Studio Tour reviews
Theme Park Insider readers offer their ratings and reviews for Studio Tour, a tour at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Written by Robert Niles
The heart of Universal’s Theme Park. Started in 1964, the back lot tour, now named “The Studio Tour” has given visitors a glimpse of one of Hollywood’s earliest movie pioneers, Universal Studios. With the aid of your tour guide, helped by on-ride high-definition video monitors, you get to learn how and where movies where made, as well as demonstrated special effects.
The Studio Tour includes many "mini-attraction", such as Earthquake, Jaws and King Kong 360/3-D.
The Studio Tour lasts about 45 minutes. Some effects on The Studio Tour may be too intense for young visitors.
A fire on June 1, 2008 destroyed some sections of the Studio Tour, including King Kong and the Back to the Future Courthouse Square sets. A new 3D King Kong experience opened in 2010, and in 2011 the Studio Tour's on-board video presentation was re-written and re-filmed with new host Jimmy Fallon.
I can easily say that the King Kong section was disappointing. The only decent seats are if you're in the middle of the tram. Anywhere else and you get cheated of the right perspective. This actually showed me that 3D done like this is NOT the future of theme parks. Transformers and Spider-Man's 3D? Yes. Not to mention, carrying around the 3D glasses for the whole ride is annoying. They still need to get rid of the Fast & The Furious section or at least stop with the dancing cars. Every time I go, people don't clap... instead everyone says "what.was.that?" Everything else on the tour is awesome. Jaws, while cheesy scares people every time. The Psycho House, The Mummy, Flash Flood, all of the facades, etc. All great examples of Hollywood. Heck, the Psycho actor was in character all the way even as our tram was leaving! - Brandon Mendoza
7/10. The King-Kong part was fun and it was interesting was it was kind of long and if you have kids, they may get bored very quickly on it. - Alicia Pearce
Addendum: I recently went there for the new King King 360 3-D attraction. As a thrill seeker, it was so-so. It was like seeing the movie with the seats shaking according to the action of the two screens on either side of the tram. As a movie fan, I liked the interaction of the tram as the movie places us in the tram in the middle of the action. Overall, I'd give King Kong 360 3-D a 5 out of ten rating based on my excitement factor. Universal still rates as one of the lowest ranked theme park in my book in terms of thrill ride theme park and excitement. I have been to the Studio Tour at least once in the past three decades (that means the 80's, 90's and 2000's). It is a good experience in seeing how movies are made and learning Universal's history. However, they often sacrifice older sets for newer ones while retaining those that they think people will want to see. I understand that space is always an issue in Southern California (as well as finances); however, it would be nice to see all, if not most of, the memorible Universal films during the tour. They should conduct a survey with the public to see what sets they would like on the tour. Personally, I would like to see the futuristic Hill Valley from Back To The Future or see E.T's escape to the forest. Neither the tour nor the upper or lower lots at USH have anything from Back to the Future or from E.T. E.T.'s presence is reduced to a plush doll they sell in the souvenir shop. They even took down the Isla Sorna Visitor Center from Jurassic Park The Lost World (where War of the Worlds set is currently located) and reduced JP's presence ont he tour to a small strip of road where the Compys spray water on you during the tour as you make your way to the little Mexican village area. I am sure there is a way to make the tour go through the Jurassic Park Visitor Center as a T-Rex starts fighting some Raptors in the background; that would be something to see on the tour and that idea was a free one. In the last 12 months, I have been on the Studio Tour four times and its been the same script with the same sets. If USH wants me to come more often as a visitor, they need to make more sets on the tour on a monthly basis not yearly. One new set a year would not justify me in coming back over and over again during a calendar year; Halloween Horror Nights would be the only exception. However, this is one person's opinion and I am sure that the out of town tourist make up the bulk of their revenue. Most Favorites: Earthquake, Psycho, Jaws Least Favorites: Whoville, Wisteria Lane, Parting of the Red Sea - D.S. Francisco
Of course the alst visit I paid to Universal is for the highly anticipated King Kong 3D experience. Seeing all the ads put on for the revemp from the fire two years ago, I was excited to be on tour again. King Kong turned out to be one of first few sites on the route, but I have to say...I was a little disappointed. It wasn't thrilling at all. It was just 3D movie screens on both sides. From time to time you get a squirt of water on your face, I guess those are dinosaur blood, with your tram moving, and that's it. There are many ooh and ahh at the begining because the 3D glasses really echanced the depth and make you feel you're really in the middle of Skull Island forest, but the innovation stays there. The rest is just the old 3D movie with seat shaking. One thing worth mentioning though, is that there's a part where a T-Rex drags down the last part of the tram and it does really looks like the tram is being dragged down the cliff, and that's about it. I'll say if you live far away, don't make a long trip for this attraction, it's not worthy of the long distance. :) - Jeremy Hu
Great and entertaining! King Kong was amazing. The effects are amazing, you know where to look at because there's so many things going on on both sides of the trams - Erik Avila
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