged!
Fast & Furious – Supercharged At Universal Studios Hollywood is a 3-D immersive attraction that takes you right into all the movie action.
You will ride along with the all-star cast from the hit movies on an exhilarating high-speed chase that exceeds 195 km (120 miles) per hour and catapult you into the world of fast cars and international crime cartels.
The length of the attraction is 247 meters (809 feet) — longer than two football fields – and uses cutting-edge, hyper-realistic special effects on the world’s most expansive 360-degree canvas.
The Fast and Furious ride, which you will experience during the World-Famous Studio Tour, is not a roller coaster.
Recommended Reading: Minimum height requirements at Universal rides
Earthquake – The Big One
Universal Studio’s Earthquake experience is designed to look like an 8.3 Ritcher scale earthquake in a San Francisco subway station.
When the tram tour reaches Stage 50, the earthquake starts.
The whole station starts shaking, and a burning gasoline truck collapses through the roof, a subway train derails, and a flood of water rushes in.
Even as there is chaos everywhere, your tram starts shaking.
The attraction resets itself within just 15 seconds and gets ready to welcome the next studio tour tram.
Before booking your tickets, find out everything about the different kinds of tickets at Universal Studios Hollywood.
The Flash Flood effect at Universal Studios happens at a winding street running through a Mexican village.
Even as you are enjoying the ‘rain effect’ and ‘thunderstorm effect,’ from your tram seat, the guide announces that there has been a flash flood and water is rushing down from the hill.
A wall of water (10,000 gallons!) rushes down the hill, scares the guests, and then drains off.
Boeing 747 from War of the Worlds
The massive Boeing 747 set used by Steven Spielberg for his movie War of the Worlds is right next to the Psycho house (remember Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho?).
The outdoor set was erected at an exorbitant cost – $60,000 for a decommissioned plane and $200,000 to cut it into pieces and transport it to Universal Studios Hollywood.
It got used for three days of shooting in 2005 and is still available for guests to walk around and explore.
Recommended Reading: Universal Hollywood to Disneyland Park
Amity Island’s Jaws
The Amity island set, used in the Jaws movie, got included in the Universal Studios Hollywood Backlot Tour a year after Steven Spielberg’s 1975 film.
Guests see a moving shark animatronic from the film, which usually ends up scaring them.
The Jaws attraction is a recreation of a few of the buildings seen on Marthas’ Vineyard, where the entire film was shot on location.
Bates Hotel & Mansion
During the tour, you will see both the Psycho House and the Bates Motel.
Since Alfred Hitchcock wound up Psycho’s shooting in 1960, the sets have been moved around the backlot a bit.
If you are lucky, you will also see Norman Bates hanging around the motel.
Occasionally he is moving around a dead body, and if he sees you seeing him, he chases your tram with a knife!
Is the Studio Tour scary?
Some of the rides at Universal Hollywood, such as Jurassic Park, Harry Potter And The Forbidden Journey, and Revenge of the Mummy, can be terrifying for some. However, putting a scare quotient on the Studio Tour is difficult. During the studios’ backlot tour, you will be seated in a tram and exposed to loud sounds, intense shaking, extreme water, fire effects, etc., which can scare some kids and adults.
Celebrity guides of the studio tour
Comedian Jimmy Fallon, the star host of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” shares entertaining clips during your tour.
He augments the live Studio Tour guide’s narration, and you can see him on the HD monitors in the trams.
Visitors love his jokes and laugh their hearts out during the tour.
Occasionally, the tour has special guests who hop on and serve as a guide.
Studio Tours are available in Spanish on special days. On the day of your visit, look for digital boards located throughout the Park for tour times.
Backlot Tour at night
During the peak season, guests can go on a night tour of the studio’s backlot. If you happen to visit during the peak summer, we highly recommend doing both the regular Studio Tour and the Nighttime Tour. The General Admission ticket can get you access to the nighttime tour as well.
VIP Backlot Access
Opt for Universal Studios Hollywood’s VIP Tour, which includes exclusive access to the Universal Studios Backlot, if you want to get an even closer look behind the scenes.
You can access areas not available to regular ticket holders with the VIP Tour ticket.
You will tour the movie industry’s busiest sets in a special trolley and disembark to explore some of the famous outdoor locations.
The VIP ticket also gets you valet parking, light snacks, and refreshments in the private VIP lounge, unlimited priority access to all rides and shows, and a gourmet meal in the private VIP dining room.
Popular attractions in Los Angeles