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What's New on Universal Studios Hollywood's 60th Anniversary Studio Tour in 2024?

NBC Insider took the summer glow-up Studio Tour for its Diamond Anniversary and we've got tips to share!

By Tara Bennett

It's a big year for the Universal Studios Hollywood Studio Tour. In operation since 1964, the tours have evolved massively across six decades, originating with their iconic red and white Glamor Trams to today's multi-car shuttles which wind around the sprawling Universal backlot. 

To celebrate their Diamond Anniversary of the Studio Tour, Universal Studios Hollywood is giving guests lots of new experiences from now through August 11 to get a taste of what the tour was like back in the day mixed with all of its innovations today. 

NBC Insider recently jumped on a tram car to get a first hand perspective on the tour and we've got some tips on how to plan your day at the theme park with the Studio Tour for efficiency.

When should you plan to take the Studio Tour?

The post card on Universal's 60th Anniversary Studio Tram Tour.

The entrance to the Studio Tour is on the Upper Lot of Universal Studios Hollywood. Make a right at The Simpsons cross section and the dedicated escalators take guests down to the queue for the trams. If you want shorter lines, go earlier in the day. That's the best time to get on trams with less crowds. However, if you're looking for an escape from the sun, the Studio Tour queue is completed shaded and the tour itself keeps you covered even during the hottest times of summer days. 

Know that the Studio Tour is about one-hour long, but the special summer tour will add some extras that may extend your experience beyond an hour. Keep that in mind too if you have other places to be, are hungry or have timed shows to see.

What's different about the anniversary Universal Studio Tour in 2024?

Cars on Universal's 60th Anniversary Studio Tram Tour.

Plenty! Going on a decade now, we're well-versed on all of the minute changes to the Studio Tour which are usually pretty subtle. But this special iteration has whole new routes, a lot of new video material with Master of Ceremonies Jimmy Fallon and Universal Pictures luminaries like Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, Jordan Peele and Jack Black, along with plenty of fresh movie history shared from the mouths of the tour guides.

Since the back lot is a working studio, not every attraction on the Studio Tour route will be available during the week. However, weekends give Studio Tour riders a better shot at seeing all stops because film and television shows are rarely in production on Saturdays and Sundays. That being said, the new route will oftentimes take riders through the city facades, past many of the massive sound stages and standing sets like Little Europe and the Western streets and the flooding street area used in many films and TV shows.

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The Courthouse Square is another area of note which features the clocktower from Back to the Future. This tour will feature a DeLorean and Doc Brown to greet you as you pass through. There's a temporary return of the 1976 Runaway Train which used to be part of the Studio Tour and featured warning bells and sirens to scare riders. There's also an amped up Jurassic World section which features a dimensional Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur and pens holding some cranky Dilophosaurus that screech and roar as you pass by in the tram.

As for attractions that are part of the Studio Tour, riders will still experience Peter Jackson's 3D Kong Island; a newly renovated Earthquake—The Big One attraction that reproduces the effects of a major quake; the Jaws lagoon attack; a ride through Jupiter's Claim from Nope and the 3D enhanced Fast & Furious - Supercharged finale. 

What's at the new step-off point in the middle of the Studio Tour?

The hollywood sign on Universal's 60th Anniversary Studio Tram Tour.

Outside of the Halloween Horror Nights Terror Tram experience, this summer's updated Studio Tour is the rare time when riders can get out of the tram to walk amongst the Psycho motel and experience some unique photo opportunities. 

Midway through the tour, the tram will stop at a drop off point at the Bates Motel. There, you can walk amongst movie props, or take a picture next to Marion Crane's car, or an original, fully restored 1964 vintage Glamor Tram. There's also the best place to frame a photo op with the perfectly scaled replica of the Hollywood Sign setup just for this anniversary tour. 

Once you've had your fun in this area, around the corner is an even bigger area of photo ops where you can get yourself sitting pretty between two Fast and the Furious picture cars; cuddle up inside King Kong's fist or proudly reveal your humongous catch of the day, which is a more than life-sized reproduction of the shark in Jaws

Things to know as you plan your visit: on less crowded days, you can make the rounds of these photo ops quickly and then hitch a ride back on revolving trams that are ready to pick you up and continue the rest of the tour. On busier days, you will need extra time to queue for each photo op as there will be lines. Regardless, there will be a tram waiting for you to get back on when you are ready. And don't worry, there is cold bottled water available at this stop to purchase if you're feeling hot or thirsty. 

Are there collectibles to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Studios Tour?

The popcorn bucket on the Studio Tram Tour's 60th Anniversary

Absolutely! Throughout the theme park and in the Universal Studios Store at the entrance, you'll find an array of fun shirts, mugs, magnets, and more emblazoned with vintage art that features the Glamour Tram. There's also a collectible popcorn bucket with Woody Woodpecker at the wheel of the Glam Tram that holds a lot of popcorn you can refill through the day, then take home to remember your trip. 

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If you're more of a foodie, there's a Dining Pass celebrating the 60th anniversary with special food offerings just for the summer event. Or you can individually purchase themed items at Hollywood & Dine or Mel’s Diner. And for snacks, check out Studio Scoops and City Snack Shop standalone outdoor food car on the Upper Lot.

Regardless of how you tackle the Studio Tour, remember that it's part of your Universal Studios Hollywood admission ticket so make space for it when you visit. You won't be disappointed. 

More information is available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com

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